Maybe you're messy, or forgetful, or chronically late. It could be that your Achilles' heel isn't a character flaw that you need to unpack in therapy but rather a trait hardcoded in your stars: Maybe the planets are tripping you up with a secret weakness that's based on your zodiac sign.
"Over the centuries, each sign has developed its own associations — including myths, animals, and colors— and its own characteristics," New York-based astrologer Aliza Kelly Faragher noted in Allure. "Each sign boasts an individual approach to life, complete with dynamic strengths and frustrating weaknesses."
It turns out, though, that your cosmic makeup is based on more than just the sign you're used to checking in your online horoscope, according to "kick-ass Astrologer" Louise Edington, the author of the bestselling Modern Astrology and the forthcoming Astrology for Personal Growth. "You are more than just your sun sign," Edington says. "Each individual has a unique cosmic fingerprint based on the time, date, and place when they were born that dictates their soul’s journey in this lifetime — including their strengths and the things that will trip them up along the way."
While your sun sign is a good place to start, if your particular secret weakness doesn't seem to match up with that which is connected to your sign, it could be related to the rest of your unique interplanetary profile. Edington, who offers personal consultations and classes via her website as well as daily forecasts, group calls, mini readings, and other services through her Patreon, says that in addition to your Sun sign, which represents the core of your personality, you should also factor in your Moon and rising or ascendant signs. "Your Moon sign represents your emotional side and your rising sign represents how people see you one-on-one. If something corresponding to your sun sign doesn't ring true for you, your rising sign energy may be outweighing it, for example."
So, if you really want dial in on the the bad karma you're getting from your astrological alignment and the best workarounds for your particular situation, it's best to be armed with a birth chart. (You can get one made for free here.) In the meantime, here's a take on the secret weakness for your sun sign and even some handy antidotes to mend your Achilles' heel. "Remember, cosmic warrior, growth begins with self-awareness," said Faragher.
Aries (March 20-April 20)
Edington says that Rams excel in thinking and acting quickly, which can be great in an IPO or on the court, but when it comes to interpersonal communications isn't the greatest. Faragher said frequently Aries' tendency to act impulsively often results in "lessons learned the hard way." The solution? Edington recommends making a conscious effort to focus when talking with others and give the people you're talking with your undivided attention. "Pause after you speak," she recommends. "Be mindful of how you are communicating. Your body language and your tone can make a big difference in how people perceive you, and Aries can unwittingly appear quite intimidating." Cosmopolitan's Jake Register underscored this last idea, saying that without self-moderating, Aries can unintentionally seem self-centered... so pace yourself for success.
Taurus (April 20-May 20)
The maybe-not-so-secret Achilles heel of the Bull is inflexibility when met with an opposing force. Edington, Faragher, and Register all lead with stubbornness when discussing the weakness present in the Taurean chart. You Bulls sometimes even become physically stiff when in "stubborn mode," and you can loosen up by reconsidering before rejecting change out of hand. Check in with yourself: Are you just saying no because it wasn't your original plan? "Take time to map out pros and cons of any change or suggestion that initially feels uncomfortable," says Edington. "You may discover that the pros outweigh the cons and decide to give it a try. Or you might discover that the cons are valid reasons to say no."
Gemini (May 20-June 20)
Gemini is the sign of the Twins, and your secret weakness lies in your ability to see all sides of every issue, never getting to the bottom of what you yourself believe or feel. To further complicate the issue, Faragher attributed a bit of celestial ADHD to the sign. Edington suggests meditation to calm your busy Gemini mind and instituting a practice of Morning Pages — writing three pages longhand, stream of consciousness, in a notebook, first thing in the morning, as originated by Julia Cameron — to get all those thoughts out on paper to start the day. "Be mindful of when you are stepping into shape-shifter mode or agreeing with all sides," she adds. "Pause, and ask yourself, 'What is true for me?' Check in with your gut to feel your truth and make your suggestions and decisions based on that."
Cancer (June 20-July 20)
Edington characterizes Cancer as "deeply nurturing and protective of those they love," and this sign is known as the homebody of the zodiac. The weakness within this is that your attachments can turn into fear-based emotional dependence. Register cautioned that you Cancers also tend to store your feelings in your "shell" until you're ready to boil over and lash out with your claws — mood swings that confuse those around you. Exercises like affirmations will improve self-esteem and self-awareness and a program of exercise to release endorphins will help regulate your moods, and Edington says that caring Cancers need to tend to yourselves, too. "Spend time alone to truly get to know yourself," she suggests. "Take yourself on a date once a week for coffee or tea, go for a walk in the park, or visit a gallery. Have a good time paying attention to you!"
Leo (July 20-August 20)
The thorn in proud Leo the Lion's paw is looking for validation elsewhere rather than investing in self-love. If only you could love yourself, Leo, you'd be able to both give and receive without constantly looking for approval. You Leos also need to remember that when others around you succeed, that doesn't shrink the size of your spotlight, said Faragher. Try guided meditations and mirror work — looking at yourself in the mirror and giving yourself compliments in the first person. "Treat yourself regularly to something that is for you alone and that brings you joy without any external validation," Edington advises. "Be your own cheerleader and reward yourself."
