Star Signs.

I was born under the sign of Scorpio, on Guy Fawkes Day, a great day for a birthday when I was a child – all those bonfires. These days they’re illegal, along with firecrackers and the like. They’re too dangerous.

I have trouble taking seriously the business of astrology and yet star signs intrigue me. They’re one of the few things I cast my eyes over if ever I read a newspaper.

What sort of day can I expect today? My stars will tell, but I dismiss it as soon as I have read it.

Recently as I sat in the hairdresser’s I found the following description of Scorpios and was amazed because it seemed more than usual to speak to me of my own sense of myself. Of course you can extrapolate and imagine these qualities apply to other star signs as well, but I wonder whether those others out there in the blogosphere who were born under the sign of Scorpio might tell me whether this description fits the bill for them too.

I found it in Marie Claire, January 2009, p. 93.

Scorpios are born with an innate sense that life is a struggle for survival. You have a strong and persevering nature. You feel everything deeply or not at all. You have the courage to endure the most difficult loads, and you won’t be told what to do – it’s your way or no way. But once you’ve decided on a project, idea or relationship, it’s tenaciously pursued. You are perceptive, and have a highly developed sixth sense. Your inbuilt understanding of human behaviour also gives you a natural advantage over the other zodiac signs. Scorpios have a special magnetism and a larger than life presence. Deeper down however, lies a well of emotional insecurity. It may be that childhood experiences have left you feeling hurt or distrustful. If betrayed, you can harbour the desire for revenge. Your life lesson should be to sincerely forgive and forget.

For those of you who have read enough of my blog you will know that I am working on a PhD thesis entitled Theories of Autobiography: Life writing and the desire for revenge.

You can imagine how the last few sentences in the Marie Claire astrological blurb leapt out at me. Of course we all know Scorpios are meant to harbour stings in their tails.

So is this how it is for you other Scorpios out there in the blogosphere?

And for those out there under other zodiac signs who might know some Scorpios intimately, how do you find this description? Does it seem apt?

Was I in fact born for my thesis or is it one that derives from my experience?

This is a rudimentary survey and please I’d love to hear from as many of you as care to respond: Scorpios and non Scorpios; astrological believers and non believers; and others, like me, who take it with a grain of salt and yet still find patterns of behaviour in star signs that resonate.

38 thoughts on “Star Signs.”

  1. A long time ago I joined a book club. You know the kind, where they send you a catalogue and you pick a book a month and if you don’t you get their recommended choice. I did quite well out of getting several excellent reference books. One month, however, I decided to take a risk and ordered up The Book of Tests by Ben Hamilton, published by Sphere Books. It contains 77 sets of questions varying from Are You a Sex Maniac to Are You a Prude and I have to say it provided hours of entertainment at social gatherings. It’s out of print now but you can pick up a copy fairly cheaply online.

    The last dozen sets of questions are all related to star signs and I’ve typed up Are You a Typical Scorpio for you to have a go at. My star sign is Taurus and, according to the book, I am a typical Taurean right down the fact that a typical Taurean would think astrology is poppycock which I do. The thing is, it is striking how often the book was either spot on or close to the mark. In my case blue is not my favourite colour and I’m not hopeless with money but all the rest was just about there right down to me being a big softie deep down. I want to shrug it off the same way I do with horoscopes – “Oh, they’re written in such generic terms that you could read anything into them.” – but I found when I took the test for other star signs the results were very different.

    My first wife was a Scorpio and a very typical one becoming more so as she aged or perhaps I simply had more evidence to look at. Someone told me that a Taurus-Scorpio match is an ideal one but it so wasn’t in our case.

    Anyway, here’s the quiz:


    The Test

    If your birthday falls between October 21 and November 20 then your star sign is Scorpio the Scorpion, and you have mystical and sensual qualities.

    To discover how true you are to your sign, answer the following statements with true or false.

    1. You are a very sensitive and emotional person, and your feelings are easily hurt; sometimes you feel as though you have been walked over with hobnail boots.

    2. You have a sting in your tail, and although you are a good friend, you are a bad enemy, and pay people back with double the interest.

    3. You are forceful and have the power to persuade people with your silver tongue, and you put your heart and soul into any cause you believe in.

    4. You are very secretive and at times feel insecure, especially where emotional relationships are concerned.

    5. You have a scientific nature and are interested in anything electrical of chemical.

    6. In sexual relationships you are the dominant partner and need the other person to be submissive.

    7. You lead a hectic social life, yet paradoxically you much prefer to be alone because you feel strangely separate and like your privacy respected.

