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Astrology on the Web: The Planets
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Astrology on the Web: The Planets

The Zodiac | Zodiac Symbols | About Astrology | Relationship Analysis | Signs

The Planets
Click here to View Table of Planetary Glyphs (symbols) In the earliest days of civilisation, when people first began to pay attention to the lights in the sky, they soon noticed that most of these lights seemed to hold their relative positions in a quite steadfast way. These they called the "fixed stars". Others, including the Sun and the Moon, seemed to follow a livelier, more random pattern. These they called "planets", or wanderers. In astrology, the planets, Sun, Moon and other movable points (such as the moon's nodes) are still all described as "planets", the wanderers of the zodiac. Each planet symbolises particular sides of our character; for example, Mars stands for action and passion, Jupiter stands for fortune and higher thought, and so on (see links to each planet in the table). Planets are located symbolically in the chart: the signs and houses filter their energies through the planets, much as a coloured lens filters the image thrown by a stage-light, or received by a camera. Planets are traditionally categorised by their elemental natures, their temperament, and their effects. These are mainly measured in terms of polarity, fruitfulness, distance from the Sun, quality and motion. Other related matters, such as colour, fragrance, angelic correspondences etc are dealt with elsewhere on this site. Venus and Jupiter are held to be benefic, or fortunate. Mars and Saturn are malefic, or unfortunate. Mercury is neutral, taking on the character of the sign and planet with which it is associated. The Sun is considered generally benefic in Western Astrology, except when badly aspected or in conjunction with another planet, which is then considered combust (burnt up). Indian Vedic astrology, however, considers the Sun to be malefic. The Moon is benefic, but changeable. The Moon's Nodes, the Dragon's Head and Tail, are symbolic points in the horoscope which have traditionally been given planetary strength. The Moon's north node is considered benefic and the south node generally malefic, but Vedic astrology considers them both to be decidedly malefic. The "modern" planets are still under consideration, but Uranus is widely considered malefic; Neptune neutral and Pluto malefic. It's hard to say whether Chiron (discovered in 1977) is really a planet, or more of an oversized snowball in space. Science leans to classing him as a comet nowadays, but many modern astrologers have taken to him with a vengeance, so I am including Chiron as a potentially benefic influence. Asteroids are really as yet undetermined, except that in my opinion Ceres has distinctly malefic tendencies. Any planet, even a benefic, can produce unfortunate results when poorly placed, so a clear understanding of the effects of its relationships is essential. No planet (nor any other astrological factor) can be adequately interpreted on its own, because the overall pattern of the celestial interplay defines the actual outcome. About Astrology What is Astrology? Is Astrology Scientific? The Zodiac Zodiac Symbols Astrology & Astronomy How Astrology works The Planets Planets & Aspects Rulership Exaltation Astrology Home Astrology Orders Horoscopes Star Guide Relationships Relationship Analysis Moral Judgements, or Natural Processes..? Many modern astrologers think that the idea of malefic and benefic planets is now obsolete, as it implies the assignment of moral judgements to natural processes. They argue that all events and characteristics should be seen as part of a growth or development process, and that such categories are simply unenlightened value judgements something of a hard sell to tsunami victims, casualties of war, car accidents, crippling diseases, or destructive relationships! Nevertheless, misfortunes are often lessened in their effects by taking the attitude that something constructive can come out of the problem. People often worry because they have been told that there are "negative" planets or "adverse" aspects in their charts. In the ultimate reality, which transcends our everyday personal world of feelings and relationships, there can be no negative planets or adverse aspects, for at a higher level, all things come to us for our essential benefit, generated by the interlocking karmic system. This is a purifying and energising process that builds our soul and develops our growth in consciousness. Problematic issues that arise, even or especially when frustrating, painful, or tragic, can be seen as triggers which are designed to awaken a higher level of awareness that would otherwise lie dormant.

Rob Tillett has been an astrologer for more than three decades. In previous incarnations a poet, musician, magician, healer, dramatist & composer, he is the editor and publisher of Astrology on the Web and has written many articles on this website. Rob lives in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales, on the east coast of Australia.

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Astrology on the Web: The Planets

