Earth Signs: Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn

In This Article

  • Considering Taurus
  • Focusing on Virgo
  • Contemplating Capricorn

astrology-earth-signs-taurus-virgo-and-capricornJust as the universe burst into existence with the fireball of the Big Bang, the cycle of the zodiac lifts off with a blast of fire, the most energetic of the four traditional elements. Fire creates heat, light, and movement. But what’s the point of all that combustion if it leads to nothing? Without earth, fire would burn itself out like a spray of fireworks against the night sky. Earth signs ground the energy of fire by turning the sizzle into something tangible. Cautious where fire is bold, earth signs are stable, sensible, productive, persistent, and materialistic — and I don’t mean that in a bad way. Unlike less realistic signs, earth signs understand and respect material things, including money. They’re also sensuous, responsive human beings who glory in the physical world in all its splendor.

Fire sends off sparks, no question. Air talks up a storm. And no one understands the impact of emotion like Water. But if you want to actually get something done, look to Earth.

Astrological tradition allots three signs to each of the four elements. The earth signs, recognized for their productivity and pragmatic approach to life, include the following:

  • Taurus the Bull (April 19 to May 20), the sign of fixed earth. Taurus is known for its persistence, its longing for security, and — in case you thought that earth signs are only about practicality — its love of pleasure.
  • Virgo the Virgin (August 23 to September 22), the sign of mutable earth. Virgo is famed for its analytical mind, its attention to detail, and its tendency to be a perfectionist.
  • Capricorn the Goat (December 22 to January 19), the sign of cardinal fire. The Goat is resourceful, conscientious, and ambitious.

These signs share a desire to make a tangible contribution. If earth is your element, read on. In this chapter, I present your great traits and your grating traits, along with information about relationships and work.

The sun’s position in the heavens at the time of your birth determines your sign. If you were born at the beginning or end of a sign or you’re unsure about your sign, turn to Chapter 1 and read the section entitled “Born on the Cusp.” Also, in addition to its element, each sign has a polarity (positive or negative) and a quality or modality (cardinal, fixed, or mutable). For more on these terms, refer to Chapter 1.

Taurus the Butt: April 19-May 20

When Harry Truman was president, a sign in the oval office read “The buck stops here.” That’s just what you might expect from a Taurus. In good times and in bad, you’re steadfast, dependable, and willing to accept responsibility. But Taurus also has a pleasure-loving side, for it is ruled by Venus, the guardian of love and art. Truman knew something about that part of life too. A devoted husband and fiercely protective father, he was a gifted piano player who thought about becoming a professional musician. He decided that he didn’t have what it takes. “A good music-hall piano player is about the best I’d have ever been,” he said. “So I went into politics and became President of the United States.” Taurus has the stamina and the persistence to make something like that possible.

The symbol (or glyph) of Taurus, shown in Figure 5-1, represents the head and horns of the Bull — or the circle of potential topped by the crescent of receptivity.


Figure 5-1: The symbol of Taurus.

The Sunny Side

In the cycle of the zodiac, Aries, the pioneer, arrives first, spewing energy in every direction. Taurus, the second sign, brings that energy down to earth and uses it to build something solid. As a fixed earth sign, you’re cautious, grounded in reality, steady on your feet, and utterly reliable. Because you have an intense need for security, both emotional and financial, you make conservative choices and try to avoid change. You hold on tightly, only giving up when there’s no other option. But once you’ve made a decision, nothing can convince you to change your mind. Concrete goals make the most sense to you. You pursue them quietly and with single-minded determination. It’s true that you may not reach your destination quickly — but like the legendary tortoise to whom you’re often compared, you do get there.

As an earth sign, you’re at home in your body and attuned to your environment. Romantic and sensuous, kind and gentle, you’re responsive to comforts of every kind, and your senses are wide open. You love slow, languid sex; the textures of silk and velvet (and corduroy); freshly baked bread; full-bodied red wine; nature in all its seasons; and handcrafted objects, which you acquire with ease and never cease to enjoy. Taurus is also creatively gifted. Chances are you have talent in at least one of the arts, including music, dance, sculpture, painting, design, architecture, cooking, gardening, and the fine art of relaxing.

