Your shadow is the opposite sign.
This is a continuation to my Astrology 101 series. If you haven’t seen the previous posts, check them out:
There is no need to read the above articles in order to understand this one, but they can offer interesting insight into other basic aspects of Astrology I won’t be exploring here.
We, average people, tend to think charts are for astrologers, they’re too complicated, we’ll never understand them without help anyway. Well… That’s not entirely true. I’m a beginner too, and I can tell you beyond any doubts that you can, and should, look beyond the sun if you’re into astrology at all.
Our calendar here in the west is solar (it follows the Earth’s movement around the sun), this is why it’s intuitive and easy enough to find your sun sign — usually, you just look at your birth month. If you’re a March baby chances are you’re a Pisces, unless it’s the very end of March, which makes you an Aries, and so on. Most people are pretty comfortable with finding sun signs, but we tend to stop there, and in doing so we’re missing out on a lot of interesting info. So today I’ll show you other pieces of knowledge you can gather from your birth chart without getting into the math of astrology or any complicated theory. These extra bits of basic info are as easy as finding the sun sign, I promise.
Let’s start by addressing what I introduced in the title: your shadow is the opposite sign. So, what does that mean and how can you find this shadow sign?
Oppositions: paradoxically the same thing
No, oranges aren’t perfectly symmetrical like a star chart, but the above picture is just a metaphor to make the concept of oppositions less intimidating. Can you see how each line that crosses the orange is connecting opposite points along the white layer? That’s more or less how oppositions work on a star chart too (except it will have more points along this outer circle, 12 in total, representing the start of each sign).
Since we’re in Pisces season now, I’ll pick it as an example: if you look at a star chart, the opposite of Pisces is Virgo. This doesn’t change, the opposite of Pisces will always be Virgo, and the same is true for other signs — their oppositions are always the same.
If you’re a Pisces, what this really means is the sun could be seen in the sky inside this Pisces portion of the chart the day you were born.
Astrology is all about perception from the point of view of Earth, so aye, we’re spinning around the sun, but when you look at the sky from Earth, you’ll see the sun in a specific place (and it changes along the year), and this perception is what matters. In the end, scientific pedantism is a bit pointless for Astrology because it’s dealing with the angles BETWEEN planets, so it doesn’t matter which planet or star is or isn’t moving in relation to what, all the astrologers care about is the movement itself exists because it affects BOTH ends—and this is something I already said in the first post but will repeat here just in case, if you say “Astrology is anti-scientific” the joke is on you, because Astrology neither confirms or denies science. It just goes to show some people’s naysaying comes from their assumptions about Astrology, rather than a real understanding of what it is or isn’t. It’s just blind prejudice and fanaticism, and even worse than its religious counterpart because scientists were supposed to be open-minded and impartial last time I checked. Sorry, not sorry.
Anyway, rant over, back to the topic: if your sun is in Pisces, according to astrological belief your ego has Pisces energy. We get the impression that we “are” the sun — we say “I am a Libra”, “I am a Scorpio”… in fact we’re more than the sun. The sun just represents your ego. Sure, it makes sense a lot of people identify with their sun signs, because in today’s materialistic world most people are identified with their egos and haven’t yet learned to connect with their true essence. Perhaps if you ask a reclusive monk or a similar devout person whose life isn’t 100% focused on materialism, they’ll tell you they don’t believe in Astrology as much. And why is that? Well… today’s Astrology is mostly focused on the sun, which is the ego. When you’re a religious hermit, you don’t need to defend your ego nearly as much, so you won’t identify with it either. Perhaps these people’s sun sign still makes sense, but they can look beyond it and acknowledge all the other planet influences too, even if just intuitively. And that’s why on a surface level, to them, the sun sign isn’t too accurate.
I don’t make the rules, I’m just a messenger. Look into your life and you’ll probably confirm what I said above. Perhaps you know someone who is “very very Cancer omg the person fits the sign stereotype perfectly” — see how egotistic and petty this person can be, probably a lot aye? This is true for every sun sign, that was just an example. The more egotistic, the more petty, the more materialistic and out of touch with what truly matters in life, the more a person will identify with their sun. And every sign in excess can become a problem. People’s goals shouldn’t be to extremely identify with any one sign, it should be the pursuit of balance, just like a chart is always divided in equal parts, balanced.
