Your Guide To The Planets In Astrology & How They Affect You
Zodiac signs get a lot of attention in the astrology world — after all, the only thing you need to know to read your daily horoscope is your Sun sign. But the world of astrology is big, bright, and beautiful, and if you want to know what the stars are really trying to communicate, you need to have an idea about what planets mean in astrology. It's no secret that planets are a thing in the astrology world — after all, interpreting the movement of the planets and other celestial bodies through the sky (and zodiac) is exactly what astrology is. But understanding the planets will help you make more sense of things like your Sun and Moon signs, and you'll be better clued in the next time someone's ranting about Mercury going retrograde again, or how Venus relates to their love life.
You're probably already familiar with the planets of our lil' old solar system (shout out to elementary school science teachers around the world), but have a seat back at your desk, because planets in astrology are defined a little differently than what you learned in school. Firstly, in astrology, the Sun and the Moon are both considered planets and are referred to as the "luminaries." Of course, we know these aren't planets in the astronomical sense — the Sun is actually a star and the Moon is, well, a moon — but they are vitally important celestial bodies in astrology. Also, in astrology, Pluto is still a planet, too. While astronomers may have demoted it to a mere dwarf planet a few years back, in astrology land it's still a full-fledged planet — and it's just as powerful. The last major difference is that we'll scratch the Earth from the list of planets in astrology — because we live on it, and because astrology takes an Earth-centric view of the cosmos. All in all, that makes for 10 major planets.
In astrology, each of the planets represent a different set of qualities and characteristics, and rule over a different part of our lives — each bringing with them their own unique vibes and directives. You can think of the planets as characters, each with different goals, interests, and jobs. Everyone has the same 10 major planets in their astrological birth chart, but they express themselves totally differently based on the zodiac sign they're located in.
As mentioned, the Sun and Moon are known as the luminaries, while Mercury, Venus, and Mars are known as "inner planets." Both the luminaries and the inner planets "move" (from our vantage point here on Earth, anyway) relatively quickly from sign to sign, and therefore have more of an influence over day-to-day, shorter-term issues. Jupiter and Saturn come next, and they're sometimes known as the "social planets" or "transpersonal planets," given that they govern areas of our lives that relate to interpersonal issues. Some people may categorize these two giants as either inner or outer planets, too, since they fall just in the middle. Finally, we reach the "outer planets," which officially include Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. These babies move more slowly through the zodiac chart, therefore influencing larger, more grand-scheme parts of your life and self, as well as society as a whole. And when someone refers to a planet as "benefic," it refers to their association with bringing really good vibes (Jupiter and Venus are known as benefics). Conversely, "malefic" planets, such as Saturn and Mars, are known for having tougher, more destructive energy (although we love and need them nonetheless!).
In order to know how the planets affect us, well, that all depends on where they're located in the zodiac at any given time. Planets travel through different zodiac signs as they move through the sky, and their energy plays out differently depending on what sign they're in — kind of like putting a filter over a photo. If you want to know where your natal planets are, you'll have to check out your birth chart (you can draw yours up online if you have your exact birth time, or consult a professional astrologer to help). Once you know where each of the planets lives in your personal chart (which includes 12 astrological houses, as well as 12 zodiac signs that overlap with said houses), you'll be able to look at how you express their energy, what parts of your life they show up in, and even examine the relationships between the planets, known as aspects. So planets themselves don't cause anything to happen — it's more about where they're placed and how they interact with other parts of your chart.
Let's take a quick trip through the galaxy and get to know each of the major players.
Planet of: the self; the conscious mind; creative energy; life purpose; the truest and purest version of ~you~.
Naturally rules: Leo
The Sun is the center of our universe, and in astrology, it represents the center of ourselves. It's what lights up and gives color to the world around us; it's the star that we revolve around and that gives us life. That's part of why our Sun signs are such an integral part of our astrology and who we are! "The Sun represents our ego, what we are driven to do, our life-force," astrologer Lisa Stardust tells Bustle. The Sun is the driving force behind who we are at our core, and it's said that people who can embrace their Sun placement tend to feel happier and more fulfilled. We have many influences in our astrological charts, but the Sun is perhaps the most integral to our persona and our spirit.
Planet of: emotions; instincts; feminine energy; security; all the emo poetry you wrote in your journal in high school.
Naturally rules: Cancer
The gentle, emotion-driven moon is the sensitive, empathetic, nurturing, and nostalgic mother-figure of the zodiac. "The Moon represents our inner emotions, the parts within us that we cannot express," Stardust says. "It also represents our maternal side, our mother, our memories, and even what foods we enjoy." The Moon governs over the shadowy, more vulnerable sides of ourselves — the parts we may not show to others unless we feel intimate and safe with them — as well as the things we need to feel protected, comfortable, and emotionally secure.
Planet of: communication; expression; reason; intellect; your ability to carry on six different coherent conversations at once.
Naturally rules: Gemini & Virgo
You probably know this planet more for its infamous retrograde periods than anything else, but actually, when it's not turning everything in your life upside, this quick-witted master of communication, timing, and intellect is really cool. "Mercury affects how we communicate, transmit information, and travel," astrologer Caitlin McGarry tells Bustle. Mercury is known as the messenger of the gods, so it makes sense that communication, information sharing, and traveling is its jam. This planet tells us a lot about our personal communication style, as well as the way we process information and manage our time and schedule.
Planet of: love; romance; beauty; pleasure; hearts n' chocolates n' flowers.
Naturally rules: Taurus & Libra
Ah, lovely Venus, planet of all things flowery and sensual and heart-flutteringly delicious. Named after the goddess of love herself, Venus loves to love, and to be immersed in the aestheticism and beauty of the world. Venus is also associated with money — specifically the money we spend more frivolously on things that bring us pleasure and joy. "Venus is the lesser benefic, [and] represents love affairs, romance, luxury, fine wines and rich food," Stardust says. "Venus also represents self esteem and money." Planet Venus is sort of like the Valentine's Day of the planets — think a romantic evening full of chocolates, wine, red rose petals, and a sweetly-scented bubble bath. It's about the way you love, how you determine value, and the ways you experience (and indulge in) sensual pleasure and luxury.
