We tend to view our mental abilities as intellectual abilities, because that's what we're taught in school. The capacity to absorb data, analyze it, and feed it back on demand as answers to test questions is still the primary way minds are measured. These qualities are associated with the cerebral planet Mercury, but the other planets remind us there are many different kinds of intelligence...
The Moon, for example, relates to emotions and the awareness that we bring to this often mysterious area. Feelings don't easily fit into boxes where we can be tested on how wisely to we apply them. If we're upset, calming down and regaining control of ourselves is regarded as responsible and reasonable.
Yet there are times when the intensity of anger or weeping with despair is an honest reflection of an interior state. Is suppressing those feelings smarter than letting them flow? The answer changes according to the person, circumstances and, most importantly, what we do with them.
Venus is social intelligence marked by how well we relate with people. Being sensitive to the values and desires of others can be useful in making them happy. However, if we are so committed to peace and harmony that we ignore our own needs, relationships will suffer. Venus also signifies artistic or aesthetic intelligence that is reflected by good taste, as well as the capacity to visualize new forms of expression.
Mars represents the physical intelligence that makes for great athletes. Coordination, strength, and endurance fall under this planet's domain. It's also about knowing when to fight and how to fight effectively, which can play such a critical role in our personal and professional lives.
Jupiter is philosophical intelligence or the wisdom to see the big picture and our place in it. While Mercury is the master of facts, Jupiter provides a sense of meaning that puts data into perspective. Some Mercurial types may be stuffed with facts, but they lack a long-range point of view that shows how to apply them.
On the other hand, there are Jupiterians who have a wonderful grasp of principles but lack the appreciation of details and processes required to put them into effect.
Saturn's intelligence is about timing, order, and responsibility. Understanding the right amount of structure or different ways to apply rules makes the difference between competent leadership and authoritative ineptitude. Patience is a gift of this planet, yet it can also appear as paralysis when we lack the commitment and persistence symbolized by Saturn.
The outer planets Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto guide us through transformational experiences. They represent well-managed madness when we use them smartly or chaos, delusion, and destruction when we do not.
Perhaps the most essential kind of intelligence is that represented by the Sun. This planet of will, ego, identity, and consciousness is rooted in the heart. It perpetuates physical life and encourages self-esteem. But this love for oneself is not helpful when it encourages indulgence in limiting or unhealthy ideas about who we are.
Standing up for oneself is generally a good idea, but not when it's to support neurotic and self-destructive behavior. Solar intelligence is about recognizing when we are stuck in the past while claiming that we're just being true to ourselves. Standing up for old patterns is only smart when they are still dynamic enough to give birth to new discoveries and fulfilling our potential.
Bridging the gap between who we think we are and who we are capable of becoming is part of the Sun's role. Discerning the difference between self-discovery and self-justification is a key to its effectiveness.