The Planets

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Introduction to the Planets

A planet is a large space body which reflects the light of a star around which it revolves. The planets in our solar system are classified as inner planets and outer planets. The inner planets, those closest to the Sun, are solid spheres of rock and include Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars.Jupiter marks the gateway to the Outer planets.
The outer planets are Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. Pluto is more recently considered to be a Dwarf Planet.
The sun and moon are often referred to as the Luminaries, or the" Lights".

Between the inner and outer planets is an asteroid belt. Every planet, except for Earth, was named for an ancient Roman god or goddess. Some of the planets have naturally occurring satellites, or moons, while others do not. All eight planets orbit the Sun in their own unique way.

The names of the planets, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn as well as the Sun and the Moon (which the ancients believed were planets as well) are derived from Latin names given to these bodies by the Romans. These names replaced those previously given by the Greeks.
It is believed that the names given by the Greeks were also inspired by even earlier civilizations going back to the ancient Sumerians. The Sumerians were the earliest civilization in recorded history, dating back to about 3500 BC.

Symbolic Glyphs
These are the shorthand glyphs (or symbols) representing the planets. Note that the planetary dignities for the outer planets (Uranus, Neptune and Pluto) are accepted by many modern astrologers, but there is no traditional basis for their assignment. Traditional astrologers deny that the outer planets have any rulership, exaltation etc, as this destroys the symmetry of the table of dignities.However the Modern Rulerships have been included here.

Below are the glyphs used to show the signs of the Zodiac.

And here are the planets that rule those signs.

Rules: Capricorn & Aquarius

Exalted in Libra
Detriment: Cancer
Fall: Aries
Exalted Degree: 21 Libra


Rules: Sagittarius & Pisces
Exalted: Cancer
Detriment: Gemini & Virgo
Fall: Capricorn
Exalted Degree: 15 Cancer

Rules: Aries & Scorpio
Exalted: Capricorn
Detriment: Libra & Taurus
Fall: Cancer
Exalted Degree: 28 Capricorn

Rules: Leo
Exalted: Aries
Detriment: Aquarius
Fall: Libra
Exalted Degree: 19 Aries

Rules: Taurus & Libra
Exalted: Pisces
Detriment: Aries & Scorpio
Fall: Virgo
Exalted Degree: 27 Pisces

Rules: Gemini & Virgo
Exalted: Virgo
Detriment: Sagittarius& pisces
Fall: Pisces
Exalted Degree: 15 Virgo

Rules: Cancer
Exalted: Taurus
Detriment: Capricorn
Fall: Scorpio
Exalted Degree: 3 Taurus

Rules: Aquarius (modern)
Exalted: Scorpio
Detriment: Leo
Fall: Taurus
Exalted Degree: 23 Scorpio

Rules: Pisces (modern)
Exalted: Cancer
Detriment: Virgo
Fall: Capricorn
Exalted Degree: 3 Cancer

Rules: Scorpio(modern)
Exalted: Leo
Detriment: Taurus
Fall: Aquarius
Exalted Degree: 15 Leo

The Planets
  • The Sun -Self-expression, life force.
  • Moon-Emotions, intuition, cycles, home, Mother
  • Mercury- Thoughts, speech, communication, business matters, short journeys.
  • Venus - Romance, creativity, beauty, social life, possessions.
  • Mars- Action, energy, accidents, willpower, sexual expression.
  • Jupiter - Luck, expansion, opportunity, excess.
  • Saturn - Duties, responsibilities, burdens, lessons, ambitions.
  • Uranus - Sudden changes, stress, insights, technology.
  • Neptune - Dreams, illusions, deceptions,Drugs and alcohol, the arts.
  • Pluto- Elimination, death, birth, regeneration.
Planetary Speeds
When a planet's speed is less than its average; it therefore moves less through the zodiac than it normally would. This is considered a debility.

