Discussing The Signs & Archetypes

Perhaps one of my biggest obstacles so far in discussing astrology with skeptical friends is, undoubtedly, in explaining the signs of the zodiac.

Immediately, they cut me off mid-sentence with a confident smirk and something like, “So just because you’re born in a certain month, you’re gonna act a certain way?” They don’t intend to be condescending (and to their credit, they’ve been pretty open-minded and understanding with me), but they act like they’re pointing out the obvious, fatal flaw in astrology’s logic, and they’re incredulous as to how I couldn’t see it.

A lot of working with astrology involves careful consideration of the archetypes represented by the signs of the zodiac. It’s not enough to say “Leo is creative and playful,” or “Capricorn is hard-working,” you must understand why the sign is perceived that way — what is the underlying archetype, and in what ways can that archetype be expressed?

Capricorn, for example, is The Father, The President / Prime Minister. The archetype comes from the sign’s element-modality combination. Capricorn, as Cardinal Earth, is about initiating material action. Responsibility, self-reliance, duty. Handled well, that Capricorn energy can be focused, diligent, responsible, and pragmatic; but handled poorly, it can become rigid, fearful, unemotional, and repressed.

Knowing this is only helpful if you know how you tend to express that archetype’s energy, and figuring that out is, well, the whole point.

What bothers me about this is that discussions of the myriad ways in which these energies can be expressed requires a lot of talk about one sign individually — and to the casual listener, it sounds like we’re talking about Sun Sign Astrology, reducing a person down to one archetype. It’s a small misunderstanding, but it can cause major problems.

After studying the zodiac for a while, you start to learn what behaviors are emblematic for each sign, and you start to find yourself saying things like, “Ha — that’s such a Taurus mindset.” On the surface, to those whose only knowledge of astrology is Sun Sign, they think us fools for making such absurd generalities, when that’s not actually what’s happening.

We’re exploring all the ways Taurus can express itself, but it’s up to you to understand how you express that Taurus energy. No one is just one sign of the zodiac — everyone has all of them, they’re just in different parts of your life and expressed in different ways, some more strongly than others. Knowing what, if any, planets or placements you have in a sign will help you understand how that sign pertains to you.

This is rambling and not-super-well-thought-out, but it’s been bothering me for some time. I imagine I’ll keep coming back to this point in the future, hopefully with better, wiser wording. 🙂

Author: Charlotte

Coaching personal growth through astrology, and doing statistical analysis to boot. Emotion Math is about studying symbolic equations, but with emotions instead of numbers.

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