The Sorry Side

Although your dedication is impressive, your leisurely pace can drive other people to distraction. You start slowly, tend to plod, and refuse to be rushed. You can be stodgy at an early age, and you can easily fall into a rut. Plus, you’re incredibly stubborn. Your well-known tenacity is a positive trait when it means sticking up for moral principles (think of Coretta Scott King or Bono, the Taurus rock singer who was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize). Too often, though, it means refusing to change, no matter what the circumstances. I’ve seen Taureans cling to outmoded, self-destructive patterns for years just because they didn’t want to risk trying a new approach or making amends. That’s what being bull-headed can mean.

As long as we’re discussing your negative traits, let me add that you can be greedy, status conscious, acquisitive, gluttonous, self-indulgent, and self-pitying. Normally, you’re hard-working and persevering, but when you’re down, you become apathetic. You can also be possessive, dependent, jealous, insensitive and, at your worst, a user. You don’t intend to exploit other people. But — you know — things happen.

One more thing: Taurus, unlike Aries, doesn’t get angry easily, for which the rest of the world is grateful. But when you do blow up . . . let’s just say that some of the worst mass murderers and dictators in history — men like Hitler, Lenin, and Saddam Hussein — were born under the sign of the Bull.


With Venus as your ruling planet, you’re appealing and affectionate, and you effortlessly attract friends, lovers, and sidekicks. Romance is hugely important to you but (with rare exceptions) you won’t go after it aggressively. Quietly seductive, you give subtle signals, and if the object of your desire turns out to be immune, you look elsewhere.

Your feelings run deep, but it’s not excitement you seek; it’s sanctuary. In your heart, familiarity breeds contentment. You relish the daily, domestic rituals along with the security of a long-running relationship. When you’re in a secure partnership, you hold on tightly. You’re loving, protective, and supportive, even if you’re also dependent and possessive.

Although you dislike conflict and try to avoid it, you don’t back down either. If a relationship is on shaky ground, you can hardly bear the tension. Some people (Leo and Scorpio, for example) get all caught up in those romantic ups and downs. They throw themselves into the drama and even find it titillating. Not Taurus. Sincere and intense, you play for keeps because you’re not playing. For you, love isn’t a game.


Because you adore the creature comforts and lack that manic hit that often characterizes high achievers, people may assume that you’re lazy. They couldn’t be more wrong. Though your ability to lounge around on weekends is without equal, you’re diligent, productive, and organized when you want to be, with an inborn need to do something constructive. Security is essential to you, whether that means money in the bank, real estate, a first-rate pension plan, or all of the above. And yet, that’s not where you live. At bottom, it’s more important for you to believe in what you’re doing and to find a modicum of creative expression. When you identify an area that satisfies those needs, you’re willing to make financial sacrifices.

Whatever you choose, you work at a steady pace. And unlike other signs, you aren’t constantly trying to elbow your way into the spotlight. Naturally, people come to rely on you. And yes, it sometimes feels as though you’re doing more than your share of the work for less than your share of the recognition. That’s one of the drawbacks of being an earth sign.

Working with the Bull is easier if you accept the fact that he knows what he wants and he’s unlikely to change. He values productivity, follow-through, loyalty, and the ability to stay cool. As for those brilliant ideas you have about how to shake things up, keep them to yourself. They will only make him distrust your judgment.

Taurus: The Basic Facts

Polarity: Negative

Quality: Fixed Element: Earth

Symbol: The Bull

Ruling Planet: Venus

Opposing Sign: Scorpio

Favorable Colors: Greens and browns

Lucky Gem: Emerald

Parts of the Body: Neck and throat

Metal: Copper

Key Phrase: I build

Major Traits: Productive, obstinate

Virgo the Virgin: August 23-September 22

The mind of a Virgo is a wondrous thing. Thanks to Mercury, the planet named after the quick-witted god of communication, you’re observant, insightful, capable, and articulate. You’re also discriminating and critical, especially of yourself. Constantly in search of self-improvement, you consider yourself a work in progress.

