Each celestial body in the heavens holds the basic life principles of man. The planets symbolise basic human functions. Aside from the Sun and the Moon, there are 8 planets to consider in the chart. These planets come to find their unique expression through the signs in which they fall in the birth chart.
The SUN: Self-Integration, Wholeness of Being, Individuality, Vitality, Self
The Sun is the central governing force of our solar system, and therefore, a powerful life-giving energy that regulates and integrates every other planetary body that orbits around it. In astrology, the Sun represents the principle of self-integration and our wholeness of being. Symbolised by a circle (completeness/spirit) with a dot in the middle (the seed of potential), the Sun is actually a star and represents the way in which we integrate the features of our psyche and how we, as an individual, merge all vital parts of ourselves to become entire. Ruling the sign of Leo (the Lion) and the functions of the Heart, the Sun in mythology was personified as the all-pervading Creative power in Nature. It holds the masculine principle – the Father – and the spirit of our inner child. It is constant and resolute in essence and in the birth chart, holds the key to our overall vitality. The Sun leads us to our inner most centre. It’s that strong, gravitational pull toward our authentic nature. As the planet of Self, the Sun takes the lead and is a very important influence on our personalities. The ego is the Sun’s domain, evident in the way we display confidence, charisma and pride in who we are. Corresponding to the solar plexus (our centre), the Sun must be strong in order to reach its highest goal. Every planet in our galaxy orbits around the Sun, making this dominant luminary an energy that unifies, consolidates and combines all other energies to make a complete entity.
The MOON: Cycles, Patterns, Habits, Emotional Needs, Instinct
The Moon is the Earth’s only satellite and plays an important role in maintaining a balance between the Earth and the Sun and consequentially, the ebb and flow of the ocean’s tides. Other than the sun, it is our brightest and most influential luminary. Personified by the Greeks as the Goddesses Luna and Selene, and by the Romans as Diana, the Moon represents the Mother and our inner mood. Its life principles are reflected in rhythms, introspection, patterns, habits, the past, instinctive responses, intuition, fertility, and our emotional experience. The Moon connects us to our ancestors, our lineage and the Mother-child relationship. Symbolised by a crescent or incomplete circle, the Moon rules the sign of Cancer (the Crab) and the functions of the womb and breasts. It is changeable, cyclic and restless in essence, living through our feelings and the way in which we inherently protect ourselves from harm (the nurturing principle). It is the Queen of our subconscious world, our emotions, our homeland and our heart. The Moon is our strongest representation of the feminine (other than Venus), giving us the ability to recognise our emotions and develop a sense of belonging. It’s powerful magic brings the wisdom of the seasons and cycles of life, evident in a woman’s menses and the biorhythms of Nature. While the full moon is a time of consummation and completion, perfect for energising and activation, the new moon is a time of reflection and withdrawal, perfect for rest, purification rituals and contemplation.
MERCURY: Perception, Thought, Communication, The Mind
The first planet from the Sun, Mercury’s life principles are associated with business, commerce, perception, thought, intellectualism and communication through mental and nervous co-ordination. It is the planet of the mind, personified by the Romans as Mercurius and by the Greeks as Hermes, the swift-footed messenger of the Gods. Mercury is known to be a cunning, witty planet, eloquent and inventive, taking rulership over the nervous system and the brain. Mercury can never be more than 28 degrees from the Sun, being the smallest in size with the quickest linear speed. Dual-natured, it always turns the same face to the Sun, leaving one side in shadow at all times while the other remains in the light. Hence, it’s rulership in the sign of Gemini (the Twins) and co-rulership of Virgo (the Maiden). Psychologically, Mercury holds the urge to know, to make conscious and to share knowledge and information. It is often symbolised by the Caduceus and closely related to the world of medicine and healing. This hasty celestial being governs speech, logic, reasoning, facts, and dexterity. It is neither feminine nor masculine in nature but assumes the gender of the sign that it falls into. Mercury governs the mental realms and plays a role in our associations with siblings and neighbours. It is adept at analysing, categorising, sorting and deciding.
