Planets and Asteroids: their meaning
In addition to the Earth, Astrology deals with ten planets, namely the Sun, the Moon (the two luminaries are considered planets in astrology), Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. Minor celestial bodies, such as the Dark Moon, asteroids and the nodal axis, are also taken into account, and are addressed at the end of this chapter. Each planet has its precise function in the natal chart, and represents a specific energy. The planet's action is influenced by the sign it tenants. It plays out primarily in the area of life indicated by the house where it is posited.
The planets are divided into two classes: personal planets, (or fast-moving planets), and collective planets (or slow-moving planets).
The personal planets are the Sun, the Moon, Mercury, Venus and Mars. They are said to be fast-moving because it takes them a short time to travel the Zodiacal circle (from a minimum of 28 days for the Moon to a maximum of 1 year and 220 days for Mars). As they quickly shift from one sign to the other, they release their energies very differently in each individual.
The other planets are slower and require between 12 to 249 years to travel through the entire Zodiac, depending on the planet considered. This is the reason why they are called collective planets, with the exception of Jupiter and Saturn, because their motion is faster. Collective planets remain in a sign for several years and their energies affect one or several generations. Therefore, their influence on the individual's personality is less important.
The Sun and the Moon are two valuable sources of information on the individual's basic psychology. They are of utmost importance for the interpretation of the natal chart, and are called Luminaries because they are the brightest planets.
The Sun takes approximately 365 days to travel through the Zodiac, and spends 30 days in each sign. (There are 30 degrees in a sign). The Sun's daily motion is roughly of one degree. In astrology, as viewed from the Earth, neither the Sun nor the Moon retrogrades. The luminaries, i.e. the Sun and the Moon, are the only "planets" which never move backwards on the Zodiac as they perform their endless dance.
Distance from Earth: 150 millions km. Mass: 334 000 times the Earth's.
Fire is his element. His nature is hot and dry. He rules Leo and is in exaltation in Aries. He is in analogy with the heart.
He represents the father, the husband, and the leader. The age of the Sun covers the period from 20 to 40 years, approximately.
Characterology: emotive, secondary, active. He is passionate.
The Sun is the indivudual's ego, his aspirations, his inner self and his will, that which he tends to really be, unlike the Ascendant which is the image projected onto others.
The Sun is the masculine part of the personality, the Yang, and as such, he represents all male figures (father, husband, leader, etc.). He provides clues to the image of the father and men in general, as well as the type of relationship with them, regardless of the gender of the chart's owner. However, he seems to be more important in men's chart, since he stands for all masculine and positive values.
The Sun is a star of warmth, life, and light. Therefore, he emphasizes courage, loyalty, nobleness and generosity, but also pride, irascibility, and self-centredness.
In a woman's chart, the Sun usually symbolizes her father, and later on, her husband. The Sun is always active in the woman's personality and represents her ideal of man.
The Sun is associated with youth, the period in life when, brimming with ambitions and hopes, one completes one's studies.
The Moon is the swiftest of all the celestial bodies. She travels through the Zodiac in approximately 28 days, and spends two and a half days in each sign. Her daily motion is an average of 12 degrees.
Distance from Earth: 384 000 km. Mass: slightly over one thousandth of the Earth's.
Water is her element. Her nature is cold and moist. She rules Cancer and she is in exaltation in Taurus. She is in analogy with the stomach.
She represents the mother, the wife and the crowd. Her age covers the period from birth to childhood before puberty, or even earlier, according to some authors.
Characterology: emotive, non-active, primary, or non-emotive, non-active and primary. She is nervous, or amorphous.
She is complementary to the Sun in the sense that she represents the feminine part of the personality (the Yin), the unconscious, the emotions and the sensitivity of the chart's owner. She symbolizes all feminine figures such as the mother, the wife, etc.
She is a sign of fertility, femininity, imagination and memory, or lack of, depending on the aspects she receives. She is particularly important in a woman's chart because she is believed to express more or less easily her female status and her femininity.
In a man's chart, although the Moon represents his sensitivity, she may be of a lesser importance, since she is often repressed. In addition, she symbolizes the chart owner's mother, and later on, his wife as well as his representation of the ideal woman.
