Libra the Scales

Aries | Taurus | Gemini | Cancer | Leo | Virgo | Libra | Scorpius | Sagittarius | Capricornus | Aquarius | Pisces

Who puts you off with promise gay? and keeps you waiting half the day??
Who compromises all the way??? It is the Libra !!!

sign symbolism & general traits | traditional rulerships | famous Librans
Sign symbolism

Libra the Scales

by Deborah Houlding

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As the sun enters the zodiac sign Libra it returns to the equator, equalising periods of day and night for all places on earth. This balancing of light and dark evokes the symbolism of restoring equilibrium. In ancient times the period was set aside for evaluating the current status of events, estimating forthcoming needs, addressing outstanding problems and calculating a workable plan for the season of hardship that lay ahead.

There is a lot more shadow and depth to Libra than popular horoscope columns portray. Ancient Egyptians used the scales as a symbol of the judgement cast at death, where the soul of the departed was weighed against the Feather of Truth. In Roman mythology the goddess Astraea rules over justice and law, holding the balance as her means to establish which situations require karmic intervention to restore fairness and equality. In Christian art the scales are part of the armoury of the Archangel Michael, dispenser of justice and mercy and supervisor of Judgement Day, whose feast day, Michaelmas, traditionally celebrates the autumn festival around the time of the equinox. 1

Famous Librans
Fig. 1: Librans tend towards balance and exercise grace, but the exaltation of Saturn in this sign reminds us that its themes are tinged with darkness, since judgement requires redress for injustice and the sombre reality of understanding the consequences of our actions.

Those born in this period, imbued with the qualities of analysis and judgement, are creatures of a celestial environment that shies away from extremes and excesses. Librans have a reputation for being the ‘moderates’ of the zodiac, with a talent for comparison, evaluation, and impartial philosophical reasoning. They have excellent intercommunication skills, based on a fine interplay between the left and right hemispheres of the brain, and – generally – can be counted on to demonstrate fair, unprejudiced judgement that tempers personal bias through recognition of wider social concerns.

One way or another, Librans are fixed to the need to find a position of balance. Most recognise that equality and justice must begin with inward reflection and are happy to scrutinize their emotional behaviour or have it analysed by others. In the search for objectivity, they consider carefully that others may hold a different viewpoint than their own, and make earnest attempts to see things from alternate perspectives. The difficulty then, is: how does a seeker of harmony best handle a profusion of conflicting realities? Can they be synthesised into a rounded whole, or will they simply lead to inconstancy and indecision, with a wavering from one opinion to the next?

Librans who live up to their signs’ nobler qualities have learned to exercise true judgement and discretion. First, they analyse, then they integrate into a solution and resolve, holding firm to their principles unless new knowledge comes to light that calls for re-evaluation. But this requires a form of extremism in itself, so Librans must turn themselves inside out until they understand that the only genuine state of non-conflict is total inertia. Even the quest for peace and harmony requires one to take a stand and hold to it, regardless of the discomfort this causes to others and ultimately oneself.

Not surprisingly, then, Libra is far more complex than modern media profiles express. Finding harmony in a world of ebb and flow, agitation and strain is no easy task. Rather than living a carefree life of tranquil relationships and easy contentment, most Librans are painfully aware of difficult day-to-day conflicts and the discomfort that arises whenever their views are at odds with those of another.

Many horoscope columnists depict Libra as the most desirable zodiac sign, a curiously magnified view of the sign where the Sun is said to experience its fall. The Sun, as the symbol of creative self-expression and individuality, is debilitated in Libra, partly because Librans are forever evaluating their own position within the emotional mire of trying to please others. In terms of finding one’s own path and asserting independent views openly, directly and clearly – unfettered by what other people think – this is a major hindrance. Librans are simply uncomfortable in that position and have to overcome instinctive barriers to maintain a resolve that focuses on pursuing personal concerns. If they hold fast to the sign’s deeper spiritual principles, they will not offer concessions to avoid confrontation but contentedly take up a position of polarisation and stand with strength against what they oppose. Sometimes, to restore equilibrium, force must be applied against the trend. In this sense Librans become the faithful equalisers, the ‘children of the scales’ who, using the weapons of fairness, reason and force, are unafraid to meet the challenge of negating oppressive energies. Libra is a cardinal sign, underlain with a powerful will that inclines towards initiating ideas and activating changes. Yet of all the cardinal signs, Libra has the most underrated sense of motivation, their non-intimidating personas often fooling us into thinking they will give up on their goals far easier than they will.

