The Key Characteristics of Every Zodiac Sign, Explained

Have you ever wondered what someone's really implying when they say "omg, you're such an Aries"? Curious why people's dating app profiles are filled with anti-Scorpio jokes? Want to dig a little deeper into what it really means to be a Gemini? It all starts with learning about your sun sign.

According to western astrology, your sun sign represents the core values of who you are. It's what we're referring to when we say "zodiac sign" and what someone means when they ask what your sign is. Some people don't relate to their zodiac sign's traits quite as much as others, and this can be because there's just so much more to astrology than your sun sign. For example, in addition to a sun sign, you also have a moon sign, the parts of you which live beneath the surface and turn inward, and a rising sign, the parts that you share outwardly.

As we go through some interesting facts about each zodiac sign, remember that it's just one of the many facets of your full birth chart. Here, you'll learn all the important zodiac facts, including your zodiac-sign element, the symbol and planet associated with your sign, and the astrological house your sign rules. Whether you want to dive in or just skim the basics, this overview of zodiac-sign traits can help you do some self-reflection and maybe even learn a bit more about yourself.

—Additional reporting by Lauren Mazzo and Taylor Andrews

Aries (March 21-April 19)
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Aries (March 21-April 19)

Aries element: fire
Aries symbol: the ram
Aries ruling planet: Mars
Aries ruling house: first house of self
Aries traits: This fiery sign is the first sign in the zodiac. Aries are leaders, propelling themselves forward on adventures, climbing corporate ladders, and embracing independence. They're an energetic bunch — passionate, courageous, free-spirited, and somewhat turbulent. But for all the positive Aries traits, there's always a darker underbelly. Jealousy, impatience, moodiness, and impulsiveness might be struggles for Aries. If they can keep those things in check, Aries has the ability and energy to lead an exciting, adrenaline-filled, successful life.

Taurus (April 20-May 20)
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Taurus (April 20-May 20)

Taurus element: earth
Taurus symbol: the bull
Taurus ruling planet: Venus
Taurus ruling house: second house of value
Taurus traits: Grounded is the name of the game when it comes to Taurus. This wandering bull is determined, responsible, and practical. Taurus is not a fan of sudden changes or insecurity of any kind. These traits can lead to stubbornness and rigidity in relationships and life, but the bull has the admirable ability to stick with projects, friends, and partners for a seemingly impossible amount of time and see things through until completion. They're also great with finances, preferring to work hard to earn and save money in order to attain the security they desperately need. They are patient and one of the most reliable signs of the zodiac.

Gemini (May 21-June 20)
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Gemini (May 21-June 20)

Gemini element: air
Gemini symbol: the twins
Gemini ruling planet: Mercury
Gemini ruling house: third house of communication
Gemini traits: This air sign is fueled by curiosity, socializing, intellectualizing, and flitting from one thing to the next. Geminis are represented by the celestial twins, or duality, depicting two sides: they can be outgoing and playful, then serious and restless. They feel there isn't enough time to soak up all that life has to offer, but they can be indecisive, understandably, when they're interested in so many different things. Geminis are fun-loving creatives who are awesome to be around. These social beings may struggle with commitment — to a job or a partner — because of their need for adventure, new experiences, new information, and the next exciting thing. Thesetraits mean they do well in situations where they can be creative, philosophize with others, and have certain level of freedom and flexibility.

Cancer (June 20-July 22)
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Cancer (June 20-July 22)

Cancer element: water
Cancer symbol: the crab
Cancer ruling planet: noon
Cancer ruling house: fourth house of home
Cancer traits: Cancer is a water sign that's ruled by the moon, which causes these sensitive beings to feel the influences of the lunar cycles whether they like it or not. Cancers are emotional, empathetic, and highly imaginative people. On the flip side, the crab can be withdrawn and mysterious at times, opening up only to those closest to them. They aren't a sign that's interested in casual encounters and one-night stands. While they're cautious with their trust, once you make it into a Cancer's heart, they are loyal and passionate friends and lovers.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22)
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Leo (July 23-Aug. 22)

Leo element: fire
Leo symbol: the lion
Leo ruling planet: sun
Leo ruling house: fifth house of self-expression
Leo traits: Fiery Leo might be the most exuberant sign in the zodiac. They enjoy the spotlight and unite all of those around them with their humor and magnetism. The "King of the Jungle," Leos are natural-born leaders who are ready to take the reins and control any situation. They must be mindful, however, not to control things that aren't meant for it — such someone else's life and choices. Leos are warm, self-aware, and driven. They do well with people who match their drive and passion so that their flame doesn't overpower someone else's light.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)
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Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)

