By Morgan Rosenberger and Rebecca Antsis
Staff Writers

Many people erroneously associate the word “zodiac” solely with their Sun sign. Those of us in Western cultures may not be aware that Sun signs indicate only where the sun was positioned during our birth. To shine a little light on the subject, there are more than 40 zodiac signs. For example, we also have Moon signs, Ascendants, Venuses and a whole other wacky coterie of planets affecting our personality make-ups.

You may even exhibit more traits associated with your Moon sign than your Sun sign. Hence, any astrologer worth their salt will tell you that solely going by your Sun sign will yield an incomplete tableau of who you are. Try to imagine the Sun/Moon/Ascendant triumvirate as an elementary breakdown — what astrologists call your “astrological handshake.”

Sun sign: Ego, structure of the self, motivations, identity, personality core.

Moon sign: Emotional life, reactions, learned habits.

Rising sign/Ascendant: Self-image, ways in which others perceive you, your “style.”

That said, most of us consider our Sun sign (what we commonly refer to simply as our “sign”) to be most key to our personalities. So let us take a look at who we are.

PISCES (February 19 – March 20): Les artistes of the Zodiac. Highly sensitive, intuitive (at times, prone to states of confusion), Pisceans swim in the oceans of the divine mystic. More than any other children in the Zodiac, those whose Sun is in Pisces are never far from their Muses. Naturally endowed with a rich emotional life, Pisceans tend to feel their way through the world. Downside: Pisces often feel misunderstood, can easily be hurt and sometimes let their emotions take over.

ARIES (March 21- April 19): Like the Ram, those born under Aries are naturally energetic, strong and bold. The here and now is where you live. Always the first to dive into things and a natural trail blazer, the courageous spirit of an Aries attracts many. A pronounced athleticism is common. At times, Aries are unable to comprehend why others lag behind or make things unnecessarily complicated. Spunk could be your middle name. Downside: Patience is not your virtue.

TAURUS (April 20 – May 20): Externally, Bulls are social, but underneath, they have a cool, calm and collected manner. While generally popular, they prefer to discreetly distance themselves from the crowd. Adherents to the “work hard, play hard” ethic, they have the enviable ability to structure their time efficiently. Sometimes Taureans are perceived as stubborn for their tendency to fiercely stick to their decisions and opinions. No open book, Taureans keep their private lives private. When one is in the presence of a Taurus, you cannot deny feeling a sense of constancy, steadfastness, and reliability. Downside: Bulls can push people away with their stubbornness.

GEMINI (May 21 – June 20): A sense of duality, sometimes even two personalities, is present within Gemini. Because they are ruled by Mercury, messenger to the Gods, communication is their strongest suit. From chit-chatting and gossiping, to ironic wit and clever commentary, the gift of gab makes them the beloved Voltaires at any shindig. They are the most adept of social butterflies. But this effervescence is by no means the sum of their personalities. Geminis can have a potent dark side, as they might use their keen intelligence to manipulate. That, in combination with a flexible personality, can make Geminis feel scattered. Or worse, careen them into a path of duplicitous behaviors.

CANCER (June 21 – July 22): Cancers are often considered enigmas and tend to be a bundle of contradictions. Very compassionate and considerate (especially to family, friends and lovers), Cancers will return any favor tenfold. Love and romance are very important to this sign; their changeable natures make them very alluring. Cancers can also sometimes be a bit eccentric, with a “Mad Hatter” sense of humor and a slight disgust for the superficial. They often care greatly about how others view them. Downside: Cancers can be very insecure.

LEO (July 23 – August 22): Leos, lions, roar! The irrefutable monarchs of the animal kingdom. Naturally regal, they are confident, determined, and at times stubborn. Leos do not need the spotlight; they simply command it. They are for the majority optimistic in their worldview and feel a personal responsibility to ascribe to a lofty moral code. But make no mistake about it, earthbound Leos love the good life and luxuriating in sensual pleasures. Life should be lived to the fullest. Downsides: Exaggerated self-importance. Laziness or indulgence.

VIRGO (August 23 – September 22): Virgos, when confident, can be the most successful and creative of all the signs. They are shy, creative, sensitive and their understanding makes them a great friend. Virgos have great faith in others, no matter how many times they are let down. Downside: Virgos can be too trusting and have natures that make them want things just so.

LIBRA (September 23 – October 22): Libras, ruled by the scales, are the natural sustainers of balance throughout the land. They seek harmony and enjoy when it pervades all aspects of their lives. Almost always opting for the “middle path,” they are comparative thinkers and are generally opposed to viewing the world in sharp dualities. Libras find confrontations disagreeable and unnecessary. Downside: Indecision; appearance of duplicity by becoming known as people-pleasers.

SCORPIO (October 23 – November 21): Scorpios are often considered the “oldest souls” of the zodiac and are considered wise beyond their years, even from a young age. They are often very secretive and considered mysterious by others. Intense, unafraid of conflict, powerful Scorpios have the uncanny ability to delve into the darker essences of existence and emerge relatively unscathed. Many Scorpions also find they must choose between love and power in their lives. Downside: Scorpios often let their power take over their lives.

SAGITTARIUS (November 23 – December 21): Sensual yet wise, Sags are a unique blend of the duality of savage/civilized, animal/human, as influenced by their symbol the centaur/archer. A dual nature sign (like Gemini), Sagittariuses firmly have their feet in the earth while exhibiting an idealism and optimism that looks outwards towards the cosmos. They dislike routine and have a love for adventure. Their ability to talk to anyone make Sags fun to be around. Known for their personal charisma and buoyant energy, they are often desired as a partner. However, their need for independence makes them hard to catch. Downsides: Passionate nature can lead to overindulgence or a tendency toward extreme habits.

CAPRICORN (December 22 – January 19): Capricorns are patient and persevering, and often accomplish their goals because of this. They are hard workers, but have a great sense of humor. They also tend to be cautious when entering relationships, preferring long-term commitments over short flings. Capricorns must learn to balance work and play, and not become too involved with their work. Downside: Capricorns can be workaholics, to the point of letting their personal life fall by the wayside.

AQUARIUS (January 20 – February 18): Water, the essence of life, is a gift. And gifts are what Aquarians like to bestow upon of the world via their pronounced altruism. Wherever there are do-gooders and banners proclaiming “progress,” you can bet there is a high concentration of Aquarians at work. Highly iconoclastic, spiritually-minded and quirky, Aquarians often shock others when they reveal their strong, stubborn nature as tolerant and free-thinking. Downside: Aquarians’ fervent idealism can get them lost in the construction of castles in the sky.

This article appeared in the March 2011 print edition of The Raven Review.

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