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Art by Eugenia Loli    

A Psychologist Astrologer on Using Your Sun Sign to Navigate Conflict

For more than 25 years, Dr. Jennifer Freed has been practicing psychological astrology out of her sun-bathed office in Santa Barbara, California, which essentially boils down to comprehensive birth chart readings that go well beyond character-defining traits to address the way you interact with the world—and how you might be able to ease some of your relationships for a clearer and lighter path forward. It is fascinating, if not transformational, to hear someone tell you who you are, why you might be the way you are, and then offer scenarios for navigating life with less effort—and to feel in your heart that it’s resonant and true.

But what’s really special about Dr. Freed, is that reading birth charts is just an ancillary passion: Her day job is running the Santa Barbara-based non-profit, AHA!, an organization that works with at-risk teens in the city to foster greater communication and coping skills by focusing on social emotional learning, resilience, empathy, and relationship-building. Below, she explains how Sun signs, an important part of everyone’s astrological chart, can both facilitate and limit problem-solving.

Developing Your Sun Sign for Healthier Relationships

Any healthy friendship, work relationship, family relationship, or romantic relationship will have its disagreements and conflicts. It’s inconceivable—if not unhealthy—to assume that you can navigate life without a little bit of disharmony, as that is one of the ways in which we grow and deepen our relationships. The JOY factor for any relationship will not only be how much closeness, meaning, and fun you can have together, but also how quickly you can RESOLVE the inevitable annoyances and ruptures that come up. Your Sun sign may be a series of traits, but it is up to you to bring a certain skill level to your astrological game. Psychologically speaking, you either bring your old, crusty complexes to a situation or you apply your most updated and evolved behaviors. So how can you marry the strengths of your Sun sign with your capacity to have peace within and peace with others? Knowing how to use the positive charge of your Sun sign will give you the possibility of quickly moving through conflict to a renewed state of closeness and vitality. Understanding how other Sun signs operate can also help you to rise above their patterned noise and connect to their higher potential.

Aries: Ram That You Are

Your Impulse:

Your first impulse may be to charge into the fray and take no prisoners. You like to act first and think later. Others are impressed with your boldness and authoritative stand. This is great for athletics and race car driving, but it can be a tad brutal when used on those who may have sensitive feelings.

If You Take a Second:

If you can keep your fiery hooves still for a few critical moments, you can actually appeal to the noblest of Aries traits: Protectiveness, excellence, and the desire to be authentic and available to others. When an argument occurs you can take a stand on behalf of the relationship as a whole and declare inwardly: “I will protect this relationship by being a great listener right now and protect this other person’s vulnerability.” You can be the heroine you long to be by being the first person to back down and find out how you can address that person’s wants and needs. As my 7th level black belt friends says, “I always know the strongest person in the room because they will never need to fight at all.” That could be YOU!

Taurus: Bull by Day, Happy Cow at Night

Your Impulse:

You like to dig in and dig deep. Sometimes that means holding on until your hands are bloody. Taking a position can be quite effective in a calm and centered way, however, becoming a brick wall has its drawbacks. When someone challenges you, your first reaction might be to become defensive and double-down on your point of view.

If You Take a Second:

Why not utilize the most precious part of being a Taurus and breathe deeply into your vast well of equanimity? You can become like a giant spring meadow in a nanosecond by remembering that all conflict is temporary and your good nature can outlast any annoyance. Approach the disagreement with bovine curiosity and ask: “How may my tranquility serve this situation and help us both see beyond the apparent divisions?” Chew on your Buddha nature’s grass and keep returning to an innocent inquiry. You will disarm the heat of the other and charm them into new considerations.

Gemini: Which Twin Are You Anyway?

Your Impulse:

With a dual-nature, one part of you wants to flit any conflict away, while the other may want to stir shit up just for a giggle. You may have a tendency to talk too much and gab about others in incendiary ways, and your loose words could get you into some jams. You may also want to habitually avoid conflict and talk behind people’s backs because you like to keep it light and breezy. When others get into it with you the most important thing for you to do is watch what you say. Every word can be a peace dove or a missile.

