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Working With Your Astrology Shadow: The Dark Side of Your Sign


The Shadow Side

Many people know their Sun sign, the sign that relates to our personality given the position of the Sun when we were born. Many of us might even know the strengths associated with our own sign.

I'm a Gemini: talkative, quick-witted and social like a butterfly. But there is a shadow side to every sign. Those are the traits and qualities that we don't like to talk about, or that we might deny even having. However, our shadow is an important tool we can use to fully develop and connect to the full spectrum of our individual personality.

Working With the Shadow

Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate."

— Carl Jung

Strengths and Weaknesses by Sign

Aries (March 21-April 19)

I Am is the keyword for Aries, and most Aries people are courageous, assertive and passionate. Think about a fiery ram (the symbol for Aries.)

The shadow side, or weakness of Aries includes a tendency toward being manipulative (trying to get things their way), selfish and reckless. Aries also like to initiate projects without completing them.

If you are an Aries, learning to work with these tendencies and bring balance into life will strengthen your personality. Meditation is a great way to calm your mind and focus on the present moment. If you can cultivate a calm center, it might help slow down your fiery response.

Staying present and focused can help you follow through on projects and goals. Rather than abandon a task at the first sign of boredom, give yourself a short break. Take a walk, talk to a friend, then head back and see it through to the end.

Another tool for Aries is to move your body. Hard physical exertion is a great way to burn up some of that Aries fire. Swimming will help cool down the hot-headedness that can get you into trouble. Give your excess energy an outlet through brisk movement. It doesn't have to take a long time, just make sure you build up a sweat.

Finally, practice moderation in your diet. As a fire sign, it's important you avoid very spicy food and alcohol. These will add heat to your temperament. Drink plenty of water and try to enjoy watery fruits to calm and soothe your body and your nerves.

Taurus (April 20-May 20)

I Have is the keyword of Taurus and most Taurus people enjoy surrounding themselves with nice things. Symbolized by the bull, Taurus is the sign of money, prosperity and dependability. This earth sign is slow, steady and reliable.

The shadow side of Taurus is a tendency toward being stubborn (imagine trying to push a bull where it doesn't want to go!) overly cautious and possessive/jealous.

Taurus, it's okay to let go of control. That's a pretty tall order for someone as stubborn as you, so start with one small thing. Is there a task you could delegate or a project that you could assign to someone else?

How about if you let your kids load the dishwasher, without reloading it?

Let yourself take a chance. You don't have to risk everything. Instead, try something new. Just do it. Maybe start by ordering a different drink at the coffeeshop. Or try a new fitness class. Take a baby step outside your comfort zone.

With your love of delicious food and comfort, it's important that you don't overindulge too often. Add some colorful variety to your diet, and try eating a little lighter once in a while.

Finally, let yourself trust people. Give them the benefit of the doubt. Don't believe that everyone is out to hurt you or take what is yours. Let go and move on. Holding onto a grudge will only hurt you, in the end.

Gemini (May 21-June 20)

I Think is the keyword for the flighty air sign Gemini, and you move quickly, like a butterfly or hummingbird. The symbol of the twins characterizes Gemini duality. This is the sign of thought and communication and most Gemini's are great conversationalists, charming and quick on their feet.

There is a dark side to this bright, airy sign which includes lack of focus, a tendency toward being two-faced or gossipy and a misleading use of words that helps them tell untruths with a silver tongue.

Slow down, Gemini. You need to get grounded. All that air is fun, but you can get tangled in the webs if you tell too many lies. You don't have bad intentions. Sometimes you're bored, or you want to make the story seem interesting. It's time to face your shadow.

First, when you hear the juiciest gossip about your best friend, stop yourself. Not everything you hear needs repeating. And try to put yourself in the other persons shoes. It wouldn't feel good if you heard them talking about you. Speak kindly of others and be genuine in your friendships. You wan't everyone to like you, but thats an impossible goal. Practice being genuine and authentic with the people you care about. And just because you're a quick wit, you don't have to say everything that pops into your head. You'll regret it if you don't get a handle on your mouth.

