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How the planets influence your personality


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Credit: Getty images

The planets play an integral role in astrology. Understanding their characteristics and influence is essential to understanding their impact within your chart, in your life and with your personality. I’ll introduce you to the 10 planets which form the backbone of astrology today: the five personal planets — the Sun, the Moon, Mercury, Venus and Mars — as well as the five outer planets — Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. Learn how they can influence your personality.

The Sun and your personality

The Sun is the centre of our universe so it stands to reason that, in astrology, the Sun represents you within your universe. It shows the main event and your fundamental essence. The Sun is all about your core energy, identity and ego. The Sun’s place in your natal chart is an area of your life where you have natural gifts and where you can shine.

Embracing Uranus means embracing your individuality.

Technically a luminary, or light, rather than a planet, the Sun represents self, personality and individuality and is the driving life-force to your chart. As you learn to work with your Sun placement, or Sun sign, you can learn to stand out and even show off your particular talents. Generally speaking, someone with a Sun placement in Gemini may have a real and natural talent for writing, interacting or communicating, while a Sun placement in Sagittarius may be seen as a bright, optimistic individual with a penchant for travel and the meaning of life.

Ruling the sign of Leo, the Sun takes a year to travel around the zodiac, spending a month in each sign. Each month you get a taste of celestial energy as the Sun moves through each sign. Once a year, you get a double dose of your own Sun sign when the Sun returns to the sign it was in when you were born. This can be a time when you truly feel like you own the world.

Keywords: identity, ego, personality, vitality, self

The Moon and your personality

The Moon in your chart shows the emotional you. She shows where, why and how you feel things, as well as how you make other people feel. Your Moon’s placement by sign and house add personal flavour. A Moon in Taurus individual is likely to be grounded, nurturing yet practical and adept at making others feel safe and secure. On the other side of the zodiac, someone with a Moon in Scorpio can feel things deeply and personally, with an overwhelming need for privacy; this can feel like “shut out” to others.

Ruling the sign of Cancer, the Moon also represents nourishment and nurture — both how you nurture as well as how you need to be nurtured. The Moon can show the “mother figure” in the chart, reflecting not just you as the mother figure, but also describing your own mother and feminine energy in general.

The Moon is the other of the two luminaries and takes around 28 days to travel the zodiac, spending around two-and-a-half days in each sign. On average, there is a New Moon (when the Sun and the Moon join at the same degree of the same sign) and a Full Moon (when the Sun and the Moon are exactly opposite each other) once per month.

The Moon “works” through your soul, and it’s through feeling and understanding things instinctively where you’ll work best with Mother Moon energy — because, instinctively, the Moon “knows”.

Key words: emotion, fertility, instinct, nurture, soul

Mercury and your personality

Mercury in your chart represents the communicative you. Known as the Messenger of the Gods, Mercury is the master of communication and rules how you think and learn, what you say, how you say it and communication themes in general.

Your Mercury placement by sign and house shows your individual style towards taking on information, as well as how you intellectualise or vocalise a particular topic. For instance, Mercury in Aries is likely to speak and think quickly — sometimes a little too quickly — and is possibly the zodiac’s best skim-reader, while a Mercury in Libra is one of the zodiac’s most considerate placements, particularly when a balanced and contemplative approach is required.

Ruling both Gemini and Virgo and known as the zodiac’s “little trickster”, Mercury is the fastest of the true planets. Mercury is associated with intellect, awareness and perspective, and rules logic, reason, all kinds of expression and the ability to analyse and rationalise.

And, of course, he’s famous — or infamous — due to the notoriety around Mercury retrograde, a period of time when the planet of communication moves backwards, or at least appears to from our perspective on Earth. Mercury retrograde can be a time of miscommunication and hospitalisation for your communication devices. On the other hand, Mercury retrograde can resurrect lost conversations or even bring lost people back into your life. It can also provide space to re-evaluate or rethink. And, while being born with this placement can sometimes manifest as a type of learning issue, having Mercury retrograde can also provide you with deep insight and superior ability for reflection.

Key words: communication, information, learning, thinking, reason, perspective

Venus and your personality

Venus is all about your heart’s desires — but those desires aren’t limited to the love, romance and relationship fields. Venus’ gaze looks much further afield, taking in the themes of values, beauty, style and money. Venus represents the relationship you, as well as the ethical you and the beautiful you.

