People have been watching the planets in the sky for thousands of years. As the planets move amongst the relatively fixed background of the stars and constellations, their movements have captured the human imagination. While no one knows how astrology works, a tradition has evolved that associates the celestial bodies with particular energies or parts of our life or parts of our psychology.

The planets are the actors in the astrology chart. As the planets move through the signs and houses, they are influenced by many factors. The energy of the sign interacts with the energy of the planet which may influence its expression. The house focuses the energy of the planet into a particular area of life.

The relationships the planets have with each other, called aspects, also have an influence on the planet’s behavior or motivations (how it will express itself). These relationships can be between planets within the same chart or the aspects can be used to relate one chart to another.

The chart that represents the position of the planets at the time you are born is called the natal chart. The planets in your natal chart can have aspects with the planets in the chart of the sky at a particular time (transits), the planets in the charts of other people or countries or businesses or events and the planets in predictive charts created according to many techniques that have developed through time. These relationships allow astrologers to make connections and sometimes even predictions.

There are many traditions of astrology and many types of astrology charts and many interpretations of the planets. The planets are seen as broader archetypes that can express in multiple ways, but here are some ideas on them.

The Sun is your essence, your identity, your ego. The Sun is your inner fire and the way that you shine in the world.

The Moon is emotions, instincts, habits and memory. The Moon is reflective. The Moon is associated with the nurturing we give and receive.

Mercury represents logic, thought processes and communication. The energy of Mercury is light and fast. In mythology, Mercury was the messenger that could move between different worlds.

Venus is associated with beauty, love and attraction. Venus has a cool elegance or an air of luxury. Venus is associated with relationships, diplomacy and harmony.

Mars represents our motivation, our drive and our assertiveness. Mars is about taking action and moving forward.

Jupiter is about growth and expansion. Jupiter looks for new experiences, new knowledge, new people – any opportunity for growth.

Saturn was the farthest planet visible with the naked eye, so Saturn was associated with limits or boundaries. Saturn is the planet of hard work and accomplishment. Saturn is the planet that represents Time and old age.

Uranus was discovered in 1781, around the same time as the French Revolution and the American Revolution. It was also the time that electricity was popularized. Uranus is associated with rebellions and impulsive change. Uranus is also associated with technology and other developments that can have a disruptive impact.

Neptune was discovered in 1846, during the Romantic Era. The Romantic Era was a sentimental, nostalgic time. Neptune is associated with illusions, the imagination and dreams. Neptune can be idealistic and is also associated with being spiritual.

Pluto was discovered in 1930. during the Great Depression and the time of the Dust Bowl in the United States. Pluto is associated with intensity and extremes. Many astrologers also associate Pluto with death and rebirth.

*Contributed by Christine Chase –
The approach to the outer planet descriptions was inspired by Armand Diaz’s NCGR event