The Planets in Astrology

the 9 astrological planets

In Astrology, the planets have a different meaning then they do in modern astronomy. Before the invention of the telescope, early star-gazers studied the night sky and observed two very similar phenomenon: fixed stars, which remained motionless in relation to each other, and wandering stars, known as the "planets", which appeared to shift their positions relative to the fixed stars over the course of the year.

To the earliest astronomers, five planets (excluding the earth) were visible to the naked eye. As Astrology developed, the Sun and the Moon (sometimes referred to as "Lights") were also referred to as planets because of their apparant movement across the sky from the perspective on earth, and their importance to terrestrial life. These "seven planets" are still used in astrology today.

To ancient astrologers the planets represented the will of the gods and their direct influence upon terrestrial affairs. To modern astrologers the planets represent basic drives or impulses that are present in the human psyche. These drives express themselves with different qualities as they move through the twelve signs of the zodiac, and also through the different spheres of life through the twelve houses. How the planets manifest themselves also depends on the aspects (or angles) that they form with each other in the sky as seen from Earth.

Modern astrologers differ on the source of the planets' power. Some believe that the planets exert their energy and influence directly through a gravitational or electromagnetic power, or some other unknown force yet to be discovered. Others consider that the planets may not have a direct influence in themselves, but are mirrors of the basic organising principles in the universe. In other words, the basic patterns of the universe repeat themselves everywhere, in fractal-like fashion, and 'as above so below'. Therefore, the patterns that the planets make in the sky reflect the ebb and flow of basic human impulses.

planets in space The English name for each planet is derived from the name of a Roman god or goddess. Also of interest is the conflation of the Roman god with a similar Greek god. In some cases, it's the same deity with two different names.

The positions, angles and aspects of the planetary bodies at the time of birth are calculated in the Natal Chart in order to show how the energies of the planets influence the individual at birth, shaping their personality, qualities, inner and outer nature and expression. Current planetary transits can also be calculated and compared with the birth chart in order to see how the positions, angles and aspects are influencing day to day activities, influences moving in and out of the individuals life, and to make certain predictios.

The Sun |  The Moon |  Mercury |  Venus |  Mars |  Jupiter |  Saturn |  Uranus |  Neptune |  Pluto | 

The Classic Planets

The seven classical planets are those that were known to ancient astrologers before the use of telescopes. These planets can easily be seen with the naked eye. They are: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, and also the Sun and Moon which were considered by the ancients to be planets, and are still considered so in Astrology due to their influence.

Ceres and Uranus can also just be seen with the naked eye, though no ancient culture appears to have taken note of them. The astrological descriptions attached to the seven classical planets have been preserved since ancient times. Astrologers call the seven classical planets the seven personal and social planets, because they are said to represent the basic human drives of every individual.

The personal planets are the Sun, Moon, Mercury, and Venus, while the social, or transpersonal, planets are Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. Jupiter and Saturn are often called "Transpersonal or Transcendant" planets as they represent a transition from the inner personal planets to the outer modern, impersonal planets. The outer modern planets Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto are often called the collective or transcendental planets.

astrology ruling planet - the sun

The Sun

The Sun is the brilliant star at the centre of our solar system, around which the Earth and other planets revolve, and which provides us with heat and light.The sun travels through the twelve signs of the zodiac on its annual journey, spending about a month in each sign (aries through pisces). The Sun's position on a person's birthday therefore determines what is usually called his or her 'star' or 'sun' sign.

astrological sign of leo the lionIn Astrology, The Sun is the planetary ruler of the astrological sign Leo, which naturally rules the 5th house.

The Glyph symbol for the Sun is: gliph symbol for the sun

The sun represents the conscious ego, the self and its expression, personal power, pride and authority; leadership qualities; and the principles of creativity, spontaneity, health and vitality; the life force. The sun also involves creative enterprises that are a projection of the person, from art and business to having children and parenthood (especially fatherhood). It also rules the fun and playful side of life from sport and recreation to holidays and social events. Any occasion that 'allows us to shine' is marked by the influence of the Sun.

In medicine the sun is associated with the heart, circulatory system and the thymus. It was considered benignly hot and dry in nature, co-ruled the choleric humour, and symbolised the vital spirits.

