Astrology 101: The Big 10 Planets
Understand how each planet affects you
Astrologers study the planets from a spiritual perspective as they move through the zodiac and interact with each zodiac sign -- and each other -- to set the mood on Earth. Each planet has a unique personality and an area of life it influences and oversees through its aspects and transits.
Here's a quick look at Astrology's "Big 10" planets and how they affect you:
Although most of us consider the Sun a star, in Astrology it's considered a planet -- and one of the most influential at that. Each month the Sun moves into a different sign of the zodiac, marking anyone born during that period as an Aries, Taurus, Gemini, etc. So, when someone asks "what's your sign?," they're talking about your Sun sign. While so many other planets determine your personality, it's the Sun that most heavily shapes your character and who you are at your core.
Like the Sun, the Moon's role in Astrology is that of a planet. And the Moon rules over your inner life. If the Sun determines your outer personality, the heavy-hitting Moon is all about your inner self and emotions. Just as you have a Sun sign, you have a Moon sign, too -- a member of the zodiac that influences how you think and feel.
Taking just over two weeks to move from one zodiac sign to another, Mercury is the super quick trickster planet. Above all, Mercury is the planet of information -- collecting it, dispersing it, and absorbing it. So, it makes perfect sense that the two signs ruled by Mercury (airy Gemini and earthy Virgo) are known for their intellectual natures.
Venus is one of the most beloved planets, for one simple reason: love, baby! Venus takes just under a month to move from one zodiac sign to another, and this flirty planet is focused on passion and partnerships of all kinds, from business to marriage. But Venus goes beyond human attraction -- it's also the planet of beauty.
Like its namesake Roman god, Mars is a warrior -- the planet that shapes how you defend yourself, how you handle difficult situations, how you make important choices, and how you push yourself further in life. In a way, Mars is your personal ally, but it definitely has its shadowy side: it's the planet that encourages you to take action, but with only your interests in mind.
Whenever you're at your best at work or play, Jupiter has a hand in it! Jupiter is a huge planet, and its happy-go-lucky influence is just as great! Think of Jupiter as your mentor, personal trainer, and sidekick, the planet that ignites luck in your birth chart and reveals your true strengths. But there's a dark side to Jupiter, too, which is greed and egoism.
Saturn's role is that of patrolman, grandfather, and judge. But while Saturn can be a punisher, it can also spur the serious changes you need to make in order to move forward. Saturn takes nearly 30 years to complete a full orbit around the Sun. And once it returns to the position it was in at the moment of your birth, it kicks off a 2-year period known as your "Saturn Return" -- a time when your identity, hopes, and dreams feel shaken up. This is because Saturn is all about our responsibility to ourselves.
Meet the rebel of the planetary crowd. Uranus, a planet that cannot be seen without a telescope, is essential to our individuality. That's because Uranus is all about freedom and revolution: making sure you're living up to your potential, trying new things, and questioning the status quo.
Also the Roman god of the sea, Neptune keeps its watery connection in Astrology: this planet stands for endless personal possibilities, dreams, and spirituality, best represented by the vast ocean. With its transcendent energy, Neptune helps us see the bigger picture, and has both a positive and negative influence over us. It helps us see the best-case scenarios, even if they're not apparent at first. Even further, Neptune rules over our unconscious, reminding us that dreams bear important messages.
Pluto is considered "the dark planet" -- not only is it the farthest planet from the Sun, but it reveals your darkest inner workings and your need for fundamental change. But that doesn't mean it's a scary or threatening planet (even if Pluto is the lord of the underworld). Pluto also represents your ability to transform within. This is where your most unconscious personality traits come to light.