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The Dark Side of Every Zodiac Sign

May 26 2022 - 9:45am

To have light, you must also have darkness. To have joy, you must also experience sadness. This duality of human nature is, at its core, what makes us human. Our shadows aren't a bad or negative thing — they're just part of that balance.

For the most part, when people look to the signs and stars, they want to find some sense of personal identity, some redeeming qualities or explanations that make them feel understood and seen. There is so much celebration of the "good" qualities of the 12 sun signs [1], but what about the shadow sides and "bad" traits of each sign that illustrate how powerful, and maybe even healing, the dark side can be?

Let's take a look at each of the zodiac signs to learn a little bit about the dark underbelly of each one, the parts which usually get tucked away because cultural conditioning tells us those qualities are somehow unacceptable. Remember that even though these things may be generally labeled as weaknesses or "bad" traits, they're simply things for you to be mindful of and potentially use to grow [2]. (Also remember that your sun sign is just one small piece of your full astrological profile, aka your birth chart [3].) Just because a particular characteristic is called out here doesn't necessarily mean you embody that quality, that it's a permanent part of your personality, or that you need to change. In the end, we're each beautiful, whole humans as we are — shadow sides included.

Aries (March 21-April 19)

Aries "Bad" Traits: hot-headed, jealous, competitive

Aries is the first sign in the zodiac [4], ruled by the House of Self. With that responsibility of leading the zodiac, they must pick up the torch and pave the way. This fire sign has the ability to move mountains if they so choose, with the passion, drive, and persistence of the Ram that represents them.

Ruled by Mars, the God of War, Aries also has a darker side filled with turbulence if left unchecked. Aries are known for their fiery tempers, jealousy, and impatience. They can be moody or impulsive when feeling down. Considering the duality of human nature, it's understandable that an Aries can be a passionate leader and also a passionate fighter. These traits serve them well, but require awareness of how they react in different situations and a willingness to listen even when they think they are right.

Taurus (April 20-May 20)

Taurus "Bad" Traits: headstrong, close-minded, slow-moving

Stubborn and rigid at times, the Taurus is accurately represented by the bull. Imagine a bull for a moment — powerful, firm, stubborn, unyielding, and unmoving, unless they want to. The Taurus is incredibly driven and reliable [6] and has the ability, power, and perseverance to achieve anything they want. This earth sign is ruled by Venus, the love goddess, and though the Taurus may not seem sexual [7], like the images conjured around a Scorpio, their sensuality comes in a raw, physical form and energy.

Earth signs all deal with elements of rigidity and wanting things to go their way. Too much earth can leave you feeling stuck if you don't bring in some water, air, and fire [8] to balance that energy. A Taurus would do well to continue honoring the traits that allow them to carve out their own path, no matter how difficult, while also finding balance by seeking ways to be more flexible and let go of the little things.

Gemini (May 21-June 20)

Gemini "Bad" Traits: flighty, restless, impulsive

Gemini [9] is represented by the celestial twins, duality, or two sides of the same coin. They can be creative and social in one moment, and anxious, serious, and restless in another. This air sign holds true to their element, lacking the roots that the earth brings and flitting from one project, one hobby, one interest, or one partner to the next. They need adventure and novelty, but also intelligence and humanity.

A Gemini may struggle with commitment and anxiety [10], so it's vital for them to have an awareness of when and why these feelings are cropping up, so they can maintain longevity in the things and people they pursue. In relationships [11], finding someone who allows them freedom and isn't jealous, but is also practical and grounded like an earth sign, would be ideal.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)

Cancer "Bad" Traits: moody, possessive, defensive

Water signs all live in the emotional underworld in some capacity. Cancer is one of the more emotional water signs. It's ruled by the moon [12], which influences the tides, so imagine a Cancer's emotions as such: constantly in flux. This can be exhausting and lead to feeling depressed [13] and withdrawing from the people in their lives.

As a Cancer, it's important to be aware of what causes a shift in emotions and perspective. When things feel out of balance, addressing the issues before they get out of hand will ease some of the heartache that can sometimes plague this sign.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22)

Leo "Bad" Traits: overdramatic, egotistical, controlling

The "King of the Jungle" [14] is one of the most exuberant and fiery of the zodiac. As a natural-born leader, a Leo tends to take the reins and try to control situations. This expectation and command of control are accompanied by all of the usual pitfalls of holding power. It's important for Leo to notice when they're trying to control a situation [15] that isn't their responsibility, like someone else's life and choices.