*In Chinese astrology, the Sun represents Yang, the active, assertive masculine life principle. In Indian astrology, the Sun is called Surya and represents the soul, kingship, highly placed persons, father. In Greek and Roman mythology the sun is represented by Apollo, the god of light.

astrology ruling planet - the moon

The Moon

The Moon is the earth's companion satellite and is considered a planet in astrology. The Moon is large enough for its gravity to affect the Earth, stabilising its orbit and producing the regular ebb and flow of the tides. The Moon is familiar to us for its different phases, waxing and waning in appearance in an unchanging cycle. The Moon is of course the brilliant star that is located at the center of the Solar System. It's light and heat sustains all life on earth. The Moon orbits the earth in about 28 days, spending a fleeting 2.33 days in each of the signs of the zodiac. The position of the Moon at the time of one's birth would give them their "Moon Sign".

astrological sign of cancer the crabIn Astrology, The Moon is the planetary ruler of the astrological sign Cancer, which naturally rules the 4th house.

The Glyph symbol for the Moon is: gliph symbol for the moon

The Moon is associated with a person's emotional make-up, unconscious habits, rhythms, memories and moods, and their ability to react and adapt to those around them. It is also associated with the mother, maternal instincts or the urge to nurture, the home, the need for security, and the past, especially early experiences and childhood. Another word for the Moon is Luna which is where the word Lunacy is derived from. During a full moon, there is a tendency for the subconscious emotions of an individual to emerge, sometimes resulting in "crazy" or unusual behaviour.

In medicine the moon is associated with the digestive system, stomach, breasts, the ovaries and menstruation (which does occur on a monthly cycle), and the pancreas.

*In Chinese astrology, the Moon represents Yin, the passive, receptive feminine life principle. In Indian astrology, the Moon is called Chandra or Soma and represents the mind, queenship, and mother. Also unique to Indian astrology is the system of 27 (or 28) lunar stations or 'mansions' called nakshatra which are believed to be of major importance in indicating the life path of the individual. In Roman mythology the Moon is represented by Diana, the hunter goddess.

More About the Moon and the Moon Sign

astrology ruling planet - Mercury


Mercury circles the sun on the fastest orbit of any planet. Mercury takes only 88 days to orbit the sun, spending about 7.33 days in each sign of the zodiac. The position of Mercury at birth would show how the planet influences your life in regards to .communication, intellect, social life, and mental abilities.

astrological sign of gemini the twins In Astrology, Mercury is the planetary ruler of the astrological sign Gemini, which naturally rules the 3rd house.

astrological sign of virgo the virgin Mercury is also the planetary ruler of the astrological sign Virgo, which naturally rules the 6th house.

The Glyph symbol for Mercury is: gliph symbol for the planet mercury

Mercury is the messenger of the gods in mythology, that's why it is the messenger in Astrology as it is in Mythology. It is the planet of day-to-day expression and relationships. Mercury's action is to take things apart and put them back together again. It is an opportunistic planet, decidedly unemotional and curious. Mercury is associated with the principles of communication, mentality, thinking patterns, rationality and reasoning, and adaptability and variability. Mercury governs schooling and education; the immediate environment of neighbours, siblings and cousins; transport over short distances; messages and forms of communication such as post, email and telephone; newspapers, journalism and writing, information gathering skills, and physical dexterity.

In medicine Mercury is associated with the nervous system, the brain, the respiratory system, the thyroid and the sense organs.

*In Chinese astrology, Mercury is ruled by the element water which is diplomatic, kind and intuitive. In Indian astrology, Mercury is called Budha, a word related to Budhi ("intelligence") and represents communication. In Roman mythology Mercury is the messenger of the gods, noted for his speed and swiftness.

astrology ruling planet - Venus


The calm, beautiful surface of white clouds on the planet Venus hides its hot, dense atmosphere and intense volcanic activity. Venus orbits the sun in 225 days, spending about 18.75 days in each sign of the zodiac. Venus is the second brightest object in the night sky, the moon being the brightest. The position of Venus at birth would show how the planet influences your life in regards to: expression of love and sensuality, art, beauty and pleasure.

astrological sign of taurus the bullIn Astrology, Venus is the planetary ruler of the astrological sign Taurus, which naturally rules the 2nd house.

astrological sign of libra the scalesVenus is also the planetary ruler of the astrological sign Libra, which naturally rules the 7th house.

