Your Zodiac Sign’s Shadow & Light Sides - and How to Navigate Them
Everything has a balance.
Good can’t exist without bad, life can’t exist without death, and light can’t exist without darkness. Is it surprising then that this is also true for the twelve zodiac signs?
When it comes to understanding how the good and bad traits in one person work uniquely together, there is much to be learned by looking at their personality secrets revealed by their Sun sign or zodiac sign. We call them the shadow and light sides of the zodiac, and today we are going to examine them more closely.
Yin & Yang/ Shadow & Light
Much like the Eastern philosophy of yin and yang, every zodiac sign has two sides, needing harmonious forces to exist: dark and light, masculine and feminine, Sun and Moon.
If the secret to finding a balance between each opposing force is awareness, then understanding both sides, and how one is not better or worse than the other, can help you better navigate your life! Knowing these two sides can also help you identify where in your world you need to challenge yourself to improve or scale back to release.
Many definitions tend to focus mainly on the positive side of things, and that’s natural. It’s often best to accentuate the positive as a means to overcoming the negative. However, you can’t ‘bright side’ things and hope they’ll all get better! If you really want to improve yourself, you have to look at what challenges you, what flips your switch, own it and move forward.
It’s also possible that your positive traits are somehow manifesting themselves in a negative manner. Someone who is compassionate and kind may get used and taken advantage of by others who have dubious integrity. Someone who is confident and independent might be brash and tactless because of it.
You are a complex blend of assets and liabilities, and only when you are prepared to take responsibility for what some call ‘the shadow self’ can you truly know yourself, and find contentment in who you are.
How does this manifest through the Sun signs? Use this as a starting point to identify what’s bubbling under the surface, what you don’t want others to know about you, or even what comes flying out when you’re stressed or angry.
Here are the light and shadow sides for each sign of the zodiac. Use them to understand yourself and others more deeply, and they can actually help you navigate those challenging situations by bringing more awareness and hopefully, improved understanding and communication! Whether you want to focus on your Sun, Moon, or Rising sign, these guidelines can help!
Aries: The Intense Ram
Aries Light side:
As the Cardinal Fire sign, Aries can be really intense. They′re often successful at anything they put their mind to, thanks to their ambition, enthusiasm and courage. They′re typically devoted and loyal to those they love.
Aries Shadow side:
Like all zodiac signs, Aries has a dark side they need to keep in check! They have a strong tendency to be moody, short-tempered, and impulsive. They can get angry easily, but like many small fires, it will fizzle out soon enough.
How to Handle Aries’ Shadow & Light Sides
On the outside, Aries is bright, passionate, flamboyant, adventurous, and very spirited. This zodiac sign is ready to charge into life. Did you know that underneath all of this energy is a sensitive and compassionate person? Even though they appear confident and ready to tackle any challenge, they are more easily wounded than you might think.
Their desire to be number one is the root of this. They won’t put their cards out on the table unless they feel safe and secure with you. If you make an Aries feel like they are your number one, you’ll get more out of them. Be gentle, because they may appear like they don’t care what anyone thinks of them, but they do, a lot!
If You Are an Aries: How to Manage Your Shadow Side
It’s a known fact that Aries can be pushy when they are focused on getting something done. There’s a fine line between discussion and argument, and you cross it frequently, not really caring whether you insult someone or hurt their feelings in the process.
You don’t suffer fools lightly and don’t think twice about putting them in their place, and if they cry, well, that must be a sign of their weakness rather than your insensitivity. Try to be less pushy and more persuasive, and you’ll find that your natural charm and charisma get you far more than your obstinacy.
Taurus: The Strong Bull
Taurus Light side:
Taurus energy relates to deep inner strength, making Taurean types loyal, dependable, persistent, and direct. Taurus is the Fixed Earth sign, and this groundedness is what brings them their trustworthy personality. If you have a Taurus friend, you have a friend for life…as long as you stay true to them, that is.
