Traditional astrology traced the movement of the planets, the seven wandering celestial bodies, through the heavens and pictured them abstractly in the horoscope chart. In the horoscope the planets traversed both astrological signs and astrological houses, divisions created as a map of meanings in the heavens. Astrologers saw in them the major variables in the astrological chart. The seven traditional planets were the Sun, the Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. As other planets were discovered (Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto), they were added to considerations of the horoscope.
Modern astrologers are, of course, fully aware that the Sun and Moon are not planets, but they generally keep the traditional terminology. The Sun is the most important planet in the chart. Individuals are primarily designated by the sign in which the Sun is located in their birth chart. The Moon is second only to the Sun in importance. Whereas the Sun represents the active individual, the Moon, whose light is reflective, designates the more receptive and passive qualities of the person.
Some contemporary astrologers also give consideration to asteroids, particularly to the largest (Ceres, Pallas, Juno, and Vesta, which can be found in the asteroid belt, between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter), as well as to Chiron, a large comet orbiting between Saturn and Uranus.
The practice of astrology is based on the premise that the planets can be related to significant personality traits and correlated with major events on Earth. The traits most often associated with specific planets, beginning with the outermost planet in the solar system, are as follows:
The slow-moving outermost planet represents a powerful transforming energy whose effect is relative to its position in the chart. Pluto's qualities are power, elimination, latency, eruption, annihilation, renewal, and regeneration. It is seen as related to subtle underground forces that lie dormant for a time and then suddenly burst forth. The discovery of Pluto came at the same time as the rise of Nazism, the discussions on splitting the atom, and the rise of mass media. Pluto's power is the power of the atom, the power of the masses, and the power of the unconscious.
Neptune has come to be associated with those forces that tend to do away with such artificial barriers as time, space, ego, and national borders. It might be seen as the higher, more spiritual, form of Venus. Its qualities include universality, idealism, compassion, spirituality, formlessness, elusiveness, secrecy, mystery, fantasy, and delusion. All states of consciousness that destroy the limitations of normal waking consciousness indicate Neptune's influence.
Uranus is by nature extremely cold, dry, and melancholy. Natives with a strong Uranian influence are of small stature, dark or pale complexion, rather light hair, highly nervous temperament, and sedate aspect but have some striking physical feature, light gray eyes, and a delicate constitution. If the planet is well dignified (i.e., there is a high degree of harmony between the planet and the sign it is in), the native is a searcher of science, particularly chemistry, and remarkably attached to the wonderful. The person possesses an extraordinary magnanimity and loftiness of mind, with an uncontrollable and intense desire for pursuits and discoveries of an uncommon nature. If the planet is ill dignified, the native is weak, sickly, and destined to have a short life; is treacherous, given to gross imposture, unfortunate in undertakings, capricious in tastes, and eccentric in his conduct. The effects of Uranus are of a totally unexpected, strange, and unaccountable character. The planet rules over places dedicated to unlawful arts and laboratories. Uranus governs Lapland, Finland, and the Poles.
Saturn is by nature cold and dry, a melancholy, earthy, masculine, solitary, and diurnal planet. When Saturn rules the ascendant (rising sign), the native is of average stature and dark or pale complexion, has small black eyes, broad shoulders, and black hair, and is ill shaped about the lower extremities. When Saturn is well dignified, the native is grave and wise, studious and severe, of an active and penetrating mind, reserved and patient, constant in attachment but implacable in resentment, upright and inflexible. If the planet is ill dignified, then the native will be sluggish, covetous, and distrustful; stubborn, malicious, and malcontented.
Jupiter is a diurnal, masculine planet, temperately hot and moist, airy, and sanguine, the lord of the air triplicity. If the planet is well dignified, the native will be of erect carriage and tall stature with a handsome ruddy complexion, high fore-head, soft, thick brown hair, handsome shape, and commanding aspect; his voice will be strong, clear, and manly, and his speech grave and sober. If the planet is ill dignified, the native will still be a good-looking person, although of smaller stature and less noble aspect. In the former case, the understanding and character will be of the highest possible description; in the latter case, although the native will be careless and improvident, immoral and irreligious, he or she will never entirely lose the good opinion of friends.
Mars is a masculine, nocturnal, hot, dry planet, of the fire triplicity. It is the author of strife, and the principle of assertiveness. The native is short but strong, having large bones; ruddy complexion; red or sandy hair and eyebrows; quick, sharp eyes; round, bold face; and fearless aspect. If Mars is well dignified, the native will be courageous and invincible, unsusceptible to fear, careless of death, resolute, and unsubmissive. If the planet is ill dignified, the native will be a trumpeter of his own fame, dishonest, fond of quarrels, and prone to fights. The gallows is said to most often terminate the lives of those born in low circumstances under the influence of Mars. Mars signifies soldiers, surgeons, barbers, and butchers.
