The Meaning (And a Quick 2,000 Year Recap) Behind Zodiac Jewellery

As a cultural expression, astrology is all about the future. We view our horoscopes to gain a little insight on what’s in store for us, and sometimes we wear a symbol of our star sign to manifest good things ahead. But to understand the meanings of the zodiac and why so many of us love to look to the stars, we first need to take a look backwards to where astrology, as we know it, got started.

Where did the star signs come from?
Let’s begin things with an important disclaimer – when we talk about the zodiac that so many of us are familiar with (beginning with Aries and rounding out with Pisces season each year), we’re referencing Western astrology. Many Eastern traditions interpret astrology in their own ways too. Hinduism, for example, recognises the Navagrahas – nine planets whose placements at various times have an affect on the world and on individual people.

So, Western astrology is just one system of belief. This system, with its 12 zodiac signs, traces back to Ptolemy – a mathematician and astrologer from way back at the beginning of the first Millennium CE. You’ve probably heard of him (even if you can’t pronounce his name).

In fact, forms of astrology long pre-dated Ptolemy. Several ancient civilisations are believed to have had their eyes on the stars, and according to Time (2018), the ancient Babylonians had created a zodiac consisting of 12 signs, very similar to the ones we know today. This made its way into Ancient Greek culture, and it was Ptolemy who ultimately codified astrology in his four-book text, Tetrabiblos, which essentially became a blueprint for future star-gazers to follow for thousands of years. It was at this stage that the 12 Western zodiac signs were defined and matched with dates relative to where they sat in the heavens.

What are the zodiac signs?

So, what exactly were these ancient astrologers looking at? The zodiac signs as we know them today are based on 12 different constellations that the Earth moves through on its annual journey ‘round the Sun.

The Western astrological calendar begins in March with Aries, because in Ancient Greece this corresponded with the beginning of Spring and the harvest.

Each star sign has a name and a symbol, which is drawn from the appearance of its constellation in the sky – for example, the lion for Leo and the scales for Libra. And from these symbols are drawn some noteworthy personality traits that are attributed to people based on the sign they’re born under.

Here are the 12 zodiac signs of Western astrology and some of their key traits. Does your sign sound like you?

March 20 – April 19
Honest, ambitious, optimistic

April 20 – May 20
Sensual, tenacious, loyal

May 21 – June 20
Energetic, curious, social

June 21 – July 22
Intuitive, charismatic, loyal

July 23 – August 22
Regal, confident, protective

August 23 – September 22
Kind, meticulous, clever

September 23 – October 22
Creative, charming, diplomatic

October 23 – November 21
Passionate, enigmatic, fearless

November 22 – December 21
Adventurous, independent, captivating

December 22 – January 19
Driven, wise, intuitive

January 20 – February 18
Free-spirited, independent, original

February 19 – March 20
Soulful, creative, romantic

Why are star signs relevant today?

For many of us, astrology scratches an existential itch. Whether we pore over our horoscopes daily, or we just like to casually check in with the stars at the beginning  of a new year or when we’re seeking insights into a new journey, we’re seeking answers from the same stars Ptolemy and our ancestors looked to thousands of years before us. Sure, the details of our challenges have changed. But their broader themes – love, politics, fortune, and friendship – are constant.
This timelessness is part of what helps astrology endure in so many areas of society today; from spirituality to pop culture and fashion. Our zodiac sign can also contribute to our sense of self, and for firm believers and casual observers alike, physically wearing a symbol of our inner selves – say in the form of a zodiac necklace  or zodiac pendant and charm is meaningful and empowering.
It’s why we’ll always be happy to wear our heart on our sleeve (and our star sign around our neck) when it comes to our crush on the zodiac.

 If you’re feeling ready to wear your star sign proudly. Click here to shop the Zodiac Collection >