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In every mythology, the Sun is seen as the life giving centre of all upon which all existence depends, the ever renewing face of the king in heaven, the creator and sustainer of all life and the source of the heroic cycle, descending each day to be reborn anew. The centre of creation around which all else revolves, the Sun is the single most important symbol in the birth chart and suggests, by its pictorial representation ~ a point at the centre of a circle ~, that it reflects the individual's deepest urge to become him/herself, quite literally to shine.
Energising, stimulating, wilful and directed, the Sun symbolises one's vitality, potency, sense of individuality, creative energy, essential values, and highest potential. Representing the physical and spiritual heart of the human being, as well as the urge to be, to create, be recognised and to fully express that which is most authentic and true to yourself. The Sun symbolises your myth, the hero, the nature of your journey and your life's task. It describes how you are, how you will experience life and express your individuality. Whether that be heroically, as positive radiation of spirit, creative, generous and loving, or in defeat, as pride, arrogance, with driven desire to be seen as special.
When you are fired by your own uniqueness, when you express yourself truly and authentically as you seek to actualise your quest as the source of your personal fulfilment, when you express the source of your creative identity as a beacon for others, impelled to shine and find joy in being who you are, then you are in touch with and living your Sun.
The ever changing Moon is the ruler of the night, where forms are softened and merge. With no protective atmosphere, a dark side we never see, its regularly changing face represents different aspects of the Great Mother Goddess, maiden, mother, crone and the mysteries of the feminine, including menstruation and childbirth, as well as all things cyclical. Responsible for the ebb and flow of both the tides and of our feeling nature with all its needs, its longing and instincts.
The moon symbolises the urge towards unconsciousness, towards the past, as well as the urge towards immersion in the flow of feeling, which allows the individual to be part of the mass currents of life without undertaking the struggle required for consciousness. The Moon symbolises one's reactions, subconscious predispositions and deepest unexpressed (and because they are preverbal, inexpressible) feelings about oneself; also, one's selfimage and conditioned responses. The Moon describes one's urge to feel inner support and emotional security, the need for inner tranquillity and for a sense of belonging, feeling of rightness about oneself.
Positively, the Moon may be experienced as how one reacts based on inner predispositions, feelings of responsiveness and inner contentment, and as a flowing adaptable sense of self. Somewhat less heroically, the Moon may result in oversensitivity, insecurity, an overactive, inhibiting sense, anxieties and phobias.
When you seek to immerse yourself in the flow of feeling, take the least course of resistance, so as to sink deeply into experience without evaluation or understanding, to allow space in your life for your longings and needs to arise and be nourished, and in so doing access and be touched by deep tides of instinct awareness, then you're experiencing your Moon.
Mercury is the fastest planet and the planet closest to the sun. Mercury's energy is fast, unpredictable, quick and changeable. Mercury or Hermes, as the Greeks knew him, is the god of roads. He rules the ways in between, the linking routes between different domains or levels of the psyche. He presides over the wanderer, the merchant, the negotiator and the messenger, and all spheres of activity that involve exchange or communication of some kind or other. Hermes is a strange androgynous figure who contains the keys to all knowledge and who carries messages to and fro between the gods and between gods and men. He was in fact the only god who could travel ar will down into Hades realm. As such, he is the Sun's messenger; and while the Sun is the symbol of one's essence, Mercury symbolises that function that enables us to know and express that essence.
Ever logical, reasonable and rational, Mercury is the social butterfly, collecting sayings, ideas, information, facts, trivia, and secrets. While his mischievous nature has earned him the reputation of trickster, Mercury can also represent unexpected twists of fortune and reversals of luck.
Mercury represents the urge to express oneself and what one thinks and knows, and to establish connections with others and to learn. As such, Mercury symbolises the way we not only perceive, but order our perceptions, so that they can be integrated, understood and communicated. Mercury further represents the mind, the link between spirit and matter, soul and personality, or more literally between hands and brain. Mercury is concerned with interpretation, selfexpression, the rational, with mental processes and the capacity to reason, and the ability to perceive relationships, gather facts and transmit images, impressions, and concepts.
Mercurial qualities include restlessness and excitability. Having an insatiable hunger for mental stimulation, Mercury is alert, intellectual, perceptive and versatile. Ruling the nervous system, strong Mercury types tend to be hyperactive and prone to worry. Mercury symbolises the way in which the individual learns and the method by which experience is transmitted into understanding. Heroically, this may involve the creative use of skill or reason and powers of discrimination used to serve higher ideals, and an experience of the awareness of the interrelatedness of all things. More mundanely, Mercury may be experienced as overdosing on the sheer volume of input to which the individual is subjected, leading to superficiality, as well as a kind of amorality capable of rationalising anything. A negative Mercury can be very opinionated and onesided, with a troublesome wit.
