After getting familiar with how a chart is structured you are ready to get to know the “players” on the map. The planets are extremely important on your journey in astrology, symbolic of the energies within and without. They can represent parts of yourself and signify other people present on your life journey. In this article we are going to talk about how the planets figure in your chart and what specific energy each one represents.
A Brief History of the Planets
When scholars began studying the night sky over 2000 years ago the first thing that was tracked by the earliest astrologers was the planets. There are records dating back to Ancient Babylon tracking the cyclical changes in the phases of the Moon along with the movement of all of the visible planets.
The 7 visible planets or Inner planets, including the Sun and Moon, are Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. These planets were viewed against the backdrop of the constellations without the aid of a telescope.
The remaining Outer planets, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, were not discovered until much later following the development of astronomical instruments. The energy that these planets play in our lives have been carefully tracked and researched by modern day astrologers, adding to the rich tapestry of astrological knowledge and interpretation!
The Planets in Your Chart
Each planet in your chart can provide deeper and deeper insight into your life voyage! Their location in the various signs at your time of birth is representative of the energy present in the moment you took your first breath. As the planets continue to move within their cycles throughout your life you are able to track their energy as they interfere with your chart on a symbolic level.
Try This! If you have a copy of your chart, take a look at it. Do you notice the symbols scattered around the map? You have just located the planets! These symbols are called glyphs; which were largely created by scholars using alchemical symbols.
The planets are categorized in various ways; each one has a zodiac sign they “rule” or preside over and operate on a personal or transpersonal level. Some of the planets are very slow moving and will stay in a particular zodiac sign for years before transiting into the next sign. These are called generational planets and allow for examination into the energy that is present within others born during a particular time. For example, Pluto only changes sign once every 10-20 years due to its irregular and slow moving orbit. It is often read in the context of a transpersonal energy representing the deep seated soul issues your generation is confronting.
Each planet is named for a particular myth, largely taken from Greek and Roman mythology. Exploration of the particular story of each planet can give you more information on how that planet came to be associated with particular personality traits, identities, and energies.
Hint: As you read this article try matching the planetary glyphs/symbols provided by locating each planet in your own chart. Once you have a good idea of which planet is which you can start to note the zodiac sign that planet was in at the time of your birth. You will then be one step closer to “reading” your own chart!
Inner Planets: The Personal Planets
The first group in the Inner planets category are the personal planets. These are the planets that are closest orbiting the Sun, fastest moving and relate most closely to personality traits, experiences, and personal identity. These planets may spend a couple of days to a couple of months in each sign. Reading these planets in your chart should be from a personal perspective.
Often the most well known to people, the location of the Sun in the natal chart is vitally important. This planet, also called Luminary, is symbolic of your identity, character, and personality. It demonstrates aspects of yourself that are at the core of your being and psyche. The Sun is sometimes associated with the Ego as the energy you are working with through this planet is very focused on the development of personal identity. As the Sun is the star of our solar system it also represents what is the most illuminated, bright, or noticeable regarding our ideal selves.
The Moon is very personal to each individual chart. This planet, also called Luminary, spends only 2 1/2 days in each sign, making it very unique to each person. Lunar energy is symbolic of your internal and reflective aspects of self. It is receptive in nature and directly relates to you emotional responses, feeling nature, and empathic or psychic abilities. Depending on what zodiac sign your Moon falls in will provide further details on the subtle emotional being that is operating within you. The Moon can also be symbolic of your relationship with your parents. Your connection to your instincts, family or ancestry, and need for nurturing are also all connected with the Moon.
Rules: Virgo & Gemini
Mercury is a quick moving planet and never too far from the Sun. On a psychological level it can be read as the messenger that is bringing the information of your Sun sign personality into the world. This planet is symbolic of the ways in which you learn, communicate, and verbalize your internal thoughts and drives. Mercury can indicate how you connect with information, writing, and speaking. In mythology Mercury is associated with the Greek god Hermes who was fast as lightning and speaker for the gods.
Rules: Taurus & Libra
Another very important personal planet is Venus. The energy you are working with through Venus in your astrological chart is the attraction principle. On a surface level Venus can represent what you like, who you like, and how. It represents sweetness and desire for pleasant exchanges and relationships. On a spiritual level Venus is symbolic of what you are most drawn to in life. It can lend you insight into the types of relationships you most desire and your deepest connection to the vibration of love and relating. This planet is also symbolic of artistic vision, finances, and beauty.
Rules: Aries + Scorpio Traditionally
Mars is a very interesting planet in your chart to get to know! It often “speaks” very loudly, making itself known through your actions, drives, and desires. Mars is associated with iron, blood, fire, and confrontation. If you are a rose then Mars can sometimes be the “thorn” part of your being. Keep in mind though, Mars energy is essential to human existence. This fiery and sometimes temperamental planet can kick on your flight or fight response. It can energize you to accomplish your goals and drive you forward to realizing your highest potential. Mars also represents your sexuality and the way that you desire and pursue love. Mars can help you have access your bold and courageous energy!
