The Symbolism of Planets
It is easy, given the distance between us and the planets we view in the sky to assume they are disconnected bodies of energy moving in a measurable and predictable way, but sages throughout time have understood how connected we truly are to the planets around us and how we can interpret those connections to help us in our lives.
But did you know that astrology also views the movement of planets as mathematical and predictable? In fact, the energies of the planets are set at the time of our birth and from that snapshot, we can calculate our entire natal chart, including major happenings in our lives. Just like the planets, the outward manifestation of our lives play out in a predetermined way.
Keep in mind that the planets don’t make us do anything; they simply describe what’s happening on Earth despite our actions. It’s like looking at the iris of our eyes in iridology – we can determine what’s happening in our body systems, but the iris doesn’t cause those issues, it just reflects them.
Similarly, Aboriginals in the Outback of Australia know to look at the way ants build their hills to predict the weather patterns. The ants don’t create the weather changes, they simply reflect them. So just like these systems, the planets don’t have any control over our lives – they simply reflect what’s happening.
The planets can describe what is happening during certain periods in a person’s life. For example, Mars doesn’t make a person aggressive, it simply describes the aggression the person is experiencing during that time. Similarly, Saturn doesn’t make a person organized and efficient, it simply describes the period of time when the person is acting in an organized and efficient manner. And when Mercury is in retrograde, it doesn’t cause communication devices to malfunction, it simply reflects the breakdown that is happening around the globe. As above, so below is an age old tenet – the whole is always reflected in the part so we can see the alignment between what is happening in the stars and what we are experiencing here on earth.
We can use this information to embrace what serves us and our journey and to take a more objective stance when the story playing out in front of us is less desirable. Although it appears that we have little control, we can focus on our internal state and the power that resides within.
For HelioSol Practitioners and anyone who is working in consciousness based energy systems, it’s important to understand this distinction so that we can be effective observers in our sessions. We can’t change the way the planets move or influence their energies, but we can help the person disassociate emotionally from their story. For example, if a person is going through a divorce because that’s what’s determined by the planets during that part of their life, they still need to go through the experience. However, we can help them suffer less emotionally by addressing their attachments during a HelioSol session.
The planets themselves are archetypes that represent deep subconscious traits within the human psyche. Each planet is named after a god from ancient Rome, and the characteristics of that god are represented by the planet.
By understanding the story of the god, we can gain insight into the energies the planet represents. Carl Jung, who described archetypes and their role in how we interpret the world and behave at a very deep level, believed that the heavenly constellations are organized through the projection of images, and that astrology is simply an unconscious perception of the collective unconscious.
There are nine planets in our solar system that orbit around the sun – Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. Note: although, Pluto is no longer considered a planet, it still plays an important role in the astrological conception of archetypal energies.
Interestingly, in the past, astrologers didn’t consider Earth in their calculations as they believed that the Earth was flat and everything in the sky moved around it. This is why the Sun and Moon are considered planets in astrology, as they were thought to revolve around the Earth.
The personal planets, such as the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, and Mars, are the ones closest to Earth and symbolize events that happen on an individual level. They explain what’s happening to us individually and how we relate to those close to us.
On the other hand, the planets farther away from Earth describe how we relate to society as a whole. For example, Pluto, being the farthest away, deals with the story of humanity and what happens over generations.
It can be helpful to have an understanding of planets and their archetypal energies in your sessions, but this is just a drop of information compared to the body of work within the field of astrology. It takes years to learn how to erect and interpret an astrological chart.
Each planet represents a specific energy, strengths, and weaknesses. Each planet is also connected with specific characteristics, body parts, and key words associated with it’s archetypal energy.
Here are some brief descriptions of the archetypal energies of the planets:
- Sun: The Sun represents the self, our conscious identity, and our sense of purpose and vitality.
- Moon: The Moon represents emotions, instincts, and our need for security and nurturing.
- Mercury: Mercury represents communication, intellect, and adaptability.
- Venus: Venus represents love, beauty, pleasure, and harmony.
- Mars: Mars represents energy, action, willpower, and aggression.
- Jupiter: Jupiter represents expansion, growth, abundance, and optimism.
- Saturn: Saturn represents structure, discipline, limitation, and responsibility.
- Uranus: Uranus represents change, innovation, and freedom.
- Neptune: Neptune represents dreams, illusions, spirituality, and transcendence.
- Pluto: Pluto represents transformation, power, and the unconscious.
