Astrology, Plain & Simple: The Only Book You'll Ever Need - Cass Jackson, Janie Jackson (2016)
Chapter 4. The Planets
Astrologically speaking, the term “planets” refers to the ten heavenly bodies that affect our horoscopes. These are not all planets; the Sun and Moon are actually luminaries. But in astrology, the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto are all referred to as planets for the sake of convenience. In astrological charts, they are represented by symbols that are known as glyphs.
Your birth chart will show the positions of all the planets in relation to each other. The planets in your chart represent the cosmic energies that influence your basic character. We all know our Sun sign—the position of the Sun in the zodiac at the time we were born. It must be remembered, though, that the Sun alone is not responsible for all our characteristics. At the time of our birth, the planets each occupy a different position in our charts—hence the diversity of human nature. Each planet's energies are modified by its position in the zodiac—not only do the planets occupy a sign, but they occupy a “house” as well. We will delve into the meanings of the houses in chapter 7. The sign as well as the house will influence the energy of each planet.
In this section, we will look at each of the nine planets and what energies they symbolize. Understanding these energies, as well as the energy of your Sun sign, will enable you to understand all the forces that influence your character.
life force, creativity, basic personality
The Sun, without which there would be no life and which is at the center of our solar system, has the most effect on our personality. It is the largest of the astrological bodies and has the greatest influence, outweighing the effects of all the other factors in your chart. The Sun's position in your birth chart is the dominating factor, indicating your potential. Throughout your life, this position will influence your character and the way in which you express yourself. Where the Sun is found in your chart is where you will want to shine. The Sun represents your innermost identity. It is the symbol of the ego. It influences your basic attitude to life and your sense of individuality, your willpower, your creative energy, and your vitality.
The Sun travels in a complete circuit through the zodiac each year, staying in each of the twelve signs for approximately one month. The sign that it is in when you were born (your Sun sign) indicates how you will express your identity. For example, if the Sun was in Libra when you were born, you will exhibit Libran characteristics; that is, you will express your identity with harmony and diplomacy, as these are the keywords for Libra.
The house that your Sun occupies shows where your energies will be put into effect. You will identify strongly with the practical matters associated with this house. If the Sun is in your fourth house, you will express your identity through your family and home life because these are the keywords primarily associated with the fourth house.
The Sun's strong effects on your character are not usually felt until you attain full maturity—round about your 30th year. Until then, the Moon—its sign and house—usually has most effect on your behavior.
emotions, psychic energy, the subconscious
The Moon, our nearest planet, has the second most noticeable influence on our life. Its position in the zodiac at the time you were born defines your involuntary emotional reaction to any given situation. The Moon represents your true inner self. It reflects the female principle (yin)—mother, wife, daughter, and women in general—as well as feminine attributes of development and fertility.
The Moon also is responsible for a certain inertia that makes you at the least conservative, and at the most lethargic. If the Moon is strong in your chart, you will prefer to maintain the status quo and preserve everything that is familiar to you. The Moon is the symbol of the emotions, which it affects in every way, from your understanding of and reaction to others, as well as your feelings about your environment. The Moon also determines your needs regarding the giving and receiving of emotional support. These reactions are unconscious or inborn, revealing the clear influence of the Moon on your behavior and your instincts. The position of the Moon in your chart will show you where you are liable to encounter emotional swings.
The Moon moves through all twelve signs of the zodiac in each month, thus staying only two or three days in each sign. The speediness with which the Moon moves through the signs of the zodiac should give you some insight into the nature of your quickly changing moods and emotions! Women in particular are sensitive to the fluctuating influence of this feminine planet, since the menses typically follow a 28 day lunar cycle.
The sign that the Moon was in when you were born is your Moon sign and will indicate how you will react to and deal with your emotional needs. Thus if the Moon was in the sign of Aquarius when you were born you will tend to keep your emotional problems to yourself and deal with them in an unconventional way, as these are Aquarian characteristics.