Planet of: action; sexual drive; aggression; raw energy; losing your temper on the next person who triggers you.
Naturally rules: Aries
Wild n' fiery Mars is determined, driven, and full of raw, unbridled, animalistic energy. "Mars represents how we fight and assert ourselves," McGarry says. Additionally, Mars also shows us how we chase our goals and relates to our libidos and sexual energies, too. The so-called Red Planet certainly lives up to it's name with it's red-hot intensity and passion. And you may have heard "men are from Mars, women are from Venus," right? Well, we actually all have a nice balance of both, so while steamy romance is Venus' territory, Mars rules over our more animalistic sexual drive and desire. Venus is the butterflies in our stomach and emotion, while Mars is the primal, physical instinct.
Planet of: good luck; abundance; optimism; expansiveness; everything coming up roses and then some.
Naturally rules: Sagittarius
Jupiter is the largest planet in the solar system, and it also carries with it the biggest load of luck, positivity, and optimism of the bunch, bringing growth, opportunity, and good vibes along with its massive presence. "Jupiter, the greater benefic, represents luck, growth, travel, philosophy, education, teaching, and expansion," Stardust says. Jupiter also helps us to broaden our horizons and expand our minds through education, life experiences, and spirituality. This is the planet that inspires us to chase our dreams, no matter how lofty.
Planet of: boundaries; tough love; life lessons; discipline; questioning everything you've ever done in your life in a depressing, critical angst.
Naturally rules: Capricorn
If the Moon is our cosmic mom, then Saturn is totally our cosmic father figure. Think of this planet as the stern parent who's a little overly rigid, old-fashioned, and strict — the energy can be a bit of a buzzkill, and can definitely feel restrictive and challenging, but ultimately it's there to help you grow and learn to be more responsible. "Saturn is the greater malefic, representing boundaries, limits, restrictions, and the relationship with the paternal," Stardust says. You may be familiar with Saturn in relation to the infamous Saturn return, which happens to everyone around their late twenties (cue total existential breakdown). Saturn is all about tough love, hard work, and overcoming challenges — but remember, it's only hard on us because it wants us to learn to be the most mature and wise version of ourselves we can be.
Planet of: originality; awakenings; progressiveness; revelations; letting your freak flag fly while marching to the beat of your own drum.
Naturally rules: Aquarius
Expect the unexpected with Uranus, as this planet is all about shaking up the norms, balking at tradition, and challenging the status quo. It's progressive, forward-thinking, and hyper-creative, but also prone to abrupt shifts and changes — with Uranus, you never know what will happen next or when. "Uranus is considered the 'Great Awakener,' as it shakes up the world, through revolutions, technological, and innovation, on a global level," Stardust says. Uranus doesn't care about tradition for the sake of nostalgia — it cares about being innovative, fresh, and unique no matter what. In fact, this planet is sometimes likened to a lightning bolt given the way it shocks us with sudden insights and inspirations. Uranus is the most unpredictable of the planets, but it's innovative and one-of-a-kind energy is part of what makes life interesting.
Planet of: intuition; dreams; spirituality; idealism; psychic/floating off into astral space during a deep third eye meditation.
Naturally rules: Pisces
Dreamy, other-worldly Neptune is the most mystical and ethereal of the bunch. This planet's meanings are as deep as its color is blue, as it's representative of psychic intuition and spiritual attunement, as well as dreams and artistic expression. As Stardust explains, "Neptune represents dreams, illusion, and fantasy." Given it's dreamy, inter-dimensional nature, it also has a tendency to detach from reality a bit, so Neptune also speaks to your sense of escapism, and the things you might do to cope with the harshess of reality. But if you can avoid falling into the escapist tendencies this planet can induce, it can help you understand your sensitivity, psychic powers, and spiritual depth.
Planet of: transformations; the underworld; the subconscious mind; intensity in general.
Naturally rules: Scorpio
Pluto may have been robbed of its planethood by scientists back in 2006 — a harsh move indeed,especially to the planet named after the ruler of the underworld. But in astrology, Pluto is as planet as can be — and is a very intense and sometimes dark one, at that. "Pluto encompasses the energy of transformation," McGarry says. Trasformation is a concept that obviously covers a lot of ground — think the energy of light and dark, passing and rebirth, day to night, endings into beginnings. Pluto rules over the extreme ends of any spectrum, and also governs all that is subterranean or hidden beneath the surface. Because Pluto is the furthest planet from the Earth, its effects are often felt on a more collective, societal level than a personal level.
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Everything You Need To Know About Your Zodiac Sign's Ruling Planet
You’re probably familiar with the 12 zodiac signs, as these are archetypes through which most people are typically introduced to astrology. While knowing the qualities associated with each sign is certainly important, it's actually the planets that comprise astrology’s heart and soul. Analyzing the planets' movement through the zodiac (as well as interpreting the aspects they form with one another on their journeys) is basically the definition of astrology, so it’s worth getting to the know the planets on a deeper level. That’s why knowing the ruling planet for your zodiac sign is so integral to understanding your astrological energy.
Each of the planets in astrology symbolize different parts of ourselves, and they have their own unique personalities and motives. While each planet will eventually move through every zodiac sign, there are certain zodiac signs where they feel most at ease and able to express their energy. That’s because every zodiac sign has a ruling planet — and the planets’ qualities have a big influence the energy of the signs that they rule.
In traditional astrology, every planet ruled over two zodiac signs (with the exception of the sun and moon, which only ruled over one each). In modern astrology, planetary rulership has been spread out in order to incorporate the recently discovered outer planets Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto — which means that Venus and Mercury are the only two planets that still have rulership over two zodiac signs.
Knowing which planet rules your zodiac sign can help you understand your astrological energy more deeply and find out more about your cosmic characteristics. Read on to find out what they’re all about.
Aries: Ruled By Mars
Red-hot planet Mars rules over Aries, the first (and feistiest) sign of the zodiac. Mars symbolizes passion, aggression, ambition, and our animal instincts, so when it’s in the realm of cardinal fire sign Aries, its power becomes basically unstoppable. Aries is known for its boundless energy and its zealous leadership skills, so Mars is able to step into its true warrior spirit and charge forward on all of its ambitious goals within this sign.
