Personality Types, A Commentary on Human Differences
People are different from each other. Perhaps when we mature enough to realize this then an interest in learning about these differences grabs our attention. But more than people being different, each day presents us with situations which are new. Each day brings both new people and new event challenges. So, what ways do we have as individuals to understand and appreciate why “you” are different from “them”; and also why “yesterday’s” approach to addressing a situation is different from “today’s” approach? Astrology gives us one way of assessing such differences. Astrology also gives us insight into how to approach each situation. But, is astrology the “only” such tool available to us?
The answer, of course, is “No”. There are other ways of assessing differences between people, and how to approach daily situations. I would like to discuss in some detail here one of these alternative methods, “The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator” (MBTI) and then draw some parallels between the MBTI and astrological indications.
THE MYERS-BRIGGS TYPE INDICATOR
Over the centuries many people have defined, discussed and debated the four “types” of basic personality descriptions. Here are some of these:
(Please do NOT assume that each of these columns are equivalent, e.g., Earth does not necessarily equate to West, etc. — items in these columns may equate, and I have tried to arrange them so, but different opinions exist about these equivalencies — so, what follows are simply listings which have been stated over the years of “four” personality type breakdowns.)
|Hippocrates 1:||Yellow Bile||Black Bile||Blood||Phlegm|
and many other such … .
The interesting thing to note here is the consistency, over many centuries and by many different people, of the “four-ness” of general personality categories. The very fact that so many different cultures, educational systems, and people would gravitate to this idea of “four-ness” is in itself significant. But, of course, there are more than just “four” types of people. Even using Astrology as an example, one is more likely to say “I am a Libran” rather than “I am an Air type.”
The MBTI use a series of letter pairs to describe personality differences:
(I)ntrovert – (E)xtavert;
(S)ensory – i(N)tuitive;
(T)hinking – (F)eeling; and
(J)udging – (P)erceiving.
Combinations of these eight highlighted letters provide for a total of sixteen different letter MBTI breakdowns describing personality. Examples of the MBTI letter breakdowns are: ISFJ, ENTP, ESFJ, etc. These are explained in more detail later in this article.
Astrology uses five tools: planets, signs, houses, aspects, and chart angles (or the Personal Sensitive Points – PSPs). The Astrological breakdowns provide for twelve popularly stated breakdowns: e.g., Sun in Sagittarius; Sun in Cancer, etc.
The books cited at the end of this article provide “tests” for adjudging your MBTI personality type. There is no right or wrong answer to the questions in the MBTI test. The test is designed to see where your inner preferences lie on a “A” – “B” choice selection. The questions ask about preferences: e.g., “Are you a tough-minded person, or a tender-hearted person?”, “Is it better to be just, or merciful?”, etc. Perhaps for some of these eighty or so questions you may lie in the middle, that is feel equally drawn to both preferences, but the real determination is where you lie at least 51% of the time for each of these choices. I recommend you consult the books referenced for the test and take it to determine your MBTI type.
After studying the MBTI categories I became interested in learning more about how these sixteen letter-types correlated with the thousands of potential descriptions within an astrological chart. Right off let me say that my best guess on this is that there probably are sixteen different types of Aries Moons, sixteen types of Taurus Mercurys, sixteen types of Virgo Suns, etc. That is, I do not think that there is, or even can be, a direct correlation between the MBTI letter-types and the astrological indicators. They are simply two different ways of looking at one thing: your personality type. Both are valid, and both give insights. The MBTI descriptions are described, in my opinion, much more thoroughly and in-depth than what one reads from most astrological descriptions. Saying this then, I have to also state that astrologers have much work to do to match the clarity of personality descriptions provided by the MBTI.
CHARACTER AND TEMPERAMENT
One of the important distinctions that is brought out in the MBTI literature and commentary is the difference between Temperament and Character. Both Temperament and Character are essential “pieces” of Personality. Temperament can be likened to “the astrological hardware,” that is: planets, signs, and houses. Character can be likened to “the astrological software,” that is: the aspects and the PSPs. Temperament is that which makes one’s actions recognizable. That is, Temperament is that part of Personality which serves as the backdrop for our day to day actions, decisions, and directions of life. Character comes more from a configuration of habits. Character develops out of life experiences in dealing with Temperament, or the astrological planets, signs, and houses. These two distinct parts of Personality develop through our basic “natal imprinting” (i.e., chart) on the one hand, and the application of this imprinting to life experiences (i.e., life’s experiences at applying the planets in the signs and houses) — which we then use to become the Personality that we exhibit at this moment in life. This is a very complicated subject, and one which I do not wish to proceed with now.