Virgo (August 20-September 20)
Virgo, you are too hard on yourself — your secret weakness is that voice in your head that just won't cut you a break. Too often, you don't cut others a break, either, says Register. Don't let your critical nature win: Journaling can be a big help, so you can get everyone's shortcomings and all the worst-case scenarios you're envisioning about your life down on paper and then debunk them using statistics. Also make notes on the times that things worked out well for you, and go back and read over this section often. "Meditation is difficult but crucial for the overly analytical Virgo mind," says Edington. "Silent meditation may not be best for you, so listen to a recording of nature sounds while meditating — or even better, meditate outside to the sound of the birds or the wind in the trees."
Libra (September 20-October 20)
Libra's secret weakness is adopting the needs of everyone around them as their own to satisfy, thus losing track of what they need in the process. You can tend to be a people-pleaser to the detriment of your core relationships, cautioned Faragher, so be careful that your natural tendency to keep everyone happy stays in balance. Scheduling an hour alone with yourself on a weekly basis to check in on where you stand with yourself and the world can help you draw boundaries and sort out the important from the passing. Also, Edington recommends grounding yourself — literally — by walking barefoot in nature to get a sense of connectedness with Mother Earth. Finally, for the sign represented by the scales, Edington suggests this empowering workaround for combatting indecision: "Whenever you are having trouble deciding on something, create a list of pros and cons for each of your choices. Then, using this information, choose one option and don’t allow yourself to revisit your decision. You will not find this easy at first, but you will achieve far more when you make a choice and follow through on it." Added Register: "Just be yourself."
Scorpio (October 20-November 20)
Scorpio, you have plenty of feelings, you just can't quite figure a way to connect to your emotions and express them — unless it's in a flash of anger. With all this energy, you're also a bit of a control freak, which can be a terrifying combination to those around you, according to Faragher. Morning Pages head up Edington's prescription to help you Scorps get all of those swirling thoughts and feelings out and onto the page where they can be digested. Register suggested that you just relax and remember that not everyone is out to get you. All three experts identify the need for you to take a break from your intensity, especially when you're mad. "Anger can be a transformative energy if it is directed in a healthy way," says Edington, "but Scorpio anger is reactive and painful, which often hurts both the giver and receiver. Just breathe."
Sagittarius (November 20-December 20)
The Archer of the zodiac aims high but often falls a bit short in the patience and tact departments — "Sags must remember to keep their sharp tongues in check," said Faragher. Your blustery braggadocio and your tendency to wander are your secret weaknesses, Sag, and your impatience and sometimes frank disinterest in what others are saying can lead you to miss out on what others are saying or their non-verbal cues. The solution is to try fostering your active listening skills. "To do this, 'mirror' the other person mentally by slowing down and paying attention to their body language and repeating their words silently to yourself," Edington suggests. "Talk with people, not at them," Register concurs. Working in some walking and meditation to your schedule will also mellow out your fiery personality and help satisfy your wandering nature.
Capricorn (December 20-January 20)
You Capricorns are traditionally reserved and buttoned-up types — so buttoned-up that the people in your life assume you always have everything under control. Cappy, the people in your life aren't mind-readers: You have to take a stand for yourself and let people know how you feel, when you're feeling vulnerable, and when you need help. You also have to be willing to receive positive feedback when it comes your way, says Edington. "At the end of each day, sit down with your journal and write down all occasions where you have received positive feedback, however small. Treat this as a muscle-building exercise for your self-esteem. As it builds, you will find that your fear reduces, and you will be more able to express your vulnerable emotions." Volunteering in a situation that forces you to interact with people can also be a tremendously beneficial way to build this muscle. And get off the computer once in a while, added Faragher: the Sea Goat is notorious for pushing the boundaries of work-life balance.
Aquarius (January 20-February 20)
Aquarius, you're the ultra-cerebral one of the bunch, and your secret weakness is that your head in the clouds can make you a bit of a stick in the mud back here on Earth. Would you be surprised to learn that your sign is characterized as aloof and distant in relationships? Faragher says that's simply because you're busy worrying about the problems of the world. Register adds that you Water Bearers can sometimes go on and on about your controversial viewpoints as if trying to prove how unique you are. Something as simple as a weekly trip to the playground can help you get in touch with your childhood spirit of playfulness and lighten you up a bit, according to Edington. She also recommends intuitive painting, a process that channels the inner child, wherein it is often suggested that you paint with your nondominant hand. "It’s a highly creative practice that involves no planning, training, or analysis and is focused on the process rather than the results," Edington says.
Pisces (February 20-March 20)
Pisces' strength — your empathic nature — is also the origin of your secret weakness: You get tired of taking in all that energy from other people, and have a tendency to just cut bait and escape. Your collection of rose-colored glasses is unparalleled, but that's not always the way to go: The path to being able to deal with the real world better lies in managing all that energy, Edington says. She recommends grounding techniques like tapping to bring you into the present moment, as well as cleansing routines to both ground yourself and draw out the energy overload. "When you are feeling very sensitive, draw yourself a warm bath, and put Epsom salts or mineral salts in the water. Soak in the tub for a while to calm yourself and help you feel like you are in your element." Register encouraged you Pisces to mine your artistic spirits for ways to make your environment match up to your imagination so that you won't have the urge to get lost in your dreams quite so often.