Introduction to Zodiac Signs – 4:
Influence of Sagittarius-Pisces; Decanates; Dwads

– written by Philip Graves, January 3rd, 2004
– reformatted for WordPress, June 10th, 2016



The arrow of Sagittarius’s glyph, aimed heavenward, symbolises the desire of this sign for elevation to new heights, and its harbouring of high ideals and moral principles. It envisions an ideal prospect, then sets its sights on the pursuit of its vision. Very often its visions lie in the mental sphere of higher understanding, as for example via religious or philosophical contemplation, but they can centre around the seeking of any more advanced level of knowledge. Exuberant and enthusiastic, Sagittarius is also openly communicative about its discoveries and theories, is a natural teacher or preacher, sometimes veering into proselytisation; and enjoys appreciation for its mental ingenuity and foresight.

Sagittarius is the consummate truth-seeker, and regards honesty as a primary moral imperative, failure to honour which by anyone results in that person fundamentally forfeiting the Sagittarian’s respect. Whereas Scorpio is often motivated to honesty more strategically, as though purposely to sting by truth-telling, Sagittarius is naive to the potential effect of its own bluntness on others, and is so forthright and straightforward in expressing its view of the truth that sometimes it makes unwitting social blunders.

Sagittarius also often demonstrates an off-beat, detached way of looking at the world; and a blasé disregard for small but important details as it prefers to focus on the broader picture. It has a natural eye for comedy (although with some surprising blind spots), and an attraction to the jokers, clowns and show-people of the world.

This sign tends to be over-optimistic and excessively trusting in others’ honesty until proven wrong. It can therefore suffer many disappointments in human nature, and depression of its own optimistic inclinations periodically. It also has a weakness for gambling.

Sagittarius has a vibrant, rapid, slightly highly-strung energetic quality, similarly to its polar sign Gemini. Yet it rules the thighs, in keeping with the love of the sign for freedom of movement, mental and physical alike, and attraction to sports and games, walking and running, or at least driving and travel. Its representation by a centaur, with the body of a horse, highlights its rapid mobility and inclination to ‘buck’ and rebel in the face of any restrictive imposition on its freedom.



The symbol of Capricorn, the goat with a fish’s tail, derives from the Greek legend of Pan, a God who so amused the other Gods by transforming himself into this form that they created his likeness in a constellation. Yet it is relevant to the purposeful practicality and ambition of Capricorn tempered by a more sensitive, psychic inner potential and a knack for swimming with the flow of society.

Capricorn has the capability of rendering abstractions and visions into material, durable form. It champions the disciplined establishment of social order and structure on behalf of the collective. Like Virgo, Capricorn is willing to work hard playing second fiddle for the greater good, and in keeping with the rules of the system, at least for as long as it takes to earn the right to a higher position. It is outwardly humble and often self-effacing, and prone to bouts of pessimism bordering on depression, yet unflinchingly maintains an inner flame of determination, and is strongly ambitious to attain the realistic goals it sets itself. Steady and capable persistence along tried and tested paths are its key to achievement. By respecting procedures, authorities and superiors along the way, it is favoured for promotion. Just as the mountain goat by which it is depicted slowly but surely ascends the mountain without looking back, so Capricorn methodically pursues its long-term goals with an eye to the peak of attainment.

However, Capricorn can sometimes barely hide its unvoiced contempt for those it regards as its inferiors, while its desire for personal preferment and valuing of worldly achievement can lead it to approach the successful and influential with an almost mercenary exaggerated solicitude and attentiveness.

A strong Capricorn skill is persuasion. It is able by its manner to engage popularity; and when it expresses some personal desire in interaction with others it will turn on the charm until they submit, not taking ‘no’ for an answer. Capricorn has a strong attachment to its family and feeling of duty towards it. It also has abundant sympathy for non-human animals.

Capricorn is known for caution and reserve of expression, at least in unfamiliar and formal situations. Among the most trusted friends and loved ones, it can dissolve its impassive veneer, releasing and generously sharing its vast expanse of inner feeling potential. Indeed, while it appreciates quiet moments to itself, Capricorn is otherwise a very socially oriented breed, and will typically take its assumed responsibilities for social organisation just as seriously as its career. For all its long-term resilience, Capricorn can be very impatient with short-term irritations and frustrations.