The thing about oppositions, though, is they’re directly connected.
That’s also mathematically true in a star chart, as we saw with the orange metaphor. But there’s a deeper meaning to that: when you acknowledge that opposites are connected on a straight line, you’re also acknowledging that they’re on the same spectrum, intimately connected, one and the same.
It sounds a bit paradoxical that “opposites are equal”, but it’s something you should pay attention to. I’ll get philosophical now, but I assure you this is the exact same logic as in the paragraph above: Your shadow is your opposite sign because the sign opposite your sun is hiding from your ego, but it’s also part of your ego. A hidden part. It’s something other people will notice about you, and you won’t. That’s why it’s important to investigate your shadow, and your birth chart has the key to that — on a straight line from the sun across to the other side, super easy to find.
If someone “is” Pisces (aka sun in Pisces), that means the dark, ugly part of their ego will have Virgo energy, since that’s where the shadow is. This is often indeed true. On a surface level, maybe Virgo and Pisces are opposites: one is super organised, the other a lot more free-spirited; one has a practical approach, the other relies mostly on intuition; one prioritises the body and the other prioritises the spirit. But what if I told you a Pisces can get super methodical and obsessive with details when it’s angry? I’ve met my fair share of Pisces people who are usually very sweet, but if they get angry at me they start nitpicking on the details of what I said in order to keep the argument going, they go on tangents that completely miss the point and just hyper-focus on random data, and literally drive me crazy. Doesn’t that resemble Virgo? Why is that?
The reason is simple: it’s in the shadow, therefore Pisces can’t see it. Virgo KNOWS it has a tendency to become obsessive-compulsive. Most Virgo people I know are fully aware of that, so they take precautions to avoid crossing that line. After all, it’s in their sun, not the shadow. Virgo people only “inherited” the productive, beneficial side of this detail-oriented demeanor: they’re able to use it effectively at work, in their everyday lives, etc, but they know NOT to use it when they’re emotionally out of balance. Instead, an angry Virgo usually goes to the opposite side of the spectrum (Pisces, their shadow) and if they’re not careful, they’ll end up making a lot of random assumptions about the person or situation that angered them, and these assumptions won’t come from a logical or methodical place, but a very primal emotional response which embraces chaos — as I said, Pisces. It’s the unproductive side of Pisces energy.
Virgo people will probably disagree with what I said above, because again, that is a shadow. It’s hard for them to see and acknowledge it. But if you’re a different sign and you know a Virgo, you’re probably nodding along.
And again, I’ll repeat: this “chaotic” and “emotional” approach isn’t all bad, like all things there’s a productive and beneficial side to it. Who is good at using it productively? Pisces suns, of course! They’re the cleverest people when dealing with the occult, for example. They seem to have a talent for avoiding obvious pitfalls and/or knowing when to protect and not engage with a dodgy spirit, energy, emotion, or person. Meanwhile, a lot of Virgos fall for snake oil and similar scams in the alternative medicine industry, get into cults a Pisces person wouldn’t ever fall for, etc, because unlike Pisces, they don’t naturally have this intuitive idea of who to trust that goes beyond simply looking at data (which can and usually is altered by ill-intentioned sellers, mystics, gurus, etc). Virgos absolutely can learn to “read people”, I’m not saying it’s impossible, but they must work at it intentionally, because Pisces is in their shadow, so it doesn’t feel natural to them.
I’m also predicting that a lot of Pisces and Virgo people will both get very distraught in case they read this article, because they’re both prone to perfectionism in life. This is another thing they must be careful about. Virgo seeks perfection in the concrete areas of life, and has a really really hard time accepting that making mistakes is okay and human. Pisces doesn’t obsess over concrete details, but seeks perfection in their intuition, and has a really really hard time accepting that what they’re feeling isn’t always intuition — it can sometimes be a delusion or a wishful thinking. And again, that’s okay and human. Not shameful. Nobody is superhuman.