Taurus: Ruled By Venus
Romantic Venus is the planet of love, and it also rules over things like luxury, pleasure, and value. This is why it feels right at home within the realm of decadent and sensual Taurus, one of its signs of rulership. Taurus is an earth sign, meaning its focus is on material things and sensory experiences. We see Venus’ influence in Taurus when it comes to their love for pleasure, opulence, and high-quality goods.
Gemini: Ruled By Mercury
Gemini is chatty, social, and intellectual — just like its ruling planet Mercury, the planet of communication and thinking. In air sign Gemini, Mercury gets to be its most articulate and thoughtful self. Gemini's curious and inquisitive nature perfectly aligns with Mercury's knack for sharing information and learning new things. We can see Mercury’s influence in Gemini when it comes to their quick wit and strong communication skills.
Cancer: Ruled By The Moon
The moon is the planet that governs our emotions, our feelings, and the things that make us feel comforted. In astrology, it rules over sensitive water sign Cancer, which is symbolized by the tide-dwelling crab. As the most maternal, empathic, and nurturing sign of the zodiac, Cancer allows the moon's intuitive nature to fully shine. We can see Cancer’s lunar influence through the sign’s gentleness, vulnerability, and feelings-oriented approach to life.
Leo: Ruled By The Sun
Leos are zodiac royalty, so it makes sense that they're the one sign ruled by the star at the center of our solar system: the sun. Just like its ruling planet, Leo loves to be the center of attention. This fire sign brings a sun-like warmth, positivity, and radiance to everything it touches. The sun rules creative energy, spirit, and vitality — all of which confident and self-expressive Leos have plenty of.
Virgo: Ruled By Mercury
Mercury is one of the planets that rules over two zodiac signs — so while Mercury's communication-focused side comes through in Gemini, its analytical side gets to shine in Virgo. Virgo is a practical earth sign, and its highly-observant energy excels at keeping things organized. As the planet of timing and scheduling, Mercury’s influence in Virgo shows up in their keen eye for detail.
Libra: Ruled By Venus
Venus is the astrological ruler of romance and pleasure, so it's no surprise that this decadent planet governs over two zodiac signs. In addition to Taurus, Venus rules air sign Libra, which is the sign of balance and relationships. Libra's focus is on keeping the peace and creating partnerships, so Venus' romance and harmony-loving side gets to come out and play here. Libra energy is also known for its aesthetic eye, and this desire to create beauty is a Venusian influence.
Scorpio: Ruled By Pluto
Power-hungry planet Pluto rules over the sign of Scorpio. Pluto is named after the god of the underworld, and this small-but-mighty planet rules over transformations and everything that's hidden beneath the surface of our psyches. Similarly, Scorpio is naturally preoccupied with the more esoteric aspects of existence, too. Pluto is drawn to intensity, which influences why Scorpio gets a reputation for being the dark horse of the zodiac.
Sagittarius: Ruled By Jupiter
Jupiter is the planet of good luck and expansion, and it rules over the happy-go-lucky sign of Sagittarius. Sagittarius energy is known for being optimistic and free-spirited, which is all thanks to Jupiter’s joyful influence. Just like its ruling planet, Sagittarius loves to learn, travel, and broaden its horizons. Through Sagittarius, Jupiter is able to try new things and quench its thirst for philosophical growth in a way that it can't in any other sign.
Capricorn: Ruled By Saturn
Strict planet Saturn rules over the sign of Capricorn. As the zodiac’s cardinal earth sign, Capricorn is all about being diligent and goal-oriented — so it works in perfect symbiosis with Saturn’s tough-love and rule-following approach. Pragmatic Capricorn is disciplined and hardworking enough to satisfy Saturn's need for structure. While Saturn’s influence can be seen as restrictive, its influence allows Capricorn to avoid shortcuts and put in the work needed to accomplish big things.
Aquarius: Ruled By Uranus
Quirky Uranus is the planet that rules innovative air sign Aquarius. Uranus is the oddball planet of the zodiac, and it’s all about sudden changes, bursts of inspiration, and challenging the status quo. Aquarius energy is highly-influenced by this rebellious and revolutionary vibe, as this forward-thinking air sign shuns tradition in favor of futuristic new ideals. When Uranus is in Aquarius, it can truly think outside the box.
Pisces: Ruled By Neptune
Neptune is the planet of illusions and dreams, and it rules over sensitive water sign Pisces. Pisces energy is emotional, poetic, and spiritually-inclined — and it has Neptune to thank for this otherworldly influence. The Piscean reputation for living in a dreamy fantasy world and craving an escape from the mundanity of everyday life connects directly to the illusive rose-colored veil that planet Neptune draws over everything it touches.
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Named after the enchanting Roman goddess, Venus is the vibrant planet that represents beauty, love, and abundance. Indulgent Venus is happiest when luxuriating: Fine wines, extended baths, and aromatic moisturizers align with the Venusian spirit. This planet's highbrow tastes reflect our interest in art and culture, while its romantic sensibilities reveal our idealized perception of love. Both earth sign Taurus and air sign Libra are ruled by Venus, each representing a different side of Venus's expression: sensual Taurus is physical, while flirtatious Libra is cerebral. It takes approximately four to five weeks to transit a zodiac sign and goes retrograde every 18 months. During Venus retrograde, try to avoid making major changes to your appearance, such as getting a tattoo or plastic surgery.
The Red Planet is known as the warrior of the zodiac. Named after the Roman god of war, Mars symbolizes action, determination, and aggression. Its impassioned spirit often manifests when we're racing to meet a deadline, running to catch a flight, or competing for a selective position. Mars is the fire under our ass, providing the adrenaline-charged boost of energy that fuels movement. It also reflects our physical passion and lust. This planet governs Aries, the impulsive fire sign known for its high-octane vivacity. Mars takes approximately six to seven weeks to transit a zodiac sign and goes retrograde every two years. When it goes retrograde, we may have trouble standing up for ourselves or experience a lack of motivation in the bedroom.