The Glyph symbol for Venus is: gliph symbol for the planet venus

Venus is associated with the principles of harmony, beauty, balance; the feelings and affections, and the urge to sympathize and unite with others. It is involved with the desire for pleasure, sensuality, personal possessions, comfort and ease. It governs romantic relations, marriage and business partnerships, sex, the arts, fashion and social life. The first-century poet Marcus Manilius,described Venus as generous and fecund, and the lesser benefic.dexterity.

In medicine Venus is associated with the lumbar region, the veins, parathyroids, throat and kidneys.

*In Chinese astrology, Venus is associated with the element metal (or gold), which is unyielding, strong and persistent. In Indian astrology, Venus is known as Shukra and represents wealth, pleasure and reproduction. In Roman mythology, Venus is the goddess of love and beauty, famous for the passions she could stir among the gods.

astrology ruling planet - Mars


Mars orbits the sun in 687 days, spending about 57.25 days in each sign of the zodiac. It is also the first planet that orbits outside of Earth's orbit making it the first planet that doesn't set along with the sun. The position of Mars at birth would show how the planet influences your life in regards to:agression, expression of the outer personality, vitality and conflict.

astrological sign of aries the ramIn Astrology, Mars is the planetary ruler of the astrological sign Aries, which naturally rules the 1st house.

Some modern astrologers consider Venus to also be the planetary ruler of the astrological sign Scorpio, which naturally rules the 8th house.

Before the discovery of Pluto, it was universally considered the ruler of Scorpio. Most modern astrologers consider Pluto the ruler of Scorpio, but many regard Mars as a co-ruler, while all traditional astrologers still regard Mars as the only ruler of Scorpio.

The Glyph symbol for Mars is: gliph symbol for the planet mars

Mars is associated with confidence and self assertion, aggression, sexuality, energy, strength, ambition, and impulsiveness. Mars governs sports, competitions and physical activities in general. The first-century poet Manilius, described the planet Mars as ardent, and as the lesser malefic. While Venus tends to the overall relationship atmosphere, Mars is the passionate impulse and action, the masculine aspect, and this goes beyond sex into your drive, discipline, will-power and stamina.

In medicine Mars presides over the genitals, the muscular system, the gonads and adrenal glands.

*In Chinese astrology, Mars is ruled by the element fire, which is passionate, energetic and adventurous. In Indian astrology, Mars is called Mangala and represents energy, confidence and ego. Mars is the Roman god of war and bloodshed.

astrology ruling planet - Jupiter


The planet Jupiter is the king of the other planets, a giant in size with spectacular, brightly coloured clouds and intense storms. It astronomy it protects the earth in many way. Jupiter takes 11.9 years to orbit the sun, spending almost an earth year (361 days) in each sign of the zodiac.. The position of Jupiter at birth would show how the planet influences your life in regards to: luck, optomism, higher ideal and learning, and philosophy.

In Astrology, Jupiter is the planetary ruler of the astrological sign Sagittarius, which naturally rules the 9th house.

astrological sign of pisces the fishes Some modern astrologers consider Jupiter to also be the planetary ruler (or co-ruler) of the astrological sign Pisces, which naturally rules the 12th house.

The Glyph symbol for Jupiter is: gliph symbol for the planet jupiter

Jupiter is associated with the principles of growth, expansion, prosperity and good fortune; and a person's inner sense of justice and morality and their ideals and higher goals. Jupiter governs long distance and foreign travel, higher education, religion and the law. It is also associated with the urge for freedom and exploration, humanitarian and protecting roles, and with gambling and merrymaking or 'joviality'.

In medicine Jupiter is associated with the liver, pituitary gland and the disposition of fats

*In Chinese astrology, Jupiter is ruled by the element wood, which is warm, generous and co-operative. In Indian astrology, Jupiter is known as Guru or Brihaspati and is known as the 'great teacher'. In Roman mythology Jupiter is the ruler of the gods (having overthrown Saturn) and their guardian and protector

astrology ruling planet - Saturn


The famous rings of the planet Saturn that enclose and surround it, reflect this principle of man's limitations. Saturn takes 29.5 years to orbit the sun, spending about 2.46 years in each sign of the zodiac. The position of Saturn at birth would show how the planet influences your life in regards to:restriction and setbacks, responsiblities and the ending and beginnings of cycles.

astrological sign of capricorn the goatIn Astrology, Saturn is the planetary ruler of the astrological sign Capricorn, which naturally rules the 10th house.

astrological sign of aquarius the water bearer Some modern astrologers consider Saturn to also be the planetary ruler (or co-ruler) of the astrological sign Aquarius, which naturally rules the 11th house.