The Sun is a powerful symbol both scientifically and mythologically. Scientifically, it’s the center of our solar system, providing the energy that creates and sustains all life on Earth. Mythologically, the Sun god Apollo represents light, truth, and healing. The Sun’s energy is essential for energizing the body, providing the power needed to create changes and promote healing. It also represents a person’s potential for the future and their destiny.
The Sun is closely associated with the individual ego and plays a role in shaping personality and character. Planets in healthy aspect with the Sun are energized with creative force, while bad aspects can deplete the function of the associated planet. For example, a good aspect between the Sun and Mercury will energize the intellect, while a bad aspect will deplete the intellectual function.
The Sun, along with Mars, represents the masculine forces in the bodymind, and can also represent the men in a person’s life, such as a husband, father, son, or lover.
On a physical level, the Sun is associated with the spine, the thymus and pineal glands as well as the solar plexus and brow chakras. We can make some simple connections here – we know how vital vitamin D is for our immune systems and how light impacts our sleep/wake cycles. We embrace our personal power and take in energy from our environment through our solar plexus chakra and the light of awareness can come through our brow chakra.
When we talk about the Moon in astrology, we’re actually referring to the goddess Luna, also known as Selene in some mythologies. According to astrological tradition, the Moon represents the subconscious feminine aspect of the personality. It’s associated with fertility, emotions, moods, romance, and maternal love. Farmers, for instance, have long observed that crops grow better when planted during certain phases of the Moon. In addition to nurturing and caring for others, the Moon also represents our need for emotional security and comfort.
One interesting thing about the Moon is that it appears to cycle around the Earth more quickly than any other planet. Astrologers believe that this rapid movement makes it symbolic of repetitive behaviors and patterns, such as physiological cycles, habits, instincts, and charged memories, all of which operate at the subconscious level. The Moon governs our past experiences, accumulated habits, and traditions, which can either be helpful or potentially lead to emotional insecurity.
In astrology, the Moon also represents imagination and psychic ability, as well as the mother and the woman in a man’s life.
If the Moon is afflicted, it can indicate a need for affection and a tendency toward clinginess or insecurity. By contrast, a well-aspected Moon can bring emotional balance and a sense of comfort to the individual.
Physically, the moon is associated with the skin, breasts, pituitary gland, stomach and uterus. Again we can see the connections quite easily – the moon is deeply connected with the water on our planet and within ourselves, and hydration can have a big impact on our skin. Our hormones are also reflected by the moon – so our pituitary gland, breasts and uterus are a part of that.
Mercury, also known as Hermes, was the speedy messenger of the gods, carrying important information between them. In astrology, Mercury represents communication, our intellectual curiosity, and our thirst for knowledge. It’s also associated with inventiveness, which is linked to its natural curiosity.
Mercury is responsible for our ability to process and organize information, which is then assimilated by the Sun and Moon to form our personality and character. It acts as a lens through which experiences are filtered and stored for future reference.
Mercury is considered the primary masculine left-brain “knowledge” planet that assigns meaning and explanations to events. However, without the depth of understanding and wisdom attributed to more feminine traits, it can lead to misinterpretation of life and self. This is why it’s crucial for Mercury to coordinate well with other planets.
In astrology, Mercury rules early childhood relationships, which involve exploring the external world. This focus on the external world can create a sense of separateness, leading to a preference for left-brain thinking over right-brain thinking.
On a physical level, Mercury is associated with the thyroid, shoulders/arms, upper spine, lungs and intestines. With this planet being focused on communication, it makes sense the thyroid is connected. The energy of processing, categorizing and connecting pieces of information can be connected with our lungs, arms as well as intestines and being open to viewing things from a different perspective (upper spine) is a natural precursor to curiosity.
Venus, also known as Aphrodite, is the goddess of love and beauty. She embodies feminine qualities such as romance, sensuality, creativity, and artistic ability.
She’s all about making adjustments to maintain harmony and balance in all types of relationships, and is a master of diplomacy and cooperation.
When Venus is strong, there is a strong desire for social interaction and building relationships. This planet is associated with tenderness, affection, beauty (both in nature and through art), pleasure, happiness, refinement, and understanding.
Venus seeks a comfortable, secure, and financially stable life. She enjoys good food, music, and a cozy home.
However, too much of a good thing can lead to overindulgence and excess, as Venus represents pleasure-seeking energy that can sometimes get out of hand.
Physically, Venus is associated with female genitals, middle spine, pancreas, throat and kidneys. We know when we are over-indulging in the “sweet things in life” our blood sugar can pay the price and impact our pancreas and kidneys.