Taurus Shadow side:
The shadow side of Taurus includes stubbornness, over-indulgence, and possessiveness, which you’ve probably discovered from your daily horoscope. But when a Taurus becomes aware of a negative trait, they can use that inner strength to overcome it!
How to Handle Taurus’ Shadow & Light Sides
Taurus embodies both a sensual air as well as a practical and down to earth nature. This is a lovely combination that makes Taurus very real, which usually translates into being very likeable. With every Fixed sign though, comes a nature that some people call stubborn.
The worst thing you can do with a Taurus is to call them lazy or stubborn. Instead, appreciate that they’re loyal to their opinions and find a way to compromise when you’re stuck in a rut with them. What Taurus really wants is a fair and balanced solution, not necessarily ‘their own way or the highway’.
If You Are a Taurus: How to Manage Your Shadow Side
Just as the irate bull intimidates people from entering into his pen, you intimidate people from crossing you. You’re not above using someone’s weakness against them to get what you want, particularly if it saves you some money or energy to do so.
When someone annoys you, you’ll remove your support or affection or both, and—like the raging bull in a china shop—you’ll let your temper loose and break something if pushed hard enough. Avoid being passive aggressive; it doesn’t suit your natural sensuality.
Try to cultivate some patience, and remember that your way isn’t the only way to do things.
Gemini: Balancing the Twins
Gemini is a prime example of how everything has two sides. Since Gemini represents the Twins, balancing the shadow and light can be more challenging for people with a lot of Gemini energy. On the positive side, Geminis are imaginative, energetic, and adaptable.
The dark side of this zodiac sign includes superficiality, restlessness, and impulsiveness. This is due to the fact that they are the Mutable Air sign, always expecting something to blow in the wind and mess them up, so they’re likely to check their daily horoscope frequently. This paranoia can be a downfall.
How to Handle Gemini’s Shadow & Light Sides
Gemini comes off as a bit scatterbrained and they can be all over the map, that is no secret. What many don’t know about Gemini is deep down they’re actually pretty level-headed. They’re more rational than they first appear, usually working two angles at once, wanting at least one to stick. This is not a bad thing to have in your life.
Geminis cast a wide net knowing it’s not going to catch everything, but they hope to snare at least one thing. This confuses and even annoys many people. They may want to sell a house for example and say whatever they can to do it. Deep down, they’re crunching numbers and pitching the most logical parts to score the best deal.
Don’t get emotional when Gemini upsets you. Use facts and a rational approach and you will be appreciated because they always feel like nobody understands them at all.
If You Are a Gemini: How to Manage Your Shadow Side
You use words as your main weapons and you are so quick witted that you can cut someone with the sharp edge of your tongue. You like to be the center of attention and when you feel ignored, you’re not afraid to come up with outlandish comments and derogatory remarks just to shock someone into noticing you.
You like the sound of your own voice, but you have to learn that others have their own story too, even if it doesn’t interest you. Communication is always a two way street. Turn on that Gemini charisma and really listen to others. It will win you the popularity vote, for sure!
Cancer: The Homebody Crab
Cancers are the traditionalists of the zodiac. They′re extremely caring, dependable, and responsive, and just like the crab who carries its home on its back, strong Cancer types value security and love their homes. As the Cardinal Water sign, Cancer is ruled by the emotional Moon, which is what gives them their natural nurturing instinct.
This deeply private and emotional sign requires plenty of personal space and “alone time” to deal with the demands of the world. Those emotions can makes them self-pitying, self-absorbed, and oversensitive.
How to Handle Cancer’s Shadow & Light Sides
Cancer is a very loving and domestic sign, two things we all love about them. Cancer is as smart as they come but can be a bit of a right-fighter, and this can get downright ugly sometimes. The one thing Cancer may not know about themselves is that they are super sensitive. Like, super, super sensitive. Something said off the cuff with no ill intentions can easily turn Cancer into a rage machine.
