Astrologists speak a lot about planets and how their movements affect our lives and shape our birth chart. How are the characteristics of the planets defined? How do we know what they mean? Let’s explore the qualities of the planets.
The inner planets, those closer to the Sun than Earth, travel fast so they are assumed to influence our daily life; our actions, moods and interactions. The outer planets, those farther away from the Sun than the Earth, are slower moving and influence the larger aspects of our lives; the stages we go through, the deep changes that affect us. Indeed the three slowest planets influence entire generations. Focus on the qualities of the planets for such activities as meditation and inspiration. The planets are said to relate to chakras, or energy centers within the human body. Note: not all astrologers/healers agree on which planet rules which chakra.
From Mercury to Pluto: the Qualities of the Planets
Mercury is the messenger. It changes signs every three to four weeks. Closest to the Sun, it moves at lightening fast speed and affects all aspects of communication and thought, very similar to the suit of Swords in tarot. Mercury is about things happening quickly. Fast decisions, incisive thought and direct communication. Need a clear head? Tap into the energy of Mercury. Mercury is also gender-neutral and takes on the gender of whichever sign it happens to be in.
Mercury is represented by the element of air and is connected to the signs of Gemini and Virgo. It presides over the 3rd and 6th Houses and influences the 5th (throat) chakra.
Venus is the planet of harmony, pleasure, love, friendships, contentment, and cooperation. Again a fast moving body, she changes signs every four to five weeks. Venus is similar to the suit of Cups in tarot as she is connected to emotions. Venus is not just about romance, but any activity that requires two or more people to work together in good-natured harmony. Artistic and creative endeavors all fall under Venus’s benevolence.
Her energy is feminine and she is aligned with the signs of Taurus and Libra. When you need to find balance and a harmonious conclusion, turn to Venus for help. Venus rules over the second and seventh Houses and influences the second (sacral) chakra.
The planet of destruction and construction, named after the God of War, takes six to seven weeks to change his sign. Mars rules courage, sexual energy, aggression, violence, power, confidence, and ambition. It is similar to the tarot suit of Wands. When strength and outward expression is wanted, then Mars is your planet. Channel the energy of Mars for good intent and you can move mountains. Use it negatively at your peril.
When you want to increase your passion, act in a determined and forceful manner, turn to the potent power of Mars. This planet is, of course, masculine and aligned with Aries and Scorpio. He rules the first and eighth Houses and influences the first (root) and third (solar plexus) chakras.
Jupiter is connected to higher consciousness, the seat of abstract thought, and spiritual and intellectual exploration. In the same way that Jupiter rules philosophical adventures, it is also the planet of physical travel. Jupiter has a positive influence over us and helps us to keep our glass half-full perspective.
Look to Jupiter when you are seeking answers, hoping for a change in fortunes, and looking to increase prosperity and wisdom. Beware that Jupiter can also influence weight gain. It takes massive, gas giant Jupiter 12 to 13 months to change from one sign to the next. Jupiter is masculine and rules Sagittarius and Pisces and watches over the ninth and twelfth Houses as well as influencing the seventh (crown) chakra.
Discipline, structure and order are part of Saturn’s remit. If you are trying to get out of doing some hard work, Saturn may well intervene and create even more work for you. Saturn is also in charge of restrictions, delays and timing. It has a heavy energy and could be similar to the tarot suit of Earth (although Earth itself is a much better match). While many think Saturn is dull and boring, this planet has a lot of positive energy. Saturn brings responsibility, it’s true, but along with that comes a deep wisdom. Embrace Saturn’s strict teachings, rise to his challenges and you will thrive.
Saturn changes signs every two to three years. Interestingly he spends a good portion of each year in retrograde (appearing to move backwards). Saturn, as you may have guessed, is a masculine planet and rules Capricorn and Aquarius, and is in charge of the tenth and eleventh Houses. Saturn is connected to the sixth (third eye) chakra.
Uranus is a little bit like your mad scientist… highly intelligent and somewhat ‘out there’. Which is not surprising, given that it is definitely a long way out there. Uranus ushers in new global trends and technologies. It is so slow moving that these things appear to happen over decades. Yet, Uranus likes big changes and makes them happen, including things like political turmoil and revolutions. And earthquakes. Another aspect of this planet is dramatic artistic and creative evolution.
Uranus is androgynous and is aligned with Aquarius and the eleventh House. It is a higher octave planet, counterbalancing Mercury. It changes signs every seven years and, like Saturn, is influential over the sixth (third eye) chakra.
Dreams, illusions, mystery, deep knowledge, healing, and the occult all come under the aegis of Neptune. Everything about this planet is changeable, so what seems clear cut suddenly isn’t when Neptune has a hand in things. Neptune guides our lifetime spiritual development and also rules things like trance and meditation. When you travel deep into your subconscious you can bet you’re taking the energy of Neptune along for the ride.
But remember, the illusory nature of Neptune. Not everything she shows you is real. Neptune will help you open your mind but it is up to your own discernment and intuition whether to put any faith in what you discover.
Despite her name, Neptune has a feminine energy and changes signs every ten to twelve years. She rules the sign of Pisces and the twelfth House. Neptune is connected to the fourth (heart) chakra and may also be aligned to the seventh (crown).
Pluto is way out there, the furthest of our planets. She is connected to transformation. Complete and utter chaos may rule while this planet is in charge of events. We might call it catastrophic cleansing because, once it has all come to pass, there is a definite sense of rejuvenation.
At the same time, Pluto has an even darker underbelly—in charge of crimewaves, pandemics, and general death and destruction, including natural disasters. If you are experiencing problems in relationships linked to cheating, possessiveness, jealousy, or controlling behavior, look for Pluto in your chart.
Dwarf planet Pluto moves into a new sign every 12 to 15 years, but it can vary wildly, sometimes taking up to 31 years, depending on its orbit. Pluto has a feminine energy and rules Scorpio and the eighth House. It is a higher octave of Mars and acts as a kind of counter-balance. Pluto rules the third (solar plexus) chakra.
Astrology Zodiac Signs: Planets
Astrology.com: Astrology 101