The largest planet in the solar system, Jupiter — or Zeus, in Greek mythology — is recognized for its colossal presence. Lucky planet Jupiter symbolizes fortune, philosophy, abundance, and spirituality. This generous planet governs expansion, encouraging us to widen our scope and broaden our horizons through philosophy, spirituality, and education. It governs Sagittarius, the adventurous fire sign known for its thrill-seeking disposition. Jupiter takes approximately 12 to 13 months to transit a zodiac sign and goes retrograde each year for around 120 days. Its retrograde is often a time of philosophical growth.
The ringed gas giant is associated with time, regulations, and restrictions. On a good day, Saturn symbolizes hard work, professional achievements, and steadfast resilience. On a bad day, however, it can be harsh and unemotional, forcing us to learn through tough love and difficult challenges. Though this planet has an odd way of showing its affection, Saturn does have our best interest in mind. It simply wants us to play by the rules. Saturn governs regimented Capricorn, the enterprising earth sign known for its tireless ambition, and takes approximately two and a half years to transit each sign. It goes retrograde each year for around 140 days. During Saturn retrograde, life may feel more restrictive, and we must work harder to launch projects.
Uranus is unusual: as Science Museum reports, it’s the first planet discovered by a telescope, the only celestial body named after a Greek deity, and is tilted so far on its axis that it essentially orbits the sun on its side. Fittingly, Uranus symbolizes technology, rebellion, and innovation. This revolutionary planet hates the rules and is always eager to facilitate groundbreaking, dynamic change. Uranus can have surprising effects (after all, the planet loves shock value). It governs Aquarius, the free-thinking air sign recognized for its eccentricity and nonconformity. Uranus takes approximately seven years to transit each sign and goes retrograde each year for around 150 days. During the planet's retrograde, we are asked to leave the past behind and continue onward with life.
If you were born today, December 18, you probably know that you’re a Sagittarius. You might even know that you’re a fire sign. But did you know that your sign is ruled by Jupiter, the planet of luck and adventure? And did you know that the other signs might feel more lucky and adventurous during Sagittarius season as well?
The ruling planets are the bosses of the zodiac. They call the shots and influence how each sign runs its company, and also how everyone else behaves under their influence. For instance, I’m not a Sagittarius, but for the past few weeks I’ve been feeling more exuberant and fun thanks to Jupiter. And in a few days, when Capricorn season (my sign!) rolls around, we can all expect to feel a bit more responsible and on our work game, thanks to Saturn.
Below, my guide to each sign’s ruling planet — starting with the current season, Sag — and what each birthday season means for the rest of the zodiac.
Ruling Planet: Jupiter
A runner, thinker and doer, you’re always on the move. The last fire sign, you’re ruled by Jupiter, the planet of luck, good fortune and exploration (of both knowledge and spirituality). It’s definitely a mouthful, but luckily you’re always hungry for more. You’re the best adventure buddy anyone could ask for — you want to see and experience it all, and odds are you’ll have fun doing so. You have an inherent energy about you. People are drawn to your spontaneity and positive vibe. There’s no one better to see the sights and explore the world with than you.
What It Means for the Rest of Us (November 22 – December 21)
Everyone should push themselves during Sagittarius season. Jupiter’s influence makes us all more adventurous, so why not use this time of year to move out of your comfort zone? Go to new places in your city, take a walk in your neighborhood, observe sights you may not have noticed before. Luck is on everyone’s side during Sag season, so take risks and see where you land. If you fall flat, dust yourself off and try again. A few scrapes won’t stop a Sagittarius’ joie de vivre, and if you channel them correctly, it won’t stop you either.
Ruling Planet: Saturn
Saturn rules Capricorn, and Capricorns love rules. Saturn represents responsibility, hard work and determination. Some call it the taskmaster of the planets, keeping everyone in check and ensuring direct routes to the finish line. Saturn also has a lot to do with learning lessons and understanding limitations. Capricorns can be very self-critical — you’re hard on yourself when things don’t go according to plan and you always try to learn from your mistakes so they don’t happen again. Saturn’s influence makes Capricorns the ones you always want to have on your team and simultaneously the ones you don’t want to let down (Michelle Obama is a famous Capricorn, if that paints a better picture).
What It Means for the Rest of Us (December 22 – January 19)
Capricorn season is a busy time of year. The holidays, the new year, many (too many) family dinners. It’s a time of reflection and deep thought where everyone, regardless of sign, celebrates the year’s successes, mourns the failures, and makes amends and resolutions for the upcoming year. And eats entire tins of Trader Joe’s Peppermint Bark in one sitting (it’s okay to admit, we all do it). Everyone might feel a bit more determined to learn from the past during this time, or to wrap the perfect gift and impress your in-laws. Let yourself play by the rules during Capricorn season. You may not feel the most spontaneous, but you’ll feel good about how in control you are. Bring on the new year.
Ruling Planet: Uranus
Aquarius, you’re a breath of fresh air both literally, as the final air sign of the zodiac, and figuratively, because you’re adept at putting your signature spin on everything you touch. That’s because you’re ruled by Uranus, the planet of originality, innovation and expanded consciousness. Uranus’ energy promotes those who step outside the box and delve into new modes of thinking. For instance, Aquariuses might be the sign most open to a practice like astrology — you’re often willing to believe in things beyond what you can tangibly see. Uranus is also thought to control natural disasters. Others see that in you too, Aquarius. You’re a force to be reckoned with when it comes to your passions and interests.
What It Means for the Rest of Us (January 20 – February 18)
We could all benefit from getting in touch with our wacky side, and Aquarius season is the perfect time to do it. That pair of shoes you’re worried your coworkers might not appreciate? Wear them. That album you discovered that hasn’t hit the Top 40 yet? Play it at your next party. The theory you have about the book you read last week? Start a book club and discuss it with your friends. Bring up your wildest ideas, your kookiest dreams. Your eccentricities deserve time to shine.
Ruling Planet: Neptune
Pisces, you’re ruled by Neptune, the God of the Seas in Roman mythology. Neptune represents dreams, the imagination and all things spiritual. You’re overflowing with creative energy and reject the hyper-realistic. You prefer to exist in the clouds, floating above the rest of the world as you toe the line between fantasy and reality. It’s existing in this dream-like state that makes you so special, Pisces. You’re in touch with a deep level of emotion and connect to others through your ability to perceive and empathize.