    8. You like to succeed in all you set out to do, and if you should fail then you seek revenge.

    9. You are a devoted partner and parent, just so long and you are allowed to rule the roost and take charge.

    10. To you sex is a serious and secretive business. You find it hard to talk about, even to your partner.

    11. You are attracted to water, and will feel at your happiest beside a river or the sea.

    12. You are the first to admit that you are not easy to get along with and can be very hard on yourself, blaming yourself for faults and insecurities.

    13. You like many shades of colour, but hate dark colours and black in particular.

    14. Scorpio people are squarely built, of medium height, with aquiline features. Particularly susceptible to nose-bleeds and bladder disorders.

    15. You have a large appetite and enjoy long intimate meals with the person you love.

    If more than 11 statements were TRUE about you then you are a typical Scorpio.

  2. I doubt it will help you, but I too, struggle to take astrology seriously, then experience a peak of interest when someone says "Ah, that's your birth stone!" I am inclined to think there's more psychology involved than astrology. Interesting subject for a thesis, though.

  3. There is far too much for me to write, responding to this post. I was hit just the way you relate all those years ago, reading one particular newspaper astrology group and finding just the right amount of consistency between me and the newspaper Scorpios.

    Sydney Omarr was the name of the principal astrologer, a man who made his bones interpreting Hitler's astrological advisors to the Allies. That experience caused me to pursue astrology though I had no money and the material of serious astrology costs money.

    I came out the far side years later with a finished college degree, using the fruit of my labor to establish my learning in a practicum of book length. Nuns ran the college and gave me college credit.

    In general, the primary thrust of astrology is that there is a destiny to a human life, though not necessarily a specific outcome. Destiny is like the theme of a novel and you could tell many stories and reveal the same theme. Every sign has a style and the hardboiled style from p.93 suits some Scorpios, but every natal chart contains all twelve signs. There is no one who is not Scorpio in some way.

    So the general writings of the magazine presentations will of necessity be interchangeable among the signs to some extent. The good ones rise above with some specific hint or flavor, just like that. Scorpio is an especially complex sign by reputation. Scorpios like keeping hold of that reputation.

  4. I used to dress up as a gypsy and read palms at parties. I had read a few books and had a vague idea about a few lines. I found that by just holding someone's hand, information and words just flew out of my mouth (but then, remember, I have very little impulse control). I always gave people the caveat: I do this for entertainment purposes only.

    Once, at a museum fund-raiser, as I was reading an 8-year-old girls hand, I said, "You have someone on the other side, a relative who has died, that watches over you. This person delights in your musical talent and wants you to continue to develop it." The little girl began crying, then buried her head into her mother's stomach. The father explained that her grandmother had just died and that the little girl loved to sing, especially for her grandmother. I have not read a palm since.

    The reason I mention this is because I realize the randomness of this kind of information and also the tendancy for the ego of the diviner to get involved. In the many times I "performed" palmistry, I noticed the eagerness in people's eyes. This was about THEM. I was totally focused on THEM. They would look for ways that anything I said applied to THEM.

    In the case of astology, I can see many things about your Scorpio reading that apply to me, and I am a Taurus. Michael Shermer in "Why People Believe Weird Things" says, "I regularly receive calls about astrology. Callers usually want to know about the theory behind astrology. They are wondering whether the alignment of planetary bodies can significantly influence human destiny. The answer is no, but the more important point is that one need not understand gravity and the laws governing the motion of the planets to evaluate astrology. All one needs to do is ask, Does it work? That is, do astrologers accurately and specifically predict human destiny from the alignment of the planets? No, they do not. Not one astrologer predicted the crash of TWA flight #800; not one astrologer predicted the Northridge earthquake. Thus, the theory behind astrology is irrelevant, because astrology simply does not do what astrologers claim it can do. It vanishes hand-in-hand with the hundredth monkey."

    As to WHY we have a tendancy to believe weird things, Shermer says, "Humans are, by nature, a forward-looking species always seeking greater levels of happiness and satisfaction. Unfortunately, the corollary is that humans are all too often willing to grasp at unrealistic promises of a better life or to believe that a better life can only be attained by clinging to intolerance and ignorance, or by lessening the lives of others. And sometimes, by focusing on a life to come, we miss what we have in this life. It is a different source of hope, but it is hope nonetheless: hope that human intelligence, combined with compassion, can solve our myriad problems and enhance the quality of each life; hope that historical progress continues on its march toward greater freedoms and acceptance for all humans; and hope that reason and science as well as love and empathy can help us understand our universe, our world, and ourselves."

