Why Astrology Is More Than Just Your Sun Sign
Like it or not, astrology is a mainstay of our culture.
Well, it's more that the very basics of astrology—namely the sun signs—are what is widely known. For example, horoscopes in newspapers or from Twitter bots focus on sun signs (e.g. if someone is born in August, they are either Leo or Virgo). However, the sun sign is just one aspect of a person's natal chart, as we will explore in this article.
This is not the deepest dive (as it barely scrapes the surface of houses and aspects), however it goes a lot deeper than popular astrology.
These unlock the depths of one's being. You are more than just your sun sign, just as you are more than just your outward appearance. Your natal chart displays the positions of major celestial objects at the moment of your birth. The positions of these can help shape your whole life and persona without you even being conscious of it.
Houses can add further insight, however I will be focusing on the inner planets in this article: Mercury, Venus, Mars, plus the Moon. It's a lot to read about all at once after all! However, I will also go through the first and most important house and its traits.
Ascendant: The Mask You Wear
We shall start off with the aforementioned first house. The ascendant is your outward appearance, working together with your sun sign to project an image onto others.
Of course, one can have their sun and ascendant be in the same sign, as is the case for me. For me, it just means that I feel more comfortable being upfront with my true personality without putting forward a more idealised self. Either that or I have a pretty weak filter.
Throughout this article, I will describe each placement in three words that I feel really fit that placement's main traits. Not all of them will be positive adjectives, but that's the nature of astrology and human personality in general; there is good and bad in every placement.
With that being said, here are three main traits associated with each ascendant sign:
- Aries: Direct, active, independent.
- Taurus: Loyal, stubborn, hedonistic.
- Gemini: Talkative, curious, energetic.
- Cancer: Sensitive, caring, shy.
- Leo: Confident, optimistic, dramatic.
- Virgo: Healthy, intelligent, critical.
- Libra: Friendly, attractive, indecisive.
- Scorpio: Dominant, determined, secretive.
- Sagittarius: Adventurous, funny, opinionated.
- Capricorn: Responsible, driven, stoic.
- Aquarius: Kind, creative, provocative.
- Pisces: Carefree, gentle, restless.
The Moon: An Insight Into Your Feelings
The Moon governs your impulsive, instinctive responses—your emotions, so to speak. It shows how you deal with situations emotionally, as well as how you display (or don't display) how you're feeling to others.
The element your moon resides in is a good reflection of your emotional responses. Fire moons tend to experience strong emotions and react strongly and impulsively, often with anger. On the other hand, earth moons are more subdued and calculating, preferring to keep their emotions inside and looking at things more carefully.
Of course, a moon sign does not an emotional response make. The sun sign also has a lot to say in how one reacts, or at least how they wish to react. As someone with an earth sun and fire moon for example, I would prefer to keep my emotions and reactions in check but sometimes my Leo Moon has other ideas.
Here is a basic summary in three words of each Moon sign:
- Aries: Passionate, hot-headed, impulsive.
- Taurus: Committed, sentimental, calm.
- Gemini: Restless, witty, irritable.
- Cancer: Sensitive, protective, warm.
- Leo: Proud, dramatic, dominant.
- Virgo: Organised, anxious, nit-picky.
- Libra: Extroverted, idealistic, friendly.
- Scorpio: Intense, loyal, introverted.
- Sagittarius: Restless, curious, cheerful.
- Capricorn: Calm, reliable, ambitious.
- Aquarius: Independent, stoic, observant.
- Pisces: Sympathetic, dreamy, naïve.
Mercury: How You Communicate
Although your three main placements (Sun, Moon, Ascendant) have the biggest role in your personality and behaviours, Mercury rules over how you interact with others. It rules how you speak, write, or otherwise communicate.
Because Mercury is so close to the sun, many people's Mercury sign is the same as their Sun sign. This is the case for myself. However, if you are born early or late into your Sun sign's reign, your Mercury sign may be that of the sign before or after your Sun sign. Any further placements from your Sun sign are impossible due to the proximity to the Sun, which reflects how essential communication is to your being.
Here are the three most prominent traits associated with each Mercury sign:
- Aries: Direct, enthusiastic, aggressive.
- Taurus: Careful, practical, stubborn.
- Gemini: Witty, curious, detached.
- Cancer: Gentle, empathetic, defensive.
