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Zodiac Cube

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Zodiac Cube

The Zodiac Cube is divided into twelve areas of distinct colors. Each edge has a uniform color, while the corners are split into three and the centers into four colors. Each edge shows one of the twelve zodiac signs. In the initial state the signs are arranged in a way, that the cardinal signs Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn are located around the face axis r-l, the fixed signs Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius around the face axis u-d and the mutable signs Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces around the face axis f-b.

The layout of the Zodiac Cube was created in 2017 by Fabien Fellay and Walter Randelshofer. It is based on the Twelve Color Cube and enhanced with zodiac signs. The Twelve Color Cube was originally published by Douglas R. Hofstadter in the Scientific American issue of March 1981.

Zodiac Signs

Sign Element Gender Cardinal Fixed Mutable
♈ Aries Fire Masculine    
♉ Taurus Earth Feminine    
♊ Gemini Air Masculine    
♋ Cancer Water Feminine    
♌ Leo Fire Masculine    
♍ Virgo Earth Feminine    
♎ Libra Air Masculine    
♏ Scorpio Water Feminine    
♐ Sagittarius Fire Masculine    
♑ Capricorn Earth Feminine    
♒ Aquarius Air Masculine    
♓ Pisces Water Feminine    

The Four Elements

According to the ancient wisdom of alchemy, the four elements Fire, Water, Air and Earth form the basis of all life:

Fire, representing action and creativity, fuels the signs of Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius.

Water, symbolizing emotions, underlies the signs of Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces.

Air, corresponding to intellect, is the dominating force for Libra, Aquarius, and Gemini.

Earth, which stands for substance and practicality, is the hallmark of Capricorn, Taurus, and Virgo.

Feminine and Masculine Signs

The four elements can be grouped into two folders: feminine (Water and Earth) and masculine (Fire and Air), which mirrors the two major human archetypes, feminine (nurturing and practical) and masculine (active and communicative).

The Three Modalities

Each of the four elements can be expressed in three different styles. These varied modes of expression are called the three modalities. Astrology follows the four seasons, which correspond to the four elements, and each of these three-month-long seasons is comprised of a beginning, middle, and end. In astrology this means the groups of cardinal (creation), fixed (preservation) and mutable (adjustment) signs, each being a group of four signs:

Cardinal Signs: Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn

These signs start every season – Aries kicks off spring, Cancer starts summer, Libra begins fall and Capricorn is the first winter sign. Thus, they are the leaders and «idea people» of the zodiac. These signs prize originality and like to be first in everything they do. They're the trendsetters and trendspotters, the ones who get the party started and the crowd hyped. Count on them to initiate a winning idea or plan.

Aries tends to express it's cardinality through the world of firsthand experience and pioneering activity.

Cancer seems to be motivated by activities that satisfy their moods and emotional needs.

Libra tends to be motivated by the need for inspiring communication between both individuals and groups.

Capricorn tends to express itself through achieving material rewards and be motivated by results.

Fixed Signs: Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius

These signs fall in the middle of every season. They're the stabilizers – the ones who set up a solid goal or foundation, then start building. Fixed signs can take the enthusiastic ideas that cardinal signs spark, and craft them into something real. They pick up the ball when the cardinal sign passes it, and run the distance to the goal. Fixed signs are the trustworthy types who like «to-do» lists and fancy titles. If a cardinal signs says, «Let's go on vacation!» the fixed sign will call the travel agency, book the tickets and hotel, and send everyone a list of what to pack.

Taurus seems to have a need to hold on to it's resources and material possessions.

Leo tends towards having a very strong style of self-expression and fixed image of themselves.

Scorpio usually has very strong, fixed feelings about people and ideas.

Aquarius can be unusually fixed in their opinions about anyone or anything.

Mutable Signs: Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, Pisces

These signs end every season – and have learned the hard lessons taught by spring, summer, fall and winter. They know that all good things come to an end, and their role is to prepare everyone for the changing of seasons. Mutable signs are the adapters of the zodiac, a little bit older and wiser. More flexible and comfortable with change than other signs, they can «chameleon» themselves to fit into a variety of situations. Mutables are also the editors of the zodiac – the ones who complete the package with a winning touch. A plan can be sparked by a cardinal sign, built by a fixed sign, then perfected with the critical eye of a mutable sign.

Gemini tends to display it's versatility and adaptability through a constant change of mind and ideas.

Virgo may spend it's mutable energy on finding the 'right' occupation or service that allows the use of it's many talents.

Sagittarius tends to seek adventures in life that will satisfy it's philosophical or religious questionings.

Pisces seems to constantly change in trying to adapt to it's own changing feelings and the moods of others.


Douglas R. Hofstadter, «METAMAGICAL THEMAS: The Magic Cube's cubies are twiddled by cubists and solved by cubemeisters», Scientific American, vol. 244. #3, March 1, 1981, pp. 20-39.

Douglas R. Hofstadter, «MATHEMATISCHE SPIELEREIEN: Vom Zauber des Zauberwürfels», Spektrum der Wissenschaft, Heidelberg, May 1981, pp. 16-29, (German edition of the Scientific American, March 1981).

© Walter Randelshofer. All rights reserved.