They also don’t like to admit when they are wrong - ever - which can be problematic. Cancer needs to learn to hear two sides without playing defense, or offense, in every conversation. Sometimes humans just talk and it doesn’t mean a major point needs to be made or won. Those dealing with a Cancer need to mind how they interact because the littlest thing can and will be taken personally and used against you. For a long time.
If You Are a Cancer: How to Manage Your Shadow Side
Your emotions run deep, and you know how to use them to get what you want. You turn on the tears at the drop of a hat, sulk, and use passive aggressive tactics to get what you want. You’re able to look vulnerable and powerless, and while sometimes that’s valid, other times you know that by behaving in this manner you can manipulate people to get some kind of attention or reward.
Of all the signs, you’re one of the best at emotional blackmail, but be careful how you use this. Those who know you will soon become wise to this tactic, and you run the risk of alienating them if you depend on it too much.
Leo: The Generous Lion
Leos are natural leaders. Confident, ambitious, generous, and loyal, they can be very successful when they use these traits properly. These powerful traits come from their Fixed sign nature, and their fiery traits from their Fire sign profile.
Unfortunately, strong Leos can have problems playing with others. People often view them as domineering, pretentious, vain, or melodramatic. A strong Leo type needs to learn to shine their light on others. That generosity of spirit makes everyone happy!
How to Handle Leo’s Shadow & Light Sides
Leo is the flamboyant, social, life of the party. They are also generous and loyal to the core. We love that Leo presents as the bold lion of every single gathering. What many don’t know is, underneath that gorgeous mane is a very sensitive person. Cancer is sensitive to a fault, yes, but unlike Cancer who pinches when they get crabby, Leo hides their hypersensitivity.
If Leo is hurt, you may not hear the roar, and that’s not always a good thing. People think that Leos need constant flattery to beef up their ego, and in a way that is true. Leo needs it because they desire the reminders that they are loved. If Leo doesn’t feel this from you, you are not going to hear from them for a while. Keep piling on the love for your Leo, and they are in it for the long haul. It’s what they do.
If You Are a Leo: How to Manage Your Shadow Side
You like to have things your own way, and often get openly cantankerous when you don’t get it. You have a way of knowing just how to push someone’s buttons and you do it without hesitation to humiliate someone in order to make yourself look better.
You like to be the center of attention, but you have to remember that this cuts both ways. It’s always better to have more fans than mere onlookers, and you want to draw the right kind of recognition to yourself, being known for your warm lion heart, rather than the bossy show off you have the potential to be.
Virgo: The Helpful Virgin
Unlike Leo, Virgos are great team players. They are reliable, precise, observant and analytical. The flexible part of Virgo comes from the fact that they are a Mutable sign, and their practical nature comes from their Earth sign quality.
Of course, all that analyzing can get in the way. Virgos can also be skeptical, inflexible, cold, and interfering. Virgo types can achieve their goals more easily by cultivating patience and allowing things to get a little messy once in a while.
How to Handle Virgo’s Shadow & Light Sides
Practical Virgo is down to earth, the flexible friend everybody can count on. Virgo is also quiet by nature, and while not exactly a wallflower, they just don’t exude the life of the party vibe that a Leo does. This can lead to Virgo being perceived as boring or dull.
However, Virgos are highly intelligent and definitely not boring. When Virgo is quiet, mind your behavior! A quiet Virgo is an observant Virgo, and they’re always taking in the details. One little secret about Virgo that others are always trying to figure out is, you’ll never understand them completely. They have a lot of depth, and those quiet times they are always just processing the details of what is going on around them and filing every detail into those depths. ‘Watch, and learn’, is Virgo’s life mantra.
If You Are a Virgo: How to Manage Your Shadow Side
If there’s any sign better at emotional blackmail than Cancer, it’s you! There are two sides to you; one sweet and pleasant and likeable, the other disparaging and critical. You’re not flawless, even though you hope that others never see your failings, and when you have made a mistake, you often do anything and everything to try to avoid recognizing it and owning it.
