Pluto, God of the Underworld, is the ruler of Scorpio. (In Greek mythology, the corresponding god was Hades). In Astrology, the energies of Pluto are transforming. Pluto represents subconscious forces, ruling all that is "below the surface". On the up side, Pluto is associated with renewal and rebirth. It represents endings and new beginnings, as well as spiritual growth and rebirth.
Negative expression of Pluto is an obsessive desire for power and control and general destructiveness. In the chart, the position of Pluto by sign will be shared with other people in the same generation due to the comparatively slow movement of Pluto, the outermost planet, in the heavens. By house, the position of Pluto shows where individuals search for truths and deeper meaning. This area of life may be associated with change, upheaval, power struggles, and issues of control. Pluto in aspect to other planets in the chart colors those energies with obsessive qualities, power struggles, the need to find deeper meanings, and willingness to explore and examine. Where we find Pluto in the chart is where we either seek change and transformation, or have it thrust upon us if we refuse to accept our deepest needs. If we fear Pluto’s energies, or our "dark" side, destructiveness (both directed at ourselves or others) is a byproduct.
As the outermost planet in our solar system, Pluto is also the farthest from the Sun. Pluto was the latest planet to be discovered, in 1930, and while recently "demoted," is still a force in astrology. Pluto’s energy may be subtle, but its results will hit you like a ton of bricks. This planet is about transformation, regeneration and rebirth. Things aren’t pretty with Pluto, but they do get done. Pluto says "out with the old and in with the new", and we’d better be ready for it. If we’re not, this planet will simply have us wallow in our misery. Pluto asks us to transcend that which we know, redeem ourselves in the process, and come out stronger as a result.
For all that Pluto (re)creates (it also governs the reproductive system), it loves to destroy. This planet rules destruction, death, obsession, kidnapping, coercion, viruses and waste. That’s definitely not pretty. Pluto also governs crime and the underworld, along with many forms of subversive activity (terrorism, dictatorships). This planet is about all that is secret and undercover, that which is hidden from view. Is this the story of good vs. evil? Yes. No one will deny Pluto’s power (it rules atomic power, too) and intensity. This planet’s energy is often focused on the masses and what the collective will do. Pluto beseeches the masses to look inward (and to their subconscious) to see what’s there. It may be scary, but Pluto doesn’t care. This planet knows how to push buttons. It takes Pluto approximately 248 years to complete its orbit around the zodiac.
Due to the eccentricity of its orbit, it takes this planet between 12 and 31 years to pass through a sign. Pluto has been in Capricorn since January 24th, 2008, and will continue to be there until 2024. It exits Capricorn in 2023, but retrogrades for a while.
Pluto is the last of the transcendental planets and is the higher octave of Mars.
Neptune, God of the Sea, is the ruler of Pisces. In astrology, Neptune is considered a planet of inspiration, dreams, psychic receptivity, illusion, and confusion. Neptune rules spirituality, and all things subtle. A youthful, and sometimes naive, spirit characterizes those with a strong placement of Neptune in their natal charts. On the up side, Neptune is associated with intuition and spiritual enlightenment. As well, it is a planet of mercy and compassion.
The more negative manifestations of Neptune include deception, trickery, deceit, guilt, and addiction. In the chart, the position of Neptune by sign will be shared with other people in the same generation due to Neptune’s slow movement in the heavens. By house, Neptune’s position shows where intuition, dreams, and psychic sensitivity come into play. Natives may be able to rise above the demands of the ego in the areas of Neptune’s influence. Planets that Neptune contact are often colored by fantasy and dreaminess, and a vulnerable nature that may be susceptible to disillusionment. Here, we find hope that is sometimes unrealistic, a poetic and intuitive outlook, and compassion.
Neptune, another of the outer planets, was discovered in 1846. Its slow orbit around our zodiac ensures that its effect is generational in nature. Neptune’s glyph is the trident of Poseidon, God of the Seas. Much about this planet is fluid (Neptune rules the oceans of the Earth), changeable and illusory in nature. Dreams, illusion, abstract thought and the mysterious are all governed by Neptune. Our spirituality is important to this planet, and how we harness that energy for our personal betterment. Neptune invites us to let its energy wash over us and to use a meditative state to gain insights and heightened awareness. Poetry, music and dance are among the trance-like activities which this planet favors.
