Astrology 101: Planets in Signs (Part 2)

In our last post, we started to get acquainted with interpreting the workings of Planets in Signs by following a single Planet – the lovely Venus – through several different Signs. This time around, let’s flip that dynamic, and accompany several different Planets through a single Sign.

Taurus the Bull -- any Planet placed in this Sign will take on a decidedly Taurean demeanor as it goes about performing its Planetary business...
Taurus the Bull — any Planet placed in this Sign will take on a decidedly Taurean demeanor as it goes about performing its Planetary business…

Since we haven’t looked at them in detail in this context yet, let’s follow Mercury, Mars, and Saturn as they beam their energies through the Sign-filter of Taurus…

First, remember that the Planets symbolize various human drives, while the Signs determine how those drives get expressed. The Planets are what we do; the Signs are how we do it.

Let’s take a quick refresher on Taurus, as it will be the common element in each of the three examples below. And please keep in mind that the following traits are generalities – they won’t apply to every Taurus person or placement, all the time. The overall broad strokes are good starting points for discussion and analysis, though…

I suggested in an earlier post that Taurus could be summed up by the archetype of The Sensualist: Taurus is an Earth Sign, and its energy is very based in the physical world and the body. Taurus is about physical things, the five senses and what they perceive, possessions, even money. Taurus is also a Fixed Sign, and these Signs don’t care much for change. So while Taurus can definitely be the mad, raging bull charging about through the streets of Pamplona when aggravated enough, it prefers to be the comfy, well-fed bull lolling about in the sunshine with all its needs freshly met. Taurus can move quickly…but it would usually prefer not to. And as a Yin Sign, Taurus may be more prone to allowing the world to act upon it, than it will be to going out and acting upon the world.

So with all that in mind as a capsule summary of Taurus energy, here we have:

The Planet Mercury can accomplish its communications-based agenda in any number of ways...and about 1/12 of the time, that will happen in ways we can describe as "Taurean."  So how is Mercury-in-Taurus different from Mercury-in-any-other-Sign...?  And how are other Planets working through the filter of Taurus different from the Taurean Mercury...?
The Planet Mercury can accomplish its communications-based agenda in any number of ways…and about 1/12 of the time, that will happen in ways we can describe as “Taurean.” So how is Mercury-in-Taurus different from Mercury-in-any-other-Sign…? And how are other Planets working through the filter of Taurus different from the Taurean Mercury…?

Mercury in Taurus. Mercury is the Planet that represents our drive to think and communicate. There are, of course, many ways in which to do these things…but here, we’re looking at thinking and communicating in the distinctly Taurean fashion. If Taurus is all about the sensual, the physical, the slow and steady…then Mercury in Taurus isn’t likely to be a lightning-quick thinker or speaker. This doesn’t at all mean that this is the placement of the village simpleton – it just means that the Mercury-in-Taurus person is probably going to think before speaking, and will then offer their opinions in a somewhat careful and measured way. People with this placement might also be less verbal than, say, the mental Air Signs – Mercury-in-Taurus may get a great deal out of tactile signals, and things happening in the taste/smell realm (pheromones, anyone…?). The Taurean Mercury may even be adept at things like braille and Morse Code, and when getting musical, this placement may also lend itself to activities such as dancing and drumming — things that can be felt. Communication through the filter of the Sensualist needs to engage the senses…

Mars in Taurus. Mars is the Planet that symbolizes our aggressions and our lusts. This is a very different set of imperatives than those that Mercury represents! Consider the fact that we can feel aggression or lust (Mars stuff) without necessarily communicating it to anyone (Mercury stuff)…and we can also communicate (Mercury) with hordes of people without ever allowing aggression or lust (Mars) to inform the proceedings. So what, then, are we looking at when Mars is transmitting through the Taurean filter? We need to apply the same set of Taurean characteristics that we just looked at in the Mercury example, only this time, they modify the expression of lust/aggression rather than thought/communication. We still have the same Taurean reluctance to break out of a comfortable status quo or to move quickly if doing so isn’t completely necessary. We still have the focus on the physical, the body, the five senses, possessions… When it’s the Mars impulses that are operating in this manner, though, we now have a person who is probably fairly slow to anger…but when they do finally get heated, you do not want to be in the vicinity! A person with this placement may be much more likely to be prodded into conflict if a given situation calls for them to defend things that they already have; roaming out and conquering new territories probably won’t create anywhere near the same sense of urgency for them. And Mars-in-Taurus will lust for tangible things rather than ephemeral ideas, principles, or spiritual experiences: think luxury in all its forms, pampering, food, sex (and probably rather unadorned sex – no intricate verbal interactions or roleplay required). The Taurean Mars lusts for gratification of the senses.

When somber Saturn comes calling, he imposes restrictions upon us wherever he turns his gaze...but how he goes about setting up our various limitations depends in great part on which Sign is channeling his energies.  What does it look like when he's working through a lens of Taurus...?
When somber Saturn comes calling, he imposes restrictions upon us wherever he turns his gaze…but how he goes about setting up our various limitations depends in great part on which Sign is channeling his energies. What does it look like when he’s working through a lens of Taurus…?

Saturn in Taurus. Saturn is all about restrictions. It’s the Planet that symbolizes our need for structure and tradition. Where Saturn appears in our charts, it flags areas where we’ll deal with issues of control in a long-term kind of way. Sometimes we have natural fears tied up in our Saturn placements. Sometimes we face hardships there. Sometimes circumstances or other people impose Saturnian limitations upon us…sometimes we impose these limitations upon others…and quite often, we impose them upon ourselves. If this is all happening in Taurean ways, then Saturn will most likely establish a pattern of working on the same physical elements discussed above: the body, the senses, possessions, money. Some Saturn-in-Taurus people will struggle regularly with financial difficulties or chronic health issues. Some may never actually experience that suffering, but will be ruled by fear of it: financial paranoia (never “having enough”) or hypochondria can emerge from out of this placement. Still other people will excel in the areas of finance or health/fitness, but maybe to extremes (that is, they do well in those areas because they become obsessive about them – think about mega-wealthy workaholics and musclebound workout-aholics who can do nothing but work or work out). But however the results might manifest, striking the right balance in terms of discipline and control around physical attributes will likely be a lifelong theme for many people with this placement in their charts.

Hopefully, these last few posts have made it clear that Planets and Signs are very different entities! The latter modify the actions of the former. No matter which ones are working together, though, they always retain their basic “personalities.” Slowly begin to memorize the meanings of each individual Planet and Sign, and then as you get into analyzing charts, just remember that each placement is saying, “Here, (this Planet) is operating in a (this Sign) way.” We looked at “This Venus is operating in a Cancer way.” We looked at “This Mars is operating in a Taurus way.” Practice interpreting each Planet acting in each Sign’s characteristic manner…and you’ll be well on your way to successful chart interpretation!

Next up: a brief glimpse into the sometimes thorny concept of Planetary Rulership…

5 thoughts on “Astrology 101: Planets in Signs (Part 2)

  1. vickietarot1212

    Thanks for writing this Steve! This really helped me understand how to interpret sign and planet combos, which is exactly where I am at now in my astrology journey.

    1. Thanks, Vickie! I’m really happy to hear that this article was helpful for you, and also that the Danny DeVito analogy landed properly! Maybe this can be the basis for a new Astrology learning exercise, in which we cast some well-known thespians as the Planets, and then decide which roles would be suitable equivalents for the Signs…?

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