The house that the Moon occupied when you were born will show where you are likely to look for increased emotional assurance. Thus, if your Moon is located in the eleventh house you will seek emotional security through your friends and acquaintances (keywords for the eleventh house) rather than through your family.
mental energy, communication
Mercury was the winged messenger of the Gods. This planet is related to your ability to communicate, to work, to duties, supervision of others, and health. Mercury has no gender, and it can reveal itself in either masculine or feminine characteristics.
This planet is connected with communication of all kinds. It also relates to your contacts with your friends and siblings, all of which are maintained by some form of communication. It is associated, too, with the way that your mind works and is the symbol of your reasoning ability. Mercury is often known as the trickster. Those who come under its influence are always capable of living by their wits, quite often on the fringes of society. The Mercurial influence on your nature means that you spend a great deal of your energy in thinking and talking. Mobile phones were made for Mercury types—the people who spend hours on the phone and then complain that they get nothing done, or who walk and talk, or even talk and drive at the same time.
Because Mercury was a messenger, the planet also influences your urge to travel. This doesn't necessarily mean that you'll circle the globe. Your journeys may be only to work or play, but a strong Mercury influence in your chart indicates that you will certainly enjoy travel in some form.
Mercury can indicate the way your put your mind to work, to the kind of work that suits you, and to the way you interact with others or supervise them in your place of work. Health is another Mercury connection, so the kind of health problems you have might relate to Mercury, as would your attitude to health matters.
Check your birth chart to find in which sign Mercury is found. This position will affect the way you communicate. It will also reveal in which area your mental abilities are situated. Thus if your Mercury is in the sign of Scorpio, you will communicate with intensity and passion, as these are the keywords associated with Scorpio.
The house that Mercury occupies in your natal chart will show you the area in which your communicative flair is best engaged. If, for example, it is in the sixth house, then you will communicate best in your work or through service to the community, as work and service are characteristics of the sixth house.
love, harmony, the feminine aspect
Venus is the planet associated with love and beauty. It is named after the Roman goddess of love. It represents your personal magnetism and your power to attract, as well as your wish for emotional harmony. Venus is associated with those aspects of your life that you most value. Its position in your chart will also indicate the type of personal relationships that you will make. Venus is not only connected with love in the erotic, sexual sense. It also encompasses your love of the arts, music, and the appreciation of beauty, as well as your need to give and receive warmth and affection. Your passion for beauty and luxury will no doubt be reflected in your home. There are times when you will be tempted to spend money on lavish items that you cannot afford.
Venus influences your choice of partner. If Venus is strong in your chart, you will be drawn to someone whose beauty is widely acknowledged, an outer beauty not simply in the eye of the beholder. Money will come easily to you, giving you the opportunity to make a beautiful home, and to buy beautiful things of all kinds.
Be aware that Venus can have its negative side. Should it be badly placed in your chart, it can express itself with hostility and ill will. A poor Venus makes it hard for you to make friends and somehow you tend to become the victim of bullies. It can mean that you don't have much luck with money or that you lose out in a divorce battle when love (Venus) turns into a battle over who owns what (Mars).
Venus is also associated with all that is feminine in your life—mother, sisters, friends, and the way in which you relate to women in general.
The sign occupied by Venus when you were born will indicate how you express your love. For example—Venus in Sagittarius suggests that you will exhibit your inborn traits through your love of freedom and tolerance, the key Sagittarian characteristics.
The house that Venus occupies in your birth chart will show where your loving energies will be put into effect. If, for example, Venus is in your seventh house, then you are fortunate. This is the house related to marriage and one-to-one partnerships on a personal level.
power, physical energy, strength
Mars takes its name from the god of war. Hence, Mars is associated with power, masculinity, and personal drive. Mars represents your fighting instinct and the animal side of your nature. At a less aggressive level, this could be described as your never-say-die attitude. If Mars is strong in your chart, you will meet all challenges bravely; however, as this is natural to you, you won't see yourself as particularly courageous. For you, this is the normal way to deal with any situation—boldly and with speed. At the highest level, you will be prepared—perhaps literally—to die honorably for your cause. Even if you're not willing to go that far, you will at least be ready to defend your beliefs and opinions and to protect what is yours.