Slow down and focus. Gemini energy needs grounding to bring stability and balance. Practice meditation to quiet your mind and yoga to strengthen your body and help you feel grounded. Taking walks in nature, where you can watch the birds and clouds will also help you focus.

Finally, a plant-based, whole food diet works best for your digestive system. Heavy meats and dairy weigh you down and make you feel sluggish, tired and slow. Drink lots of water (too much alcohol can give you a motor mouth. You don't want to go here.) and try to eat your meals slowly.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)

I Feel is the mantra for watery Cancer. This water sign is symbolized by the crab (the Latin word for crab is Cancer) and Cancer's tend to be very sensitive (the soft underbelly) and protect themselves with a hard outer shell. Cancer people are nurturers, sympathetic and highly sensitive. This is the sign of home and family, compassion and emotion.

On the flip side, Cancer can be tough to get to know, moody and depressed, possessive and insecure.

To work with your shadow, Cancer, it's important to learn to nurture yourself. You are the family historian, as well as the intuitive nurturer. It's okay to take care of others, but you'll feel better when you take time for yourself. You are especially sensitive to the moon (Cancer is ruled by the moon) so perhaps you could take some time to go outside and look at the moon. What could you let go of during the next full moon? Take a luxurious bubble bath, complete with candles, salts and snacks and pamper yourself as you contemplate releasing what no longer serves you.

When you feel overwhelmed by emotion (think high tide) get outside and connect with the earth. Remind yourself that feelings (and people) ebb and flow. In and out. They come in, they go out. Walking or practicing yoga outdoors will feel especially grounding for you.

Finally, nourish yourself with food that feels comforting. Eating food that nourishes your body and soul will feel good for you. You can enjoy delicious, sumptuous food without over indulging, so watch out for the tendency to eat non-stop.

Leo (July 23-August 22)

I Will says fiery Leo the lion and with regal pride, enthusiasm, and self-assurance, you certainly will. Leo is the boisterous, dramatic and benevolent fire sign of the zodiac who loves life. Leo is a natural ruler whether you like it or not.

The shadow side of Leo is a tendency toward pride and snobbery, arrogance and a desire to control.

Leo, let people make their own mistakes. You don't need to run everyone else's life so back down and let them ruin their own life. Just because you know how everyone else should be doing everything, you don't always get to tell people what to do. Sit back, breathe and watch from the sidelines. The truth is, you don't have control over anyone but yourself.

Check your ego at the door. Just because you know you are the best at... fill in the blank. Most Leo's believe they are the best at everything they do. Practice some humility. Rather than being the center of attention everywhere you go, sit back, shut up and let someone else talk.

You have a good heart Leo, and you hate to see unfairness or people treated poorly. Use your magnanimous personality to volunteer with kids (Leo's are great with children.) Maybe you could coach a sport, volunteer at a youth center or help with disadvantaged youth. Let your golden light shine on the lives of people around you.

Virgo (August 23-September 22)

I Analyze is the mantra of stable earth sign Virgo. Modest Virgo, symbolized by the virgin, loves to serve others. If something can be done more efficiently or effectively, a Virgo will figure out how. Virgo's tend to be detail oriented, orderly and organized.

With an obsession for detail, a shadow side of Virgo is a tendency toward narrow-mindedness or tunnel vision. Virgo's can also be self-righteous perfectionists who demand that others maintain their rigorous requirements. Virgo thinks they know the best way things should be done, and can become rigid in their opinions.

Take a step back Virgo and try to look at the big picture. With your focus on minute details, you can become quite narrow in your scope. Step back and look with fresh eyes. Every single detail doesn't need to be done perfectly, and this is not a bad reflection on you. At the end of the day, what truly matters is that you've done your best and you've let it go. There is no need to pick and every tiny detail.

While you're at it, cut yourself some slack. Your search for perfection is worst when you focus it inward (and you are always hardest on yourself.) It's okay to make mistakes, not know the answer and sometime even be wrong (gasp!) When you hold yourself to an impossible standard, you drive yourself crazy with frustration. Let it go. Everything will be okay and the world will continue spinning, even if you aren't perfect.

Finally, let yourself have some fun. Lighten up. Laugh. Do something crazy. Bring fresh, different energy into your life. Maybe get a crazy friend who makes you laugh. Try to do something every day that makes you smile. Make a list of fun things, then burn the list.