    Side note: the only Scorpio I was ever close to was a friend who killed herself at age 40. She came from a controlling and abusive background and was tortured by being gay – could never bring herself totally out of the closet. She was epileptic and susceptible to nose bleeds. Obviously she was a very sensitive and emotional person (aren't we all?), but she was NOT able to endure her load.

  5. I echo what others have said here: I dismiss astrology as the rubbish that always draws my eye for just a moment. When it pulls my attention, I'm not looking at everyone else's horoscope, I'm looking at MINE.

    My father and ex-husband are Scorpios, as well as the love of my life (according to the dates given on SOME charts). Elisabeth, I'd say the description provided is a VERY good one for the Scorpios I know. I LOVE the Test Jim Murdoch provided and would love to see one of those for Virgos.

    I find this compelling. I am a Virgo planted in a pack of Virgos where I work. Four of us come to the table with such dissimilar backgrounds, one would wonder if we are of the same species. And yet . . . on the good side: modest and shy, meticulous and reliable, practical and diligent, intelligent and analytical. Our less admirable qualities: fussy worriers, harsh and overly critical, perfectionists and conservatives. It is uncanny how alike we are, and how predictable. We almost foretell what one another will do, with amazing accuracy.

    Ex used to say (and exhibit) something that I like: "I believe in almost everything just a little bit."

  6. I know a particular Scorpio who fits the description well, especially the survival and revenge comments. I will read the the astrology sections in the paper and am sometimes surprised how they relate, but don't take them serious enough to change how i continue my day.

  7. How much fun to be born on Guy Fawkes Day. Your dissertation topic sounds original. Best of luck with it.

    I don’t believe in Astrology although I do fit the descriptions of an artsy Pisces. I enjoy looking at the stars too. I can see how the ancients would spin stories with only the night sky for entertainment. Life before TV stimulated the imagination.

    You ask thoughtful questions. It’s so nice to connect with you!

    How funny, my verification word is "skied." I did say I had to ski the dog before visiting.

  8. well, i really have ever known one scorpio beyond just surface stuff and based on that one person i'd say that the latter half of this seems to fall in line. and (sadly) the business/love/pursuit of revenge, yes definitely.

    i also veiw much of astrology as drivel but every now and again it seems to be dead on. but i've noticed it's full of rather surface (and cheap and easy) contradictions that are inheirant to humanity itself: "you are a naturally shy person who enjoys lots of solitude and time spent alone. however, you can also be quite gregarious, adventurous, and tremendously fun to spend time with." … or something along those line. 😉 and so i suppose i identify with about half of what is written about my sign. virgo. but that whole "little white glove" thing is a definite no. or is that a metaphor? hmmmmmm. hahahaha!

    i think maybe it's a practice in personal mythology… myth-making… the things we want to believe can be very telling sometimes.

  9. I took the test, Jim, and I find I am not a typical Scorpio, at least not according to your test.

    I considered each question as a whole and therefore in situations where I might consider that half of the comment applied to me, when the second half didn't, I considered it a negative, it did not apply to me. I passed only five out of the fifteen comments completely.

    I know it's all garbage, Jim, but it is fun, as long as we don't take it too seriously.

    So far only one of my commenters here, seems to take astrology seriously. Maybe the others who do are too shy to say, or else they're not the sort who would read my blog.

    There's this wonderful writer on autobiographical theory, Nancy Miller. She has written a paper called 'Enough of me, what do you think of my memoir.' I quote her in an essay I wrote on narcissism in relation to autobiography:

    'This self-referential tendency, Miller argues, is an essential aspect of reading that we all engage in, a type of ‘selection process’ rather like the way people read their horoscopes. Because it is your sign, you imagine it has something to do with you. ‘You take what applies to you – the description of your love life – and set aside what doesn’t: the warning, say, about your finances’ (Miller, 2000, p. 435). This tendency, which some might disparage as evidence of narcissism, reflects the way we attempt to find out about ourselves by joining others, particularly in the process of reading (and writing) autobiography. This self-referential tendency is not purely an act of narcissism; rather, as Miller writes, it is ‘a rendezvous with the other’ (p. 422).

    I'd say the same about blogging. I love that expression, 'a rendezvous with the other'.