Mars is also strongly connected with your sex drive. In any passionate relationship, the partner with the strongest Mars will dominate the sexual side of the relationship. It is interesting to note that whenever illustrations show Mars absorbed in an amorous adventure, he is still wearing his armor—always ready for war. The implication here is that you should expect fireworks, however romantic your Martian partner may be.
Mars represents male characteristics and yang energy, and is related to father, brothers, husbands, and men in general. In a man's chart, Mars will influence his attitude toward other males; in a woman's chart, it represents the type of man to whom she will be attracted. First-rate athletes often have a strong Mars in their charts and can be highly competitive to the point of aggressiveness.
Mars will demonstrate what you want for yourself and what your ambitions are. The sign it occupies will show how you will go about achieving your aims. For example, if your Mars is in the sign of Capricorn in your birth chart, you will direct your energies with prudence but in a serious and determined manner; these keywords are the characteristics of Capricorn.
If Mars is in your twelfth house, you will go to great lengths to conceal exactly where you expend your energy. This tendency to secrecy and strategic thinking is an attribute of the twelfth house.
benevolence, expansive energy, enthusiasm
Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system was called the “Great Benefic” in medieval astrology. The God Jupiter was believed to be benevolent—doing good, being generous, and actively kind. Jupiter is thus concerned with enthusiasm in all aspects of life, promoting a positive attitude and great optimism. If Jupiter is your ruling planet (Sagittarius is ruled by Jupiter), you are one of the most fortunate of planetary types, particularly when it comes to any form of gambling, be it betting on a horse or dabbling in the stock market. You have a natural ability to do well and prosper, often by taking risks that others would avoid.
Thus, Jupiter is always associated with abundance. The word “expansive” sums up this planet's deepest quality. Everything associated with Jupiter is big—from embarking on epic journeys and adventures to undertaking massive projects. On a more spiritual level, Jupiter can indicate a strong desire to expand your higher consciousness, through an investigation of religion and philosophy. You will want to explore other cultures and learn from them, forever in search of higher ideals. This attitude, combined with your inborn generosity, explains why some of the world's greatest philanthropists have a strong Jupiter influence in their charts.
Jupiter will highlight your opportunities to expand in both your prosperity and personal growth areas. The sign it occupies in your chart will indicate how you will develop and expand. If, for example, Jupiter is in the sign of Virgo, you will do everything with an obsessive attention to detail, as this is a characteristic of Virgo.
The house placement of Jupiter in your birth chart will indicate where you can make the most of your enthusiasm in terms of advancement and expansion. If Jupiter is in your third house, then the emphasis falls on communication of all kinds, from writing to travel, as these are the attributes of the third house.
wisdom, restriction, maturity
Saturn, the ringed planet, is the furthest planet from the Earth that can be seen with the naked eye. For this reason, Saturn is associated with limitations—completely the opposite of Jupiter, which is linked to expansion. Similarly, just as Jupiter was called the “Great Benefic,” Saturn was known as the “Great Malefic,” sometimes generally regarded as the bringer of gloom and doom. In marked contrast to the expansiveness of Jupiter, Saturn is conservative. Historically it was seen as the ruler of fate. Hence, the image of Saturn was traditionally shown with a scythe, the emblem of the grim reaper.
On the other hand, Saturn presided over the holiday feast of Saturnalia, during the period that we now call Christmas. At one time Saturn was thought to bring complications and handicaps into our lives. Nowadays, more positively, it is seen to elicit the traits of perseverance and tenacity, which can be used to overcome life's obstacles. For this reason, Saturn is often called “the teacher of the zodiac,” or the “kick in the pants planet”—Saturn is planet that will get you off your butt and force you to grow. Its position in your chart will indicate where you are liable to meet your greatest confrontations and where you have the most to learn. A strongly placed Saturn endows you with a serious disposition. You will be self-reliant and practical, dependable but cautious. Saturn helps you to recognize your responsibilities in life and this understanding makes you “grow up.” This explains Saturn's association with age, not so much in terms of advancing years but of maturity.
