What is el Zodiaco (the zodiac)? In la astronomía (astronomy) and la astrología (astrology), this word (or its alternative spelling, Zodíaco) refers to a band in el cielo (the sky) that los cuerpos celestes (celestial bodies) like el Sol (the Sun), la Luna (the Moon), and los planetas (the planets) appear to move through when viewed from la Tierra (the Earth). This band includes twelve constelaciones (constellations) named for los signos del Zodiaco (the zodiac signs), which said celestial bodies are said to be "in" when moving into the portion of this band that includes them. One's zodiac sign is thus determined by the constellation the sun was in on his or her fecha de nacimiento (birthdate in Spanish).
Armed with this understanding, let's take a look at the Spanish names for the twelve signs of the zodiac, as well as the date ranges for each (you might want to review this lesson on the months in Spanish):
Aries: 21 de marzo al 19 de abril
(Aries: March 21st to April 19th)
Tauro: 20 de abril al 20 de mayo
(Taurus: April 20th to May 20th)
Géminis: 21 de mayo al 20 de junio
(Gemini: May 21st to June 20th)
Cáncer: 21 de junio al 22 de julio
(Cancer: June 21st to July 22nd)
Leo: 23 de julio al 22 de agosto
(Leo: July 23rd to August 22nd)
Virgo: 23 de agosto al 22 de septiembre
(Virgo: August 23rd to September 22nd)
Libra: 23 de septiembre al 22 de octubre
(Libra: September 23rd to October 22nd)
Escorpio/Escorpión: 23 de octubre al 21 de noviembre
(Scorpio: October 23rd to November 21st)
Sagitario: 22 de noviembre al 21 de diciembre
(Sagittarius: November 21st to December 19th)
Capricornio: 22 de diciembre al 19 de enero
(Capricorn: December 22nd to January 19th)
Acuario: 20 de enero al 18 de febrero
(Aquarius: January 20th to February 18th)
Piscis: 19 de febrero al 20 de marzo
(Pisces: February 19th to March 20th)
The twelve zodiac signs are furthermore grouped into four elementos (elements): aire (air), agua (water), fuego (fire), and tierra (earth). Let's take a look at which signs fall into each of these categories:
Los signos de fuego (The Fire Signs): Aries, Leo, Sagitario
Los signos de aire (The Air Signs): Géminis, Libra, Acuario
Los signos de agua (The Water Signs): Cáncer, Escorpio, Piscis
Los signos de tierra (The Earth Signs): Tauro, Virgo, Capricornio
So, how do you ask someone what his or her sign is in Spanish? The most common way is "¿Qué signo eres/es?" or "What sign are you?" with tú (informal "you") or usted (formal "you"). The answer might be Yo soy Tauro (I'm a Taurus), etc. However, you might notice that in some countries like Argentina, they tend to use the preposition de (of/from) to ask and answer this question, as in the following examples:
¿Y de qué signo sos? Yo, de Sagitario.
And what is your sign? Me, Sagittarius.
Captions 82-83, Muñeca Brava 3 Nueva Casa - Part 8Play Caption
Sí, la madre superiora es de Aries ¡y la verdad que tiene un humor! Es re agreta.
Yes, the Mother Superior is Aries and the truth is that she has a temper! She is so grumpy.
Captions 80-81, Muñeca Brava 36 La pesquisa - Part 10Play Caption
As we can see from the second quote above, specific astrological signs and elements tend to be associated with certain rasgos de personalidad (character traits). Of course, as not all members of a particular sign can be exactly alike, a tool for predecir (predicting) a person's personality in a more detailed fashion is una carta astral (astrological chart):
Nos valemos de la carta astral, que es la fotografía que se toma del cielo en el momento en que alguien nace, para ver la ubicación que tenían los planetas en ese momento
We use the astrological chart, which is the photograph that is taken of the sky at the moment in which someone is born, to see the location that the planets had at that moment
Captions 5-7, Conversaciones con Luis AstrologíaPlay Caption
And, in addition to predicting a person's character, one's future is thought, by proponents of astrology, to be predecible (predictable) based on his or her chart. Said predictions are called los horóscopos (horoscopes), and more generalized versions for the twelve signs can often be seen in newspapers and magazines:
Cáncer: Hoy habrá problemas en casa.
Cancer: Today there will be problems at home.Play Caption
However, just like you can't generalize about personalities, you certainly can't predict con exactitud (accurately) what's in store for each sign:
Los horóscopos son una aproximación a una predicción signo por signo pero no son tan precisos puesto que no hay una carta específica de una persona, sino es en general para los signos.
Horoscopes are an approximation of a prediction sign-by-sign, but they are not so accurate since there isn't a chart specific to a person, but rather it is in general for the signs.
Captions 30-32, Conversaciones con Luis AstrologíaPlay Caption
All that said, whether you view astrology as a reliable science or a fun hobby, we hope you've learned some useful vocabulary to be able to converse about it in Spanish. And don't forget leave us your suggestions and comments.