What It Means for the Rest of Us (February 19 – March 20)
During Pisces season, we may all feel a bit more spiritual. That will, of course, mean something different for everyone, but for the most part, you can expect to feel especially sensitive towards others’ emotions and the energy of your environment. Let yourself relax into this awareness and see what you notice. Maybe you’ll sense a coworker’s underlying stress or a friend’s reignited passion for a hobby or project. Let these observations inspire and delight you. Now that you’re seeing the world through fisheye glasses, you may never want to take them off.
Ruling Planet: Mars
Aries, as the first sign of the zodiac, you’re the eldest child in this family. You set the pace while the rest of the world plays catch-up. The sheer force of your determination and drive gets you where you need to go, and fast. Simply put, you’re a warrior. It makes sense, then, that Aries is ruled by Mars, the planet of action and, according to ancient Roman mythology, the God of War. Mars is all about energy, passion and self-starting, leaving Aries with an inherent, undeniable confidence. Not only do you know you’ll get the job done, but you’re sure there’s nobody better suited for it. That’s Mars talking.
What It Means for the Rest of Us (March 21 – April 19)
During Aries season, we all feel Mars’ influence. While your Aries friends are blowing out their birthday candles, it’s common for the other signs to also feel more self-assured and challenged to spring into action, making it a great time of year to start a project or turn over a new leaf. Speak up at work or confront the friend you’ve been having trouble with. Find your inner warrior and let it run wild — I bet you’ll cross the finish line first.
Ruling Planet: Venus
When you think of Venus, odds are your mind drifts to love, beauty or women’s tennis. If you’re a Taurus, the first two (and maybe the third, but that’s more of a personal preference) are particularly relevant to you. Lover of good food, sensuous fabrics, fine art and, well, love, you esteem all things aesthetically pleasing. Venus’ influence is strong in the sign of the bull, encouraging Taureans to pamper their senses. The Goddess of Love also plays a part in your deep loyalty and commitment to those you care about. She doesn’t mess around when it comes to her heart, and neither do you.
What It Means for the Rest of Us (April 20 – May 20)
When Taurus season rolls around, every sign can think of it as an opportunity to do more of what they love. Be open to your senses — what do they draw you towards? Give yourself time to enjoy the things that catch your attention. Spend a whole day in a department store playing dress up, or get lost for hours in an art museum. During Taurus season, the power of Venus puts us more in touch with the beauty of the world around us, as well as within ourselves. Think of this as a gift and indulge. Venus would.
Ruling Planet: Mercury
Gemini, you’re ruled by Mercury, the planet of communication. Surprised? Didn’t think so. In Roman mythology, Mercury, thought to be the messenger of the gods, delivered news and shared opinions. The planet encourages Geminis to do the same, hence their verbose nature. All three air signs (Gemini, Libra and Aquarius) are intellectually driven, but Mercury’s emphasis on the mind encourages Geminis in particular to learn, think and share more.
What It Means for the Rest of Us (May 21 – June 20)
The beginning of summer might inspire every sign to engage their minds more than usual. You might feel inspired to read more than your standard dose of daily news or delve deeper into a subject you’re interested in. Start a new podcast. Watch a murder mystery show. Get to the bottom of a problem and solve it. Geminis around the world will welcome the other signs’ activated minds with sparkles in their eyes. Let the debates begin.
Ruling Planet: The Moon
Cancer, your feelings change as quickly as the tides. Perhaps this is a result of being ruled by the moon, the planet responsible for the ebbs and flows of human emotion. The moon influences how we feel, and Cancer, you feel…a lot. You can be more sensitive than the other signs and more in touch with your inner depths. Your moods may change quickly but you’re always sure of what they are. The moon also represents the celestial “mother” figure, influencing Cancers to care deeply about the ties of home and family and develop a penchant for care-taking. You’ll soon realize that, because of the moon’s influence, you seek from others exactly what you provide: safety and comfort.
What It Means for the Rest of Us (June 21 – July 22)
Cancer season falls right in the middle of the summer when we’re hot and longing to scurry to the ocean or sunbathe on the sand (our inner crabs coming out). It is during this time that all signs may feel things more forcefully or feel stronger pulls towards our families and loved ones. This might result in a roller coaster of emotions, but if you lean into the potential moodiness (summer blues are real!), you might find yourself strengthening your relationships and feeling more secure. Your orbiting emotions may have ups and downs, but like the moon, you’ll always circle back home.
Ruling Planet: The Sun
The sun rules you, Leo. The brightest star for the brightest sign, it makes sense that your planetary ruler requires the occasional pair of shades. So do you. Your exuberance, your kindness, your seemingly never-ending supply of energy — it’s all thanks to the sun’s influence. The sun represents the self, the core principles of our being that make up who we are, so it makes sense that you’re the most self-involved sign. While that may sound negative, it’s actually a strength. You’re in touch with yourself, proud of who you are and not afraid to sing it from the rooftops.
What It Means for the Rest of Us (July 23 – August 22)
Leo season hits as summer winds down and we start to bid adieu to the most exciting time of year (willing to argue this in the comments section). Despite whatever you’re saying goodbye to in early August (summer Fridays, school vacation, the general concept of warmth), it’s also a natural time to say hello to yourself. The sun’s influence during Leo season encourages everyone to connect with themselves in a deeper way than usual. You might feel more confident during this time of year, or more willing to befriend those around you. Follow your instincts and let yourself shine. We all deserve to be in the spotlight from time to time.
Ruling Planet: Mercury
You may have noticed that there are more signs than there are planets. Born to problem-solve, you Virgos are skilled sharers, and your ruling planet is no exception. You share your ruling planet, Mercury, with Gemini. Maybe not as well known as Gemini’s realm of communication, Mercury also handles logic, reasoning and productivity (admit it, Virgo, your three favorite things). Mercury’s influence over Virgo is expressed through an innate ability to discern and discriminate, making your sign a natural born critic, in the good sense. You’re hyper-focused on sifting through the noise of the world in an organized, precise manner that leaves little to the imagination.