*Before the discovery of Uranus, Saturn was universally regarded as the ruling planet of Aquarius. Many astrologers still use Saturn as the planetary ruler of both Capricorn and Aquarius

The Glyph symbol for Saturn is: gliph symbol for the planet saturn

Jupiter is associated with the principles of limitation, restrictions, boundaries, practicality and reality, crystallizing and structures. Saturn governs ambition, career, authority and hierarchy, and conforming social structures. It concerns a person's sense of duty, discipline and responsibility, and their physical and emotional endurance during hardships. Saturn is also considered to represent the part of a person concerned with long-term planning. The Return of Saturn is said to mark significant events in each person's life.

In medicine Saturn is associated with the right ear, the spleen, the bladder, the phlegm, and the bones

*In Chinese astrology, Saturn is ruled by the element earth, which is patient, hard-working and reliable. In Indian astrology, Saturn is called Shani or "Sani", and represents career and longevity. It is also the bringer of bad luck and hardship. In Roman mythology Saturn is the god of agriculture, founder of civilizations and of social order and conformity.

The Modern Planets

Since the invention of the telescope, Western astrology has incorporated Uranus, Neptune, Ceres, Pluto and other bodies into its methodology. Indian and Chinese astrologies have tended to retain the ancient seven-planet system. Meanings have had to be assigned to them by modern astrologers, usually according to the major events which occurred in the world at the time of their discovery. These planets tend to be more 'impersonal' or generational planets, meaning their effects are felt more across whole generations of society since their transits are much longer in duration than the classic planets. Their effects in individuals depend upon how strongly they feature in that individual's birth-chart. There is also a great discussion going about what Ceres should rule in astrology. Some western astrologers hope that within a few years, astrological rulerships will be changed in order to include Ceres.

astrology ruling planet - Uranus


The planet Uranus is very unusual among the planets in that it rotates on its side, so that it presents each of its poles to the sun in turn during its orbit, so that one hemisphere is bathed in light, while the other lies in total darkness. These strange traits reflect its astrological significance as the breaker of convention.

Uranus takes 84 years to orbit the sun, spending about 7 years in each sign of the zodiac.

In Astrology, Uranus is the planetary ruler of the astrological sign Aquarius, which naturally rules the 11th house.

* Some modern astrologers consider Saturn to be the planatary co-ruler of Aquarius.

The Glyph symbol for Uranus is: gliph symbol for the planet uranus

Uranus is associated with the principles of genius, individuality, new and unconventional ideas, discoveries, electricity, inventions, and the beginnings of the industrial revolution. Uranus governs societies, clubs and any group dedicated to humanitarian or progressive ideals. Uranus, the planet of sudden and unexpected changes, rules freedom and originality. In society it rules radical ideas and people, as well as revolutionary events that upset established structures.

Uranus among all planets most governs genius. Historically it was associated with the principles of the Enlightenment and radical political ideas of equality and freedom, among other things. Around the period of its discovery in 1781, the idea of democracy and the human rights was prevalent, with the breakaway of the American colonies from England and a few years later in 1789, the French revolution. In art and literature, the discovery of Uranus coincided with the Romantic movement, which emphasised individuality and freedom of expression.

In medicine Uranus is believed to be particularly associated with the sympathetic nervous system, mental disorders, breakdowns and hysteria, spasms and cramps

*In Greek mythology Uranus is the personification of the heavens and the night sky.

astrology ruling planet - Neptune


Neptune takes 165 years to orbit the sun, spending approximately 14 years (13.75) in each sign of the zodiac. Neptune was discovered in 1846.

astrological sign of pisces the fishesIn Astrology, Uranus is the planetary ruler of the astrological sign Pisces, which naturally rules the 12th house.

* Jupiter is also considered by modern astrologers to be co-ruler of Pisces.

Nowadays modern astrologers considers Neptune the ruler of Pisces, but prior to the discovery of Neptune, Jupiter was the one considered as the ruler of Pisces, even though some modern astrologers consider Jupiter a co-ruler of Pisces. Some astrologers do not believe that Neptune rules any particular sign, even though they may use the planet in interpretation.

