The Planets: Our Teachers


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The three main components of a horoscope are the planets, signs, and houses. The planets show WHAT is happening, the signs show HOW it is happening, and the houses show WHERE it is happening.


The term planet (as used in astrology) refers to the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. Of course, the Sun and Moon are not planetary bodies, and neither is Pluto for that matter, but, in astrology that is how they are referred to.


Each planet represents a function in the human personality or psyche, and are grouped into three categories: the PERSONAL or INNER PLANETS (Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, and Mars) the SOCIAL or BRIDGE PLANETS (Jupiter and Saturn), and the OUTER OR TRANSPERSONAL PLANETS (Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto).


The personal planets move quickly through the zodiac, accounting for significant differences between the horoscopes of individuals born only days apart. For example, the Moon moves through all 12 signs in less than 29 days, and Mars will travel through the entire 12 signs in 2 years. In contrast, the outer planets take much longer. Jupiter takes a year to move through one sign, and the outer planets take considerably longer. Because of their slow movement, the outer planets have a more generational influence rather than a personal one.


A planet’s expression is determined by its sign and house placement. Everyone has a Venus – we all possess the part of the psyche it symbolizes. However, not everyone has Venus in Virgo in the 8th house. Once you are familiar with the functions of each planet, you can then discover how those functions are expressed (sign placement) and in what area of life they are most likely to manifest (house placement).


Personal or Inner Planets


Sun – Identity 


The Sun rules Leo. Its cycle is equivalent to the Earth’s year.

Everything in the horoscope ultimately revolves around the Sun. It is the Sun, which gives its strength and energy to the other Planets. The Sun in the horoscope represents the basic identity, the life purpose of the individual.

As center of the Solar System, the Sun also symbolizes what is central for us – our ego identity. Psychologically it represents our experience and influence of authority figures on building our character expressing our individuality. It also symbolizes our creative drive and our need to be visible. We strive to bring forth the qualities the Sun represents in our horoscope throughout our life.


The Sun Sign shows the manner in which we strive to become our true authentic selves.  The qualities of our Sun sign are like adjectives, which color and inform our self-expression.

Keywords: inner core essence, basic identity, life force, vital creativity




The Moon – Emotions


The Moon rules Cancer. It orbits and Earth every twenty-eight days, and completes one cycle (from New Moon to New Moon) every 29 1/2 days.


The Moon symbolizes our subconscious mind, habits, feelings, moods, instincts, reflections, and aspirations. It represents our early environment and the way we experienced mother. The Moon shows how we instinctively react to protect others and ourselves.

The Moon nurtures growth, protects life, and represents the fluctuations of our lives and the most basic needs of the individual.

As the ruler of the ocean’s tides, it is fitting that the Moon should rule our emotions. It is easy to see the correlation between our emotions and the sea; think how emotion is fluid, momentous, and churns from within. The Moon influences all instinct, how we feel, how our feelings impact our lives and how our feelings affect others.

The Sign the Moon is in shows the specific way we react, and the kind of emotional needs we have. The Moon goes through all 12 Signs in a month. The Moon sign’s influence is at least as powerful as the Sun, showing specific habitual and environmental needs as well as ingrained reaction styles.


Key Words: sensitive, domestic, nurturing, sentimental




Mercury – Thought Process


Mercury has a duel ruler-ship, ruling both Gemini and Virgo. Mercury is never more than 28 degrees from the Sun and it orbits the Sun every eighty-eight days, over four times a year.


Mercury symbolizes our ability to communicate and the desire for knowledge. Mercury represents the constant activity of our minds and is connected to the nervous system. Mercury is inventive, restless and curious.

The Sign Mercury is in shows the way we communicate, how we think, and what we give our attention and thoughts to. Communication, intellect and awareness are all within Mercury’s domain, as are logic and reasoning, our manner of thinking, and how we create and express thought processes.


Key Words: alert, inquisitive, inventive, logical


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Venus – Personal Values


Venus has a dual ruler-ship, ruling both Taurus and Libra. It orbits the Sun every two hundred and twenty-five days.


Venus represents our impulse to connect with another, to create beauty and balance. She suggests the path to love, peace, and harmony. She seeks diplomacy, cooperation, socialization, and pleasure.

Venus speaks of our personal values, need and capacity for love. She shows our personal aesthetic preferences and the natural attraction we feel to people and things. Venus represents the need for inner and outer harmony and balance.


The Sign Venus is in indicates how our values are colored and what specific aesthetic styles we adopt. Choices of partner are strongly influenced by this Sign position. Venus is always found close to the Sun in the horoscope, either in the same sign, or in one of the two signs alongside the Sun.


Key Words: to form connection, beauty, charm, pleasure, aesthetics




Mars – Drive


Mars rules the first sign, Aries and the First House. Its period of revolution around the Sun lasts almost two years and is in each sign for approximately two months.


