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Understanding the Planets in Your Birth Chart

Craig Middleton
If you've done your birth chart, but you still need some insight as to what it all means, learning more about the planets' meanings can help you understand it better.

Understanding Planets in Your Birth Chart

Understanding astrology is more than just knowing your sign. It's also about knowing the positions of planets on the moment you were born. Diagrams depicting these astrological layouts are called birth charts. If you've done your birth chart, learning more about the planets' meanings can help you understand it better.

Sun, Moon, and Rising Signs

Although every planetary aspect is important, the sun, moon and rising (or ascendant) signs have the greatest impact on your internal and external worlds. Your sun sign is based on where the sun was at the time of your birth. That's the sign you look for in the back of a magazine while standing in the checkout line.
The moon sign is the ruler of your emotions, intuition and inner world. Knowing which sign the moon was in on your birthday can determine how you process emotions. The rising sign represents how people perceive you in the social world and how you behave in social situations.

Pluto, Neptune, and Uranus

The three planets on the outer rings of the solar system, Uranus, Pluto and Neptune, are generational aspects. That's because these planets stay in a sign much longer than say Mercury or Venus. The farther a planet is from the sun, the longer it takes for it to traverse the solar system.
Uranus is often called the third eye planet because it has to do with breakthrough, revolution and progress. Neptune is the planet related to spirituality and ideals, and Pluto represents the subconscious mind and transformation.
The placement of these planets reflects the vast differences between parents and children or siblings born more than 5 years apart, even if they are born under the same sun sign. The differences from generational aspects can be found in big picture concepts, like ethics and values.

Saturn, Jupiter and Mars

The inner three planets, Saturn, Jupiter and Mars, see a shorter revolution around the sun than Pluto, Neptune, and Uranus. However, Jupiter and Saturn can linger in a sign for a year. These giants of the solar system move more slowly than their counterpart Mars. Saturn is the planet of boundaries and discipline, and Jupiter represents luck and optimism.
These two planets balance each other, and where they are in your chart can determine the best ways to set limitations for yourself or bring abundance in your life. On the other hand, Mars is the ruler of action and aggression.
This planet makes its way around the sun bit more quickly than Saturn and Jupiter. It's placement can determine how you react when you're angry, or whether you're prone to taking matters into your own hands.

Venus and Mercury

Of all planets, Mercury shows up the most in popular culture. You've probably heard the term "Mercury in retrograde" before, but you might not exactly know what it means. To be clear, all planets retrograde, which means aspects the planet represents gets muddled. In your chart, Mercury's place determines your communication style.
Mercury is responsible for communication and contracts, so when it's in retrograde, emails get lost, texts get misinterpreted and people from your past might pop up. Conversely, Venus represents how we show love and want to be loved. Venus is often referred to as a benefic planet, meaning it brings good tidings, like charm and sensuality.

Studying Your Birth Chart

The next step to understanding your chart is learning how the placements of planets in a sign impact characteristics of the planet. For example, if you have Mercury in Leo, it means you communicate boldly and confidently, like a Leo.
From there, you can go deeper into your chart by reading into conjunction, trine, sextile, opposition and square. Understanding influences of each planet can help you interpret your birth chart, but that's just the beginning.