In part four of The Beginners Guide to Astrology, we will examine the significance of the planets and how they are interpreted in an astrological reading. The inner planets (Mercury, Venus and Mars), the outer planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto), the Sun, and the Moon are mapped precisely at the exact moment you were born. This is why astrologers ask for your birth place and time of birth. The configuration of these predominant celestial beings is known as your natal chart, or birth chart. Your natal chart paints a picture of your personal portrait, provides insights into your inner self, motivations, aspirations, subconscious drives and even your potential.
Each planet in your chart symbolizes a specific characteristic or quality, for instance, the Sun symbolizes your personality, and Mercury symbolizes your mind. The house and sign placement of the planets are significant factors in chart interpretation and prediction, as are the way in which the planets aspect each other. Another piece of this complex, multifaceted puzzle is the planet that rules your Zodiac sign, for instance Neptune rules Pisces.
The Sun symbolizes the center, or this case, your inner self. In your natal chart it represents your inner drive and core personality. The placement of the Sun reveals your strengths, challenges, the kinds of activities you prefer, how you assert yourself and your behavior patterns. The sign (such as Virgo or Gemini) placement of the Sun in the Zodiac is known as your ‘Sun Sign’. It is what people are referring to when they ask you what is your sign. The House and sign placement of the Sun in your chart indicates where you seek to gain significance in your life, but since there are many other factors and influences it is just one part of your chart interpretation. For instance, if the Sun is in the First House, you are likely to have a high sense of self-awareness, and abundant vitality. The Sun rules Leo and the Fifth House.
The Moon symbolizes Motherhood and the subconscious mind. It travels through multiple signs per week, and governs many natural cycles and rhythms, including the ebbs and flows of your mood. In your natal chart it represents your emotional nature and subconscious drives. The placement of the Moon reveals how you process your feelings, your attitude toward love, intimacy and nurture, your attitude toward your past, and your relationship with your mother. The Moon also represents anything related to home and family, including food and caretaking. For example, if you have Moon in Capricorn, you are likely to be shy, insecure, serious and cautious with your emotions. The Moon rules Cancer and the Fourth House.
The planet Mercury is the fastest moving planet and it symbolizes the conscious mind. In your natal chart it represents your intellect and capacity for logical reasoning. The placement of Mercury reveals how you think, how you communicate your thoughts, and what kind of facts and information you deem important. For example, if you have Mercury in Taurus, you are likely to focus on the practical use and financial potential of ideas. The placement of Mercury also reveals your decision making skills, since it represents the flow of communication, including networks and technology. It is why we often experience miscommunication and technological delays when this Mercury is in Retrograde motion. Mercury rules Gemini, Virgo and the Third and Sixth Houses.
The planet Venus symbolizes love. In your natal chart it represents your creativity, affection, and your social and aesthetic values. The placement of Venus reveals how you interact with your personal relationships, and your general approach to money and creature comfort. For instance, if you have Venus in Pisces, you are likely to be romantic and deeply compassionate. Venus also represents social gatherings, luxury and resources, particularly material and financial. Venus rules Taurus, Libra and the Second and Seventh Houses.
The planet Mars symbolizes will and action. In your natal chart it represents your inner drive, motivation and vitality. The placement of Mars reveals your ambitions, how you express your energy and drive, and how you express your behavior. For instance, if you have Mars in Leo you are inclined toward the arts and leadership roles. Mars also represents competition, desire, sex drive and initiative. Mars rules Aries, Scorpio and the First and Eighth Houses.
The planet Jupiter symbolizes luck. In your natal chart it represents the ways you are optimistic and benevolent, and how you experience opportunities and advantages. Jupiter also represents your ethical, religious and philosophical beliefs. It may also reveal the area in your life you seek freedom and growth. For instance, if you have Jupiter in the first house, you are likely to be confident, honest and sociable, and tend to focus on the bright side. Jupiter also represents indulgence, excessive behavior and expansion. Jupiter rules Sagittarius, Pisces and the Ninth and House.
The planet Saturn symbolizes Karma. In your natal chart it represents your sense of duty and responsibility; it tends to be experienced as a restrictive force. The placement of Saturn reveals your level of discipline, responsibilities. Its chart placement is also an important determining factor for the type of career you are likely to pursue. For instance, if you have Saturn in the Tenth House, you have strong career ambitions, and may gravitate toward a career in politics or as a business executive. Saturn also represents your conscience, and the law of cause and effect, or karma. Saturn rules Capricorn, Aquarius and the Tenth House.
The planet Uranus symbolizes revolution. In your natal chart it represents your individuality, sense of freedom, and unconventionality. The placement of Uranus reveals your level of rebellion, and your ability for innovative thought. It also represents what area in your life you are likely to experience challenges, or sudden upsets. Uranus also represents progressive change, inventions, and improvements on tradition (or breaking from the status quo). For instance, if you have Uranus in Libra, you are part of a generation of people who have new ideas about marriage and partnerships. Uranus rules Aquarius and the Eleventh House.
The planet Neptune symbolizes illusion, or the intangible. It is one of the slowest moving planets and, therefore, also represents an entire generation. In your natal chart it represents your dreams, spirituality, and idealism. Neptune energy is subtle and makes things unclear, confusing or vague. The placement of Neptune reveals your intuition, and sense of spiritual connectedness. For instance, if you have Neptune in the Ninth House, you are likely to be interested in the mystical forms of religion. Neptune also represents your creativity and imagination. Neptune rules Pisces and the Twelfth House.
The planet Pluto is the slowest moving planet, and symbolizes transformation. It also represents a whole generation. In your natal chart it represents power, both your personal power and powerful experiences, and how you use that power. The placement of Pluto reveals what you want to control, and how you are likely to be influential, or influenced. It indicates how you approach change, growth, and personal development. For instance, if you have Pluto in the Sixth House, you tend to perfect existing systems at work. Pluto also represents sexuality, death and obsessions. Pluto rules Scorpio and the Eighth House.