    Thanks Jim, you always offer so much in your responses. It's such a treat to get them.

    Yes, Dave and thanks. I too am a naysayer, but my ears prick up whenever my star sign is mentioned or that of my husband.

    I think you're right: it has more to do with the psychological than with the location of the planets.

    Somehow if we focus on the location of the planets and hold them responsible for who we are, it takes it out of our hands. This might be a comfort to some people. It's a good deal harder when we have to take some responsibility for the way we are.

  10. Thanks, Christopher. So you've studied astrology more than the rest of us by the sound of things. And like most things it seems it is more complex. We like to reduce things, don't we, into simply recognisable systems.

    When I responded to Jim's questionnaire I felt as I always feel in answering any such questions, whether serious or tongue in cheek, there is never a simple yes or no answer. For me there is always a series of qualifiers.

    Life is like that, it's not black and white however much we might want to make it seem that way.

    Kass, thanks for your thoughtful response. Your story of your palm reading days is salutary. It reminds me, too, of the dangers of simple story telling.

    A few years ago when my husband and I visited Port Arthur in Tasmania, the place of the old convict settlement, we took a boat trip to the Island of the Dead. The Island of the Dead is where they buried all those who had died in Port Arthur during the time of the settlement in the 1800s, convicts and staff alike.

    The tour guide who took us over the island told us some of the stories behind certain grave stones, most now deteriorating through weather and time.

    As we were leaving she told me as an aside that she had to be careful when she was telling her stories. One day as she told a story about one of the convicts who had committed suicide in Port Arthur her words brought forth a flood of tears in one of the visitors.

    Apparently this person had not long before endured the loss of a loved one who had committeed suicide.

    These sorts of things can happen at the best of times, but as you suggest, Kass, the business of giving off some notion that you have extra powers that might influence another can be dangerous.

    It's related to the phenomenon of transference no dounbt and the ways in which we project onto others our wishes, fears, hopes and dreams. The way we can sometimes see others as more powerful than they really are, especially if we ascribe a certain prescience to them. They can then know more about us than we know ourselves.

    The business of humans as forward looking creatures is also powerfully documented in autobiopgraphical theory. One of my favourite writers in this area, Paul John Eakin talks about the forward looking nature of memoir.

    He reckons that 'the process of self narration constantly unfolds in our heads in however loose and disorderly a fashion. We are always talking to ourselves about ourselves, if to no one else, making plans about the future, what we’ll do, reviewing what we’ve done, thought and felt.'

    Astrology plays into this forward looking tendency. We want as you say, Kass, to enjoy a better future, or to imagine we can somehow get hold of it.

    I agree with what you write too, Kass about the importance of hope, and hope rests not in illusions of control but in an ability to tolerate doubt and uncertainty, the seed bed of creativity.

    Well Limes, the star sign that most fascinates me alongside that of Scoripos, is that of Virgos, my husband's sign.

    It's interesting to think of the qualities you describe here. I suppose the one that jumps out at me is the one of perfectioism. My husband is this way inclined too.

    Interestingly though I can see this trait developing in our eldest daughter who also maintains impossibly;y high standards in many things, though not in all, as with my husband. She has a different star sign from us both.

    Is it that we see these similarities once we know the star sign or is it merely that the similarities once highlighted can easily go into the same cupboard into which we slot them, namely a shared star sign, once we have the label.

    This is one of the reasons I hate labeling in psychology and psychiatry circles. It stops thinking and immediately encourages us to adopt stereotypes and to make generalizations without looking at the full picture. Thanks, Limes.

  11. Thanks, Anthony. It is amazing that we so often pick up on traits that are ascribed to us through star signs. I'm like you, I take it all with a grain of salt.

    Two of my daughters are also Scorpios and it is as if we are all similar. But I can also see similarities with my non Scorpio daughters. Again, it's likely that we see these similarities as the result of our foreknowledge of shared star signs and exaggerate them accordingly.

    Sarah. It's lovely to meet you. I, too, love looking into the skies and imagining. I love the word star and I love the image of a star.

    I love as well love to play around with words as you have here in your word verification and the idea of 'skiing your dog'. Thanks, Sarah.

    And thanks, Angela. Another Virgo here. I did wonder how many might emerge. As I wrote earlier, my husband is one and I value his sheer drive and determination but it drives me potty when near enough is not good enough. When his need to get something just right interferes with him getting the job even started.

