For Mike Todd
who really knew the people he knew
and for Melissa Anne
to keep a promise . , ,
Thus grew the tale of Wonderland:
Thus slowly, one by one,
Its quaint events were hammered out-Ana, now the tale is done . . .
I would like to express my grateful thanks for the help and advice given me by my friend and teacher, astrologer Lloyd Cope, a Virgo. Without his encouragement and faith, this book might have remained just another Aries dream.
The verses used throughout the text have been taken from the works of Lewis Carroll.
The term "Sun sign" means that, if you are, for example, a Gemini, the Sun was in the zone of the zodiac called Gemini when you were born, approximately between May 21st and June 21st, inclusive. You'll find that the dates covering the Sun sign periods are slightly different, de？pending on which astrology book you read. Most astrol？ogers don't wish to confuse the layman with the informa？tion that the Sun changes signs in the morning, afternoon or evening of a particular day. It's all very nice and neat and easy to pretend each new sign begins precisely at mid？night. But it doesn't. For example, except for leap year variations, the Sun, for the last several decades as well as at the present, both leaves Aries and enters Taurus some？time on April 20th. It's important to know that April 20th contains both signs. Otherwise, you might go around all your life thinking you're a Taurus when you're really an Aries. Remember that if you were born on the first or the last day of any of the Sun sign periods listed in this book, you'll have to know the exact time and the longitude and latitude of your birth to judge whether or not the Sun had changed signs by that hour.
A tale begun in other days, When summer suns were glowing- A simple chime, that served to time The rhythm of our rowing-
Someday, you will doubtless want the complete details of your personal natal chart. Meanwhile, you can be sure that studying your Sun sign is an important first step. How？ever, studying your Sun sign shouldn't be confused with studying the predictions based on your Sun sign alone in magazines and newspapers. They may hit you with im？pressive accuracy more often than they miss, but they're far from being infallible. Only a natal chart calculated for the exact hour and minute of your birth can be completely dependable in such a specialized area.
On the other hand, don't believe the common accusation that these predictions are "just a bunch of general phrases that can be scrambled around to fit anybody." That's equal？ly untrue. The predictions (indications would be a better word) apply as they are printed, to the Taurus or Pisces or Virgo person individually. They don't apply helter-skelter to any of the twelve Sun signs. They are written by com？petent professionals and based on mathematical calculations of the aspects formed between your natal Sun and the planets moving overhead, and they give you a fair degree of accuracy, as far as they go. The fact that they're not based on the exact degree of your natal Sun, nor on the additional aspects from the other eight planets in your natal chart, plus your natal Moon, is what creates the flaw. Still, they can be interesting and helpful, if allowances are made for the discrepancies.
The Sun is the most powerful of all the stellar bodies. It colors the personality so strongly that an amazingly accu？rate picture can be given of the individual who was born when it was exercising its power through the known and predictable influences of a certain astrological sign. These electro-magnetic vibrations (for want of a better term in' the present stage of research) will continue to stamp that person with the characteristics of his Sun sign as he goes through life. The Sun isn't the only factor in analyzing human behavior and traits, but it's easily the most im？portant single consideration.
Some astrologers feel that a book about Sun signs is a generalization comparable to lumping together all the Polish, Irish, Chinese, Negro, Italian and Jewish people- or like lumping all butchers, bakers, candlestick makers, merchants or Indian chiefs. Though I respect their feelings, I can't agree with them. True, Sun signs can be misleading if they're used with the wrong attitude. But in the absence of a natal chart, they're far ahead of any other known quick, reliable method of analyzing people and learning to understand human nature.
An individual's Sun sign will be approximately eighty percent accurate, sometimes up to ninety percent. Isn't that far better than zero knowledge? That extra ten or twenty percent, is, of course, most important and must be considered. But if you know a person's Sun sign, you're substantially better informed than those who know nothing about him at all. There are no pitfalls in applying Sun sign knowledge when it's done with discretion. Just plant an imaginary policeman in your mind to keep warning you that you might be off by that ten or twenty percent, and you can use them with confidence.
