As we all know the Planets in our Solar system move incessantly around the Sun, each in its own individual orbit. The closest a Planet is to the Sun, the smaller is its orbit and the greater the speed of its motion. With this in mind we can roughly divide the Planets in three main categories:
1. The fast moving Celestial Bodies, closest to the Sun: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Moon and Mars. These change their positions relative to the Sun very rapidly. These are the personal planets.
2. The slow moving Planets: Jupiter and Saturn, which take longer to complete their circuits (about twelve and thirty years respectively). These are trans-personal planets.
3. The very slow moving Planets, Chiron, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto, the farthest from the Sun, invisible to the naked eye. These take an even longer time to complete their orbital revolutions (about fifty to two hundred and fifty years). These are the trans-saturnian planets.
In the Birth Chart the celestial bodies are the basic energies behind our perception of reality.
The Planets, apart from being real celestial bodies orbiting in space at different rates of motion, are also psychic functions within us, each presiding over a specific type of awareness.
For instance Venus is the second planet from the Sun, but also embodies that function of the psyche that makes us seek relationship and harmony with other people, and also our desire for pleasurable experiences. In the outside world Venus is embodied in all beautiful people we meet, all beauty around us, concrete as well as abstract, like artistic beauty of which Venus gives us appreciation. Also all loves, relationships , pleasures, comforts, and women in general.
The same multifaceted influence is exerted by all the other planets, as celestial bodies, psychological functions and different people whose role is to help shape our awareness.
In myths and ancient/modern story telling the Energies behind these celestial bodies are represented by different figures or characters, the actors in the play of life. They are part of us, but also part of our experience of the outside world and other people.
For simplicity sake we often include the Sun and Moon under the heading Planets. They would be more rightly recognized as the ‘Luminaries’ of the Horoscope.
The Sun in the Birth Chart represents our sense of identity, the ‘I’ principle. By threading the Sun’s path we gain awareness of our true essence. The Sun Sign also reflects our conscious self expression, will power, vitality, potential for success and joy. It is the father within and the influence of all paternal, authority figures. In relationships it indicates the impact of one ‘I’ upon another. The encounter of life paths.
As a Archetype the Sun s is the King or Emperor, the supreme ruler. A figure of authority and splendour, maybe even an incarnation of the godhead.
A father archetype, this is the father in spirit, ‘the father who is in heaven’.
The Moon rules instead over the unconscious and all those responses that come from deep ancestral memories. Purifying this emotional aura is also our task.
The Moon represents our connection with organic life, its rhythm, flux, cycles. Feelings, moods and all mind’s fluctuations. It symbolizes also our personal unconscious and link to the ancestral past. It is the Mother/Baby within and the influence of all maternal and infant figures, as well as the psychic, emotional bond within families and in all relationships.
As an Archetype the Moon a is the Queen, a married woman who had given birth to children, whose shape like the moon changes during her cyclical pregnancies. This is the mother figure, mother Earth for a start and all mothers, grandmothers, wicked step mothers etc. Babies younger than four are also represented by the round Moon.
Mercury, first planet from the Sun, is the power which energizes our human brain with its two hemispheres, left and right, rational and creative.
Mercury is the go-between Sun and Moon, conscious and unconscious. It rules over the thinking function, speech, reason, logic, our way of learning and passing on information. It has also to do with the nervous system and physical mobility. In relationship it indicates the connection between two minds, the ability, or inability, to share thoughts and ideas.
Mercury is the child or juvenile archetype, also the trickster adult who is young at heart. It is a symbol of swiftness, like thought itself, changing, moving, learning all the time. Children up to puberty are representatives of Mercury. And all liars are under his protection.
Venus, second planet from the Sun, represents our power for relating with each other, sharing, loving, also the pleasure principle and the desire for creature comfort and beauty, the artistic or aesthetic feeling.
Venus represents our desire to relate, share, cherish. It also influences our aesthetic tastes and appreciation of beauty and art. It symbolizes Eros and all forms of pleasure. Our vanity, desire for ease, money and beautiful objects. The eternal feminine. In relationship it sparks the loving attraction, giving the ability to mediate and compromise
Venus is the young, attractive woman, the eternal feminine whom the young hero falls in love with. She is graceful and aware of her power over men. Sometimes vain and voluble. She is the archetype of all womanhood, from puberty until the birth of children, after which the woman is better represented by the Moon.
Mars, third planet from the Sun, is the assertive principle through which we fight for what we desire. It also represents the sexual drive, the animal instinct that protect us from danger, the courage to fight life’s battles.
Mars represents self assertion, drive, output of energy, fighting for what we want and defending ourselves. It is our manual skills, ego’s desires, sex drive, need for action, competitive spirit, physical courage, aggression, violence. The eternal masculine. In relationship it stimulates sexual attraction, but also antagonism and strife.
Mars is the young hero, soldier of fortune, knight in shiny armour, young Hun, warrior, who fights the enemies and conquers the girl. This is the eternal masculine, active, courageous, ardent. Often also foolhardy, aggressive, impatient.
Ceres is the largest of the asteroids discovered in the early 19th century in the Asteroid Belt, a belt of unevenly sized celestial bodies, orbiting between Mars and Jupiter. The other Asteroids included in this brief sketch are Juno, Pallas and Vesta. Ceres is the Roman name of the Goddess of the harvest, known in Greek mythology as Demeter.
She is the mother archetype. Ceres represents our fruitfulness and ability to enjoy the Earth’s bounty. The nurturing of children and family, but also our possessive, destructive instinct. Goddess of mourning.
