Here’s What I Think Incompatibility Really Means: An Astrological Shadow Work Exercise

If to know yourself is to love yourself, then to love someone else is to know them too right? But what does it mean when you get to know someone, and you don’t like them? Do you think that maybe you don’t like them because they remind you of something you don’t like about yourself? What if you don’t like them because they show you something you don’t know about yourself?

I’ve been immersing myself in astrology lately because I find its accuracy to be fascinating. The fact that the various complexities of the human psyche are accounted for in the solar system makes me feel like this universe is truly magical. If you’re into astrology too, you can use it to do shadow work. Figuring out who you’re incompatible with and why, is a good shadow work exercise.

Earth signs (Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn), fire signs (Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius), water signs (Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces), and air signs (Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius) are all dichotomous to one another on some level. For example, as an Aries I would more than likely have a difficult relationship with a Pisces (even though I married one), an intriguing relationship with an Aquarius, and a hot and cold relationship with a Virgo. Here’s a chart from




Now the sign of Aries is all about action, assertiveness, and pioneering, but here’s the secret… we have ALL of the other traits that all the other signs have! I found another chart that shows this. We all have:

  • a sense of self (Aries- I AM)
  • possessions (Taurus- I HAVE)
  • thoughts (Gemini- I THINK)
  • feelings (Cancer- I FEEL)
  • ambitions (Leo- I WILL)
  • a work ethic (Virgo- I WORK)
  • a need for unity (Libra- WE UNITE)
  • sexual desires (Scorpio- WE DESIRE)
  • a desire to explore (Sagittarius-WE SEEK)
  • a need to control (Capricorn- WE CONTROL)
  • a desire to learn (Aquarius-WE KNOW)
  • the ability to care (Pisces- WE CARE)

Aha! So if this is true, the zodiac signs that I clash with reveal what’s in my shadow. If I’m an Aries and I’m incompatible with a Pisces, maybe it’s because I’m uncomfortable with how much I care about things and how impressionable I am. If I’m struggling with an Aquarius, maybe it’s because of my fear of being rejected for thinking differently.  And if I’m not seeing eye to eye with a Virgo, maybe it’s because I’m struggling with my own perfectionist tendencies.

Shadow work is not about figuring out what you are not-because honestly, you are everything- it’s about figuring out what bothers you about yourself and why. When you first begin to uncover why you are opposed to certain aspects of your personality, you may start off as angry. Do you blame your parents for discouraging your desire to daydream all day? Do you resent your peers for teasing you for all of your wacky ideas? Did a teacher ever tell you that you were too outspoken in class?

Once you identify these patterns, you realize why your Scorpio ex drove you crazy, and why you clash with your Leo sister sometimes. They are your shadow signs. They are the embodiment of the personality traits that you’ve been indoctrinated to reject.

When you realize this is the case, something surprising may eventually happen: you may come to have a great deal of compassion for the people you consistently clash with. What if you’re not incompatible? What if those same people have been taught to suppress the very qualities that you enjoy showing off to the world? What if they need your help learning and speaking the complete and beautiful truth that is who they really are?

The days of thinking that you don’t have anything in common with certain people are over. You have everything in common with everyone. We are all earth, fire, water, and air. We are all cardinal, fixed, and mutable. We are all the entire Zodiac.

Author: Carla Calloway

Aries. Introvert. Creative writer. Food enthusiast.