The Moon is the night star. Therefore, she is associated with dreams, the unconscious, subjectivity, moods, the past, nostalgia, but also with laziness, nonchalance and whims. Besides, she is of utmost importance for children, because they have not yet learnt to master their primary instincts, and remain very attached to their mother.
Mercury's revolution takes about 88 days. The apparent daily motion of this very small planet is of one degree on average, similar to the Sun's. Mercury never moves further than 28 degrees away from the Sun, when viewed from the Earth.
Earth is his element. His nature is cold and dry. He rules Virgo and Gemini, and he is in exaltation in Virgo also. He is in analogy with the arms, the hands and the nervous system.
He represents traders, attorneys and messengers. His age covers the period from 12 to 18 years, approximately.
Characterology: emotive, non-active, primary, or non-emotive, active, primary. He is nervous, or nervous and sanguine.
Mercury symbolizes intellectual capacity, thought process, comprehension and learning abilities, and all intellectual activities in general. He is the planet of communication and exchanges. Indeed, in mythology, he was the messenger of the gods.
When Mercury is a dominant planet, he bestows nervousness and wittiness. However, he can also turn the chart's owner into a dishonest, dissipate and insensitive person. He is good for the intellect and favours reasoning over feelings and emotions.
Unlike the Moon and the Sun, Mercury has neither masculine nor feminine gender. He is neutral and works at the service of the Sun, which means that the intellect is at the service of the self and of willpower. He may represent siblings, friendships based on intellectual ties, merchants, and also thieves.
Mercury's importance increases towards a peak at adolescence, when the individual's intellectual curiosity awakens, when studies are begun and friendly relationships are built.
Venus' cycle is variable. She takes approximately 225 days to travel through the Zodiac. She is bigger than Mercury, and viewed from the Earth, her average daily motion is also of one degree, similar to that of the Sun and Mercury. Venus never moves further than 48 degrees away from the Sun, slightly more than Mercury.
Air is her element. Her nature is moist. She rules Taurus and Libra, and she is in exaltation in Pisces. She is in analogy with the kidneys, the nervous system, the bladder and the neck.
She represents artists, traders, and all occupations related to beauty and seduction. Her age covers the period from 18 to 25 years, approximately.
Temperament: sanguine and phlegmatic
Characterology: emotive, non-active, primary, or emotive, non-active, secondary.
Venus is associated with love, beauty, well-being and gentleness.
She describes one's romantic life, affections, leisure, and the way one behaves with one's love partners. Venus softens, beautifies and creates pleasant situations at the place where she is posited.
When Venus is a dominant planet, the chart's owner is gentle, accommodating, seducing, charming, rather handsome, conscious of his external appearance. He is sometimes endowed with artistic talents (decoration, fashion, painting, music, dance etc.). Like the Moon, Venus is a feminine planet, but she is more sensual and more attracted to pleasures life has to offer. A negative Venus may turn the individual into a greedy, lazy, materialistic, overly sensual and hypocritical person.
In a man's chart, Venus symbolizes the mistress and the type of woman who physically attracts him, and with whom he wishes to have short-lived love affairs.
The age of Venus starts with the arousal of feelings, when one starts to get interested in the opposite sex, and to pay attention to one's physical appearance.
This quite small planet travels through the Zodiac in 1 year and 220 days. He usually spends about eight weeks in each sign, although at certain stages of his cycle, he remains in the same sign during five or six months. His average daily motion is of half a degree.
Fire is his element. His nature is hot and dry. He rules Aries, and he is in exaltation in Capricorn. He is in analogy with the muscles and the spleen.
Mars represents the military, sportsmen, warriors, surgeons, blacksmiths, etc. His age covers the period from 42 to 58 years, approximately.
Characterology: emotive, active, primary. He is a choleric.
Mars is a combative energy and describes how one commands and takes action. He symbolizes virility, action, violence, courage and boldness. He bestows dynamism and enterprising spirit, but he can also turn the chart's owner into a despotic, irascible and primary person.
Mars gives information on the ability to come to grips with things and to overcome hurdles, as well as the types of sports practiced. It also describes sexual life and desires.