What It Means for the Rest of Us (August 23 – September 22)
Despite most people’s instinct to start fresh in January, Virgo season might actually be the best time for “personal spring cleaning.” Mercury’s emphasis on separating the wheat from the chaff may push everyone into a more organized head space. Clear communication, tidy workspaces and set schedules might really help you get your bearings. And Virgo season, more than any other time of year, is when you can best succeed at regaining a sense of control. Follow your fellow Virgos’ leads — declutter, destress and tell the world who’s boss. Most likely, they’ll listen.
Ruling Planet: Venus
Another diplomatic sharer, you share your ruling planet, Venus, with Taurus. For you, Libra, Venus comes through in your deep commitment to balance and partnership. Venus’ influence makes you value harmony in both yourself and your relationships. You’re a natural mediator; you appreciate fairness and honesty while working hard to protect those you love. Your relationships mean a lot to you. You take pride in being a good friend and partner and look for those qualities in others.
What It Means for the Rest of Us (September 23 – October 22)
If you’ve been meaning to catch up with an old friend or fix a faltering relationship, Libra season is a good time to make it happen. We all might feel more inclined to walk in another’s shoes during this time. Push yourself to gain new perspectives and dig deep into your relationships. Let the planet of love’s power encourage you to nurture your connections with those you’re close to and keep an open mind with those you disagree with. You’ll most likely feel more balanced after doing so.
Ruling Planet: Pluto
Scorpio, you have a dark side. Maybe this is because you’re ruled by Pluto, the small but mighty planet orbiting farthest from the sun. Pluto is associated with darkness, the subconscious, death and rebirth. Not exactly lighthearted stuff. But you don’t like when things are lighthearted; you crave mystery and intensity. Pluto plays a part in your never-ending fascination with all things hush-hush and underground. This ability to get in touch with your unconscious self makes you one of the most powerful signs in the zodiac.
What It Means for the Rest of Us (October 23 – November 21)
During Scorpio season, we can all benefit from solving our own mysteries. What secrets are you hiding from yourself? What deep thoughts and feelings are undisclosed, waiting to be unpacked? This is the time to challenge yourself to transform in whatever way you see necessary. Maybe it’s trying to get to the bottom of an anxious or recurring dream, or maybe you just need to check in with yourself and dig a little deeper. Whatever it is, use Pluto’s power to connect with yourself. You know what’s more fun than stumbling across a mystery? Solving one.
Illustration by Allison Filice.
Zodiac Planets, Explained: Here’s What Each Celestial Body Says About You
Your zodiac sign (which astrologers call your “sun sign”) is the doorway into the astrological universe. It’s the zany conversation starter your date pulls out before appetizers arrive. Or what you search for when scanning zodiac meme pages. But while your sun sign is impactful, it's just one brush stroke in your entire cosmic portrait. Your birth chart, however, is far more expansive. It zooms out to reveal the full painting: every shape, highlight and shadow of your being.
Think of your birth chart as the snapshot of the planets and constellations at the exact time of your birth (which you can cast here). Astrologers take this picture and fashion it into a circular map of the stars, with 12 equal sections representing each sign of the zodiac. Wondering where the moon was located when you came into the world? If it was gliding across the portion of the map labeled “Pisces,” you’d say your moon sign is in Pisces (and we’d offer you a tissue for all of those deep-seated emotions).
Each planet illustrates a facet of your personality, (like your love language or your aggression style) and the signs tell us how you act in each of these areas (maybe you like your space in relationships or avoid conflict at all costs). Here’s what each zodiac planet symbolizes, and how they all join together to make up your unique birth chart.
RELATED: Every Zodiac Sign Has a Love Language—Here’s Yours
Sign it governs: Leo
Who are you and how do you shine? Like the celestial titan that burns brightly from its center, the Sun represents our core ego and personal power. The luminary is the literal star of the show, with every planet orbiting it like party guests in a circular celebratory dance. The sun is our guiding light. It’s who we are at heart—our true identity that prevails through all of life’s changes and influences. When we follow what fulfills us, like singing on stage or planting a garden, our creative expression beams onto others.
How it affects your chart: Born with your sun sign in Taurus? Your essential nature is reliable, grounded and drawn to the familiar, simple delights (because chocolate-covered pretzels are best enjoyed on a nightly basis).
Sign it governs: Cancer
Sure, the sun blinds us with its golden rays, but the moon captivates us with its subdued silver glow. Think of the sun as the energy we radiate onto others, and the moon as our private emotional realm—the deep thoughts, self-reflection and subconscious fears we hold within. Traditionally an emblem of maternal energy, the moon is your astrological security blanket. It’s what makes you feel safe, nourished and nostalgic. It’s your mom raking her fingers through your hair when you were six, or your roommate leaving soup outside your door when you’ve come down with a cold. The luminary’s shifting phases—new, waxing, full, waning—mirror our ever-changing emotional states. Do your feelings flow freely like the open ocean or do they stagnate like green, swampy waters?
How it affects your chart: Capricorn moon natives know their emotions are best dealt with in a private, rational manner. Crying in public? Not going to happen. Cloaking their hurt in sarcastic one-liners? More likely.
Sign it governs: Gemini and Virgo
Find Mercury in the burning questions transcribed into your google search history. Hear it in your sister’s voice as she drones through another long-winded tale. Know it when your professor’s molecular diagram finally demystifies osmosis. Named after the winged messenger god, the fastest-orbiting planet embodies the transfer of ideas. Mercury is how we think, communicate, teach and learn. It’s our intellectual superhighway, allowing our minds to take us anywhere. Do your thoughts roam around leisurely or do they race frantically until the early morning hours? Do you text in long, heartfelt paragraphs or single emojis? This is your Mercury at work.
How it affects your chart: Natal Mercury in Sagittarius is a deeply philosophical placement. You ask life’s big questions, learn from your worldly experiences and teach with enthusiasm.