Venus shows how you like to give and receive pleasure.

Ruling the signs of Taurus and Libra, Venus shows how you like to give and receive pleasure, and describes your preferred relationship style: how you approach relationships, the type of relationship you seek and how you go about getting your heart’s desires. For example, Venus in Cancer is a more emotional placement, indicating someone who may be protective of loved ones or who sees food and nurturing as expressions of love. On the other hand, Venus in Capricorn may be less emotional and more grounded, and prefer fewer frills to a more practical and realistic approach to love and money.

Integrity, possessions and sensuality are all vital to the world of Venus and she has more than a word or two to say when it comes to your style and fashion sense, too. Someone with Venus in Leo may be regal, naturally attractive or attention-grabbing and can be quite the clothes horse (tip: make sure you notice them), while someone with Venus in Aquarius will have a more carefree attitude and bohemian style. They’re more likely to wear spots and stripes as a combination, without a backward glance in the mirror.

Key words: love, relationship, beauty, desire, values, money

Mars and your personality

Known as the “God of War”, Mars rules energy, action, courage and sexuality as well as anger, aggression, war and your temper. How often you go on the war path can be tracked back to how Mars is placed in your chart, and what might or might not be ticking him off. Mars in Aries will lead from the front foot, Mars in Virgo will strategise an attack, Mars in Capricorn will command it — and Mars in Pisces is more likely to be the spiritual warrior, hoping for a peaceful outcome.

For the less confrontational but equally applicable approach, look at how Mars gets you out of (and not into!) bed. Where a Mars in Aries placement is likely to leap out of bed for a run or gym session first thing, a Mars in Taurus placement is likely to linger and lounge and end up running late, while a Mars in Gemini placement will be avidly scouring news and stock prices before the real day begins. Mars describes movement and drive.

Ruler of Aries and also the traditional ruler of Scorpio, Mars represents who and what you are passionate about, and where you will put your time and energy. Mars also describes your competitive spirit and how well, or not, you deal with winning and losing.

Used productively, Mars is direct, assertive and willing to try virtually anything, but a sullen Mars can be aggressive, impatient and unreasonable. Left unharnessed, Mars can reflect temper and outbursts but, when harnessed, will deliver drive and motivation by the bucket load. The sign of Mars in your chart will dictate how you approach life — and whether short haul or long haul is the name of your game.

Key words: action, motivation, passion, energy, drive

Jupiter and your personality

Jupiter represents growth and expansion, and shows the parts of your life that can blossom with the least amount of effort. Jupiter shows how you reap the rewards of your actions and can give you luck with timing, helping you be in right place at the right time.

Yes, Jupiter is that planet — luck and opportunity are part of his domain — and where he falls in your chart is likely to show where you’ll land on your feet or attain things without too much effort. You know those people who always seem to have things fall in their laps? That’s Jupiter’s trademark, as is abundance and generosity. Depending on other planets, a Jupiter in Taurus placement is often lucky or abundant with money and finance (though think more bank balance than lottery tickets); a Jupiter in Sagittarius placement can have a “the world’s my oyster” attitude with a generous heart to match.

The ruling planet of Sagittarius and the traditional ruler of Pisces, Jupiter can be accused of having a Pollyanna complex as a result of its displays of optimism and generosity. While a Jupiter transit will often open up opportunities and arm you with a winner’s outlook, it’s also important to be respectful with this energy; if not, the word “over” — as in over-indulgence, over-confidence over-the-top — can be an unwanted by-product.

Still, big, bright and full of silver linings, Jupiter is the Mr Generous of the zodiac and where he features is often a blessing, in a “thank your lucky stars” kind of way.

Key words: luck, growth, opportunity, expansion, optimism

Saturn and your personality

Saturn represents boundaries and lessons and is best viewed as the Great Teacher — or Drill Sergeant — of the skies. If you’re looking for a stone-cold dose of reality, Saturn’s your planet.

The ruler of Capricorn and the traditional ruler of Aquarius, your Saturn placement indicates an area of life that requires structure, foundation and, just like the body part he rules, backbone. It will also be an area of life that either needs grounding or gets it for free. Saturn can be a hard task-master in one or more parts of life but he’s not without rewards — it’s just that his rewards are well and truly earned, sometimes the hard way.