Leos are compassionate, driven, and generally warm human beings. Their fire burns bright, so developing an awareness for those that are quieter or more passive, and using their power to lift others up, would be fulfilling for a Leo.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)

Virgo "Bad" Traits: overly critical, nervous, irritable

Detail-oriented, sometimes perfectionist Virgos are a very efficient bunch. True to their Earth sign, they're grounded, a little rigid, organized [17], conservative, and hard-working. Below the surface, they're passionate and have a deep sense of humanity.

That said, Virgos must be watchful of their emotional health. All of that thinking and planning can easily tip over into overthinking, worry, and anxiety. Their cautious nature can exacerbate this problem, always thinking of what could go wrong and planning around it. When Virgo balances out their traits, rather than leaning too far any which way, they're very successful and wonderful friends [18] to have.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)

Libra "Bad" Traits: indecisive, superficial, dependent

Libra values harmony, equality, and balance in all aspects of their life [19]. With this need for harmony, they're sometimes at risk of being too passive and allowing others to get what they want just to keep the peace. Their fear of turbulence can lead to indecisiveness and a fear of confrontation.

This air sign makes a wonderful friend and listener, always providing a diplomatic response during difficult times. They value the finer things in life, as well as having a partner to share life with [20]. Being mindful of their need for harmony is essential in relationships so that they don't sacrifice their truth in order to maintain cooperation and peace.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)

Scorpio "Bad" Traits: withdrawn, jealous, cunning

The Scorpios are a misunderstood crew [21] of mysterious humans — and the fact that they're represented by a scorpion doesn't ease any of the fears and darkness that surround this water sign. Scorpio seems to thrive in the shadows, in constant metaphorical death and rebirth. Because of that, they've received somewhat of a bad reputation [22] that they're manipulative and cruel.

Scorpios do have a knack for achieving results by subtle manipulation, but most often, it's done in a way that isn't harmful for others. It has to do with strategy, charisma, and intellect, which aren't bad things. Of course, this power could be used maliciously, but let's give them the benefit of the doubt.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec 21.)

Sagittarius "Bad" Traits: inconsiderate, irresponsible, reckless

These fiery travelers seek out all the adventure [23] that life has to offer. They thrive in environments where they have the freedom to do what they want, when they want. They aren't known for tact and will share their heart when necessary, although they do try and deliver that truth in a digestible way.

As a fire sign, it's important to be aware of your own power so that your bright, burning glow doesn't dim the light of others. A Sagittarius loves freedom and adventure, which can make it difficult to maintain close friendships at times, so finding those willing to journey with them is important.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)

Capricorn "Bad" Traits: stubborn, unforgiving, cautious

This earth sign stays true to its roots that are deep within the Earth and sometimes immovable. The Capricorn is a serious and hard-working person [24]. They're intelligent and usually know all the right answers. This knowing can lead to rigidity in thinking that their way is the only way.

As an unyielding Earth sign, it's important for the Capricorn to be willing to be wrong (gasp!) and to find flexibility in what they want so that others can have a say. Relationships can be a struggle if these tendencies are left unchecked, but with some awareness, they make for wonderful, grounded, calm, and successful partners and friends.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)

Aquarius "Bad" Traits: detached, dogmatic, scattered

An Aquarius is a person whose strengths can just as easily become their weaknesses. They're a quirky and temperamental air sign who are truly free-spirited. As someone who enjoys freedom, they can easily tip into being flaky because they want to move at their own pace. This inconsistency is understandable at times, but can lead to tension within relationships if the inconsistency is consistent.

Aquarius is one of the more creative of the zodiac [26], making great artists and activists. They're highly sensitive people [27] who take a while to warm up, but once comfortable, they become incredible friends who love intellectual and mental stimulation.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)

Pisces "Bad" Traits: irrational, sensitive, escapist

The gentle and solid Pisces is a great friend to have. As a water sign, they thrive around all things water and can become ruled by emotions if they aren't mindful. They're tolerant, intuitive, and excellent listeners, but may struggle with absorbing the emotions of others and taking on someone else's problems unnecessarily.

Pisces are highly sensitive and may struggle to hear any criticisms about themselves. With some awareness about their emotions [28], as well as about what kind of support they're willing to provide someone (meaning, not being someone's emotional dumping ground), they can lead a full and emotionally healthy life.


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