Astrology: Earth Signs Explained
Diving into the astrological archetypes of Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn.
by Victoria Derr Valencia
Ahhh…ever-present Earth. Whether it’s a wildflower springing up through a sidewalk crack, or the panoramic view of the Grand Canyon, it’s hard to escape the very element we humans walk upon. We interact with Earth every day, eating spinach or seeing a tree on our work commute. Humans are submerged in Earth, walking upon it, munching on it, trampling over California hills to take super-bloom photos. Ever-present. But reaching deeper than the Earth we interact with on a daily basis, what does the Earth element represent? What does Earth embody? How do we embody Earth?
Astrology has an answer.
Each of the four classic elements (fire, earth, air, and water) have their place in the zodiac wheel. The usage of the elements is not only present in astrology, but in alchemy, in reiki, in crystal magic, and in various other forms of the mystical and the metaphysical. The religious and the ritual.
Earth is the physical. The material. The tactile. The tangible. The growth oriented… slow growth. The structure for spirit. The container for all things alive. Creation as tangible. Earth is the feminine, the receiving, the yin, the comfortable, the stable, the grounded. The nurturing, the home base.
Enter…the Earth signs of the zodiac wheel. Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn. Earth also rules the 2nd, 6th, and 10th houses, respectively. But for now, a focus shall be placed on Earth signs rather than Earth houses.
When you hear someone saying “I’m a Virgo,” or “I’m a Taurus,” they’re most likely referring to their sun sign. Your sun sign correlates to your date of birth – each zodiac sign has a 30 day period (like a month), and having a birthday within those 30 days (for example, Taurus as April 19 – May 20) would make you a Taurus sun.
Your sun sign is where you shine – what you gaze upon, what feeds you, what casts a light. It’s the life force. It’s also what burns you, what exposes you, and what has the potential to cast shadow with contrast. Your sun sign, in my astrological opinion, is what you came to intuitively learn. It’s what we gaze into, and pull meaning from.
Note: You are not just your sun sign! There are more planets in the sky that compose your unique astrological blueprint…but that’s a whole different conversation.
Stability. Slow growth. Sensible. Sensual. Survival. Values. Resources. Pleasure.
Personal. Fixed. Earth.
Ruling planet: Venus
April 19 – May 20
With Taurus comes stability, the steady growth of mid-spring. Taurus is a tree-trunk, a flower’s stem, an orchid’s roots. Taurus oozes stable, slow, intentional growth. Survival. Pleasure. Survival and pleasure seem to be two opposing concepts – how can someone in survival mode also be fixated on pleasure? And this duality is exactly the evolution within the Taurus archetype. Because Taurus is the 2nd sign of the zodiac, it still represents the beginning of life, and particularly, getting your needs met enough to survive. Building safety within the self. As we recognize our needs and values, and begin to hone in on creating resources that meet these needs, we can move from a survival mindset into a pleasure based mindset.
And this is where luxury comes into the Taurus archetype. Taurus is ruled by Venus, which has its popular associations with being a planet of love and relationship as well as being a sensual planet. Aligned with Taurus, this embodies sensual luxury – ripe grapes, silk fabrics, a playful night with a lover… Taurus feels most fulfilled when in pleasure – whether than comes from saving up and splurging on a Rolex for yourself or spending two hours in the kitchen creating a perfectly spiced curry. Where does your survival overlap with your pleasure? How can your survival be more centered in pleasure. Another aspect of the evolution of the Taurus archetype is it’s value system – Venus also rules values. Building meaning in the world through creating and recognizing one’s own personal values as the foundation of going through life. Through our values, we amass resources, that then kick us off from surviving to thriving.
Like all light in life, it comes with a shadow – a shadow is the dark underside of an imbalanced sign. Taurus’ shadow is the inability and unwillingness to change, turning in on the self too far, survival anxiety, sexually objectifying humans, and having a polarized idea of sex (puta o pura).
Of service. Refinement. Contribution. Detail-oriented. Healing. Detox. Atonement.
Interpersonal. Mutable. Earth.
Ruling planet: Mercury
August 23 – September 22
End of summer
Virgo is the fruit a tree bears. The end of the summer harvest. Virgo is practical Earth, transformed into being of service to the community around it. Virgo speaks of wholeness, of full integration; this wholeness isn’t taken in vain, but instead aligned to a higher purpose, to a greater cause. Ruled by Mercury, the planet of communication and processing information, Virgo is a master analyzer. They embody Mercury, not so much as a messenger for information, but as a processor of information. Collecting information. Digesting information. Discerning what can and cannot be used. Like pruning overgrown bushes, Virgo honors the natural cycles of what is present, and works with removing what is overgrowth. They take funnel down what is, and isn’t needed. A master editor.