Earth & Ceres
In astrology, the Earth is not typically considered a planet. However, there are rare occasions where it may be used to represent certain archetypal energies. The Earth is also known as Terra or Gaia, which are derived from the Roman and Greek mythology, respectively, that conceptualizes Earth as a motherly figure. Ceres, one of the new planets, has also come to represent Mother Earth in astrology.
Ceres is a dwarf planet that was discovered in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter in 1801. In astrology, Ceres is associated with motherhood, nurturing, and the cycle of life, death, and rebirth.
Ceres represents the archetype of the mother and the way in which we care for others, as well as how we nurture ourselves. It is also associated with the idea of loss, grief, and the process of letting go, as Ceres is the goddess of agriculture and harvest, and thus, the cycle of growth and decay.
In the birth chart, Ceres can represent our relationship with our own mother or the nurturing figure in our lives. It can also indicate how we tend to nurture others and what we need to feel nurtured ourselves. Ceres can also reflect our relationship with food and our body, as well as issues surrounding attachment and abandonment.
Overall, Ceres encourages us to embrace the cycles of life, to accept change, and to find ways to care for ourselves and others in a healthy and sustainable way.
On a physical level, the Earth and Ceres are connected to feelings of groundedness and being nourished.
Mars, also known as Ares in Greek mythology, was the god of war. His primary focus was on achieving victory by developing effective strategies to eliminate the enemy. Therefore, Mars represents the primal and aggressive nature of the masculine energy that supports the survival of the fittest.
The archetype of Mars is associated with high-energy and egocentric masculine traits. It’s characterized by aggressiveness, and a tendency to act on impulse. Unlike the feminine energy, Mars lacks lateral thinking and a broader perspective, which can lead to disharmony and conflict, such as wars, violence, or quarrels.
However, when balanced with its feminine counterpart, Venus, Mars can help prevent excessive indulgence and apathy.
Because of its dominant masculine energy, Mars is all about expressing oneself fully and embracing challenges, both physically and intellectually. The balance between Mars and Venus is crucial for maintaining a healthy masculine/feminine balance in a person’s life.
Physically, Mars is associated with the lower spine, male genitals, metabolism, adrenals, head and nose. We can make connections here – a person with no “backbone” is considered a pushover, masculine genitalia is often associated with strength and fortitude. When our metabolism is strong, we are full of energy and vitality, and when we prepare to fight, our adrenals are working overtime.
Jupiter, also known as Zeus in Greek mythology and Guru in East Indian mythology, holds a unique place in our solar system. It’s the first planet to consist of compressed gases, giving it characteristics like the ability to expand without defined boundaries. These gaseous traits parallel some of the human characteristics that Jupiter represents.
Jupiter is associated with higher brain activity and personal/spiritual growth, encouraging the search for new ideas through philosophy or religion.
However, this can sometimes lead to unrealistic expectations of abundance and attainment. Jupiter represents a balance between the left and right hemispheres of the brain, drawing on both masculine and feminine energies to see the bigger picture.
When well-positioned in a chart, Jupiter represents supreme enjoyment and a fulfilling life. But negative aspects of Jupiter can manifest when unrealistic expectations of abundance arise, leading to reckless gambling and a sense of entitlement without effort.
Overall, Jupiter symbolizes the search for wisdom and higher knowledge, balanced with the need for moderation and realistic expectations.
Physically, Jupiter is connected with the liver, pancreas, fat and sacrum. Our liver is an amazing organ and one that can regenerate. It handles hundreds of processes within our body and I suspect we only understand a small fraction of the role it plays in our bodymind. Our pancrease can hold the energy of the sweetness of life and Jupiter can connect with our expectations around the sweetness that we deserve. Our sacrum can house generational beliefs, energy and memories.
Saturn was the ruler and father of the Titans. Saturn also goes by the names Cronus or Father Time, which explains why this planet is associated with time and the inevitable order that time brings to our lives.
Saturn is pretty unique because it has distinct rings around it. Those rings symbolize how Saturn limits and restricts what’s within its realm, so that it doesn’t expand beyond its structure. This is why Saturn represents discipline and order in life. It’s all about establishing priorities and being efficient and organized.
The Saturn archetype is also related to how individuals influence others. People with a strong Saturn influence accept the realities of life and use their judgment, which comes from experience, to get things done. They have learned wisdom that helps them dispel fear and achieve their goals with self-confidence. With Saturn, success is earned through personal effort and responsibility.
However, if Saturn isn’t well aspected in a person’s chart, it can lead to pessimism, defeat, and limitation. People with a negative Saturn influence might feel overburdened by responsibility, and every effort can feel laborious.