Because Venus is his opposite, in a woman's chart Mars represents her lovers and the type of man to whom she is attracted and with whom she is willing to have a love affair.
Like the Sun, Mars is a masculine planet. However, he is less idealistic than the Sun, and more active, more primary and more sexually driven.
He is associated with the forties and the fifties, the fully mature individual, the stage of life when one must fight to assert oneself, when professional activities are at their heights, and one is aware that nothing is achieved without effort.
Jupiter is the first slow-moving planet, the biggest of the solar system, and twelve times the size of the Earth. He takes nearly twelve years to travel through the Zodiac (11 years and 11 months), and spends approximately one year in each sign.
Air is his element. His nature is hot and moist. He rules Sagittarius and Pisces (along with Neptune), and he is in exaltation in Cancer. He is in analogy with the hips and the endocrine system. N.B.: the planet's element, Air in the case of Jupiter, must not be confused with the elements of the signs it rules (Fire for Sagittarius, and Water for Pisces).
Jupiter represents people in power, magistrates, great professors, and religious figures. The age of Jupiter covers the period from 55 or 58 years to approximately 70 years.
Characterology: emotive, active, primary. He is an extroverted choleric, some sort of a moist version of Mars, and as the latter, he is action-oriented.
He symbolizes abundance, warmth, blossoming, good luck and self-confidence. He also describes the potential for good fortune and the way the individual expresses his enthusiasm, his benevolence, as well as the way he integrates into the mainstream.
Jupiter is the biggest of all planets. Therefore, he is associated with wealth, glory and honours, and he also is a success factor. Although he is often beneficial, he may show a tendency towards exaggeration and pretentiousness, and sometimes, he promises more than he can deliver.
When Jupiter is a dominant planet, the individual is generous, outgoing and enthusiastic. He has charisma and usually loves children.
Jupiter represents public persons who offer supports and protection, as well as lawyers and politicians.
Jupiter is associated with middle-age people, the beginning of retirement when the individual can enjoy all the wealth acquired throughout his professional life. It is the age for resting, blossoming, devoid of hard work, when he can devote himself to his leisure and his interest centres. Thanks to the experience he has gained, the chart's owner is full of self-confidence.
Saturn takes about 29 years to travel through the Zodiac, and spends two and a half years in each sign.
Earth is his element. His nature is cold and dry. He rules Capricorn and Aquarius (along with Uranus), and he is in his exaltation in Libra. He is in analogy with the bone system (the skeleton) and the skin.
He represents grandparents, wise men, the elderly, scientists and knowledgeable persons. The age of Saturn is old age, from 70 years, and sometimes earlier, depending of the individual's health, until death.
Characterology: non-emotive, active, secondary, or sometimes, emotive, non-active, secondary. He is a phlegmatic, sentimental or apathetic.
As the opposite of Jupiter, who is synonymous with expansion, Saturn is synonymous with restriction. He symbolizes time and its implacable principle. He is associated with toughness, austerity, discipline and limitation.
He describes hurdles, lessons to be learnt and ordeals to be undergone. Everywhere Saturn is posited, he crushes, slows down things, and demands efforts and concentration. Since Saturn is considered a malefic planet, he does not seem sympathetic. However, he allows the individual to grow, to acquire a good thinking process, and to gain a strong sense of responsibilities. He is a sign of ambition, maturity, wisdom and asceticism.
When Saturn is a dominant planet, the individual is rather introverted, solitary, quiet, discreet, observant, ambitious and impassive. He may seem cold and emotionless, which is not true. He is passionate and proud, but he does not want to show that he may be weak and that his sensitivity or his feelings can be moved. Nevertheless, he may be stingy, cruel, curt and selfish.
Saturn is associated with the elderly, the wise, and all people who can help us overcome an ordeal such as priests, medical practitioners, etc.
Saturn symbolizes old age, when one starts to lose interest in material life. It is the age of solitude and retirement (old people's home).
Uranus takes some 84 years to travel through the Zodiac, and spends about 7 years in each sign.
Fire is his element. His nature is dry. He rules Aquarius and he is in exaltation in Scorpio. He is in analogy with the brain and the nerves.