    Of course I cannot in all honestly ascribe these tendencies to his star sign. They're more a feature of his personality and I can see how they have emerged in him over time given his life experience,

    As Dave said earlier, it has more to do with psychology than astrology but still we love to put it down to something that we can then share with others. 'Oh so you're a …then we have something in common.'

    Sharing things in common and contrasting other things, other star signs, helps a great deal in the play of life. As long again as we don't take it too seriously.

    Thanks, Angela.

  12. Well, Elisabeth, I certainly have an understanding of some of the dynamics of your Scorpio/Virgo partnership! I am SO with you about labeling – we hear one or two words and we think we "know" what there is to know about someone or something. WHAT?!?! Hear the tag and give it no more thought? And lastly, I'm completely in agreement with you re: "did I actually observe that, or was it suggested to me and I accepted it without further work?" A comment about labels in the psych field. Once a therapist said I was somewhat _____-like. Meaning I had some of the traits of people with a particular problem. I went through years of seeking assistance in life from various health care providers who never saw anything more than a _____. I'm older, wiser, stronger. Now I start the relationship saying, "You may discount that _____ tag. It doesn't apply. Figure me out for yourself." ~ ~ Leslie (not sure you saw my comment to your comment on my blog when I gave up my name) ;~}

  13. Oh, I love this…I always look in the newspaper for the astrology signs for me (Aires) and my daughter (Aquarious) (sp? sorry). And if it's a good one for her, heading in the direction I think she wants to/or should go, I cut it out for her, a bit of encouragement that she particularly likes because she's a great believer in signs from the universe. In fact, she believes in the universe. I don't share that belief.
    Her father was a Virgo and I have a particular dislike for Virgos and find myself shuddering away from anyone who says he is a Virgo, though that's hardly rational on my part.
    When I was young and working for some architects, a late night charette at an office in downtown Manhattan, I decided that I was done and was ready to leave and was about to head out, when the men said, "You can't do that. It's too late. Too dangerous." and I said, "Well, of course I can." And after a long argument about whether I could or couldn't leave, one of the men (American, high educationed, quite conventional) who had been somewhere for quite a while where there is a strong belief in astrological signs, said, "April 17th. No, April 18th." which is my birthday.
    I was quite surprised.
    thanks, Elisabeth

  14. Look at it this way. There's 12 astrological signs, and over 5 billion people on the planet. Divide 12 into 5 billion. Whatever the number, that's an awful lot of people to have the exact same future.

    And, at the risk of sounding morbid, no horoscope ever predicts someone's death.

  15. tabula rasa or logos …
    one thing for sure, for more years than we've been 'civilized' and scientific the stars have guided humanity – i don't take it very seriously – but that's probably from an innate distrust of that 'new age' thing – but i do pay attention and something pretty fantastic is going on in pisces right now – tonight …

  16. I love the notion of the uncanny, Melissa, those spooky times when someone manages to see something almost precognitively, as if they have an extra sense.

    It's funny how we try to find attributes that we either like or dislike and pin on that label. My husband's a Virgo and the so-called attributes of Virgos can be grating but they are also wonderful. He is highly talented and anything he undertakes to do he will do well. I admire this in him though for me more often than not near enough is good enough when it comes to practical tasks. I don't feel the same when it comes to people and relationships. In many ways they're more important than the physical world. And now i want to qualify ahgain, when i consider what awful thing we humans are doing to the physical wrld. Perhaps they should not be compared. Thanks for your comment Melissa.

    You're right, Kirk. I've often thought that was: too many people and too few star signs, we can't all be so alike. It would be a very boring world indeed if we were.

    Well, Paul Harryn. What's going on in Pisces tonight? It sounds exciting. Can we know?

    Something to do with your art perhaps? Can you share it, if not the thing then at least the process on your blog?

    Thanks for visiting here in the midst of whatever it is.

  17. Dear Elisabeth,
    hopefully you are fine. This for sure was of interest to read, as I did post some thoughts about my past, until now unable to forget, even though I do have nothing to forgive; yet,hope that I will be forgiven.
    Agree with you that the last sentence remains in ones mind – surrely for a long time in mine.
    Please have you a wonderful Sunday.

  18. Thank you, Robert. I have left a comment on your second last post 'Can hope feed a soul?' where you write about the past.

    I think it is beautiful and heart breaking post and I thank you for sharing it with us.

    And for sharing some of your thoughts on my post here.

