Beginning with Aries, also known as the sign of Self, we can track the archetypal evolution of the human psyche and soul journey.
Aries is focused on self, and while this can manifest in Aries as headstrong selfish behaviors, the concept is really applied to the soul’s realization of itself. This is the sign that plants the seed which will be fully harvested within the zodiac.
The Ram and Aries’ bold assertiveness demonstrate the soul’s reaction to this realization and that is to assert itself now that it realizes it exists. While this has potential to be a brash experience, without the force of self behind the Ram of Aries, there would be no further soul progress or zodiac experience.
Taurus, the Bull, follows the Ram in the zodiac; Taurus is a fixed earth sign and is very focused on material stability. After fully grasping its own existence, the soul strives to build foundational strength to build from and Taurus accomplishes this through possessions, money and values. During this phase, the soul finds resonance with the earth, nature and the structure of all things that exist.
Taurus is fixed on values, meaning the things that define us in the physical plane and create structure for who we are, in an ego sense. Taurus seeks achievement and wants to move ahead, but can be very cautious, for the soul has just discovered its own existence and now desires to master material objects that surround it.
After realizing it exists and then is related to external objects that define its parameters, the soul begins to experience thought in the realm of Gemini.
The abstract quality of thoughts creates an unpredictable shift within the Gemini’s archetype and the sign is known to shift rapidly and to extremes as the soul navigates itself through its own psyche and mental realms of depth.
This flexibility does equip the soul with a new realization: physical constraints are not the only factors. Gemini fluidly opens itself to the mental capacity to be the architect of its own experience of reality.
Cancer marks the first milestone along the soul’s zodiac journey. Represented by the water element, Cancer assigns relevant context to the past three phases of experience in Aries, Taurus and Gemini.
Emotional and spiritual intensity, while intense and euphoric at times, has a shadow effect of being moody and sensitive. Decidedly complicated, the Cancer archetype instinctively recedes at the experience of emotion.
Intuitive spirituality is an experience that runs just as deep for Cancers, providing understanding on grand concepts. With this understanding, we see the protective nurturance of the Cancer archetype manifest within the home life.
The soul enters the second zodiac quadrant with the fire of Leo. The past cycle was the soul’s experience of self, initiated by Aries; this cycle is the soul’s experience of others, initiated by Leo.
Sex, creativity and the concept of creation by two separate forces is experienced in this fifth realm. While the flames of its fire energy are felt through these means, Leo is also a fixed sign demonstrated through fierce loyalty, yet also involves unwavering arrogance.
Through Aries we gained awareness of self and its existence and in Leo the soul is dedicated to leading others and dominating external forces with its will.
Virgo the Virgin is the second earth-based sign the soul passes through on its journey. Taurus was the first interactive experience with the physical plane; Virgo meticulously organizes, analyzes and attempts to master the material realm.
The Virgin is meant to demonstrate ‘purity of intent’ and can be understood as the fine tuning of the values and possessions gained through Taurus. After the creative passion product derived from Leo, Virgo steps in and addresses maintenance and health of people or projects.
This focused intent may also devolve into criticism and perfectionism if not balanced with other elemental forces.
After Virgo analyzes and perfects the details of the material aspects of existence, the soul craves a balancing of these defined factors. Libra is known as the sign of balance, as seen by the scales and the sign of partnerships, supported by the seventh house and its opposite sign, Aries.
The Libran archetype has many facets to consider when outlining its nature in context of the soul. Justice, truth and equality drive the forces behind Libran motivation; this strive for balance is the continuation to Gemini and its full-contrasting dual nature.
Libra hopes to encompass all extremes at once and somehow maintain balance of all present forces; this desire inevitably leads to indecisiveness and romanticizing reality.
In the healthiest context, this balancing act done by Libra results in harmony within partnerships and charming diplomacy. Mental weighing can become exhausting and futile without a source of true direction behind Libra’s objective perspective.
Scorpio is a sign to be revered, for it is the intense emotional experience that could be compared to the soul’s ego death and the regeneration that follow.
Scorpio is a fixed sign, meaning whatever direction or whatever goal it sets, is the ultimate and unwavering focus. When that level of intense drive is applied to emotional transformations, Scorpio’s dramatic archetype is experienced.
Cancer, the previous water sign, bottled up the emotions and spiritual experiences of its cycle and suffered internally and quietly as a result. Scorpio is the result of the soul going through yet another cycle in Leo, Virgo and Libra and this time the soul confronts the changes indignantly and challenges inevitable crises fearlessly.
When emotional drive is behind a confrontation, the effect is always more intimidating than simple active force.
The final elemental cycle within the zodiac begins with the mutable fire energy of Sagittarius. As seen in the symbolism of the archer and his arrow, Sagittarius has a restless and adventurous calling to move forward. Journeys and exploration are the primary and at times sole objectives of this archetype.
Using the active fire element to begin the last stretch, full movement ahead ensues following Scorpio’s confrontation of death, endings and intense emotional experience. Sagittarius is the excited descent into seeking to understand what follows ego death and evolution into the next and last phase of the full soul journey.
Application of the remainder of fire energy exerts the soul forward into the completion cycle. Once that huge leap has been taken by Sagittarius, Capricorn demonstrates extreme earth energy by maintaining perseverance toward stable achievements in material metrics.
Capricorn is consistently striving to do better, achieve more, rank higher and do it longer. Constant goal setting is only satisfied by achieving measurable results within the Capricorn realm, but is reliant on positive direction for healthy manifestation.
Aquarius brings the mental realm to a finality after the Gemini and Libra sequence. Gemini allowed the mind to change rapidly to extremes and Libra balanced those dualities.
Aquarius seeks to apply the mental lessons the soul has learned in a collective and extraverted context. Superiority complexes and aloof, even rebellious attitudes may stem from the soul’s perceived sense of its own understanding.
While Aquarius represents unconventional thinking leading to collective-scale innovation, the sharp air influence is experienced best when balanced with a touch of reality or empathy from either grounded earth or sensitive water influences.
Pisces experiences a culmination of emotional influences experienced throughout the zodiac with an emphasis on the evolution of Sagittarius through Aquarius.
After the defiant and fearless confrontation of intense emotions in Scorpio, Pisces is left with a jaded tendency to simply escape into an ideal spiritual realm created by themselves as protection from the inevitable tragedies of the life experience.
Innate intuition is a gift given to this archetype, as it is the final step in the conceptual journey of the individual soul. Instead of allowing that intuition and full emotional understanding highlight hopelessness and lazy will of self-preservation, Pisces must use its valuable gifts to uncover individual secrets hidden within the psyche.
The entire journey represented by the zodiac tells the classic monomyth legend used a format to most notable literature and esoteric studies. The Hero’s Journey is perhaps the most well-known breakdown of this cyclical experience and provides hours of research and learning as a topic.
All of the archetypal energies reside in us all; together they represent the collective unconscious. Each of us experiences facets of this truth of the collective through our own personal egos, or personal experience.
Astrology is a concrete guide map to our spiritual purpose and what we must overcome or acknowledge within ourselves. Only then can our soul ever truly progress.