Mercury is the urge to communicate, to teach, to learn, to know and to understand. When you are feeling inspired, in touch with your daemon and moved to communicate, when you see things clearly and can make all those "out of the box" connections, then you are expressing Mercury.
The ancients believed that Venus, as the planetary ruler of your Ascendant, exerted a special significance in the lives of individuals born under its influence. Venusian qualities then are a distinct part of your expression Venus being the god or daemon to which you owe allegiance. Called the Chart Ruler, it can give us information about what life will require of us and, with the Ascendant, may describe the kinds of situations the Hero will meet on his/her journey.
Venus, the goddess of the Morning and the Evening, illuminates the path to the stars; no wonder then that, in mythology, Venus/Aphrodite is the goddess of erotic love, self indulgence and beauty. Venus presides over the creation of beauty, harmony and pleasure. Venus represents a potent feminine anima principle; her love is passionate and all consuming, rooted in sensual pleasure and aesthetic delight unconcerned with social mores.
Within you, she embodies your longing for relationship and for love. Venus wants and desires, needs and demands above all else to be special; not just loved, but adored. She is both lover and the beloved, the beautiful youth and maiden forever pursued. Venus expresses all her passions just as extravagantly, not only her loves but also her hates and jealousies.
Venus symbolizes not only social values, but also the exchange of energy with another through giving, sharing and receiving, in that Venus describes one's capacity for relationship. This includes the need to feel close to another, to be comfortable and in harmony, even to the point of being subsumed, and to express the feminine aspects of one's urge toward relating, responding, harmonizing, and adjusting to the sphere of personal relationships, and of quiet, gentle persuasion.
Concerned as she is with the nature of our relationships and visions of self, Venus indicates the ability to see ourselves reflected through the entire universe. This may involve the transformation of one's emotional values and modes of expressing and understanding closeness. Venus is the social and love urge, the need to express affection, and also for sexual passion, pleasure and the erotic. For if the Moon is the mother, Venus is the archetype of the hetaera: these are the two faces of the feminine she expresses.
More heroically, Venus may be experienced as love, sharing, the give and take with others, and one's generosity of spirit as opposed to expressing Venus as selfindulgence, greed, emotional demands, or through restrained, inhibited affections.
When you feel selfindulgent, hedonistic, pleasure seeking and special, when you desire and seek its object, exalt in your relationships, preen and enjoy the beautiful and the lavish, the social whirl and the private encounter, when you freely love and can be loved, can express both passion and sensuality, then you are expressing Venus in your life.
The red planet Mars was seen traditionally as hot, aggressive and warlike; in myth, he is Ares, honourable, courageous and indefatigable, the warlord. His first impulse is to fight, to attack, to compete and to win. For Mars glories in the physicality of personal combat, delighting in the challenge, combat and triumph.
On an inner level, Mars will symbolize your need to defend yourself and whatever is dear to you, to fight when necessary for your family, your ideals, your beliefs and your position. Mars represents the ability to know what you want and the energy and capacity to go out on behalf of the Sun and get it.
Within he is the king's champion, there to assert and insist upon the prerogatives of the inner king and his/her Quest. In myth, he is the god of war and strife, as well as the restless and turbulent lover and brawler, thriving on both conflict and conquest, whether of the battlefield, bar or bedroom. As an Eros principle, Mars also symbolizes your need for sexual excitement and gratification. A potent masculine animus principle that represents the part of us that seeks to express our individuality through action, assertion and power.
The Mars archetype, like the god, is present in passionate, intense reactions, energising, for better or for worse, all that it comes into contact with, in an intensely physical and emotional way.
The urge which Mars symbolizes may be seen in the way you go about getting what you want; the quality or mode of your desire, the manner in which you carry out the chase, as well as in the expression of your passions. Extremely individualistic and selfcentred, Mars represents struggles, both within and with others, as well as selfassertion, initiative, physical energy and the drive to act decisively, and to achieve.
All these are an expression of Mars, an energy that can be expressed heroically in the form of courage, initiative, and willpower, consciously directed toward a legitimate aim, or thuggishly expressed as impatience, wilfulness, violence, and the improper use of force or threats.
To conclude, when you assert yourself, defend those things dear to you, stand up for yourself and the things that are important to you, know what you want and go out and get it, then you are expressing your Mars energy.