The Glyph symbol for Neptune is: gliph symbol for the planet neptune

Neptune is associated with idealism and compassion, but also with illusion, confusion and deception; with religions, spirituality and mysticism, the mass media, creativity in art and music, drugs, extreme sensitivity, fantasy and imagination, psychic phenomena and altered mental states. Neptune governs hospitals, prisons, mental institutions, and any place, such as a monastery, that involves a retreat from society. Its appearance coincided with the discovery of anesthetics and hypnotism . In political terms Neptune was linked to the rise of nationalist movements throughout Europe. It was also linked to the rise of socialism and the beginnings of the welfare state. Neptune also coincided with the utopian ideals of Communism, when Marx and Engels first published 'The Communist Manifesto' in 1848.

In art, the impressionist movement began a trend away from literal representation, to one based on the subtle, changing moods of light and colour.

In medicine Neptune seems particularly associated with the thalamus, the spinal canal, and severe or mysterious illnesses and neuroses.

*In Roman mythology Neptune is the god of the sea, and the deep, ocean blue colour of the planet Neptune reflects this.

astrology ruling planet - Pluto


Pluto no longer a planet?

Pluto and its moon Charon form a unique pairing in the solar system because Charon is so massive relative to Pluto. This means that they revolve in a 'dumbbell' formation around a common point in space lying between them, permanently locked in a 'power struggle' for dominance. Pluto takes 248 years to orbit the sun, spending on average approximately 21 years (20.6) in each sign of the zodiac. However, Pluto's orbit is so eccentric that this can vary dramatically, from 25 years in Cancer (1913 - 1938) to a mere 12 years in Scorpio (1983 - 1995),

astrological sign of scorpio the scorpionIn Astrology, Pluto is the planetary ruler of the astrological sign Scorpio, which naturally rules the 12th house.

*In 2006 Pluto was reclassified by astronomers as a "dwarf planet" and therefore is no longer considered a planet in astronomy. Pluto's "reclassification" has in no way reduced its astrological significance to astrologers who had previously considered Pluto important and still do. Pluto is still regarded as an influential and symbolic planet. Many traditional astrologers do not use Pluto as a ruling planet, but do use the planet for interpretation and predictive work, obliquely making reference to projections of influences from higher to lower dimensional spaces.

The Glyph symbol for Pluto is: gliph symbol for the dwarf planet pluto

In astrology, Pluto is called "the great renewer", and is considered to represent the part of a person that destroys in order to renew, through bringing buried, but intense, needs and drives to the surface and expressing them, even at the expense of the existing order. A commonly used keyword for Pluto is "transformation". It is associated with power and personal mastery and the need to co-operate and share with another, if each is not to be destroyed. Pluto governs big business and wealth, mining, surgery and detective work, and any enterprise which involves digging under the surface to bring the truth to light.

Pluto is also associated with extreme power and corruption; the discovery of Pluto in 1930 coincided with the rise of fascism and Stalinism in Europe, leading to the Second World War. It also coincided with the Great Depression and the major proliferation of organized crime in the United States. Its entry into Cancer in 1913, the sign in which it was later discovered, coincided with the First World War.

Pluto is also associated with nuclear armament, which had its genesis in the research of the 1930s and 40's. Later on, it gave rise to the polarised nuclear stand off of the Cold War, with the mass consumer societies of the United States and other democracies facing the totalitarian state socialism of the USSR. The discovery of Pluto also occurred just after the birth of modern psycho-analysis, when Freud and Jung began to explore the depths of the unconscious. In real life events and culture, Pluto has been a major astrological aspect. In art, movements like Cubism and Surrealism began to deconstruct the 'normal' view of the world and reassemble it in new and sometimes disturbing ways.

In medicine Pluto seems to be associated with regenerative forces in the body involving cell formation and the reproductive system.

*In Roman mythology Pluto is the god of the underworld and of wealth.

Pluto No Longer A Planet?

In Astronomy, Pluto is no longer considered a true planet and has been demoted to a dwarf star. This does not cause any concern in astrology. In astrology the term 'planet' means something different than a planet in the astronomical sense. Astrology also counts the Sun and Moon as planets. The understanding which astrologers have gained about the astrological effect of Pluto is not changed by this new astronomical definition. The meaning of Pluto in the horoscope remains the same. Nevertheless, some astrologers are choosing to omit or alter Pluto in charts to account for this change while others have made no changes whatsoever. Some astrologers even include other dwarf planets such as Ceres and also minor planets and asteroids like Chiron amd Lilith in their astrological charts.

Next Section: The Houses in Astrology

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