Astrology Explained: The Planets
The planets answer the question, "WHAT?"
Much like everything else, when learning astrology, you have to start with a basic foundation. Hence, we begin with the planets.
Think of astrology's foundation as a table with four legs. Each leg helps hold the table up, and in doing so, you can add things to the table without fear of it toppling over.
These four "legs" are the planets, the houses, the signs, and the aspects.
The Planets Generally
You're probably already familiar with the planets via sixth-grade science class. Those same planets contained in our solar system are the same planets used in astrology - no surprise there.
What's different is the interpretation of the planetary energies and powers. Rather than focus on the planets' mass, rate of orbit, and climate, astrology focuses on the energies that those planets exude.
In astrology, planets represent the energies that are operating.
They answer the question, "WHAT?"
For example, the planet Venus represents attraction, love, and beauty (among other things), so you will look to Venus if you seek information regarding a relationship or a creative endeavor.
Astrology focuses on ten major planets: the Sun, the Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto (for all intents and purposes, Plutos is considered a planet in astrology). Each planet has its own unique set of characteristics, and each one rules over a different part of our lives.
Every single person has all ten planets in their natal chart. Still, the expression of those planets varies depending on where the planets are located (meaning which houses and signs) and what aspects those planets are making to other planets and points in your chart.
In astrology, the planets are classified and grouped together depending on various factors.
First, planets are grouped together according to their order in the sky and distance relative to Earth. In grouping the planets together in this way, we can determine what kind of influence a particular planet will have on us.
The luminaries include the Sun and the Moon. Moreso than planets, these two are celestial bodies; technically, the Sun is a star, and the Moon is a moon.
The inner planets include Mercury, Venus, and Mars. These planets are closer to the Sun and Earth when compared to the other five planets. The luminaries and the inner planets together are known as the personal planets - they move quickly between the zodiac signs. They, therefore, affect all of us on a personal, day-to-day basis.
Next are the transpersonal or "social" planets, Jupiter and Saturn. They move slower than the personal planets. As far as their expression is concerned, they govern interpersonal issues and how we relate to each other.
Finally, we have the outer planets, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. They move the slowest and are known as "generational" planets because their influence affects the larger, grander schemes of our lives and generations of society as a whole.
Planets are also classified in terms of being "positive" or negative."
Generally speaking, some planets express "good" energy and planets that express "bad" energy. Jupiter and Venus are known as benefic planets because their energies are beneficial, positive, and expansive. Saturn and Mars are malefic planets because their energies are considered harsh, restrictive, and destructive.
Keep in mind that this is not a black and white issue; just because a planet is "good" or "bad" doesn't mean that it always acts that way.
The Planets and Their Meanings
The Sun represents the main expression of an individual - the heart and core of beingness. Think about it, everything revolves around the Sun. Therefore, the Sun represents everything that makes you you.
The expression of the Sun can be quite different depending on which house it's in. Additionally, the energy of the Sun changes throughout the year. Its energy is strongest during the summer and weaker during the winter. This fact makes people born during the summer months fundamentally different, personality-wise, than those born in the winter.
Wherever the Sun is located in your chart is where the ability to make a significant contribution to life lies.
Represents: The ego, our conscious mind, the basic drive for significance, our personality, the will, male relationships in female charts (especially the father), vital energy, urge for power, constitutional strength, the heart and spine in the physical body.
Rules: The sign of Leo and is the natural ruler of the 5th house.
The Moon has no light of its own; it must shine by the reflected light of the Sun. As such, the Moon, which represents our emotions, acts as a reflector of our true selves, represented by the Sun.
The Moon represents the part of ourselves that we often hide from the world, including our feelings. The Moon represents our subconscious mind. Everything latent and mysterious, especially about ourselves, is expressed via the Moon.
Wherever the Moon is located in your chart is where your emotions have full dominion.
Represents: Our subconscious self, feelings, receptivity, mother and female influences in a male chart, femininity, memory, the hat patterns of the past, functional powers of the body, the stomach, and breasts in the physical body.
Rules: The sign of Cancer and is the natural ruler of the 4th house.
Mercury governs mental activities - intellect, intelligence, reasoning, and the mind itself. Mercury is represented by the Greek god Hermes, who was the messenger of the gods. Much like this mythological figure, the planet Mercury moves quickly. Think of its energy like the impulses and electrical charges moving along the neural pathways in the nervous system.
On a more esoteric note, Mercury is the link between heaven and earth; both are within us. The mind is the link between the soul and the personality.
Mercury is considered a neutral planet. It's categorized as neither masculine nor feminine in expression and is considered neither benefic nor malefic. Hermes was known as a trickster, and Mercury's neutrality is an expression of that trickster nature.
Wherever Mercury is located in your chart indicates the area where attention and awareness must be focused and technical skills learned.
Represents: Intellect and intelligence, logic and reasoning power, perception, communication, speaking and writing, educational capacity, brothers and sisters, techniques and skills, youth, short journeys, nerves, lungs, shoulders, arms, and hands in the physical body.
Rules: The signs of Gemini and Virgo and is the natural ruler of the 3rd and 6th houses.
Most of us associate Venus with love, which is true, but Venus governs much more than that. At that core of Venus's energy is cohesion and attraction; Venus's energy is magnetic. Venus is receptive feminine energy.
Apart from love, Venus also rules money and the things that we deem valuable, enjoyable, and pleasurable. Concepts such as fairness and equality are also governed by Venus.
Venus is a benefic planet (it's known as the "lesser" benefic compared to Jupiter), so her energy is considered beneficial. The song "Luck Be a Lady" is the essence of Venus's energy.
