A lot of astrology books are not my favorites because of their, I don’t know, odd sexism, prejudice against certain signs, or useless generalities (among other faults). I really like the Parker’s, though. I have a lot of nostalgia wrapped up in this book because of time spent going over it with friends. It’s been pretty trusty. I’m persuaded it was written by Geminis because, I mean, let’s be real, no one is this rah-rah about Geminis. Sorry, Geminis. You are my friends, but I’ve seen the kind of stunts you pull. But the favoritism to Geminis is only a funny thing, and not a fault. Sometimes, I am totally out of the mood for astrology, but tonight I finished a long day of studying for the bar exam, and I’m feeling like some hokum. I’m going to give you your own personal (not-so-)brief guide to astrology according to me.
I don’t really go in for the future-telling part of astrology, though I do like this horoscope a ton: http://www.freewillastrology.com/horoscopes/. So, what I’m going to talk about is the personality analysis side of astrology. I like the personality part of astrology because I don’t understand people at all. So, if I can imagine someone’s motivation, it is not so disorienting and such a betrayal when they act the opposite of how I would. And people don’t usually explain their own motivation as clearly as an astrology book does.
So, let’s talk about personalities! For a lot of my friends on here, I’ve already done your natal charts, but if you want to calculate your own natal chart, you can go to http://alabe.com/freechart/, and it will let you do your chart for free. You have to know the date, time, and place you were born, or it won’t be entirely accurate. The natal chart tells you where all of the planets were when you were born and what constellation was behind them. I do not care for the analysis that website does, though. I find it more useful to look up the chart and then go to the Parker’s
for the analysis. So, for example, I’ll tell you my chart:
I’m not going to go over the planets that are farther out because they are more generational – they don’t rotate as quickly, so large groups of people have them in common. They are important because of the interaction between the planets, the “aspects,” but I’m not going to go into those either because you can just check in this book if you get that cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs. I’m also not going to go into the houses because this is freaking long enough.
So, when I was born, most of my planets were lined up with Aries behind them. The moon was in front of the constellation Virgo, and Taurus was on the horizon. Now, if you look at what I say about those signs, you know me! Yay! I am an open book. Except for my seeeecrets. Now I’ll tell you what the different placements represent, and later I’ll tell you about the signs. You can correct me if your understanding is different.
Sun: This represents your overall personality. It is the filter through which all of your other characteristics are sifted. If the daily horoscope says you “are” an Aries or Virgo or Pisces, or whatever, that means the sun was in front of that constellation when you were born.
Moon: This represents your first instinct. It is the instinctual, emotional reaction you have in any given situation.
Rising (also called the “Ascendant”): This is the base of your personality. It is what is underneath everything that you do. They say that it is the part of your personality that a good friend or family member would know, but an acquaintance would never guess.
Mars: The way you deal with conflict.
Venus: The way you deal with relationships (romantic and otherwise).
Mercury: The way you think and communicate.
So, those are the main parts of the personality (the “personal planets”). Now I’m going to go through the signs and talk about their characteristics. They are all categorized into one of four elements: fire, earth, air, water. Captain Planet knows all about this business. Fire and water signs are both based in emotion. Fire signs are passionate emotion; water signs are subtle, interpersonal emotion. Earth signs are practicality and steadiness. Air signs are intellect. The signs all get older through the zodiac, so Aries is the youngest and Pisces is the oldest.
So, what you do is you go back up to the link at the beginning of the review, then you find your chart. Then, you look at what the planet represents above. Then, you read about the personality characteristics that are in your chart below based on the results of your chart.
You can post your chart below if you want, and we can talk about it. These are the signs:
Aries. Aries is a fire sign and the baby of the zodiac. So, Aries is based in passionate emotion (fire). The symbol of Aries is the ram. Aries are stubborn in the traditional sense. We think it is hilarious to dig our heels in until we see a good reason to move. We also, like a ram, frequently bang our heads against walls both literally and figuratively. We fear abandonment. Aries seek out independence, but we want to trust that when we look up from learning to crawl, someone will be there to clap for us.