THE FOUR BASIC MBTI TYPES
The four basic MBTI types are:
|SP, Sensory||Perceiving; (Artisans, equal to Fire)|
|NT, Intuitive||Thinking; (Rationalists, equal to Earth)|
|NF, Intuitive||Feeling; and (Idealists, equal to Air)|
|SJ, Sensory||Judging. (Guardians, equal to Water).|
Artisans are stimulating, optimistic, cynical, and focused on the here and the now. Rationalists are reasonable, practical, sensible, and analytical. Idealists are interested in ideas and social order, self-image. Guardians are cooperative, stable, worry about maintaining traditional values.
In order to understand the eight MBTI letters and words it is necessary to study the vocabulary which describes these eight letters used in combination. The percentages show the approximate breakdown of each letter type within the general population. The other letter pair: Extraverted – Introverted, which is not used in the “four-ness” breakdown, is also listed here.
|– Extraverted (E) (75%)||– Introverted (I) (20%)|
|Outgoing Social Attitude||Seclusive Social Attitude|
|Sociable||Looks for Substance, Depth in Others|
|Externally Focused||Interested in Internal Reactions|
|Many Superficial Relationships||A Few Meaningful Relationships|
|Spreads Social Energies||Concentrates Self to a Place|
|Interested in External Events||Conserves Energies for Self|
|Needs others around for motivation||Self-motivating|
|– Sensory (S) (75%)||– Intuitive (N) (20%)|
|Highly Observant||Highly Imaginative|
|Seeing One’s Immediate Environment||Seeing in the realm of possibilities|
|Locked into the Here and Now||Lives in Future Possibilities|
|Alert and Curious||Introspective, sees own World View|
|Need to Experience Life, World||Works on Hunches of Suspicions|
|Set into the Past||Speculates on Future Possibilities|
|Down to Earth||Head in the Clouds|
|Steeped in Utility||Steeped in Fantasy|
|The Actual||The Possible|
|Values Experience in the Past||Values a Vision of the Future|
|Depends on Perspiration||Depends on Inspiration|
|Concentration on Usefulness||Lives in Anticipation|
|– Thinking (T) (50%)||– Feeling (F) (50%)|
|Objective, sticks to facts||Gets Personal over Others|
|Impersonal toward Others||Sympathetic toward Others|
|Focused on Principles, Laws||Focused on Values, Consequences|
|Policy, Regulation, Rules||Implications, Outcome, Aftermath|
|Standards, Archetypes, Patterns||Extenuating Circumstances|
|Critique, Commentary, Analysis||Appreciation, Treasuring, Balancing|
|Critical Judgment||Sympathetic Understanding|
|Allocation, Apportionment||Devotion, Sustenance|
|Measurement, Calculation||Impression, Response, Sensitivity|
|Choice by Impersonal Reasoning||Choice by Personal (Inner) Impact|
|Objective and Logical||Comfortable with Personal Judgments|
|Better with Black / White Testing||Sees Implications behind Questions|
|– Judging (J) (50%)||– Perceiving (P) (50%)|
|Makes, Keeps Schedules||Looks for Alternatives to Routine|
|Systematic, Regular, Methodical||Seizes the Moment|
|Judicious in Scheduling Activities||Needs to Experiment, Explore|
|Settles Matters to Conclusion||Pends Ideas and Actions Depending …|
|Fixed, Rigid||Flexible, Seeks to Conform|
|Well-organized, Pre-planned||Gathers More Data, Seeks Alternatives|
|Keeps Parts Separated||Mixes, Mingles, Jumbles, Blends|
|Plans Ahead Carefully||Adapts as they Proceed|
|Run’s Ones Life||Lets Life Happen|
|Plans and Orders||Keeps an Open-minded Attitude|
|Wrap it Up||What’s the Hurry|
|Need for Closure||Relies on Fate, Karma|
|Deadline!||Who Needs a Deadline?|
|Finish up Now!||Let’s Wait and See|
|A Need to Finish Things Up||Keeps Options Open.|
One of the things that struck me as I compiled these lists is the vast amount of human energy that is spent is trying to convert another person to “your” type. That is, if you are a “J” in your basic personality makeup, then you need to make and keep schedules, settle matters to conclusion, etc. But, if you are in a marriage or other relationship with a “P” then the J’s need for orderliness and pre-planning interferes with the P’s need for “doing things on the fly,” or “their need for freedom from routine.” The arguments could go like this: “You never plan. You think that you can just start out and everything will turn out OK.” “You don’t give me freedom to be the person that I am. I need to take things as they come, and you have to pre-plan everything.” Etc. I am sure that many variations on this scenario have existed in each of our lives. They certainly have in mine.
