Learn how to use astrology to find your life's purpose

How to use astrology to find your life’s purpose

Your whole birth chart, based upon the exact time, date and place you were born, can reveal much about your personal and professional motivations, the kind of talents you possess and the various life experiences you’re likely to have. Astrology can bring to light what lies at the heart of you — what your life’s purpose or work is really about, not simply how you choose to earn a living. It can help you select a job or hobby that reflects your innate character and key needs.

Your Sun (or “star”) sign tells us about your vocation in the deeper sense: what you are “called” to do during your time on this planet. Your Sun sign describes a life journey and a way of living. Its message is not a list of adjectives and keywords, such as the traits associated with Cancer: “protective’, “sensitive”, “moody”. Rather, your Sun sign describes your life’s purpose and what makes your heart sing.

Astrology can bring to light what lies at the heart of you — what your life’s work is really about, not simply how you choose to earn a living.

There are more than a dozen types of people in the world, of course, but each of the 12 Sun signs describes a particular archetype with a specific journey attached to it. You are asked or “called” to embark on this journey, along with lots of other life lessons or situations, as shown in the rest of the chart. In doing so, you have an opportunity to connect with your core essence, your life force, your vocation.

It’s essential to embrace this calling, to say yes to life and “follow your bliss”, as the famous mythologist Joseph Campbell wrote. This is the key to healthy self-esteem and following a path of integrity. It’s no crime to embark upon your vocation as a hobby rather than a full-time job; the crime is to ignore your vocation completely and not become who you were born to be — for despair comes from choosing to be someone other than yourself.

Nowadays, more than ever, there’s a broad range of professional possibilities available, and more people are pursuing work (whether it’s a paid job or a hobby) that’s a reflection of who they are. No longer are we content with “working to pay for things”.

There’s no such thing as the “ideal” job based on your Sun sign alone. You and your chart are too complex for a simple mix-and-match equation like that. You’ll find every Sun sign doing every type of job; however, each of you will be doing it your own way and with your own skill set. What your birth chart, and particularly your Sun sign, does describe are the energies — the motivations, challenges, passions — that inspire your life’s purpose or work.

Taurus is the “rock”, the constant upon which others can rely.

The following descriptions highlight core principles of each Sun sign. If you know the sign of your North Node (which reveals an aspect of your spiritual journey) or your Midheaven (which shows how best to blossom in the world around you), you can read those signs too.

Each zodiac sign also has an opposite. The six pairs of polar opposites are Aries–Libra, Taurus–Scorpio, Gemini–Sagittarius, Cancer–Capricorn, Leo–Aquarius and Virgo–Pisces. There’s much you can learn from this other sign — but you need to follow the journey of your own sign rather than wallow in the worst traits of your opposite. Some of these traits have been mentioned in the text for each sign. What follows is an introduction to the key challenges, opportunities, purpose and life paths for each of the signs.

Are you in your element?

The element associated with your Sun signs can say a great deal about what motivates you and your life’s purpose:

  • Fire signs (Aries, Leo, Sagittarius) work well in fields offering challenge, competition, excitement and risk. They seek glory and recognition over money or security. Fire signs want to inspire others and spread the word, and excel in areas requiring promotion or coaching.
  • Earth signs (Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn) look for purposeful work that offers tangible results and security. They wish to leave the world a better place than they found it. Earth signs are the craftspeople and builders who gain pleasure working in the physical or sensual realms.
  • Air signs (Gemini, Libra, Aquarius) excel in areas that offer variety and travel. They are keen to work with ideas, formulas and patterns and love to analyse, deduce and reason. Interested in people, Air signs make good advocates, communicators and salespeople.
  • Water signs (Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces) work well in any job that offers an emotional connection. Focused on human values, they wish to be of service to others, offering empathy, care and support. Water signs have spot-on instincts that make them good carers and intuitives.

Aries: the ardent pioneer

The early opportunity

Encountering conflict, unfairness, being put second or feeling left out has prompted you to stand up and be counted, to recognise your own needs, fight for what’s right and face fears of disapproval.