The Sun is a masculine, hot, dry planet with usually favorable influences. The native is very much like one born under Jupiter, but with lighter hair, redder complexion, fatter body, and larger eyes. When the Sun is well dignified, the native is affable, courteous, splendid and sumptuous, proud, liberal, humane, and ambitious. When it is ill dignified, the native is arrogant, mean, loquacious, and sycophantic, resembling the native under Jupiter when ill dignified, but even worse. The Sun indicates that which is most seasonable; professions (kings, lords and all dignified persons, braziers, goldsmiths, and persons employed in mints), and places (kings' courts, palaces, theaters, halls, and places of state).
The Moon is feminine, nocturnal, cold, moist, and phlegmatic. Its influence in itself is neither fortunate nor un-fortunate. The Moon is benevolent or otherwise according to how the other planets conflict or are in harmony with it, and in all circumstances it becomes more powerful than any of them. The native is short and stout with fair, pale complexion, round face, gray eyes, short arms, and thick hands and feet; is very hairy but with light hair; and is phlegmatic. If the Moon is affected by the Sun at the time of birth, the native will have a blemish on or near the eye. When the Moon is well dignified, the native is of soft, engaging manners, imaginative, and a lover of the arts but is also wandering, careless, timorous, and unstable; loves peace; and is averse to activity. When it is ill dignified, the native is of an ill shape, indolent, worthless, and disorderly.
Venus is a feminine planet, temperately cold and moist, the author of mirth and sport. The native is handsome and well formed but not tall, with a clear complexion, bright hazel or black eyes, dark brown or chestnut hair that is thick, soft, and shiny; a soft and sweet voice; and a very prepossessing aspect. If Venus is well dignified, the native is cheerful, friendly, musical, fond of elegant accomplishments, and prone to love but frequently jealous. If it is ill dignified, the native is less handsome in person and in mind, given to every licentiousness and to dishonesty.
Mercury is masculine, melancholy, cold, and dry. The native is tall, straight, and thin, with a narrow face and high forehead, long straight nose, black or gray eyes, thin lips and chin, scanty beard, and brown hair; the arms, hands, and fingers are long and slender. If Mercury is in the east at the time of birth, the native is likely to be of a stronger constitution and have sandy hair; if in the west, the native is prone to be sallow, lank, slender, and of a dry habit. When mercury is well dignified, the native has an acute and penetrating mind, a powerful imagination, and a retentive memory; is eloquent; is fond of learning; and is successful in scientific investigation. If engaged in mercantile pursuits, the native is enterprising and skillful. If Mercury is ill dignified, the native is a mean, unprincipled character, a pretender to knowledge, a boastful impostor, and a malicious slanderer.
Asteroids represent highly specific principles and influences, in contrast to the planets, which are associated with a broad range of attributes, personality traits, and principles. The "big four" asteroids are Ceres, Juno, Vesta, and Pallas. Ceres represents the attribute of nurturance, either where and how one is nurtured, or where and how one nurtures others. Juno represents the principle of marriage and indicates traits of one's marriage partner, as well as features of one's marriage-(s). Vesta represents the principle of dedicated work. Pallas represents the principle of creative wisdom. Chiron, a large comet in orbit between Saturn and Uranus, has a wide variety of associations but seems to have a particular link with healing and counseling.
Aspects and Relationships
As can be seen from the foregoing descriptions, each planet has picked up a host of associations through the centuries. Each one has also been assigned "rulership" of different astrological signs with which it has a particular affinity. The rulerships are as follows:
Uranus and Aquarius; Neptune and Pisces.
Planets "project" certain qualities as they assume geometric relationships to other planets in the birth chart. The major geometric aspects of the planets are thus distinguished:
Conjunction. When two planets are in the same degree and minute of a sign, which may be of good or unfortunate import, depending on the nature of the planets and whether their relationship is harmonious or conflicting.
Sextile. When two planets are 60 degrees distant from each other; it is called the aspect of imperfect love or friendship and is generally a favorable omen.
Square. When two planets are 90 degrees distant from each other, making the aspect inharmonious and inclining to conflict and difficulty.
Trine. When the distance is 120 degrees, promising harmonious cooperation and the best blending of energies.
Opposition. When two planets are 180 degrees apart, or exactly opposite each other, which is considered an aspect of tension, implying conflict and difficulties.
Aspects need not be exact, but can be within three to eight degrees of the foregoing geometric relationships, depending on the particular aspect and the planets involved. The closer an aspect is to being exact, the stronger it is.
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