The symbol of Virgo the Virgin (see Figure 5-2) resembles an M with a closed-in loop. It signifies the female genitals, in contrast to Scorpio, which represents the male.


Figure 5-2: The symbol of Virgo.

The Sunny Side

Nothing sneaks past you. You have an eye for detail, an inborn sense of efficiency, and a supreme sensitivity to the implications of language. Smart, funny, and engaging, you can claim extraordinary analytical abilities, a rare clarity of mind, an enviable capacity for concentration, and a love of learning that isn’t just for show. On top of that, you’re considerate and appealingly modest. You know you’re not perfect — but you’re doing just about everything you can to get there. Like the other earth signs, you’re conscientious, industrious, and efficient. Unlike them, you’re also an idealist. You know how things ought to be, and you’re certain that you can make them that way, one detail at a time. Armed with your lengthy to-do list, you’re organized and disciplined, ready to push yourself to the limit. You’re equally willing to assist other people, an offer that extends way beyond your immediate circle. You have a strong moral core and can be helpful to the point of selflessness. People often forget that Virgo is the sign of service. (Think of Mother Teresa.) Acting on behalf of others makes you feel good about yourself.

The Sorry Side

You’re too hard on everyone, yourself included. You nag. You criticize. You can’t distinguish between that which is acceptable (your spouse) and that which is ideal (your spouse, if only he would shape up). You can be incredibly demanding — and incredibly disappointed when your demands aren’t met. At times you act the part of the martyr who’s compelled to put up with the inadequacies of others, but you also suffer from waves of guilt, inferiority, shyness, and anxiety. You worry about the air, the water, global warming, war, calories, the homeless person you passed on the street, the insensitive remark you’re afraid you may have made, your investments, and your body. In the life of a typical Virgo, hypochondria is a dragon you have to slay (which is one reason Virgos often immerse themselves in the Merck Manual or become fascinated by alternative healing techniques). A healthful diet, sufficient exercise, and a reliable method for reducing stress are essential.

A note on neatness: No matter what you may have heard, not all Virgos are neatness fiends. Not that it doesn’t happen: I’ve known Virgos who can’t rest unless everything in the refrigerator is arranged parallel to the door. I’ve known Virgos who have genuine opinions about tile cleansers. I’ve also known Virgos who are incapable of throwing things out. Their intention is to do something with all that stuff. Meanwhile, they don’t look compulsive in the least; they look like world-class slobs.


You’d think that a sign supposedly as critical as Virgo would have trouble making friends. But this isn’t the case. Virgos love to converse, excel at analyzing other people, dote on exploring new ideas, and maintain a multitude of interests. Conversation with a Virgo is never dull. Virgos also remember birthdays, bring chicken soup and DVDs to ailing friends, and generally extend themselves. So you don’t lack for a busy social life — even if you are a little heavy-handed with the advice from time to time.

In a committed relationship, you’re most comfortable when your role and responsibilities are clearly defined. When you don’t know what to expect or those roles are shifting under the pressure of circumstances, you become jittery, insomniac, withholding, and — your worst mistake — controlling. You don’t mean to be — you just want to make sure that everything is on course. You have a powerful sense of the way things should be, and when reality conflicts with your impossibly high standards, you slip into a state of denial and see what you want to see. When breakups occur, you’re stunned. For all your good sense, a Virgo with a broken heart is a pathetic creature indeed. Fortunately, you aren’t one to spend your life sobbing into your limited-edition designer brew. Inevitably, you find a way to turn things around. You have no trouble attracting admirers, for Virgo can be incredibly seductive, despite its virginal image. (Iconic Virgo sex symbols include Sean Connery, Richard Gere, Sophia Loren, and Greta Garbo.) But that’s not what helps you get through tough times. It’s your mental ability to reframe a situation. Sure, things may look bad from one angle. But from another . . .


