The twelve symbols of the zodiac, representing each sign. Each astrological sign has a symbolic character that correlates to the constellation or ideals around it. Illustration by Everette Cogswell. 

Astrology is the study and interpretation of celestial bodies and their interpreted impact on human behavior or characteristics. Essentially, the stars’ place in the sky at the time an individual is born, and how it is believed to shape them. Astrology is a very old system, observed in civilizations as far back as ancient Greece and Rome. There is ongoing debate among professionals and amateurs on whether astrology is a reliable source to inform us about ourselves. While it is not based in science or genetic study, astrology is a fun way to learn about your peers or hypothesize about the future. Each sign stretches across the end of one month into the beginning of another, and is categorized under one of the four ruling elements: Fire, Water, Earth, and Air. The traits of each sign are determined by many factors, including the sign’s element, the stories behind the sign’s constellation, and word of mouth or hypotheses. The precise sources and their reliability on the sign’s characteristics is unclear, and each individual may or may not fit the given mold. Here is each sign’s perspective on astrology and how they identify with their sign.

Aries (March 21 to April 19)

The first sign of the zodiac is Aries. They are stereotypically seen as short tempered, controlling, and quiet, however their independence and confidence make them good role models and leaders. Franklin Senior Luis Barrios loves the idea of being an Aries, although he doesn’t always feel like he identifies with it. Though his traits match those of a typical Aries, he feels “different” from other Aries he has encountered. Luis conforms to the stereotypes of being fiery or often angry, especially when he feels like his intelligence is being tested. He is very organized and competitive, earning him high achievement and success. When it comes to his beliefs around astrology he said, “I sometimes believe in [astrology] since some signs really do fit certain people.” The symbol for Aries is a ram.

Taurus (April 20 to May 20)

Tauruses are usually easily identifiable. Often stubborn, persuasive, and self-assured, they make excellent leaders. An anonymous Franklin student is a proud Taurus, though she dislikes most others sharing her sign. She claims she fits all descriptions of her astrological sign, as a strong-headed and holistic person, while also loving attention and gossip. Haters will say Tauruses are shallow or vain, which may be because they are ruled by the planet Venus. Venus represents love, beauty, and attraction, which can be important values to Tauruses, but making generalizations about anyone based on star signs is both irksome and inaccurate. Our Franklin Taurus says, “at times I think astrology is too extensive to understand which is annoying.” While she subscribes to astrology and finds it intriguing, she sees it as an “observational experiment,” a tool to notice differences. The Taurus is symbolized by a bull.

Gemini (May 21 to June 20)

For whatever reason, according to many horoscope websites, word of mouth, and astrology “experts,” Geminis have a bad reputation. Assumptions about the sign range from them being untrustworthy to being egotistical narcissists. “From what I’ve gathered, there aren’t many positive connotations to being a Gemini,” says Franklin senior Cooper Long. While Long has an ego, he uses it to further his goals, never to inhibit anyone else’s freedoms. He values empathy, honesty, and non-toxicity which are not qualities reflected in many Gemini descriptions. With many people having their own judgements on Geminis, Long is inclined to question astrology. “Although psychology is deeply flawed, it’s more accurate in predicting human behavior. I don’t think astrology expands on much other than the stars and constellations.” The symbol for Gemini is a pair of twins.

Cancer (June 21 to July 22)

One of the three water signs, Cancer is thought to be sensitive, sentimental, and emotional. Leo Edwards, Franklin junior, though sharing the name of another sign, is a Cancer with many of the standard characteristics of his sign. Though he claims to only cry once a month, he is deeply empathetic and emotionally intelligent. Cancers are known to be intuitive, creative, and kind, which are all words that sum up Edwards, as an inventive pianist and community member at Franklin. Edwards proves to be a typical Cancer, for better or for worse, with traits of selflessness, adaptability, quietness, as well as self-doubt. On the theory of astrology, Edwards says that “things have the power that you give them.” He believes that astrology has some accurate aspects, perhaps because people subconsciously try to act like their sign, or maybe because birthdays do determine personality; however, it seems unreasonable for it to apply to everyone as a blanket rule. Cancer’s symbol is a crab.

Leo (July 23 to August 22)

People with Leo as their sun sign can be categorized as open-hearted, headstrong, and attention-loving. They are the gossips and the entertainers of the zodiac. This powerful fire sign is thought to be profoundly loyal and stubborn, sometimes to a fault. Out of three interviewed Franklin Leos, none described themselves as lovers of drama, or even as particularly outgoing people. One Leo seemed frustrated by astrology altogether: “it irritates me when people put all their trust into one idea. I don’t take the stereotypes from astrology seriously at all.” This person identifies as an introvert, who avoids attention at all costs, defying the main traits of a Leo completely. Leo is symbolized by a lion.

