A handy memory aid for the signs of the zodiac are the Elements. Each sign comes under the influence of an Element - Earth, Fire, Water or Air. So if you can remember that Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn are earth signs you will immediately remember that the essence of all three signs is that they are solid, dependable and incredibly boring.
In the same way Aries, Leo and Sagittarius are fire signs (assertive, energetic and pushy): Gemini, Libra and Aquarius are air signs (communicative, lively and a pain) and Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces are water signs (emotional, intuitive and a bit peculiar).
When you think about it they all fit fairly logically with their Element, except for Aquarius which most people want to put in the water signs. Just remember that what looks like water coming from the jar in the symbol is really a flow of words and ideas, and it fits nicely into the air group. Mention this every time Aquarius is discussed and point out that it is the same symbolism as the card the Stars' in the Tarot. That always impresses.
It is useful to have a few 'facts that not many people know' about some of the signs. Don't dwell on the one about Gemini and Pisces having split personalities: the two sides of a Geminian personality get on with each other (the twins hold hands) while the Piscean's two characters clash (the fish swim against each other). Everyone knows this and they end up finishing your sentences for you, looking smug.
Instead use the same techniques to find obscure details in the symbolism and make up some unlikely meanings from them. For example, if someone brings up the one about Pisces you say "No. The real symbolism is that the fish come from the sea, the symbol of intuition and the unconscious, so although the fish seem to be swimming away from each other they are communicating telepathically - showing the sensitivity of the Piscean nature." It's nonsense, but no-one will be able to finish your sentence for you.
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