You need to learn how to turn your criticism toward a constructive note, and be prepared to praise and forgive while you’re making the corrections. This goes for yourself, as well as others, because you’re usually your own worst critic, preferring to erase something—or someone—and go back to the beginning, rather than spending the time putting it right.
Libra: Balancing the Scales
Libra is about balance, making it easier for strong Libran types to keep their negative qualities in check. Librans tend to be graceful, diplomatic, and hospitable, and they like their beautiful things. As a Cardinal sign, they lead when finishing fights.
These wonderful qualities come with a downside. The Libra personality can be introverted, indecisive, and even unreliable. Keeping those scales balanced isn′t always easy!
How to Handle Libra’s Shadow & Light Sides
Libra is known to be a warrior for justice, as well as a lover of all things peaceful and harmonious. Libra rules the 7th House of Relationships and loves marriage, partnerships, and anything to do with social interaction. As an Air sign, Libra is more a thinker than a feeler, while still enjoying the company of others.
Libra is also ruled by Venus, which can make them appear superficial, but these thinkers are anything but. Many already know that Libra is super critical due to their well known high intellect. They’re not always criticizing those in their world, they are often judging themselves first. Before you jump on a Libra, realize they’ve probably already done so themselves. Relationships with Libra are more harmonious when you uplift them before judging in return.
If You Are a Libra: How to Manage Your Shadow Side
You’re the sign of the scales and justice, and nothing flips your switch faster than unfairness. You can’t abide discrimination, inequality, and cruelty, and you’ll fly off the handle faster than anything if you see it happening to yourself or others.
You’re not one for confrontation, but you will not tolerate one-sidedness. You might want to curb that temper a bit. You’ll make far more progress applying that energy towards doing something constructive to change things, rather than just ranting and raving about the current oppression of it all.
Scorpio: The Secretive Scorpion
Scorpios are often misunderstood. They′re great at keeping calm in stressful situations, but once that calmness is broken, watch out! Passionate and resourceful, this Fixed sign is committed to the truth and to loyalty, and their Water sign nature gives them their renowned empathy.
But their other side can get them in trouble. Scorpios can also be obsessive, manipulative, and unyielding. The trick for strong Scorpio types is to learn to recognize their impulsive negative qualities, then consciously choose to avoid giving way to them in the heat of the moment.
How to Handle Scorpio’s Shadow & Light Sides
Scorpio gets a bit of a bad rap, primarily due to the fact that they come with more than a little intensity. Scorpio has their share of stubborn issues, but this also speaks to a loyalty that is unmatched in the zodiac. You can’t get rid of a Scorpio unless you really screw them over, and then you’ll wish you’d never met them because they make life really bad for you. Their loyalty makes for good relationships because they will love you like no other. True, it can get very intense sometimes, but there are good intentions here.
The chemistry with a Scorpio is unlike any other sign when things are going well. One of the biggest unknowns about Scorpio is that they are FULL of secrets. As the zodiac detective with an intuition for ferreting out facts, Scorpio will pry you open like a walnut to get everything out of you. You won’t even know it’s happening! To get intel from Scorpio takes a little bit more work, and finding common ground and being the first to bare all is a great way to get into their vault. That is Scorpio’s biggest secret of them all.
If You Are a Scorpio: How to Manage Your Shadow Side
By nature you’re deep and mysterious and when that is applied to your dark side, it has a tendency to creep up on people. All Water signs have the ability to be manipulative, and because you’re the most cerebral of them all, you’ll have a well thought out plan on what to do next.
You don’t get mad, you get even. You’re cold and calculating and will cut someone off in a heartbeat. Just remember that your sneaky tactics will come to light eventually, even if you are using them more for defense than attack. Turn your scheming into something positive, for your enigmatic nature is part of your innate charm.
Sagittarius: The Focused Centaur
Like Aries, Sagittarians can also be very intense. On the good side, they′re optimistic, visionary, and inspirational, because they are ruled by Jupiter, the god of gods.
Their shadow qualities include a tendency to be overly blunt, restless, and unemotional. Sagittarians may have issues with commitment and often need direction.
