Astrology Secrets Revealed by ERIC FRANCIS

Opposite Sign


September 24, 2004


Dear Eric:

I am a Capricorn with Cancer rising. I've always wondered what effect it had on me to have my opposite sign as my Rising sign. Reading my daily Capricorn horoscope today again gives rise the question (sorry for the pun): "When a planet is passing through your sign, you are effectively awarded temporary ownership of that celestial symbol, even if it is not one that you might normally have an astrological affinity to. When it's passing through your opposite sign, you find that close friends and loved one's will often manifest the qualities of that planet in their relationship with you. Venus and Saturn are both in Cancer now. Which is, of course, your opposite sign. The story of your life now may be an intense one -- but it is all about a desire that deserves to come to fruition. And which has to do so!" If you have your opposite sign as your Rising sign, what is the overall general effect? Does it create conflict and/or confusion? Or does it make you a more well-rounded person?





Dear Colleen,

The place to begin addressing this question is with a basic astrological idea: each sign works as a polarity with its opposite sign. The understanding and integration of opposites is probably the single most useful concept that exists in astrology, and one could argue that astrology is based entirely on this idea.


This is valuable information to keep in mind all the time, but particularly when dealing with the four most alive parts of every chart: the horizon (ascendant/descendent axis), the meridian (the vertical MC/IC axis or 4th/10th house axis), the lunar nodes (which are always opposite one another, please see last week's edition), and the Sun. These are all, by the way, among the aspects of a chart that help us define and express the themes of our lives. They talk about this incarnation, and often, give us information about previous ones.

Of these four, the Sun is the only one that's not automatically arranged as a polarity; the opposite sign is insinuated. In each of the other three cases, the polarity is physically involved when you mention one side or the other. If you have Leo rising, Aquarius is a vital part of your consciousness and exists as your relationship angle. Gemini on the north node automatically says Sagittarius on the south. Pisces on the midheaven (MC) will often signify one parent, and Virgo on the nadir (IC) will signify the other.


As most of Jon's readers (who tend to be an astrologically literate lot) know, in a newspaper horoscope, the Sun sign (birth sign) is borrowed as the 'artificial ascendant' or 'fist solar house' and what are called the 'solar houses' are counted beginning from there. So the opposite sign is used like the descendent, to represent relationship and partnership affairs, and it happens to work pretty good.


You are born at sunset, so your rising and your Sun are in opposite signs.


Most people who I have met with this configuration identify very strongly with relationships, so strongly that they can be left with very little sense of themselves, or their separate needs. They can identify so strongly with their partner or desired partner that there is little room left for them to validate their existence any other way.


At the least, I would say that with the Sun in the opposite sign as your rising sign, you have both a strong need to identify with relationships, and also a need to balance out your identity through relationships. Depending on whether your Sun is above or below the western horizon, work relationships (6th house, below horizon) or marriage-like partnerships (7th house, above horizon) will be emphasized. But one thing is sure, you're going to be doing a lot of integrating opposites with this placement.


A planet's placement in a sign tells us something about what we are doing and the style in which we typically do it. The house position tells us where we express this energy, and often, with whom. The Sun does quite well in the sign Cancer, and we are talking about the center of the chart, your core idea of who you are, and the way you express your power, beauty and glory in life. These you are likely to express yourself, seek self-awareness and self-esteem through partnerships, but in a primary way -- that is, beyond even what most people experience. I can tell you that with the Sun in Capricorn in the 7th house, you need secure, committed relationships and should not hesitate to set your whole life up around this idea. With Cancer rising you need to be a truly nurturing person, something that not everyone appreciates. Find someone who does.

I would say that the main thing you need to watch out for with this placement is attempting to compel others to be who you want them to be.


Fortunately, there are other planets involved in the set-up, which will help you clarify the reading. For example, with Cancer rising, the Moon's placement takes on added emphasis as a significator for you, as the ruler of your ascendant. And with the Saturn ruling your 7th house and your Sun, Saturn's placement gives us a lot of information about the kind of partner you typically seek, or who seeks you -- none of which I know because I don't have your data. But I would suggest looking at the sign placements and aspect relationship between Saturn and the Moon in your chart, which is going to give you a few fine clues about how your express your relationships with others.


Now, let's consider another case, for some contrast. Imagine a person with Virgo rising and Mercury in Pisces in the 7th house. Mercury is the ruler of the person's ascendant. It is placed in the sign opposite to one of its most natural, Pisces. Like yours, this creates a powerful identification with the other; but unlike yours, Mercury is not as well-supported in Pisces as the Sun is in Capricorn. Mercury can struggle with clarity in Pisces, and if you place the whole thing in the 7th house, clear relationships become particularly tricky because can be difficult to establish clear communication or clear commitments but a deep desire to do so.


Let's add the ruling planets of Pisces to the equation, Jupiter and Neptune: imagine they both make challenging aspects (quincunxes) to Mercury. Unless you take the chart and use it as a counselling tool -- which is a very good idea, since reading the chart only gets you halfway around the block -- all you can really say to this person is that you must learn to be yourself, and be yourself at all times! And to be oneself in this case may well mean being that which you desire the most, or realizing that you are that entity.


With Pisces so prominent, an astrologer could warn against any relationship that involves drugs or alcohol; they could warn against anyone who tells lies large or small - these being clues that 'being other than oneself' is occurring, or prone to occur, in the situation. And they could warn against experiences of relationship that deny the existence of the client, which denial could come in the requirement to change for a partner. Yet the nature of this kind of set-up is precisely to make the distinction between me and thee so fuzzy.


Because Mercury is involved, and Mercury often tells us about childhood, the client would benefit from a deeper understanding of what happened to them as a child, and where; as a result of overbearing parents, they are likely to have lost themselves during childhood, to have become what everyone else wanted (very Piscean) and as a result, never really found out who they are.


In your case, at least we're talking about the Sun, which is so central to existence. But society puts a lot of pressure on us to act out various parts in our personal affairs rather than stand in our own soul power. Even the idea, 'if I wear these sunglasses, I will be more attractive to this person' is based on a heck of a lot of 1st-7th house confusion.

For many reasons, the 7th house is one of the most challenging in astrology. It is always ion. And this we must see for what it is, own what's ours, and give back what is not. Usually that reflection comes back in the form of people we relate to, love and with any guts, strive to be real with.


Speaking of being real, I have to hand it to Jonathan for such an astute interpretation in a Sun-sign horoscope. We are of course spoiled to have bouquets of flowers popping off of newsprint when Jonathan writes. But that was a really good one, with the transit explained and the theory to back it up, all in 107 words. Astrologers like that don't grow on trees.