Read an Excerpt
HarperEssentials Zodiac Signs is a fun and informative look at what the zodiac can tell you about your character, and the characters of friends, lovers and celebrities. You will find information about the way people born under each sign approach life, love, sex, money, food, work and their homes, as well as how to spot the tell-tale signs of each zodiac sign.
Zodiac signs defined
Almost everybody knows what their "sign" is, even if they deny that it has any significance. Far fewer people know exactly why being born between two apparently random dates in the year should make you, for example, a Capricorn. The answer lies in the movement of the Sun. When viewed from the Earth, the Sun, the Moon and all the planets move across the sky within a- surprisingly narrow band. This band is known to astrologers as the zodiac, and it can be pictured as a vast, imaginary pathway that stretches across the sky from one horizon to the other. This pathway passes all the way around the Earth: it is a circle, and is therefore made up of 360 degrees.
Thousands of years ago, astrologers divided this band into twelve exactly equal segments. Each segment is a zodiac sign and is named after a significant constellation of stars. As everybody knows, the Sun's position in the sky changes throughout the year, which means that the Sun passes through each of the twelve zodiac signs on the band once each year. This pattern of movement is fixed, so the Sun always moves out of one sign and into the next at the same time every year.
Your zodiac sign, or "star sign" if you prefer, is the sign that the Sun happens to be occupying at the time of your birth. Professional astrologers would call this your Sun-sign, for obvious reasons. Your Sun-sign has a strong bearing on basic elements of your character, but it is not the whole story. When you were born, all of the other planets were scattered in various positions throughout the zodiac too. When compiling a full birth chart, astrologers consider the positions of all of the planets. However, this book is only concerned with Sun-signs.
Understanding the basics of Sun-sign astrology can change the way you look at everybody you encounter, from the most intimate of partners to the most fleeting acquaintance. It offers a fascinating insight into the hidden yearnings and fears that motivate all of us.
Many people complain that they are nothing like what their Sun-sign says they should be. This is often due to the powerful influence of the other planets. The chart below is a standard birth chart for a person born on May 25, 1931.
Any astrology book will tell you that this makes them a Gemini (the Sun symbol is shown in Gemini on the chart). However, the birth chart also shows that the Moon, ruler of the emotions, was in Virgo at the time of birth. Emotionally, this person is likely to exhibit the Virgoan characteristic of fussiness rather than the Geminian characteristic of detachment.
In this chart none of the other planets are in Gemini, so there are probably quite a few areas in which this person's character differs from the classic description of a Gemini. The Sun-sign character traits detailed in this book provide a broad outline of a person's motivations, tastes and fears. For a fully comprehensive birth chart, you will need tc consult a professional astrologer, or learn how to draw one up yourself.
Are You Sure About Your Sun-Sign?Tables such as the one above are approximations that give the correct answer most of the time. The Sun passes through the 360 degrees of the zodiac once a year, but a year is 365 days long. The slight discrepancy between these numbers means that finding your Sun-sign is not as simple as you may have been led to believe. The actual day on which the Sun moves from any one sign into the next can differ from year to year. The charts starting on page 192 of this book will tell you when each transition took place for every year from 1931 to the present.
if your birthday falls on the first or last day of your particular sign, you may have been told that you were born "on the cusp" and that you will have characteristics of both signs. No professional astrologer would agree. You are either one sign or the other, no matter how close to the boundary you were born. This is why it is important to track down your actual Sun-sign. Unless you are sure which sign you were actually born under, nothing else that astrology has to say about you will make sense.
The astrology covered in this book deals strictly with the influence of the Sun on the character of an individual. Astrologers examine the positions of all of the planets when preparing detailed birth charts, which can then be used to predict a person's future. This is done by superimposing the positions of the planets at a future date onto the birth chart, and interpreting the way that they relate to each other. If you find the information in this book revealing, you may be tempted to look into the subject further. The section at the end of this book entitled Need to know more? (page 200) shows you where to go if you want to find out more about the almost infinite subtleties of astrology.Zodiac Signs. Copyright © by Lemony Diagram Group, The. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.