A barren sign is supposedly unfruitful or infertile for planting and childbearing.
Astrology has an ancient association with farming and gardening. The moon is the operative planet. Although dates when the moon is in the water signs and some of the earth signs are considered most fruitful for planting, the barren signs are all valuable for tasks that destroy something (like pests,) harvesting, or routine farm chores.
- Aries: a barren sign, but would be good for "destructive" tasks like weeding and plowing the soil
- Taurus: generally a Fruitful Sign, as the sign of Venus and the exaltation of the Moon
- Gemini: barren, but would also be good for destroying weeds
- Cancer is the most fruitful Sign, as a water sign ruled by the Moon, and the exaltation of Jupiter
- Leo: barren, as the sign of the Sun, it is considered too dry
- Virgo is a barren sign. As Lilly put it: "for Mayds of themselves produce no Births." Virgo is also a good sign for weeding and planting flowering (non-fruit producing) vines
- Libra: moderately fertile, as the domicile of Venus and exaltation of Saturn. Libra is good for planting flowers and vines
- Scorpio: as a water sign, it is fruitful
- Sagittarius: termed a fruitful sign by Lilly, because ruled by Jupiter. As it is a fire sign, moon-sign gardeners today consider it to be at best semi-barren. It is useful for planting members of the onion and garlic family, however
- Capricorn: A semi-barren sign. Crops planted when the moon is in Capricorn may not be very productive, but will be hardy and drought-resistant
- Aquarius: Lilly considered it to be semi-barren but moon-sign gardening manuals today refer to this sign as barren
- Pisces: Very fruitful, as a water sign and the traditional domicile of Jupiter
Gemini, Leo, and Virgo are the truly barren signs used in traditional astrology when forecasting a woman’s fertility. Supposedly one of these signs on the cusp of her first house or fifth house of children; or the lord of the 5th house in a barren sign, caused sterility or limited her number of children. However, they are not accurate simple indicators of infertility, as many women with these placements have children. Today, in modern developed nations with low birth rates and new infertility medical treatments, the barren signs probably would not reliably indicate family size.
- Lilly, William, 1647. Christian Astrology, chapter 118
- Louise Riotte, 1975. Planetary Planting, Simon & Schuster
- The Old Farmer's Almanac (many editions), Yankee Publishing Inc.
Notes and References
- Medieval illustration
- A set of constellation cards published in London c. 1825