In Tibetan Buddhism, different archetypal energies are talked about in terms of their positive and negative qualities.
As Trungpa said it, “enlightened” and “neurotic”. I always loved this idea, because it suggests nothing we feel is good or bad, but just how we relate to it; neurotic energies can act as fuel if we transform them.
Astrological energies are also seen in this way—capable of helping you realize your full potential when related to correctly, capable of miring you indefinitely if not.
Do not doubt yourself too much when reading into the negative qualities of your sign if you don’t tend to embody those traits! If it’s not broken don’t fix it. Actually your sign brings you many gifts. But if you do notice these neurotic qualities, don’t hesitate to take measures to find balance. Through using Sila, Samadhi and Prajna, the three essential points of living a fulfilling life in Buddhism, negative proclivities can be transmuted into positive energies.
Keep in mind your chart includes a lot more than just your sun sign, including the other planets and which houses they are in. I have a lot of Pieces energy in my chart, although my Sun is in Gemini. Everyone has all the signs’ energy in some amount in their chart.
Here are the signs and their positive/negative qualities. But first, what are Sila, Samadhi and Prajna?
What is morality (Sila)?
If “morality” sounds like a turn off to you just remember it’s just a word! It means lots of things to different people. Basically things do matter in the real world in which we live, because people suffer when we don’t fulfill our potential. The more positive you act, i.e. the more you aim to help others, the more merit you receive. Merit (puṇya) literally means power, because it will give you the “luck” you need to succeed. Morality isn’t about following the status quo. Quite the opposite, given many status quo values right now: it’s about not compromising your core values. Natural morality is right in your heart, beyond what anyone has told you. So, to be moral is just to become one with yourself and stop pimping yourself out to the world. Let’s face it, we’ve sold ourselves out in small ways.
What makes you feel stable (Samadhi)?
Having the “coolness” of natural morality, the mind can become concentrated. In Buddhism one technique is to focus on breathing, which provides a foundation for other practices. Without a mind that doesn’t get distracted constantly, how can you actually put it to use when you need it for something? What other activities do you think might encourage building a stable mind, able to concentrate?
What gives you insight (Prajna)?
With concentration we can develop wisdom. Traditionally there are said to be three stages of Prajna. First is the stage of listening and studying. Just by learning, especially from good teachers, our insight will expand. But any kind of genuine study increases insight. Then there is the stage of contemplating. That is when knowledge becomes your own experience through testing what you have learned in the real world. Then comes the Prajna of meditation, in which you might be able to gain your own insight into things, not just what people have told you.
In a developed yoga practice, all these three would be a necessary part. Lean too much on any one of them and you will be unbalanced, just like a three legged chair. Different people have different emphasis on one or two of these, but may be deficient in another. Let’s see if these three building blocks can help reconcile the zodiac signs’ “neurotic” energies.
Enlightened: Aries energy is courageous and bold. Someone with this energy doesn’t generally care what others think about them, and can put a tremendous amount of power into manifesting the self. Not a bad thing, as without a sense of self we can’t really do much. The spontaneous quality of this energy can make these folks fun to be around.
Neurotic: When taken to the extreme this energy will block your receptivity to others. Its all me, me, me. They may become tyrannical, trying to dominate everything, probably with some kind of force.
Antidote: The impulsive energy can be calmed by stability. Physically challenging outlets are good for people with a lot of Aries energy, and will build stability over time. If these folks feel that they are expressing any of these neurotic tendencies, they should be encouraged to relate harmoniously to others more, and to be a bit more receptive.
Enlightened: Taurus energy is amazing at dealing with the material world. What is basic for survival? If you want someone to do something dealing with things or money, a Taurus is your guy or gal. They are quite stable and dependable.
Neurotic: This energy, when indulged in, may cause people to seek only comfort, becoming lazy, and to become stuck in their ways.
Antidote: Already strong on the morality and stability front, Taurus could use a big dose of insight when these neuroses arise. Ask the questions, how could I penetrate deeper into my views order to function better? What ideas am I holding onto rigidly?
Enlightened: Geminis realize themselves through ideas and concepts. They are able to deal with many details and bits of information at once. Through verbal communication and seeing the world in terms of ideas, they can come to logical conclusions about things with ease. If you need someone to come up with new ideas, or to communicate with many people, Geminis are the ones.
