As one of the most popular TV shows of all time, it is hardly surprising that the scriptwriters of Friends employed the archetypal energies of certain astrological signs –whether knowingly or unknowingly –in their portrayals of the six famous amigos.
The instantly recognisable, relatable and ultimately loveable personality traits distilled in each of the six main characters largely contributed to the mass appeal of the show.
Some argue that the humour became corny and self-referential towards the end but few can deny that the success of the show lay partly in the strong characterisation of the hugely likeable characters.
F.R.I.E.N.D.S and The Hero's Journey
As the show unfolds each of the six friends seems to undergo a solar journey that is unique to their Zodiac sign. The idea behind solar journeys in astrology is that we are not born automatically displaying all the telltale “textbook” qualities of our sun sign –we must grow into them instead.
The work of growing into and becoming our sun sign is a popular motif in psychological astrology and is derived from the concept of “the hero’s journey” as posited by mythologist Joseph Campbell in his book The Hero with A Thousand Faces.
The idea, in a nutshell, is that each of us must undergo a series of initiations (life experiences) that modify and alter our prima materia so that we can be reborn as something greater than we once were.
The hero’s journey is an alchemical process that represents the work of a lifetime, a process of claiming our divine inheritance that must be gained through trials and tribulations, but, once captured, can never be destroyed.
Monica Geller is a Virgo
Monica Gellar, aka “the neat freak,” is working as a chef when the show begins.
Virgo, sign of the specialist, must often go through many trials and tribulations to find its raison d’etre, and once it does, it is not easily deterred.
Monica lives by the maxim “cleanliness is near godliness” and her obsessive preoccupation with cleanliness and neatness is referenced throughout the show.
Virgo, the sign of health, healing and service is finicky and seeks perfection and order in its environment.
Monica enjoys cleaning, tidying and organising so much that she owns a plethora of cleaning supplies –from stain-removers and Windex, to wonder mops and bleach.
Monica's “I am always the hostess” mantra aligns her with Virgo’s emphasis on duty and service.
Perfecting a skillset and being of service to mankind is Virgo’s rite of passage and Monica offers this to the world through her exquisite cooking.
Virgo is a sign of alchemy and the premise of alchemy is that various substances are cooked together so that their original forms can be altered to become something new.
Monica’s cooking and cleaning are testament to this inner-alchemist who always wants to make improvements: giving Nature a helping hand by perfecting Her work.
Monica slowly climbs the ladder of gastronomic success, going from working in a cheesy 50s diner to being hired as head chef at a fancy Italian restaurant.
Virgo rules unequal relationships and Monica finds herself on different rungs of the restaurant-world’s pecking order as the show advances.
Rachel Green is a Libra
In the pilot episode, Rachel bursts onto the scene wearing a wedding dress, joining the Central Perk gang as the sixth “friend.”
Rachel is constantly alluded to as a “pushover” by the other characters and gets made fun of for being a flake and a doormat.
Besides being a people-pleaser (Libra), she is also a self-confessed fashionista and aesthete who hasn’t yet found her calling when the show begins.
She starts her journey as a spoiled daddy’s girl but is then forced to cut up her dad’s credit cards, find a job and join the "real world."
Rachel starts off working as a waitress but the pull of her true passion –fashion –eventually lands her a job in the fashion industry.
Rachel is constantly mocked for being superficial and shallow (Venus rules appearances) but she is eventually able to make a career out of her love of beauty.
Fashion is a Venus-ruled domain, as are relationships, and there was certainly no shortage of Rachel’s relationship dramas throughout the show.
At its essence, Libra is the astrological sign that rules self-love (as well as the discovery of one’s own inner worth through the process of making choices).
Self-worth, and indeed, self-love, (the astrological glyph of Venus depicts a hand-mirror) form the archetypal core of this sign and Rachel initially struggles to recognise her innate value as a human being going from (almost) trophy wife, to underpaid waitress, to bona fide business woman in her own right, motivated by her love of fashion.
Rachel’s solar journey sees her start off as completely ill-equipped at dealing with the harsh realties of life, to slowly growing in confidence and maturing as she discovers her own value, thereby embodying the archetypal journey of this Cardinal air sign.
Phoebe Buffay is an Aquarius
The kooky New Agey massage therapist Phoebe Buffay is a typical Aquarius: she despises extravagance and is suspicious of dazzling displays of wealth.
When she finds a human thumb in a can of soda she is offered $5000 as compensation but she is so mistrustful of the money that she gives it all to a homeless lady instead.
Aquarius is famous for its preoccupation with being “right” and “fair” and “just” and believes that what benefits one should benefit all.
Besides being staunchly unmaterialistic, Phoebe also embodies the zanier qualities of the sign, evidenced in her bizarre interests and quirky hobbies, which include gluing mannequins to canvases, completing 1 mile on a hopping ball and, of course, penning her highly original songs.
