OPINION: Do Zodiac Signs Define Who You Are?

While it is fun to find out what your zodiac sign is and what its characteristics are, studies have found that the information said about zodiac signs is not accurate, and therefore cannot define who a person is.


Sitwat Mian

When people first research the personality of a zodiac sign, they tend to use that information to justify some of their actions–and they shouldn’t. Zodiac signs, little more than constellations, should not define a person’s actions.

Aline Gonzalez and Sitwat Mian

If you type “March 20 zodiac sign” into Google, immediately you will see that you are a Pisces, and find that all Pisces are generous and empathetic and hopeless romantics — but this doesn’t necessarily mean that all of that is true. You might be a Pisces who isn’t too keen on the idea of love, or maybe you find that you relate to other zodiac signs such as Aries or Aquarius more.

Just because you have a certain zodiac sign doesn’t mean it is true to you and your personality. Born on August 14, sophomore Gouri Challa is a Leo and has met many people of different zodiac signs, all of which don’t necessarily act as their zodiac. ‘[For Leo’s, some say] they’re really arrogant and [egotistic]. But some of the Leos that I met don’t really show that at all, [while others] do, so it varies,” Challa says.


History of Zodiac Signs

Zodiac signs first emerged in ancient Babylon between 409 and 389 B.C. The Babylonians decided to divide the sky into twelve regions, each of which received a shape, a name, and a special meaning. Aries was the first zodiac sign created, and the rest of the zodiac signs followed. The other signs are Virgo, Capricorn, Gemini, Leo, Taurus, Cancer, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Aquarius, and Pisces. 

The original purpose of astrology, on the other hand, was to tell a person about his life course based on the position of the planets and zodiac signs (12 constellations) at the time of their birth or perception. The zodiac sign is determined by the position of the sun in a certain constellation at the time of birth.

Since then, two new signs have been introduced to astrology: Ophiuchus and Cetus. But people have argued whether they are real or not, since the dates would have to change if they are added, creating chaos in the order of zodiac signs. If the signs are to be added, they would both fall into the fire element.


What It Means to be Part of an Element

All zodiac signs belong to a certain element, such as Air, Fire, Earth, and Water. The reason behind signs belonging to certain elements is that they are referred to as the life-giving source of your zodiac sign. Three zodiac signs belong to a certain element. 

The signs Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius are Air signs. The overall characteristics of these signs are supposedly known to be witty, social, spacey, intellectual, and good listeners. 

The signs Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius belong under the Fire category. They are known to be brave, artistic, confident, passionate, and independent. 

The signs Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn are known to be Earth signs. They are described to be detail-oriented, down-to-earth, cultivated, grounded, and practical. 

Lastly,  Cancers, Scorpios, and Pisces belong to the element of water. The water signs are known to be imaginative, empathetic, emotional, nurturing, and intuitive. 

With each element, the characteristic tied to it is very similar to how their element acts. For example, Aries, Leos, and Sagittarius are said to be very hot-tempered, hence the fire element. The Earth signs are grounded and still like the Earth. Water signs are calm and peaceful like the ocean. Air signs are seen to be in their own world and just like their element, can be spacey.


Research and Statistics Behind Zodiac Signs

No research has shown that the zodiac signs are truly accurate on a person’s mood, attitude, or personality. As mentioned above, they were originally made to tell someone’s course in life since the time of their birth, but there have been many changes in the sky over the years, so if we were to do what the Babylonians did and record the sky when a person is born, the information would change over time, as the world is still changing. 

Statistically, 51% of Americans say they don’t believe in astrology and 22% are unsure.  According to Senior Survey Data Journalist, Taylor Orth, younger American adults are more likely to believe in astrology than older American adults. 

But just believing in astrology doesn’t make it accurate. One study with statistical analysis provided by Jules Angst at the University of Zurich in Switzerland found that there was no correlation between zodiac signs and personality. Sophomore Patrick O’Banion, who was born on July 17, making his sign Cancer, doesn’t believe your zodiac sign and personality correlate. “People can be passionate and [fit leaders] but that does not always mean they are an Aries,” O’Banion said. “At times, it’s only a matter of coincidence.” 

Like O’Banion, senior Rohan Narayan doesn’t believe zodiac signs to be accurate. “There is no real evidence to back their existence,” Narayan said. “My zodiac sign, Gemini, is somewhat representative of my personality, but there are also certain traits that differentiate me from a described Gemini.”

Challa is conflicted about the sincerity of zodiac signs.“I would say I don’t have any opinions [on zodiac signs],” Challa said. “[I think that] each zodiac sign just gives general facts about the person [who was] born on that date.”

It is natural to find yourself relating yourself to your specific zodiac sign, but everyone is different. The characteristics that each sign possesses do not correlate to a person’s personality. For example, not all Aries, who are commonly known to be confident leaders, will have the same personality traits, therefore, they cannot relate to their sign to that extent.

With over 4,000 personality traits out in the world, it is highly unlikely that 12 (or 14) zodiac signs can cover them all. The world is filled with so many different types of people who cannot be categorized into just these signs. Although some people’s personality correlates to their zodiac sign, this is not the case for everyone born into that zodiac sign.

While it is fun to find out what your zodiac sign is, and even though some people find that the characteristics are accurate, they should be cautious and try to not completely trust everything that is said about them.