This natural subjugation of pure ego-expression is further compounded by Libra’s rulership by Venus, the planet that seeks to relate and gives yearnings to be wanted and approved of by others. Librans cannot avoid the fact that relationships and recognition of the desires of others are significant concerns around which many of their own problems revolve. These issues colour their moods and propel their actions: it is often the case that Librans feel beset by relationship problems, or the problem of getting into, or out of, one.

The rulership of Venus enhances the Libran reputation for being a diplomatic and charming character type. They are renowned for presenting themselves to others neatly and attractively, with a refined sense of artistic taste and an instinct for adorning themselves with polish and finesse. In Libra, Venus occupies its diurnal rulership, where it becomes more naturally apparent and visibly expressed. Although Librans enjoy being popular and seek the expression of beauty and pleasure, they can be too easily swayed by agreeable surface appearances.

Few of us regularly live up to the noblest qualities of our sun sign, and many of the negative traits associated with this sign – indecision, gullibility, falseness, unexpressed resentment, overindulgence of pleasurable interests, oscillating between two extremes – are readily observed in your day-to-day Libran, with their irritating overuse of “it’s not fair” and “on the other hand”. Librans can be too eager to live in superficial harmony and so become exasperating in their avoidance of uncomfortable issues. Like the betrayed wife who has good reason to suspect her husband is having an affair but would rather not think about it, or the philandering lover who assures you of total commitment before disappearing off the scene – so long as it looks good on the surface, Librans can convince themselves that all is as it should be. They have a natural talent with words and a predisposition for assuming that if everything sounds right it probably is. This makes it easy for Librans to glibly and thoughtlessly assure others of their sincerity, failing to recognise the insincerity of doing so.

Librans are also adept at using ‘compromise’ and ‘negotiation’ to give them everything they want. And rather than admit to pursuing their own agendas, will gain support by persuading others to view the situation through their eyes. When called to question, Librans will attempt self-analysis and introspection, but reason (not profound realisation and contemplation of subconscious motives) tends to the justification that their intentions are logical. Librans are often more concerned about defending themselves intelligently than honouring the deeper moral angle. If those words sound sweet that’s good enough; it isn’t a lie if the sentence is cleverly constructed.

The net result is that Librans, unless very wise and ‘living consciously’, often leave people with the impression that they are shallow in their moral stance, weak in their adherence to principles and disingenuous in their tactics. When they successfully navigate themselves to a position of victory in conflict, there is often an uneasy feeling of manipulation left behind. Most people, being stabbed in the back, would prefer not to have a smiley sticker placed on the wound – as Oscar Wilde, himself a Libran, observed:

Each man kills the thing he loves
By each let this be heard
Some do it with a bitter look
Some with a flattering word
The coward does it with a kiss
The brave man with a sword!

(The Ballad of Reading Gaol, 1897.)

Sweet Librans – they do it with a kiss! So revered for being socially acceptable and easy to get along with, Librans can leave trails of deep frustration in their evasion of unpleasant difficulties and messy emotional dilemmas. In aiming to be considerate, they have a natural aversion to that painful but necessary stage called ‘closure’. Always willing to leave negotiations – and therefore their options – open, the awkward reality of the Libran is that in striving to be fair to others, they are often anything but.

As an air sign, Libra likes to keep things light, bright and positive. The element of air relates to the sanguine humour indicating a disposition that is moderate, well-rounded, and by nature optimistic. Sanguine temperaments aim for the middle ground, disliking extreme reactions or innovative, off-the-wall approaches. Consequently, Librans excel at appearing to offer all things to all men but are less suited to intense and demanding relationships. Earth types may view them as frivolous and uncommitted, water types may view them as unresponsive to their deeper emotional needs, and fiery types will be unimpressed by a cool and charming veneer if it falls away to reveal an absence of vivacious sparkle and charismatic energy.