What is a Sun sign? A particular zone of the zodiac- Aries, Taurus, Gemini, etc.-in which the Sun was located at the moment you drew your first breath, an exact position taken from a set of tables called an ephemeris, calculated by astronomers. As pointed out in the note to the reader that precedes the Table of Contents, if you were born on the first or the last day of any Sun sign period, youll have to know your exact birth time and the longitude and lati？tude of your birth place to judge whether or not the Sun had changed signs by that hour. In other words, the dates which begin and end the Sun sign periods in this or any astrology book are approximate, and this is most important to remember. These two days are called the cusps, and don't let them confuse you. Some astrologers even give them" a longer period. But either way there's been entirely too much stress laid on them for the layman. No matter what you've heard, if the Sun was in Gemini when you were bom, it was in Gemini, however near it may be to the cusp, and that's that. The influences which may be im？pressed on your personality from the sign preceding or following Gemini will never blot out your Gemini char？acteristics enough to turn you into a Taurus or a Can-cerian. Nothing can dim the brilliance of the Sun, while it's actually in a sign, and the variations you get from being born on a cusp are never strong enough to substantially alter your basic Sun sign personality. The important thing is to establish through your birth hour that you were def？initely born within the cusps. Make a small allowance for them, and then forget it.
What is a natal chart? You can think of it as a photo？graph of the exact position of all the planets in the sky at the moment of your birth, formed by precise mathematical calculation. In addition to the Sun and Moon (the two luminaries), there are eight planets, all of which influence your life, according to the signs they were in when you were bom, their distance from each other by degrees (as？pects) and their exact location.
If you were born on June 9th, you're a Gemini, of course, because the Sun was in Gemini, and about eight out of every ten Gemini traits will show in your character. However, the Moon, ruling your emotions, might have been in Aries, coloring your emotional attitudes with Arien qualities. Mercury, ruling the mind, could have been in Scorpio, so your mental processes would often be Scorpion in nature. Mars, ruling your speech and movements, among other things, could have been in Taurus, so you would speak rather slowly, like a Taurean. Venus might have been in Capricorn, giving you an essentially Capricorn attitude in love, artistic and creative matters-and so on with the other planets. Yet, none of these placements will totally erase the basic qualities of your Gemini Sun. They simply refine the details of your complex personality.
There are other factors to consider if you're to be one hundred percent correctly analyzed. For one thing, the aspects formed between the planets and the luminaries at your birth can modify their positions in the signs. But the most important consideration is your ascendant-the sign rising on the eastern horizon when you took your first breath-and its exact degree. Your ascendant greatly modifies the personal appearance (though your Sun sign has a lot to say about that, too) and it forms your true inner nature, upon which the motivations of your Sun sign are based. If your ascendant is Aquarius, for example, you may have strong Aquarian leanings, and wonder why the descriptions of your Gemini Sun sign don't include all of your idiosyncrasies and secret longings. The two most im？portant positions in any natal chart, after the Sun sign, are the ascendant and the Moon sign.
You'll find it interesting to obtain your ascendant from an astrologer (which can be done quickly over the tele？phone), and then read the description for that sign, along with your regular Sun sign. You'll find that the two of them blended make up your total personality to a re？markable degree. A third blending of your Moon sign with the other two will give you an even more complete picture.
Next, the houses of the horoscope must be considered. These are mathematically computed locations in the natal chart which have influence over different areas of your life. There are twelve of them, one for each sign. The first house is always ruled by the sign on your ascendant, and so on, in counter-clockwise order around the circle which forms the horoscope. The astrologer who has care？fully calculated your natal chart, based on the exact time of your birth and its geographical location, must interpret the meaning of each sign's influence on these houses-or locations-also taking into consideration the planets which fall into their specified areas. Blending all the foregoing factors in analyzing your character, your potential, and the indications of your past and future mistakes and possi？bilities (which are based on the aspects of the progressed and transiting planets to your natal planet positions) is called the art of synthesis in astrology. That's what takes the time, talent, effort and knowledge of the astrologer. Calculating the chart itself is a relatively simple task, once certain mathematical formulas are followed.
