The planets represent the motivating forces behind all our actions. Our ancestors regarded them as gods, and the myths of the gods have been adapted by modern astrology into the concept of archetypes. The planets-as-gods are associated with characteristics, psychological energies or impulses that all of us express in one form or another.
The word ‘planet’ derives from Greek meaning ‘wanderer’.
Although the Sun and Moon are not technically planets, they are still included in this group and given special importance as ‘luminaries’.
Ancient, medieval and traditional astrology only recognised the planets visible to the eye, but modern astrology now incorporates the newly discovered planets Uranus, Neptune and Pluto.
Each planet has its own characteristics and is categorised as either a benefic (helpful) or a malefic (disruptive).
The “inner king”. All planets in our solar system revolve around the sun, which is the symbol of our basic nature; our whole essence comes from the position of the sun at our birth, which is reflected in our sun sign. The Sun is associated with a sense of power and represents our divine inner spark—the vital force that urges us to seek greater expression of our nature.
Ruler of: Leo; in the physical body the Sun rules the heart and the blood as carrier of life-sustaining substances.
In Nature: masculine, hot and dry; mildly malefic (due to the heat)
Positive aspects: creativity, independence, courage, strength, success, affection and generosity.
Negative traits: arrogance, over-confidence or lack of confidence, selfishness.
Associated Tarot cards: The Sun, Strength
The “inner child”. The second of astrology’s most important celestial body is not a planet but Earth’s satellite. The moon cycles—new moon, waxing, full moon, waning, dark—symbolise the cycle of birth, death and rebirth. Its gravitational pull on the Earth’s surface is linked with the tides, and its phases influence numerous biological rhythms in plant, animal and human life.
The Moon represents our imaginative and reflective side, unconscious impulses, emotional reactions, childhood experiences, the mother-child relationship and our need for emotional comfort.
Ruler of: Cancer; in the physical body the Moon rules the breast, womb and digestive system.
In Nature: Feminine, cold and moist; benefic (when waxing) and mildly malefic (when waning)
Positive aspects: sensitive, caring, compassionate, artistic, intuitive
Negative traits: emotional instability, self-absorbance, weakness, confusion, fear.
Associated Tarot cards: The High Priestess, The Chariot
“Messenger of the gods”. The smallest planet and closest to the sun, Mercury is linked with movement, communication, logic, reason, languages and transport. It facilitates comprehension, so we may become thinking, intelligent beings. Mercury also symbolises our ability to make connections and understand the relationship between things, ourselves and the wider world.
Ruler of: Gemini and Virgo; physically Mercury rules hands, shoulders and lungs.
In Nature: Neither masculine nor feminine (it takes on the nature of the planet with which it is connected); cold and dry; benefic or malefic depending on associated planets
Positive aspects: eloquence, wit, good memory, organisational skills
Negative traits: learning difficulties, fickleness, cunning.
Associated Tarot cards: The Magician, The Lovers, The Hermit
Relationships—Inner Strength—Personal Choices
“Goddess of Love”. Venus is associated with love and affection, diplomacy, harmony and beauty. Psychologically Venus represents the need for emotional and material security and therefore indicates how we tend to relate to others and handle our finances.
Ruler of: Taurus (night) and Libra (day); physically, Venus rules the kidneys, bladder and sexual organs.
In Nature: Feminine, moderately cold and moist; benefic.
Positive aspects: physical beauty, pleasant manners, diplomatic, artistic, nurturing
Negative traits: laziness, jealousy, emotional coldness, unfaithfulness, debauchery.
Associated Tarot cards: The Empress, The Hierophant, Justice
“God of War”. The fourth planet from the sun, Mars is associated with the inner drive for action, self-manifestation and both positive and negative aggression, as well as the male sex drive. Mars is named after the Roman god of war and is said to be an influencing factor on all people, objects and matters connected to warfare, bloodshed, conquest and destruction. Mars also rules people, who use sharp, metallic objects such as surgeons, butchers, cooks and tailors.