He represents inventors, eccentric or mentally ill people, and revolutionaries.
Temperament: extremely nervous?
Characterology: emotive, active, secondary. He is passionate.
Uranus is a dynamic and brutal energy. He brings about sudden and unforeseeable changes, new situations, revolutions, and disruptions. He is upsetting by nature because he symbolizes eccentricity, marginality, inventiveness, independence and dementia. He is also curt and terse, and sometimes, intolerant.
When Uranus is a dominant planet, the individual is therefore always eccentric, very independent, idealistic, inventive and quite extravagant. He may also show intolerance, insensitivity, a lack of human warmth, which is quite paradoxical because, although he is on the fringe of society, he needs to be at the service of humankind and to contribute to the betterment of the world.
Uranus is associated with everything modern, technology advances, and communication through new means (telephone, the Internet, the medias, etc.). As he is a collective planet, his energy is more particularly felt on the mundane plane, just like the other planets that are even slower.
Neptune takes approximately 168 years to travel through the Zodiac, and spends roughly 14 years in each sign.
Water is his element. His nature is humid. He rules Pisces and he is in exaltation in Cancer. He is in analogy with the vegetative system.
He represents dreamers, psychics, magicians, purveyors of illusions, and drug addicts.
Temperament: rather lymphatic?
Characterology: emotive, non-active, primary or secondary. He is sentimental, sometimes amorphous.
With Neptune, everything is slowed down, blurred, nebulous and shrouded in mystery. He represents all things unreal and incomprehensible, as well as imagination, inspiration, faith, religion and mysticism.
Neptunian people are gentle, dreamy, mystical, some sort of cranks who demonstrate selflessness and generosity. They are most sensitive and grasp the subtleties of the surrounding atmosphere.
Their sense of psychology is highly developed, and they particularly appreciate music. However, they can also be wimpish, malleable, impressionable, gullible and easy to fool, and in some rare cases, they have no sense of realities.
Neptune gives a tendency to alcohol and drug addictions, "artificial paradises" and suicide. He causes depression, nervous breakdowns and psychological uneasiness.
On the mundane plane, he is associated with slow, strange and merely noticeable changes, most often, religious or spiritual ones.
Pluto takes approximately 254 years to travel through the Zodiac, but he can remain in a sign for 12 or even 30 years.
His element is undefined. His nature is burning, probably similar to molten lava. He rules Scorpio and he is in exaltation in Pisces. He is in analogy with the sexual and excretory functions.
He represents dictators, sadists, violent, instinctive and powerful persons, as well as hidden and mysterious forces.
Temperament: rather choleric?
Characterology: emotive or non-emotive, active, primary. He is passionate and choleric.
Pluto is the most remote planet. His discovery is recent and the interpretation of his energy remains quite vague. He represents occultism and all hidden sciences, mystery, death, the hereafter, deep self-questionings, as well as power such as that of the atom.
Pluto brings about radical upheavals from which it is impossible to escape. After his transit, one feels totally transformed, whether positively or negatively. Pluto also rules our deepest instincts, our obsessions, our anxieties, and our sexual energy.
Plutonian people are enigmatic, deep, magnetic, sometimes worrying, endowed with an incredible amount of energy, and able to constantly carry out self-questionings. They can also, in some rare cases, be violent, sadistic, and perverse.
On the mundane plane, as already mentioned, Pluto brings about shattering changes and major crises, including financial crises, since he is also associated with wealth.
Sedna, a new planet discovered towards the end of 2003!
Sedna, a new element of our solar system, was discovered on 14 November 2003. However, this information was only released on 15 March 2004 and was temporarily named Sedna, meaning the Inuit princess of the sea. This asteroid/planet, known as number 2003VB12 to astronomers, has a reddish appearance, almost as red as Mars. Located in a space that astronomers deem empty, Sedna is the reddest and brightest object of the solar system. Its size is slightly smaller than that of Pluto (1,770 km compared to 2,274 km).
