Astrology 101: Meet the Planets!

Meet the astrological Planets (with apologies to Pluto, who is so distant, he didn't even fit into the frame here -- but have no fear, we'll get to him down below!)...
Meet the astrological Planets (with apologies to Pluto, who is so distant, he didn’t even fit into the frame here — but have no fear, we’ll get to him down below!)…

Last time around, I spoke a bit about the Planets in general; in this post, we’ll look at the major Planetary players as distinct individuals.

Before we jump into their profiles, I should repeat here again that “Planet” in Astrology doesn’t mean quite the same thing that it means in Astronomy. For our purposes here, “Planet” will refer to any of those bodies that seem to circle us across our sky…so even though the Sun and the Moon are clearly not what scientists would call Planets, and Pluto has been stripped of that title in the Astronomy world, we in Astrology do call all of these bodies “Planets”…

Also, I mentioned that astrologers who lean toward the more Traditional approach will generally stick to working with only the seven “classical” Planets, which would be those that were known in the ancient world. I prefer the Modern approach, though, myself, which also includes those Planets discovered and/or verified only after humanity had cobbled together that handy invention we call the telescope…

I included some of this in table form in a previous post, but to save you from having to dig that one up and then toggle back and forth, here’s a roster sheet listing the Planets, and also adding the interesting little symbols – or “glyphs,” as they’re known – that represent each one of them:

Planet

Glyph

Sun

Moon

Mercury

Venus

Mars

Jupiter

Saturn

Uranus

Neptune

Pluto

And with all of that out of the way…let’s meet the 10 main Planets!

The Sun and the Moon: not "Planets" as far as the astronomer is concerned, but major Planetary players to the card-carrying astrologer.
The Sun and the Moon: not “Planets” as far as the astronomer is concerned, but major Planetary players to the card-carrying astrologer.

The Sun. Big, bright Sol – giver of life, difficult to disguise or ignore, and impossible to live without… And just as the actual Sun serves as the gravitational center of our solar system, binding the entire array of Planets into a cohesive whole, so, too, does the astrological Sun represent the primal force that holds our psyches together. The Sun is our great Yang urge, looking outward, acting on the world; it’s our life-force and our urge to thrive. The Sun is our vitality.

The Moon. If the Sun is the great Yang-force within us all, then the Moon is the corresponding primal Yin. The Sun acts, while the Moon reacts. The Sun shines, but the Moon reflects. The astrological Moon explains what we need in order to feel secure in the world. Another distinctly lunar trait is the Moon’s passage through cycles: it waxes and wanes, and creates emotional tides within us as surely as the physical Moon exerts its pull on our oceans. Whereas the Sun symbolizes a more conscious set of imperatives, the Moon is more concerned with our subconscious and even our unconscious selves. The Moon is our instincts and our inner rhythms. The Moon is our emotional core.

Mercury, the Messenger-God -- like the Planet that bears his name in Astrology -- is all about Communication.
Mercury, the Messenger-God — like the Planet that bears his name in Astrology — is all about Communication.

Mercury. Speedy little Mercury, closest of the Planets to the Sun… Mercury was the Messenger of the Gods in Roman Mythology (known first as Hermes to the Greeks), flashing about the ancient world at the speed of Thought, delivering words, language, and meaning, and even bridging worlds by transporting the newly deceased to the land of the dead. Mercury is connected to our rational, logical mind, what we call “left-brain thought.” Mercury is our communication function.

Venus. The Goddess of Love… While the Moon signifies our basic emotional make-up and what we need in order to feel secure in life, Venus is more specifically concerned with love, romance, affection, relationships. She’s also a signpost that reveals what our own individual attitudes are toward things such as peace and beauty and art. Venus is who, how, what, and why we love.

Mars. The God of War! Mars is all about what drives us to act, and this can generally be cast into terms having to do with battle. What do we wish to conquer? When will we attack things or people, and how do we defend the things that we care about? Mars describes our internal wiring for aggression in all its forms, and for most astrologers, this also includes our libido. Venus deals with romance and love, while Mars focuses on sex and desire. As the Warrior Planet, Mars also describes our courage and our sense of adventure. Whether it’s for blood or sex or adventure or conquest…Mars is the various forms of our lust.

