What's Your Sign?
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 Astrology Zine by Michael Star

You Are More Than Your Sun Sign

We've probably all heard that line, "What's your Sign?" - and maybe the clever comeback, "Exit!" Many people have some sense of the concept that certain Signs "have" a certain set of traits or qualities, but less are aware that this is not all there is to Astrology.

It is generally understood by astrologers that when someone speaks of their "Sign", this refers to the Sign the Sun was in at their time of birth, also called the "Sun Sign" - as in that million-seller book by Linda Goodman called Sun Signs. This book only deals with the twelve Sun Signs, but it was sufficiently fascinating for me to get interested in Astrology after being a skeptic for quite some time.

The popular use of Sun Signs seems to make Astrology look rather simplistic to the skeptics, and it really is a simplistic way to look at a complex subject like Astrology and the human psyche. It is an over-generalization to talk only of Sun Signs, and not be aware that there is also a Moon in the sky, and eight other Planets besides the one we live on. Real Astrology looks at ALL these heavenly bodies, and several other things besides the Sun.

When you want to keep things simple - and make some generalized assumptions to describe a person's character, personality, and personal style or "image" - it's useful to consider, in the same respective order, the Sun Sign, the Moon Sign, and the Rising Sign (also called the Ascendant Sign).

If someone has the Sun AND either the Moon or Ascendant in the same Sign, they call him or her a "double" Aries or "double" Taurus, or whatever. This indicates that they are likely to exhibit the traits associated with that Sign even more than people with just ONE of the Sun, Moon or Ascendant in that Sign. If all THREE are in the same Sign they are called a "triple" Aries or whatever; and they appear to be even more obviously like that one Sign. They could say, "What you see is what you get!" But this is a rather rare case, only possible for people born near sunrise at the time of a New Moon.

If you were born at the time of a New Moon (i.e. on a very dark night), you will have Sun and Moon in the same Sign. A "New Moon" means the Sun and Moon appear in the same place in the sky, and thus are likely in the same Sign, unless the Sun is very near the "cusp" of another Sign and the Moon is just barely into that other Sign.

If you were born right at sunrise you will definitely have the Sun and Ascendant in the same Sign. This might also be so if you were born within about two hours before or after sunrise, depending on the actual date and year you were born. You will be much easier to spot by your "Sign", because the Ascendant Sign indicates HOW YOU APPEAR TO OTHERS on the surface. It is far easier to spot the Ascendant traits in a stranger, than his Sun Sign traits. When both are in the SAME Sign, it gets even easier.

Finding exactly what Sign the Ascendant was in at birth is not as simple as checking a simple table, as you can do to look up the Sign the Sun was in on a certain date. The Ascendant is a function of the rotation of the Earth, and is determined by the exact TIME of birth. The Ascendant point moves through a Sign in about two hours; so you have to have a pretty good idea of your time of birth to know your true Ascendant Sign. And if you want to know the exact degree of your Ascendant, you need the exact time of birth, within a minute or so.

Some people, like me, have three or more Planets in the same Sign. Even if their Sun is in a different Sign, they may appear in some ways to be more like that Sign than their Sun Sign. Deep down, they ARE like their Sun Sign (which symbolizes Self-identity, Ego, Will, Purpose, basic Nature). But with that "stellium" (which means a "grouping" of three or more planets) in another Sign, they appear to be a blend of the Sun Sign AND the Sign of the stellium.

For example, in my birth horoscope I have the Sun in Taurus (calm, easygoing, not too talkative) - but few people, even astrologers, guess that I am "a Taurus" on first meeting. I have the Ascendant in Gemini (talkative, curious, clever, perceptive, youthful) and a stellium of three Planets in Leo (creative, self-expressive, seeking attention and respect), which confuses the issue a bit. Neither set of traits describes the typical Sun in Taurus type. My basic nature, or character, is indeed that of a Taurean - but you don't always show your character at a cocktail party! So you cannot always generalize from the Sun Sign alone.

In my experience, it is the Ascendant and Moon which are more obvious when you meet someone for the first time. I like to call the Ascendant Sign (or Rising Sign) your "style", and your Moon Sign your "personality". You could also call the Moon Sign your "sensitivities". I have the Moon (and Venus) in Cancer, so I am often seen as "a sensitive guy", because of my Cancer traits (nurturing, care-giving, sensitive to feelings, emotional, and tending to "mother" people they care for).

The "first impression" people get when meeting you usually corresponds to the traits of your Ascendant Sign. They see your "style". You'll get "pegged" by that Sign whether you want to or not; but you probably do want to "be seen" that way, even if you are not really like that deep down (your Sun Sign symbolizes your "sense of Self" and things related to the "core of your being").

You might say that your Sun Sign is "what you really are" while your Ascendant Sign is "what you want to look like".

So I am a Sun in Taurus type of person who likes to be seen as having the style or "image" of a Gemini type. As if you couldn't tell by now, if you read all the words I write! Gemini is the most talkative of all the Signs, and loves to communicate and share information.

So what is the Ascendant Sign "act" that you put on? If you find that people who have just met you for the first time often seem to see you as having certain qualities, you will have some very good clues to help you guess what your Ascendant Sign must be. If you "act like" a certain Sun Sign on a more superficial level, or like "to be seen" as having traits of a certain Sun Sign, most likely that other Sign is really your Ascendant Sign.

So... "What're your SIGNS?"

 ©2001 by  Michael Star
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