How to Handle Sagittarius’ Shadow & Light Sides
Sagittarius is the Mutable Fire sign, as flexible and fun-loving as they come. Sagittarius also rules the 9th House of Philosophy and Adventure, which is the house that sees the bigger picture in life is always trying to reach that bigger picture. This is why Sagittarius is often a little bit all over the place. They are ruled by freedom lover and optimistic Jupiter, and love life to be as big as it can get.
This can be annoying to some of the more grounded and down to earth signs and Sagittarius gets a bad rap for being flighty and shallow as a result. The really big secret about Sagittarius is they have a deep side to them they don’t show many people. They’re afraid they’ll be judged if they do. This side of Sag is very philosophical, spiritual, and in many ways metaphysical. Tap into this side of Sagittarius without judgement and you’ll have a friend or lover for life.
If You Are a Sagittarius: How to Manage Your Shadow Side
If you’re going to attack someone, you’ll do it by gaslighting them. You’ve got such a positive energy that you are able to work out how to make it appear that you’re making an innocuous comment, but to the person it’s aimed at, it will cut like a knife.
Of course, they usually react—which is the desired response—and then it makes them look like the bad guy to someone who doesn’t understand the full story. You get your own way by going over the top with kindness and optimism, but you don’t have to do that.
You’re likeable enough as it is without having to manipulate people and play mind games to get what you want from others.
Capricorn: The Intelligent Sea Goat
Capricorns are known for being philosophical and intelligent. They′re practical, organized, responsible, and patient. As the Cardinal Earth Sign, they are the CEO’s of the zodiac. It’s hard to find a more hard-working sign.
On the other hand, they can tend to be unimaginative, inhibited, or dictatorial. Capricorns who overcome these issues can climb the highest peaks of their potential.
How to Handle Capricorn’s Shadow & Light Sides
Capricorn is the leader of the pack when it comes to work, business, making money, and being an all-around practical and responsible person. This is something Capricorn knows about themselves and know well. They are often seen as unemotional, and a little too pragmatic at times. If Capricorn is judged for anything, it is often this. What many don’t know is deep down, Capricorn is very emotional.
Capricorns are also much more optimistic than they come off. Sometimes Capricorn is too optimistic and will shoot for the Moon on something to make more money, elevate their career, or the like. They are great starters, but Capricorn will not always finish the job.
This depth of optimism can sometimes work against them, and it can be misjudged as well. If you want to work well with a Capricorn, help them nudge that optimism along while keeping it grounded with a healthy dose of realism.
If You Are a Capricorn: How to Manage Your Shadow Side
Even on a good day, you’ve got a reputation for being bossy and dour, and when you’re not getting your own way, it’s customary for you to sabotage the way things are going by making sure that no one gets what they want. When crossed, you remove your affection from others, and completely shut down communication.
You hold a grudge forever, and don’t forgive easily. All of this takes so much energy though! Lighten up and let the old sea goat laugh. You’ve got a great sense of humor underneath it all, and no one will think less of you for letting it show. You’ll actually get more respect that way in the long run!
Aquarius: The Humanitarian Water Bearer
As the only sign with a human image, it′s no surprise that folks with a predominance of Aquarius tend to be great humanitarians. And thanks to a strong intellect, they′re generally witty and clever too. Their intellect comes from their Air sign nature, and they are loyal to the world due to their Fixed sign nature.
The shadow side of Aquarius includes a tendency toward laziness, aloofness, and sarcasm. But since they′re so self-aware, overcoming these negative qualities motivates them.
How to Handle Aquarius’ Shadow & Light Sides
If there is any sign that can stake the claim as the most judged, that would be Aquarius. At least that is what they would tell you. Aquarius is always feeling judged, and this is one of their biggest secrets. Aquarius is a high-level thinker – Einstein level high. Just tap into that intelligent side by bringing up humanitarian causes, politics, or embracing their quirks, and you have Aquarius love for life
They come off as a bit eccentric sometimes, and sometimes unfeeling. The truth is, Aquarius is really quiet and reserved because they don’t feel like they fit in. They are thinking of the bigger causes in life, the ones that impact humanity as a whole. They are also ruled by Uranus, the freedom-loving planet that likes to do things unconventionally. As such, this quiet, reserved and unconventional nature of Aquarius is often misconstrued.
