The planetary processes are modified by the twelve signs by virtue of their elements. There are four elements: fire, earth, air and water. Each is further differentiated by being expressed in one of the three ways: cardinal, fixed or mutable. At this point it is enough to know that the fire signs [Aries, Leo, Sagittarius] work most happily through action; the earth signs [Capricorn, Taurus, Virgo] through practical manifestation; the air signs [Aquarius, Gemini, Libra] through mentality; and the water signs [Pisces, Cancer, Scorpio] through the emotional nature.
-Alice O. Howell
My own star sign is Leo, a fire sign ruled by the Sun. I'm born on the 26th of July, which means there is also a strong Cancer influence (an emotional personal type); meaning for a Leo I'm a bit more of modest temperament that my star sign usually is. (I don't know my rising sign, which would be quite interesting to find out.)
Anyway, I feel being both blessed and cursed by being a Leo; which means I crave for attention and people's acceptance. When I get people's admiration, I just shine, but when I feel only neglected by people, I'm totally down. In psychological terms one could call this just plain narcissism, but I feel there's something much more involved there.
I've always found it hard to develop a healthy sense of self-esteem; free from either of any trappings of delusions of grandeur, or, lying down in the depths of my miserable self-pity. Nevertheless, I'm a strong believer in the old maxim of "Know thyself", and both undergoing personal therapy and studying on my own a bit of psychology -- and also some more "esoteric" arts -- have helped me considerably in understanding myself better.
A major guide on my own road here has been the ideas and writings of C.G. Jung, the master of combining both modern psychology and ancient esoteric thinking -- which are not so far from each other as one might suppose. Recently, I found from library American astrologer Alice O. Howell's book Jungian Symbolism in Astrology, which I have now read with great interest. You may smirk at astrology and horoscopes, but I think astrology is something that should not be understood as any logical science in the modern sense, but more as an art of intuitively trying to understand the human nature. Basically, star signs can be considered another set of Jungian archetypes, or indications of different personality types. (Also, Jung's idea of synchronicity, a set of meaningful coincidences, has always interested me a lot. Well, how about this for one synchronicity: also Dr. Jung's own birthday was the 26th of July; finding this out felt really meaningful to me.)
After my own recent personal shortcomings it really struck a nerve when I read from Howell's book the following passage of the positive and negative aspects of the Sun signs including my star sign, Leo, because those descriptions fit in perfectly with my own situation and state of mind:
How, you may ask, can the nature of the Sun be negative? It becomes negative through excess or weakness, when it is out of balance. In nature, the result is aridity, heat, drought, and barren desert -- a fierce, blinding and destructive heat. Or, it can be pale, wan, cold, vapid, and listless. The parallels in the psyche are the destructive aspects of tyranny, obsessive will, and the inflation and subsequent corruption of power and unbridled anger; or the cold cruelty and heartlessness of someone locked in a sunless inner world. One does not know whom to feel sorrier for -- such a person or those around him or her.
The nature of the Sun in Aries is to lead and in Leo to rule. When life conspires to permit this in a constructive way, good things happen. But whenever this energy is frustrated, a complex is set up: the need to be recognized becomes imperative and the person becomes dominated by a subversive insistence which causes troubles in relationships and triggers anger, resentment, and sometimes downright hostility. This, in turn, interferes with the success and achievement the Sun is craving for.
Reading this helped me immensely in understanding my anger and frustration. I'm probably at my best (hope I don't sound like a typical pompous Leo now) when I feel my unfettered ambition is let reign freely; but when this is, for one reason or another, hindered, my asocial, dark side easily becomes prevalent; expressed either by bouts of anger, or just as resigned sadness and melancholy, even depression.
When I was a child, more often than not, I was overwhelmed by the feelings of being neglected or misunderstood, just like the "Invisible Child" in Tove Jansson's fairytale. I became a loner, but to my fortune I had a vivid fantasy life, and I loved books and reading, so I always had a private world of my own where to retreat.
However, my social development was lacking, and even these days I find it easier to communicate with people by any other means than an actual face-to-face conversation. These means are music, art and writing.
And this is quite interesting since it fits perfectly in with Leary's and Wilson's theory of the Eight-Circuit Model of Consciousness, where the idea is that we compensate our missing attributes with others in their stead; i.e. a person missing social skills tends to compensate, for example, by developing his/her intellectual faculties.
Probably my whole pHinnWeb "empire" acts as a huge compensation for my missing "real life" communication skills. Dealing with social situations still confuses me, and I'm afraid my combination of shyness and moodiness (caused by the inner conflicts mentioned above) is often misinterpreted as arrogance and hostility. I have always been "the weird one". Still, I have always somehow managed to bypass this by other means -- which I have found very, very lucky.