Neptune does have its showier side, as it rules movies, television, theater, fashion and all forms of glamour. In essence, Neptune is creating an illusion - of what is enchanting on the outside and captivating within. Neptune has a mystique which doesn’t reveal itself easily. It can be a poser, too, dabbling in flattery - and subversion. The shadow side of Neptune is akin to the aging star who cannot make one more curtain. When the lights are low, this planet plays in a netherworld of drugs, alcohol, trances and hypnosis. Neptunian energy reeks of escapism on its darker days, a sea of delusion, hypochondria and abnormality. Sleep and dreams are also lorded over by this planet. At the end of the day, Neptune keeps coming at you - how will you receive it?
It takes Neptune 165 years to complete its whirl around the zodiac, spending roughly 14 years at each sign. It is feminine energy. Neptune is known as the higher octave of Venus and is the second of the transcendental planets.
Uranus, God of the sky and the heavens, is the ruler of Aquarius. In Astrology, the energies of Uranus are electric and crammed with change. Uranus is forward-looking. It balks at tradition, and celebrates originality and individuality. Uranus is associated with technology, innovation, discovery, and all that is progressive. On the up side, Uranus is associated with enlightenment, progressiveness, objectivity, novelty, and ingenuity. Negative expression of Uranus is rebelliousness without a cause and irresponsibility.
When Uranus is not developed, it reacts; but when natives are truly in tune with its energies, Uranus is highly intuitive. It represents the spark of intuition that spurs invention. We can see Uranus as the intuition that sparks further studies or investigation. In the chart, the position of Uranus by sign will be shared with other people in the same generation due to the comparatively slow movement of Uranus in the heavens. By house, the position of Uranus shows where individuals look to stir things up, put a new spin on situations, and go against established thought or order. Uranus aspecting other planets in the chart color those energies with some willfulness, quirkiness, and originality. Where we find Uranus in the chart is where we see some refusal to blend in with others (and situations), and some erratic life patterns.
Uranus wasn’t discovered until 1781. As one of the outermost planets, it moves rather slowly through the zodiac. The result is that its effect is felt more generationally than individually. Uranus brings with it a new way of looking at things, and its approach is best met with an expanded consciousness. Originality, inventions, computers, cutting-edge technologies and future events are all ruled by this planet. Uranus sees no need for the status quo, preferring instead to break with tradition and create a new mold. While the building blocks (science, electricity) are safe here, this planet would rather focus its gaze on a new world order. To that end, rebellion, revolution, dictators, an autonomous state and free will all fall under the aegis of this planet.
No one will ever characterize Uranus as subtle. This is the planet that coaxes erratic and bizarre behavior and byzantine schemes. A bohemian, utopian society is more in keeping with Uranus’s bent, as are humanitarian ideals. Freedom and creativity are important to this planet; Astrology is also within its realm. Lastly, in keeping with its sudden, sometimes violent and often unexpected manner, Uranus rules earthquakes and other natural disasters. It takes Uranus 84 years to complete its trip around the zodiac. It is an androgynous energy. Uranus is considered to be the higher octave of Mercury and the first of the transcendental planets.
Saturn, is the ruler of Capricorn. In Greek Mythology, Cronus was one of the Titans, and the father of Zeus. Cronus ate his children to prevent himself from being dethroned as the King of the Gods. That is, until his wife, Rhea, tricked him into swallowing a stone when Zeus was born. In astrology, Saturn is associated with restriction and limitation. Where Jupiter expands, Saturn constricts. Although the themes of Saturn seem depressing, Saturn brings structure and meaning to our world. Saturn knows the limits of time and matter. Saturn reminds us of our boundaries, our responsibilities, and our commitments. It brings definition to our lives. Saturn makes us aware of the need for self-control and of boundaries and our limits.
Saturn is often associated with our fathers or father/authority figures. In childhood, the discipline, rules, and regulations imposed on us by our authority figures - from parents, teachers, and the like - were not always pleasant, but they actually helped us to understand the world around us. Similarly, Saturn’s lessons actually help us to grow. In the chart, the position of Saturn by sign and house reveals our own limitations, fears, and sense of responsibility. Saturn brings definition, and often limitation, to the planets it aspects.