Currently, Sedna is found at a distance equivalent to three times the distance from Pluto to the Sun! Its orbit is very elliptical, with a perihelion estimated at 75 AU*, and an orbital period of 10,500 years. It is far beyond the Kuiper Belt, in what is considered as the internal limit of the Oort's cloud. Sedna is the first object of the Oort's cloud, a planetoid which size is about the same as Pluto's. The medias are already referring to Sedna as "the tenth planet".
Integrating Sedna to the existing celestial bodies, and astrologically considering it as a planet, leads to an 11-planet system instead of a 10-planet system (luminaries included), 5 asteroids (Chiron, Ceres, Vesta, Pallas and Juno), the North and South Lunar Nodes, Lilith or Dark Moon, in its true and mean versions, and the Part of Fortune, i.e. twenty bodies to delineate, not to mention their house and sign positions, and many objects of lesser importance, such as fixed stars and other hypothetical elements. It goes without saying that Sedna has no interpretative meaning yet...
Asteroids, Nodes, Lilith, Arabian Parts, Hypothetical...
Beyond the ten usual planets, other points are also taken into consideration. Some of them border on nonsense, whereas some others are the subjects of meaningful researches. The four asteroids, the Lunar Nodes, Lilith, and the Part of Fortune are quite commonly used. As for the remainder, we shall give only a short description of hypothetical points and fancied stars (such as Proserpina, Vulcan, Dionysus, the Vertex, etc.), as well as a few among the numerous Arabian parts. Highest caution is needed here...
Ceres, , the biggest of the four minor asteroids used, is associated with the mythological goddess of grain and harvest. It symbolizes both physical constitution and fertility. It was also known as Demeter, and according to Astrologer Zipporah Dobyns, it was associated with the symbolism of motherhood, in less emotive and more physical ways than the Moon. Ceres is assigned rulership over Virgo. It is in exaltation in Gemini, in detriment in Pisces and in fall in Sagittarius.
Pallas is also used in modern Astrology. It represents intelligence, abstraction abilities and synthesizing talent. In common practice, it is considered a major element in political strategy.
Juno is the asteroid associated with the capacity to adjust to the spouse, and it also deals with the defence of personal rights. It is therefore very often used to interpret marriage topics.
Vesta is less used. It indicates the capacity to dedicate oneself to a cause and to bring a higher level of efficiency into it.
Chiron is acknowledged and reckoned with in all astrological schools. Most astrologers consider it to be a "mediator" of some sort between Saturn and the outer planets. Therefore, Chiron has the nature of Saturn and is influenced by Uranus, the first of the very slow-moving planets. From an astrological stand, Chiron represents wisdom, patience, and the capacity to relieve other people's sufferings. It is known as the "Great Healer" of the Zodiac.
The North and South Lunar Nodes, always exactly opposite to each other, are the point where the Moon's orbit intersects the Earth's. The North Node symbolizes the place of growth towards which we must progress even though we are often "new" and inexperienced as we start our journey. The South Node symbolizes our acquired experience, and indirectly, the place we must part from, in order to develop.
Lilith ou la "Dark Moon" is the empty focus of the lunar orbit, the other focus being the Earth. It symbolizes the "debt", or the karmic consequences of our deeds. It means dearth, unfathomable fear, foolish challenge, sufferings which lead to growth, the limits of earthly bearable pain, and therefore, the possibilities to surpass oneself, the ambivalence of desire and denial, as well as the ability to metamorphose oneself, and to turn an ordeal into a redeeming experience. Just like Pluto, Mars, and Uranus to some extent, Lilith has a strong and active sexual symbolism. It is the snake of the garden of Eden, the foolish temptation, and the refusal to submit to our desires.
Lilith spends approximately nine months in each sign, and its yearly motion is roughly of forty degrees. It is commonly believed that its domicile is in Scorpio, its exaltation in Aries, its detriment in Taurus, and its fall in Libra. Opposite to Lilith, there is a not too fortunate point namePriape; It is the lunar perigee, the place where the Moon is closest to the Earth. It symbolizes man's primitive nature, the horror that may be deeply hidden in us, masochism, voluptuousness and excesses.