I think the goal of Aries is self-actualization, self-discovery (I just looked it up and, as I thought, Maslow was an Aries). This can play out in a couple of different ways, though. You have your arrogant, selfish Aries and your fun, genuine Aries. As a rule we do not take ourselves seriously. When an Aries takes himself seriously, and it typically happens on a matter of pride, no good can come of it. It is not that we’re so much selfish, though some of us truly are, it is more that we are egocentric – like a baby – and it is our job to discover ourselves, like it is a baby’s job to do. Mostly, though, we are just fun.
Taurus. Taurus is an earth sign, and kind of like a toddler (you get the idea with the aging through the zodiac). The symbol of Taurus is the bull (again big on the stubbornness). Taureans are practical and trustworthy (earth). Taurus is not jealous, but they are possessive. They are very proud of their toys, and most things are like toys to them. Taureans usually have the best stuff – whether it’s the most expensive, or not, they will often tell you why it is the best, and usually they’re right. Often this plays out with friends and family that a Taurus will be mad that her toys aren’t playing like she wants them to do – not exactly jealousy, but similar. Some Taureans are hoarders of either things or people.
I think the goal of Taurus is comfort. There tend to be two types of Taureans in my experience (a sign’s qualities usually play out in one of two ways, I think). A Taurus is usually either shallow and kind of manipulative (those toys should play right!), or she is the jolliest, cuddliest teddy bear. A good Taurus friend can be like a warm fire on a winter day. Good food, good wine, good company.
Gemini. Gemini is an air sign, & c with the aging. The symbol of Gemini is the twins. Geminis are notorious for being two faced. They are like the little kid who realized he could lie, cheat, and steal, but is kind of crappy at getting away with it. Hand in the cookie jar. Geminis are always chasing after an illusive ideal, and once they’ve caught it, rushing after an opposing ideal. Geminis are far from jealous or possessive, and they tend, instead, to be so focused on free thinking and illusive goals that they are more likely to be attracted to open relationships.
I think the goal of Geminis is maybe social acceptance. I’m not totally positive about this. But society is competing ideals and conflicting moralities and illusive trophies that are the type of thing that Geminis chase. Since Gemini is an air sign, it is based in intellect, and Geminis tend to be witty and fun and ready for an intellectual challenge. In some ways, I think all of life is like a big Sudoku game to them, though as with all of the signs, there are the kindest, best, most fun people who are Geminis, and then those that would as soon stab you in the back as look at you. Social acceptance requires loyalty, and sometimes it requires betrayal.
Cancer. Cancer is a water sign, and I think they are the cool late teens of the zodiac. The symbol of Cancer is a crab because Cancers are tough on the outside and soft on the inside. Cancers are shy, and often that and the tough-outer-shell thing come off as mysteriousness. And in some ways, I think, Cancers probably just are mysterious, even if they do not think so themselves. Once you are a friend with a Cancer, she never lets go of the friendship.
I think the goal of Cancer is security. This is similar to the Taurus goal of comfort, but the Taurus comfort is a security blanket compared to the Cancer’s innate career calling or her white picket fence somewhere that’s green. I’ve read that Cancers are either driven by a deep call to a profession or a deep loyalty to family and desire for family. The Cancers I’ve known have all had either a complete sureness of their professional abilities or loyalty to their family (or both). I like that about them a lot. Some of the absolute funniest people I’ve ever met have been Cancers. Maybe most of them. When they think nobody’s watching, they can crack a serious joke.
Leo. Leo is a fire sign, and the smug and satisfied 20-something. The symbol of Leo is the lion. Personal appearance is very important to Leos, like the lion lounging in the sun. You would think that Leos would be fashionable because of their concern with personal appearance, and that is not always, or even usually, the case. Usually, they do somehow identify their physical appearance with their personality (like my Leo friend who will try on five different crappy baseball caps before he goes out of the house because he’s not sure which beer company or college football team he wants to endorse that day). More than that, though, they enjoy compliments. I mean, who doesn’t enjoy some sort of recognition? But, it seems to me like with Leos, they take compliments to be a serious reflection on their identity.