I would like to quote now from “Please Understand Me,” by David Kiersey and Marilyn Bates, page 1. This quote emphasizes their understanding that as people we are each unique.
“If I do not want what you want, please try not to tell me that my want is wrong.
Or if I believe other than you, at least pause before you correct my view.
Or if my emotion is less than yours, or more, given the same circumstances, try not to ask me to feel more strongly or weakly.
Or yet if I act, or fail to act, in the manner of your design, for action, let me be.
I do not, for the moment at least, ask you to understand me. That will come only when you are willing to give up changing me into a copy of you.”
Further on in the “Finale” section of their book, the authors write:
“Well, everybody’s different and everybody’s OK in their style as is. Let’s face it, most of us are strangers to each other. I have my desires, and you have yours. You keep yours and I’ll keep mine because what each of us wants is good. What’s more, you have your talent and I have mine and I can admire you for yours. I hope you will reciprocate. …
Well stranger, there isn’t any way you can really understand me, but if you stop trying to change me to look like you, you might come to appreciate me. I’ll settle for that. How about you?”
THE SIXTEEN MBTI TYPES
It is best if you read about these types from the books cited at the end of this article, as their descriptions far exceed the quality of these summaries. However, for each type I now briefly offer the following as well as some astrologically based commentary to augment these MBTI descriptions.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that there is a one-on-one correlation between these MBTI categories and an astrological chart. To the best of my investigations this just does not exist. The correlations are much more subtle than that.
The Four Artisans (the Fire element)
ESTP: The PROMOTER (about 10% of the population): Able to publicize their endeavors; can maneuver others in the directions that they want them to go; view people as instruments in their hands; concrete in their communications; interested in learning about arts and crafts; trust their impulses; like to promote enterprises; are witty, clever, and fun people; enjoy the good life and the finer things in life; master manipulators; engaging with people; read people’s faces and observe body language; keep their eyes on people’s reactions; are men and women of action; like to make things happen; conciliator, diplomat, entrepreneur; an attractive, friendly style with a dash of showmanship; easily see people’s motivations; masters at selling.
There is an implication of strong fire and air in one’s chart. One person I know with a Leo Moon in the First House is this combination — even though he is also a Capricorn Sun in the Seventh House. A woman acquaintance with a Capricorn Sun in the Fifth with a Pisces Moon in the Eighth, and Leo rising is this type.
ISTP: The CRAFTER (about 9% of the population): Life is art in action, and action is an end in itself; action is self-directing, self-leading, containing its own imperatives; masterful operators of tools, equipment, devices, machines, instruments; pre-occupied with technique; an innate ability to master crafts; concrete and utilitarian in the way they use both tools and words; tend to be practical, cynical, optimistic; focused on the here and now; show me the results; prize generosity; aspire to virtuosity; a love of solitude; want to follow their own lead, not have their impulses subjected to the will or rules of others; seek recreation on impulse; fearless in their play; hard-bitten but soft-spoken; conversation is sharp and sparse.
Again there is a strong indication of fire in one’s chart. One woman I know of with a Leo Moon in the Fourth is this type — which is balanced by her Sun conjunct Saturn in Libra in the Fifth House.
