The very first topic to explore when learning astrology is the twelve signs of the Zodiac. The Zodiac wheel begins with Aries and ends with Pisces, so Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Pisces.
These first four signs relate to individual experience. They are the personal signs.
These next four signs relate to experience shared between people. They are the interpersonal signs.
These final four signs relate to a desire to transform society for the better. They are the transpersonal signs.
There are four dominant energy themes relating to the signs of the Zodiac. These themes are the Elements: Air, Fire, Water and Earth.
Air relates to the intellect, ideas and communication.
Fire relates to intuition and life force.
Water relates to feelings and emotions.
Earth relates to the material world and what we perceive with the five senses.
There are three signs for each of the Elements.
Air - Libra, Aquarius, Gemini.
Fire - Aries, Leo, Sagittarius.
Water - Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces.
Earth - Capricorn, Taurus, Virgo.
Finally, there are three sign qualities, one of each quality for each of the Elements.
Cardinal - initiating, reaching beyond themselves for new experiences. New perception.
Fixed - staying the course, maintaining a particular mindset that interacts with the experiences of others. Steady perception. Building on what is already here.
Mutable - flexible, adjusting themselves to their experience. Accommodating circumstances and others they meet. Changing perception.
Cardinal signs always follow a Solstice or Equinox. They are Aries (Vernal Equinox), Cancer (Summer Solstice), Libra (Autumnal Equinox), and Capricorn (Winter Solstice).
Fixed signs are at the height of the season. They are Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius.
Mutable signs are the last sign of the Season. They are Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces.
You can learn much about a given sign simply by studying whether it is personal, social or transpersonal; the signs ruling Element - Air, Fire, Water or Earth; and its quality - Cardinal, Fixed or Mutable.
For example: Libra is a social sign. It is an Air sign and a Cardinal sign. Libra initiates social contacts over shared ideas.
Taurus is a personal, fixed Earth sign. Taurus delights in possessions that please the senses.
Aquarius is a transpersonal fixed Air sign. Aquarius has innovative ideas towards reforming society.
Sagittarius is a transpersonal, mutable Fire sign. Sagittarius lives by an intuitive philosophy of what life is about, applying it to the circumstances they meet.