As the cardinal Earth sign, Capricorn is prone to strong physical attractions to others. It is at home in the material world, frequently possessing craft and cookery skills, and enjoying fabrics and food immensely.

Capricorn rules the knees, bones, joints, teeth and nails.



The Aquarian glyph denoting electrical vibrations is a clue to this sign’s psychic attunements. Aquarius connects spiritually with all of humanity, acknowledges no superiors and inferiors, championing equality, and is capable of radiating through this psychic attunement the highest forms of good will towards every being, but also of receiving disturbing precognitions and revealing insights into the inner psyche of other individuals.

Because of its vibrational sensitivity, Aquarius demands plenty of space, and suffers from being cramped, made demands of or restricted in any sense. By its essential nature, it prefers to relate collectively to a group rather than individually; and its tendency to analyse can sometimes pose a barrier to intimacy. Sometimes it harbours ideals of social reform and seeks to have them implemented by promoting them within like-minded campaign groups.

Mentally, Aquarius is original and visionary, as well as being objective and analytical. Although it is also concerned with more abstract ideals and artistic innovations, Aquarius is most strongly associated with scientific discovery and the germination of new ideas that have a distinctly practical application or social value; and it is often attracted to new technology and to the creative moulding of matter, with applications ranging from home improvements and architectural vision to body art and abstract sculpture.

The Aquarian mind is fast, and is inclined to make decisions suddenly on the intuition of the moment, but then keeps to them rigidly, and can come to seem set in its ways and conservative about certain issues, although prior to arriving at such determinations it is open-minded towards almost everything, and it has a fascination for what stands out as obscure or unusual in its own culture and era, which may include ancient history, early music and all forms of esotericism.

Like Capricorn, Aquarius generally works steadily and hard and is moderately ambitious for career success, along lines of work that are socially meaningful or exercise its particular practical skills. But it will never foresake its principles of equality in serving its own personal ambitions.

Occasionally Aquarius detaches itself so far from the norms of society as to be perceived as an eccentric, rebel or outcast. But the sign generally enjoys a good measure of unpressured social involvement albeit without having to compromise its own particular style or suffer the bonds of heavy commitment.

Aquarius rules the aura, the ankles and the circulatory system.



The symbol of the two sea-horses tied together and attempting in futility to swim in opposite directions has been viewed as shedding light on the sign’s internal contradictions of intent and direction, with confusion frequently being experienced, but the complementary coexistence of such opposing drives being attainable through applied self-awareness.

The glyph has also been interpreted as a pair of crescent Moons, highlighting the lunar qualities of impressionability and imagination for which Pisces is known. Sometimes charged with escapism, self-deception or fantasy, Pisces is generally simply perceiving and exploring deeper realms of sensibility, consciousness, possibility and creativity than many are willing to countenance. Like Aquarius, Pisces is frequently psychic, and highly intuitive.

Pisces is one of the most creative and artistic of all the signs, attractions to dancing, music, poetry, drama and painting being common among those in whose nativities it is strongly marked. It is also a deeply spiritually motivated sign for which material ambition is not typically a primary goal. It desires to explore the full range of life’s experiential possibilities, and personally craves union with the divine on whatever level it perceives that to exist. Yet, being sensitive to negative feedback, it does not always wish to draw too much attention to its inward differences with the rest of humanity in everyday life, and can sometimes seem to repress its own nature in striving to mould itself outwardly into the norms of the social and economic environment.

The Piscean mind is deeply attuned to the unconscious, yet in addition to being open to realisations unfathomable to most signs, and naturally skilled in philosophical and religious contemplation, it can be very orderly, numerate and scientifically adept.

Pisces is at times shy of personal emotional involvement because it is so impressionable and finely tuned that it can easily be hurt or have its sensitivity overwhelmed by others bringing their energies too close. But it is a very empathetic sign, and has the potential to share love and sympathy on many levels.