Virgos, ask yourselves: how can I contribute? A larger, more meaningful, contribution to society through daily work is what feeds a Virgo’s evolution. And not quite a sacrifice, or work without cause! This works needs to be aligned with the Virgo soul’s reason for incarnating on Earth – the service cannot be without purpose. Meaningful work doesn’t focus on the person doing the work, but rather the work being done and its impact. The soul seeks personal healing through meaningful work to the collective. Like with all light, comes a shadow. Virgo’s shadow resides in compulsive criticism, self-criticism, guilt, fear of failure. Atonement. Making a mistake and thinking you’re a bad person because you’ve failed. Meaningless asceticism. Addiction to crisis. Enslavement. Criticism to others, overanalyzing themselves and the situation around them. Excessive negativity about what isn’t “right.”
Achievement. Crescendo. Leadership. Wisdom. Long apprenticeships. Individuation.
Transpersonal. Cardinal. Earth.
Ruling planet: Saturn
December 22 – January 19
Beginning of winter
Climbing a new mountain just to set your sights on another peak. This speaks to the long, never ending, goal-oriented state of mind that Capricorn’s embodies. The Capricorn archetype seeks to climb new heights, to be leaders, to hold success in their area of mastery – essentially, to be at the peak of a mountaintop. Only to see a new peak, and continue in the steady climb upwards. The soul of Capricorn is calling to have these experiences, to have the burden of climbing up a mountain, to have the duty to perform, to have the responsibilities and structure necessary for growth. It is through these experiences, once processed, that a Capricorn evolves into wisdom. Maturity and wisdom isn’t a direct result of experience though –experience needs to be processed, understood, and embodied. The soul seeks to evolve by establishing a personal authority and defining their mastery through recognizable achievements.
Capricorns have a reputation for being single-mindedly career oriented – each of their moves is calculated for the greater cause of honing their trade, their successes, their ambitions. Whereas this can easily become a shadow aspect (especially within a patriarchal society), we often forget where boundaries and structure encourage growth and understanding in our lives. Ever heard of the saying, “the right commitments will set you free?” Well, it was probably said by a Capricorn…Capricorn is ruled by Saturn, planet of karma, boundaries, structure, and time. Capricorns hone in on the boundaries and authority Saturn embodies by saying “no,” by strategically quitting, by sharp discernment over what will and will not guide them on the path up to their mountain peak.
As with all light, comes a shadow (even atop a mountain). Capricorns’ shadow manifests as a know it all, as not respecting another’s truth, as an epic fall from grace, as dictatorship. Being too goal-oriented, being single mindedly career oriented, being unable to empathize. A Capricorn must ask themselves how to live in tandem with society and how to lead in union with society, rather than projecting their righteousness as a single truth for all to follow.
An evolution through Earth…
These signs are not just connected through their common element; the signs are different expressions of Earth as told by modalities. Taurus as personal, Virgo as interpersonal, and Capricorn as transpersonal. Through this evolution of personal/interpersonal/transpersonal, we move from focusing on oneself, to focusing on intimate others, to focusing on the collective as a whole. Taurus is the 2nd sign of the zodiac. With it, comes themes of stability, of rooting down into soil to take resources and establish values: it’s the foundation of life. It’s personal, it’s reflecting on its own values and resources. From here, human life starts. Virgo, the following Earth sign, comes as the 6th sign of the zodiac. It grows from the rooted foundations of Taurus into the interpersonal realm of contribution. Of being able to give from what you have. To share with the world the blossom of your tree, the fruit of your roots. Virgo takes its skills, its abilities, and uses them to contribute to society. And Capricorn, the final Earth sign in the zodiac wheel. Capricorn is the 10th sign of the zodiac and the highest peak in the chart. Ambition, achievement. Where you rest at the top, after having established your values and resources (Taurus) and contributed in a service-oriented way (Virgo) to create slow success. To reach the top of the mountain through burden and discipline, having developed personal authority, and the platform to share your embodied wisdom.
And voila! Earth…explained.
As an apprentice astrologer, I must give gratitude and credit to my teachers and mentors. Listed below are those who’ I’ve studied, the sources of the bulk of the astrology information I gather and process. Gratitude for their acquired and embodied wisdom (Capricorn) funneling into my apprenticeship stage!
For more info, seek out…
And the entire New Paradigm Astrology Cooperative
Jaliessa Sipress of Obsidian Moon Astrology
Stephanie Koyfman of The Daily Hunch