Physically, Saturn is connected with our skeletal system, gall bladder, tailbone and spleen. Just as our skeleton helps our body maintain structure and order, Saturn also aligns with discipline and structure. When we fall and land on our rear end and get back up, like Saturn we are learning from our experiences. Just as our gall bladder and spleen help us to process (fat, blood), Saturn processed fear and helps to build self-confidence.
Uranus is the original god of the heavens, and it was once the ruler of the skies before being overthrown by its son, Saturn/Cronus, who was then overthrown by Jupiter/Zeus. Uranus is unique among the planets because it can only be seen with a telescope, which makes it a modern planet.
The Uranus archetype represents the need for individuality and freedom from conventional thinking. It encourages people to break free from the bonds of responsibility and ignorance and to think outside the box. Uranus is like an alarm clock, waking people up from their slumber and encouraging them to become more conscious of themselves and their lives.
Uranus is all about being original and innovative, promoting creativity and change. It encourages people to detach from materialism and traditions that restrict their ability to truly master life. Uranus values those who turn away from the collective illusion put forth by the masses and instead values ingenuity, and it represents the mark of a true visionary. Those influenced by Uranus tend to do things their way, even if it means going against the grain.
However, too much Uranus in a person’s chart can lead to rebelliousness and a desire to overthrow authority.
Physically, Uranus is associated with the tailbone and nervous system. Interestingly, when we do not honor ourselves, we are acting from fear. When we are in an ongoing state of fear, our nervous system is imbalanced. We are only ourselves when we feel safe to do so typically which is connected with our root chakra (tailbone).
Neptune, also known as Poseidon, was the ancient god of the ocean and all the mysteries that lie within it.
One of the most significant symbols associated with Neptune is the ocean, which also represents the mysterious and unknown aspects of life. With Neptune’s bad aspect in one’s chart, it could lead to mysterious diseases and misdiagnoses. However, a well-aspected Neptune could indicate a spontaneous healing, which could be quite mysterious in the medical field.
Neptune is also believed to influence psychic abilities, which are also considered mysterious.
The Neptune archetype represents the drive to dissolve religious dogmas and the removal of false masks in search of the Absolute. It also promotes creating order out of chaos through spiritual atonement, which includes serving others and rectifying the Earth and the self.
However, Neptune can sometimes misconceive the illusion of manifestation as “reality” and attempt to fix or manipulate society, religion, and other aspects of manifestation in the name of “caring.”
A well-aspected Neptune in one’s chart signifies altruistic acts driven by imagination and love for the divine. When fully expressed, Neptune represents the vision of universal, divine love and compassion for all beings.
On the other hand, a badly aspected Neptune could lead to driven behavior towards goals undertaken to attain a feeling of mental/emotional control and specialness disguised as apparently selfless work.
Physically Neptune is connected with the fluids in our body including our lymph and our sacrum. We know how vital our lymphatic fluid is to our immune system and it helps us to remove the impure or pathogens and clear them out from the healthy fluid and tissues.
Pluto, who was also known as Hades, was the god of the underworld and was responsible for the dead. He represents the cycle of life and death, as in order for something new to be born, something must be destroyed. This also includes letting go of the old self to create space for a new identity.
The Pluto archetype is heavily focused on power and control, particularly towards external structures such as governments, religions, and large social movements. Because Pluto is the farthest planet in our solar system, it represents the rise and fall of civilizations and their social institutions over generations. It demands that we sacrifice ourselves to an evolving social order or to use all available resources to shape the direction of that evolution.
When positively aspected, it can eliminate waste and negative influences, but when negatively aspected, it can lead to the compulsive pursuit of goals that ignore individual rights and viewpoints.
Pluto is also associated with masculine sexual energy and the desire for power. This energy can be positive, but when it is out of balance with feminine principles of nurturing, it can become destructive. On the other hand, when this energy is used in a balanced way, it can also have healing properties.
Physically, Pluto is associated with sexual energy, the lower spine and genitals. The genitals and sexual energy encourage creation and union just as Pluto aligns with the energy of uniting to creating a better outcome for all of humanity.
Using the Archetypal Energy of the Planets for Your Own Balancing
As you read through these, you may have made some personal connections. You can take a little time and connect with the energy of specific planets you want to be more empowered with, or you may wish to diminish the attachment to specific planets if you are feeling they are not serving you at this time. You may find as you reflect that you are observing two planets and how they interact and how that reflects your own energy.
In all cases, remember that you are not balancing the planets, rather you are releasing attachments that are taking you further away from your truth and alignment in love.
Hope this is helpful.