What All The Planets Mean In Astrology—And How They Impact You

Have you ever wondered what the planets mean in astrology, or why your Sun sign description doesn't quite sum you up? One quick look at your birth chart reveals that you contain multitudes; your chart includes every planet in the solar system. Each of the celestial objects in astrology has its own talents, M.O., and (of course) a unique set of embarrassing problems.

Check out the list below to find out which planet to blame or credit for your tendency to blurt out the answers (Mercury), your natural empathy (the Moon, Neptune, and Chiron) and your uptight, control-freaky ways (Saturn).

If you know a little about mythology or astronomy, the astrological meanings of the planets will already make sense. The Moon (thanks, amateur astronomers, we know it's not technically a planet), which reflects the light of the Sun, represents our shy, reflective side. Jupiter, named for the hard-partying king of the Roman gods, makes us feel great, but also inspires a lot of stupid, overconfident decisions.

The list below covers all the major points in astrology, including four important non-planets and one minor (yet significant and not-to-be-underrated) "planet", the asteroid Chiron. If you are still itching for more (maybe get that checked?), we've also conveniently horoscoped your 2018.

Photo: David Kingham / flickr / CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

  • Thanks to horoscopes, the Sun is the one part of the astrology chart just about everyone knows, and there's a good reason for that! The Sun represents your sense of identity and purpose - the stuff you love taking credit for and hope that your friends and enemies alike see in you. For example, if your Sun is in Gemini, the sign of communication, you like when people quote you. If, on the other hand, you're a Scorpio Sun person, you make sure those around you sense your subtle power.

    Because we feel visible and special when we do activities that show off our solar talents, most of us go after achievements that reflect their solar qualities (AKA the Sun's sign, house position, and aspects). Many people even have jobs that seem like literal expressions of their Suns.

  • The Moon - Your Emotions & Needs
    Photo: Ian Fieggen / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

    The Sun gets all the fame and glory, but the shy Moon is just as important. Astrologers call the duo of Sun and Moon "the luminaries," expressing how these two astrological planets together give off the light of our personalities.

    All human beings (Hannibal Lecters aside) experience the same emotions, but the Moon in your birth chart shows how you process those feelings. So if your moon is in pragmatic Capricorn, you'll want to ignore your sadness because it seems "pointless". Having the moon in a Water sign like Pisces, on the other hand, is a little easier, because it helps flow with ever-changing emotions. (You'll respond to others' feelings in the same way.)

    Horoscope writers talk about the transiting Moon (i.e. the Moon in the sky right now) a lot because it moves quickly (one sign every two to three days) and also because it sets an emotional tone for a period. Eclipses, Full Moons, New Moons, Blue Moons, and Black Moons all have their own special predictive significance, and they all have to do with strong feelings one way or another.

  • In mythology, Mercury was the messenger, delivering information on winged feet. In your birth chart, your Mercury shows how fast (or slowly) ideas get from your brain to your mouth, as well as what your inner monologue sounds like. For example, when placed in Libra, the sign of balance, Mercury spends a lot of time indecisively comparing options, trying to find the perfect, most balanced compromise.

    Mercury also describes how you speak and write, and how smoothly your communication goes. Weirdly enough, what makes communication hard (like a contact with the planet of difficulty, Saturn), tends to produce deeper thinking or a powerful imagination. So if you're stressing over a "bad" Mercury in your birth chart, consider the bonuses of your personal communication style instead.

  • In your birth chart, graceful Venus describes how, who, and what you love, be it romantic or material. Venus in ethereal Pisces, for instance, means you love flowing fabrics, fall for ethereal types (e.g. artists, musicians, addicts & yogis) and want a relationship that is so romantic that it's beyond the normal boyfriend or girlfriend labels.

    Venus is about way more than just romance. Venus shows how you connect in any one-on-one relationship. Venus says whether you're the sort of person who gets to be buddies with your high school lab partner, and, if that friendship will last a lifetime or be over when the bell rings.

    Your Venus also shows the experiences you love and value (and will blow your hard-earned cash on). Pay attention to any planets your Venus is forming angles to in your chart; activities represented by those planets will bring you happiness and provide good situations for meeting friends and partners.

  • Mars represents our animal drive and deserves as much credit as Venus for bringing people together. While Venus shows what makes your heart sing, Mars points out what turns you on and shrugs off what leaves you cold. Mars's sign, house position and aspects (contacts to other planets) reveal the qualities you bring to your sex life, whether its the raw, animal passion of Mars in Aries or the flirty conversational skills of Mars in Libra.

    In daily life, Mars shows how you pursue the goals your Sun picked out. That Mars in Aries is great for going after exactly what you want - screw anyone who gets in your way. Mars in Libra, on the other hand, might be slower and more indecisive, but will make sure you act fairly in your struggle to reach the mountaintop.

  • Jupiter - What Expands Your Life & Gives You Hope
    Photo: NASA/JPL / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    Jupiter is a "social planet" that describes how you fit into our society. Often called the planet of good luck and expansion, Jupiter shows the activities and experiences that make you feel adventurous, big-hearted, and hopeful. Because rewards and privileges tend to come easily wherever Jupiter lives in your Natal chart, that's also a place where you're your most generous, often giving away as much as you get.

    One of Jupiter's favorite activities is learning, so your Jupiter can show what section of the library you always end up in. Whatever knowledge you gain with Jupiter, you'll want to share with others, whether that's officially as a teacher or by getting drunk and telling your sister's bridesmaids about that show you watched on the Discovery channel.

    Jupiter isn't all good news, though. Its downside is that most people overestimate their abilities and resources in Jupiter's part of their chart, and as a result can act like egomaniacs or just super-duper entitled.