Astrology: meaning of the planets

Each of the bodies in a chart–the Sun, the Moon, and the eight planets—symbolize a certain aspect or element of your consciousness, of your functioning, whether it’s your inclination to build and maintain relationships with others (Venus), that part of you that wants to make a mark on the world (Pluto), or something else.

Other major points in your chart include the Ascendant, the Midheaven, and the North Node and South Node of the Moon.

Each of these bodies or points stands to teach you which kinds of experiences you need, in order to develop, satisfy, and integrate various “parts” of yourself successfully.

 

The Sun

In the case of the Sun, he represents that part of you that wants to have a distinct sense of identity. He represents how you form an identity for yourself. He represents your general vitality, the life force in you. The Sun teaches us how to have a sense of identity and vitality. Like the Sun providing energy for the rest of the solar system, the Sun in your chart provides the energy on which all the other parts of your consciousness depend. You’re the car and he’s the gas. You’’re a lamp and he’s the light bulb. If we do not feed our Sun, we are like a lamp without a light bulb or a car without gasoline. We have a weak presence in the universe, and we have very little energy. If we do feed our Sun, then we project a sense of aliveness, confidence, power, and vibrant energy in the world.

The Moon

The Moon represents the emotional and magical aspect of your psyche, your general mood or temperament. She’s that wild subjective part of you that will never be rational. The Moon teaches your spirit how to feel comfortable and how to satisfy its deeper needs. The Moon indicates what kinds of experiences are most essential to your happiness. She also suggests how you tend to express yourself when you’re acting moody or irrational. The Sun indicates what motivates you at a conscious level. You might think, “This is who I am. This is what I’m about.” In contrast, the Moon indicates the sort of unconscious emotional needs that motivate your behavior. What matters to the Sun is how to feel sane, whereas what matters for the Moon is how to feel content.

The Ascendant

The Ascendant is the sign that was rising over the eastern horizon at the moment that you were born, in the place that you were born. In other words, the Ascendant is how the sun appears at dawn, how the sun appears at the first moment of the day.

Similarly, the Ascendant represents how you appear upon first contact with other people. It is your style or social mask. That doesn’t mean that you present yourself dishonestly. What happens is that we all must present a simplified version of who we are in day-to-day life. It’s not possible for us to communicate everything that we are to each and every person that we deal with during the course of a day. In addition, we all feel more comfortable in showing some of our personal characteristics to the world than others.

The Ascendant also represents how you can feel centered. It’s how you feel at ease and comfortable in yourself. If you receive the Ascendants message, your style connects with the world of your experience in a way that feeds your spirit with essential kinds of events and relationships. Your soul feels more enthusiasm for life, and you feel confident and graceful. The Ascendant also relates to your body, your physical constitution, and your health or other conditions that might affect it.

Mercury

In mythology, Mercury is the winged messenger of the gods. In astrology, Mercury represents your intelligence; your transmission of information through speaking, writing or teaching; and your reception of information through observation, listening, reading or learning. He represents your senses themselves and all the data that you process. He’s how your senses respond to sensory stimulation, the disorganized way that you play with mental images. Mercury symbolizes the linear and logical functions of the mind.

Venus

Venus represents how we create and respond to harmony. Venus is that part of us that wants to get along well with others. She also represents our aesthetic tastes and perceptions or how we feel moved when we see beauty, such as the beauty found in nature. Venus rules inner peace and those sorts of experiences can help us calm down when life jostles and jars our sensibilities. She’s how we relax and have fun. She represents the appealing qualities with which we attract others to us, whether they are beauty, gracefulness, politeness, an elegant way of speaking or moving, or something else. In addition, Venus indicates how we form and maintain supportive relationships.

Mars

With Mars, the mental function that we’re talking about is your development of will, courage and assertiveness. He’s how you deal with perceived threats to your existence. The Red Planet is your killer instinct and your survival instinct. Mars represents your anger and your very will to live.

Jupiter

Jupiter is that part of us that wants to believe, no matter how dark things look, that the Sun will always come out tomorrow. He represents how we develop and maintain faith, confidence, and optimism. Jupiter is vivacious, larger than life, and refined. With this planet, the issue is whether you can develop faith in yourself and in life without taking things for granted.

Saturn

Saturn represents that part of our consciousness that has to be practical and strategic in order to survive in the physical world. Saturn has high standards. He demands self-discipline, commitment, and quality. Saturn is how we develop self-respect and faith in our destiny. By destiny, I mean our social role, one that harmonizes with our inner nature. Saturn also relates to how we make peace with solitude. He’s our ambition, our sense of realism, and our conscience or superego that part of us that has expectations for how we act.

Uranus

Uranus represents how we become individuals rather than endlessly repeating only those behaviors that society has taught us. Through individuation we distinguish who we are from who everyone else wants us to be. Uranus also indicates our unique brand of creative genius. Rather than waste the energy of our creativity in behavior that is shocking merely to get a reaction out of people, we need to channel it into something of real significance.