  19. Oh I love Zodiac signs and I am especially proud to be a Gemini. I also like to read about the bad traits because I want to be bad but I am such a square. Anyway, Geminis and Scorpios are not compatible because Geminis want to be free and Scorpios want to control. However, I had the most fun friendship with a Scorpio and we laughed all the time. I like Chinese astrology. Even though I don't let them dictate me, I like reading them because I feel flattered with the descriptions. So, I am just playing mind games with myself!

  20. From another Scorpio (16th November), yup, it's all true. Like you, I don't believe in the Zodiac 100% but there are certain traits that are characteristic of certain signs. My son is Capricorn (his birthday is today! :-D) and his sign fits him like a glove. My daughter, on the other hand, is a Pisces and behaves more like a Scorpio, then again, we're both the same element: water. My wife is a Leo, and yes, she is a typical Leo, a leader.

    Thanks for such a brilliant post, fellow Scorpio. 🙂

    Greetings from London.

  21. My husband is a scorpio, I am aquarius. I remember reading that of all the signs of the zodiac the scorpio man and the aquarius woman is the most incompatible. Not so with us. We've been married 25 years and are still very much in love.

  22. My wife of 22 years is a Scorpio, while I am a Cancer. Shari does indeed fit the vagueness of the description to a certain extent. i spent some time in my OCD way back in the late 70's studying astrology. learning to do charts and such. My conclusion was that it is much like weather forecasting in that I could be vague enough to give an accurate forecast without saying anything factual.

  23. Well Ces, you're proud to be a Gemini. It would be difficult if you hated your star sign I imagine. I enjoy my sign as far as it goes, but I do not like the idea that it's one of the so-called fixed signs. I prefer to be one of the mutable ones. I like things to flexible and move, which is an attribute, I understand ,of your lot.

    And Cuban, thanks. You're one of first Scorpios who's written to me directly. It's good to hear you identify with our sign. We can form a club, though I suppose it's already been formed.

    Jean, thanks. Fancy being married to some one like me, if indeed we Scorpios are all so alike.

    So you and your husband defy the ruling. I'm sure there are millions of couples out there who allegedly should be incompatible a la their star signs: those who in theory should not, but in fact do well together, and vice versa, others who according to astrological theory should do well together but they don't.

    To that extent I suspect, life's more of a lottery and there's more than our stars to account for it.

  24. To believe or not to believe?
    That is the question.
    Do you perceive
    A star sign to deceive
    When its open for delegation?
    Or do you agree with its wondering suggestion?

    I'm a cancerous crab, so take this with a pinch of salt! Ha. You sound like a very clever lady. Thank you. Take care. Bye.

  25. Thanks for the poetry, 'Wordsworth'.

    I like the sound of cancerous crabs, though somehow when I first read that word I thought of it as a crawling crab scuttling across the sea floor.

  26. Thank you. I published your comment on my blogg post and it disappeared into infinity! A shame because it was so intellectually put. So sorry for that. Got to rush so I'll come back for a visit. Thank you. Take care. Bye.

  27. I once had my astrology chart done by a computer – this was way back in the 1970's. One of those that you send away for, but giving your exact date, time and location of birth. It was spot on! Right down to saying I would have an "issue" with my brain, but of a benign nature. In 1987 I had a tumor removed near my brain stem – and it was benign.

    Being a Scorpio, I could see myself in much of what is said in your post, but like others I tend to see others as well with these traits. I would like to have a real chart done at some point. I find it very interesting, actually.

  28. Thanks, Nancy. I've heard of these things too, the full chart measurement. For those who give credence to astrology it's probably a more accurate way of measuring our stars.

    Somewhere in our family archives we have a chart that someone did for my husband when he was young. I've not looked at it for long enough to see whether it fits, but as with all these things and as you suggest, some of it most likely will.

    And Tag, scrolling back through my comments, I see I have not yet acknowledged your comment. Astrology is like weather forecasting.

    That sounds pretty accurate, especially given the way the weather is predicted here, with about fifty to seventy five percent accuracy.

    It's mid summer in Australia now and in Melbourne the rain is pelting down. I had the heater on for some part of the day. Extraordinary.

    The bureau predicted some rainfall, but in the middle of our drought stricken city, this defies expectations ,as do so many things elsewhere and in life.

  29. I am Scorpio and this description is just amazingly true!!!
    I never ever read my horoscope and I don't believe in that; but always found astrology intriguing…

  30. K, so I will confess right now that I'm a Gemini who believes in astrology a little bit but still thinks that free will trumps all. Still, it is always unsettling to read an astrological profile and think, "Damn, that's totally me!" Makes me feel unoriginal and a like a photo copy.

