“When you’re young or you’re not as consciously moving through life, you might not be totally aware of all the gifts and opportunities of your sun sign, and you might not understand how to live in it fully,” says astrologer Madi Murphy, co-founder of spiritual wellness platform CosmicRx. As a result, it’s perhaps more accurate to think of your sun sign—the sign most closely associated with identity and the one you’d read a horoscope for—as a description of the ideal self you could one day become, not as the personality you’re simply granted upon birth. (That’s a common reason why people often don’t identify with their sun signs early in life.)
- Madi Murphy, astrologer and founder of CosmicRx
“Consider your sun sign like an assignment you’re given by the universe, and you’re figuring it out as you go along,” says Murphy. “It’ll continue to throw you curveballs, or you’ll continue to feel as if you’re stuck in old patterns until you learn how to manage its unique obstacles.” These personal challenges for every zodiac sign spring from their shadow sides, or the inherent negative characteristics that people of each sign need to face and recognize throughout life.
“While your sun sign is your most brilliant, full expression of self, it’s a lifelong journey to become that.” —Madi Murphy, astrologer
“While your sun sign is your most brilliant, full expression of self, it’s a lifelong journey to become that,” says Murphy. The same concept applies outside of astrology, too, she adds: Growing into the best version of yourself often requires you to face challenges along the way that refine your character. “The more you can understand what your sun sign really needs and the lessons you’re here to work through, the more effectively you can integrate them,” she says.
Below, Murphy shares the personal challenge that every zodiac sign needs to confront and surmount in life in order to reach their full potential.
The personal challenge that every zodiac sign is destined to face, according to an astrologer
Aries: accepting the timing of life
As they say, patience is a virtue. And that may be a particularly hard truth for you to confront, Aries, given your proclivity for action. "The Aries way is fiery, with a certain kind of urgency and sometimes impulsivity about it," says Murphy.
"But it'll be important for you to learn that not everything will happen on your timeline—and it actually shouldn't because it won't ultimately serve you for things to happen as quickly as you might wish." The key here is learning to sit with the disorienting or uncomfortable feeling you might have when the timing of something is out of your control, she adds.
Taurus: embracing change
You get a reputation for being stubborn as perhaps the most "fixed" of the fixed signs, Taurus. In reality, that steadfastness springs from your deep resistance to or fear of change, says Murphy. But given that "the only guarantee in life is change—and on a spiritual level, our souls are here to expand and grow—you will often be faced with new and unknown things," she says.
So, the sooner you can learn to be okay with change, the sooner you'll release some of your internal friction. Murphy's advice for doing that? "Figure out a few ways to make yourself feel safe and secure as change inevitably occurs."
Gemini: honoring commitments to others
Freedom and variety is your modus operandi, Gemini. And that's all well and fine—until it impacts your sense of integrity and the trust that others feel they can place in you. "Wanting to experience everything is a gift and a curse," says Murphy. "Being a 'yes' person can open you up to great things, but ultimately, your integrity is going to come through being honest with yourself and others about what you do and don't have the bandwidth for." In other words, you can have a lot of things going on at once (and you thrive when you do), but your challenge is in learning not to leave people hanging in the balance.
Cancer: communicating personal needs
You can easily intuit when a loved one needs help and spring to their assistance, Cancer. But you can also fall into the trap of assuming that all other people can and will automatically do this for you, too—and become passive-aggressive when they don't, says Murphy.
"It's important for you to remember that other people can't necessarily read your mind," she says. "You might find yourself thinking, 'I always give to this person, and they don't give back to me,' but that's probably because you never asked directly." Speaking up for your needs might feel challenging, but it'll be more than worth it in the end.
Leo: practicing self-love
You certainly thrive in the spotlight—but it should be one of your own creation, not one you've stolen from someone else, says Murphy.