Saturn doesn’t make things easy. That’s the role of the taskmaster of the zodiac. Saturn commands us to get to work and to work hard. Discipline and responsibility are important to this planet, yet if we’re eager to conquer the world, that’s okay, too. Much like Father Time, Saturn implores us to look at the clock (its glyph, after all, is the sickle of Chronos, the God of Time). Is there time for everything we want to do, or are there limits? Those limitations are important to Saturn, and we must learn to manage them. Restrictions are the province of this planet, as is any form of discipline or delay. In keeping with the passage of time, Saturn governs old age along with the lessons it teaches us. Learning life’s lessons is key to this planet, in keeping with its role as teacher. The majesty of older age also brings with it a certain sense of tradition, conventionality (our learned patterns of behavior) and wisdom, and Saturn is mindful of these characteristics. This planet applauds our perseverance and the fact that we’ve withstood the test of time (yes, time comes up once again). This senior status further brings with it a measure of authority, and Saturn lords over that as well. Structure, order and the way in which we conduct our affairs are all ruled by this ringed planet. Contraction and the reining in of assets are also important here. Lastly, Saturn, again in its role as teacher, concerns itself with karma and the lessons which past experiences might bring.
It takes Saturn 28-30 years to complete its orbit of the zodiac. It is masculine energy.
Jupiter, the King of the Gods, is the ruler of Sagittarius. In Astrology, Jupiter is a planet of plenty. It is tolerant and expansive. The first of the social planets, Jupiter seeks insight through knowledge. Some of this planet’s keywords include morality, gratitude, hope, honor, and the law. Jupiter is a planet of broader purpose, reach, and possibility. Jupiter has generally been associated with good luck and bounty. Optimism and growth (including mental and spiritual growth) come under its rule.
On the up side, Jupiter is associated with a sense of humor, good will, and mercy. The more negative manifestations of Jupiter include blind optimism, excess, and overindulgence. Irresponsibility that results from blind optimism, not ill will, can be displayed. In the chart, the position of Jupiter by sign reveals how we express our generosity and tolerance. It shows how we go about trusting others and improving our lives. Where do we look for wisdom and understanding? Look to Jupiter’s position by house and to the planets it contacts for answers.
Jupiter is the thinking-person’s planet. As the guardian of the abstract mind, this planet rules higher learning, and bestows upon us a yen for exploring ideas, both intellectually and spiritually. Intellectually speaking, Jupiter assists us in formulating our ideology. In the more spiritual realm, Jupiter lords over religions and philosophy. A search for the answers is what Jupiter proposes, and if it means spanning the globe to find them, well, that’s probably why Jupiter also rules long-distance travel. In keeping with this theme, Jupiter compels us to assess our ethical and moral values; it also addresses our sense of optimism.
Luck and good fortune are associated with Jupiter for good reason. This is a kind and benevolent planet, one that wants us to grow and flourish in a positive way. Jupiter may be judge and jury, but it’s mostly an honorable helpmate, seeing to it that we’re on the right path. While our success, accomplishments and prosperity are all within Jupiter’s realm, this largesse can, at times, deteriorate into laziness and sloth (Jupiter, at its worst, is associated with weight gain!). More often than not, however, Jupiter will guide us down the primrose path.
Leisure time is also one of Jupiter’s pastimes. Sports of all kinds, games of chance and a stroll in the park with the family pet (Jupiter loves animals) – these are all ruled by this planet. Finally, Jupiter often presages great wealth, material and otherwise. This is a good friend in the heavens! It takes Jupiter about 12 years to circle the zodiac (the planet visits an average of one sign a year). It is masculine energy.
Mars, the God of War, is the ruler of Aries. In astrology, Mars is the planet of energy, action, and desire. It is the survival instinct, and can be thought of as the "leftover" animal nature of man. Mars rules our animal instincts for aggression, anger, and survival. Our sexual desires come under the rule of Mars. Whereas Venus rules romantic attraction, Mars is most associated with basic body attraction.
This is the planet of action rather than reaction. With Mars, there is no contemplation before action. The drive associated with Mars differs from that of the Sun in that it is self-assertion rather than assertion of the will; it is raw energy rather than creative energy. Mars is the push that gets us out of bed in the morning, our drive and desire nature, and our active energy. When we are "acting out" our Mars, we are assertive, directed, forthright, and adventurous. On the negative side, we can be impulsive, rash, impatient, aggressive, and forceful. The "Red Planet", after all, should be pretty fiery, and Mars does not disappoint. Energy, passion, drive and determination are all right up Mars’s alley.
This planet commands you (and yes, Mars does rule the military) to stand up, be noticed and get things done - sitting on the sidelines belongs somewhere else in the heavens. Simply put, Mars speaks to the power and confident expression of the individual. Ambition and competition are also within Mars’s realm. Whether it’s at work or on the field of play, Mars encourages us to face challenges and to be our best - or better. Aggression is part of the plan here, although Mars also values courage and honor. Assertion and a daring, fearless nature please this planet. It’s important to note that Mars’s energy can be constructive or destructive. The God of War in ancient times, Mars could be brutally violent. While this energy still emanates from the planet, it also asks us to harness this force for good.
