Looking Past the Sun: Why Our Sun Signs Might Not Always Reflect Who We Are

By Tyler Hicks

 

It probably doesn’t come as too much of a surprise when I say that we aren’t just the embodiment of our sun signs. Some fire signs can be pretty calm, some water signs can be grounded, some earth signs can be flighty, and some air signs can be highly emotional. 

 

Our birth charts, good old "nurture vs. nature", our life paths, and where we are in our journeys play a huge role in the way that we embody our ruling signs. It’s probably impossible to count the factors that influence and affect personality, but here are a few that I think about often:

1. Your birth chart: your big three, on the one hand, along with the balance of elements in your overall chart

2. Your personal history: the way you were raised and what you’ve experienced

3. Your life path: the numbers and your Midheaven/ North Node

4. Your individual journey and your soul’s growth: North and South Node

 

Birth chart

1. Your birth chart

Let’s talk more about birth charts, starting with “the big three” signs - your sun, rising, and your moon. These energies blend together in ways completely unique to the individual and exude off of you, impacting your personality and the way others perceive you. 

 

Your sun - The persona and ego you exude. An expression of your individuality and tendency toward self expression. How you would finish the sentence “I am_____”. Some say it also represents the kind of energy you need to feel revitalized. 

Fire sign suns (Aries, Leo, Sagittarius): vibrant, energetic, passionate, confident expression 

Air sign suns (Gemini, Libra, Aquarius): charming, sociable, sharp witted, intellectual expression

Earth sign suns (Capricorn, Virgo, Taurus): stable, grounded, tactile, smoldering, sensual driven expression 

Water sign suns (Pisces, Cancer, Scorpio): intuitive, emotionally intimate, internal and (sometimes) interpersonal expression

 

Your rising - The energy that drives your life, physical body, outward style (this is both an internal and external manifestation of who you are - I think of it as being nestled right between the sun and moon)  

Fire sign risings (Aries, Leo, Sagittarius): action driven, blunt, full of vitality and energy when pursuing passions

Air sign risings (Gemini, Libra, Aquarius): desire to understand, to learn, and to know drives their approach to life and the pursuit of passions

Earth sign risings (Capricorn, Virgo, Taurus): steadfast and rooted temperament, stamina, and approach to the realities of life 

Water sign risings (Pisces, Cancer, Scorpio): sensitivity to environments along with the ability to influence them, approach to life tends to be more emotionally driven

 

Your moon - Your emotional world, how you react to and process emotional situations, the map to your soul, we often keep this hidden (if we can)

Fire sign moons (Aries, Leo, Sagittarius): passionate, powerful or even volatile emotions that can result in direct and energetic responses to emotional or changing circumstances

Air sign moons (Gemini, Libra, Aquarius): an almost scientific approach to, or thoughtful individual/ social evaluation of, emotional experiences

Earth sign moons (Capricorn, Virgo, Taurus): tangible and realistic, game plans and action steps are applied to situations as a way of processing them 

Water sign moons (Pisces, Cancer, Scorpio): deeply personal, sensitive reactions to emotional situations or changing circumstances - this can feel all encompassing

 

Four Elements crystals

The balance of elements - Next, you can take a look at the balance of these elements in your overall chart - air, earth, fire, and water. Heads up that this won’t always reflect the energy that is dominant in your “big three”. 

Four Elements chart

Dominant element calculator via Astrotheme

 

For example, I am a fairly fiery fire sign, but my chart is surprisingly 46.7% earth dominant. People have always told me that I’m calm, grounded, and stable for a fire sign, but it was shocking to me - my big three is fire dominant (Leo sun, Aries rising, Capricorn moon). I hadn’t taken my five signs that fall into Capricorn and Virgo into consideration - they managed to tip the scale, outweighing the fire in my chart. 

 

Photo Collection

2. Your personal history

Your childhood experiences, especially the first few years of your life, really impact the ways that we channel our vital energy in adulthood. Ages 0-8 are considered to be the formative (and obviously cutest) years of our lives. The physical, socio-emotional, cognitive and motor development that happens during these years will likely go unmatched for the rest of our lives. More nurturing, stable environments with focused care and opportunities for early learning are said to be at the core of a child’s personal development and sculpt the person they grow up to be.

 

As we mature, we’re able to make conscious decisions about the way that we channel our vital energy, whether in an emotional (watery), grounded (earthy), passionate (fiery), or thought based (airy) way. This autonomy will present itself in decision making and our overall life paths.

 

 Route 66 sign

3. Your life path

I’ve heard people refer to your life path number as if it is similar to your sun sign, but I tend to think of it as a confirmation of your karmic journey and direction for this lifetime (your North Node). It’s also pretty similar to the point at the top of our charts that is connected to our social standing, career/ purpose in life, and reputation (aka the Midheaven). 

 

Your life path reveals your greater purpose - your talents, weaknesses, and ambitions. It also exposes the overall feeling of your experiences, for better or worse, and it can provide insight on events that occured in the past, as well as things happening in your present and future. You can calculate your life path number by adding up the numbers in your birth date and reducing them down. 

 

For example, my birthday is 8/8/1992 aka 8+8+21 aka 16+3 aka 7+3 aka 10 aka 1

 

Life Path 1’s tend to be ambitious, determined, trailblazers who don’t mind leading others - embodying a strong vibration of individuality and invention. They’re often drawn to independent, creative and innovative pursuits and need freedom. 

 

Next, you can take your midheaven and north node into account for confirmation. 

 

For example, my midheaven is in Capricorn - making me trustworthy and moral in my attitude toward business ethics. My north node is in Sagittarius - I’m meant to embrace adventure, stand in my truth, and take big risks in this lifetime (which sounds excellent to me). 

 

My life path, midheaven and north node are highly accurate for me. I’m a freelance creative director and artist who tends to have a sunny, adventurous outlook on life. 

 

Woman in water

4. Your individual journey and your soul’s growth 

Now, here comes the fun part. If you’re interested in seeing how your soul is evolving, you can dive into your birth chart and look at your north node (your karma in this life) and your south node (the karma of your past life). It’s like a map to the lessons you’re meant to learn throughout your life. 

 

My north node is in Sagittarius and my south node is in Gemini. According to Astrostyle.com, Sagittarius north nodes are meant to release “gossip, fixating on details, dishonesty, being a big fish in a small pond, codependence, and scattering energy in too many directions.” Instead they’re meant to embrace: “higher learning, travel, honesty, adventure, autonomy, long-distance connections, multicultural friendships, and curiosity”. 

 

If you’d like to discover your own north node, you can find it here. Once you have it, you automatically know your south node - it’s that sign’s opposite. (Ie: Aries vs Libra, Taurus vs Scorpio, Gemini vs Sagittarius, Cancer vs Capricorn, Leo vs Aquarius, and Virgo vs Pisces).

 

This kind of information is helpful to have locked away subconsciously as we move through life, making decisions about the ways we choose to embody our ruling signs, elements, and vital energy. It gives us the power to slowly sculpt our personalities based on the lives we’d like to live and to have more fun while we do.  

 

Tyler Hicks

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