Image credit:

What Do the Planets Mean in Astrology?

At its core, Astrology is the art of reading the cosmos in order to understand yourself and the events in your lives better. But the sun and moon aren’t the only celestial bodies that matter. Understanding how to interpret the planets is equally as important as knowing what the sun and moon indicate for your life. In particular, knowing what each planet means in astrology is important for understanding your birth chart – and it’s especially key if you’re planning to interpret your birth chart yourself (as opposed to having a professional astrologer do it for you). Knowing what each planet means in astrology is also important for understanding which areas of life a retrograde event, such as Mercury in Retrograde, will affect. Let’s take a deeper look at the planets and their meanings in astrology!

The Inner Planets

The inner planets include Mercury, Venus, and Mars, as well as the sun and moon. These celestial bodies have short orbits and change zodiac signs frequently. The inner planets are highly significant because they have a direct effect on our personalities and day-to-day lives. Knowing what each inner planet represents can help you understand what your birth chart says about you and can also help you make sense of the uncertain world around you.


In astrology, Mercury represents communication. This includes all the forms of communication that you use every day, such as speaking and texting. It also involves how you come across to others and how you process information internally. Mercury is the smallest planet in the solar system and is located closest to the sun, so its orbit is short and fast. Because of this, Mercury retrogrades approximately three to four times per year. Mercury is associated with the element of earth.


In astrology, Venus represents love, attraction, money, and pleasure. Venus has an influence on who you are drawn to and her energy seeks to unite you with others. Named after the Roman goddess, Venus is considered an auspicious influence in your life. Venus retrogrades once every 18 months and is associated with the element of air.


In astrology, Mars represents action, determination, discipline, and aggression. This makes sense, since the planet is named after the Roman god of war! Mars is also associated with lust, passion, and vivacity. The planet can be a motivating influence in our lives and has to do with our level of self-determination and personal drive. Mars retrogrades approximately once every two years and is associated with the element of fire.


In astrology, the sun represents our fundamental essence. Your sun sign is determined by the position of the sun when you were born and is commonly used for horoscopes. Your sun sign gives an overall picture of who you are – your basic personality, how you see yourself, and your general preferences. The sun changes signs approximately once per month. The sun is associated with the element of fire and represents masculine energy, leadership qualities, and life force.


In astrology, the moon relates to our emotional selves. Symbolizing our personal inner world, the moon represents our emotions and our private selves. The location of the moon at the time of your birth determines your moon sign, which is important for understanding your emotional needs and compatibility in romantic relationships. The moon is associated with the element of water and represents feminine energy, feelings, and gut instincts.

The Outer Planets

The outer planets are Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. These planets are located on the other side of the asteroid belt and move more slowly, so they don’t change zodiac signs very frequently. Just like the inner planets, the outer planets and their meanings are somewhat fixed, but in your birth chart, the significance of the outer planets is heavily influenced by which of the twelve houses they are located in. The outermost planets of Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto are sometimes called generational planets because they influence larger life experiences that are shared by generations.


In astrology, Jupiter represents fortune, philosophy, abundance, spirituality, and expansion. As the largest planet in the solar system, Jupiter is associated with a generous energy, encouraging us to broaden our focus through education, spirituality, and philosophy. Jupiter retrogrades for around 120 days each year. The element associated with Jupiter is fire.


In astrology, Saturn represents time, hard work, success, and boundaries. Think of Saturn as a strict teacher who is tough but just wants to see you reach your full potential. Saturn is associated with growth and change, especially during your Saturn return.  Saturn is a slow-moving planet that retrogrades for approximately 140 days each year and takes approximately 29.5 years to return to the location it was in when you were born. The element associated with Saturn is earth.


In astrology, Uranus represents rebellion, innovation, and technology. This unusual planet is tilted far off its access and is associated with nonconformity, eccentricity, and the breaking of tradition. Some astrologers consider this a generational planet – one that says more about the generation you were born into than you as an individual. Uranus retrogrades for approximately 150 days each year and is associated with the element of fire.


In astrology, Neptune represents all that is magical, mysterious, and spiritual. There are two sides to Neptune’s energy: one is artistic, creative, and psychic while the other is escapist, addictive, and delusional. Neptune is sometimes classified as a generational planet and retrogrades for about 150 days each year. The element associated with Neptune is water.


While this little guy is no longer considered an official planet, Pluto is still a big deal in astrology. Pluto represents power, transformation, destruction, and regeneration. Named after the Roman god of the underworld, the energy of Pluto is mysterious, dark, and sometimes insidious. Pluto is a generational planet that’s associated with releasing the past in order to move forward. Pluto retrogrades for approximately 185 days per year and is associated with the element of water.

Interpreting the Planets and Their Meanings

Now when a friend asks you, “what do the planets represent in astrology?” you’ll know the answer. But, it can still take a while to build up your astrological confidence, and that’s okay! Whether you are interpreting your birth chart or just trying to better understand a retrograde event, keep an open mind and trust your intuition. Allow yourself to view the influence of each planet in ways that feel right to you. Ask the universe for clarity and be open to thinking about the connections between yourself and the planets in new or unexpected ways. If something doesn’t feel right or doesn’t make sense, try considering it from a new angle or perspective. If you’re still not sure, reach out to us on social media or ask a professional astrologer for help.

Learning what the planets represent and interpreting their meaning can be tricky. But with practice, you'll be able to uncover new layers of meaning in your birth chart and horoscopes. Learning more about what the planets mean in astrology can also deepen your overall understanding of yourself and your place in the world!