SIGN RAY ELEMENT QUALITY
Aries 1st Ray Fire Cardinal
Taurus 2nd Ray Earth Fixed
Gemini 3rd Ray Air Mutable
Cancer 4th Ray Water Cardinal
Leo 1st Ray Fire Fixed
Virgo 2nd Ray Earth Mutable
Libra 5th Ray Air Cardinal
Scorpio 6th Ray Water Fixed
Sagittarius 3rd Ray Fire Mutable
Capricorn 7th Ray Earth Cardinal
Aquarius 5th Ray Air Fixed
Pisces 6th Ray Water Mutable
The Mental Plane, through which we commonly experience awareness, is shown by the conventional zodiac, therefore we can say the astrological zodiac signs exist on the Mental Plane.
This Plane can be separated into four states of consciousness which are the lower four sub-planes of the Mental Plane corresponding to the four elements allotted to zodiac signs. The Fire signs correspond to the 4th sub-plane of etheric and energy; the Air signs to the 5th sub-plane of thought; the Water signs to the 6th sub-plane of the emotions; and the Earth signs to the 7th sub-plane of the physical. In this way they relate to the Sun signs of normal astrology, rather than the Rays.
However, the zodiac signs also correspond to Rays, but these act from the NEXT PLANE UP, the actual Etheric (Buddhic) Plane. On this Plane, the 12 divisions we know as the zodiac signs do not operate through the sub-planes of the Etheric as occurs on the lower Mental Plane because each division equivalent to a zodiac sign is the gateway for one particular type of Ray energy originating with the Seven Rays.
It is at this next level of awareness, above the Mental Plane, that we begin to function as souls with complete awareness of our Ray energy working through our personas, but for most of us such awareness is a goal rather than a reality. In the meantime we can learn more about how the Rays function beyond our awareness as they filter through the planetary configurations which synchronize our angular structure with that of the cosmos surrounding our present reality structure.
These Seven Ray energies of pure consciousness stream down from soul levels outside of our normal ring-pass-not, but begin to influence life on Earth from this intuitive level of potentiality by passing down to the next Plane below, the Mental Plane, to power the element which is associated with each zodiac sign.
For example, the 3rd Ray flows through the Etheric/ buddhic Plane specifically through the two divisions of the zodiac which equate with the signs Gemini and Sagittarius, but when this energy descends into the Mental Plane, it either works through the 5th sub-plane of Gemini manifesting as mental energy (because Gemini is an Air sign) or through the 4th sub-plane of Sagittarius as etheric energy (because Sagittarius is a Fire sign).
Therefore the 3rd Ray of Intelligent Activity functions through Gemini (and its natural position as the 3rd house) as the lower mind, whereas this same Ray functions through Sagittarius (and the 9th house) as the higher mind. And both the 3rd Ray signs, Gemini and Sagittarius, share the Mutable quality of the 3rd Primary Ray of Active Intelligence.
This is the explanation for the allocation of Rays to signs: it is how Ray energy exists in a latent form as Etheric angular potential before it descends into the manifested physical world as conscious energy to determine the events we call "life". This conscious energy, which empowers the angles of our horoscope to make our lives eventful, manifests differently depending on which element set of the zodiac signs it works through - as energy through the fire signs, as thoughts through the air signs, as emotions through the water signs, or as physical actions through the earth signs.
All of these are part of the Mental Plane, and all are equally important divisions of this Plane. For example, the 5th sub-plane of the Mental plane is also the mental sub-plane, while the 6th sub-plane of the Mental Plane is the astral/emotional sub-plane. Each Plane has these divisions, and each Plane has a sub-plane which is peculiar to it, but this does not mean the sub-plane with the same title as the Plane of which it is part, is more important than the other sub-planes making up that Plane, although there will be a marked correspondence in quality.
Seen like this we can appreciate that pure thoughts are virtually impossible on the Mental Plane, which has added to the confusion over the active planes. We are aware "mentally", but our thoughts are considerably influenced by the various sub-planes of the Mental Plane, especially the astral/emotional sub-plane.
Following on from this, every planet is a dynamic angle which operates through the element of the zodiac sign it occupies..Therefore when a planet is positioned in any Fire sign it will work with a combination of the 1st Ray from Aries and Leo and the 3rd Ray from Sagittarius; whereas a planet positioned in any Air sign will work with 5th Ray from Libra and Aquarius and 3rd Ray from Gemini; in a Water sign it will work with 6th Ray from Scorpio and Pisces and 4th Ray from Cancer; and in an Earth sign it will work with 2nd Ray energy from Taurus and Virgo, and 7th Ray energy from Capricorn.
This combination of Rays gives a triplicate quality to each planet's energy of manifestation according to its elemental placing which relates it to the Primary Rays of Will, Consciousness and Form through their association with the Cardinal, Fixed and Mutable attributes given to the signs of each element. At the level of the Mental Plane the three Primary rays can only function through the secondary rays, and this is how it is accomplished.
This is the esoteric truth behind the idea that the relationship between planets and the signs they "rule" is a triple manifestation, which varies in quality between their Monadic (Cardinal sign or1st Primary Ray), Soular (Fixed sign or 2nd Primary Ray) or Persona (Mutable sign or 3rd Primary Ray) positions in relation to the other signs of the same element; and which ultimately determine not only the area of manifestation as thought, emotion etc., but also the quality of consciousness available via a planet's position.
"It might be said that the higher response to the realities and qualities revealed and made possible by the impact of energy from the zodiacal signs, is somewhat dependent upon the waning influence of the planets to hold down the consciousness aspect of the man. Ponder upon this, for it embodies a deep esoteric truth."
(Alice Bailey - Esoteric Astrology)
Practically speaking this will give additional weighting to the usual astrological meaning, plus a clue to balancing a planet's energy by looking to the status of its related signs of the same element with which it will share a common essence. Taken together, the three qualities of each element are the synthesis required before one can work co-creatively with a planet's energy by channeling it through the Ascendant as a tool of the soul Ray working with Divine Intent from the buddhic sphere.