Dominant in the night sky, Jupiter is the largest planet, larger than all the other planets combined, holding an esteemed place in all mythologies throughout the world. Jupiter was known to the Babylonians as Marduk, Zeus to the Greeks, Jupiter to the Romans and Thor, the mighty Teutonic sky god wielding his creative thunderbolts.
Restless and adventurous, forever in pursuit of future possibilities, broader perspectives, widening horizons and long range ideas that educate and inspire, for everything is meaningful to Jupiter, Jupiter being the meaning making function of the psyche, concerned not only with universal truths and principles, but also with the need to communicate them to others for the benefit of all.
Jupiter also symbolises experiences that move and excite, that invigorate and constantly fill you with new experiences. Astrologically then, Jupiter is symbolic of expansion, trust, wisdom and the higher mind. A masculine urge, Jupiter is connected with the upper reaches of the intuitive mind, the religious urge and the need to intuit meaning, order, hope, growth, the numinous and the divine. Jupiter suggests the way in which one will seek this experience of meaning in life.
Jupiter seeks to expand and carries the ability to grow in physical, mental, and moral directions and is associated with social consciousness. Jupiter also symbolises the mythmaking principle and the urge within the psyche to create symbols and the vast repository of creative power inherent within; as well as the link between the conscious and the unconscious. Jupiter is the prophet, the intuitive seer, the spiritual guide who vouchsafes a glimpse of meaning and wholeness. This may be experienced positively as faith and reliance on a higher power or greater plan, as well as an openness to grace to the self's movement towards improvement. Less heroically, it will manifest as overconfidence, laziness, the scattering of energy, such that things get left for others; also as irresponsibility and the overextending of oneself from idly promising too much.
Jupiter is known as the great benefic and represents roles or experiences that ennoble and enlarge in beneficial ways. So that when you express the need within you to expand and grow, to transcend boundaries and limitations in search of new horizons, to experience life as being on your side, with something larger than you impelling your forward, when you are living out life's quest the Hero Quest, when you see life as an adventure, constantly unfolding, then you are expressing Jupiter.
Saturn is the ringed planet and the last planet known to the ancients, because it is the last planet visible to the naked eye; and so, it is the guard of boundaries, limits or structure. Personal and collective, for Saturn also represents consensus reality, the reality in which we all must function in the material world. Saturn represents reality as culturally defined and the limits of what can be perceived with the ordinary mind. Saturn, therefore, is the great teacher, but one disguised as the bringer of pain. Saturn then represents necessity, the material world, the old world, the past, aging, autonomy, aloneness, old age, time and, finally, death. Also called Rex Mundi, the lord of the world, because he represents the harsh restrictions inherent with earthly life.
Associated with the lost state of perfection that could never be restored, Saturn or Cronos, as the Greeks knew him, signified rejection, loss and even despair, suggesting a sphere of life in which you have been somehow stunted or arrested in growth. Where you may feel inadequate, oversensitive or clumsy, and in which you will be prone to overcompensate.
The mythological Saturn devoured his own children in order to protect his own rule and so represents your need to protect yourself, your place in the order of things, against anything and everything, including your own creations that might threaten the status quo.
Saturn symbolises contraction, effort, the urge to defend the self's structure and integrity. The urge toward safety and security through tangible achievement and the need for social approval, the need to rely on one's own resources and work. Consensus reality, father, rules and authority. Either the bringer of woe or source of strength, Saturn brings the first law of manifestation ~ limitation. Saturn strengthens the personality through endurance and persistence. Saturn focuses and concentrates energy and Saturn's counteractive nature gives us the opportunity for introspection, meditation, concentration and disciplined effort.
The base metal of alchemy in which lay the possibility of gold was called Saturn, and this base metal was also considered to be the alchemist himself. Without the Beast, there would be no Handsome Prince and Saturn at his most heroic is both. For through darkness, struggle, and pain come understanding and light. In defeat, Saturn can manifest as self restriction through too much reliance on oneself and a lack of faith; also as rigidity, coldness, defensiveness, crippling inhibition, fearfulness and negativity.
Only when you willingly accept the limitation of your duties and responsibilities with patience and serenity, when you accept the lessons of time with selfdiscipline and selfsufficiency, When you can accept your fears, failings and inadequacies, hurts and wounds, and lay them bare upon Saturn's battleground to be transformed into the strengths that are the promise of both Saturn and time, then you are expressing Saturn.