But back to your Sun sign, because, after all, that's what this book is about. In a way, saying that you're a Gemini is rather like saying you're from New York, which isn't the generalization it seems to be. Wouldn't it be fairly easy to spot a Texan in a New York bar-or a New Yorker in a Texas restaurant? Isn't there a considerable dif？ference between a Georgian politician and a Chicago in？dustrialist? Of course. A rather marked difference.
Imagine that you're a Texan, discussing a man who is about to arrive for a business meeting. Someone says, "He's a New Yorker," and immediately an image is formed. He'll probably have faster, more clipped speech than a Texan, be less warm in his personal relationships, and will want to plunge into business without too many preliminary pleasantries. Hell probably be in a hurry to get the con？tracts signed and catch a plane back to the east coast. He'll be sophisticated to some degree, and probably more liberal than the Texan in his politics. Why is this instant impres？sion likely to be pretty accurate? Because the New Yorker lives a fast life in a fast city, where slow reactions may lose him the seat on the subway or the taxi in the rain. He's constantly rubbing shoulders or elbows with the famous, so he's not easily awed. He has access to the latest plays and the best museums, so it's hard for him to remain un？sophisticated. Due to higher crime rates and crowded living conditions, he won't be as hospitable or as interested in his neighbors as the Texan-his personality will be somewhat cooler.
Of course, a New Yorker can be a slow-talking Taurean or a slow-moving Capricorn, but he wouldn't be quite as slow as the Texan Taurean or Capricorn, would he? Nor would a fast-thinking and acting Gemini be quite as fast if he lived in Texas as he would if he lived in New York. It's all relative.
All right, he's a New Yorker. Now assume you discover he's Italian. Another image. He's a writer for television. A third image. He's married, with six children-and yet another dimension of the man is revealed. Therefore (al？though this is an analogy, and all analogies are imperfect), saying he's a New Yorker is like saying he's a Gemini, for instance, and adding the further information is comparable to knowing that his Moon was in Virgo and he had a Scorpio ascendant when he was born, etc. But even without the extra knowledge, just knowing that he's a New Yorker puts you considerably ahead of those who don't know if he's from Tibet or the South Sea Islands. In the same way, even without a natal chart, just knowing a man is a Gemini or a Leo can give you more understanding of him than could ever be possessed by those wno don't know if they're coping with a fiery Sagittarius or an earthy Taurus.
It's true that a detailed nativity can infallibly reveal the finer nuances of character. It can indicate marked inclina？tions toward or against dope addiction, promiscuity, frigid？ity, homosexuality, multiple marriages, a disturbed child？hood, alienation from or neurotic attachments to relatives, hidden talents, career and financial potential. It can show clearly tendencies to honesty or dishonesty, cruelty, vio？lence, fears, phobias and psychic ability; plus many other strengths and weaknesses of inner character which may be latent for years, then burst forth under provocation during planetary progressions and transits which affect the natal planet positions for a temporary period of time. Susceptibil？ity and immunity to accident and disease are revealed, secret attitudes toward drink, sex, work, religion, children, romance-and the list could go on and on. There are no secrets hidden from the accurately calculated natal chart. None except your own decision concerning how much of your individual free will you may decide to exercise.
