Libra, the seventh sign of the zodiac, is a cardinal air sign. It is a positive, masculine sign, ruled by the planet Venus (some contemporary astrologers want to transfer ruler-ship to several of the asteroids; others assert that an as-yet-undiscovered planet beyond Pluto will rule Libra). Its symbol is the scales, which its glyph is said to represent. It takes its name from the Latin word for "pound weight," or "scales." Libra is associated with the lower back, buttocks, and kidneys, and individuals with a Libra sun sign are susceptible to lower back and kidney problems. The key phrase for Libra is "I balance."
Although many classical accounts say that the goddess Astraea was transformed into the constellation Virgo, Astraea is more properly associated with Libra, which is the next constellation in the zodiac. Older images of Libra represented the
sign as a set of scales being held by a young woman, but the actual constellation is constituted by a handful of stars that form only the scales. To make the figure complete, the tendency was to imagine Virgo holding the scales—thus, the mistaken association of Virgo with Astraea. Although her image was widespread, the classical mythology about Astraea is scanty. The daughter of Zeus and Themis, she spread justice and virtue among humankind during the Golden Age and was the last divinity to leave Earth after humanity had become wicked. The association of scales with justice is very old (e.g., in ancient Egyptian mythology, souls were judged by weighing their hearts on scales), and the modern image of the scales of justice is derived from Astraea's image.
Like their patron goddess, Librans enjoy human company; they find themselves through their relationships with others. While people born under Libra are said to be stubborn, they are more often just sticklers for fairness. They can easily become upset with social injustices. The image of the scales resting at balance conveys a false sense of Libran nature: Even though Librans constantly strive for harmony, the scales can easily become a see-saw, especially when Librans are forced to decide between two alternatives: In many cases, they would rather not choose, but let the circumstances dictate choices for them. Librans are also known for their charm, as well as their attraction to visual beauty. They are natural diplomats.
The sign that the Sun was in at birth is usually the single most important influence on a native's personality. Thus, when people say they are a certain sign, they are almost always referring to their sun sign. There is a wealth of information available on the characteristics of the zodiacal signs—so much that one book would not be able to contain it all. Sun-sign astrology, which is the kind of astrology found in newspaper columns and popular magazines, has the advantage of simplicity. But this simplicity is purchased at the price of ignoring other astrological influences, such as one's Moon sign, rising sign, etc. These other influences can substantially modify a person's basic sun sign traits. As a consequence, it is the rare individual who is completely typical of her or his sign. The reader should bear this caveat in mind when perusing the following series of sun-sign interpretations.
One traditional way in which astrologers condense information is by summarizing sign and planet traits in lists of words and short phrases called keywords or key phrases. The following Libra keywords are drawn from Manly P. Hall's Astrological Keywords:
Emotional keywords: "Suave, aesthetic, romantic, enthusiastic, changeable, artistic, easily thrown off emotional balance, secretive in matters of the heart, amorous but fickle."
Mental keywords: "Persuasive, imitative, judicial, tactful, undecided, inclined to be a dilettante, fond of show and approbation, intriguing, materialistic, liable to pout, and enjoy feeling abused."
At present, there are various astrology report programs that contain interpretations of each of the 12 sun signs. A selection of these for Sun in Libra has been excerpted below:
Very sociable, you enjoy being with others and definitely prefer not to be alone. Warm and affectionate, you go out of your way to make others like you. You despise ugliness, so that for you being surrounded by beauty and harmony is a necessity of life. You prefer fine clothing, an attractive home and pleasant surroundings wherever you are. Your refined tastes may apply to music and art as well. Because you have the ability to see both sides of any question, you can at times be indecisive, wavering and faltering when forced to make a choice. The positive part of this is that you are remarkably fair-minded and can be trusted to settle disputes. Your greatest challenge is to make the most of the one-on-one relationships in your life. (From "Professional Natal Report." Courtesy of Astrolabe [http://www.alabe.com].)