Situated between Saturn and Uranus Chiron's elliptical orbit makes it very much a maverick planet, its also bridges Saturn, the traditional boundary of physical reality, of known and unknown, and the outer planets, a point through which some of the outer planets represent might become more available, more conscious.
Chiron in Greek mythology was another maverick – one who lives by his own rules – and the greatest of all he Centaurs. A herbal master of healing he knew magic and the wisdom of nature, a sage and a teacher he tutored the sons of kings in these arts as well as in ethics and philosophy. In a tragic accident he is accidentally grazed on the flank, that is his horse part, by his friend Herackles, by an arrow that has been dipped in the blood of the hydra. The wound is incurable, his own skills cannot help him, yet he is immortal and can not die and so must ever endure great suffering. Because of his suffering however his great wisdom increased and he continued his work albeit wounded, as a healer, eventually Zeus granted his request to exchange places with Prometheus in Hades.
Chiron then represents the archetype of the wounded healer, and so is intimately linked with your own experience of being wounded in some way. The wound that comes from life's inherent unfairness, unfairness resulting from historical or social realities, from 'accidents' and 'tragedies' that are without individual fault but which individuals must bare. Chiron's wounding is a type of shamanic awakening, in touch with their animal natures the Centaurs were traditionally associated with raw instincts and herein lies a clue in that a greater awareness of our own instinctual roots can help our understanding of these Chironic wounds. The thing wounded is the flank, the animal part of ourselves, on which we stand. Chiron's response also has much to offer individuals wounded by life's unfairness, trapped in suffering, not of their doing and who seek meaning as a creative response to their situation. Rather than succumb to bitterness borne of a sense of 'victim consciousness'.
These wounds relate to your sense of who you are and how you represent yourself to the outer world, deep psychic wounds that will neither go away nor heal. You may find yourself drawn to people who seem to embody such wounds to the soul (they are usually so much more visible in others).
D.H.Lawrence referred to such wounds as…
" wounds to the soul, to the deep emotional self
and the wounds to the soul take a long, long time,
only time will help
and patience, and a certain difficult repentance
long difficult repentance, realizations of life's mistake
and the freeing oneself
from the endless repetiton of the mistake
which mankind at large has chosen to sanctify."
Because these wounds are incurable and won't go away we are left with two choices, one choice really, deny them or like Chiron make the heroic choice of entering into a relationship with them, honouring and understanding them, potentially a profoundly transformative experience. The choice is yours!
Uranus then represents individual freedom, the urge toward originality, independence, the need for change, unrestrained excitement and the lightening flash of inspiration. In myth, he is the creator sky god of the distant and starry heavens whose overarching vision stands behind all manifest creation and seeks to imbue it with divine meaning and purpose. Ruler of the roads less travelled, Uranus, a planet with an unusual rotation and an eccentric orbit, represents creative freedom, individualism and the Promethean impulse to uplift humankind by stealing and gifting fire from the gods.
Uranus is the planet of extremes and sudden change. Often intellectual, it is the force which destroys the old, the constricting, to allow room for the new, the creative, displacing and overthrowing established attitudes which have outlived their usefulness. Uranus symbolises the world of archetypal ideas, the underlying patterns of ideas which support the universe. As such, Uranus represents the need within the psyche to break free of identification with material reality. Often reluctant to let go and fearful of the unknown, yet ironically inclined to bring it about, Uranus makes us let go and shakes us loose. This is because the urge symbolised is to change one's understanding of oneself, one's work, one's beliefs, relationships and interpretations.
Associated with intuitive knowledge, it brings altruism, originality, invention and disengagement from nonessentials. On a sort of quest for moral perfection, Uranus is the dynamic wind, the numinous power which rends the veil of apparent mundane reality, exposing the world of divine mind, initiating sudden, unexpected awakenings. Uranus is characterised by both a respect for freedom and wilfulness, as well restless impatience and, paradoxically, the need to impose it on others, for Uranus can be both anarchic and authoritarian, idealistic, but also antisocial.
These urges may be experienced on your quest as a vision, a vision that transcends yourself and includes a united humanity, moving together on a purposefully directed path toward an altruistic goal informed by truth and liberty. So that when you seek to break free of limitations, overthrow all forms and traditions in a neverending quest for the new and the innovative, when you feel impelled to stand up and create the change necessary in your life, to be your unique self, no matter how different, unacknowledged or strange this may be, then you are expressing Uranus.
Neptune is an image that represents the terrifying and the elemental. To the Greeks he was Poseidon, an angry and temperamental god who caused earthquakes as well as turbulent and stormy seas, in which his victims lost their way and had to surrender to his realm.