Inner Planets: The Social Planets
Following the personal planets we come to the next group in the Inner planets category, the social planets. Jupiter and Saturn are called social planets because they relate to the role you play in the external world. They are symbolic of authority figures, institutions, and structures that you are operating within the context of.
Rules: Sagittarius + Pisces (Traditionally)
Jupiter is associated with grandiosity and expansion. It is one of the largest planets billowing with energy and charisma. This planet is often spoken of in terms of luck; therefore, has come to also be associated with your finances or ability to make money. Jupiter can be seen as highly spiritual as well; often pushing individuals to seek out expanded consciousness through the pursuit of knowledge, religion, or spirituality. You would draw upon this planet’s energy when you have to shine in a social situation. Jupiter lights up at parties, when doing highly creative activities, activism work, and in competitions.
Rules: Capricorn + Aquarius (Traditionally)
Saturn is a dominant planet in the chart, symbolic of the energy surrounding your responsibilities, authority, and boundaries. It can represent the relationship between you and your parents or the greater family dynamics. On a social level Saturn will help illuminate the nature and quality of the structures you were brought up in. Ask yourself if your upbringing was restricted, free wheeling or something in between? Saturn, along with Jupiter, will speak to your relationship to authority and the aspects of life that you feel are obligatory. Major Saturn transits throughout your life are often characterized as turning points for transformation, increased social recognition, and achievement. This planet is a driving force in your ability to choose situations for yourself in which you will learn the deepest most profound lessons in life.
Chiron “The Bridge”
A newer discovery to the world of astrology Chiron is a minor planet orbiting between the inner and outer planets. In mythology Chiron was called the “wounded healer” as a figure that was able to heal, teach, and mentor others but unable to do so for himself. The energy Chiron represents in your chart is largely tied up in the mythology; symbolic of the areas in life where you are able to help others the most. Further examination of this planet in your chart can illuminate areas where you need to focus on your own healing and life journey. Chiron is associated with medicine, astrology, and teaching.
Outer Planets: The Transpersonal Planets
After crossing the Chiron bridge we make our way to the Outer planets. These planets have been ubiquitous with the transpersonal aspects of being. This means they represent energy that exists beyond us or the boundaries of our personal self. There is a psychic aspect to the Outer planets leading us to feel their energy on a more subtle, long term level. Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto were discovered much later than the original inner planets and carry with them the Zeitgeist of the modern day.
Uranus is known as the disruptor in your chart. This planet is symbolic of intense experiences you may have had and how you managed the stress of these situations. It can show you the quality in which you may choose to rebel against authority, society, or family. Uranus gives us a sense of genius and ingenuity. Its energy is lighting fast and intuitive. As a symbol of deep and long term memory, its energy often operates from a distant mind perspective, working through the mental pathways. This planets moves very slowly and you will share the placement of this planet with other people born in your generation. Uranus is symbolic of the current upsets existing at the time of your birth.
Neptune represents the illusive energy of the dream world and our connection to a higher spiritual power. When accessing its energy we can draw upon the deep well of the collective energy created by all of existence. This planet shows you how you tend to get swept into dramas, romance, or the stories of your life. If Neptune is near or in aspect to a personal planet in your chart this can indicate increased artistic, psychic, and emotional wisdom. Neptune’s energy is porous, allowing the sensations of life to flow within and without. Accessing Neptune can feel like touching the divine realm.
Pluto is the densest planets and is symbolic of your deepest soul needs. You will share a Pluto placement with others born around your date of birth. The energy is transformative and acts slowly over a lifetime. Major Pluto transitions can often be analyzed after the fact to get you to a deeper realization about your life, soul’s purpose, and deepest past life healing needs. Examine Pluto in relationship to the Inner Planets to see how the energy is playing out most prominently.
The Nodes are not planets but mathematical points based on the elliptical orbit of the Moon around the Earth. There are two points that are calculated; the North Node and the South Node, both being exactly opposite each other. The Nodes’ meaning has evolved over time. The Western Astrology interpretation looks at the Nodes as spiritual or soul points in the chart. The South Node being symbolic of gifts you already possess, repeating life patterns, or past life energy. The North Node is symbolic of the direction your soul is facing, the being you are becoming, and your spiritual evolution.
Putting It All Together
When you look at the complete picture of your chart it can be a lot of information to take in! There are seemingly endless associations that can be created not just for each planet but the interaction between them all. When an outer planet is near a personal planet, for example, the energy or expression will be undoubtedly altered by the combination of the energies working within.
By understanding the basic nature of each planet you can start to paint the complete picture of your natal chart. If you notice many planets clumped together in one section of your chart or several planets opposing each other then this speaks to the energies you are here to learn and work with. There is deep transformative information available to you when you start to synthesize the information available in the energy of each planet.