Harmony and balance are your keynotes. You instinctively understand the need to accommodate other people's interests and desires, and you are always fair and willing to meet the other person half way. Tactful, diplomatic, and with considerable social awareness, you do all you can to avoid conflict and discord. You express a spirit of cooperation and compromise and often achieve through charm and discretion what would have been impossible to achieve by a direct, forceful approach.
Getting along with others and pleasing them may be TOO important to you, for you can be too dependent on others' approval and opinions to make your own decisions. You will rarely act without getting the counsel and feedback of other people. You prefer sharing and doing things together rather than on your own. Being alone feels very unnatural to you, and you have a strong need for a partner and intimate one-to-one relationships.
You invest a great deal of your energy in personal love and you are very idealistic and romantic about marriage. You seek a partner who is your equal intellectually, and who is capable of a mental relationship as well as a physical and emotional one. You make a thoughtful, considerate friend or lover, and you enjoy the traditional symbols of love— courtship, flowers, etc. Relationships are like an art to you, one that requires time, attention, and creative effort. You appreciate a partner who is subtle and polished, never coarse or dull or blunt.
Fairness and equality, both in your personal life and in the world, are extremely important to you. If you fight about anything, it is often about something you feel is unfair and unbalanced. Balance is very important to you and you believe in moderation in all things, avoiding fanaticism and extremism of any sort.
You also have a strong need for beautiful, harmonious surroundings and a natural sense of artistic style and grace, which is reflected in the way you dress, furnish and arrange your home and workspace, etc. Everything must be aesthetically pleasing and appropriate. Either working with people as a counselor, advisor, consultant, or negotiator—or in an artistic field such as design or photography, would be fulfilling to you. (From "Merlin," by Gina Ronco and Agnes Nightingale. Courtesy of Cosmic Patterns [http://cosmic.patterns.com].)
Perfect equilibrium. That's the spirit of the Scales. When Libra realizes its evolutionary aim, the nervous system is as still as a dark pool on a windless summer evening. Outwardly, Libran energy often looks as though it's already there: it seems graceful and balanced, even unflappable. Inwardly, it's another story: the Libran part of you is tuned as tight as the high string on a violin. Spirit gave you some advice back before you were born: don't pluck it. And don't let anyone else pluck it either.
Inevitably, with your terrific sensitivity, you'll get rattled from time to time. What can you do about it? Watch a ballet, or any other beautiful thing. The outer harmony will internalize; you'll sigh, releasing tension. That's the Libran evolutionary strategy in a nutshell: flood your senses with perceptions of beauty. It will soothe you, lifting you closer to the unbreakable serenity which is the true goal of this sign of the zodiac.
With your Sun in Libra, on the deepest level of your character you are an artist. If you look like one outwardly, painting or playing an instrument, so much the better. Even if you don't, your essence is still charged with aesthetic sensitivity. Cultivate it, and you'll feel as though you've come into yourself.
You were born with an instinctive tolerance for paradox. Everything has two sides, and you'll almost always consider both. This gives great clarity of mind, but also presents a problem. Be careful you don't get caught between two equally attractive or (unattractive!) possibilities and just freeze there. Life will crystallize around you again and again in that form: you'll be faced with a parade of morally or practically ambiguous situations. You'll understand them far better than your more dogmatic friends. The question is whether you'll be able to make a choice and get on with your life, burning bridges behind you. (From "The Sky Within," by Steven Forrest. Courtesy of Matrix Software [http://thenewage.com] and Steven Forrest [http://www.stevenforrest.com].)
Among its several natal programs, Matrix Astrological Software created a unique report based on the published works of the early-twentieth-century astrologer Grant Lewi (1901-1952). Lewi's highly original delineations were recognized as creative and insightful by his contemporaries. One measure of the appeal of his work is that his books Astrology for the Millions and Heaven Knows What are still in print. The following is excerpted from the report program "Heaven Knows What":
He prayeth best who loveth best / All things both great and small. (Samuel Taylor Coleridge, born in Libra, October 21, 1772.)