If You Take a Second:

Because you are a wordsmith, you can become an expert at saying a positive thing even in the context of stress. Ask yourself: “What can I say right now that will affirm this other person’s concern, and also let them know that I want to understand their emotions, too?” Once you slow down enough to be absolutely present to their upset and begin to listen as cleverly as you speak, you can parse your responses to be clear and empathetic. Remember that the real longing of Gemini is to bring the two halves together. Practice this by imagining that every clash has two elements yearning to be on the same side.

Cancer: Crab Feast or Crabby?

Your Impulse:

You are the mother everyone wishes they had, or the clinging whiny baby folks wish had a bottle. You have to remember that the brittle shell and your ultra-soft underbelly are a perfect combination for an incoming sea storm, but they’re not always that helpful when someone just wants to clear something up. While your first tendency is to become hard on the outside, and mortally wounded on the inside, you do have a choice.

If You Take a Second:

In these moments of stress, you can appeal directly to the DIVINE MOTHER energy that is always available to you. You can say to yourself: “This is not really about me. They are just communicating their needs and wants.” Then you can surround yourself with the knowledge that you are loved and cared for by the big M herself, and that there’s no need to be a puddle on the floor. You are a master nurturer when you feel safe. Find that ground of safety from deep within and then ask the other how you might be more considerate of their feelings, and more informed about their opinions. That turn toward love will feed their soul and embrace the both of you in the best of tenderness.

Leo: Loving Lion or Drama Queen

Your Impulse:

We all can get a great laugh at shows like The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, yet it’s not so funny when we act like that in real life. You may have a tendency to make a small flame into a forest fire of problems because you feel things so passionately. You might also think your life is a movie and you are the star who isn’t getting your spotlight or an appropriate amount of adoration. The truth is that high drama may be entertaining, but it’s not that conducive to peace within or peace with others.

If You Take a Second:

Your best feature is your ability to Love with a capital L, and help others feel the shine of your affection. In fact, you can actually help others feel the highest degree of self-love just by the way you look at them. When someone is contracted in emotional pain what they really need is your regal ability to take their issues into your huge heart and let them rest for a moment in unconditional regard. Imagine that you are the enormous lion who brings the cranky cub to your chest and how good that would feel to both you and that cub. In other words, instead of focusing on who is loving you, and how much love you are getting, simply turn the floodlight of your love onto others and watch their spirits blossom. They will open up to you and reflect that love back.

Virgo: Purity and Clarity or Judging Shrew

Your Impulse:

You tend to approach a struggle with an eye for what is wrong and specifically who screwed up. While there is nothing wrong with analyzing a situation to correct flaws, most people don’t like to be examined like a grammar lesson. People are more motivated by what they can offer than what they have been caught doing badly. Your inner critic already has a full-time job telling you how to be perfect and you know how that hurts. Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good enough—for you or someone you care about.

If You Take a Second:

Your exquisite talent for scrutinizing details can be applied to seeing what is going well between you and someone else, and highlighting both of your capacities to build on that rapport. You can become a detective of assets and shared points of view. Like an expert seamstress, you can stitch together seemingly discordant viewpoints into a tapestry of specific understandings. When you find yourself looking at how imperfections are actually an invitation for laughter and empathy, you are on the road to serenity.

Libra: Just and Fair or Simpering Scorekeeper

Your Impulse:

You like things to be even. You love to get along and believe that fair is fair. In fact, you will give and give and give until that moment when you realize that the other is just taking and taking and taking. You like to avoid conflict and hope that someone reads your mind and just starts doing more of the heavy lifting. Sometimes you will sacrifice yourself to the point of resentment—that does not live so prettily inside of you.

If You Take a Second:

The best way to have the scales balanced is to be more direct about what you want and how you would like it. Let people know your desires, as that is essential to having a win-win negotiation. Keep in mind that other people are not as responsive as you are and may just be looking out for themselves. It is not actually selfish to express your yearnings and wishes. It is a contribution to the functioning of a well-balanced relationship. One of the best ways you can keep a connection equal is to make sure you are considering yourself as much as the other person in each scenario and stating clear requests out loud.