The average daily distances travelled by the planets are as follows:
Sun: 59'
Moon: 13deg.10 min.36sec
Mercury:1 deg 23'
Venus: 1 deg 12'
Mars: 31'
Jupiter: 05'
Saturn: 02'
Uranus: 42"

SMALL PLANETS (Mercury - Venus - Earth - Mars - Pluto)
The small planets have diameters less than 13000 km across. Mercury and Pluto are sometimes referred to as lesser planets because they are so tiny.
GIANT PLANETS (Jupiter - Saturn - Uranus - Neptune)
The giant planets have diameters greater than 48000 km. The giant planets are sometimes also referred to as gas giants.

Mercury,Venus, Earth, Mars-to scale

To hear Holst:"The planets", go here:


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The Sun

Dignity: Leo

Exaltation: Aries

Detriment : Aquarius

Fall: Libra

One of the single most important and powerful factors in the chart, the glyph for the Sun depicts a circle with a dot in the middle, denoting manifestation of spirit, or infinite potential. It rules the regal sign Leo and the fun-loving 5th House of fun and creative self-expression.

This is the ‘star sign’ of newspaper columns. These columns, however, are charts set up with the sun sign on the ascendant. Thus at best, they can only be very general. Sun-sign astrology is a huge industry, but this may eclipse any real understanding what the Sun is really about and certainly how much importance should be placed on it when ‘weighing’ all the main factors in the chart. The over-zealous use of typology, as with any kind of stereotyping, may blind us to many of the factors that make each of us absolutely unique. Neither is it just the sun-sign that should be considered in ’weighing’ the Sun alone, but also its House position and the aspects it receives in the natal chart.

Whilst all the major planetary bodies, including Sun and Moon - the Lights - are called 'planets,' we know that the Sun is not a planet but a star, therefore the source of all the energies of all the planets in the solar system. It is here, therefore, where we may ‘shine’ and project ourselves most forcefully; it certainly has a lot to say about life energy and vitality: a weak or poorly-aspected Sun may indicate health problems with these areas.

Just as it is the focus of energy of the whole solar system, so may it symbolise for us the way we focus and organise our lives, according to the Sign and House it is in. This is why it is most often referred to as the ego, or self, in the chart and here too, where each individual should be able to function as a freely-functioning autonomous individual.

The Sun can also be seen as the proactive, 'yang' component of our being: it wishes to ‘make its mark’ on the environment rather than blend in, or to take the habitual route. Solar individuals tend to be dominant with strong leadership skills: positively, this may be generously empowering for others too; negatively, this may be self-centred or domineering.

The Sun also ‘rules’ the father, or the role of fathering, and possibly, of mentoring, too. Any role in life that requires an executive role may also bring out the solar function in everybody, regardless of how the Sun is placed in their chart. The Sun is tradionally more accessible as an energy to men, though in truth it ‘belongs’ to both sexes – as does its counterpart, the Moon.

Where the Sun is in the chart, there may also be 'something to prove' as the individual seeks to test their integrity and heroism against the world. Most people may not live heroic lives on the grand scale of a ‘Star Wars’-style epic, but the Sun’s House position in the chart may indicate where each individual may affirm their sense of who they are, in terms of how they make their stamp on the world.

In mundane astrology, the Sun rules the leaders of a country rather than its people (the latter is more the domain of the Moon) and royalty. In horary, the sun as a fast moving planet must always be taken into account and here too, is also said to rule ‘masculine’ energies

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The Moon

Dignity: Cancer
Exaltation: Taurus
Detriment : Capricorn
Fall: Scorpio

Earth's only satellite and as one of the luminaries reflecting the light of the Sun, the Moon is one of the most dominant factors in the natal chart. It rules the Sign Cancer and the Fourth House in the chart, representing our home and roots, the mother and the past.

Its glyph, a semi-circle, signifies 'container' or 'matrix,' soul' as opposed to 'spirit.' Whilst incomplete as a circle, symbolising infinity, the limiting cross of matter is topologically absent. The 'death' of the waning moon always presages the birth of the new. Many old lunar deities have three 'faces' - one for each of its main phases.

Seen from Earth, the Moon appears to be the same size as the Sun and thus may be interpreted as the reactive, softer 'yin' counterpart, equal as a foil to the outgoing, proactive solar 'yang,' polarity within our being: 'ground' as opposed to 'source' of being.

