See Lost Zodiac Abridged for full context.
Most modern astrology readings are inaccurate. The signs have shifted backwards in the sky due to the procession of the equinoxes. So most people’s true signs are actually the signs before. Most “Capricorns” are really Sagittariuses, and so forth. The astrology most people follow is called tropical astrology, which was founded by Ptolemy, which uses the seasons to cast the zodiac. However, astrology was originally formed in Egypt and Babylon, which both used the constellations to cast the zodiac. Originally, astrology was based on literal stargazing, which most astrologers hardly do today.
As a result many astrologers lost their foundations. The descriptions of the signs and planets we have today are not “pure” but mixed. The tropical sign Taurus, as most people describe it, really has mixed traits of Aries and Taurus. The planets that rule Taurus, Venus and Moon, are also described with mixed traits. Furthermore, some of these mixed traits are arbitrarily exaggerated. Astrologers expected to see Taurus traits (+Venus, +Moon) in a person, but really saw Aries traits (+Mars, +Sun) in them. Thus they mixed the traits together. That combined with vulgar commercialism resulted in the tropical stereotypes that people know of the most.
The stereotype of Tropical Taurus is slow, plodding, indulgent, ambitious, stubborn, good with money, practical, solid. These are really the traits of Aries (+Mars, +Sun) mixed with Taurus (+Venus, +Moon). Aries is ambitious, stubborn, hands-on, and with a fearful temper (Mars), as well as aspiring for social prestige, and authority (Sun). Taurus is gentle, artistic, indulgent (Venus), as well as casual (Moon). Astrologers expected Taurus but really saw Aries, so they cloaked Aries traits with “earth traits” emphasizing solidness and predictability. This is where astrologers’ double-speak comes from. “Peaceful, gentle, slow to anger, but watch out when you do!” Taurus is not a conservative businessman, but purely a lover, artist, and tragedian: “liebestod”.
Tropical Gemini is mercurial, communicative, affectionate, flighty, and shallow. This is really Taurus (+Venus, +Moon) mixed with Gemini (+Mercury). Taurus is sociable, romantic, affectionate, doting (Venus). Gemini is intellectual, skeptical, and a marketer (Mercury). Astrologers expected Gemini but saw Taurus. They misunderstood Venus and Moon traits as mercurial. Hence they came up with the stereotype of Gemini having shallow emotions and being noncommittal. Thus the double-speak goes like this, “affectionate and humanitarian, but only as long as it doesn’t interfere with his comforts”. Gemini is not a fickle lover, but a versatile tradesman, traveler, and scholar.
Tropical Cancer is a mix of being touchy, sensitive, nurturing, reclusive, but also glamorous and political. We really see Gemini (+Mercury) mixed with Cancer (+Moon, +Jupiter). Gemini is touchy, sensitive, and can be peevish (Mercury), but also associated with children and youth. Cancer is extravagant, imaginative, motherly (Moon) as well as political (Jupiter). Astrologers mixing Gemini with Cancer created the soft, sensitive dreamer that is Tropical Cancer. This is where the double-speak of “shy and introverted but also sociable and brilliant” comes from. Cancer is not a soft, touchy stepford mother but a showman, politician, and Great Mother.
Tropical Leo is glamorous, showy, extraverted, colorful, magnanimous, noble-hearted, a born leader. We really see Cancer (+Moon, +Jupiter) combined with Leo (+Sun). Cancer is showy, tough, individualistic, a showman and politician (Moon & Jupiter). Leo is magnanimous, a leader, dignified, honest, without pretentions (Sun). Astrologers combined Cancer with Leo, which is where the glamorous but noble born leader comes from. Thus, we see double-speak like “extravagant and creative but also overbearing and well-organized”. Leo is not a sparkling showman on center stage but a righteous king sitting on his throne.
The Tropical Virgo stereotype is detail-oriented, a worrywart, cautious, practical, refined, studious. We really see Leo (+Sun) mixed with Virgo (+Mercury). Leo holds aristocratic reserve but also can be overbearing and moralizing (Sun). Virgo is tactical, quick, cunning, and never misses a detail, with a diversity of talents (Mercury). Astrologers expected to see quick and cunning Virgo but saw Leo instead. Thus they created the stereotype of a cautious, detail-oriented worrywart. Thus we see the double-speak, “cunning and quick-witted, but also with aristocratic reserve”. Virgo is not a scolding old maid but a youthful girl.