Virgo (August 23 to September 22)

Virgo is thought to be feminine and nurturing. Interestingly, many recognized billionaires, including Warren Buffet and Jack Ma, both worth tens of billions of dollars, share the sign of Virgo. This may be due to their organizational skills and motivation, contributing to their focus and success. “I love being a Virgo,” says Franklin junior Ella Callanan, born in mid September. “I am very organized and gentle, but I’m also picky or fussy,” she admits, saying that these tend to apply to many Virgos. Callanan hopes to be wealthy and make a name for herself, and with her strengths and Virgo characteristics, she very well could be. This sign is symbolized by a virgin woman or maiden.

Libra (September 23 to October 22)

Caleb Lanning belongs to the uncontroversial Libra community, with characteristics of being calm, conflict avoidant, and balanced. Lanning enjoys his Libra-self as the sign seems well-liked overall, stating “I’m safe from astrology based criticism.” He has heard that Libras are supposed to be attention craving, perfectionist, magnanimous people, all of which do not apply to the shy, easygoing person he is. This leads him to doubt astrology and the conclusions it draws, saying, “It’s your experiences that define you, not the stars or your birthday.” The symbol for the air sign of Libra is a scale.

Scorpio (October 23 to November 21)

The Scorpio faces similar judgements to the Gemini or the Leo, with assumptions such as them being conceited, snobbish, or overtly sexual. A perfect example of a Scorpio is Audrey Arasmith⸺fierce, feisty, and sometimes even snotty. She is outspoken and confident, stating, “I am such a Scorpio.” Scorpio is often mistaken for a fire sign, though it’s actually water. This may be due to the Scorpio’s emotional depth and sensitivities being reserved or shielded, whereas other water signs (Cancer, Pisces) wear their hearts on their sleeves. Scorpio’s symbol is, unsurprisingly, a Scorpion. 

Sagittarius (November 22 to December 21)

Sagittariuses are known for their charisma and intellect. Categorized as independent and witty, they are lovers of adventure and exploration. Occasionally blunt to the point of causing offense, Sagittariuses can cause conflict due to their brutal honesty. Kate Williams, a Saint Mary’s sophomore, is spontaneous, adventurous, and fiercely independent, resembling a typical Sagittarius; although she does not think of herself as blunt or valuing honesty over courtesy. This Sagittarius doesn’t take astrology seriously, seeing it as mere entertainment: “I think we just project ourselves into the things people say about our signs,” she says, thinking that it has nothing to do with shaping a person’s identity. The symbol of Sagittarius is a centaur (half-man, half-horse), or an archer.

Capricorn (December 22 to January 19)

Capricorns are seen as the responsible realists; the mature, frugal, even uptight older siblings of the other signs. They can be driven by competition, and desire organization and tradition. University of Oregon student William Dillender-Kinast says he fits those generalizations, being an older sibling and having an extremely competitive side. He upholds time-honored traditions, and the values of his family and friends, and enjoys being a Capricorn because he has never encountered slander for it. This pragmatic Capricorn doesn’t believe in astrology even a bit, as it holds no universal truths that are factual. A goat symbolizes the earth sign of Capricorn.

Aquarius (January 20 to February 18)

Franklin junior Bryan Rose claims Aquariuses are the superior sign. Some would say this is a fitting opinion for an Aquarius to have. These easygoing, patient, and friendly people are subject to judgment and bias, as they are thought to be emotionally unavailable, secretive, and manipulative. Rose finds these accusations to be untrue; he adequately talks about his feelings and is honest, despite his love of argument and being a contrarian. Rose, as well as many typical Aquariuses, hold themselves with high intellect and a love of sharing their knowledge. Sometimes, according to Rose, this can result in unnecessary explanations, but it is only with good intent. Rose is wary of astrology, saying “it doesn’t make sense that my personality would be based on the stars I was born under.” Aquariuses are identified by the symbol of a water pitcher, or a water bearer.

Pisces (February 19 to March 20)

Doug Bayer is a textbook Pisces. A regular Franklin substitute teacher and lover of the arts, Mr. Bayer is a March Pisces with a creative, imaginative, and sensitive outlook on the world. He tends to fit into the Pisces stereotypes of  being dramatic, performative, or emotionally fragile. He uses astrology as a guide throughout his life. “I think it’s as applicable as every other belief system,” he said. “I have definitely believed in it when I needed to make judgments or understand life at whatever point.” He thinks of it as a potential tool, a lens for when you are in need of guidance. Fish symbolize the Pisces water sign. 

With each individual being exactly that⸺individual⸺it is impossible to label a group under a shared personality or skill set, whether it be based on background, genetics, external appearance, or something as superficial as date of birth. This is the principle astrology fails to recognize in its categorizations of the twelve zodiac signs. Despite this, astrology is still a source of entertainment, insight, and self awareness for each person willing to look into their identities and at the connections and deviations they may find within astrology. 

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