Libra's aim is to identify himself with as much of the rest of the world as suits the demands of his very eclectic and elegant taste. Despite a gentle and firm sort of independence, he does not put much stock in "being himself," for he values other people a great deal and, if no principle is involved, will please others before thinking of what he wants. In a deep sense, what he wants is what makes others happy. In some this makes weakness. The girl who "made love only to her friends and didn't have an enemy in the world" was very likely a Libran. But so also is the girl whose charm is so great and whose interest so eager that she holds a man's attention without yielding to his carnal passions. And many who have tried to force the apparently yielding Libran along a path counter to his principles have felt the iron hand in the velvet glove.
Libra's willingness to lose his identity in others—in society, in marriage—makes Librans ideal companions, or mates, for those who understand the curious need they have for independence that accompanies their selflessness. They merge with others, but they retain their identity, and will withdraw completely if their identity is attacked or endangered. They are democratic in spirit, but since they identify themselves with elegance, will not allow themselves to be forced into contact with things or people that offend their very strong sense of good taste. Thus they are often thought aristocrats or snobs, when in reality they have the deepest kind of inspect, sympathy and understanding for all sorts and conditions of men.
They also have a great deal of respect, sympathy and understanding for themselves, and see no reason why they should ever give this up. They are the living embodiment of the cooperative spirit; they will work with you till they drop, but rarely for you. By the same token, if they are executives (and they often are) they treat their subordinates as partners, not as servants. Much is expected of the man who works for a Libra boss, who in return pays him well and treats him as an equal. The aide who does housework for a Libra mistress must keep the place spotless, but is treated with respect, as a fellow mortal whose human dignity must never be violated or imposed on. Libra finds deepest satisfaction in harmonious union with those around him, and with the whole world, which is not too much to be taken in by his warm and tolerant spirit. (Courtesy of Matrix Software [http://thenewage.com].)
The following excerpt comes not from a natal report program, but from David Cochrane's recent book, Astrology for the 21st Century. Based on lessons for astrology students, it approaches the signs of the zodiac from a somewhat different perspective than the other short delineations cited here.
Libra values friendship above all else. Friends are equals. Cancer likes a hierarchy where one person takes care of another person, but Libra prefers that people be equal and take care of one another. People can be different; Libra has no problem with that, but Libra insists that all people be respected and treated as equals, whether the person is an artist, scientist, farmer, or teacher. Regardless of gender or ethnic background all are equal.
Librans frequently avoid direct confrontation in order to maintain harmony and friendship. Avoiding confrontation can lead to outstanding diplomatic skills, but it can also lead to little white lies. Little white lies over time can grow into big ugly dark ones. This tendency to subtle deceit and lies is especially difficult to avoid if the person uses drugs or is under the influence of alcohol.
Libra's acute social awareness can give a special kindness and sweetness to the person. Libra is sensitive to your situation and your needs, and their sincere interest in your well-being inclines them to have many good friends and many people who appreciate them. (Courtesy of Cosmic Patterns [http://cosmic.patterns.com] and David Cochrane [[email protected]].)
A number of specialized report programs have been developed that offer useful supplements to the generic delineations of general reports. The following sun-sign interpretation has been drawn from a program written by Gloria Star (originally part of her book, Astrology: Woman to Woman) that generates a specialized report for women:
With your Sun in Libra your ego is driven by a need to relate. Now, that doesn't mean that you must be married or in a love relationship. It is through connecting to others that you gain the feedback which allows you to maintain a balance in your life. This can be accomplished through friendships, work relationships and social situations. You may also crave the best of everything (it's your good taste that can be your downfall if you're on a budget!), and you definitely love the most refined elements of life. At heart, you're artistic, but you can be tough to satisfy.
