Sun signs – the constant heart of astrology ++ Linda Goodman

Sun sign astrology has in recent years been the despised poor relation of ‘proper’ serious astrology and widely assumed to have been a popular media invention from the 1930s. Sceptics sneer that not every twelfth person can be the same but how the zodiac sign interpretations are any different from the psychological test definitions of Myers-Briggs labelling types as extraverted, introverted, intuitive etc I’m not sure.

  Kim Farnell’s latest book The True History of Sun Sign Astrology is an eye-opener which sets the record straight on where sun sign astrology fits in to the wider discipline as she follows its winding path from earliest times in Mesopotamia four thousand years ago. From a Babylonian temple to the Daily Express of 1930 sounds an unlikely trajectory but she makes a plausible case for the Sun having been at the centre of the astrological canon since the start.

  It was certainly a driving force for the best-selling almanacs of the day in medieval times. Though sometimes with questionable interpretations “Those born under Pisces shall be wise and cunning, a marriage breaker and very covetous. Her husband shall forsake her and she shall have great pain with strangers and she shall not have it that it is her fault.”

  As astrology moved from being a tool for the monarch in earliest times to gain popularity amongst the masses it continually ran into critics, none of which made any inroads into the public appetite for teasers about their prospects – emotional, financial and medical. Nor did its illegality, with astrologers continually charged with criminal behaviour for fortune telling.

  William Lilly, the 17th Century English ‘Merlin’ advised politicians and soldiers in the febrile times of the civil war and was summoned to appear in the courts for having predicted the Great Fire of London in 1666 in the form of a coded drawing.

The next notable Alan Leo, the theosophist, picked astrology out of the doldrums in the late 19th century during Neptune Pluto in Gemini and stimulated a revival of interest which disseminated his work across Europe and America. He made a fortune from mass produced horoscopes as well as writing 30 books some of which are still in use today.

  In the 20th Century Linda Goodman is credited with doing more to popularise sun sign astrology than any. Her book Sun Signs was a runaway success and a New York Times best-seller, introducing a wider public to credible descriptions of the signs. She dined with the Kennedys, knew Howard Hughes and moved amongst the celebrity set. Her private life was troubled with three of her five children dead in infancy and one daughter dying of suicide in her twenties. She earned millions from her books but ended up bankrupt with an amputated leg from diabetes complications.

What marked out her chart for success from lowly beginnings in West Virginia was her lucky Jupiter in her career 10th square her Sun Chiron in Aries on her Ascendant. She was an upfront, outgoing personality who was a healer as well as an attention-grabber and who would attract increasing appreciation the older she got.  Her Sun was also square Pluto on her IC suggesting a troubled childhood and later adult domestic life, especially since her Pluto was trine a 7th house Saturn in Scorpio. Good fortune shone on her achievements but not her emotional life. A 5th house Neptune in Leo indicated both her talent as an entertainer in a Neptunian sphere; and confusion and disappointment around children. She also had a ‘leadership’ North Node in Leo in her performing 5th house.

    What is intriguing is that Linda Goodman’s chart shares some similarities with William Lilly’s. Both had Neptune in Leo square Saturn in Scorpio.

  Lilly was a Sun Venus in Taurus opposition Saturn in Scorpio widely square Neptune in Leo.  His Mercury in Taurus was conjunct Uranus on one side and Pluto on the other, trine Mars in Virgo – so his words would pack a punch.  

  Alan Leo had a more obvious astrologer’s Uranus in his 10th house with an influential-communicator Pluto in his 9th in a confident square to Jupiter and his Sun in Leo which would help him gain attention.

  For a readable and well-researched dance through astrology’s multi-millenial existence this book will fascinate Astro-historians and give copious ammunition to defend against the nay-sayers.

The True History of Sun Sign Astrology: Kim Farnell. Publishers: the Wessex Astrologer.

