Authors: Linda Goodman
Copyright Â©1968 by Linda Goodman
Copyright Â© 2011 The Linda Goodman Trust
Cover art to the electronic edition copyright Â© 2011 by RosettaBooks, LLC
Publisher's Note to the 2011 Edition:
Sun Signs popularized astrology in the United States and around the world when published in 1968. A publishing phenomenon by any standard, Sun Signs remains a staple of the non-fiction backlist of Bantam in the United States and Pan in the UK and in many foreign translations. This updated edition preserves Linda Goodman's memorable words. The editorial changes address gender references and role models which were quite differently perceived in 1968 than today. Linda Goodman used references to personalities to illustrate her points. We have omitted those who have faded from view and added more contemporary examples to sharpen Linda's original observations.
This updated version will hopefully enhance what Linda Goodman achieved so splendidly â a basic introduction to astrology.
First electronic edition published 2011 by RosettaBooks LLC, New York.
ISBN e-Pub edition: 9780795316098
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, depending on which astrology book you read. Most astrologers don't wish to confuse the layman with the information 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 midnight. 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 sometime 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
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.
HOW TO UNDERSTAND SUN SIGNS
A tale begun in other days,
When summer suns were glowingâ
A simple chime, that served to time
The rhythm of our rowingâ
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. However, 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 impressive 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 equally 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 competent 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
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 accurate 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 important 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 peopleâor 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 zodiacâAries, Taurus, Gemini, etc.âin 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
day of any Sun sign period, you'll have to know your exact birth time and the longitude and latitude 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 born, it was in Gemini, however near it may be to the cusp, and that's that. The influences which may be impressed on your personality from the sign preceding or following Gemini will never blot out your Gemini characteristics enough to turn you into a Taurus or a Cancerian. 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 definitely 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 photograph 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 born, their distance from each other by degrees (aspects) and their exact location.
If you were born on October 9th, you're a Libran, of course, because the Sun was in Libra, and about eight out of every ten Libra 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 mattersâand so on with the other planets. Yet, none of these placements will totally erase the basic qualities of your Libra 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 ascendantâthe sign rising on the eastern horizon when you took your first breathâand 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 important 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 telephone), 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 remarkable degree. A third blending of your Moon sign with the other two will give you an even more complete picture.