Wherever Venus is located in your chart is where pleasure, joy, beauty, and value take precedence.
Represents: Social urges, affection, beauty, values (what we appreciate), art, attraction and cohesion, melody and song, love of luxury, the venous blood, in the higher creative centers the throat and larynx.
Rules: The signs of Taurus and Libra and is the natural ruler of the 2nd and 7th houses.
Mars is a very energetic planet. Its energy can be described as outgoing, expressive, aggressive, and masculine in nature. Mars energy is primal and animalistic in the sense that it rules our basic instincts.
Martian energy is fiery, initiative, passionate, and hot. Physical activities, including sex, are governing by this planet.
On an emotional level, Mars gives drive to our feelings. Simply put, the energy of Mars represents our passions, drives, and ambitions.
Mars is a malefic planet - its energy can most definitely destroy. War, competition, fights, and arguments also fall under the purview of Mars.
Wherever Mars is located in your chart is where there is massive energy that can bring strife and tension if not handled properly.
Represents: Courage, dynamic energy, aggressive urges, strife, war, activity, combativeness, struggle, sports, mechanical ability, initiative, selfishness, passion, the head in the physical body.
Rules: The sign of Aries and is the natural ruler of the 1st house. In traditional astrology, it also rules the sign of Scorpio.
Jupiter the greater benefit planet; anything Jupiter touches turns to gold (sometimes!). It's the planet of good luck, abundance, and prosperity.
Jupiter energy is larger than life and is expansive (it's the largest planet in our solar system). As such, it represents the superconscious self, faith, optimism, religion, and philosophy - all of these things go beyond our basic emotions and thoughts.
One of the important things to remember when dealing with Jupiter is that too much of a good thing isn't always a good thing. Candy is great, but too much will rot your teeth.
Wherever Jupiter is located in your chart is where your fulfillment lies.
Represents: The principle of expansion, aspiration, inspiration, the superconscious self, understanding, prosperity and abundance, faith and optimism, religion and philosophy, friendliness, judgment, cell growth, the arterial blood, and the liver in the physical body.
Rules: The sign of Sagittarius and is the natural ruler of the 9th house. In traditional astrology, it also rules the sign of Pisces.
Saturn energy is stern and restrictive; think of it as a super strict father figure. Whereas Jupiter expands and broadens, Saturn restricts and limits to focalize and concentrate its energy.
In ancient times, Saturn (or Satan) was represented as the Tester and tried a person's endurance to make them strong. All obstacles and hardships fall under Saturn energy. Breaking you down to build you back up is what Saturn energy is all about.
Saturn isn't all gloom and doom, though. Provided that you pass the tests that Saturn throws your way, you are usually rewarded. It's like taking an exam at the end of the school year and then graduating on to the next grade.
Wherever Saturn is located in your chart is where you must start your security, responsibility, and self-sufficiency structure.
Represents: Time, discipline, contraction and crystallization, organization, ambition, limitation and delay, old age, wisdom gained through experience, self-preservation, bones, skin, and teeth in the physical body.
Rules: The sign of Capricorn and is the natural ruler of the 10th house. In traditional astrology, it also rules the sign of Aquarius.
Uranus shakes things up; its energy is electric, sudden, and unexpected.
The energy of Uranus is rebellious, innovative, and marches to the beat of a different drum. The tests imposed by Saturn of responsibility and discipline must be passed before we can know the energy of freedom as given and expressed by Uranus.
Change is the name of the game when dealing with Uranus.
Wherever Uranus is located in your chart is where you will experience destiny - you can't control the energy; you can only control your reaction to it.
Represents: Freedom, independence, originality and genius, individualism, unexpected, sudden, and unpredictable changes, rebelliousness, electricity, cosmic consciousness, transformation, the Divine will, inventions.
Rules: In modern astrology, the sign of Aquarius and is the natural ruler of the 11th house.
Neptunian energy is very dreamy and ethereal. It takes us completely outside of ourselves and reality.
Neptune works through feeling and imagination. Hence, it governs illusion, cosmic consciousness, and psychic capacity. The energy of Neptune is also escapist; it doesn't want to face reality, hence why alcohol, drugs, and anesthesia fall under its dominion.
Media and movies are also governed under Neptune, as they invoke the imagination.
Much can be accomplished with this energy, but it can be dangerous if over-consumed.
Wherever Neptune is located in your chart is where you must serve humanity.
Represents: Obligation, sensitivity, psychic and mystical capacity, cosmic consciousness that comes through devotion and feelings, chaos or cosmos, dreams, night or day, material bondage, illusion and disillusion, deception, alcohol, drug, anesthesia, suffering, divine compassion.
Rules: In modern astrology, the sign of Pisces and is the natural ruler of the 12th house.
Pluto is the slowest moving planet and is the farthest away from the Sun. Its energy is dark, heavy, and intense.
Plutonic energy is transformative; it's death followed by rebirth. The phoenix rising from the ashes is the essence of this energy.
Pluto's energy completely decimates anything in its path while at the same time can create something out of nothing. Whatever Pluto touches is changed forever; it's the point of no return. Needless to say, this energy is potent.
Wherever Pluto is located in your chart is where you have the ability to experience a complete ending, a wonderful new beginning, or both.
Represents: Rebirth, transformation, submission, transmutation, consecration, construction, death, annihilation, destruction, desecration, struggle, intensity, obsession, darkness, the underworld.
Rules: In modern astrology, the sign of Scorpio and is the natural ruler of the 8th house.