The life work

You are born to inspire people with your boundless energy, unbridled enthusiasm and hope. Yours is a spontaneous, dynamic and adventurous spirit. You have an independent nature and you lack the patience to wait for group decisions or work in a team, so it’s important that you find a position of autonomy and learn to motivate yourself. Avoid waiting for others to approve of you and don’t expect them to provide maintenance. Instead, sprint ahead of the pack, show courage, fight for the underdog, dare to break new ground and put yourself first without apology.

Taurus: the principled rock

The early opportunity

Being pushed around or having people want what you own has helped you learn to say “no”, to attach yourself to strong principles and develop a stubborn resistance to the influence of others.

The life work

Yours is a powerfully determined energy, and it’s important for you to have a strong idea of what you stand for. Your sign is the “rock”, the constant upon which others can rely. Productive and sincere, you do your best work in a steady environment of loyalty and integrity, where change is rare and ideally on your own terms. Helping others to build strong foundations and sustain their enterprises are two of your talents, but don’t forget to ensure your own security and safety, too, and enjoy the sensual pleasures in life without being ruled by them.

Gemini: the quick-witted communicator

The early opportunity

Facing misunderstandings or people who can’t or won’t relate to you has encouraged you to clarify information, to untangle mixed messages and become the communicator and interpreter you were born to be.

The life work

Eternally curious and restless, your ideal work environment is one that keeps you interested and able to move freely. You need stimulating work that doesn’t bog you down with too much routine or responsibility, and one that offers options to indulge your many eclectic interests. A natural salesperson, trader or agent, your talent is to simplify complex ideas and convey these with clever clarity. An agile wit, you always offer people “the other viewpoint” and introduce ideas they hadn’t considered. But stay with the facts and don’t get attached to one right way of doing something.

Cancer: the tender caregiver

The early opportunity

Living through emotionally bleak or isolating times has helped you to seek the right kind of support system, to create your family of choice, move away from co-dependent situations and release emotions buried by your family.

The life work

Your protective, sensitive spirit and almost psychic empathy are ideal in work situations that need strong emotional kinship and lessons of tough love. It is essential for you to be part of a family at work — a tribe of like-minded people who offer each other nourishment — rather than you ending up being bitter about playing carer or counsellor to all and sundry. Your past will always be an important part of your present. Your talent is helping yourself (and others) reconnect to your heritage and treasure your history, without it hardening your nature or ruling your actions.

Leo: the divine child

The early opportunity

Feeling early pressure to “be someone”, living up to others’ expectations or dealing with a domineering bully has given you a chance to separate your needs from those of others, to emerge from their shadow and assume control over your own destiny — to be your own boss.

The life work

Your work must reflect your individuality and need for self-expression. You were born to shine and to stand apart from the crowd. Even if you choose to do this in a quiet way, your journey is to discover your creative potency and express the forceful energy that lies inside you. But, rather than it being all about you, the challenge is to allow others their time in the spotlight and encourage them to find their own vision. In short, you were born to be the mentor.

Virgo: the skilful discriminator

The early opportunity

Dealing with chaos, inequalities or a lack of discipline in those around you has sharpened your ability to discriminate, to discover what is healthy for you, to leave the safety zone of the mind and to develop a relationship with your own pleasure.

The life work

Your journey involves learning your trade and perfecting a skill that will enable you to play an essential role in any work situation. Your sign is the industrious craftsperson of the zodiac — your job is to get to the heart of the matter, avoid chaos and ensure the overall machine runs efficiently. Yours is a service-orientated spirit that has a plan to make the world a better place. But it’s important not to downplay your vital role otherwise others may do so, too, leaving you feeling undervalued or victimised.

Libra: the impartial tactician

The early opportunity

Finding yourself surrounded by conflict early in your life or being forced to make life-changing decisions from seemingly impossible choices has developed your diplomatic, mediation and decision-making skills.