An enchanter, Neptune symbolises transcendence and the urge to escape from the limitations of the material world, through the sacrifice of the personal "I", of one's self. Neptune symbolises the need to experience a oneness with life, a complete merger with the whole, as well as ideals, illusions, the unreal, alternate realities, confusion and escapism, and the transcendent.
Neptune is the mermaid, the melusine, who draws victims down into the depths of the ocean of collective feeling. As god of the chaotic and the illusory oceans and depths, Neptune is a symbol of the collective feeling which moves us from below to immerse ourselves in the mass. Neptune can manifest in withdrawal from life or in the defeat of the ego, as well as the experience of that experience of the ultimately real, containing all polarities but no distinctions as mystical perceptions of divinity, truth, and nonattachment.
From Neptune, the hero may experience a connection with the whole and a realisation of spiritual dimensions. The capacity to live life as an ideal, with spiritual strength and guidance, but must also confront their escapist tendencies toward the path of least resistance and avoidance of responsibility. As well as selfdestructive escapism, evasion of responsibility and self's deepest needs which comes from the refusal to face one's true motives and to commit oneself to anyone and anything.
Neptune is also the urge toward the disintegration of individual consciousness, the loss of outer focus, and the experience of cleansing through the immersion in the sea of the unconscious. Whenever you experience this in any of its manifestations such as fantasy, romance, glamour, ecstasy, the mystical vision, the nebulous, ineffable, unformed, and the overwhelming, when all about you appears veiled, unclear, intangible and you find yourself for a time in that imaginal realm of dreams, images and illusions, on a search you know not where, for you know not what, only that at its end you will be united with your source, then you are experiencing Neptune.
Pluto is the furthest planet from the earth, located in the most remote depths of space. Invisible to the naked eye, he is, as is Hades, the god from whom he takes his name, inaccessible and unapproachable, ruling the ancient, inescapable necessities that inform all life.
Also known as the Prince of Darkness, Pluto is the lord of hidden and secret connections between things; and when he enters our life as a situation over which we are powerless and have no control, necessity demands that we must leave a sacrifice of some deeply held aspect of our being as an offering upon his altar. Pluto holds the secrets to transformation and regeneration, for these are his gifts. To travel to Pluto's domain, one first must cross the river Styx, which flows along the border of the nether world and which means abomination. Passage across was by ferry and the ferryman always demanded a toll, usually a gold coin; that is, something of value in which you have identified an vested an important aspect of yourself.
Interestingly, the tributaries of the River Styx are Lethe, forgetfulness; Acheron, misfortune; Cocytus or piercing wounds; and Phlegethon, a river of flames. Only then did one arrive in that realm where forms are broken down and dissolved to be transformed and renewed.
Another equally powerful aspect of Pluto is that of the inexorable dark devouring mother, who gives the gift of life and then draws one into the womb of sleep, death and rebirth. Aware of the invisible worlds which animate all things, Pluto judges according to motivations rather than actions; his insights penetrate to the core of experience, demanding a continual refining process through a sloughing off of the old and the outworn.
Pluto will enter your life as processes that "happen" to you, wished for or not, precipitating cycles of decay, death, and separation, often from someone or something with which there is an intense bond, and from which you need to retrieve your life. The word Pluto comes from a Greek root, Plutuos, which means riches, the hidden and unbounded wealth of the secrets of the human soul.
Pluto rules the archaic, the compulsive, the obsessive, and the experience of fate. Sexuality, particularly its "tranceendant" aspects, also fall under Pluto's domain. As does The Great Place Below, its guardians, and the gates through which we must enter, and all that we must leave behind. Heroically, Pluto may be experienced as a profound acceptance of the need to focus one's mind and will on transformation, as the courage to face one's deepest desires and compulsions and to transmute them through effort and experience. Or less positiviely, as the experience of being overwhelmed by the negative and compulsive expression of subconscious cravings, as well as the wilful manipulation of others to serve one's own ends; ruthlessly using any means to avoid facing the pain of one's self, and as an infatuation with having and exercising power over others.
So, whenever you feel in the gripe of something over which you feel you have no control, when aspects of or even your entire life are brought to your knees as a result of crisis that are both unavoidable and inescapable, When all that is heroic in you must struggle and bend in the midst breakdown and decay, then you are experiencing Pluto, "the grisly God, who never spares, who feels no mercy and who hears no prayers." (Homer ~ The Iliad).