What is the importance of a ruling planet, and how do I figure out which planets are my rulers?

Laurel

Hi, Laurel—
Planets are said to have rulership, or affinity, with certain signs.

It goes like this*:

The Sun rules Leo
The Moon rules Cancer
Mercury rules Gemini and Virgo
Venus rules Taurus and Libra
Mars rules Aries
Jupiter rules Sagittarius
Saturn rules Capricorn
Uranus rules Aquarius
Neptune rules Pisces,
and Pluto rules Scorpio.

*It’s actually a weensy bit more complicated.. see my tutorial on rulerships.. but this list will get you started.

These are good to know if you want to understand astrology. The similarity between the energy of a sign and that of its ruler makes it easier to remember their meanings!

A planet in the sign of its rulership is very strong. For example, a person with Moon in Cancer has extremely powerful emotions which ebb and flow like the tides.

Your natal chart is a map showing the location of the Sun, Moon and planets, relative to the stars and to the earth, at the time and place of your birth.

If you’re learning to read charts, knowing the ruling planet for each sign is very useful. You can analyze the ruling planet to understand how the energy works.

For example, consider two people with the Sun in emotional water sign Cancer. Cancer’s ruler is the Moon. One has the Moon in Scorpio, a deeply passionate and intense water sign, and the other has the Moon in Aquarius, a logical and dispassionate air sign.

The fact that the Sun is in Cancer establishes that this person is emotional. The sign of the Moon, Cancer’s ruler, tells me how this person’s emotions work.

So a Cancer with a Moon in Scorpio is someone very deep, secretive. Cancer and Scorpio are both water signs, so you know this person is not just emotional but REALLY emotional. With the passionate, sexual, often jealous intensity of Scorpio. This is a person with remarkable insight, intuition and healing abilities, but at times the powerful emotions may be difficult to handle.

In a Cancerian with Moon in Aquarius, the emotional nature is very strong, but so is the distaste for emotional display or “drama.” So there needs to be a balance. It can be a very strong combo, the intuition and ability to deal with emotions, plus the objectivity not to take things too personally, the friendliness to reach out to others in a nurturing way. It works well, as long as they don’t try to explain away feelings with logic, a common Aquarian misfire.

You can also read the ruling planet of each planet and house in your birth chart, for more information about the part of life it represents.