Signs it governs: Taurus and Libra
Romance is in the air. Along with the smell of fresh wildflowers, clean linens and thanksgiving dinner. Bright Venus is blanketed in a thick layer of clouds. Which is fitting, since it plays into the comforts and material delights we experience here on earth. Bestowed with the name of the goddess of love and fertility, Venus is our sensuous side. It represents what we crave in relationships and how we see beauty all around us. It’s the harmony in our hearts when we look at a pastel impressionist painting or the pleasure we derive from reading a love letter.
How it affects your chart: If the Venus sign in your birth chart is hanging out in Gemini, you’re attracted to people who can charm you with their intellect (think: witty texts and clever code names). You also value your freedom in relationships, so solo trips are a must.
Sign it governs: Aries
The dusty, burnt-red planet represents the instinctual fire lit under each of us. Is our willpower set to simmer or do our motivational flames rage on high? Named after the Roman god of war, Mars exposes our aggression, sex drive and competitive spirit. We feel it when we spot the runner in the lane next to us gaining a few steps ahead. Or when our friend cancels dinner plans as we’re pulling into the restaurant. Mars is what stokes our carnal impulses and desires. And it's how we act on them.
How it affects your chart: If your natal Mars sign is in Cancer, a cautious, sensitive sign, you might bury your anger and feel it turn to deep resentment over time.
Sign it governs: Sagittarius
Feeling lucky? The largest planet in the solar system stands for unbridled optimism, invincibility, and faith. It’s the surge of wonder you feel when you move to a new city and look out into its sprawling mountain vistas. What adventures lie ahead? What big truths can you learn from this new experience? Jupiter is the wisdom that arises from the “Why not?” It’s the cosmic risk-taker, trusting that everything will work out (and that if it doesn’t, there’s a lesson in there somewhere). The planet that rains diamonds teaches us that life’s possibilities are limitless if we have self-belief.
How it affects your chart: A Jupiter in Libra placement has idealistic dreams about equality. You use your diplomacy to understand everyone’s perspective and find luck in your many treasured friendships.
Sign it governs: Capricorn
Remember in high school when you stayed out past curfew? You’d try sneaking back into your house, tiptoeing silently across the floorboards and holding in your breath, thinking you’d dodged punishment? Saturn is the disappointed parent waiting for you in your bedroom, spinning around in their chair to face you as you walk in. It’s the planetary rule-enforcer, here to deliver difficult lessons and confront us with harsh realities. A figure of duty, structure, and responsibility, the ringed planet replaces idealism with the real, hard work required to fulfill our goals. Saturn presents the challenges we’re up against and the sense of accomplishment that awaits us when we’ve met them.
How it affects your chart: Say Saturn was traversing Pisces, the dreamy, empathic sign, when you were born. This placement signifies poor boundaries, a weakened work ethic and a tendency to breeze past deadlines.
Sign it governs: Aquarius
Uranus is the mad scientist, straddling the line between ingenuity and insanity. The teal cosmic gem rotates horizontally on its side, which is in keeping with the eccentricity and radical perspective shifts it symbolizes. Uranus is the force of technological advancement, progressive ideals and inventions that will service the greater good. It jolts us out of our old ways of thinking and forces us to evolve with the times. Concerned with large-scale intellectual ideas rather than the emotions of the individual, Uranus is akin to the PhD student who locks herself in her room, ignores all her friends’ phone calls and only emerges once she’s made a breakthrough.
How it affects your chart: Uranus in Leo pushes us to break the rules of self-expression. You want the freedom to perform your unconventional art and to use your creativity to shift the cultural mindset.
Sign it governs: Pisces
Close your eyes and picture your childhood home. You can see the sleepy willow tree slouching onto the front steps, smell the lilac flowers, and hear the upbeat melody of the ice cream truck. Neptune is this ability to transcend reality and escape into our imagination. The hazy, indigo planet is about dissolving boundaries and becoming one—with nature and with our fellow humans. If we’re all connected, then your pain is my pain and your joy is my joy. Neptune reveals our empathetic gifts, our ability to think beyond ourselves and how we spiritually tune in.
How it affects your chart: Natal Neptune in Aries puts their determination into shifting spiritual ideas; they’re willing to fight for the rights of others. They might also turn to violent means of escapism (say, war video games) to exert their firepower.
Sign it governs: Scorpio
Pluto, named after the god of the underworld, forces us to excavate the infernos of our soul. The dwarf planet might be small, but it refuses to be ignored. It represents the hidden aspects of ourselves, our struggles and our transformations. Do we stare directly into the shadows or do we turn and take off running? Like the yellow, spotted leaves on our houseplant, we have to cut away the toxic aspects of ourselves in order to regrow, this time healthier and more vibrant. Pluto is the personal power we gain over what tries to plague us. It’s the idea that once we face our demons, we’re truly free.
How it affects your chart: If you were born when Virgo passed through the intense planet, you’ll feel drawn to challenges facing the environment or health sectors. You approach adversity with a self-critical eye and a detailed plan.
RELATED: 3 Zodiac Signs Who Are Most Likely to Cause Thanksgiving Drama
Source: NASA/Lunar and Planetary Institute
Published: January 30, 2018
The symbols for the planets, dwarf planet Pluto, Moon and Sun (along with the symbols for the zodiac constellations) were developed for use in both astronomy and astrology.
The astronomical symbol for the Sun is a shield with a circle inside. Some believe this inner circle, or "boss" represents a central sun spot.
The symbol for Mercury represents the head and winged cap of Mercury, god of commerce and communication, surmounting his caduceus (staff).
The symbol for Venus is designated as the female symbol, thought to be the stylized representation of the hand mirror of this goddess of love.
The symbol for Earth shows a globe bisected by meridian lines into four quarters.
The symbol for the Moon is a crescent.
The symbol for Mars represents the shield and spear of the god of war, Mars; it is also the male or masculine symbol.
The symbol for Jupiter is said to represent a hieroglyph of the eagle, Jove's bird, or to be the initial letter of Zeus with a line drawn through it to indicate its abbreviation.
The symbol for Saturn is thought to be an ancient scythe or sickel, as Saturn was the god of seed-sowing and also of time.