    So here's the balance I strike: I think as we are born under our sign we have a few intrinsic personality traits…the rest is up to us to make up as we go along. But we are never slaves to the planets or stars… we are always free to be who we want to be.

  31. Amazing, Elisabelle, we share half a name and the same star sign. That's a good deal in common. How lovely.

    Even when we don't 'believe' in astrology, we still love to look at our horoscopes. What strange creatures we are.

    I'm all for free will, too Phoenix, with a couple of provisos. There are situations, for example the one into which we are born – some are lucky, some are not – thereafter there comes a point with enough help, hopefully we get to make choices that influence the rest of our lives.

    I suspect we are not blank screens when we are born, and that we come into the world with the basis of a personality, for want of a better word, in place.

    We may be helpless throughout infancy but gradually through childhood, adolescence and beyond we can begin to develop ways of negotiating in the world that involve a degree of free will, for most of us at least.

    Star signs might be one way of categorising some of these things, but I suspect they are simply constructions like so many other things.

    Thanks for your thoughts.

  32. Hi Elisabeth

    Thanks for visiting my blog yesterday…I confess I've been popping in here for some weeks now and each time find myself wondering how on earth I'm going to synthesize my responses into something more bite-sized than essay! I really enjoy your posts.

    A few thoughts on this whole astrology question (I see I'll have to break it in two as Google's not letting me publish it in one go – too long, I think)…

    I don't think I'm a 'hook, line and sinker' person, believing life and everything in and about it to be infinitely mysterious. Curiosity, wonder and doubt are everyday companions and are often the prompts for my paintings and writing. I find myself delving increasingly into things of a philosophical, psychological, esoteric nature – amongst these, astrology. My explorations have led me to some interesting places. Astrology is so much more than horoscopes. On the whole, horoscopes give astrology seriously ‘bad press!’ I've had several 'readings' done over period of about eight years (beginning with a natal chart then moving into various areas in more detail – the different houses, elements, asteroids, symbology, numerology, etc…) and I’ve come to appreciate it as a valuable and inherently compassionate tool – not as a creepy, prophetic or any way prescriptive mechanism, but rather as an aid to understanding myself, my relationships, vocation, compulsions, gifts, patterns, predispositions, etc… a whole lot better. I tend to be a bit of a skeptic (some would say I’m a rebel) so for me to speak out on behalf of astrology is quite something! I am not one to take things at face value, must look underneath every stone…

    Alongside the interesting business of researching astrology in more depth, I took up various related, but non-astrological training courses (amongst these psychotherapy, creative writing, group work, collaborative dynamics, etc…) and also spent three – nearly four – years in Freudian therapy. What rich and impossibly challenging years they were, too. But I'd have to say that being able to draw on certain insights that 'my' astrologer had opened me up to, made the process al the more rewarding and fruitful. Much of this is difficult to explain (especially in a Comments Box!), but I guess you could say I see our astrological charts as a kind of map or navigation chart. Each one comes along with a boat, a tent, a backpack of tools, and a set of unique coordinates and landmarks that we must then navigate. Having the map doesn’t necessarily determine anything about the outcome or the experiences we’re going to have along the way. It only suggests we have a predisposition to certain behaviour tendencies, are likely to find certain routes and obstacles easier than others, etc… It’s up to us, though, which seas we enter and sail through, which forests we seek out and cut our way through, which mountains we might or might not climb. The map is a helpful reference.

    (I'll pause here and continue in another box… )

  33. Astrology is a profoundly complex system. It is also unlike the religions we are perhaps more familiar with in that it is primarily inclusive, non-judgemental; it sees our capacities rather than ‘just’ our limitations and encourages a life that’s as free from fear as possible.

    Our sun sign is really only the beginning point – like the name a 'sign-writer' might paint onto a boat; something akin to 'ketch', 'dabchick' or 'catamaran.' No two boats in the same 'class' are the same, however. Each one will be decked out in a different way, and even though each one may look more-or-less the same, take them to the water and they will behave entirely differently.