Non-rational and more to do with the subjective ebb and flow of feelings, moods and imagination, the Moon may have a lot to say not only about how we perceive the world, but also about our capacity for responsiveness and emotional style. It is also about 'sensitivity' - positively, about our capacity for empathy towards others - negatively, for taking things personally. As counterpart, or foil, to the individualising solar principle, the Moon seeks relatedness and a sense of belonging within community. Negatively, this can certainly become parochialism, but could also encapsulate 'soulfulness' in a more Hillmanesque sense - the poet's moon.

In these 'politically correct' times it may well be dangerous to relate Moon to females and Sun to males as in 'modern' astrology, we know that men and women can be a mixture of both yin and yang. The menstrual cycle, however, still corresponds to the mean 28-day cycle of the Moon's revolution through the skies.

In horary and in mundane astrology, the Moon is still the traditional sigificator for females.

The Moon is also linked to our emotional predisposition as well as to memory, habits and knee-jerk reactions formed very early in life. It is sometimes, therefore, interpreted as being a weak link in the psyche should any of these habits prove to be maladaptive later on in life, especially if it receives stressful aspects in the chart. However, it is claimed that capacity for greater emotional intelligence and growth can, albeit maybe with difficulty, be learnt at any point later in life.

Just as the Sun is sometimes reckoned to denote what the individual wants, the Moon by sign and house is said to denote what the same individual needs, in order to feel complete and to experience true well-being in life.

Just as transiting moon phases are noted by astrologers, the natal moon phase, in addition to its sign, can also yield information about basic character: balsamic moon individuals, for example are sometimes said to be 'old souls,' whilst waxing crescent Moons may be forward-looking.

Our lunar characteristics can represent the most personal and intimate facets of our being, which is why moon signs can be so noticeable and relevant if spending any great lengths of time either living or working with someone!

Paradoxically, however, the Moon appears to have a very public face too: a strong and well-placed Moon can be helpful for famous figures. Gauquelin, in fact, showed that the Moon could figure strongly in the charts of some politicians, as well as for writers.
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Dignity: Gemini

Exaltation: Virgo

Detriment: Sagittarius

Fall: Pisces

The 'ruler' of the Signs Gemini and Virgo, and also where it tends to be most ‘at home,’ Mercury in the natal chart represents how we think and make sense of the world and how we use and assimilate information. The House, Sign and aspects to Mercury can show something of the gifts and challenges we may be presented with in this area. Mercury is also the 'natural' ruler of the Third House, which is 'about' neighbourhood and neighbours, schooling, siblings and everyday commerce.

The glyph, or symbol for Mercury shows a semi-circle representing ‘soul’, above a circle for ‘spirit,’ each topping the cross of ‘matter,’ thus implying maybe the channelling of raw information into understandable concepts.Of all the planets in the Solar System, this planet is closest to the Sun. It is also classed as an 'inferior' planet - it lies between the orbit of Sun and Earth, and can only ever be at most 28 degrees from the Sun.

This therefore means that if your Sun-sign is Aries, then there is a good chance that your Mercury will be in Aries too. If not, then it will be either the adjacent two Signs Pisces or Taurus.

In the natal chart, Mercury shows how we communicate and make sense of the world - how we reason, too. If, then, your Sun and Mercury are both in Aries, then your basic approach to life's challenges will go hand in hand with the way you perceive, too: this will add greater emphasis to your solar characteristics. In some cases, your Sun and Mercury may stand in a tight conjunction in the sky called 'combust.' This may mean that you could be very identified with your opinions and at one with your thought-processes, making you very focussed in outlook, albeit possibly with a somewhat one-sided approach to life.

That same Aries Sun native may, however, have Mercury in Taurus, or Pisces. The former may mean, to give just one example, that the impetuousness of Aries may be tempered by the more deliberate approach mental style of Taurus. The native may also not, however, give themselves enough time to assimilate facts, or that the natural caution of Taurus may sometimes hamper the Aries Sun native's need to use their judgement to make decisions quickly.

