Micro-Lesson #6: The Planets
Planets are very important in astrology, they are the main actors in every action, so today's lesson is just an introduction. We'll then spend enough lessons to become familiar with each planet individually, with its symbolism and its role in astrology.
Most branches and schools of astrology use the following ten planets: the Sun, the Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. Yes, the Sun and the Moon aren't planets, astronomically, but they are referred to as such in astrology, for simplicity. Also, astronomers decided that Pluto shouldn't be considered a planet, but it is still a planet in astrology, and an important one.
I am used to classifying the planets into four groups:
- The Sun and the Moon are the luminaries. I believe they are the most important factors in most astrological charts. As above so below, and the luminaries are clearly the most noticeable objects in the sky, by far.
- Mercury, Venus and Mars are the personal planets. They are important for understanding the personality of the owner of an astrological chart.
- Jupiter and Saturn are the social planets. They are important for understanding the social position of a person, his or her involvement with society.
- Uranus, Neptune and Pluto are the higher planets. They are not always clearly noticeable in personality and life's events, but when they are noticeable, they typically represent something out of personal control, like wars, revolutions, or deep powers of the unconscious.
There are two other celestial... let's say, things, that were always given quite a lot of importance in the traditional astrology. In Vedic Astrology, Jyotish, they are called shadow planets Rahu and Ketu, and they are actually interpreted very much like planets there. In Western Astrology, they used to be called the Dragon's Head and the Dragon's Tail. The astronomical names for them, and these are usually used in the contemporary Western Astrology, are the Lunar Nodes, or the Nodes of the Moon. There are two of them: the North Node (the Dragon's Head, or Rahu) and the South Node (the Dragon's Tail, or Ketu). They aren't really physical objects but imaginary points in the sky where the paths of the Sun and the Moon against the starry background intersect. This means that if the Sun and the Moon form a New Moon or a Full Moon near the Lunar Nodes, an eclipse takes place, and this gives the Nodes their importance: the Head and the Tail belong to the legendary Dragon that swallows the luminaries during eclipses. If you want to know more about the phases and eclipses right now, I have an article titled The Phases of the Moon: Their Essence and Astrological Meaning, but we shall gradually cover these topics in the future in our micro-lessons.
There is one other celestial object of interest, Chiron. It is technically a planetoid, not a planet, more like a cross between a comet and an asteroid. Some schools of astrology, Magi Society in particular, pay a lot of attention to Chiron and give it a lot of significance. With my mostly traditional astrological upbringing, I was a bit skeptical about Chiron, but then noticed that it did show up quite noticeably in some major life changes. So we are going to learn about Chiron, and we are going to use it, at least when dealing with the Magi Astrology.
There are many other objects in the sky -- both imaginary and real -- used by various schools and individual astrologers. At the moment, I am not planning to discuss any of them but my plans might change over time.
To give you some homework, please memorise the so-called Chaldean sequence. It lists the seven traditional (visible with a naked eye) planets in the order of their apparent speed. You will meet this sequence in many places in the astrological tradition -- for example, in the sequence of the planetary hours.
Here it is: Moon, Mercury, Venus, the Sun, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn.
And of course, you need to remember the sequence of the planets in the Solar System. Note that the Sun, Mercury and Venus are inside of the Earth's orbit, while Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto are outside of it, and the Moon as if connects these inside and outside worlds by moving quickly between them, as a shuttle.
Here are a couple of links that might be useful:
- My Planets in Astrology lesson. It already discusses the symbolism of the planets, but briefly. We'll address the symbolism more thoroughly in the coming micro-lessons, one per each planet.
- My absolutely massive lecture about the planets in Russian, with many structured keywords. It is a treasure trove of information about planets but I doubt I will ever be able to translate all that into English. See if you can make some use of this material with a help of a search engine's translation, and I will try to convey the most important information in the coming micro-lessons (hopefully without making them mega-lessons!).