Jupiter: King of the Gods, and ruler of all he surveys...and from his position as Sky-Lord, he surveys pretty much everything!  Catch him in a generous mood, and your fortunes shall grow and grow...
Jupiter: King of the Gods, and ruler of all he surveys…and from his position as Sky-Lord, he surveys pretty much everything! Catch him in a generous mood, and your fortunes shall grow and grow…

Jupiter. To the ancient Romans (and to the Greeks before them, who knew the same figure as Zeus), Jupiter was the King of the Gods. The most powerful of the Deities and the luckiest, Jupiter could bestow great fortune on those he judged deserving of it. In Astrology, the Planet named for that God bestows similar riches upon us when it makes contacts with sensitive points in our charts. Jupiter helps us to expand, to explore, to have faith and optimism, and also to see that faith and optimism rewarded. Jupiter is our growth.

Saturn. Possibly the least-loved Planet of them all, Saturn has a fairly grim reputation. Where Jupiter helps us to expand, Saturn is the force that restricts and contracts. Saturn binds and scrutinizes, measures and tests. Wherever this Planet appears, it demands excellence, while pointing out weak-spots and failings. In some ways, Saturn is about opposition in all its forms. This Planet is hardly all bad, though… Think of Saturn as being a bit like a cosmic version of a demanding personal trainer: the lessons will be exacting, maybe even excruciating, but if you enter into them with determination, commitment, an honest evaluation of self, and a sense of your own responsibility, Saturn can help to turn you into a spectacular performer. Saturn is our limitations.

Uranus. Just as Saturn might be seen as the opposite of Jupiter in a “contraction vs. expansion” context, Saturn might also be seen as a counter to Uranus… While Saturn can symbolize structure and tradition, and an established order – in short, “the Old” – Uranus stands for “the New.” Uranus delights in baffling and confounding. It defies standards and expectations, and it encourages things to go a bit haywire when it beams its energy into a chart. Uranus loves the innovative, the odd, and the unprecedented. It’s the rebel, the revolutionary, the mad genius. While Saturn is often slow and steady when it applies itself, Uranus strikes like a lightning bolt, even from an otherwise clear blue sky. Uranus is how we become more of the unique selves we were always meant to be, unlike anyone else on Earth. Uranus is our originality.

Meet Poseidon, the Greek God of the Sea -- the Romans later knew him as Neptune, and it was he who lent his name to the far-off Planet.  Think of "the Sea" as the conceptual oceans of our dreams, our imaginations, and our subconscious minds, and you'll have a pretty good idea as to the provinces that are governed by Neptune the Planet in Astrology...
Meet Poseidon, the Greek God of the Sea — the Romans later knew him as Neptune, and it was he who lent his name to the far-off Planet. Think of “the Sea” as the conceptual oceans of our dreams, our trance-states, and our imaginations, and you’ll have a pretty good idea as to the provinces that are governed by Neptune the Planet in Astrology…

Neptune. We can set off Saturn as an opposite of yet another Planet here: Saturn is about boundaries, while watery Neptune dislikes even recognizing the existence of boundaries, and will do its best to dissolve them, given the chance. Named for the God of the Sea, Neptune is, in its more negative expressions, liable to bring forth escapism and illusions…but in its more positive expressions, this is the Planet for artistic dreamers, psychics, and mystics. It tells us about our urge to commune with the Universe itself, to transcend our mundane, everyday, “consensus reality.” Neptune sees into other planes of existence, and other states of consciousness. It helps us to hear and feel the pulse of the Cosmos. Neptune is our spirituality.

Pitiless Pluto, Lord of the Underworld, understands all about great power, and how, by bringing buried aspects of ourselves up to the light, we can undergo real transformation...(public domain work by Elsa Dax)...
Pitiless Pluto, Lord of the Underworld, understands all about great power, and how, by bringing buried aspects of ourselves up to the light, we can undergo real transformation…(public domain work by Elsa Dax)…

Pluto. This Planet was named for the God of the Underworld, and the association is fitting. Pluto the Planet is like a cold, dark, unblinking eye, watching us without pity from the edge of our star system. Pluto has no sentimentality, and recognizes no excuses. The Lord of the Underworld understands all about mortality and death, and has walked with the dynamics of great power for untold eons. Remorseless Pluto knows our secrets, sees the things that we try to deny about ourselves or bury deep down in our souls…but it’s through dealing with these issues that we can often heal ourselves, regenerate, and be reborn. Pluto is our ability to transform.

And that’s our cast of Planetary characters… Please remember that while I’ve tried to pack the preceding paragraphs with as many of the important keywords that are generally associated with each Planet as I could, these are just extremely basic little capsule summaries. They’re not intended to replace actual in-depth study of the Planets. They will, however, hopefully give you a solid starting point in your learning, or serve as a legitimate review if you’re already marching down the astrologer’s pathway…

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