She is often dressed in floaty hippy-dippy dresses, crazy colours and way-out patterns that fly in the face of cookie-cutter fashion trends (oddball Aquarius likes to shock us with its style choices).
As a massage therapist, Phoebe is not concerned with making bucket loads of money; she’s a socially-minded Aquarius and likes helping others feel good about themselves through massage. Massage stimulates the body’s meridians –that is, the electric currents of the body (Uranus, rules electricity).
Ruled by both Uranus and Saturn who are enemies in myth, Aquarius presents us with a profound paradox: it is a socially minded sign that thrives on cultivating relationships, while also feeling painfully “different” and misunderstood because of its way-out (and often alienating) worldview that is light-years ahead its time.
Phoebe is able to bridge this deep divide when the show raps up by marrying equally kooky Mike Hannigan, thereby striking a balance between her fiercely independent nature and her desire to bask in the warmth of human contact.
Joey Tribbiani is a Taurus
Joey is the sensuous gourmand of the group: the fiercely loyal, oversexed, slow-witted actor who struggles to break into his chosen career field.
Joey the skirt chaser, sex fiend, luxuriant foodie and glutton, manages to get his head stuck inside a turkey in one episode yet despite his dunderheaded ways he is a loyal friend as well as a lazybones and a lover of comfort food, pajama pants and TV marathons.
The Venusian values of Taurus are more earthy and tactile than the more aesthetic ideals of Venus’ Libran face.
Physical comfort, food, tactility and sex fall under the domain of this most earthy of earth signs and Joey’s ardent love of physical pleasure –be it through food or through sex –is well documented throughout the show.
The materialism that Taurus is famous for clearly reveals itself when Joey “makes it big” by starring as recurring character Dr. Drake Ramuray in Days of Our Lives.
He moves into his own apartment, which he lavishly decorates with over-the-top statues and other ostentatious home accents that allows him to revel in the physical delights of his newly acquired wealth.
Joey initially struggles to make enough money to live (money, a symbol of value, is ruled by Venus and is symbolic on an outer level of how we value ourselves on an inner level).
Part of the solar journey of a Taurus is to actualise their self-worth through carving out a secure job for themselves and by the end of the show, Joey has done just that.
Chandler Bing is a Gemini
Mercury-ruled Chandler is the witty prankster of the group; the eternal youth who fears commitment and plods away at an unsatisfactory job before finding his niche in advertising where he gets to use his love of humour and his facility with words to “come into his own.”
With witty comebacks and dazzling one-liners, Chandler was clearly born under the sign of the twins.
He starts off the show as a commitment-phobe (Gemini likes to keep its options open) who works in an office inputting numbers into spreadsheets (Mercury rules facts, figures and communication).
Before Chandler starts dating –and eventually marrying – Monica, he tends to keep his relationships light and uncomplicated as a way to experience life’s never-ending variety (like the god Mercury in myth).
While Joey’s appreciation of women tends to be more earthy and sensual and Ross’ (a Scorpio) tends to border on obsessive, Chandler shies away from messy emotional conflicts.
Chandler’s tongue-in-cheek humour is regularly used at the expense of his friends who often find themselves at the butt of his jokes but he’s also not afraid to make fun of himself, often turning his pain into comedy.
One of Gemini’s talents is that they are gifted communicators, deeply attuned to both the dark and the light side of life and able to use their nuanced observations in very subtle –and sometimes not so subtle –ways.
It is also interesting to note that at the end of the show Chandler becomes a father of twins (Gemini)!
Ross Geller is a Scorpio
Ross is a sensitive, still-waters-run-deep paleontologist with a rock-hard brilliantine hair-do. He takes love and life very seriously and tends to obsess about the things he is passionate about (namely women and paleontology).
In true Scorpio style, Ross protects his vulnerability fiercely, showing his buttoned-up, “respectable” face to more casual acquaintances and only allowing those nearest and dearest to him to see his more emotional, vulnerable side.
Ross may appear cool, calm and collected but don’t try to cross him otherwise his more ruthless, willful side will come out (remember the episode when his sandwich was stolen?)
This combustible side of Ross doesn’t show itself often but when it does… watch out! His friends even have a name for this aspect of his character: “Red Ross”… So you’re advised to stay in his good books otherwise all hell may break loose!
Ross is also obsessively passionate about the women he loves and he doesn’t commit himself lightly in matters of the heart.
Pluto rules the underworld and hidden treasures (like dinosaur bones!) and so what could be a more suitable career for Ross than paleontology? Through paleontology, Ross can advance on his solar quest for meaning by discovering the mysteries of what lie beneath the surface of life (both literally and metaphorically).
Shy, passionate, obsessive, the dark horse of the show, Ross embodies brooding Scorpionic qualities perfectly.
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