Strongly Mercurial types may enjoy words and possibly word-games, to be very adept as communicators and possess a good deal of natural curiosity. Negatively, this could also lead to an over-abundance of nervous energy. Mercury also traditonally rules thieves as much as it is linked to commerce. Here then, it should not be forgotten that Mercury is more to do with ideas and concepts, rather than the realities they describe: information, words and rumours can just as easily be used to mislead or even deceive, as they can to report facts. Here, then, is Mercury as the slayer of the real.

Any discourse on Mercury would be incomplete without mention of its tendency to periodically go retrograde, that is, to seem to move backwards through the Zodiac, not forward.

Such times may be 'blamed' for misunderstandings between friends, parcels and letters lost, train strikes, delayed buses. Perhaps such tales of woe only go to illustrate how dependent we are on our infrastructures and mindmaps to help us make sense of the world!

Mercury natally can also be retrograde but if so, may then may bestow compensating gifts for any glitches in making sense of it all elsewhere - perhaps by bestowing a better-than average ability to think laterally, for example.
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Dignity: Taurus, Libra

Exaltation: Pisces

Detriment: Aries, Scorpio

Fall: Virgo

This planet spends about 18.75 days in each sign of the zodiac and it orbits the sun in 225 days.

Venus is the natural ruler of Taurus and Libra and, in a natal chart, rules the 2nd and the 7th house. This planet also rules Friday.

The body parts ruled by Venus are: eyes, nose, chin, throat, sexual organs, kidneys, bladder etc.

A badly placed Venus indicates dysfunction of these parts.

In the Roman period, Venus was celebrated as goddess of beauty and love and in astrology, beside those two elements, she also represents grace, harmony, balance, sympathy, pleasure, sensuality, comfort…

Traditionally, Venus is considered one of the two great benefics .
She governs relationships, marriage, business partnerships, art, fashion and social life.

Venus turns retrograde only once every eighteen months and in this period, it is time for re-assessing and re-thinking of our personal relationships and the things we value.
Concerning our love life, some old partners might appear again, and current relationships might end…

According to astrologers, during the retrograde period, we should avoid taking action in the areas of love and finance – until Venus turns direct again.

When retrograde in a natal chart, indicates uncompleted life lessons about giving and receiving love, difficulties in achieving fulfillment or in finding a romantic partner.

The placement of Venus in your natal chart indicates the way you love, the way you approach your partner and relationships, how you interact and how your partner will receive you.

For example, being placed in Capricorn, gives a distant approach, but when placed in Libra, increases kindness and gentleness... The interpretation of the placement in natal chart depends on the position of the planet itself according to the house, a house ruler and how well or badly Venus is aspected.
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Day Ruler of Aries, masculine/ fire - Night ruler of Scorpio (traditionally)

Exalted in Capricorn, exact degree 28° - In fall in Cancer,
Detriment in Libra (modern) and Taurus (traditionally)
Day and night ruler of the triplicity of all Watersigns

In the past, Mars was considered to be the positive ruler of Aries and the negative ruler of Scorpio. In modern astrology Mars only rules Aries, whilst Pluto rules Scorpio.
Mars is the planet of aggression, initiative, our survival instinct, our (sex)drive, energy, ambition and selfpreservation.He fulfills a defence mechanism where needed and represents our psychological impuls to protect and preserve our individuality as well as our urge for conformity within a group.

In our charts, the Mars function is necessary to get things done and depending on the sign and aspects Mars makes in our chart, we can see in how far we indeed “get things done”!
There is of course a great difference in the expression of the Mars energy, depending on his placement in different signs belonging to different elements.

Mars in Fire, Aries, Leo and Sagittarius, feels comfortable in these signs because he is a fire planet and therefore can express himself accordingly.

In Aries, a Cardinal sign, in it’s purest form, very impulsive and aggressive, direct and ambitious, aiming straight at his goal. The doer!

In Leo, a Fixed sign, Mars will act more careful but with more determination and stamina, not giving up easily, not easily beat by controversy. He likes to command and is good at centralizing his energy towards one point. Great need for reward and adoration.

In Sagittarius, a Mutable sign: A bit too hasty, intervenes quickly, busy and often nervous in all his movements. Quick to anger when negatively aspected. Usually loves sports, especially those where they have to aim at things (darts, shooting, bow & arrow). Very enthousiastic and starting things with great optimism.

