Planets are like actors in the chart. Each planet represents a certain energy, or part of the psyche.
Signs in the chart are the roles the actors play. The Zodiac signs may be likened to panes in a stained glass cathedral window. A planet’s energy, or its “light” will come across differently depending on the sign it’s in, or the color “glass” through which you view it.
Elements and Modes
In order to make sense of the signs, it is essential to learn them by their elements and modes.
Each element represents a certain basic life energy. Fire, for example, is idealism. Water is emotion. Each sign combines an elemental idea with a mode. Cardinal signs, for example are action oriented. Cardinal fire, Aries, combines action with passionate idealism. Cardinal water, Cancer, combines action with nurturing and emotion.
The element and mode associated with each sign are extremely important, and very useful, distinctions. Memorizing the mode and element for each sign will greatly increase your understanding of the signs, and of aspects.