"One of your core needs is to be witnessed and to be seen, but the challenge is learning how to do this in a healthy way," she says. "This has to come from within, through a sense of self-love that's so warm and radiant, it actually invites or attracts other people to say, 'Wow, I want to bask in their spotlight.'" That's how you can learn to center yourself without sidelining others.
Virgo: releasing judgment
Your detail-oriented discernment can occasionally stray toward judgmental territory, Virgo. And that could lead you to hold yourself and others to an unrealistic standard of perfection, says Murphy. When, inevitably, you or others fail to reach this impossible expectation, you're just left with disappointment or resentment.
"That's why it's essential to identify when your discriminate take turns critical," she says, and aim to release feelings of judgment, particularly when others might be caught in the crossfire.
Libra: cultivating a sense of self
As the relationships and partnerships sign, you have a great capacity to make a partner feel loved—but sometimes that happens at the expense of yourself, says Murphy. "You may have a tendency to collapse into codependency with others to the point of losing your connection with yourself," she says.
That might manifest as a fear of abandonment or a strong dislike of spending any time alone. (FOMO, anyone?) Your challenge will be in figuring out "who you really are without a partner and what lights you up, so you can give it to yourself before asking for it from someone else," says Murphy.
Scorpio: learning to trust others
As a water sign, your emotional will is incredibly powerful, Scorpio. But because you tend to react quickly to situations from a place of emotion or intuition, you may also give in more easily to feelings of fear or distrust of others, says Murphy. Once that happens, it's easy to fall into a vicious cycle of feeling more and more distrustful, perhaps even adopting a negativity bias.
"You might think, 'Life is hard,' or 'Life is dark,' and then subconsciously, you start to look around for the people and situations that affirm that." By learning to respond rather than react, you'll be able to more clearly see that not everyone is out to get you, and trusting people is what allows for the vulnerable connections you crave.
Sagittarius: being realistic about the hard stuff
As the traveler of the zodiac, you love to get away—but you can't always run from your problems, Sagittarius. Your boundless optimism (thanks to your rulership by lucky Jupiter) is what makes you so magnetic, but it can also get in the way of you acknowledging when you've made a mistake or have to take responsibility for something difficult, says Murphy.
"Your hard truth is that sometimes you have to take off the rose-colored glasses," she says, "so you're not just glossing over the uncomfortable stuff."
Capricorn: recognizing the value of rest
"Work hard, play hard" may very well be your ethos, Capricorn. And that can certainly lead to great success (and great fun) in life, so long as you don't fall prey to the downsides of hustle culture, says Murphy. Your challenge will be in detaching yourself from some of the overly rigid life goals defined by society, á la, "I have to get married by this age, make this amount of money by that age, own a home by this age," and so on.
"You don't always have to be working harder, being perfect, or driving something forward," says Murphy. Sometimes, rest and relaxation are actually just as productive—and necessary.
Aquarius: connecting to emotions
Considering the logic in all things is your superpower—except in situations when emotions are far more relevant. In these scenarios, you can come across as overly cerebral, detached from the core human quality of what's happening, says Murphy. "This can make it tough to connect with other people emotionally," she says.
"Lots of people want to process the messiness of the human experience, but because that's not a logical topic, you could come across as if you don't care about it." That's why your personal challenge is in recognizing that emotions are a valid response to situations, too, and even if you're not feeling them, many others around you probably are, and would appreciate you acknowledging that.
Pisces: developing boundaries
You're naturally so sensitive and compassionate that you can end up taking on the burden of others' emotions as your own. This gives you a supreme ability to connect with people, but when it's leveraged too much, it can lead you toward a place of "glorified martyrdom," says Murphy.
"There can be this feeling of, 'I'm going to rescue this person,' and then you end up being let down by them when in reality, no one asked you to rescue them," she says, adding that carrying the burden for others is actually disempowering them. Reminding yourself of that can help you learn to set up boundaries without feeling guilty and to step back from the role of caregiving when it isn't being asked of you.
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