The Signs of the Zodiac in Renaissance Astrology
Christopher Warnock, Esq.
Zodiacal Signs in Renaissance Astrology

The Ecliptic and the Zodiac

The Signs of the Zodiac in Renaissance Astrology
Cecco d'Ascoli's Necromantic
Commentary on the
Sphere of Sacrobosco
Lilly on the Uses of the Signs
Ramesey: the Names of the Signs
Ramesey: the Order of the Signs
The Nature of Aries
The Nature of Taurus
The Nature of Gemini
The Nature of Cancer
The Nature of Leo
The Nature of Virgo
The Nature of Libra
The Nature of Scorpio
The Nature of Sagittarius
The Nature of Capricorn
The Nature of Aquarius
The Nature of Pisces
The Essential Dignities and Debilities of the Planets
Bethem on the Essential
Dignities & Debilities of the Signs
Ramesey on the Planetary
Rulerships of the Signs
Ramesey on the Exaltations
and Falls of the Planets
Ramesey on the Triplicities
Ramesey on the Terms
William Lilly
Lilly Biography
Web Site Search
Web Site Search
Without exact knowledge [of the Signs], one cannot attain to any exactnesse in naturall Magick, viz. in gathering Hearbs, or perfecting many other rarities.

William Lilly,
Christian Astrology

The Twelve Signs of the Zodiac
Names & Characters
The Vernal or Spring quarter
The Estival or Summer quarter
The Autumnal or Harvest quarter
The Hyemnal, Brumal or Winter quarter
The Fiery Triplicity
The Earthy Triplicity
The Aiery Triplicity
The Watery Triplicity
Masculine, Diurnal Signs
Feminine, Nocturnal Signs
Boreal, Septentrional or Northern
Austral, Meridional or Southern
Moveable Signs
Fixed Signs
Common Signs
Bestail or Quadrupediall
Fruitful or Prolifical
Barren Signs
Manly or humane, curteous Signs
Ferall Signs
Mute Signs
Humane Signs
Signs commanding
Signs obeying
Signs of right or long ascention
Signs of shorter oblique ascention
Full Listing of Barren and Fruitful Signs

from William Lilly's Christian Astrology
(1st ed. 1647, reprinted 1985 Regulus).

Page 86


Of the twelve Signs of the Zodiack and their manifold Divisions

The whole Zodiack is divided into twelve equal parts, which we call Signs, and give them the names of living Creatures, either

Page 87

for their properties they hold with living Creatures, or by reason of the seituation of the Starres in those places which somewhat resemble that effigies and similitude of living creatures: Their names and characters follow.

ARIES The Symbol of Aries TAURUS The Symbol of Taurus GEMINI The Symbol of Gemini CANCER The Symbol of Cancer LEO The Symbol of Leo VIRGO The Symbol of Virgo LIBRA The Symbol of Libra SCORPIO The Symbol of Scorpio SAGITTARIUS The Symbol of Sagittarius CAPRICORN The Symbol of Capricorn AQUARIUS The Symbol of Aquarius PISCES The Symbol of Pisces

Everyone of these Signs contains thirty degrees or parts in longitude: Hence it comes to passe that the whole Zodiack doth contain 360 degrees, every degree containes 60 minutes, which we also call scruples, every minute containes 60 seconds, and so further if you please, &c. but in Astrology we onely make use of degrees, and minutes and second.


These Signs are again divided many wayes; as first, into four quadrants or quarters, answering to the four quarters of the year.

The Constellation Taurus
They are again divided in division of the Elements,
Page 88


Again, some Signs are Masculine, Diurnal, and therefore Hot, as Aries, Gemini, Leo, Libra, Sagittarius, Aquarius.

Some are Feminine, Nocturnal, therefore Cold, viz. Taurus, Cancer, Virgo, Scorpio, Capricorn, Pisces.

The use whereof is this, That if you have a Masculine Planet in a Masculine Sign, it imports him or her more manly; and so if a Masculine Planet be in a Feminine Sign, the man or woman is lesse couragious, &c.

Some Signs again are called Boreal, Septentrional or Northern, because they decline from the Equinoctial Northward, and these are Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Virgo; and these six Signs contain half the Zodiack, or the first semi-circle thereof.

Some Signes are called Austral, Meridional or Southern, for that they decline Southward from the Equinoctial, and these are Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces.

The Constellation Cancer
The Signs again are divided into Moveable, Fixed and Common,
  • Moveable Signs Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn are called moveable and Cardinal: moveable, because when the Sun enters into Aries and Libra, the Weather and Season of the Year quickly varies and changes; they are called Cardinal, because when the Sun enters into any of those Signs from that time we denominate the Quarters of the yeer. For from the Sun entering into Aries and Libra the Equinoctial or the Spring and Autumne arise; from the Sun his entrance into Cancer and Capricorn ariseth the Solstice of Summer and Winter.