Saturn takes 28 years to move through the zodiac. Astrologers often talk about your “Saturn Return,” which occurs after one full cycle through your chart. Your Saturn Return typically highlights a major change or reconsideration in your life. In truth, think of all the young 28-year-olds you know who are doing precisely that. It's a stage at which you start wondering, “Where is my life going?”
Saturn will show you what areas of life you need to address, particularly in the regions of responsibility and self-control. The sign that Saturn occupies in your birth chart will indicate how you will overcome the obstacles in your path and develop self-discipline. For example if Saturn is in the sign of Gemini, you will surmount your difficulties with adaptability and versatility, which are typical Gemini traits.
If Saturn is found in your second house, you will acquire financial skills only by facing up to the challenges that finances present. You will be considered highly astute because you will never commit yourself to a course of action until you have all the facts.
psychic energy, innovation, change
Uranus takes about 84 years to traverse the whole zodiac and therefore, in a normal lifetime, spends about seven years in each sign. The planet was not discovered until 1781. This was a era of great new discoveries, new inventions, and change in the world. Uranus became associated with this transformation and has since been regarded as the planet of innovation and originality. If Uranus is strongly placed in your birth chart, you will almost certainly be unconventional and have some unusual ideas. Some people, however, may see you as simply eccentric, or as an out-and-out renegade. You will seek personal freedom by whatever means are available to you and, if necessary, you won't hesitate to rebel. You'll be ready to make changes wherever you think they are needed, and in implementing them may act impulsively. You will see nothing wrong with your behavior. You merely wish to help create a brave new world with a measure of freedom, understanding, and advances never known before. You long to be accepted for what you are: an original thinker who wishes to inspire change, rather than a crazy person who is intent on shocking other people.
Uranus represents the changes you wish to make in the world and the personal freedom you seek. Above all, Uranus is associated with your originality, in whatever way this is demonstrated. The position of Uranus in your chart will indicate how you will express your originality. As mentioned earlier, Uranus remains in each sign for seven years. Its influence will have the most effect on those who are born within that seven-year period when Uranus is in their Sun sign. If Uranus was in the sign of Aries when you were born, you will be headstrong, outspoken, and rather brusque in your approach, as these are Aries attributes.
The house in which Uranus is found in your birth chart will show where your Uranian attributes will manifest and in what areas your life-changes will take place. If Uranus is found in your eighth house, you will have an eventful life and will seek to achieve your objectives by replacing outworn ideas with new ones. This could come about via your interest in esoteric studies—possibly astrology.
calm, sensitivity, wisdom
Neptune, the planet associated with the God of the sea, rules our emotional imagination. It therefore affects those areas in your life in which you are most sensitive, imaginative, and idealistic. Because it takes this planet 165 years to circle the Sun, Neptune will remain in each sign for approximately 14 years. Its effect is therefore long-term, having a generational influence. This means that you, and everyone who is a peer born in your generation, will most likely experience the same Neptunian characteristics.
Neptune is related to dreams and fantasies. If Neptune occupies a strong position in your chart, this is where your dreams and fantasies will appear. Using your intuition and inspiration, you will crystallize your visions into ideals that transcend your everyday material life. Neptune creates a penetrating energy that seeps into the awareness in its own good time, in its own way. If you are unable to realize this potential within yourself, you will be forever discontented with your mundane existence. The difficulty comes in discovering how to use your latent strength, when you don't really know what it is. Your own particular path to idealism may take many forms. Some will find it through the arts such as painting, acting, poetry, or music, and some through healing, others through religion. Filmmakers and television producers often come under this Neptune influence. They are able to live in a fantasy world, making their own visions into reality and seeming to perform miracles—something definitely associated with Neptune. The fact that even actors who died many years ago still live on our TV screens is a very Neptunian concept. These people look real but they are no longer there …
If Neptune occupies a strong position in your chart you will have a certain almost mesmerizing charisma that others find hard to resist. This, linked with your creative imagination, will take you on a rewarding path.
