Leo

Leo is the fifth sign of the zodiac, the second Fire sign and is Fixed (or stubborn by nature). An interesting mix of creativity, control and generosity, Leo is one of the organisers of the zodiac, bossing others around at the drop of a hat. Control is necessary for this sign, for without control the Lion can feel lost, confused and unsure. There is a fantastic creative streak running through this sign, which can be seen in most things Leo does. Generous almost to a fault, Leo has an enthusiasm for life rarely surpassed by other signs. Faithful and kind, Leo can be intolerant and patronising at times, which can make the Leo seem difficult and autocratic. Often stubborn, Leo tends to do things at his own time and in his own place - Leo will not be pushed into anything.

Planets placed in Leo bring creativity, expansiveness, and broad-mindedness. Whole hearted and generous, any planet placed in Leo in the birthchart will bring drama, power and greater self-expression to the individual. There may be a lack of discrimination at times, and it is important that a possible lack of humility is controlled. Planets in Leo suggest a focus on being creative, whether in the home, at work or at play. A source of energy and exuberance, Leo has the ability to bring a great deal to the natal chart.

Leo is ruled by the Sun. Traditional Leonine associations include herbs such as peppermint, saffron and rosemary. Flowers include the marigold, sunflower and passionflower - flowers that shine brightly in the garden. Other plants and trees linked to this sign are the walnut, olive, bay and palm. Colours linked to Leo are the colours of the sun, from dawn to dusk, sunrise to sunset. The gemstone is the ruby, bold and beautiful, whilst the metal is gold. Leonine animals are the cats, from the Lion in his lair to the tabby in your home. Like many of the zodiac signs, the origin of Leo is not well known, but the Lion has been with us for at least 3000 years from the Egyptian zodiac.

Cancer

Cancer is the fourth sign of the zodiac. The first water sign, it is cardinal (or outgoing) in nature. Emotion starts here, OK? Cancer is the sign of the zodiac most associated with emotion and it is probably true that many Cancerians will wear their heart on their sleeve with pride. However, this is only part of the story. To get to the emotion, you have to get past the defensive shield that Cancer puts up around itself. Unless the Crab knows you, he will not let you past easily. Cancer is linked to the Moon and consequently suffers from mood swings that wax and wane just like the Lunar goddess. Contrary to popular belief, Cancer is one of the great travellers. The ability to make a home anywhere means that the Crab adapts to unusual surroundings very quickly. This means that Cancer can feel at home anywhere in the world.

Planets placed in Cancer bring intuition, imagination and changeability. Moodiness is common with these placings, as is extra emotional qualities. Tenacity and bravery is also likely. There can be a tendency to be over-cautious and sensitive which can detract from the more positive attributes. Planets in Cancer often mean a focus on the home life and children, and the protective nature this brings often means a person with this placing will never hear a bad word against anyone.

Cancer is ruled by the Moon. A chart with strong Cancerian influences will invariably be controlled by the placing of this most important planet. Traditional Cancerian associations include delicate herbs such as saxifrage, verbena and tarragon. White flowers that evoke emotion in many people are linked to this sign - lilies and waterlilies are particularly Cancerian in nature. Other plants include the cabbage, turnip and the maple tree. Colours linked to this sign are gray, silver and blue, just like the Moon. Typical Cancerian animals are the crab and any creature that has a hard shell to protect itself. The gemstone is the beautiful pearl and the metal silver. The origin of Cancer is not well known, although it is likely that the Babylonians recognised the sign in their zodiac.

Taurus

Taurus is the second sign of the zodiac. It is also the first Earth sign and is fixed by nature. Taurus is reliability personified, with a good measure of common sense thrown in for good measure. What Aries starts, Taurus often finishes. You can rely on the bull to put in a good, solid performance. However, Taurus needs stability and security - without this, the bull can feel lost and unsure of which way to turn. Patient, loving and persistent, Taurus is a good friend to have with you when the going gets tough. Sometimes possessive (like its cousin across the zodiac, Scorpio), Taurus can be inflexible and resistant to change at times. However, the universe needs a sense of steadiness and routine now and again, and the powerful bull is just the sign to deliver.

Planets placed in Taurus invariably bring more stability and security to the birthchart. These planets often bring out the determination and persistent nature of an individual, but can also represent an inflexible nature and desire for the status quo. The need for security is often shown through the placements of these planets. There is often a sense of physicality associated with planets placed in Taurus; sometimes this manifests itself in beauty and sometimes as pure strength. Whatever the case, planets placed in Taurus are often a blessing and most certainly a reserve of steel and control.

