Astrology is but one small block in the massive Jenga tower of family dynamics, but let’s poke it loose anyway — just for fun. It’s the holidays! With respect to our post-nuclear-family landscape, I don’t presume to know anything about your domestic life, but for our purposes, your “family” can be any group of people with whom you feel safe and loved. It can be your little brother and single mom, the funky cousins who only come around once a year, the group of ladies that you get drinks with every Friday night or your significant other. I’m not here to judge your familial crews; I’m just here to interpret what random star patterns might say about your place in them. So grab some eggnog and your sun sign and join me below for a reading of your family role.
It’s probably fairly easy to spot the Aries in your family. They’re the ones who get super-competitive during the innocent tradition of New Year’s Eve charades or come to the annual reunion with a fully rehearsed skit. This is the cousin that’s always Instagramming new tattoos or the older sibling who tries to persuade you to go skydiving.
Aries is a striking, daring sign that isn’t afraid to be the center of attention. These people will say how they feel in any situation — and that includes family dinners, get-togethers and group outings. This brash nature can rub people the wrong way sometimes. But Aries is also a fiercely loving and generous sign. You can always count on the Aries in your family to take risks for you and support you through big decisions. They’ll let you crash on their sofas anytime — just be prepared for frequent pep talks and soliloquies along the way.
As a typical earth sign, Taurus needs structure and routine on a regular basis. But Taurus is unique in that this sign also exercises daily creativity. You probably go to a Taurus’ house every year for Thanksgiving because the meals are consistently excellent — and there’s always an extra surprise dish waiting for your approval.
Taurus often gets the reputation of materialism. In reality, Taurus simply values comfort and luxury. Their homes are always impeccably decorated; their holiday parties have perfectly curated gift bags; the presentation of the buffet table would make Chopped judges cry. Taurus revels in sharing this lifestyle with the people they love, and so they play the role of host with unmatchable grace.
Gemini is the stereotypical fun-loving, rule-breaking family member. This is your parent’s sibling who gave you chocolate donuts for breakfast when you weren’t supposed to have sugar. This is the aunt who wears all black and travels the world, bringing you unexpected and exotic gifts on your birthday.
Geminis are highly social, attentive and energetic. Gemini is the most restless air sign, which means that both their minds and their bodies are constantly in motion. They’re always spearheading the conversations as well as the weekend outings, so don’t let this sign’s flighty reputation fool you. Chances are, the Gemini is the person blowing up your family group chat — and they’re always the one who follows through on the wildest and best plans.
Cancer is the classic “mom” of the zodiac — they’re protective, supportive and highly expressive. If you’re blessed enough to have an actual Cancer parent, whether mother or father, you probably lived in the designated playdate house among your friends. If you have a Cancer in your friend group, they probably have the coziest, most welcoming apartment for movie nights.
Cancer is the sign that will care for you and look out for you, no matter what. They will text you after an exam to ask how it went, and they’ll offer to role-play with you to practice for a big date. If that sounds weird, Cancers are kind of weird. But they’re mature and sentimental and everything you want a family member to be, too.
Leos are strong, willful and impossibly proud. This is the family member to go to if you need someone on your side — whether you’re fighting with a sibling, trying to persuade your mom to let you go to a party, or still waiting on your friend to fulfill a Venmo request. If you manage to convince a Leo of your position, you have an ally for life. They stand their ground, and they’re not afraid of a debate.
This sign is also extremely affectionate. Leos enjoy displaying their affection in tangible ways — and while they don’t necessarily expect anything material in return, they do expect gratitude and appreciation. They feel threatened by apathy. So if you’re near a Leo this holiday season, make sure to smile extra wide when you open their present; it’ll make all the difference.
I once described the Virgo in my friend group as “the glue that holds us together.” Four years later, it’s still completely true: Virgos are the voices of reason for many families and group dynamics. They’re the ones who will step in and mediate when you’re having a ridiculous argument about travel plans or where to eat — they’re known for their reliability and tranquility in the face of stress.
That being said, earth signs value ambition and drive, so don’t be surprised if your Virgo parent is always asking about that “upcoming promotion” or if your Virgo sibling is a straight-A’s shut-in. While those are stereotypical readings of the Virgo sign, it’s true that these people are usually meticulous, organized perfectionists. They hate useless squabbles, but they’re happy to squabble for a noble cause.