Stamina, ambition and achievement are all part of Mars’ mantra. Mars rules our sexuality and sexual energy, and governs weapons, accidents and surgery (the last two illustrating the yin and yang nature of this planet). In the end, however, the energy of Mars can be quite useful if used properly. It takes nearly two years for Mars to complete its orbit through the zodiac. It is masculine energy.
Venus is the Goddess of Love. In Astrology, Venus has dual rulership over Libra and Taurus. As a result, Venus represents two main areas of our life: love and money. "Love and money" is actually a simplistic interpretation of Venus. Venus rules our sentiments, what we value, and the pleasure we take in life. Grace, charm, and beauty are all ruled by Venus.
Through Venus, we learn about our tastes, pleasures, artistic inclinations, and what makes us happy. We look to Venus in the natal chart to see how we approach relationships of the heart, as well as what gives us pleasure. Do we enjoy the give and take of relationships (Venus in Libra), the security our relationships give us (Venus in Cancer), or the thrill of the conquest (Venus in Aries)? Its placement in the houses of the natal chart reveal which areas of life we seek to balance, refine, and derive pleasure from. Do we take particular pleasure in our day-to-day work and routines (Venus in the 6th house), in study and travel (Venus in the 9th house), or in taking care of our house and home (Venus in the 4th house)?
Venus is all about pleasure, especially pleasure shared with someone else. This planet concerns itself with love, romance and harmony in our emotional attachments, marriages, friendships and other unions (like business partnerships). Venus is content to spread happiness and tenderness, all the while teaching us how to love and appreciate others and the things that we possess. We appear attractive - and we attract others - thanks to Venus’s energy. Socializing with and relating to others are important to this planet.
Beauty is also strongly associated with Venus. The arts (music, dance, drama and literature, to name a few) and a sense of the aesthetic fall within the realm of Venus. Venus beseeches us to indulge our senses and revel in the beauty of our world. This planet is inextricably linked to refinement, culture, charm and grace. Venus also deals with the pleasure we derive from our possessions. Luxuries (jewelry, paintings, expensive cars), good food and drink, a beautiful home and a sense of refinement all please Venus’s interests. This planet asks us to appreciate the exquisite nature of things. It’s a sensual - though not necessarily sexual - world as far as Venus is concerned.
Venus takes 225 days to complete its orbit of the zodiac; it is never more than 47 degrees from the Sun. It is a feminine energy.
Mercury, the messenger of the gods, is the ruler of Gemini and Virgo. Mercury is the messenger in Astrology as it is in Mythology. It is the planet of day-to-day expression and communication. Mercury’s action is to take things apart and put them back together again. It is an opportunistic planet, decidedly unemotional and curious.
In modern times, we tend to "meet" people’s Mercury first. Many people make a connection for the first time through e-mails, for example. Mercury rules whether we are flowery in our speech and/or written words, concise in our choice of words, or business-like even in our personal communications. Mercury not only rules communication, it represents coordination. Though processes, ideas, and sensory information from both unconscious and unconscious sources all need to be coordinated and understood. Mercury analyzes, sorts, groups, and makes sense of things. How do we handle nervous energy? How do we express and convey our thoughts? How do we approach others and information in order to learn and exchange ideas?
Mercury, much like the winged messenger of the gods, comes in on feather-light wings and commands us to speak. Communication, intellect and awareness are all within Mercury’s domain, as are logic and reasoning, our manner of thinking, and how we create and express our thought processes. A mercurial nature brings to mind restlessness and motion. Mercury is about a quick wit, quick thinking, possibilities, opinions, reasoning and the ability to rationalize things. Mercurial energy can be good or bad, but it will certainly be energizing! This planet also prompts us to move from one thing to the next and to get answers on both a physical and psychological level.
Further, Mercury’s energy is both dexterous and perceptive. Mercury is about short trips: a visit to a neighbor or a friend across town, the workaday commute, a weekend getaway. Siblings, and transportation in general, are also within Mercury’s realm. Speaking, writing, books, online communications and learning are all within Mercury’s domain. This planet implores us to express ourselves often - and well. When Mercury goes retrograde (the appearance of traveling backward), however, our communications will be challenged. Mercury is never more than 28 degrees from the Sun; it takes about 88 days to complete its orbit of the Sun.
