“Hey, baby, what’s your sign?”: what your sun sign tells you (and doesn’t)

Happy Leo season!  Since Leo is the sun’s home sign, this is as good a time as any to talk about the sun in astrology. You already know your sun’s sign: it’s the one you’ve been told is “your sign,” although really you have many astrological signs.

First of all, let’s clarify a few things that you should NOT expect from your sun sign: It doesn’t, by itself, do a very good job of summing up your complexity. Obviously. It doesn’t let you off the hook for working on hard stuff (logic, sharing, honesty, faithfulness, etc.) In most cases, it’s not something most people would be able to guess about you when they first meet you.

Ever notice how people who try to guess your (sun) sign usually guess it wrong?  Like, way wrong?  So you tell them your actual sign, and they’re all like, “oh, yeah . . . I guess I sort of see it . . . ” Here’s the deal: your sun sign describes an inner experience.  It’s your rising sign that speaks to your more-or-less conscious strategies for interacting with the world. So the rising sign is the one other people tune into.

Problem is, rising signs make terrible party banter.  No one knows their rising sign, unless they’ve typed their exact time and place of birth into some software.  And that software didn’t even exist yet in the ‘60s, when people started using astrology to hit on each other. So unless someone had paid a pro to do the painstaking calculations by hand, they wouldn’t know their rising sign, rendering it useless as a pickup line.

Enter the sun sign as our common language for astrology-as-entertainment. All you need to know is your birthday, and you can quickly find out your sun sign, with maybe 99% accuracy. (I do have a Leo ex who thinks he’s a Virgo, because the newspapers say so, but  he was actually born two hours too early for Virgo.)

(Want to find out your rising sign? It’s not hard if you have your birth time. I give instructions here.)

Let’s get back to what I said about your sun sign describing an inner experience. Specifically, your sun sign symbolizes the things that energize you. It’s what you need to be healthy and happy and creative and radiate awesomeness into the world. Not to put too fine a point on it: when you don’t “do your sun sign,” depression typically results.

So think for a minute about the most positive associations you’ve heard for your sun sign. Are you embodying those things?

Think, too, of the negative associations. What’s the underlying desire that would lead someone to do the shitty thing you’re being accused of?  Now, how are you expressing—or repressing—the healthy version of that desire in your own life?

Here are some buzzwords to get you started:

Aries: assertiveness, action, spontaneity.
Taurus: comfort, security, sexytimes.
Gemini: intellectual stimulation, novelty.
Cancer: trust, nesting, nourishment.
Leo: play, self-expression, attention.
Virgo: order, productivity, service.
Libra: logic, likeability, beauty.
Scorpio: trust, honesty, depth.
Sagittarius: adventure, freedom, morality, learning.
Capricorn: achievement, productivity, authority.
Aquarius: rationality, social progress, individual freedom.
Pisces: compassion, vision, spiritual seeking.

(this article first appeared in the August 2014 issue of Bellingham on Tap magazine)

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The astrology of relationship–and why you might get along with Aries better than you think.

You’re not “a Taurus”: what your moon sign can tell you

Hot Tip: Read horoscopes for your Moon and Rising signs.