What Is a Decanate?

Each astrological sign is divided into three parts, and each part is called a decanate or a decan (the terms are used interchangeably). The word comes from the Greek word dekanoi, meaning "ten days apart." The Greeks took their word from the Egyptians, who divided their year into 360* days. The Egyptian year had twelve months of 30 days each, and each month was further divided into three sections often days each. It was these ten-day sections the Greeks called dekanoi. Astrology still divides the zodiac into decanates. There are twelve signs in the zodiac, and each sign is divided into three decanates. You might picture each decanate as a room. You were born in a certain sign, for example Gemini, that consists of three rooms (decanates). Which room of Gemini were you born in? , , The zodiac is a 360-degree circle. Each decanate is ten degrees of that circle, or about ten days long, since the Sun moves through the zodiac at approximately the rate of one degree per day. (This is not exact because not all of our months contain 30 days.) The decanate of a sign does not change the basic characteristics of that sign, but it does refine and individualize the sign's general characteristics. For example, if you were born in the second decanate of Gemini, that does not change the fact that you are a Geminian. It does indicate that you have somewhat different and special characteristics from those Geminians born in the first decanate or the third decanate. Each decanate has a constellation in the heavens that represents it. These constellations have special mystical meanings, which' also add to the unique quality of your decanate. Finally, each decanate has a specific planetary ruler, sometimes called a subruler because it does not usurp the overall rulership of the sign. The subruler can only enhance, or add to, the distinct characteristics of that decanate. For example, the entire sign of Gemini is ruled by Mercury, but the second decanate of Gemini is subruled by Venus. The influence of Venus, the subruler, combines with the overall authority of Mercury to make the second decanate of Gemini unlike any other in the zodiac. In the following guide, I have outlined the subtle differences and special characteristics of your own unique decanate.

The Decanates of Virgo


Keyword: Analysis

Constellation: Crater, the Cup, the goblet of Apollo. The Cup symbolizes emotional giving.

Planetary subruler: Mercury
Mercury, planet of the mind, is both your ruler and subruler, which gives you a formidable intel­lect. You approach problems rationally; you want to find out the reason things happen, and then apply your knowledge to working out a better system. Often your insights are thought of as pro­phetic, but they are the result of keen observation. You have a warm and witty personality that dra ws friends and admirers. However, your standards are high and you expect intelligence and deco­rum in the people you associate with. In love you are romantic and devoted, and have great sensitiv­ity toward a lover. There is much nervous energy churning beneath your surface. You tend to worry secretly and to fuss over small problems.

Keyword: Efficiency

Constellation: Hercules, the strong and virtuous hero who triumphs over evil.

Planetary subruler: Saturn

Saturn, planet of determination, combines with Virgo's Mercury to give special force to your per­sonality. You are concerned with details and want to plot your moves in advance so there won't be any mistakes. Though you are versatile and adap­table, most people think of you as persistent and tenacious. Your fixity of purpose is simply that you demand perfection of yourself and try to give your best performance. In truth you are too exacting and suffer needlessly when you don't live up to your expectations. When you areln love you have a gentle and sympathetic nature, and you do all in your power to please. You are easy to live with as long as no one arouses your strong. stubborn streak. .


Keyword: Discrimination

Constellation: Bootes, the Bear Driver, the an­cient herdsman who every day chased the Great Bear around the North Pole. Bootes symbolizes the utilization of knowledge.

Planetary subruler: Venus

The gregarious and social qualities of Venus combine with Virgo's Mercury to signify a winning way with people. What motivates you is a desire for approval. You have a special talent for using words, and can write and speak charmingly. An artistic flair and use of color is usually present in your surroundings or dress. You possess a sense of style and project a strong personal image. Poise and confidence are assets in your work or career, and you are known for your tact and diplomacy. Since you are unhappy living under restrictions, you are drawn to creative pursuits where you are free to be your own master. In love you are warm­hearted and generous, though you demand a lot of attention in return.