Neurosis: Because of a gift for details, Geminis may be superficial in their understanding of things and people. They may end up living in their concepts with no real grasp of the big picture. They may end up choosing their friends based on what brand of shoes they are wearing.
Antidote: Stability. The more that these folks are able to broaden their perspectives to develop expansive understanding the less those neurotic qualities will effect them. Cultivating stability will allow their mind to become less distracted and go deeper into things. Broader, more intuitive synthesis of the info they get may follow. (While they usually aren’t great moral offenders it might be useful to remember all those little things add up over time.)
Enlightened: At their best, those with an emphasis on this sign in their charts are caring, compassionate and nourishing to others. Their hard outer shell makes them tenacious, usually a charming quality, while inside they have deep emotions, very soulful. They understand things through emotions and unseen information.
Neurotic: These folks can have family guilt issues they need to reconcile. They may become smothering to others, somewhat clingy. Their family karma, especially with their mother, shapes them but can end up controlling them.
Antidote: Prajna (insight). Seeing into their own patterns and habits could be the force which breaks the negative patterns. Ask questions about where your family is holding you back. If these neurosis rear their head, become more outward oriented, focusing on the public sphere instead of the private sphere.
Enlightened: Leos can be generous, creative and fun. Their path on earth will involve staying amused, creative and entertained. These folks are quite warm hearted, and like to be at the center of attention.
Neurotic: Vanity is the main downfall of Leo energy. They can become too absorbed in themselves, egocentric, creating their own world and thus cutting themselves off from humanity.
Antidote: Morality and Prajna. If these folks learn about humanity at large and then marry their knowledge to morality, they will become less likely to isolate in a smaller egocentric world and will hopefully balance their impulses with the desire to help others.
Enlightened: Virgo people are skillful. They can make it happen if it needs happening. Focused on work and health, Virgos keep the world running. There is work to do and someone has to do it. Virgos will do it, both meticulously and well.
Neurotic: Attunement to physical details of things can make these folks seem like they have OCD. There is danger of nervous burn out, losing oneself in work and becoming physically run down.
Antidote: Stability. In order to calm down the ever shifting nervous systems of these folks, stability building activities will be beneficial. Exercise, meditation, even reading soothing books to stabilize the mind are helpful. Cultivate a spiritual side and insight to see where you are overworking yourself and where you could stand to relax your control over things. Remember, chaos is actually a creative force and can be good in moderation. What are you working for?
Enlightened: Libra people at their best are harmonious, graceful and socially attuned. Their demand for justice in all things gives them an edge at times, as injustice can outrage them. However, they go to great pains to maintain harmony in all human relations, even through self-sacrifice.
Neurotic: Being so concerned with how others react, these folks can lose them selves in others. Whether it is one all-consuming relationship or with friends and colleagues in general, these folks may tend to get their needs ignored. Being indecisive can hinder them.
Antidote: Morality. Stability. If these neurotic qualities occur, ask when you are losing yourself in others. Are there times when you should really stand up for yourself? What is in the interest of the greater good? Don’t be afraid to hurt someone’s ego once in a while if it means keeping your own rights intact. When making decisions, how can you learn to be a bit bolder? Trungpa Rinpoche encouraged people to be bolder when doing things so that they could learn what works and what doesn’t clearly.
Enlightened: Penetrating and wise, these people are radically authentic, astonishingly insightful and surprisingly aware of what is going on in their friend’s minds. They have a depth of character and are known to be also symbolized by the eagle, signifying they can fly high spiritually.
Neurotic: Because Scorpios grow from cathartic death and rebirth episodes, if over emphasized, this energy can produce someone obsessed with drama. Also, their penetrating wisdom can give way to anger if not careful, and seeking vengeance on offenders is not unknown to them. There’s also the infamous Scorpio jealous streak, which can be sexy in moderation, frightening when out of proportion.
Antidote: Stability, Morality. Stability will temper a compulsive need for drama. Try grounding in the physical world through activates like cooking, sitting, walking outside. When anger and vengeance arises, remember that resulting actions harm you and other party. Instead, try to express insight without anger, the Tibetan transmuted “penetrating wisdom” from a place of cutting through the BS, with compassion on your side. If anyone’s found a cure for jealousy, I’ll be first to tell the Scorpios.
Enlightened: At its best, Sagittarian energy is very uplifted. These types like to understand the broad picture about the universe and large, and get in touch with some kind of divine inspiration through their exploration. They are adventurous, passionate and with a developed ascetic sensibility.