If your holiday season is typically tinged with family stress, I’d be surprised if you have a Libra in your group, as Libras are unnaturally gifted conversationalists. They are excellent at diffusing tense situations, and their optimistic outlook tends to saturate any social gathering. Unlike Virgos, Libras won’t try to face the problem head-on, mediating a situation through rational discussion; rather, they’ll distract the group with board games or memes or a particularly charming anecdote. Libras work efficiently and subtly to barter peace.
Occasionally, a Libra will come off as a try-hard. But that’s just because they hate confrontation and love to feel loved. With a Libra in your group, you’ll have access to a gym buddy, a style consultant, a person who remembers to bring your favorite wine every time they come over — and if that’s what a notorious try-hard brings to the table, who would refuse?
The Scorpio vibe is very much “the sibling who’s barely left their room in months and it’s becoming vaguely worrisome.” This sign can be a little angsty, intimidating or difficult to talk to. But at its core, Scorpio is a water sign that values and seeks human connection. Water signs are famously sensitive and family-oriented; Scorpios in particular possess an extremely acute intuition and can easily detect insecurities in other people.
Scorpios are contradictory in nature; while they can be highly selfish, they’re also sympathetic. This can manifest as martyrdom, particularly in familial structures. They’re very sensitive to tension and may have difficulty vocalizing their emotions to their parents (as children) or to their children (as parents). However, they’re extremely honest and spontaneous people, so be careful not to fill a Scorpio with too many secrets before they serve the wine at your family dinner party.
Everyone has that family member who plans sporadic trips, builds forts for the kids’ sleepovers and always tells the best jokes — the family member who starts the party but is occasionally the reason why it ends, too. This is the essence of a Sagittarius. They usually don’t know their own power. Sagittarius is an outgoing, charismatic sign with an undeniable streak of recklessness.
Sagittarians are independent and adventurous from the get-go. If you have an archer sibling, like I do, then you may remember that they tried to run away as a child for no particular reason. Or perhaps they threw raucous parties while your parents were away but never seemed to suffer any consequences. This confidence, this lust for life, lends itself to the Sagittarian magnetism. They’re always the life of the party — even if the party is at your grandma’s house.
I can imagine that having a Capricorn in your household is a little like living inside of Jay Gatsby’s head. The decor is purposeful and pristine; even your parties are carefully mapped out so as to achieve a specific goal. Capricorns are hard-working, self-sufficient individuals who have a plan. I don’t know what the plan is or what it’s for — does anybody, really? — but I know that they have one.
This is why Capricorns make excellent caretakers. They’ll pour their whole heart into making sure you feel loved and safe. They’ll do anything to make sure you succeed. This is true whether you have a Capricorn for a parent, best friend or wise neighbor whom you go to for advice. A Capricorn will listen carefully and help you map a plan of attack. They’ll make sure that both your coffee and your morals are strong.
If you want to understand the Aquarius’ role in a family, look no further than the hero of the holiday classic Home Alone. We can debate this movie’s true intended audience until the McCallisters come home (it seems a little gory for children, no?) but Kevin’s Aquarian spirit is undeniable. First, he’s a little strange. Second, he embraces his independence from a very young age. Third, and most importantly, he’s ingenious.
An Aquarius may find themselves misunderstood within their own family dynamic, acting as a sort of outlier — perhaps not to the extent that their parents will forget them while going on vacation (twice), but an outlier all the same. Aquarius is the sign that embraces individualism and uniqueness more than any other in the zodiac. As with Kevin, this is what affords Aquarians their resourceful, inspired nature; he may be the family loner, but that’s what makes him an icon.
Aquarius may be famously unique, but Pisces is the true eccentric of the zodiac, adorned with a deeply compassionate, understanding soul. The Pisces in your group is the person who gives you a crystal to help you ward off negative energy, or makes extremely accurate Netflix recommendations. More than anything else, Pisces is a perceptive sign. Even if your Luna Lovegood-type cousin only comes to your house once a year, she probably knows you better than you may feel comfortable with. That’s how they’re such excellent gift-givers.
Water signs, and Pisces in particular, can usually be counted on for a sympathetic ear. If you need to rant or unload — but don’t necessarily want advice — a Pisces is your best bet. They have advice, sure, and it’s probably really good, but they’d never insert themselves into your life without your explicit permission. They often prefer to remain on the outskirts, calmly observing and absorbing the emotions.
Illustrations by Allison Filice.