At its best, Saturn provides discipline and support; on a bad day, Saturn highlights limitations and fear. He is equal parts constriction and resilience, reservation and resolve — and he is without doubt the anchor in your particular sea. How you view and work that anchor often dictates your personal lessons and relationship with the zodiac’s headmaster.

So, no, Saturn is neither the easiest nor cheeriest of companions — pessimism and depression also fall in his territory. When it comes to the hard yards of life, though, like him or lump him, Saturn and his repertoire of structure, responsibility and commitment — while perhaps limiting — are very much required.

Key words: boundaries, lessons, restriction, structure, difficulty

Uranus and your personality

The planet Uranus symbolises change and will show both where you are different and where you can make a difference, often in a ready-or-not-here-I-come manner.

Electrifying and erratic, Uranus makes his mark by championing the unconventional, unusual and unpredictable. His presence in your life is often found where you’ll be doing something differently to “the norm”.

Uranus shows where you need room — or freedom — to be your authentic self. Also known as the “great awakener”, the rules tend not to apply wherever Uranus is in your chart. Your Uranian flavour is enhanced by aspects Uranus makes within your chart.

For example, if you had Uranus in aspect to your Sun, you’ll be unique and non-conformist. Uranus in aspect to Venus indicates an unconventional approach around lovers or money matters. Uranus in aspect to Mercury can show genius. Uranus represents the desire to do things differently — a different way of being, a different way of conducting relationships, a different way of thinking.

Uranus is also behind upheaval, rebellion and discord, particularly when in harsh aspect. However, at his electrifying best, this planet is not just the mother of invention but the father of it, too. Embracing Uranus means embracing your individuality and celebrating unique, wonderful you.

Key words: change, upheaval, surprise, rebellion, different

Neptune and your personality

Neptune’s placement in your chart can show where things can get a little fuzzy. Imagination, inspiration and intuition are all part of Neptune’s inventory. Neptune’s place in your chart highlights an area of life where boundaries cease, creativity is high and getting “lost” is easy. It’s not surprising that Neptune, “King of the Sea”, has a strong association with the arts, particularly with actors, poets and muses. Neptune also stimulates dreams and fantasy like no other planet.

The fuzziness, however, can be a double-edged sword — or trident, in Neptune’s case. In difficult aspect, Neptune’s influence can manifest as delusion, deception, addiction and lies. When Neptune casts his net, the upside is a euphoric idyll, the downside confusion, paranoia and deceit, where the line between reality and fantasy is blurred. However it plays out, Neptune’s energy is probably the most difficult to understand, harness or own, such is his fluid nature.

At best, Neptune is idealistic, spiritual and the master of dreams; at worst, Neptune can be unstable, dishonest and delusional. Neptune epitomises the need to escape; it’s the expression and manner of this escapism which dictates Neptune’s influence within your life and, in turn, that influence in the life of others.

Key words: dreams, imagination, confusion, fog, lies, abstract, spirituality

Pluto and your personality

Pluto, “God of the Underworld”, represents transformation, power and potency — but, as you might expect from the ruler of Scorpio and anything associated with the underworld, Pluto’s work does not necessarily make for easy, or comfortable, discussion.

Penetrating and profound, Pluto’s energy is raw and powerful. His influence is controlling and commanding. Pluto charges everything it touches with intensity. This intensity can manifest as destructive or ground-breaking. In either case, renewal and regeneration are your next steps on the Pluto journey — but not before something has been stripped right back or forced to surrender.

Pluto’s transformational qualities are second to none.

If you’ve ever heard someone say they’ve been to hell and back, there’s a good chance that person has undergone a Pluto transit. It’s also likely they’re not the same person afterwards as they were beforehand. That’s what Pluto energy does: it destroys in order to renew and rebuild.

In hard aspect, Pluto energy can translate as rage, wrath and ruin through purge, obsession and jealousy. In its most effective, Pluto’s transformational qualities are second to none, as is the raw power that’s available. The capacity for renewal and resurgence under Pluto’s watch is like nothing else on offer within the cosmos.

Key words: power, transformation, destruction, intensity, regeneration, surrender