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Celestial Bodies: Understanding Astrology

Explaining the basics of the planets in astrology, their function, and how connecting with their ancient, and intrinsically human, archetypes can help us better understand ourselves, each other and our world

Understanding astrology celestial bodies

Planetary Archetypes 

Even if you have no prior knowledge in the slightest about astrology, you still know these planets. The planets are simply ways of categorizing archetypes that you have encountered throughout your life. None of this is new information, its just giving what you already know a new language and a system of interconnection.  Each planet represents an archetype that exists within the human psyche and in the human experience.

Each planet represents an archetype that exists within the human psyche and in the human experience. In the simplest terms, the sun moon mercury venus mars jupiter saturn represent, respectfully, our personality, our emotions, our communication and learning, our love and values, our desires and drive, our beliefs and our karmic lessons. Each one a universal and unavoidable aspect of being human that, when intertwined, make up the very fabric of life itself. We can use the birth chart as a compass to navigate these aspects and to better understand who we are and our purpose here on earth.

The Sun: personality/core expression/the Self

The Moon: inner world/emotions/nurture/intuition

Mercury: communication/transit/expression/trade/short-trips/teaching/learning

Venus: relationships/love/values/talents, beauty

Mars: ambition, drive, will, sex, passion, desire, competition

Jupiter: beliefs, luck, miracles, higher knowledge, teachers

Saturn: time, patience, karma, hard-lessons, stability, success, long-term, restriction

Uranus: unpredictability, shocking, revolutionary, rebel, outlaw

Neptune: artist, dream-work, mystical, naive,  illusion, imagination

Pluto: rebirth, transformation, destruction, death

The Inner Planets

Also referred to as personal planets, the Sun, the Moon (which are called luminaries), Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, make up who we are and the themes, lessons, challenges and joys we will experience this lifetime.

The Outer Planets

The Outer Planets weren’t discovered until the invention of the telescope. These planets are Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. They move around the Earth at such a slow pace that we share these planets with everyone in or around our age group. That’s why we refer to these planets as generational. Pay more attention to the house these signs fall under than the sign to get an individual’s experience of those planets. Analyzing outer planets can inform us of generational themes, trends and issues in the collective.

Application of these Archetypes 

Understanding astrology
The Planet Saturn

The planets and zodiacs are ancient human archetypes, existing in the collective unconscious. They are complex, yet familiar, archetypes, fully fleshed out, living + breathing within each of us. They come directly from our experiences of what it means to be human, and to navigate a world which has always been incredibly difficult and exceptionally beautiful to be in. 

Astrology reminds me of internal family systems, a type of therapy where the concept of the inner child comes from. It is built on the understanding that we each have different aspects of ourselves that emerge in different scenarios, serving different purposes. This is exactly the understanding of the planets in astrology. For example, when we feel under attack, our inner warrior, Mars, rises up to meet us. When we are in an intimate moment with someone we love, the Lover within us is activated and Venus takes center stage. The Sun, our core essence and personality, is the thread of consistency that ties these different aspects together into something that makes up our sense of self and how we view ourselves and are experienced by others. These planetary archetypes have an estimated 4000 years of study and analysis behind them (though it can be argued, and is most likely, that the essence of the archetypes have existed for much longer), making them complex, vast and reflective of the depth of our human experience here on earth. Of course, it's easy to reduce these archetypes to pieces of themselves, as we can so easily do to one another. Limited understanding will never take away from the power or kaleidoscopic nature of who we are, or what these planets are/represent. It is on us to do the digging and reflecting so we can benefit from the wisdom of the people who came before us and live alongside us, who relentlessly pursue understanding of the same questions that have always motivated us as a species; the fundamental quest for understanding of who we are and why we are here. 

Through understanding the personal and outer planets in our charts, we can engage in self-analysis from a compassionate and non-judgmental perspective. This also allows us to hold more grace for others. Once we fully recognize that we each have our own particular and unique ways of being in the world, we can offer others the space to follow their own alignment and inner authority. Recognizing our differences allows us to see that we each play a vital role in a web of interconnection, in which our unique gifts and strengths benefit the collective with each person taking up the perfect space in an essential role. 

In order for astrology to be the incredible tool for empowerment, integration and alignment that is, we must allow the individual and their lived experiences to inform the birth chart, not the other way around. You are not a picture of the sky -- your chart is a map, and you are the diviner and creator of your life. You can empower yourself and create alignment with the support of your chart; it is here to further your autonomy not squelch it. To begin working with these planets and utilizing the archetypes to understand your birth chart use what you know about yourself and your lived experiences to navigate the archetypes that are presenting themselves to you. This is how we can get a full picture of who these planets are, accepting that they, like us, hold a vast well of characteristics, themes and possibilities and that, likely, each personal experience will be unique. These archetypes provide themes and boundaries for us to work within to find complex understanding, they are not blanket statements but vibrations of a particular frequency. It is through this human-centered approach that I believe astrology operates at its highest and best level, acting as a launchpad for acceptance, alignment and most importantly empowerment rather than something that limits or reduces the multi-faceted, endlessly complex and often contradictory nature of who we are. 

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