Libra (September 23-October 22)

I Balance is the keyword of Libra, represented by the scales. Charming air sign Libra is all about equilibrium, beauty, and relationship. Libra is called the most balanced sign of the zodiac, who is also sociable, harmonious and diplomatic.

The shadow side of Libra is an inability to make decisions, a desire to please everyone all the time and a tendency toward passivity and compromise. Rather than upset someone else, relationship oriented Libra will refuse to make a decision or will do something they don't want or like, in order to keep the peace.

Stand up for yourself, Libra. I know, sometimes you don't even know what you want. In that moment, pause and listen to your heart. What does your heart really want? Honor yourself, regardless if your decision is unpopular. People like you less when you are wishy-washy.

People-pleasing can make you anxious. You get caught up in your head, Libra, as you worry about all the what-if's. Stop overthinking every single decision. Slow down and ground yourself. No decision has to be made instantly. Give yourself time to think, and then let go. Once you've made a decision, follow through. If it doesn't work out, make a different decision.

Finally, take some time to appreciate the beauty around you. Whether it's in your home or environment, pleasing smells, sights and sounds will calm your frazzled mind and heart.

Scorpio (October 23-November 21)

I Desire says Scorpio, the water sign symbolized by the scorpion. This intense sign is powerfully magnetic. Scorpio has been called the most sensuous sign in the zodiac, for good reason. These magical, mystical people are mysterious, seductive and charismatic.

The dark side of Scorpio is their self-destructive behavior, coupled with tendencies to be vindictive, resentful and controlling. Scorpio maintains an air of secrecy which heightens its dangerous charm. Be careful when lured by the charm of this intelligent, mysterious creature. The sting can be deadly.

Scorpio, so misunderstood. Do you deserve all the bad press? Yes. You do. Your lethal sting comes with a long memory that never forgets any slight. You are strong and powerful, Scorpio. It's time to use your magic for good.

With your intense personality, meaningful work would be a great outlet. Don't wast your time on worthless pursuits that leave you feeling used and misunderstood. Harness your powerful dedication into finding meaning and purpose. Do the things that satisfy your soul, whatever those look like, and don't get caught up in what people might think. You, of all the signs, could care less.

At heart, you are loyal, loving, kind and generous. While it can be easy to allow yourself to become overwhelmed by the depth of your feelings, step back. Don't let the wave ride over you. Instead, get into water, move and release. Scorpio is the sign of the depths. Scuba diving and snorkeling are great past times to help embody the depth of your being.

Sagittarius (November 22-December 23)

I See says Sagittarius, symbolized by the archer. Philosophy, higher concepts and learning and exploration characterize this freedom loving fire sign. Sagittarius is the seeker of the zodiac, spontaneous, optimistic and idealistic.

The flip-side of this fun sign is a tendency toward restlessness, insincerity and boastful, rebellious bravado. Sagittarius, in your ongoing quest for freedom and adventure, you can overlook duties and responsibilities. Your desire to tell the truth (which is noble) sometimes comes across as tactless and offensive.

Use your enthusiasm and creativity to tackle those responsibilities that weigh you down. How can you make the task more fun? Rather than eschewing those mundane tasks, look for ways to bring your characteristic sparkle to make it more enjoyable. Try looking at those things you must do as opportunities to explore new ways of completing old projects. A fresh set of eyes will make the challenge more rewarding.

Your intentions are good, but sometimes the harsh truth can be difficult to hear. When you dispense the cold, hard truth, slow down. Count backwards from 5. When you get to 1, you've had a chance to soften the rough edges of what needs to be said. You don't have to lie, instead, use your expansive knowledge to think of a different way to speak the truth.

Finally, Sagittarius, get away from it all. You don't have to book an extravagant trip to feel free. Get outside and learn all about the geology of the area. Explore the history of places near you, then get outdoors to explore and learn. You'll love learning all there is to know about wherever you are.

Capricorn (December 22-January 19)

I Use is the keyword of the mountain goat. Think of a tenacious goat, climbing a rugged mountain, finding a way to use the surrounding crevasses to pull upward to the top. Capricorn is tenacious, strategic and disciplined and will reach the objective, come hell or high water.

