This is the fifth post in Tabby’s Astro DIY column on Little Red Tarot. It’s all about getting started with astrology, beginning with the basics. View all posts in this series here!
Okay so we’ve got the zodiac signs under our belt. Now what are those planets that I keep mentioning all about?
The planets are a super important part of astrology.
If we remember back to the first lesson then we can understand them as the actors in a play, while the zodiac signs are the characters the planets are playing.
There are ten planets in astrology – counting the Sun and Moon, which are technically luminaries, and poor old Pluto who we now know is not actually a planet! You’ll also hear talk about things like Chiron and the Nodes – these are part of a group of more minor celestial influences which we’ll get to another day.
In this post we’re going to look at the personal planets – the ones that have the most powerful influence in our charts.
Image via vancleefarpels.com
A guide to understanding the planets in astrology – part one:
The following planets are known as the personal planets because they are faster-moving and the sign they fall into in our birth charts is unique to the time we were born, with the longest any of these planets stays in a sign being about a month and a half. The personal planets move quickly from sign to sign, meaning the effects are very different from person to person.
The Sun can provide quite a general description of our selves, because it’s all about self expression and identity. It’s where we get our energy from and shows the things we need to do to sustain that vitality. When our self expression is true, strong and nurtured we have the energy we need for life. When we neglect the needs of our Sun, we can become ill, weak or depressed. The sign our Sun is in is not always something we express immediately or easily – it’s what we’re learning to become through the conscious choices we make in our lives. The Sun also shows the ego – where and how we want to be known, the things we want to be recognised for. The Sun is the driving force behind what we do and who we are.
Keywords: Self-expression, ego, identity, vitality
Sign equivalent: Leo
Stays in a sign approx. 30 days – gets through the zodiac in 365 days
The Moon is the second most important planet in the chart. It represents our feelings, emotions, needs and desires. It shows our instincts, our habits, the way we react to things. It rules the past and our childhood, and indicates what we need to feel safe and secure, how we want to be nurtured and how we want to care for others. The Moon is often associated with our mother and our relationship with her, the sign often characterizing what she was like when we were young.
Keywords: Emotions, reactions, needs, unconscious, mother, the past
Sign equivalent: Cancer
Stays in a sign approx. 2 and a half days, gets through the zodiac around every 28 days
Image via apod.nasa.gov
Mercury rules communication and the sign it is in can show how we connect and exchange information and what our own style of communication is like. Mercury is also all about the mind, how we learn and process information, intellect and thought processes. It also represents all forms of coordination and rules the nervous system, showing where potential anxiety might be in the chart. Transportation/short trips and siblings are also associated with Mercury.
Sign equivalent: Gemini and Virgo
Stays in a sign between 14-30 days, gets through all 12 in about a year
Keywords: mind, communication, logic.
Venus rules love and beauty. It shows how we attract other people to us, how we express affection and the way we want other people to love and care for us. Venus shows us our values and what brings us pleasure, what we want in life and in our relationships. This is a good place to look for those pesky patterns we get ourselves into with relationships (is it a coincidence that a bunch of my ex’s have their Venus in Leo? Hmm!), and to understand the way we express and attract love. Venus also rules money and possessions.
Sign equivalent: Taurus and Libra
Stays in a sign around 3-4 weeks, taking a year and a half to get through the zodiac
Keywords: love, beauty, harmony, values, money
Mars shows how we assert ourselves – while Venus tells us what it is we want, Mars indicates how we go about getting it. While Venus shows us how we want someone to love us, Mars shows us who we are attracted to and how they attract us. Mars is all about action – doing things, moving quickly, being bold and putting yourself out there. If we don’t allow our Mars to express itself properly, then aggression and violence can come to the surface. Mars is associated with our energy for life, physical activity – sports and sex, anger, competiveness and self-assertion.
Sign equivalent: Aries
Stays in a sign for about a month and a half, taking it about two years to go through all 12 signs
Keywords: action, sex, anger, courage, assertion.
Image via areeracademysb.com
So there we go, a description of the ‘personal planets’ in astrology.
Just like the 12 signs of the zodiac, soooo much could be written about each one, so view this guide as a brief overview of the main themes, not a complete picture! You’ll have noticed that the planets have similar themes to the signs – each planet rules over one or two of the zodiac signs – which makes things a bit easier to learn.
Share your initial findings in the comments! It takes time to figure out the meaning behind your birth chart and it will never stop giving you new insights into your life and personality, but the things we can first spot can be some of the most important.
Did you have any revelations? Figure out why you always fall for Aquarian’s or now you understand why you’re so emotional, despite your Capricorn Sun? Let us know!
Next time we’ll move onto to talk about the social planets and the outer planets.
Using this blog and the previous one (the 12 signs of the zodiac), see if you can start to put the planets and the signs together and begin interpreting your chart.
Write out your findings. How do you think the signs feel where they are placed in your chart? Are they in places where they will naturally express themselves well – such as having Mars in Aries. What about if Mars is in Pisces? How do those two fit together?