VENUS: Unity, Partnership, Love, Expression, Balance, Art
Venus is one of the brightest celestial bodies in the night sky, sharing an intimate relationship with us being the closest planet to Earth. Venus carries the desire to relate to oneself through others by the process of evaluation, sympathy and feeling. Symbolised by Aphrodite, the Greek Goddess of love and beauty, Venus carries the symbol of the feminine (a circle above a cross) and the feeling that lives in the creative impulse. This artistic planet knows how to produce and bring forth. Its most dominant principles are to receive, co-operate, harmonise and resolve. Ruling the signs of Taurus (the Bull) and Libra (the Scales), Venus represents passivity, serenity, luxury, affection, eroticism and the coming together of opposites. We can look to Venus for how one may accumulate possessions, establish values, function in relationships or attract good fortune. Venus plays a role as a benefic, meaning that her primary role is a positive one in essence. Known as the “Morning Star”, lovely Venus is associated with beauty, aesthetics, romance and pleasure. It represents our ability to create balance in our relationships with other people, bringing charm, elegance and grace into our associations. Venus has little to do with common sense, but more to do with physical and emotional responses. Where Venus is present, the senses are engaged.
MARS: Singleness of Purpose, Action, Initiation, Energetic Expression, Self-Assertion
Mars is often referred to as the “red planet” due to its carmine glow in the night sky, giving reason to its associations with war, blood and battle. Symbolised by the arrow over the circle, Mars holds the masculine principle that is outward-moving, physical expression and singleness of purpose. Personified by the Romans as the war-god (Mars) and by the Greeks as Ares, this brave and daring planet carries the impulse of self-assertion, action, purpose and energy. Ruling the sign of Aries (the Ram), and co-ruling Scorpio (the scorpion), Mars holds an undeniable sexual urge, an insatiable passion, and a desire to take initiative. Mars is that necessary push forward to start something new and get something done. It calls forth the survival instinct within us. It is packed full of fiery determination, exertion, ambition, and drive. Physiologically, Mars governs our bodies system of attack against disease and illness, strongly associated with fevers and inflammation. It rules over weaponry, accidents, machinery and the military, which paints a vivid picture of just how dauntless this planet can really be.
JUPITER: Expansion, Understanding, Morals & Beliefs, Growth, Good Fortune
Jupiter is the largest planet in our solar system, greater in mass and volume than any other planet, hence its association with the principles of expansion, maturation and growth. Personified by the Greeks as the mighty Zeus and by the Scandinavians as the Thunder God, Thor, Jupiter is known to be the most powerful of all the Gods – the guardian of law, justice, and mercy. The ultimate Seer, Jupiter carries the urge to expand consciousness through spiritual experience and deeper understanding. This incredibly large planet has a desire to protect and preserve, bringing growth processes into full ripeness – the concept of fulfillment, indulgence, good fortune, prosperity and favour. Symbolised by a half circle above the horizon (crossing) and ruling the truth-seeking sign of Sagittarius (the Archer), Jupiter denotes the aspect of the human spirit that longs to awaken and develop a higher conscious beyond the physical experience; to acquire knowledge, wisdom and authority. Jupiter does things in a big way, representing capacity and enhancement. Hand-in-hand with Venus as one the greatest beneficent bodies, Jupiter brings hope, faith, blessings and a greater perspective when in harmony, but when afflicted, implies materialism, lawlessness, and extravagance.
SATURN: Discipline, Conformity, Rigidity, Social Order, Karma, Restriction, Limitation
Saturn holds a unique feature that sets it apart from the rest – rings made from rock and dust that encircle the planets equator. This stand-out attribute gives reason for its principles which are manifested as boundaries, limitations and restrictions. Personified by the Romans as Saturnus (God of Agriculture) and by the Greeks as Cronus (God of Time), Saturn governs time cycles, construction, legacy, hard labour, reality and longevity. Ruling the sign of Capricorn (the Goat), Saturn represents the Elder and the staying power necessary for keeping life and energy within specific bounds, controlling and regulating growth through time. It is the planet that lends patience and endurance for sustained, monotonous work. Symbolised as the sickle or scythe, denoting the reaper and the harvest, Saturn correlates with the inevitability of death and the limited intervals of life. Saturn plays a role in crystallisation – transforming the discarnate into the incarnate. Known to most as a maleficient planet, Saturn plays a harsh role when we are young and immature, but as we age and come to discover what’s behind the disguise, Saturn becomes an old friend who teaches us how to take responsibility. When we take responsibility, we no longer need to revert back to the past and pain over our burdens. We can move on, becoming more aware as we advance through life.