Sure, there will be levels to what I said. As with anything in Astrology, a lot depends on how many planet aspects you have in each sign, etc. Perhaps if your sun is opposing your moon, you’ll identify with the above in a very different way than someone who is the same sun sign but has a Jupiter opposition instead. And there can be many MORE layers to it when you’re also dealing with houses and degrees and all that jazz.
What I said is just a rule of thumb. Keep in mind this is a beginner guide, I’m keeping things simple and therefore sacrificing accuracy. You can’t eat the cake and have it too. But super accurate or not, it is useful information, and it’s easy enough for beginners to find in a chart.
Squares: Astrology’s cul-de-sac
If you like Astrology, you’ve probably heard of squares. I’m guessing you know they’re “bad”, or at least dreaded by astrologers. And I’m also guessing you think they’re a very advanced aspect you can only learn to see if you’re an astrologer.
All of the above is wrong! But especially the last assumption: squares are super easy to find, and they’re a very important aspect to identify in your birth chart if you’d like to know what lessons you’re supposed to learn in the world.
First of all, squares are literally squares. Draw a square on any chart — the 4 signs on each corner make up the square. It’s always the same signs that will be squared. The variables are planets.
The main thing to know about squares, in astrological belief, is the following: they represent miscommunication. That’s why I’m comparing them to cul-de-sacs. If you look at the geometry of a square, it makes sense too: squared signs are kind of near each other but not really, you can’t connect them with a straight line that flows beautifully through the middle of the chart. Communication between them is just doing the bare minimum. It’s like talking to someone you don’t like: sure it’s quick, because all you’ll say to the person is “hi” and “bye” and maybe something basic in between, but did you achieve much? Well, no. There’s more avoidance than pursuit. Not enough distance to spark some mutual interest, but not enough closeness to effectively feel like you’re in the same family. It feels awkward.
I’ll keep to the Pisces example, for convenience, but you can apply the same logic to every squared sign: Pisces opposes Virgo, but squares Gemini and Sagittarius. So if you have one object in Pisces (it doesn’t even need to be the sun) and another in Gemini, they’re squared. What does that mean?
Well, at first sight, it will look like these “squared” areas of your life are in conflict — but they don’t need to be. It’s in your hands to decide whether or not you’ll feed the conflict. The responsibility is all yours. A square simply means these 2 areas need more attention to reconcile; communication won’t be a piece of cake; it requires your conscious effort and focus. The one and only reason why so many people have problems with squares, is they’re in autopilot. IF they were willing to move a finger to make things work, they’d succeed, but results won’t fall from the sky, you have to work. And for some god forsaken reason, most westerners have a tendency to think that if something isn’t naturally easy, it’s totally doomed — when in fact it’s not the case, challenges aren’t always tragedies, they can be seen in a more positive light if you make some effort. Entitlement isn’t the only thing in life, ya know. Sometimes, you’ve gotta walk with your own feet, and that’s natural and good. Let’s normalise that.
An example: if you have Jupiter in Pisces squaring Saturn in Gemini, there are 2 ways you could interpret that:
- If you’re a victimist crybaby unwilling to learn lessons in life, perhaps you’ll hyperfocus on the difficulty and awkwardness of it — Jupiter in Pisces has everything going for it (it’s domiciled, it’s naturally expansive and hopeful, etc) but [insert overly dramatic voice and a violin playing on the background] “alas, big bad Saturn ruined everything because it’s oppressing my Jupiter and telling me I ruin things through miscommunication, and I’m doomed to forever keep doing that, and I hate my life”. Oh, the tragedy! Oh, the drama!
- If you’re even slightly interested in trying to make things work, perhaps you’ll look at the full picture with the challenges but also the potential and opportunities for learning something new — Saturn squaring your lovely Jupiter might be scary, but if you look beyond this fear, you’ll see a teacher. A “professor Snape” kind of teacher, but still, it isn’t completely bad. Maybe this Saturn in Gemini is just trying to teach you to put more effort into your communication (Gemini) in order to access the abundance in friendships and spirituality (Pisces) that your Jupiter initially promised. Saturn in a square isn’t denying you anything, it’s simply guarding the door and telling you the price to let you in. See? It’s a friend.