  • Fixed Signs The Fixed Signs doe in order follow the Equinoctial and Tropicks; and they are called fixed, for that when Sun enters into them, the season of the yeer is fixed, and we doe more evidently perceive either Heat or Cold, Moysture or Drinesse. The fixed Signes are these, Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius.

  • Common Signes are constitutes between moveable and fixed, and retain a property or nature, pertaking both with the preceding and consequent Sign: and they are Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, Pisces. They are called By-corporeal or double bodied, because they represent two Bodies: as Gemini two Twinnes, Pisces two Fishes.
Page 89


The right knowledge of these in Astrology is much, and you must understand it thus; In the Question or Figure of Heaven, if the Planet who is Lord of the Ascendant be in a moveable Sign, and the Sign ascending be also one, it denotes the person to be unstable, and of no resolution, easily mutable, perverted, a wavering unconstant man.
Let us admit the Ascendant to be fixed, and the Lord of that Sign also in a fixed Sign, you may judge the party to be of firm resolution, no changling; or as we say, one that will stand to maintaine what he hath said or done, be it good or ill.
If the Sign ascending be common, and the Lord of that Sign also in a Common Sign, you may judge the man or woman to be neither very wilfull or easily variable but between both.

The Signs also are divided into;
The Constellation Virgo


The use hereof is, that if your Significator or Lord of the Ascendant be in Aries, Taurus, Leo, Sagittarius, Capricorn, there's in the condition of that party something of the nature of that Beast which represents that Sign he is in; as if he be in Aries, the man is rash, hardy and lascivious; if in Taurus, steadfast and resolved, and somewhat of a muddy condition, vitiated, with some private imperfection, &c. and so of the rest.
Let us admit, one propounds his Question, if he shall have children, then if the Moon and principall Significator be in Prolificall Signs, and strong, there's no question but he shall the same doe, if the Question concern Barrennesse, viz. if the Ascendant or fifth house be of those Signs we call barren Signs, it generally represents few or no children.

In Questions, if Gemini, Virgo, Libra or Aquarius ascend, or the Lord of the Ascendant be in humane Signs, then we may judge the

Page 90

man to be of civill carriage, very affable and easie to be spoken & withall &c.

Page Break, Begin Page 92


There are also many other divisions of the Signs: as into The Signs of long ascention continue two hours and more in the Ascendant: and Signs of short ascentions, doe arise in little more then an houre, and some in lesse...

Page Break, Begin Page 565


Full Listing of Barren and Fruitful Signs


Aries: By reason Mars1, a sterill planet hath that for his house, and the Sun2 for Exaltation, is rather a Sign of Barrennesse than otherwise.
Taurus: Is reputed more fruitful than barren, being the house of Venus, who is fruitful3, and the exaltation of the Moon4
Gemini: Is adjudged barren, being the house of Mercury5, who discerns nothing of himself.

Page 566

Cancer is a fruitfull Signe, it being the house of the Moon, and the exaltation of Jupiter3.
Leo: Is reputed barren, being the house of the Sun, and Lyons bring forth Young rarely.
Virgo: Hath the name of the barren Signe, for Mayds of themselves produce no Births &c.
Libra: Rather a Signe of fecundity, it being the house of Venus, and Saturn his exaltation.
Scorpio: Though the house of Mars, yet generally accepted for fruitful.
Sagittarius: Ever conceived fruitfull, because the house of Jupiter.
Capricorn: A Signe of few children inclining to barrennesse.
Aquarius: Without doubt more fruitful than barren.
Pisces: Very fecund and prolificall, being the House of Jupiter and exaltationof Venus, its Signe of many Children.

1Lilly says, "Sterill or barren planets are Saturn and Mars, as also the South Node being of the nature of Saturn and Mars." Christian Astrology page 565.
Lilly says, "...the Sun is more neer to Barrennesse, by reason of his excess of heat..." Christian Astrology page 565.
Lilly says, Lilly says, "We call the Fruitful or Prolificall Planets, Jupiter and Venus and some do adde hereunto the North Node, being of the nature of Jupiter and Venus." Christian Astrology page 565.
Lilly says, "...the Moon, in regard she is moyst by nature, is more fruitful than barren." Christian Astrology page 565.
Lilly says, "Mercury is indifferent, and argues plurality, where joyned with fruitfull Planets; the contrary when posited with barren, for he assumes the nature of the Planet with whom he is in configuration." Christian Astrology page 565.


Renaissance Astrology Home Page

Please Contact me with any Questions & Comments

Specializing in Horary Astrology, Electional Astrology Astrological Magic and Astrological Talismans.

Copyright 2001-2, Christopher Warnock, All Rights Reserved.