The life work

You were born to become a strategist and an expert at negotiation, and you may have the ability to charm others into submission. You’re most effective when bringing objectivity to situations and building bridges between opposing factions rather than provoking opposition or being manipulative. Always good at teamwork, you shine when addressing imbalances of power or when you’re in environments where a rational, fair and civilised approach is needed to solve complex solutions or resolve conflict. Two running themes in your journey are to fight for justice and to abandon the disease to please.

Scorpio: the powerful alchemist

The early opportunity

An exposure to the sordid, traumatic side of life or the power games that others play has given you a knowingness and rare psychological insight that can enable you to exhibit strength in the face of crisis and to reinvent yourself.

The life work

Your journey is a deep exploration of the darker sides of human nature. You may have remarkable courage and willpower to face aspects of yourself and the world around you that would scare most other signs. An unflinching investigator of life’s mysteries, your path is to psychologically examine power, taboos and the forbidden — all in a search for intimacy, trust and a deep union with a few chosen people. Staying in your comfort zone or focusing only on the sexual or financial will never truly satisfy your most complex nature.

Sagittarius: the eternal student–teacher

The early opportunity

An early injustice in which you’ve spoken up and not been believed may have prompted a lifelong desire to tell your truth, to shoot down pretence, highlight hypocrisy or to blow apart corruption. Narrowness or bigotry around you prompts you to reach for a grander vision of life.

The life work

Your sign is born to aim high and explore the possibilities beyond the simple facts. You know that the journey is much more interesting than the arrival, and your voracious appetite for knowledge can turn into a quest for the meaning of life and purpose of your existence. You need work where you can ignite others with your vision and optimism and, by separating yourself from results or expectations, you’ll avoid feeling disappointed when others can’t or won’t match your enthusiasm and generosity.

Capricorn: the master of distinction

The early opportunity

Adversity, a lack of support or a tyrannical figure in your life may have delayed initial progress, but it has spurred you on to aim to achieve great things on your own and to believe that patience and application will result in a satisfying type of success later on.

The life work

Your sign is born to rise above initial hardship or delays, to endure a long apprenticeship, take on responsibilities and attain a position of respect and authority. Your journey is a monument to hard work, backbone and individual achievement. Like fine wine, you mature well, often making your greatest contribution in the second or third chapters of your life. But always attend to your reputation, avoid becoming the type of tyrant you fought against and retain a moral code that is beyond reproach.

Aquarius: the iconoclastic individualist

The early opportunity

If early events or a lack of role models confirmed the inner feeling that you didn’t fit in, don’t adopt the role of people-pleaser and deny your own needs. Instead, use any past feelings of alienation to embark upon the road less travelled, define your own rules and become your own role model of leadership.

The life work

You were born to tear up the rulebook and topple traditions, stereotypes and hierarchies. You have an innovative spirit and are able to provide a clear, original perspective in your work. You do your best in areas where differentness and originality are valued strengths. You’re a catalyst who should dare to take the road less travelled, help the group understand that everyone is both equal and special, and avoid letting your own ego needs dominate your actions.

Pisces: the spiritual samaritan

The early opportunity

Resisting the control and undue influence of others has led to you trusting your own intuition more, acknowledging your survival instinct, forming a stronger sense of self and recognising your talent for acceptance and forgiveness.

The life work

Your sign’s key aptitudes are compassion, intuition, sensitivity to suffering and altruism. You do your best work when dedicating time to healing those in need or improving conditions for others rather than plotting an ambitious path for yourself or trying obsessively to control the small stuff. Your artistic, spiritual or poetic energy allows the people around you to see the interconnectedness of all life. You can provide others with a glimpse into the world of spirit, and remind them that we are all in need of empathy, kindness and support.

Frank Clifford

Frank Clifford

Frank Clifford is an astrologer and palmist based in London, UK, who has written a dozen books on both subjects, including Getting to the Heart of Your Chart (2012) and Palmistry 4 Today (Random House 2003, revised Flare edition 2010). He runs The London School of Astrology, lectures internationally and sees clients in person and on Skype. In 2012, his peers presented him with a lifetime achievement award for his contribution to astrology. For consultations in natal, forecasting and locational astrology, please see his website to book online.

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