Star Signs and Being Unique

Posed on 02 June 2015

A recent exchange on Twitter made me realise how much confusion there is between the traits attributed to each sign of the zodiac and individuality. While some pride themselves on their star sign (especially Leos, I’ve found), others find it a bit embarrassing (Scorpios, who tire of the leers their sexy reputation triggers). But most don’t really think about it until they’re told about their purported characteristics, when they quite rightly question a system that “informs” them of their character. We each regard ourselves as unique individuals, the result of the life we’ve lived, its experiences, joys and challenges. The confusion is dual. First, is the issue of understanding just what star signs are. Each constitutes a perspective on life, a way of thinking, processing information and reacting to, and experiencing, life. It’s rather like regional or national characteristics. A New Yorker, Londoner and Parisian will each have grown up with a particular life view, and will, therefore, approach events differently. The knowledge of those traits – and sometimes quirks – enables those doing business with those from different cultures to understand who they’re dealing with and to negotiate intelligently. Even more, this awareness helps relationships – romantic or otherwise – to accommodate the sometimes wide gaps in the perspective of those from diverse backgrounds or environments. For example, the New Yorker will say exactly what they think, and usually swiftly, while the Londoner – and Brits in general – might mull things over or be less forthcoming. And the French person will debate the matter, if not enjoy a passionate argument about the subject. Similarly, star signs could be regarded as groups – what the psychologist Carl Jung called archetypes – with distinctive characteristics and views. Many of us employ this way of typing the people we know and meet, but instead describe somebody we meet – and, therefore, assess – as being “like” somebody from the past or, perhaps, like a character from a novel, movie or TV show. However, within each group, each individual is absolutely unique. This is where the second, and rarely considered, element comes in. It’s the paradox between free will and destiny. In an era in which individual initiative is encouraged, we’re challenged to be the best we can. Yet we rarely pause to think about the context from which our skills – or beliefs about what actually constitute doing one’s best, or about our innate capacities – have emerged. Of course, most of these elements can be altered. An individual from an otherwise un-ambitious or anti-intellectual family can decide to become a high achiever or earn a dozen academic degrees. Yet there are traits we can’t change. For example, only those born with certain body types can successfully pursue gymnastics or classical ballet. While everybody can warble a tune, the capacity to become an opera singer, to fill an auditorium with their unamplified voice, is innate. Height, body type, and such abilities aren’t negotiable. Star signs are like that. Each sign has a distinctive fundamental nature, a unique world view, strengths and issues that constitute a starting point for the development of every individual born under that sign. And each sign has its own particular journey, what might be termed an arc of growth. [see list below] However, it is up to the individual how much effort they want to make. Most of those who grow up speaking English retain it as their sole language, thus limiting their horizons to the information available to the English-speaking world. However, while many may study languages, some will become expert, and only a few will move to a country which requires that they learn an entirely new tongue and, to an extent, adopt a new perspective. Similarly, the birth sign and its traits are only a starting point. Some feel no need to explore or expand on their self-knowledge and so extend their understanding beyond those beginnings. Others go through a period of questioning, redefine themselves, then settle happily with the new, self-created, identity – one that constitutes their own version of the archetype of their star sign, then settle down. For a few, that process of growth becomes a life-long passion. A lifelong process of discovery. And it is they who will, as they end their days, be least like the astrology book definition of their star sign. They will, instead, have become very much their own person. As with so much of astrology today, while there’s the option to skim the surface, to give a nod to the characteristics assigned to one’s star sign, it can also be the beginning of a journey of self-exploration that leads to increasing self-awareness and, as a result, an ever increasing degree of personal power. Quick Guide to Each Sign’s Journey Aries Becoming uniquely oneself Taurus Finding self-worth within, not in possessions Gemini Honing a uniquely personal view Cancer Learning how to truly nurture oneself Leo Determining a uniquely personal self-expression Virgo Turning obligations into creative expression Libra Finding individuality in relationship Scorpio Uncovering the inner truth Sagittarius Finding a meaningful goal Capricorn Discovering and achieving one’s own objective Aquarius Being unique amongst a group Pisces Seeking a personal ideal