- Leo: Charismatic, persuasive, arrogant.
- Virgo: Intellectual, organised, uncreative.
- Libra: Diplomatic, perfectionist, indirect.
- Scorpio: Analytical, passionate, critical.
- Sagittarius: Optimistic, fun, blunt.
- Capricorn: Methodical, skeptical, stoic.
- Aquarius: Quick-witted, imaginative, provocative.
- Pisces: Warm, tactful, vague.
Venus: Love and Affection
Venus is all about love, romance, and the finer things in life. It rules over your hedonistic desires for luxury and material items, as well as how you show affection and interact in a romantic relationship. It also subtly affects how other forms of love, such as familial or platonic, are conveyed.
Here are three major traits of each Venus sign:
- Aries: Spontaneous, mischievous, direct.
- Taurus: Loyal, cozy, possessive.
- Gemini: Playful, talkative, changeable.
- Cancer: Committed, motherly, sentimental.
- Leo: Grandiose, affectionate, generous.
- Virgo: Dedicated, caring, unflirtatious.
- Libra: Fair, artistic, prudish.
- Scorpio: Intense, dominant, jealous.
- Sagittarius: Adventurous, jovial, restless.
- Capricorn: Responsible, realistic, stoic.
- Aquarius: Rebellious, intellectual, standoffish.
- Pisces: Dreamy, tender, submissive.
Mars: The Depths of Your Psyche
Mars relates to your deep, internalised emotions. It represents the subconscious in an almost-Freudian way at times, so much so that many articles about Mars placements only talk about sex and passion and neglect to mention its other aspects. This placement also represents anger, vengeance, ambition, and competitiveness.
Here are three ways each Mars placement may manifest:
- Aries: Fast, direct, irritable.
- Taurus: Calm, sensual, unmoveable.
- Gemini: Talkative, energetic, sarcastic.
- Cancer: Protective, just, argumentative.
- Leo: Creative, passionate, defensive.
- Virgo: Committed, restless, critical.
- Libra: Fair, indecisive, passive-aggressive.
- Scorpio: Competitive, decisive, resentful.
- Sagittarius: Playful, impulsive, flaky.
- Capricorn: Determined, responsible, controlling.
- Aquarius: Independent, detached, pushy.
- Pisces: Kind, passive, moody.
The Outer Planets: Interactions With Society
These planets have less to do with your inner or true self and more to do with how you interact with others and your environment. There are two groups: the social planets and the generational planets.
I will not be adding traits for each sign for the outer planets, as that would be too long-winded. However, looking at the previous traits for each sign will give you hints and overarching themes as to how those signs manifest in these planets as well.
The social planets are Jupiter and Saturn. These rule over areas which may affect how you externally interact with your world:
- Jupiter: Rules over knowledge, sense of purpose, honour, and morality.
- Saturn: Rules over responsibilities, commitment, work ethic, and self-control.
The generational planets are the outermost planets: Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. They are very slow orbiters, so they may not move to the next sign for years or even decades. As a result they can shape the attitudes and experiences of an entire generation:
- Uranus: Rules over individuality, rejection of tradition, and societal progression.
- Neptune: Rules over spirituality, dreams, and inspiration.
- Pluto: Rules over the subconscious, change, upheaval, and power struggles.
To put this into perspective, the sign's reigns over Pluto are often known as Ages and last for around 15-20 years each. We are currently in the last few years of the Age of Capricorn, a placement which signifies major upheaval and sometimes-cataclysmic changes to the status quo. This can be seen just by looking at the current political climate. Obviously, these ages shape entire generations and their experiences in this big wide world we call home.
Imagine it like this; just as the outer planets as being the gateway to outer space, your outer planet placements are the gateway to your interactions with the wider world.
Astrology has so much more depth than the newspaper columns and Twitter bots would have you think. Of course, this is just a summary of a single aspect of astrology, that being natal planetary placements. There is so much more even to a natal chart, not even getting into other forms of astrological reading.
A final, important thing to note is that traits determined by astrology are not absolute. They are indeed markers of likely traits, but above all you are the leader of your own destiny. As with any form of spirituality or magic my recommendation is to use your astrological footprint as a guide, not as a shackle.
Thank you for reading. Feel free to use this information in any healthy way that you wish to, and I hope you safe travels in your journey of discovery and enlightenment.