Ruler of: Aries; physically Mars rules the primary sexual organs.
In Nature: Masculine, hot and dry; malefic.
Positive aspects: physical strength, courage, decisiveness, a sense of fair competition
Negative traits: uncontrolled anger, ruthlessness, violence, dishonesty, tyranny.
Associated Tarot cards: The Tower, The Emperor
“King of the gods”. Jupiter is named after the Roman king of the gods and is traditionally known as the Greater Benefic, bringer of good fortunes. Jupiter is associated with judges, lawyers, teachers, healers, religious leaders as well as seekers of knowledge and truth. The function of Jupiter is to enlarge, make fruitful and bestow a feeling of being protected and a spirit of hope and optimism. Jupiter influences our self-confidence and our ability to extend our horizons.
Ruler of: Sagittarius; physically Jupiter rules the thighs and liver.
In Nature: Masculine, hot and moist; benefic.
Positive aspects: success, happiness, wisdom, thoughtfulness, honesty, justice.
Negative traits: vanity, self-indulgence, recklessness
Associated Tarot cards: Wheel of Fortune, Temperance
“God of social order”. The second largest planet of the solar system used to be regarded as the Greater malefic, associated with loss, hardship, loneliness and death. In modern astrology Saturn’s reputation is more balanced and represents our innate desire for order, form, structure and security. This in turn is connected with generational conflicts, conventional views and issues of fear, repression and control. Saturn rules natural and man-made structures, hierarchies, organisations, authorities, the karmic law of cause and effect and even time itself.
Ruler of: Capricorn; physically Saturn rules the skeleton.
In Nature: Masculine, cold and dry, melancholic and malefic.
Positive aspects: discipline, patience, reliability, honesty, practical talents, responsibility.
Negative traits: rigidity, restriction, narrow-mindedness, excessive limitations, fear of life.
Associated Tarot cards: The World, The Devil
“God of the sky”. The first Trans-Saturnian planet was discovered in 1781 shortly before the beginning of the French Revolution in 1789. Due to this timing, Uranus is associated with non-conformity and revolutionary tendencies; it is also an indicator of new discoveries, sudden and unexpected events, disruptions and unpredictable occurrences. Uranus is linked with modern technology, electricity, aviation and space travel. Psychologically, it represents the individual’s need for self-realisation and freedom from restrictions.
Ruler of: Aquarius; physically Uranus rules ankles, calves and the nervous system .
In Nature: Masculine
Positive aspects: originality, inventiveness, independence
Negative traits: stubbornness, impracticality, uncontrolled emotional outbursts, delusions
Associated Tarot cards: The Fool, The Star
“God of the sea”. Neptune, the eighth planet from the sun, is linked with the unseen and mysterious. Neptune dissolves boundaries, such as between the conscious and unconscious, between individuals and between truth and illusion. Neptune represents our vision of perfection and our ideals. For most of us this will be our fantasy world, an escape of reality. Neptune gives inspiration to poets, artists, musicians, mystics and humanitarians.
Ruler of: Pisces; physically Neptune rules feet and circulation.
In Nature: Feminine
Positive aspects: sensitivity, compassion, empathy, spirituality, psychism, imagination
Negative traits: delusion, deception, drug abuse, apathy, neediness, irrational fears
Associated Tarot cards: The Hanged Man, The Moon
The Unconscious—Transformation—Letting Go
“God of the underworld”. The smallest and most dense planet of the solar system, Pluto is associated with sexuality, physical and spiritual birth, with death and resurrection. It symbolises old patterns that need to be eliminated if we are to grow and develop. Pluto forces us to come to terms with the darker, more instinctive side of nature. If we try to avoid it, the result will be havoc, physical and emotional upheaval.
Ruler of: Scorpio; physically Pluto rules the prostrate, skin, finger and toe nails, cancer cells.
In Nature: Masculine
Positive aspects: psychological insight; the ability to heal and regenerate with radical creativity
Negative traits: obsessive compulsive tendencies
Associated Tarot cards: Judgement, Death
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