Juno is the Roman name for the Goddess of the marriage vows, known in Greek mythology as Hera. She is the wife archetype. Juno represents the need for devotion, loyalty, conformity, morality, order, retribution of wrong doing. It helps us to accept more willingly social conditioning, tradition and duty.
Pallas is one of the Roman name for Minerva, Goddess of wisdom, knowledge and battle, known in Greek mythology as Athena. She is the daughter archetype. Minerva represents our innate wisdom, instinct for justice, intellectual courage and inventiveness. Domestic skills, craftsmanship, diplomacy are her gifts.
Vesta is the Roman name for the Goddess of the temple’s fire, known in Greek mythology as Hestia. She is the sister archetype. Vesta represents our desire for purity, and the need to nurture the spiritual dimension of our daily lives and work. The unity and harmony of family and home are in her keep.
Jupiter, fourth planet from the Sun, is the ‘expansive principle’, ruling over the organic growth of things and mental expansions. It provides optimism, faith, the ability to speculate, generalize, always seeking meaning.
Jupiter represents the intuitive faculty, the ability to expand our consciousness in order to perceive the Spirit’s design in our lives. Philosophical and religious principles, cultural and moral values. Its gifts are faith, self confidence and the irrepressible desire to explore and discover. But also the tendency to over expand, to be domineering, uncompromising, self indulgent and wasteful. In relationship it stands for shared wisdom and knowledge.
Jupiter is a man in authority, middle aged and wise, generous and larger than life. A king in his own right, or the king’s advisor or vizier, the judge, the high priest, the teacher, the prophet, the business man/woman. The archetype of the protector, mentor, benefactor, guru, pope.
Saturn, fifth planet from the Sun, is the restrictive principle’, checking the growth of things, providing boundaries and rules. It is expressed in self-discipline or authority, practical efficiency and goals.
Saturn represents our need for realism, structure, and the awareness of our limitations. It helps us to do good work, to be responsible and embrace our duties, gaining wisdom from time and experience. But it can also manifest as extreme austerity, severe challenges, pessimism, rigid morality, selfishness, cynicism, and fears. It stands for commitment, and is embodied by authority figures and older people.
Saturn is also a person in authority, the authority conferred by experience. This is a senior figure, wise old man or wise old woman, or mean old man (uncle Scrooge) or mean old woman (aunty Scrooge). This is perhaps the old king or emperor, the ancestor, grandfather/grandmother, also the tax collector or the administrator. The archetype of authority and duty.
Chiron, sixth planet from the Sun, represents the bridge between the known world of physical experience and the unknown within us (visible Saturn and invisible Uranus). It means insight, the inward life and spirituality. Also a pain or sorrow we need to experience in order to attain greater understanding.
Chiron, orbiting between the last visible and the first invisible planets, Saturn and Uranus respectively, represents our capacity to bridge the gap between old and new, known and unknown. It also relates to an area of our life and a dimension of our experience which needs spiritual healing. A painful wound which will be with us until we became more aware of our divinity and the truth of life eternal.
Chiron is the Archetype of healers and also people who suffer from chronic illnesses. Alternative Medicine is in particular under his sway.
Uranus, seventh planet from the Sun, is the need for change, to outgrow our past and conditioning. It’s the planet of new discoveries, original ideas and finding new ways.
Uranus represents the need to individuate, to become objective and detached, to accept major changes. It expresses itself in original or even eccentric ideas, high reason or genius, power of abstraction, technology, inventions. But also rebelliousness and extreme selfishness. In relationship it encourages independence, but can also cause alienation.
Uranus is a completely individualized archetype, representing the person who has freed himself/herself from the shackles of society conditioning and demands. The odd uncle or aunty who went to live in the Amazonian rain forest, or a gay sister or brother, etc. including people with unusual hobbies or occupations. Mad scientists and astrologers. Just someone who does not fit into the social mould of the time. Perhaps one who anticipates fashions and trends. The archetype of the superior intellect, the rebel, the reformer or revolutionary, or the crackpot.
Neptune, eighth planet from the Sun, represents our mystical tendencies, the desire for peace, spiritual union, out of the body experiences, divine beauty and music.
Neptune represents our need to merge with something greater than ourselves. Dreams, visions, ideals, psychic episodes, experience of bliss, artistic creativity, aesthetic feelings, unconditional love, compassion, lessons of humility, mystical tendencies. But also self deception, addiction, escapism, irrationality. In relationship it brings romance, mystery, or deception, victimization.
Neptune is the archetype of artists, poets, musicians, dancers, actors, dreamers, mystics, but also drunkards, drug addicts, liars. The king’s fool, the healer, the shaman, the dreams’ maker, the saint, the mystic who spends his/her life in a cave, and victims too. This individual helps us to realize a greater reality, and the true meaning of compassion. The archetype of metaphysical experience and bliss.
Pluto, ninth planet from the Sun, represents the power to regenerate oneself, to destroy what of the past is not anymore useful in our lives. It is the power for radical changes and ultimate experiences.
Pluto is the source of our personal power and inner resources, our ability to transcend limitations and cut the roots of ignorance. But it can also be self destructive and violent, symbolizing our shadow side and unconscious compulsions. Secrets, taboos, obsessions, potential for regeneration and degeneration. In relationships it creates intimacy, intense passion, but also power struggles and manipulation.
Pluto is the archetype of powerful personalities, very wealthy people, or people who aspire to power, either financial or psychological or spiritual. Also individuals obsessed with something, or very charismatic. Also dangerous personalities, hidden motives, intense connection, sexual intimacy. The archetype of death and all transformations.