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However, this hardly lessens the pain. It would be pointless to deny that suffering exists and has its place in the overall scheme of things, but equally pointless not to offer a clear warning when planetary configurations reveal that evils are impending. To say that sorrow and suffering are of no importance, or even that they are misinterpretations of the data, is to lessen the experience and reality of the facts. But the experience of suffering needs to be guided wisely. As any Olympic athlete can tell you: no pain, no gain. It is an interlocking system that brings our consciousness and our bodies together with events and relationships which, when rightly interpreted, develop love, wisdom and understanding. Astrology in the right hands is a key to the complexities of life in the material world. And forewarned is forearmed. Planets and Aspects Geometrical relationships between planets in the chart are called aspects. These relationships affect and modify the energies of the planets concerned. Some aspects have been shown to generate problematic events in our lives, while others seem to smooth the path with relation to the areas governed by the planets, signs and houses concerned. Should a planet have difficult aspects, or be in an unsympathetic Visible Planets position in the zodiac, it is said to be afflicted. Its negative characteristics may be exhibited on occasions through Saturn unfortunate personality traits, or through difficult circumstances Jupiter arising in life. Malefic planets and difficult aspects generally Mars signal problematic circumstances and unfortunate outcomes; Sun these are the direct result of karma. Even benefic planets can Venus also have unfortunate effects, when poorly placed or aspected. These situations are said to be karmic, in that they are designed Mercury to awaken our consciousness, usually through suffering of one Moon kind or another. Outer (Transpersonal) Planets Should a planet have favourable aspects, its effects will be more Uranus beneficial. In general, any planet which is well-placed in the chart and well-aspected has positive effects, and in the case of Neptune malefics often any problematic effects are reduced or modified. Pluto Benefic planets and aspects tend not to cause the same karmic suffering, as they show the ways in which we can achieve Other Symbolic Factors satisfaction through the expression of our natural gifts. Ascendant (Rising Sign) Difficult aspects, especially to the malefic (dangerous) planets, Mid Heaven (MC) are often quite problematic and can even be catastrophic in their Dragon's Head (North Node) effects. They are, naturally enough, more conducive to personal Dragon's Tail (South Node) development, for they tend to generate complex results requiring Chiron considerable interpretation and self-analysis, while favourable Pallas aspects more often produce simple effects that are easy to Juno understand. In any case, the chart must be viewed as a whole, Ceres for positive and negative characteristics may cancel each other Vesta out, or appear in mitigated forms, according to circumstances Transpluto (Bacchus/Persephone) depending upon other factors. We should always remember that Pars Fortun (Part of Fortune) it's "the set of the sails and not the gales" that determine the way Part of Love & Arabic Parts we go. Aspects Aspects usually described as difficult ("hard aspects") are House Cusps Mid-points opposition (180 apart on the chart circle) Galactic Centre square (90) Vertex semi-square (45) Fixed Stars sesqui-quadrate (135) quincunx, or inconjunct (150) and contra-parallel (opposition by declination). Favourable aspects are trine (120) sextile (60) semi-sextile (30) and parallel (conjunction by declination). Conjunction (0) may be favourable, difficult, or both, depending to a great degree upon the nature of the planets involved.


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Astrology on the Web: The Planets

Other aspects, mainly based on Kepler's work with the musical intervals and that of modern writers like Marc Edmund Jones, can be important in certain circumstances, as can the midpoints between planets along with a number of other sensitive positions on the charts, but they are beyond the scope of the present discussion. Symbolic Glyphs of the Planets |

These are the shorthand glyphs (or symbols) representing the planets. Note that planetary dignities for the outer planets (Uranus, Neptune and Pluto) are accepted by many modern astrologers, but there is no traditional basis for their assignment. Traditional astrologers deny that the outer planets have any rulership, exaltation etc, as this destroys the symmetry of the table of dignities. Their polarity and qualities are widely consensual, but are merely proposed until firmer evidence is available. These outer planets are not part of the traditional astrological schema, but since they evidently have some influence, we need to account for it in one way or another. Chiron and Ceres have no agreed characteristics as yet, though research suggests that Ceres is seriously malefic and Chiron may be ultimately benefic. It is wise to remember that, as Kepler points out, no planet is essentially malefic or benefic, but needs to be viewed in its aspectual context in order to understand its influence in a given set of circumstances. [Click here to see Glyphs of the Signs.] Each glyph symbolises one or more particular functions of the planet represented. Click to view a Table of Planetary Values, showing a calculus for the dignities and debilities of the planets in chart interpretation. For definition of terms, see our comprehensive Astrological Glossary.


Dragon's Head

Rules: Capricorn & Aquarius Exalted: Libra Detriment: Cancer & Leo Fall: Aries Exalted Degree: 21 Libra Polarity: Masculine; Magnetic; Diurnal; Malefic; Barren Qualities: Cold and Dry; Earthy; Melancholic

Rules: No traditional Rulership Exalted: Gemini Detriment: no traditional Detriment Fall: Sagittarius Exalted Degree: 3 Gemini Polarity: Masculine; Nocturnal; Benefic Qualities: Hot & Moist; Airy; Sanguine


Dragon's Tail

Rules: Sagittarius & Pisces Exalted: Cancer Detriment: Gemini & Virgo Fall: Capricorn Exalted Degree: 15 Cancer Polarity: Masculine; Electric; Benefic; Fruitful Qualities: Warm & Moist; Airy; Sanguine

Rules: no traditional Rulership Exalted: Sagittarius Detriment: No traditional Detriment Fall: Gemini Exalted Degree: 3 Sagittarius Polarity: Feminine; Magnetic Qualities: Cold & Dry; Earthy; Melancholic



Rules: Aries & Scorpio Exalted: Capricorn Detriment: Libra & Taurus

Rules: No traditional rulership. Moderns say Aquarius (with Saturn) Exalted: No traditional Exaltation Detriment: No traditional Detriment

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Astrology on the Web: The Planets

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Astrology on the Web: The Planets

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