If You Are an Aquarius: How to Manage Your Shadow Side
You’re naturally so aloof that arguing and fighting just doesn’t interest you. You’ll walk away before you engage, but you’re not a pushover. You’re another intellectual sign, and you’ll find a way through the confrontation with a well aimed and often blunt truth that has the potential to disarm your adversary and leave them wondering just what happened.
When you can engage more with others rather than constantly remaining detached and independent, you’ll find that your loved ones really do have a lot to offer, even if it does make you a little bit uncomfortable to have to deal with all of that raw emotion.
Pisces: The Gentle Fish
Pisces tend to keep a low profile. They are gentle souls who are compassionate, adaptable, imaginative, and devoted.
But these qualities also contribute to their negative side. They can be escapists who may become lazy, oversensitive, or even self-pitying.
How to Handle Pisces’ Shadow & Light Sides
Pisces is the dreamy and romantic sign of the zodiac and pushes this personality trait more often than you realize. For many, this is where it stops for Pisces. It can be very confusing to many when Pisces retreats to their cave to disappear for a little while, and sometimes, not such a little while.
You need to be careful when Pisces is doing this. Pisces doesn’t like to get too attached because they are so super sensitive. So if your Pisces has disappeared, there’s a good chance they are contemplating that on a permanent basis. Pisces might regret it after the fact and you could hear from them again. If you don’t handle this cave time properly, then you are not going to be thinking the words, ‘dreamy and romantic’ when you try to pull Pisces out of that cave.
If You Are a Pisces: How to Manage Your Shadow Side
You’re peace-loving by nature, and like all Water signs, your emotions run deep. It’s all too easy for you to play the role of the victim, and to be a martyr to your cause if it gets you the attention you crave. You’re naturally imaginative, and will use those creative wiles to devise a means of playing on the feelings of others.
What you have to realize though is this only works up to a point. Once your loved ones realize that you’re manipulating them into being your enabler, they may withdraw their support. Take responsibility for your actions, and step out of your illusions into the real world.
You’ll find that there’s far more closeness and encouragement once you do, and after all, isn’t that what you really crave?
Concluding Thoughts on the Shadow & Light Sides of Your Zodiac Sign
So we’ve revealed the dirty, dark secret of all the zodiac signs. Every single person has their positive traits and some aspects of life that they struggle with sometimes. The light and shadow sides of your zodiac sign can bring this out in you and the people in your life.
Use the knowledge of your shadow energy to help you gain some perspective on how you behave and use your self-awareness to prevent you from allowing your secrets and negative traits from having power and controlling your life. Even though it may be easier—perhaps even essential—to let the darker side of your Sun sign loose once in awhile, don’t make a habit of it. You’re a unique balance of light and dark, of positive and challenging traits.
Of course, the nuances of your Sun sign are just one facet of your personality. How the other planets dance around these characteristics is all part of what makes you who you are. If you’ve not had your full Birth Chart done, it’s a wonderful step to learning more about yourself and your potential.
After all, ‘know thyself’ is one of the greatest things you can master in life!
Having your negative traits thrown out in the open may seem overwhelming, but you have the power to energize the shadow or the light! By using your positive traits to conquer your negative ones, you can learn to understand yourself better and live a happier, more fulfilling life.
What “shadow” aspect of your Sun, Moon or Rising zodiac sign challenges you the most these days – and what did you discover about your innate strengths that can help you overcome it?
Did you discover any personality secrets today? The true path of enlightenment is always asking these questions. Be sure to bookmark your Daily Horoscopes to stay on top of how the daily transits impact your Zodiac sign.
This article was originally published June 7, 2018 and has been updated for astrological accuracy.
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