I think the goal of Leo is fame. I am tempted to use the words “reputation” or “notoriety,” but I think “fame” is better at expressing the idea. Except, “fame” makes you think of Paris Hilton, which is not really what I mean. I mean more like, after you talk to a Leo, you will go home that night and tell your family how you reversed your opinions on politics or religion or the proper cleaning of dishes, or a Leo taught you how to build a house or fix a car or bake perfect cookies. And on that day, a Leo will have fulfilled his mission. They are usually super organized, even if they don’t look it, and when they say they can show you how to do something, they usually can – even if they have never done it before.
Virgo. Virgo is an earth sign and, you know, middle-aged. The symbol of Virgo is the virgin. Virgos are philosophical and logical, and almost everyone whose charts I’ve done in law school have had a bunch of Virgo. Virgos are critical, but they are critical in this particular way. Mostly, usually, they would never mean to be judgmental or even critical, but they see the world as all of the various parts that make a whole, the ingredients to the cake. Virgos are shy, so it is not that they would ever be jealous friends, but they will assume you don’t want to hang out with them if the ingredients of how you act seem like a recipe for not wanting to be around them.
I think the goal of Virgo is integrity. Virgos break everything down into their simplest elements and look at it all on equal terms – what is weak, strong, delicate, beautiful, ugly, sharp, soft. They look at what lasts and what blows away. A Virgo is never going to make a choice based only on some kind of fancy, but she will weigh the solidness of all of her options and go with what she can trust. And she’s honest about all of it.
Libra. Libra is an air sign and ready to give up the party life to woo and be wooed. The symbol of Libra is the justice scales. Almost everybody in my group in Peace Corps was a Libra. Libras are romantic, but like with the Leo personal-appearance deal, the word “romantic” usually feels kind of wrong for Libras. Libras are about authentic, real, human-type romance, not trashy boxes of chocolate and creepy songs on the radio. They care a lot about aesthetically beautiful surroundings and fairy-tale endings (whatever that happens to mean to them). A Libra cares about falling in love, but in that sense that someday when he falls in love, things will fall into place.
I think the goal of Libra is peace. They say that Libras are the mellowest people you’ll meet, but they will easily stand up for themselves. I have always seen the mellow, but maybe I just haven’t seen a Libra in a position where he needed to really take someone down. Libras in general just bring peace and balance. They don’t appease, they just help you see the other point of view.
Scorpio. Scorpio is a water sign, and again with the aging. The symbol of Scorpio is the scorpion. People are always afraid of Scorpios because if you cross them (even accidentally) and they sting you, you die. An old boss of mine, a Scorpio, says, “This office has a looooong memory,” and he says it in this menacing way, where you know he’s not kidding. I actually have had a lot of really good friends who are Scorpios, and they have this magnetism and intensity that pulls you to them, but if they ever think you’ve betrayed them, they kill you. This is an interesting thing to me with the jealousy idea, too. Scorpios, I think, are traditionally jealous, like you would think of jealousy in a movie. They are all about sex, and so jealousy with Scorpios is an interpersonal sort of sexual thing.
I have read, and I really think this is true, that the goal of Scorpios is destruction and rebuilding. Scorpios get this fire in their eyes when everything falls apart and they get to reconstruct it as it should be done. They are at their best when a lot of people are at their lowest. This can be a tense thing in relationships because if you’ve ever been in a fight with a Scorpio who actually knows any of your secrets or vulnerabilities, you know it feels like a Scorpio is purposely tearing you limb from limb. Then, later, if the Scorpio wants to put you back together again, it might not always feel so helpful. But, Scorpios are passionate and can do anything they want to do. Ever.