14 thoughts on “Sun signs – the constant heart of astrology ++ Linda Goodman

  1. I too bought a book by Linda Goodman and learnt how to draw up my birth chart.

    I do wonder why the order of the zodiac signs has since changed (in relation to the months of the year, from clockwise to anticlockwise). Perhaps someone can explain.

  2. Through my darkest times, astrology has often been my only light of hope. I’ve been able to identify the ‘hidden enemies’, those who want to be the Best, the Wealthiest, the One with most Friends – all at my expense. Astrology has helped me grow spiritually. Linda Goodman set me off on the journey way back in 1974, I will be eternally grateful for that. It’s a shame astrology isn’t used to treat the mentally ill and help them see how their problems have been manifested.

  3. Linda Goodman’s book also got me interested in astrology. Didn’t she write the lyrics to “Let the Sunshine In,” for the musical “Hair”?

  4. Very intriguing. I had no idea about Linda Goodman’s very challenging personal life – her writing style is entertaining and sometimes really insightful.

    I first read about Sun sign astrology in a book my grandfather had – ‘You and Your Star’ by Cheiro – edition dated around 1941, published after his death in 1936. It’s a mix of Sun sign astrology profiles and numerology. Cheiro – birth name John Warner – is a fascinating character. His 1st November 1866 birthday has Sun conjunct Saturn in Scorpio, trine Uranus and opposition Pluto in Taurus. Mercury is trine Mars, with Mars opposition Jupiter in Capricorn. Cheiro was very well-known in Europe and America in the late 19th and early 20th century.

    It’s interesting to see how things have shifted around since his heyday. He was also famous as a palmist – with a long list of famous clients, and celebrities who endorsed him. These included Oscar Wilde, Mata Hari, William Gladstone (British politician and PM), Mark Twain and Edward VIII. Very hard to imagine a public list like this today, people have to be very careful about revealing any so-called ‘alternative’ beliefs, or even curiosity about such things. When did we as a society become so narrow-minded?

  5. I have a copy of the follow-up Love Signs book which my mother bought back in the day. A quick glance at it shows she has a very engaging writing style, probably because of the Leo-Neptune 5th. I will read more later.

    A quick estimation of the 1,100+ pages in a small font suggests it’s around 650,000 words long !!

  6. I looked it up – LG’s Sun Signs book was published in 1968.

    That was when transiting Saturn was going through Aries and therefore crossing her Aries ascendant and hitting her Sun-Venus. Given the size of the book, I expect she wrote a good chunk of it while Saturn was going through the secluded 12th. Note it was also when she was having her Uranus oppo Uranus – so I guess that was a turning point for her.

  7. I recall reading Linda’s book in 1979, and it sparked my interest in astrology. I didn’t know her personal life was
    blighted by such appalling tragedy.

  8. Huh.
    Just saw West Virginia as Linda Goodman’s birthplace. That’s a mighty steep ascent up the coast to dine with American “royalty”. ( M o r e, please?)

    Wondering: what tome(s) lit the fire for our resident star detective, of the ever appropriate intials M.O.

    Sybil Leek just popped to mind. She did a juicy bit on astrological appearances in a book, that I’ve yet to re-find . Which reminds me of Linda Mason, who did a delightful astro make up mash up manual that I gave as a present to the teen daughters of friends back in the 90s/early aughts.

  9. Thank you Linda Goodman for starting me on this road …Liz Green and Howard Sasportas for helping me on and you Marjorie Orr for continually giving so much insight today !

  10. Linda Goodman pretty much introduced me to astrology way back when. Bought
    all her books and was hooked. She was a latter-day pioneer (Aries) in the field,
    popularizing the subject with vivid descriptions of each sun sign. Being a Ram
    myself, I loved her depiction of Scarlett O’Hara as a classic Aries. Amusing and
    spot-on in many ways.

  11. Linda Goodman often liked to write about how proud she was to be an Aries. In one book claiming that Scarlett O’Hara was a typical Aries.

    • Dratted software – I had changed to JC for Lilly and it didn’t revert back to GC for the later two. Will amend.

Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: