Astrology 101: Meanings of the Planets

In astrology, the planets represent the actions we take every day, the motivating factors to do things, and the psychological functions that come with being human.

This post is an introduction to an extremely important component of astrology - the planets! When astrology comes up in common conversation, most people tend to think of shallow personality descriptions of the zodiac signs.

"I'm a Libra, so that means I'm like this; My friend is a Pisces and that's why she loves such and such." Look- this is the way we all enter the world of astrology. We find truth and enjoyment in the basic characteristics of the zodiac signs. But astrology as a framework for understanding yourself and others is so, so, SO much more rich and useful than that.

Understanding Planets in Astrology

Astrology comes alive when you begin to learn the basics of the planets. The planets are the true driving forces of our lives. The planets represent our impulse to DO things. The zodiac signs are simply energy signatures that speak to HOW we go about doing those things. Think of the planets as psychological urges or functions in the psyche. Every planet has a purpose to fulfill in your life. As you learned in some of my previous posts, we can also take into account astrological houses, which represent different areas of life experience.

When considering planets, signs, and houses in astrology, the planets are the WHAT, zodiac signs are the HOW, and houses are the WHERE.
Sidenote here - a full birth chart analysis also involves the interpretation of aspects. Aspects are the geometrical relationships between planets at any given moment. In the birth chart, we can imagine them as conversations that are occurring between 2 or more different parts of ourselves.

Planets Vs. Signs

But anyway - back to planets and signs. The zodiac sign that each planet falls in influences the style with which that planet operates in your psyche and subsequently in your behavior.

A quick example: Mars in the birth chart can signify the psychological function of asserting oneself. This is a necessary part of human life and if you interact with other human beings in any way, chances are you will have to perform this crucial task at some point. A person with Mars in the zodiac sign of Virgo will assert themself in a drastically different way than a person with Mars in the zodiac sign of Aries.

Mars in Virgo might give you details about the situation - what you did wrong, why they are putting their foot down, and they probably have suggestions to make sure this won't happen again. The sign of Virgo makes their inner warrior (Mars) detail-oriented, analytical, and discerning. Mars in Aries puts their foot down with a lot of energy and vigor. This head-on approach might catch you off-guard and they might not spend much time explaining things. They are direct, impulsive, and bold when asserting themselves. Their inner warrior is quick to action and courageous, but potentially a little hot-headed.
Another helpful analogy: planets are VERBS, zodiac signs are ADVERBS, and houses are NOUNS.

So I've listed the basic purpose and function of the traditional planets for you in this post! (I've excluded the Sun and Moon here AKA the luminaries in astrology.) If interested you can use these posts to revisit what they represent. ๐ŸŒž๐ŸŒš

What Does Your Big 3 Mean in Astrology?
Become familiar with the Sun, Moon, and Ascendant signs to begin working towards personal evolution and soul fulfillment.
An Introduction to Moon Signs
The moon represents our most basic need to feel safe, secure, loved, and cared for. Our moon sign shows the way we nurture ourselves and others.

I've also left out the modern planets: Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. I will devote a separate future post to the so-called generational planets, which represent some heavy sh*t in the birth chart. When interpreting these planets for a single person, the house placement typically takes precedence over the zodiac sign placement because everyone born in the same time period will have these planets in the same signs. (For example, everyone born now and for the next 20 years will have obsessive Pluto in the sign of detached Aquarius. Everyone born from 2012-2025 has mystical Neptune in the sign of dreamy Pisces. Meanwhile, those born from 2018 to 2026 have revolutionary Uranus in resource-focused Taurus.)

So, keep in mind, that this is just an introduction to a pretty complex topic. There is so much to be learned about the planets in astrology and there are entire books devoted to what they symbolize in the birth chart based on their sign and house placement. They signify the positive and negative actions we take in our lives.

What do the Traditional Planets Represent in Your Birth Chart?


Mercury represents your inner desire to communicate, exchange information with others, and learn. Getting to know your Mercury sign reveals your communication style. It also determines the style of teaching that will engage you the most and help you learn. Overall, Mercury represents your mind in your birth chart. This planet comes alive when we perceive the world around us and make conclusions based on that information. Mercury is also associated with the nervous system in astrology. The shadow side of Mercury comes out when we try to trick or deceive others, when we twist stories, talk in circles, can't make decisions, or become apathetic. It's also present when we are a bad listener, dominate conversations, and have trouble focusing.

2 girls in blue dress shirt lying on black surface
Photo by Alonso Reyes / Unsplash


Venus represents the urge to connect with others and be creative. Looking at the placement of Venus in your chart helps you understand how you compromise, and build bridges with others. The planet of beauty & harmony speaks to your taste, aesthetic, general likes and dislikes, as well as what and who you are attracted to. This planet is involved in our partnerships and friendships, when we indulge in the pleasures and comforts of life, or when we work on creative projects. The shadow side of Venus reveals our insecurities and the way we seduce or manipulate others.

man wearing black cap with love your neighbour print during daytime
Photo by Nina Strehl / Unsplash


Mars represents your inner desire to assert yourself, achieve, compete, and win. The Mars sign in your birth chart tells us the style with which you go about achieving something. It determines how we do battles with others, what we fight for, and our general way of dealing with conflict. It also represents our ability to say no, set boundaries, and separate. The Mars in our charts comes alive when we are angry, frustrated, or our backs are up against the wall. This planet is always involved when we take action and start new things.

silhouette of personr
Photo by Miguel Bruna / Unsplash


Jupiter in the birth chart motivates you to expand, grow, and truly experience life. That's easy to remember - simply think about just how big this planet is. It also symbolizes the impulse to believe in yourself against all odds, to stay optimistic and idealistic, and to see the bigger picture. Jupiter in our birth charts reveals how we seek to grow and develop, and the overarching beliefs that we live by. This planet operates on faith. Jupiter comes alive in our charts when we are connecting to something greater and meaningful and when we follow our inspirations. Jupiter's purpose in the birth chart is to give us something to believe in - whether it's philosophical, spiritual, or religious. The shadow side of Jupiter has taken over when we are irresponsible, arrogant, unrealistic, or when we take on more than we can handle.

life is your creation card
Photo by Prophsee Journals / Unsplash


Satun represents the psychological urge to mature, become a master or excel at something, and build long-lasting structures. Saturn values hard work, responsibility, and lived experience. It's the wisdom that has come from doing the work every day. Almost everyone who has gone to school for a specific trade or career knows that what you learn in your textbooks rarely matches up to the work you do in the actual field. That is a prime example of Saturn at play. Saturn comes alive in our birth charts when we are practical and disciplined and when we manage our time well so that we may reach our goals. The shadow side of Saturn has taken over when we are overly negative or when we allow fear to keep us stuck in the status quo. Saturn symbolizes challenges that we spend a great deal of our lives working to overcome.

difficult roads lead to beautiful destinations desk decor
Photo by Nik / Unsplash

Birth Chart Consultations

So if you read through those descriptions, I'd bet that certain people in your life come to mind when you read about certain planets. Sometimes we 'overdo' certain planets. We find easy access to a couple of the planetary energies or we 'psychologically integrate them well' (that's what a psychological astrologer would say.) Meanwhile, we have a hard time accessing and getting in tune with the energy of other planets. That all has to do with the beautiful complexities present in your birth chart!

Are you ready to take a deep dive into your birth chart? Book a consultation with me! Explore the magic that is your personal astrology birth chart. ๐Ÿ”ญ๐ŸŒ 

Consultations are offered via video chat. Email: [email protected] โ€œAstrology is a language. If you understand this language, the sky speaks to you.โ€ - Dane Rudhyar Birth Chart or Current Astrology Transits Overview (45mins) - $100 (60mins) - $125 (90mins)- $175 Learn the basics of your astrological birth