Astrology takes 10 planets into account in our solar system. These include the Sun and Moon, which are considered as planets in Astrology. Then come Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. Astrology also takes into account minor planets, such as the black moon, the asteroids and lunar nodes. These, however, are not mentioned in this dossier.
In an astrological chart, each planet plays a specific role, representing a form of energy. Its influence depends on its position in the skies. We can divide the planets into two categories: the personal planets (sometimes called fast-moving planets) and the collective planets (called slow-moving). The personal planets are the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus and Mars. They are called fast-moving because they move through the ecliptic in a fairly short time (28 days for the Moon and 220 days for Mars). They therefore move from one sign to another quite rapidly. Their type of energy will vary according to the astrological sign of the individual concerned.
The other so-called slow planets go round the ecliptic over a period of time which varies from 12 to 249 years, depending on the planet. They are known as collective planets, as they stay several years in one sign. As a result, their type of energy will have an effect on several generations. Their influence on individuals is on a lesser scale.
Two planets provide information about the general psychology of an individual: the Sun and the Moon. These are of major importance, when working out a person's astrological chart. They are called Luminaries. The planets other than the Sun and Moon can go through a phase of retrograde motion during the year. This is an optical illusion. The planets go from moving forwards (anti-clockwise) to moving backwards (clockwise) and then resume their usual direction. Astrology takes the phenomenon of retrograde motion into account. In fact a retrograde planet loses its influence on the individual.
The life of an individual is never stable and an astrological chart can have an additional chart, to gain more precision. This additional chart is said to be a progressed chart, analysing secondary movements (or progressions). These are calculated by taking a person's date of birth and adding the number of years of their age. For example, the progressed chart for a person 20 years old will be calculated by adding 20 days to their date of birth. The results of this additional chart will help to clarify the interpretation of a birth chart and will include an alternation of direct moving and retrograde planets.
The retrograde motion of the planets happens quite frequently during each year:
- Mercury can spend approximately 23 days each year in retrograde motion
- Venus can spend approximately 42 days each year in retrograde motion
- Mars can spend approximately 73 days each year in retrograde motion
- Jupiter can spend approximately 121 days each year in retrograde motion
- Saturn can spend approximately 138 days each year in retrograde motion
- Uranus can spend approximately 152 days each year in retrograde motion
- Neptune can spend approximately 159 days each year in retrograde motion
- Pluto can spend approximately 162 days each year in retrograde motion
The Exact Influence of the 7 Planets
There are seven planets which have the greatest effect on the Earth, the influence of Uranus, Neptune and Pluto being almost imperceptible. This is because of their distance. The Earth absorbs planetary rays and redistributes them over Nature's three kingdoms: Mineral, Vegetal and Animal.
The Sun is a force for growth, symbolising vitality. It represents the masculine side of an individual. The Sun affects all that is radiant and energetic. This is what gives plants their vitality.
The Moon is force for absorption and has static vitality. It affects everything to do with inspiration, maintaining humidity and taking part in the decomposition process. It endows individuals with clairvoyant powers and gives them psychic and astral awareness.
Mercury is a force for convertibility, affecting all that changes or moves. It is symbolised by storms and thunderstorms. Mercury is the sign of change, conferring on an individual intelligence and skill.
Venus is a force for harmony, affecting all to do with vitality, and makes life go more smoothly. It symbolises sensuality, gentleness and femininity. It gives an individual the gift of loving and harmony.
Mars is a dynamic force, representing combative energy. In nature, we can find its influence in the power of volcanoes. Mars has a positive influence on an individual, giving him/her strength and courage.
Jupiter is a force for cohesion. It is a sign of organisation and it is this planet that influences the rain and the Earth's fertility. It confers wisdom and common sense on an individual.
Saturn is a force for concentration. This planet affects all that weighs a person down: fog and hail. It has the effect on an individual of making him/her more discerning and cautious.
One cannot talk of direct astral influences. In fact, the Universe is like a Being whose integral parts are interdependent on each other. The life of an individual revolves around these parts and forms a whole, which is itself composed of parts which only make sense when in contact with the other parts. Man is a small universe (microcosm) within a large one (macrocosm). To be more precise, Venus is not going to influence an individual's love-life; it will simply show how the individual will incorporate its influence into the emotional sphere of his or her life. Drawing up your astrological chart is a good way of learning to get to know yourself and discovering what sort of person you really are.
The positions of the planets therefore symbolise what we are and do not directly influence what we are. They are enlightened observers of our lives.
The astrologer Christian Singer summed this up perfectly: The way the world appears to me when I appear in the world (at the moment of my birth) defines the way that my presence - throughout my life and through my actions on Earth - will then appear and how I will present it to itself. Astrology therefore allows us to discover which is the best path to follow. It can enlighten a person who is in doubt.