If you read into the scientific literature there is a consensus agreement that planets are large chunks of rock and, unlike the Moon, they do not orbit the Earth. A genius named Galileo proved this contention hundreds of years ago!
What is remarkable here is that many deriders of astrology seem to believe we still hold a geocentric world-view, with planetary spheres and angelic forces!
Perhaps they have not researched modern literature. Astrology, like Science, Religion, Art, requires a degree of belief. It also involves the study and practise.
The best advice for those on the fence (and it is a long fence) is ‘try to see’: if astrology doesn’t work for you then you will still come out of this with more synaptic connections!
The planets (and from now on the term for any astrological light or planet in this post) say a lot more symbolically about our terrestrial perspective than they do with the astronomical bodies. These planets are symbols of our archetypal needs: astrologers are people on a symbolic quest.
If a person has Sun rising in their natal chart, it shows that their solar life-direction is something they identify with strongly in a 1st house way. They go their way, at least until they find strong opposition (‘Hell is other people’). It forces them to re-test their position and then go their way again.
There are many ways of looking at the planets. An excellent way to understand them is to treat them as functions of personality. In our natal chart it gives us a geocentric map, an expedient illusion, however here we view the planets in a heliocentric order. I will include the Sun and Moon again, to keep the ten planets in context. I’ll also mention the role of the natal Ascendant.
“The Essential Me”
A. The Sun and Moon: the primary symbols of awareness:
Sun: Self-consciousness; life-path;
Moon: reflective consciousness; the manifestation of this path; mind, and
B. The Inner Planets: facilitating personal awareness:
Our way of expressed identity (Mercury); and
What we desire in the world of others (Venus).
C. The outer planets: facilitating our societal awareness.
Our way of asserting ourselves (ambitiously) in the world (Mars);
Our means of discovery (Jupiter); and,
The realisations we form (often through hardship) to define our lives (Saturn).
D. The trans-Saturnian planets – Facilitating an extended awareness;
The way we reform our awareness (Uranus);
The greater empathy (beyond desire) we have with the world (Neptune); and
Our means of profound empowerment, and life renewal (Pluto).
These are my brief set of meanings. I will unpack them for you in chart delineation. My concise meanings are the ones most workable for my practice. I practise the psychological interpretation.
If you research, the traditional planetary meanings – you’ll note variations – but I’m sure you’ll see where I’m coming from. Try my way. Your study of astrology, should you wish to continue (and I hope you do), will be mainly about the planets.
E. Notes on the planets:
The Sun is symbolic of our life-direction. It shows us a lot about both our will and our way. The combination of the Sun and the planets beyond Saturn shows a unique life: one that can influence – sometimes profoundly in the lives of others.
What follows is the chart of the man who invented the telescope and saw – for the first time – the four moons of Jupiter; bodies whose motion defied the geocentric mindset of his time and led to the rise of modern astronomy.
His brilliance (irrespective of the cruelty of the church which forced him to recant his findings) began the end of the geocentric world-view.
Let’s start our introduction by looking at his Sun (life-direction) and the influence of the planets beyond Saturn. Planets Galileo would not have known of in his day!
I will look at some ‘hard’ planetary aspects here. We will look at the patterns between planets in later posts. At this stage, I will only look at close relationships using tight harmonic orbs.
Firstly Galileo had a Pisces Sun conjunct Pluto (empowerment and life renewal) squaring (90°) both Uranus (a reform of awareness) and Neptune (a greater empathy). His chart indicates an individual who embodies a transformation of the existing order.
Though he was a heretic in his day, Galileo has received a just recognition of his solar potential. Pisces is a sign of endings and deep understandings. Galileo sought to make sense of a sea of stars.
The Moon & Venus (and something of the patterns that draw us together)
Let’s now look at two actresses, Jean Harlow and Marilyn Monroe (Norma Jean Baker).
Let’s discuss this, associate the Moon and Venus with the divine feminine. They are the symbols of the celestial mother and most desirable of the sky goddess.
The charts of these two Hollywood goddesses focus on these two planets.
It is Interesting that when we compare the women’s charts one of those impossible proofs of astrology, that validate our strange craft, stand out.
I see this proof in the unique symbiotic relationship that, even though these women never had a ‘real-world’ relationship, existed in their skies.
Looking at the two charts:
(Jean Harlow some 15 years her senior, was Norma ‘Jean’ Baker’s idol)
- Both women have the lunar goddess in the 7th house of the ‘other’ they seek.
- Both women have an Aries Venus: actively seeking desire, the fire goddess.
- Both women have their venue ruler Mars intensified by the conjunction to Uranus.
It’s small wonder Norma Jean sat for hours watching the actress she both venerated and imitated. She yearned to be the Hollywood ‘blonde’ as a little girl, left in a movie theatre in LA.
Both women had a fire (typically masculine), Venus,, and both were deft at enacting what men of their generation wanted (perhaps to counterbalance the ‘ideal wife’, at home with the kids) Monroe had a high-placed Venus than Harlow, and few now remember the original ‘blond’ only the one ‘whose candle burnt out long before the legend ever did.’
“My Essential Identity”
Mercury is, with venus, a planet that represents our expressed identity. An inner planet it orbits closest to the Sun and symbolically passes on that identifying light. Mercury represents our expressed self-identity, just as Venus represents the desires that we personalise.
Our subject, a great singer and songwriter, who later called himself, Freddy Mercury, sought to embody the archetype.
Farrokh Bulsara gave himself the stage name of the planetary god Mercury, mid-career, in the late 1970s. It was a good move.
By consciously focusing on Mercury he was bringing most of the critical factors of the archetype to the fore in his life. This was sympathetic magic, and someone knowledgeable in western astrology probably advised him.
Freddy had a strong Mercury, in rulership and, posited in his first along with his Sun: he burnt bright, all but briefly. Mercury also ruled his 10th house and Uranus: the highest of his planetary positions. Freddy set out to transform his field and had the talent, and the (4 octaves) voice, to do so (four planets in Libya).
He bent the form of conservative opera (Saturn) into the Uranian shape of ‘Rock n Roll’. He also turned our rigid perceptions of gender, somewhat out of shape, as well; bent them in such a way that one would suspect the Greek God Hermes would be proud.
The next few posts will look at planetary aspects (something we’ve only alluded to thus far). We need to do this before we look more deeply at the rest of the planets.
A note on my use of planetary aspect orbs (when are two planets really in aspect) before we begin.
I tend to work in extremes with aspects!
For a general summing up of chart potential (aside from planetary placement), I consider ‘whole Sign Aspects’ (WSA). This is logical given my house system of choice is the whole sign. I find this method very powerful.
This method is one considered exclusively with the ‘Whole Sign House System’, it doesn’t lend itself to any other.
For example, any planet posited at any degree from another in opposing zodiacal signs is considered to be in opposition aspect (more on this next post).
This method puts all reliance on the sign/house placements in the chart. This is the method that the Indian astrologers mainly use. However, I limit aspects to planets and not to empty houses.
The other method I use when I want to further pinpoint an intricate pattern in a chart is the ‘harmonic’ orb method. I won’t go into harmonics here; you can look this up. This method has a logic to it like the WSA system.
Let’s look at the opposition aspect of 6 signs or 180°. It goes into the 360° circle twice; therefore, it is the second harmonic aspect or H2. To find the orb for this aspect (the tolerance the planets need be in, to be in this aspect). We take a base of 12° and divide it by 2. Hence an orb of 6° for the opposition (H2).
Next, post the so-called hard aspects: that integration that define us!