Astrology is something that has always interested me. Having studied it since childhood, I find it a fascinating way to get in touch with ourselves and those that are in our lives. Of course, the Sun signs – defined by the zodiacal sign that was occupied by the Sun at the time we were born – won’t tell the whole story as far as our intricate personalities are concerned, but they certainly can offer some invaluable insight to the inner workings of these complex, celestial bodies and minds that we call home.
First and foremost, astrology is truly about you. It’s as much about concrete biological humanity as it is about the spirit. It’s about both the eccentricities and generalities found within something as complicated and intricate as human nature. It can be described as the bridge leading you to your deeper self; yet it still holds the promise that you can, within limits, direct your own fate and in the process, reach a richer understanding of the self and those around you.
My infatuation with astrology began when my mother bought me a pop-astrology book when I was young — it was just a watered-down, beginner-friendly Sun sign handbook that was geared towards tweens and young adults — I’ll never forget flipping through it together and reading off all the traits of my friends and family members while giggling at the accuracy, my mind sparkling with a brand new sense of wonder. How could something so broad connect so many people that are so different? That book would quickly escalate to being a guide — helping me to better understanding my teenage crushes, how to better relate to new friends, or how to help me understand someone I just couldn’t seem to get along with. From that point on, I was hooked. I quickly accepted hand-me-down books from my mom (the Linda Goodman books were passed down to her from her mother, and now they sit atop my bookshelf — no matter how tattered they are, I can never seem to replace them) and learned as much as I could on my own. To this day, my studies are ever-growing. One thing I love about the science of the stars is its constant newness — there is always something new to uncover.
Of course, to really get the most from astrology, one is advised to study a full birth chart based on the exact time, place, and date of your birth. It’s best to get this determined by a trained professional, but nowadays with online sites like astro.cafeastrology.com , it’s somewhat easy to read about it for yourself. Of course, proper study will only enhance your aptitude to reading charts and drawing meaning, but as with most things, receiving guidance from an actual pro is always preferred. A birth chart can be pictured in the mind as a photograph of the exact moment in time that you were born. You could also think of it this way: there are 12 signs of the zodiac, each one taking up 30° in your chart, making a complete 360° circle (12 signs x 30° = 360°) However, I’m a visual person, so I like to think of it like a personal snapshot — your own cosmic Kodak moment. Nevertheless, your chart shows the positions of the planets, aspects formed between planets and luminaries, as well as the Sun and Moon, and how they interact with each other – a fascinating dynamic which can usually be quite revealing. The Sun however is usually the star of the show, possibly because it’s the only literal star in the whole chart — and it’s often the first place one would begin in their studies in astrology.
To quote the aforementioned Linda Goodman (author, astrologer, Aries, and poet): “the Sun is the most powerful of all the stellar bodies. It colors the personality so strongly that an amazingly accurate picture can be given of the individual who was born when it was exercising its power through the known and predictable influences of a certain astrological sign. An individual’s Sun sign will be approximately 80 percent accurate, sometimes up to 90 percent… but if you know a person’s Sun sign, you’re substantially better informed than those who know nothing about them at all. True, Sun signs can be misleading if they’re used with the wrong attitude. But in the absence of a natal chart, they’re far ahead of any other known quick, reliable method of analyzing people and learning to understand human nature.”
Ultimately, your Sun sign represents your personal identity. Think of it as a bright ray of light illuminating your entire chart — it can light up or cast shadows on various planets or aspects, but undeniably, it’s always there. The Sun is your potent, solar life influence, signifying the very essence of your self, your will, your individuality, your vitality and will power. More than any other planet or point in astrology, the Sun represents who you are. It also symbolizes yang energy, or masculine energy in general. From our earthly viewpoint, the Sun travels around the earth once each year. During that time, the Sun moves through all 12 signs of the zodiac, spending around one month in each sign. The Sun in your birth chart paints the very first brushstrokes that make up the Portrait of You.
So often, I hear people say, “Astrology is FAKE! I’m a Capricorn, but whenever I read about my sign, it’s nothing like me, and whenever I read my horoscope, it’s nothing like what I’m going through.” Remember, the Sun is just the beginning of your portrait. You are composed of several identities, astrologically or otherwise. You also have a moon sign and several other planets and aspects that make up this grand and complex portrait. Always use your common sense when you read your daily or weekly horoscope and realize it’s merely a prediction for each Sun sign alone, not you personally, what with your beautifully unique personality. They might be accurate more than they’re off, but they’re far from infallible. I find that studying current transits and placements of the planets is really the best horoscope, because it applies to everyone instead of just using the blanket-effect for Sun signs.
To avoid making the mistake of skimming the surface in astrology, it’s crucial to note that not all Leos will be extravagant extroverts, and not all Virgos are virgins, not all Aries are outwardly domineering. Because a natal chart is so complex and so unique to each individual, it can sometimes be difficult for people to resonate with their Sun sign immediately, and that can turn them off to astrology as a whole — say you meet a more subdued Leo who happens to have several planets in say, Pisces — the energy from Pisces could water down this fiery sign, therefore making the Sun sign more difficult to identify at a glance. Always be careful when only considering Sun signs alone — their expressions and stereotypical personas can easily fall out of their archetypes very quickly. But make no mistake, there are bound to be at least a few undeniable Sun sign traits in everyone that may manifest in their own unique ways, and getting to know the traits of each sign can most certainly help you.
Some people may demonstrate their Sun sign quite easily, not even giving you a chance to reason to second-guess, and for other people it may be more difficult to uncover. I’ve encountered people where I instantly can feel their sign intuitively, or at least their element, and I’ve also met people that really caught me off guard at first. A fun way to practice honing in your astrological wit is by studying people in the media: politicians, performers, famous people, even fictional characters. Try to guess their Sun sign or at least the element you think they represent. Once you have a grasp on the ways that some deeply ingrained patterns may dominate a personality, you become more sympathetic to different people’s behaviors. Through a better knowledge of Sun signs, you might be more understanding of your Virgo friend who fusses about having everything in the exact “right” place, or you might not judge your Gemini brother so harshly when he shows up with your birthday gifts 3 days late — after all, he’s got a busy brain, things can easily get scattered up there! And if your Cancer wife nags and worries about everything, you’ll know she’s only doing it because she loves you, and that’s just her personal way of showing you she cares. Everyone has something to gain from studying the Sun signs — the knowledge there will only make us more tolerant of one another.