The characteristics of Neptune are elusive, since it concerns the hidden side of you, your dreams and fantasies. Where there is Neptune in your chart, there will be unreality and obscurity as well as spirituality. The sign that Neptune occupies will show how you go about achieving your idealistic aims. If, for example, Neptune is in the sign of Cancer, you will exhibit great sensitivity, one of the chief Cancerian qualities.
The house where Neptune is found in your chart will show you where you will realize your dreams. If your Neptune is in the fifth house—the house of creative expression—you are likely to inspire others with your enthusiasm for one of the performing arts.
Pluto, the Roman god of the Underworld, is the outermost and slowest moving of the planets. “Underworld” does not refer to hell, as we might think, but to the afterlife of mythology, where souls underwent transformation. Pluto in your chart will mark the place where some kind of transformation occurs. Pluto takes over 247 years to go around the Sun, and it is possible that Pluto and its large nearby moon, Charon (pronounced Sharon), were both moons of Neptune that spun off when the solar system was in its early formation. The result is that Pluto has a far more wobbly orbit than the other planets, and this affects the time that it takes to move through the various signs. For instance, when Pluto travels through Scorpio, its orbit is as close to the Sun (perihelion) as it can get, so it takes 12 years to travel through the sign of Scorpio. Pluto takes 30 years to travel through Taurus, when it is furthest from the Sun (aphelion). Its average stay in any sign is 21 years. Pluto's long period of orbit makes its influence collective rather than personal, affecting all those born within the period that Pluto stays within the same sign. Again, like Neptune, it's influence is long-term and generational.
At its most profound level, Pluto is the planet of death and rebirth. However, in this case, death does not refer to the end of earthly life. It indicates the end of one thing, so that another newer thing can begin. The termination of one aspect of our life clears the way for something new. In this way, Pluto encourages you to overcome whatever obstacles hinder your progress in life, ensuring that you will eventually achieve your objectives. In some ways, Pluto actually compels change by upheaval. The difference between the transformation wrought by Pluto and the upheavals and revolutions brought by Uranus directly relates to the length of their orbits: in the case of Pluto (and its extremely long cycle), you probably know on some inner level that change is coming, whereas Uranus (with its much shorter orbit) can bring changes overnight. For instance, an unforeseen hurricane might make a large tree fall on to your house, necessitating a move away until the house is rebuilt (a Uranian event). On the other hand, a divorce upsets every part of your life (a Plutonic event), but it has most likely been in the cards for some time. It is also worth bearing in mind that change isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it always does take some adjusting to, even change that comes via a win in the lottery!
If Pluto occupies a strong position in your chart, you may be the person who initiates beneficial change, where others have not yet seen the need. In some cases, this desire for reformation can become so obsessive that others see you as simply wanting to destroy the status quo just for the sake of destruction. You may also be heavily into recycling, which is another Plutonic matter.
The three words that most clearly describe Pluto's effect are elimination and illumination through transformation.
If, for example, your Pluto is in the sign of Sagittarius (those born between 1995 and 2008), you will want to implement changes in time-honored principles through some form of philosophy or rebellion, which are Sagittarian characteristics. It is of interest here to note that parents and children will invariably never have Pluto in the same sign. This alone should give you some insight into the conflicts between parent and child!
If Pluto is in your first house, you will tend to implement change in an egotistical manner, since the first house is connected to the sense of self.
Science is discovering more planets or planetoids within or far outside our solar system. One of these, Chiron, is used in astrology, and some astrologers use asteroids and many other features. In this book, we stick to the good old-fashioned planets and leave the rest to more advanced astrology students.