Astrology; Planets, Signs & Houses

Think … What, How, Where; Planets Signs & Houses

Here is some simple information to help you understand Planets Signs & Houses. In astrology the planets represent “What” as in the type of energy expressed.  The zodiac signs represent “How” as in how the energy is expressed.  The houses of the zodiac represent the “Where” as in the areas of  life the energy will play out.

I want you to think about the planets not as inanimate objects in the sky, but rather as archetypal energy.  Think of them as actors on a stage where the play just happens to be your life.  Think of your neighbourhood, your family, your friends.  How do they treat each other, what are they saying, who speaks to whom and how, who gets on and who doesn’t.  Thinking like this helps make your astrology chart come alive.


Each planet and each zodiac sign has its own mythology.  When thinking of astrology, I always encourage people to think of nature, of the cycles of nature, imagine the planets … how they look, consider the mythology behind their planetary names.  Think of the mythologies attached to the zodiac energies.  In short … ALWAYS TRY TO THINK OF ASTROLOGY VISUALLY.


The Planets of Astrology

(The “What” of the Zodiac)

I will be using the planet names in many of my discussion, so just to refresh your memory, the archetypal energies are as follows:


SUN:    Your will, your vitality, where you shine, your yang energy (Note:  popular astrology makes mention of your “Star Sign”.  This is a misnomer.  The correct terminology is “Sun Sign” as it refers to the  constellation your sun happens to be in at the time you were born (as opposed to the placements of the other planets).

MOON:        Your feelings, how you react, where you retreat to when you want to feel safe and secure, your yin energy

MERCURY:Thinking, how you listen and learn.

VENUS: .      Values, possessions, the relating process.  What you want and how you  attract it

Mars:           Action, how you get what you want.

Jupiter:       Abundance, expansion, growth

Saturn:       Fear, restriction, discipline, structure, reality.
Uranus:      Freedom, sudden change, upheaval, unusual and eccentric.

Neptune:     Fantasy, imagination, creativity, escape, confusion, addictions.

Pluto:           Transformation, power, change, regeneration.


Of these the most important to understand in astrology are the Sun, Moon and your Ascendant.  This is the trilogy … the yang, the yin and the personality, the mask you wear, or the way you approach the world.   As an example, if you were born at midday, the constellation of your sun sign would be high in the sky.  But at precisely this time what constellation was rising in the east, taking its first breath, so to speak, just as you were?  This is the Ascendant or Rising sign.  The only time your sun sign and Ascendant would be the same is if you were born close to sunrise.

There is much importance in astrology placed on your Ascendant and the ruler of this sign is the ruler of your entire chart.  You are made up of the energies of all the signs of the zodiac (there is no escaping the signs you do not like!) but at the very least be aware of your “trilogy” and make yourself familiar with these signs. 


The Signs of the Zodiac

(The “How” of the Zodiac)

ARIES  (March 21 – April 20) 

Cardinal Fire.  Ruled by Mars.  Rules 1st House,

Willpower, impulsive, initiative, courage, energy, activity.  Often rushes headlong into things.

TAURUS  (April 21 – May 20)  

Fixed Earth.  Ruled by Venus.  Rules 2nd House,

Sensual, pleasure-seeker, steadfast, focused, can be stubborn, strives for security.  Sees red when provoked for a long time.

GEMINI  (May 21  –  June 20)   

Mutable air.  Ruled by Mercury.  Rules 3rd House.

Witty, communicative, always on the go, takes pleasure in learning.  Always has “20 questions”.  Rarely likes to stop.  Can get easily bored.

CANCER  (June 21 – July 20th) 

Cardinal Water.  Ruled by the Moon.  Rules 4th House.

Emotional, nurturing, seeks safety and closeness, a family person.  Tends to withdraw when feeling threatened.

LEO   (July 21  –  August 20)                                                

Fixed Fire.  Ruled by the Sun.  Rules 5th House.

Glamour, generosity, proud and loyal, dramatic, confident, an organizer.  Likes centre stage.

VIRGO  (August 21 – September 20) 

Mutuable Earth.  Ruled by Mercury.  Rules 6th House

Precise, analytical, does what is necessary, practical.  Can be a little critical.

LIBRA (September 21  –  October 20) 

Cardinal Air.  Ruled by Venus.  Rules 7th House.

A sense of beauty and proportion, tactful, seeks balance and harmony.  Can have difficulty making a decision.

SCORPIO  (October 21  –  November 20)

Fixed Water.  Ruled by Pluto.  Rules 8th House.

Passionate, piercing, extreme situations, transformation.  The detectives of the zodiac.

SAGITTARIUS  (November 21  –  December 20)

Mutuable Fire.  Ruled by Jupiter.  Rules 9th House.

Free spirit, carefree, love of movement, cheerful, sees the “big picture”.  Be careful not to wander off!

CAPRICORN  (December 21  –  January 20)

Cardinal Earth.  Ruled by Saturn.  Rules 10th House.

Enduring, has a sense of purpose, proud, ambitious.  Can get stuck in craggy heights of perfectionism.

AQUARIUS (January 21  –  February 20)

Fixed Air.  Ruled by Uranus.  Rules 11th House.

Friendly,  humanitarian, progressive, unconventional.  Can seem emotionally detached.

PISCES  (February 21  –  March 20)   

Mutable Water.  Ruled by Neptune.  Rules 12th House.

Sensitive, compassionate, helpful, sociable, very adaptable.  Can be hard to get hold of!

The Houses

(The “Where” of the Zodiac)

There are twelve houses of the zodiac in astrology and each house represents a particular area of human life.  Each house is also associated with a zodiac sign and its corresponding planet.

1st House (Ascendant)/Aries/Mars – The individual personality

Together with the Sun and Moon the ascendant is one of the most important single factors in a horoscope. The sign at the beginning of the first house tells us a lot about someone’s personality, temperament and constitution. It typifies our immediate, instinctive reaction and shows how we present ourselves to the world. The planet ruling the ascendant sign is of particular importance for the interpretation. This planet becomes the ruler of your chart.

2nd House/Taurus/Venus – Values and Possessions

The second house and its occupants tell us about the material circumstances, the acquisitive urge and how we deal with possessions. Being a house of values, it also includes how we value ourselves. So, issues of self-worth are raised in this house.

3rd House/Gemini/Mercury – Communication

The third house and any planets occupying it tell us of our siblings, the manner in which we communicate on an everyday level, how we learn at school and the relationships we make within the community we live in.

4th House/Cancer/Moon – Roots and Origins

This house describes our origins, the parental home and the circumstances influencing childhood and youth. It describes how we relate to “family”, our attitude towards “hearth and home”. The father image and the relationship to the real father are also to be found here.

5th House/Leo/Sun – Pleasure and Creativity

This is the house of creative self expression, whether it be in the arts, the kitchen, garage or boardroom or by the act of having children. This house is concerned about a parent’s feelings towards his/her children. It is also the house of playfulness and love affairs (as opposed to committed love which would be the 7th house).

6th House/Virgo/Mercury – Work and Routine

This house shows how you handle every day work and routine. It indicates how disciplined you are when faced with routine – whether you are a slave to it or a victim of disorganization. This house is also related to issues of health and diet.

7th House/Libra/Venus – Relating

The descendant sign and planets occupying the seventh house tell us about how we select our partners and describes the partnerships and relationships we seek. Often we are involuntarily attracted to people whose horoscopes carry a strong emphasis of the sign in our seventh house.

8th House/Scorpio/Pluto – Loss and Common Property

The eighth house shows how we relate to communal goods and how we deal with material loss. Traditional astrology maintains that this house has an affinity to death and all things metaphysical. I prefer to think of it as having a certain “fascination” with death and all things dark. Amongst other things, the study of metaphysics can be a very differentiated way of dealing with this loss, which inevitably comes to us all.

9th House/Sagittarius/Jupiter – Philosophies and Far Countries

The ninth house describes our spiritual leaning, life philosophy and our world view. In fact, these are often influenced by journeys to foreign countries. The attitudes cultivated and formed in this house can greatly influence matters of the 10th. (see below)

10th House (MC)/Capricorn/Saturn– Occupation and Calling

This house is of particular importance, since it affects not only our choice of profession and our sense of calling – it also has a bearing on our general development, what we become. This continues throughout our lives. According to tradition, as well as more recent experience, this house describes the mother image and the relationship to the real mother.

11th House/Aquarius/Uranus. – Friends and Acquaintances

The eleventh house describes how we relate to friends, benefactors and teachers – people who wish us well or from whom we can learn. It also shows us in these roles. This house shows how we relate to the society in which we live. It is also the house of goals and aspirations.

12th House/Pisces/Neptune – Beyond the Personal

This is where we step back for a greater whole or lose ourselves in one! This is the house of escapism, seclusion and isolation. It is the house of mystery and the unconscious mind. The notion of sacrifice is very strongly present in this house but it is the kind of sacrifice that leads to strengthening of character.



The Aspects of Astrology

(How the planets talk to each other)

There are 360 degrees in the zodiac circle.  Aspects (from the Latin ‘aspectare’ = to look upon) are created by dividing the zodiac by the numbers 1-9.  There are a number of aspects used by astrologers, but the main ones to consider are as below:

CONJUNCTION (division of the circle by 1)  

When two or more planets are sitting within eight degrees of each other within the same sign of the zodiac they are considered to be “conjunct” which means their energies are blended.  This can give you a strong focus of energy in one particular area of your chart but if the planetary energies involved don’t get on with each other very well, they can cause some tension.

OPPOSITION (division of the circle by 2)   

When two planets are 180 degrees apart they are looking at each other from opposite sides of the zodiac.  This has a see-saw affect where the healthy way is to balance the energies as you would the see-saw.  This usually comes with awareness of the opposition.  Before you become aware you will probably find that you swing between one energy and the other with the stronger one usually winning out at the expense of the other or you might project the unowned energy onto someone else.  This can cause problems.

TRINE  (division of the circle by 3)    

When planets are 120 degrees apart they are considered to be in an easy flow aspect.  In other words they are happy working together.

SQUARE (division of the circle by 4)  

When planets are 90 degrees apart they are forming a sharp angle and as a result energy does not flow so easily but instead can become blocked.  Squares must be worked and they are not always easy.  One energy will want to bully its way through at the expense of the other.  The trick, again, is awareness and being prepared to work on these energies.

SEXTILE (division of the circle by 6)  

When planets are 60 degrees apart they form a sextile.  As with the trine, this is considered a positive energy boost.  It is not as easy flow and inherently lazy as the trine … some work has to go into the sextile … and it is for this reason that it is often referred to as “strength coming from opportunity”.