    So it is with us. There are twelve astrological signs (for 5 billion people – yes, preposterous to think we can be narrowed down to just twelve, but see, we can’t!). Each sign has a set of ‘generic’ characteristics underpinned by a similar blueprint (like the design plan for the boat). But each sign contains elements of all the other signs. Astrologers would say that it is our ‘rising ascendant’ that’s the clearer indicator of our true nature, rather than our sun sign. (The rising ascendant is the sign represented by the planet that’s on the horizon at the precise time of our birth). So, you are a Scorpio but I am every bit as interested in your rising sign. Putting it in very basic terms, if your rising sign is Cancer, you will tend to express yourself in the world more as a Cancerian than as a Scorpio. In some ways, this can be summed up as the personality – or ego – in dialogue with the soul. Or the conscious part of us in conversation with the (always wiser?) unconscious part…

    This is a vast subject – my apologies for going on so long! There’s heaps more to ponder, too, of course, but I’ll stop here.

    Here are a couple of links you and visitors to your blog might find interesting… (Jeanette Winterson’s article is particularly well written and accessible. Robert Wilkinson is marvelously astute, academically athletic and intellectually adventurous!)

    My best to you – Claire

  34. Claire, thanks for your generous and thoughtful response to my post on star signs.

    You've certainly given me a great deal to think about. It also gives me cause to pause in my tendency to instantly discount the essence of astrology.

    It's like that with psychoanalytic ideas. So many people tend to take a superficial view and go for the sensational and simplistic and judge accordingly.

    I enjoyed Jeanette Winterson's article very much. It's worth reading for anyone interested in looking more closely into the essence of astrology.

    I'm glad to hear that astrology is not so much intended to be predictive as an attempt at facilitating greater self understanding. That seems to me to be a worthwhile endeavour.

    Thanks again for all your work in this response. It seems to me you might want to put out a blog about it yourself. It's fascinating when you write about it in this way and with such depth and seriousness. I'm most grateful.

  35. Elisabeth, I am a late comer, but this is so interesting that I couldn't help butting in and especially when I read that Virgos were discussed extensively, since I am a Virgo myself!
    As for me, I was quite fascinated with Zodiac signs at one point of time,especially when I fell in love and wanted to find out more about the star sign and traits of my object of love. I used to dig Linda Goodman's book on Love signs, and read about my man's personality traits etc, which now sounds silly:) because compatibility and chemistry don't come through astrology books. Anyways, it was great fun, especially when both of us read about our zodiac signs and tested how we match or not match.
    I take astrological predictions with a pinch of salt, but reading about them is always fun. It is interesting to note that the typical matches for a Virgo are: Taurus, Capricorn, Scorpio and Pisces. And I never got attracted to these signs(this doesn't mean I won't).
    My track record says, Aquarius, Libra and Gemini:D

    The books and texts on Virgo say that Virgos are quite difficult at times (one of the person who posted a comment on your blog declared that they never liked Virgos)is true. Ask my kids, they would vouch for how I drive them nuts:)

    However, I found myself to be a strange paradox when I read about Virgo traits. They say Virgos are not the romantic types, practical, critical, worrier, perfectionist, well..well…I have an impossibly romantic heart and I am absolutely impractical almost to the point of living in a surreal world most of the time:) Worrier, yes, perfectionist no. But I believe in excellence. Giving 100% to everything I do. Like a typical Virgo I hate hypocrisy, superficiality and sloppiness but on the other hand I do have a huge tolerance for those who fall short in my expectations.
    Maybe the zodiac attributes are not entirely true and yet not completely baseless. The best thing in my eyes is to enjoy reading about them, without judging a person just on the basis of their zodiac signs.

  36. Hi Nazia. Latecomers are most welcome. And you too are a Virgo, but different it seems from the rest.

    As for your skepticism, which so many of us share I can only suggest you scroll back here and look at Claire Benyon's comments and links.

    She makes a good deal of sense and provides a broader view on astrology than I have hitherto known. Thanks, Nazia.

  37. Hello Elisabeth

    As I said on my blog, I appreciate your openness, your exploratory mind. 'Tis a fine thing when curiosity takes us by the hand, I think, and leads us into territory we might not ordinarily venture. You have certainly given me much food for thought on my visits to this space – your 'blog' parlour…

    A couple of days ago I asked my astrologer to do an update reading for me, btw — seems to me there's a lot in the air at the moment and it's time for one. If you ever feel prompted to give this a chance, I just want to say that I found/find it a very loving and enlivening experience. With his permission I'm passing on his email address… He lives in Christchurch, NZ and originally hails from Minnesota in the US. NZ has been home to him for 30 + years now. His name is Lawson Bracewell and he's currently establishing a school of meditation on the beautiful, volcanic Banks Peninsula, about an hour outside of Christchurch).

    Warmly, Claire

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