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What Is A “Sign Type?”

Every month I’ve been writing about the personality traits associated with the current sun sign.  You may wonder why I bother to use the phrase “sign type” instead of just saying “sign.”  If what I mean is Pisces, why don’t I just say Pisces instead of “Pisces type” or “Neptune type?”  It’s because many things go into making a Pisces type and not every Pisces person actually is a Pisces type.  You may wonder also why I mention planets—why is a Pisces type a “child of Neptune?”  It could sound like so much New-Age silliness.  Hang on, dear reader—this article will explain all that.

Are you a Pisces who doesn’t feel like a Pisces?  Are you a Libra who feels much more like a Scorpio?  Not every person is true to the temperament of their sun sign, because your sun sign is not all you are.  It’s a strong part of who you are, but it only dominates your personality when supported by other factors.  If those other factors gather around a theme different from your sun sign, then you could easily identify as a very different sign.  Thus you could pick up a book about zodiac signs, read “your” chapter, reject it as bunk and decide that all of astrology is bunk because it doesn’t match your experience and because categorizing all of humanity into twelve flat types is ridiculous.  And you’re within your rights to draw that conclusion.

The situation is frustrating for astrologers, because we know that with a precise birth time we can read personality with uncanny accuracy and we can do it consistently.  So when we see a person who doesn’t feel the truth of their sun sign, we naturally feel the urge to search that person’s chart to discover which archetype calls to them the most.  And for many, many people there are two or even three archetypes blended together that call to them with equal loudness.

Practicing professional astrologers know better than to reduce a human being to a single flat type.  Each human being is a unique blend of at least a few sign types.  To determine sign dominance, an astrologer will sort through the masses of factors in a chart, matching like factors with like until a whole picture emerges of a human being made up of a few strong traits or themes that really pop out, supported by any number of weaker, more background ones.  A practiced astrologer does this very fast and can glance over a chart to determine the strongest 1-3 archetypes inside about 5 minutes.  A thorough analysis can take hours and have stronger results; this process is only part of what a professional does when preparing for a reading.

As an example, here are some things an astrologer might find in the chart of a “Libran type:”

  • They might have the Sun or the Moon in Libra, supported by at least one more planet in Libra.
  • They might have a “stellium” or grouping of at least 3 planets in Libra (without need for the Sun or Moon to be among them).
  • They might have Venus, Libra’s ruling planet, in the First House.
  • They might have Venus placed prominently in their chart, either by connection to Sun or Moon, or perhaps at the Midheaven.
  • The Seventh House is ruled by Venus, so they might have a very full Seventh House (i.e. having at least 3 planets in it).
  • They might have a see-saw type chart, where many planets are in opposition to each other, generating an overall Libra feel.

To really be a Libran type, you have to have not just one but several of the above.  Having an emphasis involving both the sign and planet strengthens the type considerably and in an article about a given sign I’ll frequently name the planet that rules it.  For example, in an article about Libra, you might catch me using the phrases “Libran type,” “Venusian type” or even “child of Venus” (can you stand it?) to convey the connection between this sign and its ruling planet.

If you have never felt a resonance with your own sign (i.e. your Sun sign), you could have an emphasis of planets in a different sign which might call to you more, if only you knew what it is.  You can find that out in a natal reading with an astrologer.

Now, most of the criteria I listed above is stuff you don’t need to know about.  What you do need to know is that some Librans are more Libran than others, and that you don’t have to have the Sun in Libra to qualify, so some Libran types will not know they are.  When you become familiar with the archetypes, you’ll learn to spot the types.  Then you’ll want to find out if you were right by looking at the person’s chart.  Watch out because then you might become hooked on astrology.  Believe me, it can easily become a lifelong obsession.

I love astrology because of its endless complexity.  It is the only personality system equipped to describe the tremendous intricacies of being human.  And I am speaking as someone with great respect for Myers-Briggs and the enneagram.  But there’s nothing better than your accurate astrology chart to reflect you to yourself, in all your complexity and depth.  And your chart works not only today, but also tomorrow, next year and for the rest of your life, bringing fresh insight as your life unfolds and you move through its changes.

This is one of three related articles on the subject of why your Sun sign is not all that you are.  For more insight, see the other two.
You Are Not Just Your “Sign” posted 4/4/07
What Is A “Sign Type?” posted 4/9/09
What Makes a Strong Sign Type? posted 8/28/07


Jamie has been practicing astrology in the Bay Area since 1992 and teaching since 1997. She is currently certified at NCGR Level 3. She specializes in feminine archetypes and a positive, empowering approach. Jamie enjoys working with individuals, couples, and families to improve the quality of their lives and expand each person’s choices.

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