This Is the Most Intelligent Zodiac Sign, According to an Astrologer

Are you among the smarty-pants of the bunch? Our astrologer explains which is the smartest zodiac sign and which signs excel in other areas.

Amateur astrologers—heck, even professionals like myself—can’t help but turn to the stars to find our place among our peers. Just as we wonder where we rank in the list of the most polite zodiac signs, and what the compatibility of our zociac signs are, we can’t help but be curious whether ours is the smartest Western (as opposed to Vedic or Chinese) zodiac sign of them all.

Of course, there’s more than one meaning of the word smartest. While IQ tests may measure pure intellect, they don’t touch on the myriad types of intelligence and other personality traits that go beyond book smarts. Here’s where astrology and tarot can help. It gives us fascinating insights into what makes someone intelligent in every sense of the word.

As a professional astrologer, I’m looking to the stars for unique viewpoints to not only tell you about the smartest zodiac sign but also to explain the ways in which the various signs show their own brand of brilliance. Let astrology show you how to harness your innate intelligence so you can be smarter in your own way.

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So, what is the smartest zodiac sign?

The Aquarius sun sign wins the prize for the brainiest sign of the bunch. (Learn more about sun and moon signs.)

To understand which zodiac sign is the smartest, it helps to have some background on how the signs interact with the planets. Don’t worry—I’ve got you covered: Aquarius, an air sign, is ruled by Uranus, the planet associated with technology and the future. This sign’s ability to stay one step ahead of the masses is what makes it so brilliant.

As the sign most likely to work in an innovative field, Aquarians are always trying to learn something new and boost their intelligence. They are the inventors of the zodiac and never like to rest on the laurels of their past accomplishments. Case in point: Both Charles Darwin and Thomas Edison were Aquarians.

What is the second-smartest zodiac sign?

You don’t need to tell Gemini about the benefits of reading. The second-smartest zodiac sign knows the perks well. You will often find Geminis with their nose in a book, reading an article or studying whatever their new obsession is.

As far as readers go, Geminis top the list. They devour words and have great memories for stories and sundry trivia. At the same time, they will surprise you with their ability to pick up languages and speak and write in foreign tongues. No one loves to learn the way Gemini does.

Where do the other zodiac signs fall on the intelligence spectrum?

When we think about intelligence, our minds often stray to famous geniuses like Albert Einstein, Marie Curie and Stephen Hawking. But just because you’re not book smart doesn’t mean you’re not smart. Your zodiac sign may lead the pack when it comes to other types of intelligence. And knowing this can help you put your brain power to good use.

The most street-smart zodiac signs

Street smarts and practicality are a special type of savvy that certain signs possess in spades. Sagittarius is the most street-smart sign of the bunch. The archer’s breadth of worldly experience gives it knowledge you can’t learn from a book.

This sign rules the ninth house in the horoscope, which is associated with travel and higher education. Sagittarians pick up esoteric and on-the-ground knowledge during their excursions and research. They possess a wealth of career strengths, excelling in roles like professor and publisher, and flourishing in any career that involves international travel.

The most emotionally intelligent zodiac signs

Being able to navigate the world of people in a variety of circumstances is part of emotional intelligence. Having a high “EQ” involves knowing how to reflect and manage a wide array of feelings.

One of the most polite zodiac signs, Libras (ruled by Venus) deftly navigate all sorts of situations, making them highly emotionally intelligent. Their natural charm and pleasing nature allow them to enter worlds that may be unfamiliar and squeeze their way out of uncomfortable situations. Call it social smarts! They are also experts in knowing how to read body language.

Leos are also good at reading people, and they’re experts at delegating responsibility. They’re great at identifying the skills people possess and making others feel valued. Their natural warmth flows over, and they always find themselves surrounded by people willing to offer assistance, though they may also be prone to impulsive decisions.

Fellow fire signs Aries are equally emotionally intelligent and make for natural leaders. They are masters of taking charge and inspiring people to follow their example (essential leadership qualities). They are always authentic and rarely care about what others think. This is a kind of smart that translates to solutions in all kinds of situations.

Of the three, though, Leo wins the prize for emotional intelligence—they have a way of making people think big.

The most analytical zodiac signs

Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn—the earth signs—tend to be the most analytical and problem-solving signs in the zodiac. They can take problems apart and figure out the solutions with patience, ease, and a strong work ethic. (You want these folks on your team when trying to crack riddles or put together puzzles!) They also have a natural ability to work with their hands, making them adept as builders, engineers and architects. These signs tend to also be perfectionists.

Earth signs (like Taureans) are connected to the earth, of course, and tend to make great gardeners and chefs. But they don’t just stop at what they grow and cook. They love to learn about botany, science and more, surprising people with how deep their knowledge runs.

Of the three, Virgos are the most analytical. Mercury (the planet of communication) is their ruling planet, making them adept at thinking and communication. Their mental acumen mixed with their analytical skills make them highly intelligent in often overlooked ways.

Which signs aren’t as intellectual?

The water signs—Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces—are driven by the heart. They are brilliant at assessing human nature and tend to possess types of intelligence that aren’t always found in school. Indeed, they tend to have more emotional intelligence than traditional book smarts.

But while they may not seem as brainy as the more intellectual zodiac signs (ahem, Aquarius), these water signs have creativity in spades. They will follow their gut instinct and create masterpieces of art, literature and the like in a way that seems almost like channeling.

That said, water signs might (temporarily) call it quits sooner than the other signs. Yet even Pisces, which tends to give up easily when things get tough, buckles down when it comes to creative pursuits.

In the end, there isn’t a single smartest zodiac sign—at least, not if you consider the multitude of ways we can measure intelligence. Instead, we can all play up our own brand of brainy by using astrology to better understand our strengths and leaning into them.

Jill Dearman
Jill writes about astrology and culture for Reader's Digest. She is the author of Queer Astrology for Men and Queer Astrology for Women and has written for dozens of publications over the years. She has been called the O.G. Astrologer, which is a handle she'd like to use in her imaginary life as an old-school rapper. She is also the author of several crime novels including Jazzed; a book on the history of feminism for teens; and a writing guide called Bang the Keys: Four Steps to a Lifelong Writing Practice. She writes regularly about books for CrimeReads and The Brooklyn Rail.