However, in the absence of such a complete analysis, everyone can profit from a study of Sun signs, and the knowledge can make us more tolerant of one another. Once you understand how deeply ingrained certain attitudes are in people's natures, you'll become more sympathetic toward their behavior. Learning Sun signs can help cool, poised Scorpio parents to be more patient with the quick brightness they would otherwise think was restless fidgeting in a Gemini child. It helps extroverted students under？stand introverted teachers, and vice versa. You'll forgive the Virgo his pickiness when you realize he was born to keep every hair straight and to untangle issues by examin？ing each detail. It's easier to bear the carelessness of the Sagittarian when you understand he's too busy finding causes to cherish and defend to look where he's going every minute or notice whose toes he's stepping on. His frank？ness will cut less when you're aware of his compulsion. to speak the truth, whatever the cost.
You won't be as hurt when a Capricorn doesn't "ooh" and "ah" over the gift you gave him, after you've re？membered that he's deeply grateful, but incapable of show？ing his pleasure openly. His insistence on duty will chafe less when you know that he disciplines himself as severely as he does others. Putting up with the endless Libran arguments and hesitations is somehow more bearable with the Sun sign knowledge that he's only trying to be fair and reach an impartial decision. The Aquarian won't seem as rude when he roots into your private life if you stop to think he was created with an uncontrollable urge to investigate people's motives.
Once in a great while you may come across a Leo, for example, with, say, five or six planets in Pisces. The Piscean influences will obviously project themselves strong？ly, making his Sun sign harder to guess, since they'll greatly subdue his Leo qualities. But that will happen only rarely, and if you're completely familiar with all twelve Sun signs in detail, he can't disguise his true nature for？ever. No matter how hard the fish tries to hide the lion, that Leo Sun sign will never be totally eclipsed-and you'll catch him unawares.
Never make the mistake of skimming the surface when you're trying to recognize Sun signs. Not all Capricoms are meek, not all Leos are outwardly domineering and not all Virgos are virgins. You'll find an occasional Aries with a savings account, a quiet Gemini or even a practical Pisces. But look beyond the one or two traits that threw you off. You'll catch that flashy Capricorn peeking at the social register-the shy Leo pouting over a slight to his vanity-and the rare flirtatious Virgo buying insecticide by the case, because it's cheaper. The quiet Gemini may not talk fast, but her mind can operate at jet speed. The ex？ceptional thrifty Aries will wear a bright red Mars coat to the bank or talk back to a rude teller-and the practical Pisces secretly writes poetry or invites six orphans for dinner every Thanksgiving. No one can successfully hide his or her Sun sign from you, if you keep your eyes and ears open. Even your pet will show unmistakable Sun sign traits. Don't move the food dish of a Virgo cat to a strange spot-and never try to ignore a Leo dog.
It's fun to practice with famous people, politicians, fictional heroes and heroines. Try to guess their sign, or what sign they most represent. It sharpens your astrological wits. You can even try comic strip characters. Good old Charlie Brown is obviously a Libran, and Lucy could only be a Sagittarius with an Aries ascendant and her Moon in Virgo. As for Snoopy, well, anyone can easily see he's an Aquarian dog, the way he wears that crazy scarf and the World War I aviator's cap, while he chases an imaginary Red Baron from the roof of his dog house. (Snoopy may also have an afflicted Neptune.) Try it yourself, and you'll have gobs of fun. But what's more important, as you play the Sun sign game, you'll be learning something very serious and useful: how to recognize people's hidden dreams, secret hopes and true characters-how to under？stand their deepest needs-how to like them better and make them like you-how to really know the people you know. It's a happier world, and people are pretty great, when you look for the rainbows hidden inside them.
Isn't that really life's major problem? Understanding? Abraham Lincoln said it simply and clearly: "To correct the evils, great and small, which spring from positive enmity among strangers, as nations or as individuals, is one of the highest functions of civilization."
Start right now to study your Sun signs, use reasonable caution when you apply them, and people will wonder where you got all your new perception when you begin to unmask their real natures. In fact, understanding the twelve Sun signs will literally change your life. You're on your way to understanding people you've never even met. You'll soon feel closer to strangers, as well as to friends, and isn't that really rather wonderful?
It's nice to know you.