As a humane sign, Libra is marked by civility, good manners, a flattering turn of phrase and an absence of coarseness. In professional fields, Librans are the born diplomat, the perfect negotiator, and the faultless ‘meet and greet’ face that works well in all areas of public relations. They also find their niche in music, singing and artistic fields, where their penchant for moulding light, colour, and shape into a balanced and symmetrical form that offers popular appeal works well for commercial images. Their style is conventional rather than passionate, off-beat or quirky, and they sit comfortably in business settings that demand an attractive and easily appreciated ‘front’.

However, the ideal vocation for an evolved Libran is within the fields of law, government, statesmanship and civil justice. Libra, at its best, is the signature of the true strategist, where reason appropriately overrules emotion and serves the broader aim of rectifying inequality and unfairness. Only when the Libran rises to a position where they no longer see themselves as the centre of their own universe, but as an agent of equilibrium within the social environment, can they come close to appreciating the dynamism of the cosmic power they hold. Balance is easily found in stillness but serves a greater purpose when it holds us upright through the roughest of storms, with our vision locked to the distant horizon. Not by sticking to the middle ground but by remaining centred upon necessities and ideals can the Libran break free from wavering distractions and find a place of poise that reflects the heartfelt power of inner equilibrium. The exaltation of the planet Saturn in this sign is a reminder that the task is not to seek out harmony but to create it, most especially in those dark places of hard realities and harsh denials, by redressing wrongs and restoring truth – never for the sake of administering punishment, but always as an act of tact, compassion and mercy that eventually illuminates the pathway to grace.
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Dignified Planets

Venus: ♀   - as sign and exaltation ruler.
Saturn: Saturn - as exaltation and day-time triplicity ruler.
Mercury: ☿   - as night-time triplicity ruler.

Debilitated Planets

Mars: ♂  - by detriment.
Sun: ☉ by fall.

Typical Features

Libra is a sign of a well proportioned body which inclines more towards being tall and than short and fleshy. The face is rounded and usually attractive with a clear complexion, though there is an inclination towards pimples and dimpled skin in older Librans. The hair is naturally fair, smooth and capable of growing long.

Traditional Rulerships

Direction:  West. All air signs relate to the west; as the cardinal air sign Libra signifies due west (as opposed to west-by-south or west-by-north).

Anatomy:  Libra rules the kidneys, lower back, bladder and ovaries, and has a general rulership over the blood.

Illnesses:  Libra is susceptible to illnesses concerning the kidneys, lower back, buttocks, bladder, urinary tract, the joints of the body or corruption of blood. This sign tends towards overindulgence in sugar or other pleasurable things and lacks an outlet for physical energy, so problems can occur through excess of food, drink, and sex. Librans can have addictive tendencies, suggesting problems with alcohol, whilst their natural liking for sweetness combined with a vulnerable kidney offers a warning for diabetes. Illnesses placed under the rulership of Libra include kidney stones, lumbago, venereal disease, and ulcers in the kidneys or bladder.

Places:  As an air sign, Libra governs places that are exposed to light and air, or those that are high off the ground. Externally, this includes places where the air is clear and sharp, such as mountains and hillsides, orchards or cultivated high places. It also rules windmills and places that deal with processing wind power. Traditionally it is said to rule places where hunting and hawking are performed – in our modern world, we can extend this to air force bases, airports, and high communication towers. It is also given rulership over sandy and gravely ground, saw-pits, places where wood is cut or stored, and to barns or out-houses that lie away from other dwellings.

Inside buildings, Libra indicates places near windows or off the floor towards the ceiling, ventilation ducts, the upper rooms in houses, garrets, chambers and bedrooms, and rooms that nest inside others, such as walk-in wardrobes. It also has a general rulership over places of worship, or places associated with civilised human behaviour.

Countries & cities:   Include China, Greece (especially the site around ancient Thebes), Upper Egypt, the ancient city of Antioch, Balkh and Kabul in Afghanistan, Mecca, the higher regions of Austria, Alsace and Arles in France, Estonia and Latvia, Lisbon in Portugal, Frankfort and Spires in Germany, Vienna, and Fribourg in Switzerland.

Colours  The colours of Libra are those that are not excessive in shade or hue: greys, pastels, and subtle tones.

Stones & Metals:  Stones and metals fall under the rulership of planets, not signs, but through its association with Venus, Libra has affinity with copper, sapphires, marcasite, lapis lazuli and chrysolite. It also has association with wood through the exaltation rulership of Saturn.

