The word “planet” in modern astronomical terms describes the Earth and other bodies orbiting the Sun. However, the word originated from an ancient Greek root meaning “wanderer.”
In astrology, we still use the ancient meaning of the word. Any body which wanders through the field of stars in the sky is a planet. We understand that the Sun and the Moon are not planets in the scientific sense of the word. However, they are bodies which circle the earth (from our perspective), thus they are grouped with the other planets.
The planets do not wander randomly. If you were to represent the paths of all the planets orbiting around the Sun, the resulting shape would be a disk. The band-shaped part of the sky where that disk would appear is called the ecliptic.
Your chart is a map of the locations of the planets along the Ecliptic, as seen from the Earth.
Each planet in your chart represents a need. The Sun is a need to shine, create, exist. Venus is a need for love. The Moon is a need for security.
The sign that the planet is in indicates how that need can be met, and what happens if it is not met. For example, someone with the Moon in Capricorn needs a solid sense of structure and personal responsibility. If that is not present, there are feelings of insecurity, fear, and a very negative outlook on the world.
Each planet has a special affinity to one or more signs. This is known as rulership. Planetary rulerships of signs are important to memorize, because they help you see the links between the different ideas in the chart.
Usually, one or more planets is found retrograde in the natal chart.
The meanings of the 10 planets:
- Sun– Ego
- Moon– Emotion
- Mercury– Mind
- Venus– Love
- Mars– Drive
- Jupiter– Good luck
- Saturn– Responsibility
- Uranus– Eccentricity
- Neptune– Nebulousness
- Pluto– Power
Ancient skywatchers saw the light reflected from the planets and personified those energies as gods. Each one had an energy, had strengths and weaknesses. As you study the planetary energies, you will see more and more that members of the mythological pantheon represent universal archetypes that are very much alive, and part of our day-to-day lives.
Planets in an astrological chart show areas of emphasis. Each planet is a character. The play happens on the stage of your inner world. Sometimes the characters argue, other times they get along well.
The relationships are complex and difficult, and it often requires a great deal of personal effort to get them working together in harmony. But in this complex and extraordinary drama, you are the director, you call the shots.
The planets closer to us (the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars) are the personal planets. They represent our everyday personality features, and the way we relate with those close by us.
The planets farther away have to do with how we relate to society in general. Their energy gets more weird, complicated, and abstract the farther out you go.