Any other sign could have been chosen for this exercise, but Libra seems to be a favourite, at least for this author.
When discussing the attributes of this sign we are more often than not referring to the characteristics of the Sun in this sign, but Libra has eleven other variations of itself, some of which are quite contrasting or distinct. Moon in Libra, for example, will be quite different from the Sun in Libra, the latter exhibiting the more positive characteristics of the sign, and the former exhibiting the more negative characteristics.
In fact, the biggest differences I have found in terms of the quality of this sign's characteristics, are between the masculine and feminine planet placements. The masculine or positive planets(so-called because they are the rulers of the masculine or positive signs) are Sun, Mars, Jupiter, Mercury(?), Uranus, and Ascendant(?).
The two with question marks are not universally agreed upon in terms of their ruling signs -Mercury's true ruler is still in question, although most agree that Mercury the messenger is more mascuine than feminine. The ascendant or rising sign appears to be neutral in terms of sex in that it exhibits both active and receptive qualities, but this author has noted that it is more favourably placed in the masculine signs in terms of attractiveness or desirability and so has grouped it with the masculine planets.
The feminine planets are Moon, Venus, Saturn, Neptune, Pluto, and Midheaven(?). Like the Ascendant, the Midheaven is not currently associated with any sign in terms of rulership, nor is it even considered a planet, but all indications appear it to be favoured in the feminine signs, at least for this author, and so it will be grouped as a feminine planet.
The masculine planets in Libra exhibit the truer or more positive qualities of this sign(Libra being a masculine sign). They display the more active, forceful, or dynamic nature of this sign. The feminine planets in Libra exhibit the less dynamic or more negative qualities. They are less active or forceful and more indecisive and complex. The term "lazy Libra" is perhaps more accurate in describing the feminine planets in this sign.
One of the greatest misconceptions about Libra is that it is often viewed as a feminine or female influence, due largely perhaps to its traditional association with the feminine planet Venus. While it does have some of the qualities of earthy and sensual Venus, Libra's true nature is quite different and has yet to be revealed or established in full.
As an air sign, Libra is less masculine than fire, but masculine nonetheless. It is an almost neutral or bisexual kind of masculinity, much in the same way that the earth element comes close to being masculine but is not. Fire is fully masculine, Air is borderline masculine, Earth is borderline feminine, and Water is fully feminine.
The fire sign rulers, Sun, Mars, or Jupiter, exhibit the most lively or dynamic qualities of Libra. The Sun here gives Libra its bossiness, strength, or "bitchiness", as well as its generosity, sexiness, and playfulness. Mars here exhibits the quick, impulsive, or agressive side of Libra that often stirs up trouble or forces decisions. Jupiter here emphasizes the moral or judgemental side of Libra that likes to see the larger picture of things, as well as its more adventurous side.
The air sign rulers, Mercury, Uranus, and Ascendant, exhibit the truest or purest qualities of the Libra sign(Libra being an air sign) -more so than the fire planets in this sign. Mercury here is bright, attractive, sociable, and just or fair-minded. Uranus here is also bright(often brilliant) and strikingly attractive, artistic, friendly, and sociable(with a certain cool or distance). The Ascendant or Rising sign here perhaps displays the purest qualities of all for this sign -great physical beauty, perfect intellectual balance, and impeccable social manners. Long-time readers are aware this site's association of the Ascendant with planet Earth and the sign of Libra.
The earth sign rulers, Venus, Saturn, and Midheaven(?), exhibit the denser or heavier qualities of Libra, which are quite different than those of the fire or air planets since we are now dealing with the feminine element. Venus here is intelligent, artistic, lighthearted, and courteous, but also shallow, inert, indecisive, and indulgent. Saturn here is lawful, diplomatic, fair, and just, but also cool, distant, upper class, and judgemental. The Midheaven may or may not rule an earth sign. In any case, this position has been observed to give a calm and easy-going temperament with a keen eye or sense for beauty and harmony.
The water sign rulers, Moon, Neptune, and Pluto, exhibit the more intuitive or sensitive qualities of Libra. The Moon here dislikes being alone and needs beautiful or harmonious people and surroundings, but can easily become overly dependant and lazy. Neptune here has a strong psychological need for beauty and harmony but often expects too much and becomes dissillusioned. Pluto here exhibits the most extreme qualities of Libra such as looking for the perfect mate or producing the most breathtakingly beautiful piece of art, but such accomplishments are often overshadowed by many more failures than successes.
Finally, what about newly-discovered Eris, which by many, is seriously being considered as the true ruler of Libra? Does Eris, with its gift for stirring up opposition, show the real face of Libra. Perhaps, but it will be a long time before we can be certain. Eris is at present at its farthest and slowest point in its orbit. It will be easier to study and determine its true nature when it is zooming through the signs at perihelion. Most of us will not be around by then.