Sun Signs and Personality Traits Ashlee Asks: “I was recently reading a book which describes how personalities and birthdays are interrelated. It was very interesting; however, when I looked up my boyfriend’s birthday, I was instantly alarmed. It described many bad things about his personality and really has me worried. I was wondering if these books were correct and should I be on guard?” Kevin Answers: Ashlee, Please accept my sympathy if you were upset by someone’s irresponsible approach to astrology. You do not need to be disturbed by anything distressing that was printed with respect to your boyfriend’s birthday, because nothing that you read is necessarily true—not only for your boyfriend, but also for anyone. The other side of this coin, however, is that this also goes for anything “good” that you read there, too. This question actually brings up two issues, and I’d like to address both of them. First of all, the book that you describe, although it’s one step removed from Sun Sign Astrology in that it considers individual dates of birth, is still a far cry from true astrology. Instead of merely taking into consideration the general sign placement of the Sun (which is only one of many elements that must be considered in order to interpret a chart), they refine this somewhat, and (if the book is the one that I’m thinking it is) employ some numerology as well. This narrows the field from each entry applying to millions of individuals, to each entry only perhaps applying to hundreds of thousands of individuals. Even so, it doesn’t take into account the fact that no two individuals have the same chart and any type of global prediction or pronouncement along the lines of “all Scorpios are this way” or “everyone born on April 30 will be this way” are pretty much worthless. That’s the first issue: and frankly, it’s relatively insignificant. The larger issue has to do with the nature of any sort of astrological prediction or interpretation. It is just as possible to go for a more “personalized” astrological reading or report, one that does take into account your (or your boyfriend’s) individual chart, one that attempts to analyze each planet and sign and house and aspect to tell you all about who you are and what your life will be like. I offer reports like this, as do many others. And ultimately, they too are for entertainment only and don’t necessarily have any truth or accuracy. Why? The fundamental reason is that we are all individuals gifted with absolute free will. We alone choose our lives, our beliefs, our world, our feelings and our actions. Astrology can give tremendous and accurate insight into our underlying, unconscious, spiritual, soul and metaphysical motivations, but cannot in any way, shape or form predict how we will work with, experience, or choose to employ these energies in our lives. Astrologers can hypothesize how a particular planet, sign, or chart pattern might be experienced, or may manifest in a client’s life, but until the astrologer sits down for a consultation with the client and asks the client about it, it’s all conjecture. Do we live out our charts? Absolutely. But each and every element in the chart can be expressed in an infinite number of ways, and we’re the only ones that can decide how we want to express them. Every element in the chart can be experienced and expressed in both “good” and “bad” ways. When I write an interpretation of a chart element for a report, or for a client, it’s always my intention to present a wide range of choices of expression; to offer some conscious and constructive ways of working with the energy, and to suggest also some less conscious and less constructive ways that the energy could manifest as well. Astrologers are human, too. We have our own issues and our own lessons, and our own prejudices, both conscious and unconscious, and one way or another, these are going to come out in how we work with clients and how we interpret charts. An astrologer who had a great deal of difficulty during a major Pluto Transit is going to have a far more difficult time being supportive and encouraging to a client experiencing that same transit than an astrologer who had a wonderful and cathartic experience under the transit. And evidently, the person who wrote the book that you had the distressing experience with has some unconscious and unresolved issues relating to someone with the same birthday as your boyfriend. It’s just a shame that they inadvertently took them out on you.