Planets in Astrology
A birth (natal) chart is a snapshot that reveals the exact location of the planets, and which constellation they occupied, at your time of birth. The basic star-sign (i.e. when somebody asks you your sign) is your Sun sign e.g. Sun in Aries. The other planets represent energies that ‘color’ your personality.
The Sun – ‘I am’
Best quality: Rulership; Worst quality: Dictatorship
The Sun represents the inner you, your ego, your essence and your will, and its sign determines the expression of the will, which is carried out though the activity of the other planets of the horoscope. Think of yourself as a painting, with the Sun being the background the artist first paints on to the canvas. It sets the tone of the painting but the details are to follow.
The Moon – ‘I feel’
Best quality: Adaptability; Worst quality: Inconstancy
The Moon is as important as the Sun in your natal chart. The Sun sign is a part of you that is apparent to others; it is what others see. The Moon sign is the part of you that you see. The Moon represents your emotional nature and instinctive reactions – emotional responses based on past experiences and unconscious habit patterns that you have developed. The Moon in your horoscope modifies your Sun sign; it brings new forces, different motivations, and spiritual elements to the character of your Sun sign. For example, a Gemini-Sun person with Moon in Taurus will be more dependable than a Gemini-Sun with Moon in Aquarius. This is the reason why we cannot define a person simply by their Sun sign.
Mercury – ‘I think’
Best quality: Expression; Worst quality: Restlessness
Mercury is the planet of intelligence and communication. It governs our rational and intellectual faculties, perception and reason, memory, speaking, and writing. Mercury reflects your capacity to collect, sort, and communicate the knowledge you gain through your experiences and your senses. It reflects the way you see, hear, understand, and assimilate information.
Venus – ‘I love’
Best quality: Affection; Worst quality: Pliancy (bending too easily, taking the easy way out)
Venus is the planet of love, pleasure, and beauty. It represents your capacity to express affection and to enjoy beauty. This includes your capacity to attract and appreciate the things of the world, whether they are emotional, physical/material, mental, or spiritual things. Things ruled by Venus include: what kind of sex appeal you posses, love affairs, the arts, beauty and beautiful things, adornment, affection, the social graces, harmony, and friendship.
Venus never travels far from the Sun. In your horoscope, it is always either in your Sun sign or in one of the two signs immediately preceding or following your Sun sign. Some negative manifestations of Venus are self-indulgence, jealousy, envy, lust, and of course, unfaithfulness.
Mars – ‘I act’
Best quality: Initiative; Worst quality: Harshness
Mars is the exact opposite of Venus. Whereas Venus represents the female, Mars is all male. Whereas Venus is about harmony, Mars is conflict, aggression, and outright war. Mars is the planet of physical energy. It governs your sex drive, your forcefulness and your aggression. A controlled Mars can give a healthy dose of assertiveness and ambition. At its worst, Mars energy makes one prone to anger, harshness and destructive violence, impulsive behavior, danger, combativeness and every kind of cruelty.
Jupiter – ‘I grow’
Best quality: Benevolence (kindness); Worst quality: Conceit
Jupiter is the planet of good luck, optimism, success and generosity. Jupiter brings joy to life. Think expansiveness and abundance, as Jupiter is the largest planet in our solar system. Jupiter signifies knowledge, higher leaning, breadth of vision, confidence, charity and good-will, frankness and honesty. If negatively placed in the chart, Jupiter’s energy can be manifested as self-righteousness, excessiveness, squandering, exaggeration, over-indulgence, superficiality, and bigotry. However, even when negatively positioned, Jupiter is protective and beneficial. Over-indulgence and excess often lead to learning the lesson of restraint. Even with a negatively-aspected Jupiter, a person will tend to ‘land on their feet’ when problems arise in the areas signified by Jupiter’s House.
Saturn – ‘I achieve’
Best quality: System and Organisation; Worst quality: Selfishness
Astrologers of the past regarded Saturn as ‘evil’ and malignant, indicating dire misfortune and misery wherever it was found in a chart. When Venus wishes for love, Saturn denies her. When Jupiter promises good fortune, Saturn delays it. When Mercury brings news, Saturn degrades it, and when Mars goes too hard or too fast, Saturn will crash him. But this is not necessarily bad. Saturn is associated with the principles of limitation, restrictions, boundaries, safety, practicality, reality, seriousness, and structures. Saturn is the laws, boundaries and limits set by society or karma. At its best, Saturn endows organization and order. At its worst, Saturn’s energy is manifested as selfishness.
Uranus – ‘I evolve’
Best quality: Originality; Worst quality: Rebellion
Uranus represents the unconscious urge to become aware of your true inner individuality (the Sun). Like a lightning bolt, Uranus symbolizes sudden flashes of insight, moments of revelation, and spurts of creativity. Uranus’ energy is usually described as suddenness, revolution, change, shock, and disruption. Uranus seeks alternatives to the common and accepted forms. True to itself, the planet Uranus stands out from the rest of the planets by orbiting around on its ‘side’. The rest of the planets orbit like a ‘spinning top’, but Uranus insists on rolling on its side like a ball. At best, Uranus encourages originality, versatility and independence. At worst, it encourages eccentricity, perversion and rebellion. Uranus demands freedom.
Neptune – ‘I dream’
Best quality: Idealism; Worst quality: Vagueness
Neptune represents the unconscious urge to dissolve the boundaries of your ego-centeredness in order to ‘lose yourself’ in other realms of being. While Uranus breaks into our dimension to allow momentary flashes of insight into other realms of existence, Neptune is those other realms. Neptune dissolves life’s patterns in order to teach new meanings in the quest for universal wisdom. Neptune represents things that aren’t quite as they appear, the illusive, and the unreal. It is the planet of receptivity, imagination, cloudiness, confusion, delusion, illusion, and unreality. At its best, Neptune’s energy inspires marvellous art, music, theatre, dance, poetry, and film. Above all, Neptune represents the intangible, and makes it very real.
Pluto – ‘I empower’
Best quality: Transformation; Worst quality: Inversion (turning things upside down)
Pluto represents the unconscious urge to transform repressed ego-desire energies into group-desire energies in order to live out your role in society’s evolution. Pluto represents sexuality (the act itself, as opposed to the energetic desire which is associated with Mars), obsessive desires, transformation, power, and the ingredients of great wealth (investments, banking, loans, debt, mortgages). Pluto has dominion over drastic changes that bring true upheavals. Since Pluto is the slowest-moving planet, an entire generation will share the same Pluto sign, giving it historical importance. It is associated with unsolved mysteries, secrets, and taboos.
Note: although Pluto has been reclassified a Dwarf Planet, it’s affect is the same as before, and as such, it remains a Planet in astrological terms.