I was wondering if you had any insight into the order of the signs. For example, why does the moon’s sign cancer have the water element? Or why is the first sign ruled by Mars, and not the sun?
I’ve written about this here and there, and it must be somewhere in my blog – but it doesn’t hurt to write a little bit about it again. This is the sort of thing that will probably get a full explanation in my next book, the follow up to Great Big Crystal Ball in the Sky.
Order of the Signs and Rulers
The main article I’ve written to address your main question is here: The Ancient Myth Behind the Zodiac.
Order of the Sign Elements
About the elements (and, “why is cancer a water sign”) – My opinion is that the elements are first of all rooted to the cardinal directions, and the directions relate to the signs.
Fire is rooted to the east. The element and the direction both relate to gaining clarity on the proper path to follow (dharma), because the sun rises in the east and sheds light.
Air is rooted to the west. The element and direction both relate to recreation and pleasure (kāma), because when the sun sets we relax and enjoy our private lives.
Earth is rooted to the south. The element and direction relate to stability and prosperity (artha). It’s clear why earth is related to stability. The “south” is not as clear unless we realize that it is relative to the northern hemisphere, and celestial “south” is directly underground. (An argument can be made that celestial “south” is directly underground regardless of your hemisphere, but it’s too complicated and I don’t feel like getting into it right now.)
Water is rooted to the north. Celestial north is up in the sky. The direction and element relate to reflection, and the resulting self-realization.
Now, if you ask why the directions relate to the signs… It’s also a little too complex to really answer threadbare right now, but the short answer is that the signs are primarily related to the Sun. The Sun’s position relative to the equator correlates celestial south to Capricorn, celestial north to Cancer, celestial east and west to Aries and Libra respectively.
Therefore Capricorn is earth, Cancer water, Aries fire, and Libra air.
As for the other 8 signs, these just echo what is established by the four cardinal signs, described above. It’s too much to explain it threadbare, but you just make a pattern of the same east, south, west, north sequence and map it to the signs. Thus, having established that Aries is east, and therefore fire. The next sign echoes the next direction in the sequence. Therefore taurus echoes the south and is earth. Gemini echoes the west, and is Air. Then we come to cancer, and just repeat.
These things would be much easier to explain with visual aids.
Order of the Sign Modes
This is easier to explain. It directly corresponds to the Sun’s motion while it is in a given sign. In any cardinal sign, the Sun begins moving in a new direction. In any fixed sign it remains committed to that course. In any dual sign it finishes up the old direction and slows down to start the next new direction.
For example, in Aries (cardinal) the Sun rises over the equator and heads northward. In Taurus (fixed) it just keeps going north. In Gemini (dual) it finishes up the northern course and gets ready to head “west” (towards the celestial “sunset”). In Cancer (cardinal) it passes the northern apex and heads west. In Leo (fixed) it keeps going west. In Virgo (dual) it finishes the western course and gets ready for the southern course. In Libra (cardinal) it sets below the equator and heads south. Etc. etc.
— Vic DiCara