The Planets

For convenience, the Sun and the Moon are known as planets, although we know them to be a star and satellite respectively. The planets, the Sun, the Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto, are all connected with a house and sign, and each has a particular function to play within the birthchart.

These functions are ego, emotion, communication, love, energy, wisdom, limitation, experience, the sub-conscious, and change.

The position of a particular planet within a sign shows how that planet will work, for example, if the Sun is in Aries, the individual will show their ego in a confident, assertive, selfish way.

The house that a planet is placed in will show where that planet works, so that if the Sun were placed in the third house, the individual would display a desire for study, learning and talking to other people.

All the planets perform their own role within the birthchart, and each will have an effect in one way or another on the life and personality of the individual.

The Sun

The Sun is not a planet but the star around which our solar system revolves. However, we refer to the Sun as a planet for ease rather than any other reason.

When discussing the Sun, it is important to ignore the Sun sign horoscopes that we see in the newspapers and magazines. The Sun is one element within the birthchart (albeit a very important one). It represents the outward expression - how the world sees us. Wherever it is placed within the birthchart we find a great deal of energy and power. This is where we concentrate our energies. How we concentrate those energies depends on the sign the Sun is placed in. The Sun is linked to Leo, and through this linked to creation, joy, self-esteem and generosity. In turn, the Sun is associated with children, surely the most wonderful example of creation. A well-aspected Sun will bring an individual kindness of heart, focus and a sunny disposition. Badly aspected, the Sun can mean an individual is pompous, over-bearing and too demanding of center-stage.

The Sun appears to move round the zodiac quite quickly, and as a result transits tend to last for a few hours. The most well-known transit by the Sun occurs on your birthday, when we usually feel good about ourselves for a short while. It is at this time when we often find ourselves the center of attraction.

Progressions by the Sun are truly important affairs. In any average life time, we will only experience around 20 progressions by this powerful planet. They tend to affect us fundamentally - these are important times in our lives when we focus closely on our lives and work out what we have to do to move on. Positive progressions by the Sun mean we have energy to spare and can make the most of opportunities that present themselves. These times are often a time of increased maturity and development. Negative progressions may bring setbacks and lack of focus, but these times need to be used in order to concentrate and make sure we complete what we have to get done. The Sun will change signs by progression maybe once or twice in our lifetimes. This represents a time when we change our focus and often become a more complex individual.

Venus

Venus is the second planet out from the Sun. It is the romantic, the lover, the friend and the partner. Venus brings gentleness, grace and charm and represents the part of us that needs to be with other people.

Venus rules the signs of Libra and Taurus, and the second and seventh houses. Libra and the seventh house are connected with relationships and people, whilst Taurus and the second house are linked to feelings about partners, security and possessions (which a partner may become). Venus allows us to find harmony in everything we do and with everyone we meet, whether romantic, business or friend.

Transits by Venus are not that powerful, although conjunctions between the Sun and Venus will inevitably bring you into contact with someone you find attractive. It is in the progressed chart that Venus really shines. Progressed aspects both to and by Venus bring definition to a relationship. Whether this is the end of one and the start of a new love affair, or perhaps the strengthening of an existing partnership depends on the aspect and planets involved. However, there is nothing insignificant about a visit from the planet of love in your chart.

The Moon

Like the Sun, we know that the Moon is not a planet, merely a satellite that moves round the Earth every 28 days or so. For convenience sake, both the Sun and Moon are called planets, although their role transcends that of the other (real) planets in the Solar System.

The Moon represents emotions, responses, instincts and intuition. It is the part of us that acts without thinking, automatically, instinctively. The Moon shows how we react to day to day situations and how we cope with routine and chores. Through the Moon we can see how we are brought up by our parents and in turn, how we raise our own children. The Moon, through its connection with Cancer, is closely linked to childbirth, maternity and the mother. Its placement in the birthchart shows how emotional we are, how we use that emotion and how that emotion affects our lives. A well aspected Moon will bring an individual a sense of balance between the conscious and subsconcious, whereas a badly aspected Moon could mean too much emotion or an inability to express emotion in any meaningful way.

Because the Moon moves so quickly through the zodiac, transits are merely fleeting moments that pass by almost unnoticed. Full and New Moons are more important, especially to newspaper horoscopes, and I will cover this area in another issue.

Progressions by the Moon are quite common and have a background effect to life for about a month or so. These progressions often affect our day to day living, our relationships with women, and more often than not, our homes. Positive progressions by the Moon (particularly conjunctions) are usually good times to move, whilst negative progressions bring argument and conflict, often emotional in nature, and usually at home. The most important progressions are the conjunction with the Ascendant, which is often associated with the birth of a child, and the Lunar Return, which happens every 28 years or so. The Return occurs just before the Saturn Return, and as a part of the metamorphosis from our twenties into the thirties, often represents increased maturity and greater independence.

Mars

Mars is next planet out from the Earth in the solar system. Representing energy, power, masculinity and action, Mars is the physical nature of a person. It is the source of initiative, of passion and enthusiasm in the birth chart. Mars is linked to the armed forces, the police and those who work with fire, iron and steel.

In the birth chart, Mars brings athleticism, stimulation and intensity. Too much Mars can make a person aggressive, over-powering and selfish. Not enough can mean a person is lazy, lacking in direction and unable to get things started. Mars rules Aries and the first house, and works with Venus to bring harmony to the masculine/feminine nature within us all.

Transits by Mars are often fleeting events, lasting only a day or so. Although not considered as important as transits by the outer planets, Mars often creates the conditions to begin new cycles in life. Taking nearly two years to orbit the Sun, Mars inflames, energizes and aggravates existing situations within the natal chart.

Progressions by Mars are a more serious matter entirely. In a usual lifetime, a person may only experience five to ten progressions by Mars, and as such, signify important periods in a person's life. Lasting for two to three years, these progressions will color life to such a degree that all focus and energy is concentrated on that one area. This often represents a time when a whole new way of life is carved out - when I started studying astrology, Mars was conjunct with Mercury in my chart. During that period when this progression was taking place, my whole focus in life was centred on reading books, making notes, studying and learning. Nothing else mattered. Progressions by Mars may not be common, but they have paramount importance.

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