ESFP: The PERFORMER (about 14% of the population): Smooth, witty; radiate attractive warmth, optimism; avoid being alone, seek the company of others; outstanding conversationalists; natural performers, players, fun lovers; an irrepressible joy for life; like to live in the fast lane; give in easily to the wishes of others; avoid worries and show anxieties; like to do what they enjoy; emotionally expressive and affectionate; drawn to the performing arts; outstanding at public relations; child-like; prefer active people jobs over solitary technical work; love to spend money on fun things; festive; welcoming; low tolerance for anxiety; gregarious, social and adaptable; not interested in scholastic pursuits; avoid science, gravitate toward business.
One person I know who fits this type has a four planets in Scorpio, with Scorpio rising, a Capricorn Moon, and Libra Sun in the Twelfth house. A woman with a Pisces Sun, Sagittarius rising, and a Cancer Moon has this combination.
ISFP: The COMPOSER (about 5% of the population): Inclined to the fine arts; express themselves through action, like an art form; usually show a social reticence; do not plan and prepare; love to experience their art intensely; act on impulses now; art becomes their expression; enjoy bringing synthesis to any aspect of the world of the senses; have a sure grasp of what fits and what doesn’t; attuned to sensory variations; an extraordinary ability to work with nuances of color, tone, flavor, shape, texture aroma, etc.; express selves through action not words; taken by the act of artistic composition; sensitive to the pain and suffering of others; have a remarkable way with young children and animals; a love of nature, gardens, forests; seek security.
One man, a sculpturer, I know who is this type has a Cancer Sun in the Eighth with Aquarius rising and a Scorpio Moon.
The Four Guardians (the Water element)
ESTJ: The SUPERVISOR (about 13% of the population): Responsible people; pillars of the community; outstanding at setting up orderly procedures and detailing rules and regulations; like to see things done correctly; eager to enforce rules and procedures; serious about seeing others comply; do not withhold directions or demands for improvements; believe that a manual of standard procedures is important; do not put up with rule violations, slacking off, or nonsense; sociable and civic minded; vocal leaders; will do all that they can to preserve and extend the institutions that embody social order; cooperative with supervisors; carry out orders to the letter; expect cooperation and obedience; make faithful mates and parents; support civic clubs and community.
A woman with a stellium of Libra planets, Capricorn rising, and an Aquarius Moon is this type. Note no strong water indication in the signs in her chart. Her Moon in the First House substitutes and over-rides the Air for her personality preference. She uses the Air quality in her art, music, etc., but is still an ESTJ as a personality preference.
ISTJ: The INSPECTOR (about 6% of the population): Characterized by decisiveness in practical matters; see themselves as the guardians of time-honored institutions; earnest and attentive; have a need to certify that all is right and proper; work behind the scenes; and only rarely confide in others with their findings; dedicated and loyal people; base their self-image on being dutiful, pessimistic, stoical; they trust authority; conservative in speech and dress; yearn for belonging, seek security; neat; value classics, antiques and heirlooms; prefer the old-fashioned to the new-fangled; no nonsense types; like to be involved with community service organizations; not confrontational; their word is their bond; tend to be quiet and serious; staunch patriots.
One person I know with this typing has a Sagittarius Sun in the Ninth, conjunct Jupiter, with a Taurus Moon in the Second, and Pisces rising. A male engineer with a Virgo Sun, Pisces rising, Gemini Moon, and a Mars conjunct Saturn, both retrograde and in the First House, is this combination.
ESFJ: The PROVIDER (about 13% of the population): The most sociable of all of the types; tend to idealize the people they admire; will nurture established institutions; seek cooperation and social harmony; will arrange for the health and welfare of those in need; the social contributor; function well as a master of ceremonies; outstanding hosts and hostesses; like to be aware of and discuss events, problems in people’s lives; social traditions matter to them; quick to like or dislike; will repress their emotional reactions; conscious of appearances; take the opinions of others seriously; can be crushed by personal criticism; will give abundant service to others; lean toward the service occupations; hurt by indifference; have a need to be appreciated.
One woman who is this type is a Sun and Moon in Pisces with Virgo rising. A man I know who is a Pisces Sun and Ascendant is also of this type. He works as a handyman in a retirement community.