URANUS: Reform, Sudden Change, Rebellion, Invention, Independence, The Future
Uranus falls into the category of “impersonal planets”, meaning that in the birth chart, this planet’s distance from Earth is far too great to have any significant impact on an individual, but instead, shows effect on generational movements. This theory is based on the time it takes for this planet (as well as Neptune and Pluto) to pass through the signs of the zodiac. Astronomically, Uranus is the 7th planet from the Sun and is known as an “ice giant”. Cyan blue in colour, Uranus (Heaven) was the Greek name and personification for the night sky itself. It’s discovery in 1781 coincided with the Industrial Revolution and new age, scientific invention. It therefore holds the principles of genius, originality, creative inspiration, freedom of expression, unorthodoxy, drastic change, and new developments that give way to a brighter future. Ruling the sign of Aquarius (the Water Bearer), Uranus’s effects have a tendency to disrupt the status quo and break cyclic rut with reformative impulses. It is the planet of super intelligence and improvement, but is also known to represent the peculiar, eccentric and unusual. Uranus represents Universal thought, enlightenment, and freedom. Energetically and vibrationally, it resonates at a very high frequency. Uranus relies on Saturn to create pressure. This pressure, over time, results in a fracture in society. The fracture is healed and reshaped through Uranus’s innovative ways. Nothing is the same after this nonconforming planet gets an opportunity to seize it. Like a bolt of lightening, it releases the strain and fights for the rights of humanity.
NEPTUNE: Mystery, Immateriality, Dissolution, Subtlety, Intuition, Imagination, Illusion
Like Uranus and Pluto, Neptune falls into the category of “impersonal planets”, meaning that in the birth chart, this planets distance from Earth is far too great to have any significant impact on an individual, but instead, shows effect on generational movements. This theory is based on the time it takes for this planet (as well as Pluto and Uranus) to pass through the signs of the zodiac. First sighted in 1846, Neptune is the 8th planet from the sun and carries the symbol of the Trident. Personified by the Romans as Neptunus, God of the Sea, and by the Greeks as the sea-god, Poseidon, Neptune holds the principles of mysticism, illusion, secrets, imagination, confusion, and the unconscious. It’s correlation with the sea and the sign of Pisces (the Fish) rears the gifts of clairvoyance and psychic ability. Unlike Saturn, Neptune knows no boundaries. It is a formless, indefinite world of daydreams and things that remain hidden in the deep. Neptune’s fluid realms represent escapism and fantasy. The magic of life resides in this aqueous domain. The underwater world of haunting music, divination and necromancy. Neptune connects the past with the future, creating an enlightened and divine whole. It goes against the reality that we are shown in this dimension – through a dense and harrowing fog, this planet can be both vagueness and misconception combined with faith and trust in a higher power.
PLUTO: The Underworld, Transformation, Renewal, Death & Rebirth, Elimination
Like Uranus and Neptune, Pluto falls into the category of “impersonal planets”, meaning that in the birth chart, this planets distance from Earth is far too great to have any significant impact on an individual, but instead, shows effect on generational movements. Pluto is no longer officially known as a planet, but it remains in orbit with the rest of us as a dwarf and lies furthest from the Sun. It is tiny and remote, the last to be discovered by astronomers, and takes 13-32 years to move through one sign. Residing far away in the darkest realms of the solar system, Pluto is known by the Greeks as Hades, God of the Underworld, and as Pluto or Dis by the Romans. This outermost planet has a very outlandish orbit, swinging to a height more than three times that of the Moon’s maximum above the ecliptic and plunging just as far below it. Hence, it’s associations with the higher and lower natures recognised within humanity. Ruling the sign of Scorpio (the Scorpion), Pluto plays a dual role – that which is destructive and regenerative. Pluto reveals the truth from the roots. It is the planet which represents what must be brought to an end in order for a system to no longer hold its existing form. It takes away and it gives back something transformed. Throughout history, Pluto’s influence has manifested terrorism, atomic power, nuclear war, dictatorship, and economic depression. Like the Phoenix, it is a planet that sets fire to a kingdom and then rises heroically from the ashes.