Mars in Earth, Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn.

In Fixed Taurus, difficulties initiating and little initiative, but once started you can’t stop him. Can be very determined and decisive. Energy is especially focussed on financial reward and stability. Much more patient than in a fire sign. Sexually strongly sensual, takes his time to warm , after that Mars takes his time enjoying!

In Mutable Virgo, great mental flexibility, fast thinking, very detail orientated, notices everything. Great placement for a controller! When negatively aspected, can be very irritating, critical and even mean and insulting. Sexual energy can be inhibited by thinking too much or through fear of infections, even though the sexual stimulation itself, usually is strong.

In Cardinal Capricorn, maximum output and methodical, practical working methods. Works just as hard as Mars in Taurus but does it faster. Great concentration of energy. Negatively aspected can be ruthless. Danger of overdoing it. Very controlled sexual energy, needs time. Not aggressive in sexual matters.

Mars in Air, Gemini, Libra and Aquarius.
In Mutable Gemini Mars’s energy is more mental than physical. Excellent for writing & debating. Quite quarrelsome and tends to loose a lot of energy that way instead of applying it where necessary. Could do a few things at the same time. More superficial than the other placements. Nervous energy, extremely restless.
With sufficient water in the rest of the chart, the sexual energy is quickly stimulated and usually uncomplicated.

In Cardinal Libra, Lack of initiative and getting on because of indecision. Also, Mars is more self centered, Libra (Venus) wants togetherness, so there is lack of co-operation. This is a weak position and Mars’s energy cannot easily come forth.
Sexual energy often not very strong.
In Fixed Air, this Mars will do best in group activities, be a good team leader, but is less inclined not take the lead or start an initiative . However, Mars here likes to bring in new ideas for projects and generally is more controlled than in other signs.
More friendly feelings towards partner than strong sexual interest.

Mars in Water, Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces.
Here we can see how Mars’s energy flows in comparison with water: In Cancer, non stop movement, like the sea, in Scorpio stilstanding water, in Pisces running water.

In Cardinal Cancer, notwithstanding the Cardinal mode, Mars is not strong. In Cancer he is in fall, is strongly subjected to emotions and can have great difficulties to direct his energy in a practical way. Mars needs a good deal of Earth, present in the rest of the chart, to get things done and not to be inclined to emotional outbursts. The proverbial “storm in a glass of water” is very describing of Mars in Cancer.
Strong inner needs and outer shyness can cause sexual problems. In some cases a certain fear for anything sexual.

In Fixed Scorpio, Strong, very deep and longlasting emotions, extremely passionate and “love-hate” situations are common with this placement and the borderline between them very thin. Mars here is capable of great revenge, especially when hurt. Positively aspected this Mars can move mountains, has seemingly neverending physical strength, a very hard worker but negatively aspected, can crush anything that stands in his way. A need for other aspects in the chart which softens or controls this powerful energy, is needed.
Strong sexual energy.

In Mutable Pisces
Here Mars’s energy gets going at the spur of the moment, quite agile and is quickly emotionally stimulated. Because water streams “downwards” (down seen as less refined) some individuals with this placement can behave quite unconventional, not caring what people say about them, whilst there are others who make an effort to act in a more pleasant, conventional way. Mars here is well equipped to put his energy in efforts to help the underdog.
Sexual energy is, especially with less refined types, strongly developed, easily stimulated and they can let themselves go completely. The more evolved, intellectual types can curiously cut out the passion and in some cases can live in celibacy with ease. (ideal placement for a monk!). Because of the duality of Pisces, the energy of Mars is not very equal, sometimes stronger, then again less. This also shows why there are actually two different types of individuals to be found in Pisces.

The energy of Mars depends also very much on it’s house placement. In a positive house it works better than in a negative house. Angles very strong, cadent houses least strong and succedent houses medium strength.
Aspects to Mars greatly influence it’s energy as well, so take the above statements as general descriptions!