Virgo element: earth
Virgo symbol: the virgin
Virgo ruling planet: Mercury
Virgo ruling house: sixth house of health
Virgo traits: The cautious and analytical Virgo represents their earth sign well. They are conservative and hard-working, and they have a deep sense of humanity. Although they may seem indifferent, Virgos are actually passionate people who choose their confidants wisely after careful observation over an extended period of time. Virgo has an eye for every little detail, and they thrive in environments where they can use their practical and organizational skills. With that said, Virgo's traits and attention to detail can lead to overthinking, worry, and rigidity if left unchecked. They aren't materialistic and often prefer a more minimalist lifestyle that values practicality over grandeur.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)
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Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)

Libra element: air
Libra symbol: the scales
Libra ruling planet: Venus
Libra ruling house: seventh house of relationships
Libra traits: This intellectual, diplomatic air sign is the only symbol in the zodiac that's an inanimate object. Libras value diplomacy, fairness, and cooperation. They'll often do everything possible to maintain peace and harmony. Libra loves having a partner to share life with, and a rich life they will have — they value culture, art, and the finer things in life. Their need for equality, fairness, peace, and harmony can lead to a fear of confrontation and indecisiveness, however. Libra's traits make them great friends and listeners, and they can make excellent leaders despite a certain lack of initiative at times.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)
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Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)

Scorpio element: water
Scorpio symbol: the scorpion
Scorpio ruling planet: Pluto and Mars
Scorpio ruling house: eighth house of transformation
Scorpio traits: Scorpios often get a bad rap for their "sting," but this water sign is one of the most intensely emotional in the zodiac. They're passionate, resourceful, brave, and extremely loyal friends. They can be distrusting and jealous, but their intuition is usually on point — so it would be wise to be honest with them in the first place. Scorpios are historically known for being the most sexual of the zodiac, but they choose their partners carefully based on sexual attraction, intelligence, and emotional connection. Scorpios have an air of mystery to them and are excellent listeners, but they are slow to reveal their own secrets. They have tremendous resilience and can be very strategic in the way they move through all aspects of their life.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)
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Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)

Sagittarius element: fire
Sagittarius symbol: the archer
Sagittarius ruling planet: Jupiter
Sagittarius ruling house: ninth house of adventure
Sagittarius traits: This fire sign is one of the biggest travelers in the zodiac. With an inquisitive and adventurous spirit, Sagittarius needs the freedom to do their own thing, explore the world, and constantly seek out the meaning of life. They'll thrive in situations where they can freely express themselves verbally, creatively, and physically. Not known for their tact, they have a keenness for honesty and might struggle to find ways of delivering their truth in a way that is easy to digest and avoids hurting people. Sagittarius' traits mean they do well with the unknown, trusting that the universe will provide everything they need to live a full and exciting life.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)
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Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)

Capricorn element: earth
Capricorn symbol: the goat
Capricorn ruling planet: Saturn
Capricorn ruling house: tenth house of public image
Capricorn traits: The ever-serious Capricorn stays true to their earth-sign roots. Responsibility and discipline are strong Capricorn traits for the persistent and organized sign and lead them to success in their pursuits. Once they've warmed up, they're passionate companions who have no trouble taking initiative. Although their rigidity may cause problems in relationships, Capricorns are grounded, calm, reasonable, and willing to find solutions to any problems that may arise.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)
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Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)

Aquarius element: air
Aquarius symbol: the water bearer
Aquarius ruling planet: Uranus
Aquarius ruling house: eleventh house of community
Aquarius traits: Aquarius is passionate and quirky. They're sometimes quiet and shy; other times, they're outspoken and temperamental. They have deep compassion for humanity and are devoted to equality, freedom of expression, and intellectual conversations. An air sign, they value mental stimulation above most other things. While they may appear aloof, they're highly sensitive people who just require a little more time to warm up. These free-spirited, imaginative, and slightly inconsistent people thrive when others can relate to and respect the many sides of their personality.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
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Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)

Pisces element: water
Pisces symbol: the fish
Pisces ruling planet: Neptune
Pisces ruling house: twelfth house of the unconscious
Pisces traits: One of the most tolerant signs in the zodiac, this water sign is highly intuitive and compassionate. Pisces can be selfless to the point of martyrdom, and they have an affinity for all things water. They make excellent partners and friends, always providing a listening ear and unconditional love. These traits mean they need to be mindful not to absorb and take on the emotions of those around them, which can lead to depression and anxiety. While they are gentle and wise, they don't take well to criticism, even if it's constructive. If you're a Pisces, take care to advocate for yourself, because your needs matter, too.

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