Claiming your sense of individual autonomy may not be an easy task with the influence of your Libra Sun. Since you tend to think in terms of relativity, it's difficult to extract your own assertive self in a confident manner, especially during your early years. You may have learned to place great importance on your physical appearance or upon proper social behavior, learning to behave like a young lady, assuming that if you were pretty and charming enough then all the other things would just fall into place. Stepping out into the world and discovering that you needed to be known for more than your looks may have been your first reality check. Your sense of relativity can be one of your best assets, however. By making harmonious choices of partners—whether they are friends who share your interests, lovers or husbands—you can gain the type of feedback you need to see yourself more clearly. Then, your autonomy and individuality are strengthened through greater objectivity. But if you seek a partner or husband who will take on the tasks you just don't feel prepared to handle, like dealing with the demands of the world, then you will be continually frustrated and will frustrate your partner, too. Additionally, developing social relationships which support and reflect your true values will help you feel more confident about your identity, instead of just seeking situations which increase your social standing or status.
You may think you don't care much about success as long as it looks good on you. But you know that your Libra Sun is really driving you to reach a stage of getting things right and having life fit your set of specifications. Finding success through your associations with others may seem to be the easy way out, and you may keep trying to change them to fit your desires until you realize that you really are working on changing yourself. So, look in the mirror and start over. What do you want to see reflected back at you? See that confident smile? That's the look of success. The rest should be easy. (From "Woman to Woman," by Gloria Star. Courtesy of Matrix Software [http://thenewage.com] and Gloria Star [[email protected]].)
Responding to the revival of interest in pre-twentieth-century astrology, J. Lee Lehman developed a report program embodying the interpretive approach of traditional astrology. The following is excerpted from her book Classical Astrology for Modern Living and her computer program "Classical Report":
You are sincere and just, an interpreter of dreams who can find out secret and hidden things. There is a danger that in the process you will offend others. You are changeable, just, upright, courteous, crafty, cheerful, and conceited.
While you may be attracted to things warlike or martial, you would do better to avoid them as you could be in danger of dishonor. You are Cardinal, which means that you are better at starting new things than at finishing them.
You are an Air Sign, which means that you are "hot" and "wet." The "wet" component means, among other things, that you blur distinctions, and that you are more swayed by passion than by intellectual argument. At your worst, you see too many connections, becoming lost in conspiracies. At your best, you spot the connection that everyone else missed. Being "hot," you react to things quickly: by expressing your anger strongly and immediately, you don't tend to harbor a grudge. This is the temperament type that is considered the most ideal, because you are the most comfortable within a social situation. You appear warm and friendly to others, and don't seem too eager to hold them to an impossible standard. [Courtesy of J. Lee Lehman, Ph.D., copyright 1998 [http://www.leelehman.com].)
Readers interested in examining interpretations for their Chinese astrological sign should refer to the relevant entry. A guide for determining one's sign in the Chinese system is provided in the entry on the Chinese zodiac.
Cochrane, David. Astrology for the 21st Century. Gainesville, FL: Cosmic Patterns, 2002. Forrest, Steven. The Inner Sky: How to Make Wiser Choices for a More Fulfilling Life. 4th ed. San
Diego: ACS Publications, 1989. Green, Landis Knight. The Astrologer's Manual: Modern Insights into an Ancient Art. Sebastopol,
CA: CRCS Publications, 1975. Lehman, J. Lee. Classical Astrology for Modern Living: From Ptolemy to Psychology & Back Again.
Atglen, PA: Whitford Press, 1996. Lewi, Grant. Astrology for the Millions. 5th rev. ed. St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn Publications, 1978.
-. Heaven Knows What. St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn Publications, 1969.
Star, Gloria. Astrology & Your Child: A Handbook for Parents. St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn Publications, 2001.
-. Astrology: Woman to Woman. St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn Publications, 1999.
Hall, Manly P. Astrological Keywords. New York: Philosophical Library, 1958. Reprint, Savage, MD: Littlefield Adams Quality Paperbacks, 1975.
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