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(Also known as Zeus and Phaeton.)
Rulerships by sign: Sagittarius (by day) / Pisces (by night)
Signs of detriment: Gemini & Virgo
Exaltation (sign & degree): Cancer - 15°
Fall (sign & degree): Capricorn - 15 °

Triplicity rulership Fire triplicity by night

Jupiter is known as the Great Benefic. It is the largest of the planets and has been referred to as "the Lord of Plenty", bestowing upon the Earth all things bountiful. In truth, Jupiter is Lord of the World itself, and rules International/Global events and the ninth house in western Astrology.

This somewhat "larger than life" planet represents the energy and exuberance of Sagittarius,the zodiac sign over which it has rulership in a Diurnal chart .Jupiter is the polarity of Mercurial energy, the higher octave of Gemini.
The radius of Jupiter is nearly 44,360 miles. When it is nearer to the Earth it appears to be brighter than any fixed star, but not as bright as Venus,(the Lesser Benefic) Jupiter is said to be surrounded by a dense atmosphere of methane and ammonia gases.
Jupiter is the first of the slower-moving planets and it takes approximately a year to travel through one sign of the zodiac, thus forming a 12 year cycle. The return of Jupiter to the position it occupied at your birth once every 12 years marks an important development point.

Philosophy,Philanthropy, Higher Education and the exploration of ideas all fall under the jurisdiction of Jupiter. In the same way that Mercury conceives the idea in the third house, Jupiter takes it to a higher level, in the ninth, above the horizon,and thus we see that Jupiter also holds rulership over Religion, Churches,and places involved with metaphysics, also Universities, colleges,and courts.
Jupiter is concerned with the expansion of our consciousness, both as individuals and as part of a"Cosmic Collective".
Jupiter is considered to the Patron of Religious leaders,Judges, those upholding the law and those whose concerns involve social values and ethics, such as "moral Crusaders", or Lawyers, Charities.

In the words of Deborah Houlding..(see Reference list below)

"The symbol for Jupiter shows the crescent of spirit being anchored in the
cross of matter; a signature of contact with divine illumination."

Jupiter has rulership over Pisces in a Nocturnal chart. There it stimulates dreams and visions of the future, expanding our awareness through our own creative mental and spiritual processes.In Pisces, the Spiritual matters are emphasised,and Jupiter works there by expanding our consciousness, at a sub conscious level.
At a more physical level, Jupiter rules over ailments in the body that are connected with purification-the Liver being a primary one, but also the circulation of air and blood through the body,aspiration in both senses of the word.
Because of the expansive effect of Jupiter, illnesses like flatulence, obesity tumours and growths are also ruled by Jupiter - illnesses caused by excesses, or resulting in excesses (such as haemorrhages).
Jupiter rules, blood, liver, arteries, thighs, neck, weight problems, diabetes, cataract, intoxication, biliousness, cholestrol.
Jupiter rules your potential for growth and expansion on many levels ; physical, intellectual, spiritual, cultural, and the accumulation of material assets, power, and status. It describes your optimism and aspirations. It represents your father and his position in society.

William Lilly had this to say about Jupiter:

Manners when well dignified:
Magnanimous, faithful, bashful, aspiring in an honourable way at high matters, in all actions a lover of fair dealing, desiring to benefit all men, doing glorious things, honourable and religious, of sweet and affable conversation, wonderfully indulgent to his wife and children, reverencing aged men, a great reliever of the poor, full of charity and godliness, liberal, hating all sordid actions, just, wise, prudent, thankful, virtuous: so that when you find Jupiter the significator of any man in a question, or lord of his Ascendant in a nativity, and well dignified, you may judge him qualified as abovesaid.

Manners when badly placed:
When Jupiter is unfortunate, then he wastes his patrimony, suffers every one to cozen him, is hypocritically religious, tenacious, and stiff in maintaining false tenets in religion; he is ignorant, careless, nothing delightful in the love of his friends; of a gross, dull capacity, schismatical, abasing himself in all companies, crouching and stooping where no necessity is.

Jupiter's gift to us here on Earth is the gift of hope and optimism. It is the light that can lead us to fulfil our highest potential. The aspects it makes to other planets in our chart describe the knowledge/learning /wisdom that we can attain or what obstacles we may confront along the way.


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