While Capricorns are great leaders, with discipline and determination, there is a darker side. The shadow of this responsible sign is a tendency to become overbearing, stubborn and narrow-minded. In general, Capricorn, you resist change. You can become a control freak, though, in your attempt to manage the world based on what you think should be done.

Go slowly Capricorn, to work with your shadow side. Making small, incremental changes feels much better than being forced to change suddenly. Give yourself time and space to adapt to change, but don't refuse doing things a new way. Try driving a different route to work or school. Maybe you could shop at a completely different store than you're used to. No, it's not practical and it doesn't bring you closer to your goals. What it does do is bring you out of your narrow-minded path. The world is much bigger and brighter than you see from the bottom of your rut.

Another tool for you is to practice quieting your mind. Meditation, yoga or even swimming laps will be good for you, as you move your body and quiet your mind. There is nothing to control in the pool or on the yoga mat. There is only you and your breath.

Finally Capricorn, take some time to laugh. You have a great sense of humor, but you keep it under tight control. Spend some time with people who make you happy, and allow yourself the pleasure of down time, to relax, have fun and laugh. The work will still be there after you're done laughing.

Aquarius (January 20-February 18)

I Know is the keyword for the water bearer Aquarius. This air sign is assertive, independent and progressive. The symbol of the water bearer suggests an image of one who dispenses gifts to all, flowing freely and equally, giving life to all beings. Aquarius is the sign of hopes, dreams, friends and wishes and an Aquarian is a humanitarian, concerned with the large issues of the world.

This revolutionary air sign does have a dark side, however. The shadow side of Aquarius is detached and cold, can be rigid and disapproving and sometimes tries to be different just for the shock value.

Aquarius, you don't have to be so obstinate. While you are an avant-garde thinker, you tend to carve your opinions in stone. Lighten up a little. Dip your toe into the waters of compromise. It's okay to give a little to help others feel successful. In fact, some would say that the best compromise is when nobody feels satisfied.

When you feel like striking out to be different and shocking, slow your roll. You are a revolutionary, for sure. That doesn't mean you always need to be at war. You enjoy provocative conversations, not always because you feel passionately, but sometimes because you enjoy the exercise of arguing a point. There is no need to deliberately make yourself the contrarian. Soften up and give people some space. Everyone doesn't enjoy bantering the way you do.

Finally, Aquarius, it's important for your well-being to find that connection between your mind, body and soul. First, you have to slow down and get quiet. Take a walk in nature, without your headphones. Try meditation and yoga. Move yourself quietly and connect deeply with your breath. Just because you want to change the world doesn't mean the world is out to get you.

Pisces (February 19-March 20)

I Believe is the mantra of Pisces, symbolized by two fish, tied together but swimming in opposite directions. This symbol perfectly captures the duality of sensitive water-sign Pisces.

In general, Pisces is the sign of dreams and mysticism. If Cancer is the water sign of moving water (the ocean tides) and Scorpio is the sign of deep water (the depth of the ocean or a deep, dark lake,) then Pisces is the mist of evaporating water. Pisces is intuitive, emotional and highly sensitive.

The dark and light qualities mingle and flow together. The depth of emotion can be good or bad, depending on your mood, Pisces. You're a creative dreamer who either sees how the world is and strives to change it, or sees how the world is and falls into depression and despair because of the hopelessness of it all.

You, Pisces are challenged above all the signs, with your depth of feeling. You can easily adapt to changing circumstances, but you also can get overwhelmed by change. Sometimes it might feel that you are drowning.

The medicine for you, Pisces, is to get grounded. It is essential for your personality that you spend time outdoors. When you're feeling low, you can get in water and swim, to get your body moving. Or, if you feel overwhelmed, walking and grounding outside are imperative. Get into nature and remind yourself of the beauty and grandeur of life.

It's also important for you to be cautious when using substances such as alcohol or drugs. With your tendency to want to escape from reality, addiction is a very real possibility for you.

Use your idealism to make the world a better place. You can change one thing at a time, starting with your own life. Small, practical steps bring progress and over time, you will see significant, lasting improvement.


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Deborah Demander