Memorize the Zodiac Signs

(Josh Cohen) #1

This is a quick memory challenge to memorize the 12 zodiac signs. Leave a comment below if you try it. :slight_smile:

  1. Aries
  2. Taurus
  3. Gemini
  4. Cancer
  5. Leo
  6. Virgo
  7. Libra
  8. Scorpio
  9. Sagittarius
  10. Capricorn
  11. Aquarius
  12. Pices

In his book De Umbris Idearum, Giordano Bruno explains the linking method by using the zodiac. Here are the first of his images as an example:

[Aries] Leader of the flock, beside himself with wrath
Turns in vengeance on the kind of the herd,
Empty headed Taurus sprints to strike,
Charges the brothers Gemini,
Those youths wave at nearby relatives
To object, Cancer walks through dewy meadows,
Suddenly, obliquely, Cancer startled by the waves,
Comes face to face, perhaps, with Leo,
Who raising hackles and his tail, threatens,
The swiftly wandering Virgo wild,

Memorize 88 Constellations

I have_De Umbris Idearum_, although I’m only a little ways into it, so far…to be honest though, I don’t really see how Bruno’s system makes memorizing any “easier”. I guess maybe I’m just not great at the linking system. In the section you quote here, “suddenly, obliquely… face to face *perhaps…”, it seems like there is too much uncertainty/ambiguity in his approach, at least in this instance, to be considered ideal.


I’ll take on the challenge, and report back how it goes.

I have a book on the history of the zodiac on my shelf, haven’t finished it so far, but it does have a traditional verse in it:

The Ram, the Bull, the Heavenly Twins,
And next the Crab the Lion shines,
The Virgin, and the Scales,
The Scorpion, Archer, and the Sea-Goat,
The Man that bears the Watering-Pot,
The Fish with glittering tails.

(Though I think this might need to be recited in something like a Scottish accent (?) where ‘twins’ & ‘shines’ and ‘goat’ & ‘pot’ are somewhat close to rhyming!)

I’d like to learn more about the symbolism of astrology, I just never can understand how it was supposed to work.

I can understand the the planets were seen as wanderers in the sky, and I’m guessing the constellations were the starry background for the planets wandering, representing certain sections of the night sky, but do we see all these every night, or I guess you’d only see a certain number of them per season, and get the full rotation per year?

I’ve also heard the Egyptians had 36 decans (with images to go along with them like the Zodiac) for the 10 degree sections of the 360 degrees of the sky, and that in more modern times, someone came up with the ‘Sabian Symbols’ which have an image/figure for each degree of the sky, so I guess 360 in total.

(Josh Cohen) #4

I used a linking method but didn’t use most of Bruno’s images. Each image has a location which is more like a scene than “loci” in the method of loci. The locations aren’t related to each other, so Aries and Taurus are in a field on a mountain in Utah. Taurus charges Gemini who fall onto Cancer.

Then Cancer moves from that field to a beach in Okinawa (it’s just where my mind went, so I figured it would be likely to follow that path again next time). I remember Leo and Virgo, because my birthday is just on the border. Virgo buys fish on the beach from Libra (Bruno’s scales) and then the fish hooks are used on a scorpion that is surfing on the waves. The scorpion washes on shore and stings Sagittarius who shoots Capricorn.

Aquarius and Pices are in the picture below – Capricorn charges Aquarius, which breaks his water pot, and Aquarius falls back into a pool of water that contains Pices.


(Josh Cohen) #5

I wanted to arrange the signs on a wheel, so I added them to a peg list around a clock using a number rhyme system – that way it’s faster to pick them out by number, like “sign #5”, and they are arranged with a spatial relationship. The zodiac signs are going to lead to other memory journeys.

These are the number rhymes I used:

  1. sun
  2. shoe
  3. tree
  4. door
  5. hive
  6. sticks
  7. heaven
  8. gate
  9. wine
  10. tent
  11. wyvern – I stretched this to fit
  12. a delve (cave)


  • one → sun → Aries
  • two → shoe → Taurus
  • three → tree → Gemini
  • etc.


The Zodiac signs can be very useful if you associate them with their (astrology) dates. They give you some vivid associations for 1-month periods. That lets you learn approximate dates – which I find more useful than precise dates.
e.g. knowing somebody’s zodiac sign tells me their approximate birthday, which is enough precision for me to think about when I should start looking for a gift. Knowing the exact date gives me little extra benefit.

It also helps with remembering things in my personal life. I have a picture associated with Leo last year which reminds me what I was doing that July-August.

Add in Chinese zodiac for years, and you can do historical dates. e.g. an Ox and a Ram charging into a bay of pigs tells me that the Bay of Pigs invasion was in March or April 1961. The only problem is you end up with too many animals.

Here are my images for initial memorization of the zodiac dates. Signs run from roughly the 20th of the first solar month to the 20th of the second. I’ve associated them with the second month, or just with a date within their time.

Aquarius (Feb) – personal association
Pisces (March) – a fish hopping through a field like a mad march hare
Aries (April) – A ram eating spaghetti off a tree (a famous April Fools hoax)
Taurus (May) – A vicious-looking bull politely asking permission (‘may I?’)
Gemini (June) – personal association
Cancer (July) – Uncle Sam (4th July) ill with cancer – takes off his hat to show a bald head
Leo (August) – a tropical animal for the warmest part of the year
Virgo (September) – a virgin fresher starting university
Libra (October) – an OCTopus with a balance (one tentacle holding it, 2 others in each side of the scale)
Scorpio (November). A scorpion burning on the (UK traditional) November 5th
Saggitarius (December) – personal association
Capricorn (Jan) – blowing a horn at a new year party