Neptune

Shakespeare wrote that “All the world’s a stage, / And all the men and women merely players.” Neptune is that part of us that’s aware of the fact that we’re players on a stage. He’s that part of us that stands apart from our identity, watching us like a person watches a play from the audience, or a director watches actors from off stage. If you ever think to yourself, One day I’ll look back on what I’m going through now and laugh, then you’re experiencing Neptune the ability to look at yourself and what you’re going the way that you might look at an actor on a stage. Neptune also represents the development of spirituality: an awareness of what we might call God and the weakening of the barrier that separates our consciousness or ego from our unconsciousness or soul. (When I say spirituality, I mean that which relates to the nonphysical aspects of a person, those aspects that manifest as consciousness, thought, feeling or will, whether or not one believes that they continue to exist after the body dies, as distinguished from those things that are physical or material.)

Neptune is considered the “higher octave” of Venus. In other words, Neptune represents the idea of love and connectedness to other people, as Venus does, but with Neptune it’s taken to a larger or “higher” level. Metaphorically, it’s like music that is transposed: the notes are all shifted upward, such as to a higher octave. Rather than romantic love or even personal friendship, Neptune represents “brotherly” love or agape–compassion and caring for one’s fellow human beings. For many people, underlying such a perspective is a sense that all people are interconnected in some invisible but fundamental way, like drops of water that all flow to/from the same original source or “Ocean,” the idea that we’re all parts of the same whole.

Pluto

Pluto is the “higher octave” of Mars. He symbolizes how we might assert ourselves in a transpersonal way, in a way that affects many others lives. Pluto represents that part of us that wants to transform ourselves or the world around us, that wants to do something important. Pluto represents a sense of mission or destiny. With this planet, the question is whether you can identify some sort of wisdom in yourself that could make a great difference in the world and then fulfill your destiny by humbly sharing it.

The Midheaven

The Midheaven is the doorway to your house of public pursuits (your tenth house). It’s the highest point in your chart, at the top of the circle when you look at the picture of your chart. It represents your reputation, position in society, and destiny. The Midheaven represents your most public and high-profile pursuits and the highest to which you might aspire in life. This part of your chart also relates to changes in your status in the eyes of the public, such as becoming married or divorced, or going from being a working person to being a retiree.

Furthermore, the Midheaven indicates the way that you come across to those who know you impersonally, only by your reputation. We often speak in short phrases as a way of referring to something about others. She’s a tree-hugging liberal,He’s a staunch Republic, She’s an urban hipster or whatever the case may be. Oftentimes these labels are based on our profession. Sometimes they’re based on our membership in a political party or some other organization. Sometimes they’re even based on other things about us. Whatever the case, they help us make sense of people that we know only from some social distance. The Midheaven, then, also symbolizes how we appear in this respect. This stands in contrast to the Ascendant, which indicates the first impression that you make on others, when you interact directly with them.

The South Node of the Moon

Most of the points that we’ve look at so far are planets. Each of the planets correspond to some physical body in our solar system. The Nodes of the Moon are unlike the planets in this respect. Rather than correspond to physical bodies, the Nodes relate to the Moon’s revolution around the Earth. They always come in pairs: the North Node always sits exactly opposite the South Node in a persons birth chart in the opposite sign, and in the opposite house. For example, if the North Node lies in Sagittarius and in 1st house, then by definition, the South Node lies in the opposite sign (Gemini) and in the opposite house (7th house), halfway around the chart from the North Node, and vice versa.

Simply put, the South Node represents your past, and the North Node represents your future.

You came into the world marked by history, with a past. A series of causes and effects unfolded before you were born. We could think of the past in terms of genetics or reincarnation or both.

If we think of the past in the sense of our genetic inheritance, then the South Node symbolizes the impact that our ancestors have on us. Our genetic endowment ensures that we’ll have certain strengths and weakness. If we think of the past in terms of reincarnation, then this life is one in a series of lives, and over the course of them, we develop awareness. We develop both productive and destructive tendencies. We bring these tendencies or karma into life with us. We can think of karma as cause and effect: past behavior affects the quality of ones life or lives in the future.

It’s beyond the scope of astrology to determine whether reincarnation is an acceptable belief. Such a question falls within the purview of philosophy, or religion, or another type of belief system. However, whether we believe in reincarnation or not, we can say that the South Node represents the lingering influence of the past on the present. The South Node represents the past and how it affects us, whether we talk about it in terms of the past lives of our ancestors or in terms of our own past lives. It indicates instinctive, automatic ways in which we act. It represents both positive and problematic potentials. The South Nodes house represents an area of activity to which we are effortlessly drawn. The South Nodes sign represents the attitudes or motivations that come naturally for us. These unconscious biases shape how we perceive our experiences.

The North Node of the Moon

The North Node is one of two points that are related to the Moons revolution around the Earth. The North Node is always exactly opposed to the South Node. (See above about the South Node.)

The North Node represents the future to which we are drawn. It symbolizes the newest stage of our growth. The North Node indicates which of the qualities indicated elsewhere in the chart we are developing through conscious effort, starting almost from scratch. If we let ourselves experience our North Node, then we leave ourselves open to newness. With newness comes both awkwardness and excitement. We feel fascinated and anxious at the same time. After all, there’s not nearly the certainty that comes with South Node behaviors based on experience. With the North Node, all you’ve got is the uncertain future. If you ‘re looking to astrology to know your potential and possibilities for your life, then the North Node is perhaps the most important part of your chart. It represents the ends, and the rest of your chart is the means to it.