Which one do you wanna be? I won’t deny it’s a bit of a nuisance to have squares on your birth chart (either between planets or houses or whatever). It can be frustrating at times, and feels just like trying to talk to someone who doesn’t speak your language. I get that. It’s valid that you feel frustrated and sometimes think of giving up — but it’s also misguided and not doing you any favours. Sure, not everything in life is our fault. Sometimes, circumstances are unfair to us. There’s no need to victim-blame anyone. But regardless of whose “fault” is each of our challenges… What are we doing with these challenges? Are we forever just moaning about them? It’s a choice, not judging at all. It shouldn’t matter what I, Meron, think. What should matter is: are you going to sabotage yourself on top of all the challenges that already exist? Why?
Sometimes people opt for fatalistic thinking, simply because they don’t wanna let go of their superficial identities. It’s called egotism. Perhaps you saw your Saturn is in Gemini, read all about it, made it your identity and don’t wanna stray from the stereotype. Maybe you wear astrological positions on your chart as a bagde of honour, like “oh, Gemini is chaotic, so if I have that planet there, I must be chaotic and keep representing it” — No. Stop that. Don’t be a fool. There’s room for growth, you won’t stop “being” whatever it is you saw and found cool and badass on your chart just because you’re working on acquiring the opposite skill for balance. You’re allowed to learn something new. You’ll still be yourself if you do that, I promise. But if you’re stubborn and insist on resisting Saturn’s lesson, then aye, in that case Saturn will punish you. I don’t make the rules, don’t @ me.
Trines: our comfort zones
A trine is another aspect often described in complicated terms, but it doesn’t have to be that deep. A trine is a triangle. That’s technically correct, and way less intimidating.
Trines are considered harmonious and overall positive, but where does that come from? Is it just dogma? Did the first astrologers take that info out their arse? Keep reading to find out.
What happens if you add more water to water? The volume increases. What about fire to fire? Well, it grows too. More earth on top of earth? Same thing. Air to air? Always welcome. Trines aren’t just any kind of triangle on a chart: they always connect signs of the same element. Pisces trines all the other water signs — Scorpio and Cancer.
Trines are more communicative than a square. There’s no awkward proximity OR meaningful differences that could fuel conflict. Sure, it isn’t as harmonious as a conjunction (where it’s both objects on the same sign), but trines have just enough in common to naturally stay friendly. That’s why I consider them comfort zones.
If your Venus trines your Mars, that probably means you find it comfortable and natural to juggle “giving” (Mars) with “receiving” (Venus) in life, since both planets are in signs of the same element and there’s no conflict. It isn’t that you’re necessarily good at it (I might be biased but I don’t respect lack of effort. I’ll only ever admire people who overcame obstacles), it just means you got lucky. Trines are awesome anyway, because they give us that sense of comfort and relief. They act as safe places where we can relax before tackling the next challenge in life.
Chances are you already know what areas of your life you’re “trining” even if you can’t read charts. People are good at identifying their own comfort zones. But if study your trined planets and houses, it can help you gain insight into where to look for solace when life seems too overwhelming.
- If you care about Astrology, and all you know is your sun sign, perhaps consider identifying some basic aspects too. They can help you start to understand yourself, instead of simply “wearing” a superficial identity.
- Some astrologers make things like oppositions, squares, and trines look confusing and intimidating. But the truth is, while there is value in understanding exact angles and advanced Astrology concepts, that doesn’t mean beginners should stay in the dark about aspects. You can have an idea of what these aspects mean even if you’re a beginner, and it’s easy.
- Oppositions work like a half orange, completely crossing the chart; squares are literally squares, and trines are literally triangles. The counterintuitive info is that 1) oppositions have the same energy; 2) the proximity in a square actually makes communication harder; 3) trines only work because of elemental similarity.
- Your goal shouldn’t be to identify strongly with this or that sign, planet, house, or aspect. Your goal should be to pursue balance, because otherwise you won’t ever see past your ego.