ISFJ: The PROTECTOR (about 6% of the population): Their primary desire is to be of service and to minister to individual needs; like to see to the security of others; derive satisfaction from caring for others; need to ensure the safeguarding of those in their family or circle of friends; enjoy assisting the downtrodden; can handle the disabilities and neediness of others; shy with strangers; have a sincerity and seriousness of purpose; willing to work long hours at thankless tasks; thoroughness and frugality abound; abhor the squandering or misuse of resources; are frequently misunderstood and undervalued; keenly aware of the status conferred by name or birthright; super-dependable; like to maintain the status-quo, abhor changing conditions.
One woman I know who has this combination has five planets in Gemini, placed around the MC or in the 10th house, but also a Virgo Moon conjunct the Ascendant. Another woman who is this type has a Cancer Sun with early Capricorn rising.
The Four Idealists (the Air element)
ENFJ: The TEACHER (about 3% of the population): Make outstanding leaders of both task and growth groups; provide group learning experiences; capable of calling forth each student’s potentials; their enthusiasm inspires action in others and the desire to live up to their potentials; arrange social engagements beforehand; comfortable with juggling much data with little pre-planning; inspire responsiveness in their students or followers; are natural hosts/hostesses; value harmonious relationships; handle people with charm and concern; take on the cares and concerns of others; idealize and thus are vulnerable in their personal relationships; can be let down by same; have good language skills; take communication for granted; empathic, social people.
A woman who is a Sun and Ascendant in Gemini with an Aries Moon is the Tenth has this combination. A man with an Aquarius Sun in the First with Capricorn rising and a Gemini Moon in the Fifth also is this type.
INFJ: The COUNSELOR (about 1% of the population): Focus on possibilities; think in terms of values and come to decisions quickly; a need to help people achieve their human potential; have an unusually strong desire to contribute to the welfare of others; enjoy guiding their companions toward greater personal fulfillment; tend to be private, sensitive people; can be hard to get to know; have an unusually rich inner life; do not to show their reactions except to those whom they trust; value their personal integrity; strong empathic (mind-reading, pre-cognitive) abilities; able to keenly penetrate the feelings of others; have supernormal intuitions; both poetical and mystical; good at creative writing; good talent for using metaphors; enjoy problem solving.
One man I know who has this typing has a Sagittarius Sun and a Capricorn Moon both in the Eighth, with Taurus rising. Another man with a Cancer Sun, Sagittarius rising, and Capricorn Moon is this type.
ENFP: The CHAMPION (about 3% of the population): Have an uncanny sense into the motivations of others; consider intense emotional experiences vital; have a strong need to experience all of the events that affect the lives of others; they search for the truth about people and issues; like to motivate others with their strong convictions, inspire and manipulate people toward their ends; strong drives to speak out on social issues; consider intense emotional experiences as vital to life; have a range and a variety of emotions; a great passion for novelty; fiercely independent, repudiate any kind of subordination; strive for spontaneous personal authenticity; seek out and identify suspicious social motives; keen & penetrating observers of people around them.
One woman who has this type is a Libra Sun with Leo rising and a Scorpio Moon. Another woman with a Pisces Sun, Capricorn rising and a Virgo Moon went through eight years of medical school and became a doctor after having raised three children to adulthood.
INFP: The HEALER (about 1% of the population): Have a strong capacity for caring that is not always found in other types; seek to restore lost integrity, unity and oneness; care deeply and passionately about a few persons or causes; want to bring peace to the world and wholeness to themselves and their loved ones; have a strong personal morality; idealistic, can be boundless and selfless; willing to make extraordinary sacrifices for what they believe in; often have had a fantasy filled childhood; may have problems with their parents; find it difficult to believe in themselves; drawn toward purity, but can become engrossed in sin; can assume a martyr’s role; have a gift for interpreting symbols; difficulty thinking in “what-if” terms; welcome new approaches.
One man of this type I know has an Aquarius Sun in the Seventh with a Taurus Moon in the Eleventh, and Cancer rising. Another man, a Chiropractor, has a Sagittarius Moon with Leo Sun and Cancer rising.