The gentle and romantic Venus rules Taurus. Traditional Taurean associations include trees that bear soft, sweet fruit such as the apple, fig and pear. Other fruits include the grape and most sweet berries. Other foods linked to this are those that suggest luxury and rich taste, such as asparagus and artichoke. Taurean flowers are usually pink, or a lighter shade of red, for that is the Taurean colour. Such flowers include the dog rose, foxglove and poppy. The Taurean gemstone is emerald. Taurus dates back to Babylonian times and later to the Egyptians and their god Horus, Bull of Heaven.

Gemini

Gemini is the third sign of the zodiac. It is the first Air sign and is mutable by nature. Gemini is well known for its connection with communications of all kinds, whether by voice, letter, email or the media. Gemini certainly is talkative, but there is much more to this sign that you might think. Gemini has versatility, adaptability and eloquence in great supply, or at least, the potential is there for all these things. Logic and rationality are also present in the sign of the twins. What Aries starts, Taurus finishes and Gemini lets everyone know about it. The problem for Gemini is that many other people see its lively, witty and youthful nature as being superficial and inconsistent. Certainly Gemini can need variety in life and is easily bored, which can be difficult. Like its cousin, Virgo, Gemini can be tense and nervous at times, and will chatter away to hide this. However, we all need to talk to each other, and Gemini shows us the way. Without the sign of the twins, the world would be a very dull place indeed.

Planets placed in Gemini bring youthfulness, ability to adapt and the need to communicate about that area of life. These planets will show where the individual has to keep moving (literally or metaphorically) in order to stay refreshed and lively. There can be a lack of discipline in these areas, and the individual concerned has to work hard to get projects, big or small, finished. This part of the chart can represent how the individual is intellectual in some way, but discipline is required to ensure that it is not just the surface that gets scratched. Often the need for variety means that only superficial knowledge is acquired. Planets placed in Gemini bring much intellectual energy to any chart and if this energy is controlled, great benefit can be derived from this most interesting sign.

Gemini is ruled by Mercury (see May newsletter) and anyone with Gemini prominent in their chart needs to look at the position of this small but vital planet. Traditional Gemini associations include trees such as horse chestnut, hazel and beech - anything that bears a nut, in fact. Flowers and plants linked to this sign include the delicate but interesting, such as ferns, lavender and the lily of the valley. The colour associated with this sign is yellow. Foods include vegetables grown above the ground (plus carrots), whilst herbs such as marjoram, aniseed and caraway are also Gemini in nature. Typical Gemini animals are the parrot and mynah bird (my mynah does not stop talking!). The gemstone associated with Gemini is the yellow agate and the metal is mercury. Gemini dates back to early Roman mythology with the twins, Castor and Pollux, although the Egyptians often referred to these two bright stars as well.

Aries

Aries is the first sign of the zodiac. It is the first Fire sign and is cardinal (outgoing) by nature. Aries is enthusiasm, energy, adventure and confidence all wrapped up in one. The sign of the Ram exudes urgency, courage and activity. Always first to tread boldly, Aries leads the way for others to follow. Like the other Fire signs, Leo and Sagittarius, Aries does not always get the job done, living the finer points to its companions in the zodiac. Aries requires noise and a need to be busy. The day to day routine is OK, but to thrive, Aries demands action and adventure. Care must be taken to avoid the selfishness and impulsive nature that can get the passionate Aries in trouble.

Planets placed in Aries in the natal chart bring energy, passion and determination. These planets will often be the focus for achievement and desire for fulfilment. Impatience and foolhardiness are also associated with these placings. The sense of energy that comes from Arian planets means there is emphasis on all things mechanical. It is likely that careers involve engineering, craftwork of some kind or anything that allows the subject to stand out in some way.

Aries is ruled by the equally fiery Mars. Traditional associations with the Ram include trees that bears thorns, flowers with strong scents, such as honeysuckle and wild plants such as the thistle. Typical Arian spices include mustard, peppers and chillies. Foods linked to this sign are usually strong tasting, such as onions, hops and leeks. The Arian gemstone is the hard but beautiful diamond, whilst the traditional color is red. Aries has been with the world since the time of the Egyptians, but its origin as a mythological animal is unknown.

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