Astrology is an avenue for self-reflection that can tell us a lot about ourselves: our motivations, personality style, and even how we treat other people and move through the world. Each of the 12 zodiac signs is named after a constellation, and a person’s sun sign (there are also moon signs and rising signs) is determined by the position of the sun and stars at the moment they were born.
Each zodiac sign has its own unique set of qualities, and it’s not uncommon to hear someone automatically ascribe certain traits to you once they learn your birthday. Leos, for example (born between July 23 and August 22), are known as being courageous, daring, and incredibly stubborn. Pisces (February 19 to March 20) are said to be caring and selfless.
Astrology dates back to Babylonian times, when humans made charts to predict the seasons and upcoming celestial events. As they observed the night sky, they began to merge divination with astronomical events. The Babylonians passed on their tradition to the ancient Greeks and Romans, and it spread around the world. The zodiac signs themselves were first determined in ancient Egypt, based on constellations seen in the night sky during each lunar cycle in the year.
The 12 quotes below — one for every member of the zodiac — epitomize the personality associated with each astrological sign.
The idealists and visionaries, foolish enough to throw caution to the winds and express their ardor and faith in some supreme deed, have advanced mankind and have enriched the world.
— Emma Goldman, activist and writer
Aquarians are unconventional and revolutionary, always trying to solve problems to help others.
I believe in karma, and I believe if you put out positive vibes to everybody, that’s all you’re going to get back.
One of the most selfless of all the zodiac signs, Pisces feel deeply and give much to others without questioning it.
I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul.
― William Ernest Henley, British writer
Aries are known for being ambitious and driven, always accomplishing whatever they set their mind to.
Adopt the pace of nature. Her secret is patience.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
Always reliable, Tauruses are known for having strength and stability.
Good communication is as stimulating as black coffee, and just as hard to sleep after.
— Anne Morrow Lindbergh, author and aviator
Geminis are curious, friendly, and energized by good conversation.
Everybody needs a hug. It changes your metabolism.
— Leo Buscaglia, author and motivational speaker
Emotions are big for Cancers, as is the desire to care for people.
If one has courage, nothing can dim the light which shines from within.
— Maya Angelou
Leos are confident and courageous; they know they will accomplish their goals and never second-guess themselves.
Dreams are lovely. But they are just dreams. Fleeting, ephemeral, pretty. But dreams do not come true just because you dream them. It’s hard work that makes things happen. It’s hard work that creates change.
— Shonda Rhimes, producer
Because Virgos are so practical and analytical, they know achieving their dreams will take a clearly thought-out process.
When you stop expecting people to be perfect, you can like them for who they are.
― Donald Miller, author and public speaker
Libras are incredibly empathetic and do what they can to see the best in people.
Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.
— Helen Keller
Scorpios are passionate and intense, always pushing forward, no matter what.
Bravery and adventure! That’s the ticket! Don’t sit and gather moss. Get up, get out, do what you dream of doing, and if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work, and you don’t need to make that particular mistake again, but at least you won’t get old wondering what if you had.
— Garrison Keillor
Sagittarians are perpetual learners and adventurers, always traveling and taking risks.
If you’re someone people count on, particularly in difficult moments, that’s a sign of a life lived honorably.
— Rachel Maddow
Capricorns are loyal, faithful, and devoted; you can always count on them.