Since at least as far back as 2000 BCE, cultures across the world have looked to the celestial bodies above as reflections and emanations of the gods and interpreted their orbital patterns and movements as celestial mirrors to events on Earth.
The ancient Mesopotamians created a framework for observing and recording the movements of the solar system’s planets over hundreds of years, and they laid the roots of the astrological tradition by formulating omens and predictions based on their observations with the naked eye.
The Mesopotamian tradition evolved under the Egyptians, who created the zodiac that modern astrologers use today, which was then further refined and elaborated on by the ancient Greeks, who laid the foundations of modern horoscopic astrology and the signs of the zodiac.
The Role of Planets in Astrology
Planets are the primal archetypal layer of astrology, the foundational building blocks upon which all other elements are built. If the birth chart were a play, the planets could be thought of as the actors.
As actors, the planets represent the various aspects and drives of the psyche that seek expression through each of us in different ways. The planets represent symbolic principles, psychological drives, and mythological archetypes across many different cultures. A planet with an orbit in retrograde may also have a different impact on one’s chart than when its orbit is in forward motion.
What Are the Planets in Astrology?
The following is a list of the major planets in the birth chart, including the seven traditional planets, the three modern planets, and one minor planet. There are many other minor planets and asteroids (not listed here) that can be included in a natal chart horoscope interpretation, if desired.
The Sun represents the essential self, the ego, and is a central organizing principle around which other aspects of self must relate to. In astrology, the Sun sign describes aspects of our purpose, vitality, and core needs that we seek to meet throughout our lives. The Sun rules zodiac sign Leo, is exalted in Aries, and has its joy in the 9th House of Exploration.Read more →
The Moon represents the inner world of feelings, emotions and moods, what brings a sense of emotional fulfillment, the ways that we seek to nurture and be nurtured, and our desire for comfort and protection. Together, the Sun and the Moon are the two luminary bodies of astrology. The Moon rules Cancer, is exalted in Taurus, and has its joy in the 3rd House of Environment.Read more →
Mercury represents the capacity to communicate, perceive, observe, rationalize and use reason and practicality, and translate one’s thoughts into language, writing, or speech. It represents our sense of curiosity and our style of communication. Mercury rules Gemini and Virgo, is exalted in Virgo, and has its joy in the 1st House of Communication.Read more →
Venus is the archetype of love and beauty and rules over our desire to love and be loved, form bonds of romantic and platonic connection, and the sphere of social relationships and partnerships. Inner planet Venus rules over Taurus and Libra, is exalted in Pisces, and has its joy in the 5th House of Pleasure.Read more →
Mars is the planet of energy, vigor, and courage and represents what motivates us to act, participate in life, satisfy our libidinal desires, and pursue our ambitions. Mars rules Aries, is exalted in Capricorn, and has its joy in the 6th House of Daily Work.Read more →
Jupiter represents our desire for growth, expansion, and abundance and to experience success and good fortune, integration, and a broad range of experiences by embracing perspectives different than our own. Jupiter rules Sagittarius and Pisces, is exalted in Cancer, and has its joy in the 11th House of Friends and Alliances.Read more →
Saturn is an outer planet that governs limits, restrictions, growth through perseverance, patience, and maturity. It represents the limits of the material world and the structures and habits that support and fortify our existence. Saturn rules Capricorn and Aquarius, is exalted in Libra, and has its joy in the 12th House of Solitude.Read more →
Uranus represents the desire for freedom, personal awakening, breakthroughs, and the process of individuation. It guides our need for experimentation and originality and urges us to find greater authenticity by exploring and expanding beyond our own self-definition. Uranus doesn’t have rulership over a sign, but it shares affinities with Aquarius.Read more →
Neptune represents our desire to transcend mundane reality and connect with a higher source of meaning through art, imagination, or spiritual experience. It compels us to develop empathy for others and seek unitive states of oneness. Neptune doesn’t have rulership over a sign, but it shares affinities with Pisces.Read more →
Pluto represents the processes of rebirth and transformation and the capacity for regeneration following profound experiences of loss. Pluto’s function is to reveal the darkness or fear that lurks beneath the surface and to transform it in order to heal. Pluto doesn’t have rulership over a sign, but it shares affinities with Scorpio.Read more →
Chiron is a minor planet known as the “wounded healer” and symbolizes issues related to our fears, emotional or physical wounds, and healing. It represents both an area of life where we have experienced pain as well as our efforts to heal and grow.Read more →