The symbol for Uranus is represented by combined devices indicating the Sun plus the spear of Mars, as Uranus was the personification of heaven in Greek mythology, dominated by the light of the Sun and the power of Mars.
The symbol for Neptune is the trident (long three-pronged fork or weapon) of Neptune, god of the sea.
The symbol for dwarf planet Pluto is a monogram made up of P and L in Pluto (and also the initials of Percival Lowell, who predicted its discovery).
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For many astrological matters and questions, it's common practice for people to fixate on their star sign, the sign the sun was in when you were born and is typically the sign you look to for a horoscope reading. But that totally leaves out ruling planets in astrology, a super-important aspect of your birth chart that can provide crucial intel about your cosmic profile.
But what are ruling planets in astrology, exactly, and how can you learn yours and what it means? "Every sign has a ruling planet, and this planet is the most significant planetary influence of a sign," says astrologer and psychic medium Rachel Lang. "This planet influences how the sign is expressed, and it gives us insights into the personality traits inherent within the sign. To draw those connections, you would look at the archetypal symbols for that planet’s associated god or goddess, as well as the qualities of the planet."
"Every sign has a ruling planet. This planet influences how the sign is expressed, and it gives us insights into the personality traits inherent within the sign."—astrologer and psychic medium Rachel Lang.
To learn your ruling planet, put your birth info into an astrology-chart generator and find your ascendent or rising sign, which, as transformational astrologer Corina Crysler puts it, is "your soul line that creates the script of your life." It's essentially how you show up in the world. Each sign is connected with a planet, and the planet associated with your rising sign is your ruling one.
"The ruling planet can show you how to fully embody your life with wholeness and purpose," Crysler says. "Your birth chart can tell you so many different things about your soul's mission and who you are, but your planet ruler can be used as the starting point of understanding what that means for your journey."
Below learn the significance of all ruling planets in astrology, by sign.
Aries ruling planet: Mars
"Mars rules go-getter sign Aries, the sign of intimating action and leadership," says Lang. "Mars is the god of war, and the planet represents what motivates and drives us, as well as what we’re willing to fight for."
Aries folks are masters of action. They're the firstborns of the zodiac, the spark that starts the whole wheel, and "hotheaded" describes them to a T.
Taurus ruling planet: Venus
"Taurus is connected to the divine feminine energy, which allows Venus' feminine rulership to manifest," Crysler says. "Taurus rules money, luxury, and our resources, due to the Venus characteristic of what we love in terms of the materialistic side of the world."
Gemini ruling planet: Mercury
Astrologer Susan Miller once told me that the Mercury was the messenger of the gods, the clever child of Zeus who was gifted with the ability to travel between Mount Olympus, Earth, and the Underworld. We know Gemini to be exceptionally quick-witted, and we know Mercury retrograde to be when conversations and travel are prone to be misinterpreted. Put two and two together, and it all makes sense: of COURSE chatty Gemini rising signs are ruled by a god of communication.
Cancer ruling planet: the moon
Okay, technically not a "planet," per se, but the moon is nonetheless an important and temperamental astrological luminary. A few energies we usually attach to Cancer include nurturing and even "maternal," but we also know that Cancer signs can skew moody. Crabby folks, you're natural children of the moon, a feminine force with potential to awaken tempestuous emotional waters.
Leo ruling planet: the sun
"The sign the Sun is in at the hottest time of year in the Northern hemisphere," says Lang. "The sun, astrologically speaking, represents the way we shine our light in the world. It’s how we express our individuality. Likewise, Leo is a sign that emphasizes creative expression."
If you're a Leo, you probably have a magnetic, warm aura, a stage presence that no one else can rival. You might also believe the world revolves around you...which it happily tends to do. Own your self-pride, Leo.
Virgo ruling planet: Mercury, Chiron
This this perfectionist sign is often associated with Mercury, but Crysler points out that Chiron, the wounded healer, is sometimes also associated with Virgo.
"In mythology, Chiron was the centaur that taught astrology and the healing arts of medicine," says Crysler. "He was the master healer and known as our wound or pain we carry in our birth chart. Virgo is deeply connected to the past and is of service to the daily routine that creates healing and movement. Most Virgos have a strong ability to know what is needed to move the pain we carry (both past and present) and are known as being the healers of the zodiac as, they are the mentors of Chiron."
Libra ruling planet: Venus
Libra is focused on aesthetics (always the most fashionable in their friend group) and is romantically inclined, looking to be balanced out by someone else. So it makes sense why Libra shares its ruling planet, Venus, with Taurus, given the sign's clear ties to the goddess of love and beauty.
"Taurus rules the material world, however, Libra rules relationships," says Crysler. "Therefore Venus shows up in Libra by deciding whom we love, not what we love."
Scorpio ruling planet: Pluto
"Pluto is the furthest planet out, so it requires us to connect on an emotional, energetic, and/or subconscious level," Crysler says. "It's not conscious, therefore Scorpio's ability to connect to the deep water—emotions and subconscious—allows us to understand Pluto by bringing the information to the surface."
Sagittarius ruling planet: Jupiter
Sagittarius is ruled by Jupiter, the "luckiest sign of the zodiac" and the planet of personal expansion (which, BTW, is why you should mark your Jupiter return on your calendar). When Jupiter is your ruling planet, it'll feel like the world is yours to take, which is why those with a Sagittarius rising sign may have an urge to travel.
Capricorn ruling planet: Saturn
Saturn rules over Capricorns, who are likely to have an easy time with the whole "maturity" thing. While many of us groan at Saturn return, it's a necessary time for growth, structure, getting your life in order, and any Capricorn is capable of conquering the world because they have excellent discipline.
Aquarius ruling planet: Uranus
Aquarius is an eccentric and forward-thinking air sign who's always willing to go the extra mile as a humanitarian. Aquarians are ruled by Uranus, the god of the sky, which explains the head-in-the-cloud aura common to Aquarius.
Pisces ruling planet: Neptune
Pisces is the twin fish who deals with everyone's empathy waves (a blessing and a curse). Neptune, meanwhile, is both a strikingly blue planet, and the god of fresh water and the sea, according to Roman mythology. A water sign through and through, Neptune is the obvious ruler of Pisces.