Scorpio: Transforming or Vengeful

Your Impulse:

Inside of you is a coiled snake looking to strike anything down that threatens you. You are great at hiding this venom until someone gets near your emotional jugular vein, at which point even you can be surprised by the monster who suddenly appears. This intensity is due to your ever-deep well of powerful sensitivity and how much you store things inside. It is great for you to remember that most people are not actually scoping out how to destroy you. Sometimes people just need to talk or work things through to feel safe and more attached.

If You Take a Second:

You are an experienced surgeon of emotional blockages. You can get down into the guts of things and remove the real toxins. It is never good to attempt this incision on someone else. The best strategy is to ask yourself: “What dark place is this turmoil between us triggering? How can I transmute this old wound into a place of vulnerability and openness?” Take some time to get underneath the apparent insult or injury. There is nothing more powerful than to admit you are hurting and need support. Once you realize that every aching sore inside your psyche needs your own deft attention, instead of destroying someone else, you can become a beacon of emotional courage and transparency.

Sagittarius: Liberator or Target Preacher

Your Impulse:

You love to tell people how it is and how they should think about things. You are unafraid to be direct and blunt. This is great for archery practice and coaching a sports team, yet this style can be abrasive when dealing with delicate subjects. Your tendency to
say what is on your mind without a filter can result in some unintended causalities.

If You Take a Second:

You can use your innate optimism to see opportunities for collaboration at any impasse. You can say to yourself: “Yes I think this and YES they think that, and both mindsets can have some helpful truth.” Your enormous capacity for learning can foster a true sense of wonder when there is an altercation. Use your arrow of honesty to admit that you may not have the only truth and seek to find the tent that encompasses all perspectives.

Capricorn: Steward or Nay-Saying Goat

Your Impulse:

You are a bottom line type of problem solver. You may present yourself as a detached pragmatic when confronted with a relationship obstacle, where you can become quite mechanical and appear unfeeling when discussing matters of great personal significance. Others may find your granite hard to crack and might long for some tulips atop your mountain of correctness.

If You Take a Second:

You can employ your patient and strategic methods to step back and allow the other person’s complaints to truly emerge. Instead of competently jumping in to fix their problems, or correct their wrong-mindedness, you can expertly ask open-ended questions to elicit their own innate intelligence and ability to address any discord. The highest form of respect is to support someone else in finding their own answers instead of supplying them. The true master never fears losing control because they have surrendered themselves to a vaster wisdom.

Aquarius: Insight Bearer or Ice Queen

Your Impulse:

You pretty much know everything, right? It’s sometimes hard to get past your obstinate omniscience to find a crack in the armor. Although people rely on your stunning objectivity and impersonal dispassion, it can be a real buzz kill for getting through a thorny intimate knot. Extra ice is great for a cocktail party, but not so much for an intense and subjective conversation.

If You Take a Second:

You have an uncanny knack for seeing the best in people and having rapid insight into what they need to feel truly accepted. When you pause to look at the whole picture of the conflagration, you may see that the other person genuinely has something to contribute and holds an essential piece of the complete puzzle. You can afford to melt in front of them and acknowledge their legitimate distress. When they can feel your extensive compassion and regard they will be much more interested in your sterling intuitions.

Pisces: Cosmic Swimmer or Victim Martyr

Your Impulse:

Oh the waters are wide and the rivers are deep and it is so easy for you to drown in all that reactivity. It may seem that the flood of dissent has come to nail you and with no real cause, but you are probably not the only one suffering in a difficult encounter. If you always claim to be the victim of any quarrel you may not actually be that sensitive to the issues of other people. Since you prize empathy so highly it could be incredible to step off the cross and hear what’s valid in someone else’s pain.

If You Take a Second:

No one has a sense of oneness like you do. You can actually feel and hear the pulse of the Universe. Considering that we are all intertwined why not imagine that HURT is an illusion of separateness? Dive into the experience of the other and resonate with how they feel. Are they sad? Scared? Angry? Disrespected? You can perform emotional triage by recognizing and affirming their felt anguish. Let them spill their cup and be oceanic in your capacity to care. Once they have your abundant attunement they can relax into a constructive dialogue.

* This column reflects only the features of the Sun sign, which is one important piece of your entire astrological profile

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