THE SIGNS OF THE ZODIAC
Here's a mnemonic sentence of words whose first letters help to recall the names of the 12 signs of the western astrological zodiac in their correct order:
Here's a rhyme written by E. Cobham Brewer that tells the order of the 12 constellations by describing their symbols rather than names:
Here's an alternative in the form of a verse by the English hymn-writer Isaac Watts (1674-1748):
The RAM, the BULL, the heavenly TWINS,
23.Jul/22.Aug - Leo - the lion - F
23.Nov/22.Dec - Sagittarius - the archer - F
The right-hand symbols F,E,A,W above denote the four elements Fire, Earth, Air and Water. Each zodiacal sign is associated with one of these elements in turn. To help remember their strict order of rotation think how:-
To start - ready... aim... Fire
Fire has E/A/W? - Yes, E - which starts Earth
The order can also be remembered visually as a "crossword":
The western (as opposed to Chinese) system of astrology may have begun in Babylonian times but first gained popularity in ancient Greece by about 400BC. Much later Claudius Ptolemy (a Greek born in Alexandria) wrote the first comprehensive textbook on the subject, titled the Tetrabiblos, in the second century AD. It was he that first systematised astrology by dividing the constellations into groups of four elements (F,E,A,W) and three qualities which described their functions.
The only symbol shared by both the Western Zodiac and the Chinese Calender is the sheep - being Aries the ram.
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