Dionysus, also named the Black Sun, is the balance point of the Sun. It represents the unconscious part, the black hole, the area not yet awakened to Knowledge. It is seldom used and often contested… probably quite rightly. Its yearly motion is only of 1 degree and 52 minutes. Therefore, it is collective by nature. At the end of 2003, it was located at 13° Cancer. The place where it is posited in the natal chart indicates the field in which the individual significantly meets with communities.
Proserpina, a star that is yet to be discovered, and the existence of which seems "logical" in relation to the planets' symbolism, represents the cycle of nature, reconstruction, and revival. To the initiated person, it means the positive side of the 8th house, the mystery of death, and the wealth of the unconscious. Its symbolism has its source in the myth of Persephone, daughter of Zeus (Jupiter) and Demeter (Ceres). After Persephone was abducted by Hades (Pluto), she became his wife. Upon Demeter's request, Hades accepted to allow Persephone to leave the Underworld and stay with her mother during half of the year, which Persephone agreed on. Proserpina is simultaneously Venus' complement and her reverse, just like Pluto is Mars' complement and his reverse.
Vulcan, in analogy with Proserpina, is said to be the complement but the reverse of Mercury.
Other hypothetical points boggle the mind. Thus: Cupid, Hades, Zeus, Kronos, Poseidon, Apollo, or else Eros, Thanatos etc.
Some new points of the 2Oth century astrology stem from studies of different domification systems (the calculation of house cusps), or other elaborated fancy systems, always conducted for research purposes. The results yielded are not too convincing.The Vertex and the Antivertex correspond to the Ascendant and the Descendant, just to mention an additional example.
The following chapter is more comprehensively dealt with in a different column (The Arabian Parts) of our site, in The Basics of Astrology Section.
The famous Part of Fortune used by Ptolemy, and the so-called "Arabian" Parts are fictitious points calculated with the longitudes of three planets, angles or zodiacal points, most often following the formula:
Part = ASC + Planet X - Planet Y.
Here is a list of a few Arabian Parts described in one of the numerous articles written by the French scholar Patrice Guinard. Sometimes, over 150 Parts were used.
The calculation is different for diurnal charts (with the Sun above the horizon, i.e. the Ascendant-Descendant axis) and for nocturnal charts (with the Sun below the horizon). According to Paul of Alexandria, Parts in diurnal charts are calculated as follows (for nocturnal charts, the + and - signs are to be reversed):
Part of Fortune = ASC + Moon - Sun (the position of the Moon at sunrise)
Part of Spirit (Daimon) = ASC + Sun - Moon (the reverse of the preceding formula: the position of the Sun when the Moon rises)
Part of Eros = ASC + Venus - Part of Spirit = Venus + Moon - Sun (the position of Venus when the Moon and the Sun are in conjunction)
Part of Victory = ASC + Jupiter - Part of Spirit = Jupiter + Moon - Sun
Part of Necessity = ASC + Part of Fortune - Mercury
Part of Courage = ASC + Part of Fortune - Mars
Part of Nemesis (Justice, Fairness) = ASC + Part of Fortune - Saturn
More Parts according to Paul of Alexandria and others:
Part of the Father= ASC + Saturn - Sun (nocturnal charts: invert)
Part of the Mother= ASC + Moon - Venus (nocturnal charts: invert))
Part of Siblings= ASC + Jupiter - Saturn (= nocturnal charts)
Part of Children= ASC - Jupiter + Saturn (= nocturnal charts))
Part of Marriage (man) = ASC + Venus - Saturn (= nocturnal charts)
Part of Marriage (woman) = ASC - Venus + Saturn (= nocturnal charts)
According to Vettius Valens and the Liber Hermetis:
Part of Debt= ASC + Saturn - Mercury (= nocturnal charts)
Part of Foundation= ASC + Part of Fortune - Part of Spirit (= nocturnal charts)
Part of Thief = Saturn + Mars - Mercury (nocturnal charts, invert)
Part of Treachery= ASC + Mars - Sun (nocturnal charts, invert)
Part of Difficulty= ASC + Mars - Saturn (nocturnal charts, invert)
Part of Exaltation of the Nativity= ASC + 19° Aries - Sun (nocturnal charts = ASC + 3° Taurus. 19° Aries and 3° Taurus are believed to be the exaltation points of the Sun and the Moon, respectively.)