THE CELESTIAL BODIES
The Traditional Seven Sacred Celestial Bodies
Since the times of Claudius Ptolemy, astrology was founded on the principle of seven sacred celestial bodies: the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. Astrologers who follow the traditional approach will focus their interpretations on these celestial bodies only and apply traditional rulerships. The modern approach will take into account Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto, observing modern rulerships. Generally, astrologers will take from both and formulate a personal hybrid approach of both traditional and modern principles.
In addition to the Sun and Moon (discussed on the previous page), there’s Mercury, Venus, and Mars. These are considered the five personal planets. Personal planets denote your personality and personal development. The Sun can tell us about the influence from your father, the Moon, your mother. The Sun can give a sense of your childhood development, while the Moon, your adulthood.
MERCURY governs your intellectual or thought plane. “As above, so below,” the mantra of Key 1: The Magician in tarot, resonates with Mercury, which also happens to be the assigned rulership over the card. As Mercury moves above us, so below is governed the way we think, our path of logical reasoning, our ideas, the way we communicate, and our societal influence. Mercury offers insight into our mental plane and our rhetoric. It tells how you communicate your ideas to others and the way you think. The planet changes signs every 7 to 8 days.
VENUS corresponds with our emotional plane, what we desire emotionally, and offers insight into our sense of style and aesthetics. The planet changes signs every 18 to 19 days, and so for astrologers, is considered an important planet to examine when assessing your personality and character.
Per the law of attraction, our approach to love and relationships, our style and aesthetics subconsciously attracts certain types of admirers. The placement of your natal Venus can offer insights into who is romantically drawn to you. Earlier in the Elemental Analysis section, we talked about the element governing the sign in your seventh house, which notes what type of person you’re drawn to. Venus shows who is drawn to you
MARS is passion, ambition, what we seek to conquer or acquire, and how we assert our social position. It is also about the survival instinct in every one of us. Mars denotes how we utilize our inner fire, our sexual energy, our determination, and our aggressions. Mars will have an impact on the climax of our life and part of the denouement.
The personal planets are the faster moving planets, with the Sun changing signs every 22-23 days, the Moon every 2 days, Mercury every 7-8 days, Venus every 18-19, and Mars the longest, 57-58 days. These are, of course, ballpark numbers.
Read together with their corresponding houses and signs, a mere astrologer is going to be pretty spot-on with a psychoanalysis of who you are, your whole package, what you show to the world and what you don’t show, and why and how.
Jupiter and Saturn are the two social planets. They place the Self within a certain context and environment and denote the influences of that environment on the Self, whether the context we have been placed in is supportive of success or whether the Acts of God tend to throw us curveballs and present hurdles for us to overcome. The social planets show us where we are positioned within the collective whole. Together, they represent our social experience.
On one hand is JUPITER, denoting luck and prosperity. What’s our expansion and growth potential? How popular is the native? Jupiter will tell us. The position of Jupiter in our natal chart shows our luck, prosperity, fortune, success, and where we tend to shine. The planet changes about every 361 days.
SATURN reveals our limitations, our boundaries, the social structure we operate by. It denotes the responsibilities we assume and our moral obligations. It shows hardship, obstacles, inner conflicts, and our personal battles. The planet changes signs every two and a half years.
Saturn brings pragmatism and a certain level of mental clarity and rationalism to the choices you make in life, which while it sounds great, can often cause us to be risk averse and thus create limitations on ourselves that become obstructions. That is why Saturn is often related to limitations, but really, it’s about trying to be practical. Saturn’s resident house in your birth chart also causes us to feel more protective and conservative in that area of our life.
Medieval Medical Astrology
In medieval horary astrology, where an astrological chart was cast for divining on a certain inquiry, the sacred seven correspond with certain parts of the physical body. Thus, for example, after casting a chart for a horary reading on a health matter, look at the dignities of the sacred seven placements in the chart to reveal, via medieval medical astrology, what might be the concern.
The transpersonal planets, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto, pave the pathway for us to our higher consciousness. They express how our personal unconscious connects to the collective unconscious, or the collective cosmic Qi of the universe. If I wasn’t getting spiritual and metaphysical enough for you before, I sure am now. It is said that these celestial bodies vibrate at higher frequencies, though their effects on our daily lives are not immediately apparent, but rather are revealed over time. Uranus illuminates that path to self-awareness; Neptune to our intuitions and clairvoyance; and Pluto to self-metamorphosis.
URANUS shows us areas of your creativity, the ways you are different from others. A strong Uranus presence in a chart often denotes someone who is eccentric, unconventional, an individualist, and who is born with innate gifts in the arts and literature.
Unless Uranus leads in your chart, I don’t go in-depth with my treatment of Uranus. The planet changes signs every 7 years, and so its influence is often generational.
NEPTUNE brings gifts of intuition, clairvoyance, and psychic dreams. It is the dreamer’s planet, and a strong Neptune presence will show a strong imagination. Neptune also brings compassion and sensitivity. It can also bring innate gifts of music and poetry.
Unless Neptune leads in your chart and thus the Neptunian influence would be strong in your life, I don’t go in-depth with my treatment of Neptune. The planet changes signs every 14 years, and so its influence is often generational.
PLUTO may not be considered a planet anymore by astronomers, but astrologers have long found its metaphysical influences on earth to be significant and worth noting in a natal chart. The house that Pluto is in will often experience upheaval or catharsis. Pluto can also indicate issues involving power and control, trust issues, an innate gift for healing, and also an innate tendency for emotional manipulation.
