Signs of the Zodiac

Learn the signs of the zodiac, in order

Learn the signs of the zodiac, in order, finally.

It’s one thing to be able to come up with the names of the twelve signs of the zodiac, quite another to know them in order.

I came across a very clever memory technique (a mnemonic) that helps you do just that, although it doesn’t seem to make much sense. The thing is, that’s part of the reason it works – it’s so strange it tends to stick in your mind. It links all the astrology signs in a silly sort of rhyme.

Of course, once you have them in order, it’s not too difficult to memorise the dates of each of the signs of the zodiac, but for now let’s just get the order memorised.

Here’s the mnemonic:

The ramble twins crab liverish
Scaly scorpions are good water fish

and here’s the ‘key’:

ram-ble …..(ram, and bull)…ARIES, TAURUS
twins ………………………………..GEMINI 
crab ………………………………….CANCER
liverish ……….(L and V)………LEOVIRGO
scaly ……(scales of justice) ..LIBRA
scorpions …………………………SCORPIO
are ……………..(archer)………..SAGITTARIUS
good …………….(Goat)…………CAPRICORN
water ……………………………….AQUARIUS
fish …………………………………..PISCES

(This mnemonic takes a bit of thinking about, but it does work. For a while you’ll be mentally translating the words into the individual signs of the zodiac, but pretty soon you’ll have memorised the list. Just work on memorizing the mnemonic first, then gradually work on the meaning later.)

A few more mnemonics – first, a couple of old favourites

Screws and lightbulbs
left loosely, right tightly

Turning the clocks back
spring forward, fall back

How many days in the month?

Are you tired of trying to work out how many days are in a particular month? It can be time consuming and repetitive, and there has to be a way to know the answer right away.

First, there’s the old, traditional mnemonic:

Thirty days hath September,
April, June, and November;
All the rest have thirty-one
Excepting February alone:
Which has twenty-eight days clear,
And twenty-nine in a leap year.

Alternate ending:
Which has twenty-eight, that’s fine,
Till leap year gives it twenty-nine.

Month knuckles

using your knuckles to remember months

Count the months on your knuckles (it’s a handy method!)

Another method: count the months on your knuckles, with your hands held in front of you, as shown. The ones on the knuckles have 31 days, the others (the ones between the knuckles) have 30. The exception, of course, is February (28, or 29 in a leap year, but you don’t need a mnemonic to tell you that).

Another way … maybe the best

Seems to me we’re probably making too much of a big deal of this. There must be an easier way.

Just list the four that have 30 days (Yes, there are only four! Look at the image above), and memorise them. The rest fall into place. They all have 31 (though February is still the odd one out).

April, June, September, November

You could make up a mnemonic to link them, like:

April showers in September,
June brides in November.

That’s not bad actually – I just made that one up! Must’ve taken me all of two minutes. Please note, it doesn’t actually make any sense, which, as is usual with mnemonics, is a good thing. Oh, and it makes use of already well known phrases, April showers and June brides, which themselves are mnemonics, of sorts.

It manages to combine the names of the four months into a silly little thing you can easily commit to memory. I’ve just looked again at this and I can confidently say that if you use this method, you’ll know how many days are in a particular month within about a second.

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