Many people who are new to astrology can see how other people's Sun signs fit them, but are puzzled that their own sign doesn't ring true. This sort of discrepancy can result in a skeptic's prejudice against astrology. The truth is, the Sun's zodiac sign can be modified—even over-shadowed—by a number of other factors in the birth chart that alter the Sun's nature. Two of the strongest modifications come about through the house the Sun is placed in and any major aspects1 to it. Later on, we will devote lengthy chapters to the houses and aspects and their place in interpreting the total chart. Here it is only important to understand what these features are and how they modify the Sun.
Briefly, the birth chart is divided into twelve pie-shaped wedges called houses, (see the diagram below) each of which is similar in nature to a particular sign and planet. Each house represents a number of related areas of life (e.g. the seventh house represents marriage, business partnerships, and other committed relationships).
Why, you may wonder, is it important to find out which house your Sun inhabits? Each house is associated with a sign of the zodiac, being similar to that sign in terms of the major interests and concerns they share. For example, people with the Sun in the
1 As mentioned in Chapter 1, an aspect is created when two planets form an angle like 60°, 90°, or 180° apart that indicates a particular type of interaction between the two planets—their energies are blended. Some common aspects include the square (90°), and opposition (180°), which are difficult blends, while the trine (120°) and sextile (60°) are harmonious.
second house have a touch of Taurus, in that they share Taurus' concern with finances. Depending on the Sun's actual sign, they may or may not be as commonsensical as the earth sign Taurus, but they are required to put a good deal of energy into earning a living and managing their finances. A person with Sun in Pisces but in the second house might be more grounded financially than the average Pisces would be, but would have much more difficulty in remaining down to earth and commonsensical than the average Taurus. As you can see, the result is a blend of the two signs, though the actual Sun sign is the stronger of the two influences.
If you have a copy of your birth chart, scan it to find out the house where the symbol for the Sun, shown at the left, is placed. Inside each house in the diagram, you will see an astrological symbol for one of the twelve zodiac signs. For instance, in the house next to the number 1, you will find the glyph for Aries, the first sign of the zodiac. In house two, you will find the glyph for Taurus, the second sign of the zodiac. The numbering and sign correspondence continues all the way around to the twelfth house and its associated sign Pisces. For those who are not yet familiar with the glyphs, here is the list in table form2:
Blending together the qualities of the Sun's sign and house would help you understand more about your basic character. For example, people with the Sun in the fourth house may share some qualities of the sign Cancer, since their homes, families, and roots are a major focus of energy and effort. Depending on the actual Sun sign, they may or may not share other well-known Cancerian qualities like emotionality, moodiness, or attachment to the past—Sun in Aquarius in the fourth, for instance, would definitely not be hung up in the past. As for those with a seventh house Sun, there would be some common ground with the sign Libra, in that relationships would be a major concern. Each of the other sign/house pairings shares a similar connection. We will learn about the houses in depth in Chapter 13. (Use the bookmark at the side of this page to skip ahead to that chapter if you like and read about the house where your Sun is located.)
A second modification has to do with major aspects to the Sun. You will learn much more about the various aspects in Chapter 14, but here let's focus on the most powerful of aspects, the conjunction, in which two planets stand within an 8-10° range of one another in the zodiac. When a planet is conjunct the Sun, it is such a powerful influence that the Sun's sign can almost be eclipsed. For instance, Pluto is the planet connected with the sign Scorpio—more properly called the ruler of Scorpio. When
2 This practice of equating the planets, houses, and signs was popularized by Dr. Zipporah Dobyns, who taught her system to several generations of today's astrologers. Many of Dr. Dobyns' ground-breaking books are still in print through Astro Communications Services at http://www.astrocom.com.
people have Pluto conjunct the Sun, regardless of the sign, there is more than a hint of Scorpio about them. They can be intensely emotional, highly focused on power and how it is used, and no doubt passionate. In fact, someone guessing their sign might name Scorpio rather than the actual Sun sign. Likewise, people with Saturn conjunct the Sun would tend to have many qualities in common with the sign Saturn rules, Capricorn. They will be concerned with long-range goals, wanting to perfect themselves, and possibly even as cautious and perfectionistic as the textbook Capricorn.
For the remaining trios of signs, houses, and planets, refer back to the table given in Chapter One. Hopefully this explanation will have cleared up a part of the mystery for those of you who haven't been able to identify fully with your Sun sign.
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