Sagittarius. Sagittarius is a fire sign and the fulfillment of middle age. I will probably change this when I am old enough to understand the subtleties of people who are older than me. I don’t mean that snotty; I just mean it humbly. The symbol of Sagittarius is the archer because Sagittarius shoots his arrow right to the truth. They care about honesty and philosophy and winning. Seriously, play a game with a Sagittarius, and you will regret it if you win. Sagittarians tend to appreciate brutal honesty in relationships, I think.
I think the goal of Sagittarius is truth. I’m not totally sure how that fits into my own interactions with Sagittarians, so I’m just going to leave it at that. It’s my impression that is their goal. In my own experience, they are really responsible roommates and very conscientious about not breaking dates and very concerned with being reliable. At the same time, I have seen Sagittarians cheat on people and get life-alteringly angry at friends over work habits and generally kind of act like an HBO drama. I think it’s all part of the idea that honesty is brutal, but sometimes it comes off a little more MTV Spring Break
than The Wire
Capricorn. Capricorn is an earth sign and a climb up the hill to a midlife crisis. The symbol of Capricorn is the goat. I don’t know what the goat has to do with anything, but there you have it. Capricorns are concerned about social status and attuned to popularity. They are usually really funny in a cynical, sometimes assholey way, and a lot of times I have mistaken them for Aries. But, then, later, they’ll make fun of you for a social faux pas and you’ll realize that they’re definitely not an Aries (Tennessee Williams makes this point, too, in Streetcar
). Capricorns are immensely practical, and sometimes that can be fun, and other times it is mean – but anybody can be mean, right?
I think the goal of Capricorn is success. But, at the same time Capricorns are always deeply convinced they will fail at everything. It is funny because usually a Capricorn will spend a long time telling you why his job is perfect or his family is perfect, but then if you actually ask, he will quickly admit he is a failure. I guess it is kind of sad, but more sad clown than sweet sad. I never really feel that bad for Capricorns because what most people would consider success still haunts them as failure.
Aquarius. Aquarius is an air sign and a sort of fallout of a mid-life-crisis. Haha. That’s for my brother. Aquarius burn, awww yeah. The symbol of Aquarius is the water bearer. Aquarians invent things that the rest of us live on. The rough thing with Aquarians is that you can’t really count on them. I don’t mean that as literally as it sounds, but at the same time, I do. An Aquarius is generally going to care about having space for creativity over people, and then the Aquarius will be hurt because he loses people to creativity. An Aquarian can’t give up creativity and invention, but also, sometimes, wants to invent a family and friends, and a spectacular life, and the rest of us are a little too mundane to fulfill the dream.
I think the goal of Aquarius is innovation. They crave the outdoors and fresh air and originality. Again, though, if you just say “originality,” it sounds like something constructed and fake. With Aquarius, it isn’t fake, it is just truly original. They are the genuinely weird signs of the natal chart. For example, sometimes I’ll hear a Virgo say something like, “Oh, I put yogurt in my cereal this morning. I’m so weird!” And I always think, “????” But, Aquarius is genuinely weird. Like, Einstein and the laws of momentum weird or Virginia Woolf telling you about English literature through a hermaphroditic love letter weird. Beautiful, human weird.
Pisces. Pisces is a water sign and the oldest of the signs. The symbol of Pisces is the fish because you can’t hold onto a Pisces. They are intractable. I always think of Pisces as the Spock of the zodiac. They are the closest in the zodiac to the divine, so they often express scorn or shame about regular human emotions or reactions. They have deep human emotions, but they are convinced for whatever reason that these human emotions are weak, so they crush them with intelligence and logic, or they just get silent and brooding. This all creates a compassionate impression – in the sort of Biblical compassion sense.
I think the goal of Pisces is wisdom. This means very different things with different Pisces – as all the goals of all the signs mean something different to someone different. Pisces remind me of this line from the movie Philadelphia Story
, when Cary Grant tells Katherine Hepburn that she will never be anything but a goddess until she learns to have some regard for human frailty. Pisces do appear to value grand tragedy sometimes, though. They appear to be ashamed of humanity and expectantly awaiting something supernatural.