Pluto in a natal chart also signifies generational influences, since it spends about 12 to 32 years in each sign. For instance, from 1939 to 1957 Pluto was in Leo. Those born with Pluto in Leo lived in a generation that focused on themes of power and world leadership. Individuals from that generation were working through issues of power, both using it constructively and destructively. World power, leadership, and who would rule who and what were the prevailing questions for that generation. Pluto was in Virgo from 1957 to 1972. That generation was all about transforming the way we think about health. Medical research, world-wide diseases, medical discoveries, and the links between mind and body were the main focus points for that generation.
My generation, when Pluto was in Libra, 1972 to 1984, focused on themes of justice and how to transform human relations on the global scale. The popular boundary line between Gen X and Gen Y cuts through this period, and yet most of us have found that artificial division line between the two generations to not fit so well for those born between 1972 and 1984. Often those born between 1981-1984, who are by most accounts “Gen Y,” are going to have more in common with the 1972-1980 Gen X folk than the Gen Y after 1984 because of Pluto in Libra.
From 1984 to 2000, Pluto was in Scorpio, producing a generation all about change, instigating change, reform, global activism, and progress. They say that many indigo children were born during this period. Environmentalism and multi-national conflicts will also be issues this generation will grapple with, given the Pluto in Scorpio energies.
As for the Pluto in Sagittarius generation, 2000 to 2008, they will experience an urgent need to transform religious views and will have to find ways to reconcile disparate philosophies, religions, and cultural ideologies.
Pluto moved into Capricorn in November, 2008 and is going to reside there until 2023. Thus, it would seem like the very backbone, foundation, and structure of society as we know it will be transformed dramatically during this time. Power and control issues tied inextricably with money and commerce will be what shakes our global foundation to its core.
The three transpersonal planets (we’re going to refer to Pluto as a planet here) have a subtle, deeper influence over a native and, read in conjunction with the personal planets that denote the disposition, can reveal whether one is more attuned and aligned with the physical world we live in or more aligned to something beyond, vibrating at a higher frequency, and thus while aligned with that higher frequency, may be in quite a clash with normal society, the physical world.
CHIRON refers to the minor planet 2060-Chiron, which is a bit farther out in our solar system. Chiron signifies the wounded healer and represents our deepest wounds. Like the shaman, what wounds us also becomes our greatest strength, and thus also signify areas where we have skills in healing. Chiron can stay in a Sign anywhere from 2 to 8 years.
CERES is one of the largest celestial bodies in the asteroid belt, between Mars and Jupiter. Ceres, which changes Signs every 3 to 4 months, indicates the resources a native will have available to him in his environment, and can show whether or not the native has the resources needed for success. Its positioning compared to Jupiter in a natal chart can prove quite informative about the native’s lot in life.
ERIS or 136199, is smaller than our moon, and has an orbital period of about 558 years, so it stays within the same zodiac sign for about 46 to 47 years. In modern astrology, Eris is interpreted as our psychological projections and specifically, the ways we sow discord in ourselves and perhaps subconsciously in the world around us, as a projection of our own malcontent.
VESTA, a minor planet better known as 4-Vesta, denotes sex, sexuality, and sexual healing. For those familiar with the tarot, there’s an abundance of High Priestess energy in Vesta. Vesta changes Signs approximately every 2 months, and so it, too, can be an important indicator.
LILITH, also known as the Black Moon, is the point of greatest distance between the moon and Earth in the moon’s elliptical orbit. So it’s not actually a celestial body, but rather a sensitive point, like the Nodes, that is believed to hold interpretive significance in astrology. Lilith symbolizes female empowerment. It can show an area of subversion, a part of the unconscious that remains undeveloped within the native, and express the shadow Self. In essence, what Lilith represents in a natal chart is what the native should consider developing and honing further for penultimate greatness and accomplishment. Lilith is that which the native likely has left latent, but if manifested, could completely change the game, so to speak, and alter the native’s life path.
In astrology, the qualitative state of the celestial bodies are affected by which zodiac sign they’re positioned under. The 17th century astrologer William Lilly described these qualitative states as essential dignities, either strengthening the innate qualities of the planet or debilitating and weakening the innate qualities of the planet.
If, for example, Venus in your birth chart is in Scorpio, then your natal Venus is considered to be in Detriment. That means the innate qualities of Venus tend to be weakened in someone with Venus in Scorpio. On the other hand, if Venus in your birth chart is in Pisces, where Venus is exalted, the innate qualities of Venus tend to be stronger and more prevalent in you.
After casting a chart, the positioning of the celestial bodies in the twelve houses also either strengthen or weaken the innate qualities of the planets. In an electional astrological chart where you are picking an auspicious date for a wedding, for example, you’ll want to avoid any date and time where Venus is in Detriment or in Fall, and most preferably when Venus is it the house of its Domicile or when it’s Exalted.
If you are looking to see one’s born luck of the draw in terms of money and wealth, see what celestial bodies are occupying House 2, if any. If your chart is diurnal (the sun is in the southern hemisphere of the chart), then Venus rules your second house; if nocturnal (your sun is in the northern hemisphere of the chart), then the Moon rules. If the ruling body is in your House 2, attracting financial success may come easier to you. Whereas if Mars is in House 2, then either money is not a prime motivator for you or social and environmental circumstances might have it where attracting financial success takes work.
If you’re reading a solar returns chart and you see transiting Mars (meaning Mars in that solar returns chart) in House 7, where Mars is in Detriment, matters relating to marriage or romance may be more challenging or on the rocks that year. Whereas if Venus is in House 10 in a diurnal solar returns chart, then that’s going to be an auspicious year for career matters.