Mars represents drive, desire, and the focused use of will; Mars is energetic, impulsive, assertive, and is associated with the survival instinct. Mars seeks adventure, enthusiasm, zeal, courage, athletic skill, and sexual desire. It offers hot sex, adventure, the drive to take action, quarrels, accidents, and violence. It signifies machismo, the armed forces, pioneers and agitators. Mars represents masculinity, as well as issues connected with sexuality and power. Wherever Mars is there may be trouble, but also the fighting instinct to move forward in our lives. Mars shows challenges and the ability to meet them courageously.


The Sign Mars is in, in the natal chart, indicates how you use your will, how you develop courage, and how you pursue what you desire.


Key Words: energetic, aggressive, decisive, innovative




Social or Bridge Planets


Jupiter – Wisdom 


Jupiter rules Sagittarius. Jupiter is the largest planet in the solar system spending 12 years orbiting the Sun; therefore spending a full year in each Sign.


As the first of the huge gas giants Jupiter represents expanding opportunities and widening horizons. This is the planet that offers idealism, optimism, philosophical expansion, abundance, prosperity, generosity, joviality, and good fortune. Jupiter also tends to excess, over-confidence, and self-righteousness. The most reliable influence of Jupiter is its expansion of anything it comes into contact with.


The Sign Jupiter is in represents cultural influences and social drives for expansion and improvement.



Key Words: Optimistic, philosophical, jovial, idealism




Saturn – Responsibility


Saturn rules Capricorn. Because Saturn takes 29.5 years to go around the Sun, it will be in any one Sign for nearly 2.5 years.

Saturn is the furthest planet in our solar system visible to the naked eye. As such, it represents limits.  Saturn brings strength through self-limitation, discipline and planning. Saturn rules time, old age, acceptance of responsibilities, and the success that comes with serious effort.


Saturn in the horoscope shows where the greatest challenges are to be found, and the hardest lessons learned. The sign Saturn is in represents trends in society and the influence of the culture on the individual.


Key Words: methodical, patient, disciplined, dutiful, structure



The Outer or Transpersonal Planets


Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto move very slowly, staying in the same sign for years. For this reason, their effects are not felt on as personal a level, but tend to impact entire generations.


Uranus – Originality 


Uranus rules Aquarius and takes 84 years to go around the Sun, therefore it will be in any one sign for 7 years. Uranus’ impact is on a collective level, having a generational influence. Uranus was first discovered in 1781 and is often associated with revolutions and upheaval.


The role and the gift of Uranus is to free us from conventional authorities and to drastically reform society along lines of truth and justice. It stands for awareness of individual freedom and liberty. It can bring quick, beneficial reforms or violent, disruptive, destructive events. Uranus is associated with science and enlightenment, it is considered the planet of genius and constantly challenges us to look at things in a new way. Uranus offers sudden revelations and awakenings; this is the ruling planet of magicians, alchemists and astrologers. Uranus loves to shock and surprise us with sudden and unpredictable events.


Uranus’s sign position shows the collective need for revolution, freedom, and awakening.


Key Words: epiphanies, defiance, unconventional, revolution, originality


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Neptune – Transcendence 


Neptune rules the sign of Pisces. As Neptune takes 165 years to go around the Sun, this planet will be in any one sign for a period of about 14 years. Its influence is experienced as long-term collective generational changes. Neptune was discovered in 1846.


Neptune is known as the planet of illusion and the dissolution of boundaries and barriers. It stands for equality and the interests of collective society. The movement of Neptune represent the destiny and consciousness of humanity as a whole. It is the symbol of everything intangible, mystical, imaginative, subtle, and surreal. Neptune suggests all that is unrestricted by ordinary limits and boundaries. Neptune may bring confusion, delusion and deception. It is the desire to escape from responsibility and to cleverly avoid facing reality. When fully expressed, Neptune is the beatific vision of universal, divine love and compassion for all beings. Neptune’s role is that of dissolving psychic boundaries, bringing about a sense of oneness with the universe. Neptune opens the door to divinity allowing one to transcend ordinary life through spiritual awakening and visionary ideals.

Neptune’s sign position shows the collective need for transcendence through compassion and love.


Key Words: idealism, illusion, compassion, transcendence, devotion




Pluto – Transformation 


Pluto rules the sign of Scorpio, was discovered in 1930, and takes 246 years to go around the Sun. Pluto has a very irregular orbit and can be in any one Sign from 14 to 30 years. Its influence in a Sign is felt on a collective rather than a personal level.


Pluto represents transformation, regeneration, and rebirth. Pluto brings to our attention all that is secret, undercover, and hidden from view. Pluto offers the capacity to transform one’s lifestyle, thoughts, and behavior as it rules the powerful forces of creation and destruction, giving us new life by forcing us to face death. It destroys to rebuild, and it kills off the old self that we may be begin anew; total transformation. Drawing deep psychological issues up from the unconsciousness, it has a purging function. Its influence focuses on power and the misuse of power.


Pluto’s sign position shows the collective need for revealing what is hidden in order to heal the results of the misuse of power and reach empowerment through enlightenment.

Key Words: power to destroy and create, transformation, empowerment