The Four Rationalists (the Earth element)
ENTJ: The FIELD MARSHALL (about 4% of the population): Have a basic driving force to lead; take charge over groups; have a strong urge to give, bring structure; able to marshal the forces in the field for launching major enterprises; coordinate personnel and material toward clearly defined objectives; seem to carry an influence beyond their numbers; seek to be in charge of groups; a strong natural urge to bring order and efficiency around them; they head toward goals with a minimum of waste and effort; eliminate unnecessary operations; able to coordinate all steps of an operation; like to systematize and prioritize; able to communicate their intentions, visions to others; decisive and outspoken; single-minded in their ideas; strong-willed and focused.
General George Patton and General George Marshall each of World War II fame fit this type, although that is only my observation. A man I know who is an Aquarius Sun with Scorpio rising is also this type.
INTJ: The MASTER MIND (less than 1% of the population): Very self-confident and aware; authority based on rank or title carries no force; prepare well for alternatives; capable leaders, but not eager to command; thorough-going pragmatists; see reality as a chess board for working out and refining their strategies; not impressed with “show” and seek practical solutions; will adopt ideas only if they are useful; strong-willed; make decisions easily; keep an eye out on the long term consequences; stimulated by encountering difficulties; are more interested in moving an organization forward than dwelling on past mistakes; focus tightly on their own pursuits; are cost-effective; high-achievers in school; dispassionate and unemotional in their personal interfaces.
One man I know of this type has a Sagittarius Sun with Cancer rising, and a Scorpio Moon.
ENTP: The INVENTOR (about 2% of the population): They deal imaginatively with gadgets, people, mechanisms, and social structures; strong interests in everything; intensely curious; continuously probe for possibilities; reluctant to do things just because they have always been done that way; confident in the value of their approaches; capable of ignoring the standard and the traditional; good at functional analysis; experts at putting the means and the ends together; a focus on what works; make do with what is at hand; do not like humdrum routine; make good leaders on projects which test their ingenuity; have both a good humor and a curiosity; able to articulate complicated ideas; like to maintain a “one-upmanship” position; will humiliate others.
One person I know who has this typing has a Cancer Sun with Late Pisces rising and a Aries Moon conjunct Saturn in the First. Another that I know of is a Double Pisces. It would probably be the Mercury placement in their charts that would define these people.
INTP: The ARCHITECT (less than 1% of the population): Great precision in thought and language; see distinctions and inconsistencies; preoccupied with systems design; like to design organizations, curriculums, standards, theoretical systems; look to create master organizations out of raw materials; see the world as a place to be analyzed, understood and explained; seek to gather knowledge; prize intelligence; have good concentration; can become obsessed with analysis; great precision in thought and word; detect inconsistencies well; are put off by nonsense; impatient with routine details; prefer to work quietly and alone; can be difficult to get to know; not much for the social routine; even tempered and compliant; tend to be serious minded; prize logic.
This is my typing. I have a Capricorn Sun in the Second with Scorpio rising. What fits me into this type though is my Stationary Direct Mercury in Sagittarius in the Second, in a Grand Fire Trine with Saturn and the MC.
There is no real conclusion. This article mirrors a slice of daily life. I recommend that you obtain the books cited and take their tests to determine your MBTI type. Do the same with your friends. Compare what you see in their astrological charts to their MBTI types. Read the descriptions of the MBTI breakdowns in the books cited. This can be a learning experience.
At this point in my studies I do not feel that there is any one-for-one correlation between the astrological type indicators and the MBTI. There are different reasons why each person uses the energies and potentials of his or her natal astrological chart. One person gravitates toward their Moon placement, another toward their Mercury placement, another toward their Jupiter placement, another to their fixed cross, etc. An understanding of both the MBTI and the astrological paradigm can provide insight into that elusive quality: Personality.
Please refer to these two (of many) excellent books on the subject of the MBTI for further study and information. There are also many other references on this subject. Please check with your local library.
- Please Understand Me, Character & Temperament Types; David Keirsey and Marilyn Bates; 1978, 210 pages; paperback; Promethius Nemesis Publishers, P. O. Box 2748, Del Mar, CA 92014; ISBN: 0-9606954-0-0.
- Please Understand Me II; David Kiersey; 1998, 352 pages, paperback; Promethius Nemesis Publishers, P. O. Box 2748, Del Mar, CA 92014; ISBN: 1-885705-02-6.
Written by Michael Munkasey.