Animals:  As an air sign Libra has a general association with birds (Al-Biruni includes rulership over leopards as well as jinns or genies).

Traditional Definitions:

Humane:  Humane signs are those represented by human figures, which are also referred to as ‘manly’ or ‘courteous’. They are renown for social graces and intellectual skills and include Gemini, Virgo, Libra and Aquarius, (Libra on the assumption that the scales are held by a human hand).

Famous Librans
Libra - FAMOUS LIBRANS - Libra

Jerome Cardan24 Sep 1501 (JC: 4 Oct, GC); Pavia, Italy; 6:29 pm LMT (RR:B)View chart ⇨
Oscar Wilde 16 Oct 1854; Dublin, Ireland; 3:00 am LMT (RR:C) View biography & chart ⇨
Mahatma Gandhi 2 Oct 1869; Porbandar, India; 7:08 am LMT (RR:C)View biography & chart ⇨
Margaret Thatcher 13 Oct 1925; Grantham, England; 9:00 am GMT (RR:A)View biography & chart ⇨
Luciano Pavarotti 12 Oct 1935; Modena, Italy; 1:40 am CET (RR:AA)View chart ⇨
John Lennon 9 Oct 1940; Liverpool, England; 6:30 pm BST (RR:A)View chart ⇨
Michael Douglas25 Sep 1944; New Brunswick, NJ, USA; 10:30 am EWT (RR:C)View biography & chart ⇨
Sting 2 Oct 1951; Wallsend, England; 1:30 am BST (RR:A)View chart ⇨
Kamala Harris 20 Oct 1964; Oakland, CA, USA; 9:28 pm PDT (RR:AA)View chart ⇨
Will Smith 25 Sep 1968; Philadelphia, PA, USA; 9:47 pm EDT (RR:A)View biography & chart ⇨
Catherine Zeta-Jones 25 Sep 1969; Swansea, Wales; 2:40 pm BST (RR:A)View biography & chart ⇨
Kim Kardashian 21 Oct 1980; Los Angeles, CA; 10:46 am PDT (RR:AA)View chart ⇨
Serena Williams 26 Sep 1981; Saginaw, MI; 8:28 pm EDT (RR:AA)View chart ⇨
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez 13 Oct 1989; Bronx, NY, USA; 11:50 am EDT (RR:A)View chart ⇨


Plate from Uranographia by Johannes Hevelius, 1690

Aries | Taurus | Gemini | Cancer | Leo | Virgo | Libra | Scorpius | Sagittarius | Capricornus | Aquarius | Pisces

Notes & References:
1 ] Due to calendar changes the date of Michaelmas only roughly aligns with that of the equinox, which is precisely established at the moment of the Sun’s ingress into Libra. Michaelmas is one of the four Christian (and Pagan) ‘Quarter Days’ which were intended to earmark the dates of solstices and equinoxes and split the year into quarters for legal, religious and administrative purposes (acting as deadlines for such things as paying up taxes and vacating properties as well as holding festivities). The historical employment of Quarter Days is widespread but allocated dates vary in different regions. In Britain, where the dates are still employed for rental agreements, they are: Lady Day (associated with the Aries equinox), 25 March; Midsummer Day (Cancer solstice), 24 June; Michaelmas Day (September equinox) September 29, and Christmas Day, (Capricorn solstice) December 25. Back to text

Deb HouldingDeborah Houlding, creator of Skyscript, is based in the UK and has worked as an astrologer since the late 1980s. Founder of The Traditional Astrologer (1993 to 2000) and STA School of Traditional Astrology, she is the author of the STA Practitioners-Level Horary Course, The Houses: Temples of the Sky, and (with Oner Doser) Soru Astrolojisi: Horary Astrology (2015). She is also the editor of a modern retype, annotated edition of William Lilly's Christian Astrology and Griffin's Astrological Judgement Touching Theft.

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Artwork: Deborah Houlding. Top image: composite of medieval art from Augustine's, City of God & the Scrovegni Chapel.
Fig 1: left - detail from 'The Last Judgement' by Rogier van der Weyden; bottom right - 'Saint Michael Weighing Souls' by Juan de la Abadía; top middle - The Weighing of the Heart against the Fe from the Book of the Dead of Ani.

Audio provided by Danielle Ashley (Queen of Hearts Astrology)

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