Neurotic: Becoming so enthralled in the ultimate picture they loose touch with the relative world, what really matters to human beings on this earthly plane. This may express itself as a kind of self-righteousness, where they feel they have the divine right to tell everyone how it is.
Antidote: Prajna, Morality: If we study, we realize that no one view has a monopoly on truth. It’s like a camera taking a picture of the earth from different angles—no one view can get it all. Focus on the logical details to reconcile an overly-broad outlook and bring it to earth. What is the point of a philosophical view, but to help people? Can all that energy be put to work in the service of others?
Enlightened: These are the people you can count on to get you through anything. They are natural leaders and can manage high stress situations easily. This energy is concerned with the public sphere, great works and reputation. Not only just concerned with work, like Virgo, but the culmination of work to make something lasting and great.
Neurotic: Unfortunately, an over emphasis on career and reputation can manifest in someone who is always striving to great heights while ignoring the depths of humanity, ie, their soul. A tendency to overwork and focus on the outer at the expense of their emotional life may result.
Antidote: Prajna. Morality. Forget about your reputation if only for a second and try to understand what will feed your soul. Reading and explorations into spirituality can’t hurt. Where could you stand to spend more time nurturing yours and others feelings instead of your public goals?
Enlightened: This energy can cause person to have a strong humanitarian proclivity. At their best, these types are logical geniuses who also want to save the world. They probably care deeply about their friends and communities. They are usually unconventional, righteously against existing status quo that no longer serve people.
Neurotic: When overemphasized, this energy can cause people to become so fascinated with the lives of others that they loose track of themselves. Also an obsession with becoming unconventional can cause them not to trust any kind of authority figures, even ones who might able to help them greatly. They also have the ability to detach from themselves, which can cause them to seem cold to others.
Antidote: Stability. Morality. These types typically become so overwrought that it has been joked that they constantly need some kind of medication or drug to sustain them, even on a good day. Simple stability exercises, like walking in nature, creating art (which may not help if too experimental as it loses the Sila quality about it) and so on allows for space to arise in their complex and veracious minds and will probably help calm them down, which allows for insight to arise in a calmer, directed way.
Enlightened: At their best, these people are the spiritual adepts of the zodiac. They are in touch with things unseen, mystical energies, the subconscious, and so on. They generally are quite artistic, ascetic and empathic. Capable of being real listeners and helping others emotionally or spiritually is their specialty.
Neurotic: Disorganized messes, do not go into a Pieces person’s room if you can help it. They are sometimes unable to relate to the physical world because they are carried away in dreams, sometimes in sorrows. They may permanently disassociate into a fantasy world or even into alcoholism or drug abuse.
Antidote: Stability. Morality. If taken to chaotic living, these folks could try to focus in on the details of the physical world. Nature would be beneficial here. Transcending self is a Piscean imperative, and more Sila and Samhadi will help in this. Also, learning not to let your energies become dragged down by people who over-use them is vital. Integrate emotions instead of drowning then in fill in the blank. Trungpa admonishes against sloppiness in Shambhala Path of the Warrior, explaining that the material world has a basic goodness to it, and by respecting it we become uplifted.
Sign of lacking Sila: Immoral behavior. Compromising one’s self.
Sign of lacking Samadhi: Inability to concentrate. ADD. Overabundance of thoughts with no action.
Sign of lacking Prajna: Dullness, rigidity. Ignorance.
Balance the three and you blast off to Mars! Or something like that.
Like I mentioned before, your sun sign is not even close to the whole picture. There’s the moon and all the other planets to consider in your birth chart, not to mention the houses! Looking at what sign your South Node is in can tell you an area than needs expansion and balancing. So, to find out where your planet’s energies are distributed check out your whole chart on a free website like this one. I must thank Author Antero Alli for his insight too, check out his book Astrologik if you’re into Astrology.
Anni Padma is a non-superstitious astrologer who is based in Boulder. She has been studying the zodiac archetypes for over ten years now and has learned from experience how the signs express in people. As a life-long Buddhist, who is grateful to Theravada, Zen and Vajrayana traditions, she likes to use meditative insight to unravel astrology. She lived in Seoul, South Korea for three years teaching English and writing and editing articles for the Korea Times, which is ironic as she can’t spell to save her life. Somehow it has worked out alright, thanks to spell check. Her sun is in Gemini and moon is in Pisces. Check out her website.