ONEit’s wide – or atmospheric, if you will – level, your astrological fate depends on the location of celestial bodies in our solar system at the time you were born. For horoscope purposes, we tend to focus on the particular location of the sun, which determines your sun sign (also known as one of the 12 zodiac signs that you share with anyone born at the same time of year as you). But to get a clear understanding of how the celestial chart can influence your personality and life path, it’s also worth considering the locations of planets – all of which have unique meanings in astrology.
“Each planet represents an aspect of our personality,” says the astrologer Rachel Lang. For example, you may already be familiar with Mercury as the planet of communication (perhaps because of the way it tends to go wrong when the planet goes into retrograde cycles). And according to this symbolism, each planet also rules a specific sign (or signs), which means that it has the greatest influence on the archetypal features of that sign. To stay with our friend Mercury, for example, he is the ruler of the methodical Virgo and the shrewd Gemini, both signs for which communication is a key element of self-expression.
As an astrological update, all planets function as the main actors in your natal chart, with each one located in one of the 12 signs of the zodiac and one of the 12 houses at the time you were born. Astrologer Chani Nicholas simplifies this celestial medium with a theatrical metaphor: “The planets are the characters, the signs are the costumes they wear, and the houses are the stages, or areas of life, where they are lived,” she previously told Well + Bom.
“We can draw on the symbolism of the planets to gain insight into all aspects of our lives, including our health.” —Astrologist Rachel Lang
Going back to cosmic basics, then, is the key to understanding the meanings of all planets in astrology, in order to interpret their relative placement on your chart and what fate this might predict. “We can draw on the symbolism of the planets to gain insight into all aspects of our lives, including our health,” says Lang. Below, she breaks down the meanings of all the planets in astrology and the parts of us that each governs.
Here are the main meanings of all planets in astrology, according to an astrologer:
The sun: ego, creativity
the sun is not technically a planet (it is a star), but as a luminous body in our solar system, it plays a similar influencing role in the astrological sphere as do the planets. In fact, it may have the broadest impact on your overall personality – as your location in the sky at the time you were born determines your Sun sign or the zodiac sign you normally read in a horoscope.
“The sun determines how you light this world,” says Lang. “It’s your creative spark and sense of vitality.” While you can get more information about how its influence manifests in your life based on what sign you were in when you were born – it shifts to a new sign every month – you can also consider the astrological house you were in. This can provide some insight into the main arena of life (eg career, family, travel, etc.) in which your essential purpose will be lived out.
the moon: emotion
The moon is also not a planet by scientific measures – but in astrology, it functions in the same way as an influential celestial body. In this case, it reflects our emotions, senses, instincts, intuition and unconscious selves, says Lang. Often, the sign that the moon was in when you were born reflects a certain internal identity that may differ from the surface-level personality image painted by your sun sign. “It shows us how we are best nourished and nourished through self-care,” adds Lang.
Since the moon moves quickly (changing signs every two or three days), knowing the exact time and place where you were born is critical to correctly identifying your moon sign.
Mercury is the planet of intellect, communication and internal dialogue, says Lang. The reason it tends to have a particularly strong influence on us is because it (almost always) is the closest planet to Earth in our solar system. Appropriately, the word “mercurial” is used to describe someone lively, volatile and given to rapid mood swings, in honor of the Roman god of commerce who gave the planet its name.
The sign of Mercury in your chart can determine how you analyze, process and communicate information (and the planet changes to a new sign every three or four weeks). “It symbolizes how we organize our lives through routines, daily practices and habits,” says Lang.
Venus: love and relationships
“At its core, Venus deals with our self-esteem,” says Lang. “Its power is related to how we experience pleasure, our desire for partnership, our ability to mediate conflicts, and our social graces.” That’s why knowing a partner’s sign of Venus (also known as the sign that the planet was on when they were born) can be the key to figuring out how they prefer to be loved. The planet changes to a new sign every four to five weeks.
Venus also governs our finances, which brings us to the theme of self-esteem and how we like to be and feel valued. “She’s also all about beauty and harmony,” says Lang, so there’s a strong correlation between our Venus sign and our sense of style when it comes to art and fashion.
Mars: physical energy
Fiery and energetic (appropriately the planetary ruler of Aries), Mars represents our physical drive, which is why determining what sign your Mars falls into can offer some insight into an exercise regiment that will work best for your body.
For example, someone with their Mars in Cancer might prefer the mind-body connecting elements of yoga, while someone with Mars in Gemini might like to change it with a rotating set of high-intensity cardio classes. And because of its connection to the physical and its association with energy and passion, Mars is also the planet that governs our sexual needs. It changes to a new sign every six to seven weeks.
As the largest planet in our solar system, Jupiter contains multitudes, making its overarching role and influence a bit nebulous to define. It is generally the planet most closely related to our beliefs, beliefs and philosophies, and it is linked to luck and destiny. “Ultimately, Jupiter wants us to follow what excites us the most and what brings the most enthusiasm, joy and passion,” Lang previously told Well + Good.
It’s also the planet of adventure, Lang adds, and shows us how we can experience expansion in our lives and grow our horizons, whether through travel, higher education or something else entirely, based on what sign you were in when you were born. It changes to a new sign every two or three years.
The master of the sky structural task, Saturn is often understood in astrology to refer to the return of Saturn – which is when the planet returns to where you were born, sometime in your late twenties, essentially pushing you firmly into the adulthood. The major milestones or life changes typical of this era can raise larger esoteric questions about purpose and identity, which are often accompanied by growing pains.
“Saturn reflects our perceived limitations, authority figures, commitments, responsibilities, structure and hard work,” says Lang. It’s also why knowing your Saturn sign can help illuminate your biggest challenge in life and provide some guidance on how best to overcome it. It changes to a new sign every two or three years.
Innovation, science and technology are the name of the game when it comes to Uranus, which is considered one of the modern planets as it was discovered in 1781, long after astrology and astronomy systems were established. As a driver of change and evolution, its influence contrasts with the rigidity and structure of Saturn, which is part of why the current Saturn-Uranus square is so disturbing.
As Uranus is far from Earth and takes about seven years to move between signs, its influence is more generational than individual.
This distant planet deals with our ideals, dreams and mystical inclinations (you won’t be surprised to learn that you are the ruler of Pisces). And when you shift into retrograde transit, as you did at the end of last year, it can bring to mind issues of truth versus illusion and lead you to seek complete honesty from yourself and your loved ones.
Similar to Uranus, it takes a long time to move between signs – about 10 to 12 years – making its influence more broadly generational. “Neptune is connected to the sense of oneness we can feel in deep meditation,” adds Lang, “and it’s also related to drugs, caffeine, alcohol and any other mind-altering substances.”
Although it may no longer be scientifically classified as a planet, Pluto plays a similar role within astrological space – in this case, governing the regenerative forces in the body, death and rebirth, says Lang: “This relates to the deep psychological aspect of us. themselves and the unconscious. ”
Like the other outer planets, it moves slowly from Earth’s perspective, changing to a new sign only every 12 to 15 years. As such, its influence is also generational rather than individual. Currently, Pluto is retrograde in Capricorn (the sign known for its industriousness and pragmatism), which means it is a time of practical transformation and advancement for everyone.