The Tropical Libra stereotype is debonair, refined, diplomatic, compromising, aesthetic, and fair. This is a mixing of Virgo (+Mercury) with Libra (+Venus, +Saturn). I admit parsing these two out is hard to do, because in antiquity Virgo and Libra were similar. Both were considered the fairest of all signs. Virgo is sharp, multitalented, and communicating (Mercury) while Libra is diplomatic, aesthetic, compromising (Venus) but also sullen, austere, and righteous (Saturn). Astrologers saw the traits of Virgo but masked them under Libra. Thus, we see only Venus with Tropical Libra, and not Saturn. Libra is not only a debonair and diplomat, but is also dark, austere, and shrewd.
The stereotype for Tropical Scorpio is intense, secretive, profound, powerful, magnetic, tenacious, and sensitive. What we really see is Libra (+Venus, +Saturn) mixed with Scorpio (+Mars). Libra is refined and appreciates beauty (Venus) while also reserved, contemplative, judgmental (Saturn). Scorpio is powerful, courageous, querulous, fiercely independent, never giving up (Mars). Astrologers expected to see the forthright character of Scorpio but observed Libra instead. They assumed fiery Mars lay “deep within”, hence the myth of being mysterious and profound. Thus we hear double-speak of “placid exterior but seething intensity just beneath the surface” and “intense sensitivity”. Scorpio is not mysterious or profound, but is a sharp-witted, dynamic, honest warrior.
The Tropical Sagittarius stereotype is gregarious, philosophical, carefree, imaginative, blunt, and opinionated. What we really see is Scorpio (+Mars) mixed with Sagittarius (+Jupiter). Scorpio is a blunt, opinionated, clever trickster, but is also excessive in his behavior (Mars). Sagittarius values highly his social status, is optimistic, focuses on self-improvement, and is associated with religion, philosophy, and academia (Jupiter). Astrologers expected to see Sagittarius but really saw Scorpio. Thus they distorted Mars through “Jupiter lenses”, giving Mars a lighthearted and comical spin. We see the double-speak, “independent, rebellious, fighting for the underdog, but also snobbish and conventional” and “Always bubbly and optimistic, yet prone to deep depressions”. Sagittarius is not a happy-go-lucky clown, but is kingly, and an eminent scholar.
Tropical Capricorn is described as very money-conscious and practical, traditional, ambitious, a social climber, a bit stiff. What we really see is Sagittarius (+Jupiter) mixed with Capricorn (+Mars, +Saturn). Sagittarius is conscious of social status, prestigious, associated with academia and philosophy (Jupiter). Capricorn is pessimistic, has a troubled childhood, economic in speech and motion (Saturn). Astrologers expected to see Capricorn but saw Sagittarius instead. This is where the snobbish businessman out for the bottom line comes from. Capricorn is not an Ebenezer Scrooge but is a melancholic, ascetic sea-goat.
Tropical Aquarius is quirky, unconventional, sociable, detached, intellectual, and aloof. What we see is Capricorn (+Saturn, +Mars) mixed with Aquarius (+Saturn). Capricorn is the quirky, unconventional, bad boy (Mars) but also is humanitarian and seeks the esoteric and profound (Saturn). Aquarius, however, is “pure” Saturn: detached, aloof, nursing grievances, focused on the facts. Astrologers expected to see Aquarius but found Capricorn instead. That is how the idealized and progressive Tropical Aquarius came to be. Aquarius is not the ideal humanitarian, but is a morose, brooding contemplative.
The stereotype of Tropical Pisces is dreamy, romantic, washy, nostalgic, reclusive, easily hurt. We see Aquarius (+Saturn) and Pisces (+Jupiter, +Venus) mixed. Aquarius is reclusive, easily hurt, and contemplative (Saturn). Pisces is indulgent, pleasurable, with a definite libertine streak (Venus) as well as being a medium (Jupiter). Astrologers, seeking to find Aquarius in Pisces, added on the traits of softness and sensitivity to the dreaming Pisces. Though Pisces is truly a dreamer and chameleon, he is not melancholic and austere, but excessive, imaginative actor.
Tropical Aries is described as the leaders, pioneers, explorers of the zodiac, harsh and quick in action, a libertine lover but also fastidious, optimistic, sensitive, caring for the underdog. What we see is Pisces (+Jupiter, +Venus) mixed with Aries (+Mars, +Sun). Pisces is an explorer, peering over the horizon, but not a pushy way. Rather Pisces is an explorer with wanderlust, the missionary, the pilgrim, and charitable to the poor and destitute (Jupiter). Pisces is also a libertine and sensitive (Venus). Aries, on the other hand, is bold, rash, uncompromising (Mars) while also concerned with their own personal advancement (Sun). By expecting Aries but really finding Pisces, astrologers created the contradictions in Tropical Aries. Hence they use the double-speak, “bold and harsh, but also sensitive” and “concerned with personal advancement, but concerned for the underdog”. Aries is not sensitive or libertine, but a hands-on leader and social climber.