It’s difficult to imagine an organization that wouldn’t benefit from having a Virgo or two around. The master of multi-tasking, you easily juggle hundreds of details and dozens of conflicting demands. Organized and meticulous, you’re skilled at teaching, writing (and other forms of communication), and anything that requires an analytical mind and attention to detail. But no matter what direction you go in, more work ends up on your desk than on anyone else’s because, guess what? You’re more efficient than anyone else. That’s why the powers-that-be keep calling on you. No one else is up to the job — and you may not want to do it either. Even so, you produce accurate, timely results because you can’t resist rising to a challenge. Might as well admit the truth: You can’t resist the compliment, and you take secret pleasure in tucking in every last detail. You’re the ideal employee, like it or not — which may be why Virgos often fantasize about owning their own businesses. The degree of control you gain as an entrepreneur is tonic for your soul.

If you work for a Virgo, follow instructions to the letter and obey the unstated rules of the workplace. On the surface, the environment may be casual and egalitarian. Nonetheless, the standards are strict. So go ahead and request instruction and clarification when you need it. Virgo will respect you for asking. Similarly, feel free to ask for feedback. But understand that after you receive advice, you must make a sincere effort at following it. Otherwise, Virgo may perceive your request as a waste of time. And take my word for it: You don’t want to waste a Virgo’s time.

Virgo: The Basic Facts

Polarity: Negative

Quality: Mutable

Element: Earth

Symbol: The Virgin

Ruling Planet: Mercury

Opposite Sign: Pisces

Favorable Colors: Navy and neutrals

Lucky Gem: Peridot

Part of the Body: The nervous system

Metal: Mercury

Key Phrase: I analyze

Major Traits: Analytical, fault-finding

Capricorn the Goat: December 22-January 19

Somebody has to uphold tradition. Somebody has to follow the rules. For that matter, somebody has to write them. With somber Saturn, the planet of structure, as your ruler, it may as well be you.

The glyph of Capricorn (see Figure 5-3) represents either the mountain goat with its curling horns or the mythical creature who is a goat above and a fish below.


Figure 5-3: The symbol of Capricorn.

The Sunny Side

You’re productive, responsible, competitive, and mature. You’re an adult — even as a child. Indeed, Capricorn often has a tough time as a youngster because you’re more serious than most people. You come into your own in adulthood, and you age beautifully. Although there may be occasional dips along the way, it’s a well-recognized phenomenon that the older you get, the happier you become. It’s the miracle of Capricorn.

You’re ambitious. Like the mountain goat that clambers over rocky terrain to reach the summit, you have your eye on a distant peak — and you’ve figured out a strategy for getting there. Patient, industrious, and thrifty, you bravely weather any difficulties you encounter along the way. Society depends on Capricorn because you have the ability to step outside of yourself, to consider the needs of others, and to develop realistic strategies for fulfilling those needs. You’re a natural leader.

Though you may panic internally during times of stress, externally you stay calm. Unlike other signs I can name (Sagittarius, say, or Pisces), you know how to apply self-discipline — and, unlike Virgo, you can do so without making a fetish of it. Your control is obvious in every cell of your body. You’re cool, reserved, dignified, and authoritative. As an earth sign, you see what needs to be done and you act expeditiously. And though you often have trouble loosening up, you have that earth-sign sensuality to indulge in. You respond to timeless art, true love, and the pleasures of the kitchen, the bedroom, and the boardroom — up to and including a nice fat investment portfolio. Say what you will, money does provide security.