It is neither masculine nor feminine energy and assumes the gender of the sign it is in. It rules both Gemini and Virgo, and the Third and Sixth Houses.
The Moon, in Astrology, is the ruler of Cancer. The Moon represents our deepest personal needs, our basic habits and reactions, and our unconscious. Where the Sun acts, the Moon reacts. How do we instinctively react or respond to problems? What do we feel we need for a sense of security? Look to the Moon for answers.
The Moon is associated with the mother and with feminine energy in general. The Moon is both our inner child and our inner mother. It is responsive, receptive, and reflective. The Moon is our spontaneous and instinctual reactions. The full cycle of changing the lunar phases takes place in 29.5 days and the moon spends only about 2 and a half days in each sign. The Moon in astrology is responsible for the rate of flow of life force in the human body. It is believed that the maximum speed of this flow in people born at full moon, and the minimum falls on the new moon. Just as the Moon circles the Sun, in a symbolically protective manner, and reflects the Sun’s light, the Moon in our chart shows how we protect ourselves, as well as make ourselves feel secure, comfortable and safe.
Since the Moon is the closest "planet" to Earth, this satellite literally zips around the zodiac, completing its circuit in less than a month. It also touches us more deeply than most planets. As the ruler of the tides, it is fitting that the Moon should be the ruler of our emotions. Still waters run deep? Making waves? A wellspring of emotion? Yes, our emotions have long been portrayed in terms of the sea: fluid, momentous, churning from within. Mood swings, instinct, how we feel about things and how our feelings affect others are all influenced by the Moon. Whereas the Sun gives us our spirit, it’s the Moon that gives us our soul. The Moon is goddess-like in that it symbolizes mother and the relationship between woman and child.
This planet (also known as a luminary) speaks to the women in one’s life and their role as nurturer. Fertility, pregnancy and childbirth are also governed by the Moon. We see the Moon casting its silvery glow from our earliest moments, when we were stroked and caressed by our mother and felt her tender touch. Our emotions manifest themselves through our being and set the tone for our daily lives. The Moon is party to this continuum, rendering us vital one moment and fragile the next. We’re up and down, naughty or nice, and may laugh wildly or cry at will. Through the Moon’s energy, we endeavor to reconcile these varied emotions in order to make ourselves complete and one with the world.
The Moon also helps us see that which we want, and to use memory and the past as part of this process. It is feminine energy.
The Sun, the giver of life, represents our conscious mind in Astrology. It represents our will to live and our creative life force. Just as the planets revolve around the Sun in our solar system, we derive our life purpose from the Sun in our natal charts. The Sun is our ego. It is also our "adult" - the part of us that censors our "inner child", that reasons things out, and makes final decisions.
The Sun is our basic identity, and represents self-realization. When you are asked, "Who are you?", and you’ve passed your basic statistics and occupation, your answers will be a description of your Sun. The Sun also represents our overall vitality. The Sun directs us, and can be considered "the boss" of our chart. The Sun is so important in the chart, that the happiest people on this earth are those who identify (without over-identifying) with the Sun’s expression. Though one might think that the traits of their Sun would come easy to them, the truth is, the Sun shows what we are learning to be.
It is very important to remember that the Sun represents reason as opposed to instinct. The Sun represents the self, one’s personality and ego, the spirit and what it is that makes the individual unique. It is our identity and our face to the world. The Sun also speaks to creative ability and the power of the individual to meet the challenges of everyday life. One’s natural father, husbands and other male influences are ruled by the Sun, as are children. The Sun’s energy is a forceful one, and in its wake comes authority, the ability to lead and an individual’s essence, their core being. The Sun is majestic, and in keeping with its regal air, it rules royalty and higher office. This orb also lords over our health and well-being. The Sun’s golden glow is a vital life force which imbues us with strength, energy and a will to succeed. It is the Sun that gives strength to the other planets, which is why this planet occupies a key role in astrology. The masculine energy Sun spends about a month visiting each sign and takes a year to journey through the 12 signs of the zodiac.
Astrology deals with ten planets, namely the Sun, the Moon (the two luminaries are considered planets in astrology), Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. Minor celestial bodies, such as the Dark Moon, asteroids and the nodal axis, are also taken into account. Each planet has its precise function in the natal chart, and represents a specific energy. The planet’s action is influenced by the sign it tenants. It plays out primarily in the area of life indicated by the house where it is posited.