Pisces rules the astral body and feet.



The twelve signs have been traditionally subdivided into decanates or decans, each of ten degrees. Tropical astrology copied this practice from ancient sidereal astrology, which accorded rulership of one third of each constellation to the most prominent star in it. There are two principal conventions:

1. The most common in use today involves the attribution of a secondary sign influence from the same sign triplicity (or element) to each decanate of each sign.

By this system, the first decanate is considered the pure or physical form of the sign; and planets posited therein should be interpreted with reference to their aspects to Mars in the nativity.

The second decanate takes a secondary influence from the next sign of the same element after it in the zodiac, and is considered the mental form of the sign, any planet posited therein being interpreted with reference to its aspect to Mercury in the figure.

The third decanate takes a secondary influence from the previous sign of the same element, and is considered the spiritual form of the sign, any planet posited therein being interpreted with reference to its aspects to Jupiter and Saturn in the figure, pinpointing how the spiritual will manifest (Jupiter) and where it will be tested (Saturn).

Thus, the decanates takes on this pattern of colorations:

Decan:  First
Aries Aries-Aries Aries-Leo Aries-Sagitt.
Taurus Taurus-Taurus Taurus-Virgo Taurus-Capricorn
Gemini Gemini-Gemini Gemini-Libra Gemini-Aquarius
Cancer Cancer-Cancer Cancer-Scorpio Cancer-Pisces
Leo Leo-Leo Leo-Sagittarius Leo-Aries
Virgo Virgo-Virgo Virgo-Capricorn Virgo-Taurus
Libra Libra-Libra Libra-Aquarius Libra-Gemini
Scorpio Scorpio-Scorpio Scorpio-Pisces Scorpio-Cancer
Sagittarius Sagittarius-Sagitt. Sagittarius-Aries Sagittarius-Leo
Capricorn Capricorn-Capricorn Capricorn-Taurus Capricorn-Virgo
Aquarius Aquarius-Aquarius Aquarius-Gemini Aquarius-Libra
Pisces Pisces-Pisces Pisces-Cancer Pisces-Scorpio


2. The second convention bases the influence on the rulership of each ten-degree Chaldean face by a particular planet in a set sequence (as explained in the first page of the Rulership and Dignities article, q.v.), producing the following associations:

Face:  First
Aries Mars Sun Venus
Taurus Mercury Moon Saturn
Gemini Jupiter Mars Sun
Cancer Venus Mercury Moon
Leo Saturn Jupiter Mars
Virgo Sun Venus Mercury
Libra Moon Saturn Jupiter
Scorpio Mars Sun Venus
Sagittarius Mercury Moon Saturn
Capricorn Jupiter Mars Sun
Aquarius Venus Mercury Moon
Pisces Saturn Jupiter Mars


Dwa-da-Shamsas (Dwads)

A further subdivision of the decanates with their secondary sign influences as expounded in the first table above is into 2½º portions called Dwa-da-Shamsas or Dwads. The tertiary sign influence of the first dwad in each decan is accorded as for the secondary influence of the decan; then each subsequent dwad takes on a tertiary coloration of the following sign in the zodiac. Thus, for example, the complete dwad listing for Aries is as follows:

Dwad Sign Influences
0º-2½º Aries-Aries-Aries
2½º-5º Aries-Aries-Taurus
5º-7½º Aries-Aries-Gemini
7½º-10º Aries-Aries-Cancer
10º-12½º Aries-Leo-Leo
12½º-15º Aries-Leo-Virgo
15º-17½º Aries-Leo-Libra
17½º-20º Aries-Leo-Scorpio
20º-22½º Aries-Sagittarius-Sagittarius
22½º-25º Aries-Sagittarius-Capricorn
25º-27½º Aries-Sagittarius-Aquarius
27½º-30º Aries-Sagittarius-Pisces


According to Bernice Grebner, the decanate influence shows the purpose of the sign placement for the individual, while the dwad influence shows the conditions influencing the individual, or the means of dealing with problems presented by the placement.


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