The Sorry Side

A natural-born conservative, no matter what your politics may be, you have a plan (and a budget) for everything. Status-conscious and money-minded, you can be fearful, repressed, and pessimistic. You have such a deep sense of purpose that you find it difficult to relax: Taking time off feels like breaking stride to you, and you don’t want to do it. After all, there’s more to be done . . . much more. You’re frustrated by your slow progress. The truth is that if it weren’t for other people, you’d live on the treadmill. You’re the least spontaneous sign of the zodiac. A little resiliency would lighten your considerable load but it isn’t easy for you to bend. I hesitate to say “You work too hard” only because I know that you will agree — and secretly take it as a compliment.

Here’s another problem: Emotional issues can be threatening to a Capricorn. Even with friends, you’d rather not discuss feelings at all, thank you. No one likes to reveal weakness, but for you it’s especially painful. So you suffer in silence and are prone to denial. Why see what you don’t want to see? What’s the point of gazing into the heart of darkness — or the void at the center of a bad relationship — if you aren’t prepared to do anything about it? It may be better not to know. Right? Right. Except that sometimes facing the truth is the only way to make things better.


Begin by acknowledging that Capricorn has a strong sense of privacy, propriety, and emotional reserve. Even your oldest friends don’t get too close. You admire them for their accomplishments and sympathize with them for their troubles. You’re not unkind. But you’re uncomfortable with emotional displays and would just as soon not have to be there during times of major crisis. (You would rather help by doing something practical.) In love, too, you go out of your way to avoid pyrotechnics. You just can’t stand it.

On the other hand, you’re a traditionalist with a strong sex drive and a deep need to be comforted, admired, and connected. Your ideal partner is accomplished, well put-together, and worthy in the eyes of the world. You can’t help responding to the confidence that success brings. What’s so terrible about that?

When you find the right person — and it can take awhile — you’re faithful and devoted. Playing around isn’t your style. Playing traditional gender roles is. Although you believe in gender equality, you still feel comfortable with a standard male/female role division. If there is a problem, it may be simply that you take everything very seriously. A pillow fight on a weeknight? No way! You need 7.5 hours of sleep, and not a nanosecond less. An afternoon tryst with your beloved? Are you joking? You have a job! In Capricorn relationships, it’s generally the other person who tries to provide the laughs (and the spontaneity). Someone’s gotta lighten things up — and it probably won’t be you.


Can you say workaholic? Capricorn is the most ambitious, industrious sign of the zodiac. You accept responsibility without complaint. You know how to operate within an organization, large or small, and when a structure is lacking, you know how to create one. You may not like bureaucracy, but you understand it, and you’re at home in a corporation. Naturally you crave recognition. And let’s face it: Although recognition comes in many guises, its primary form is money. You understand the stuff. Occasionally, you even become obsessed with it because money is a sign of accomplishment. Consider, for example, this remark from the eccentric, obsessive-compulsive tycoon Howard Hughes. “I’m not a paranoid deranged millionaire,” he said. “Goddamit, I’m a billionaire.”

So, yes, some Capricorns are covetous and materialistic. Most are not. And many of you have a little-recognized ability to put the good of others ahead of your selfish desires. Not for nothing was Martin Luther King, Jr., a Capricorn. Those born under the sign of the Goat, despite a reputation for capitalist venality, often have a social conscience. They just don’t think they should have to suffer for it.

If you work for a Capricorn, everything you ever learned about how to behave at work applies: Be on time, dress for the next level up, anticipate your boss’s needs, be organized, and so forth. Avoid office pranks: Naked pictures on the copier won’t amuse your straight-arrow boss. And make sure that nothing suspect appears on your computer screen — and that includes solitaire. Remember: Capricorns wrote the rules. You’d be a fool to break them.

Capricorn: The Basic Facts

Polarity: Negative

Favorable Colors: Dark green and brown

Quality: Cardinal

Lucky Gem: Onyx

Element: Earth

Parts of the Body: Bones and teeth

Symbol: The Goat Metal: Silver

Ruling Planet: Saturn Key Phrase: I use

Opposite Sign: Cancer

Major Traits: Goal-oriented, rigid


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