The E-Mail Astrologer, copyright Sherrie Nist, 2012
As Above, So Below
Planetary Functions
by Sherrie Nist
         Planets, signs, and houses: those are the three basic components of an
astrology chart.  Everyone knows that the sign the Sun was in when they were born
is important, but many people don’t realize that astrologically, their Sun sign is just
the tip of the iceberg.  This month’s column will cover planets; the next two
columns will discuss signs and houses.
         Every planet (and in this context the Sun and Moon are considered planets)
is present in every birth chart, and every planet has it’s own function, and that
function is essential to how the individual acts out their Sun sign.
         The Sun is the real you; your true self, your creative life force.  The Sun
illuminates; it’s what lights you up and makes you shine.  The location of the Sun in
the natal chart shows the area of life where you are your creative best, what you
identify with, what you want to be. It’s your personal creative potential, as detailed
by the sign and house it is in, and it’s relationship to the other planets in the chart.
The other planets describe how you go about acting out your Sun sign, how you
present your essential self to the world.  The Sun corresponds to the sign of Leo,
the 5th house, and the element of fire.
         The Moon is your emotional nature; it’s function in the natal chart is to feel.  
The Moon describes your instinctive reactions, moods, and memories. Because the
Moon is associated with your mother, it portrays your nurturing patterns; how you
were nurtured, and how you nurture others.  The Moon in the chart, relative to
house and sign, reveals the basic  NEED that  is embedded in your personality
which instinctively comes into play when dealing with almost any issue, and around
which most of your actions revolve.  The Moon corresponds to the sign of Cancer,
the 4th house, and the element of water.
         Mercury’s function is to communicate.  In Mercury’s realm we discover how
someone collects and processes information; how they think, reason, and express
themselves.  A Mercury with difficult aspects to it in the natal chart can point to
learning disabilities, and trouble with early education.
         Mercury is one of the planets that “rules” 2 different sets of signs and
houses.  The Gemini/3rd house/air Mercury functions primarily on the mental plane,
while the Virgo/6th house/earth Mercury is a lot more focused and practical.
         Venus is another “2 for the price of 1” planet.  The function of Venus is to
attract.  It speaks to what you attract to yourself, and what attracts you. The
Taurus/2nd house/earth Venus is descriptive of the things you need to attract in
order to feel secure.  The earth Venus is about survival, and your personal values.  
What you consider valuable is whatever you perceive that you need to be secure,
whether it is money, property,  or a fabulous (and expensive) art collection.  Venus
collects all types of things of value.
         The Libra/6th house/air Venus, relative to sign and house, describes the type
of people/relationships you attract into your life.  These relationships are related to
the Taurus Venus in that we often project what we think we need for security, but
don’t have ourselves, into what we think we need in a relationship.  
         Mar’s function in any horoscope is to act. Mars supplies the energy we need
to experience whatever it is we are looking to experience.  Mars acts impulsively,
takes risks, is aggressive; where Mars is in your chart will determine what you are
willing to fight for.  Martian energy is naturally self-centered, impatient (hates to
wait, won’t stand in line) and competitive (has to be first, plays to win).  Mars acts
out the will of the Sun.  Mars is associated with the sign of Aries, the 1st house,
and the element of fire.
         Jupiter’s function is to expand.  Everything is bigger and better (or worse)
when it comes in contact with Jupiter.  Jupiter is optimistic, enthusiastic, often
excessive, sometimes wasteful, and doesn’t know when to quit.  Jupiter is also the
seeker of truth, lover of philosophy, the teacher, the preacher; spiritual growth is a
form of expansion.  Jupiter corresponds to the sign of Sagittarius, the 9th house,
and the element of fire.
         Saturn’s job is to provide structure.  Saturn is the planet of stability,
responsibility, control, restrictions, laws, boundaries, ambition, discipline, and
authority.  Saturn is not the most popular planet; being Saturn is a dirty job, but
somebody has to do it.  Saturn in your chart describes where you have a sense of
responsibility, where you feel repressed and restricted, your relationship to
authority.  Saturn is the  social climber, the CEO, the one in charge.  When you
screw up, you’ll have to answer to Saturn.  Saturn corresponds to the sign of
Capricorn, the 10th house, and the earth element.
         The function of Uranus in the natal chart is to rebel.  It is the planet of
independence, freedom, originality, non-conformity, unpredictability, and
eccentricity.  Uranus is never happy with the status quo.  Uranus driven events
happen suddenly, when least expected.  Uranus is the planet of surprises.  “Rules
were meant to be broken” is a phrase undoubtedly originated by someone with a
strong Uranus in their chart.  Uranus delights in shock value and the breaking of
traditions.  Uranus is associated with the sign of Aquarius, the 11th house, and the
element air.
  Neptune’s function is to transcend boundaries.  This can take the form of
anything from escapism to spirituality.  Neptune is the planet of fantasy, dreaming,
sensitivity, compassion,  and intuition.  Neptune’s escapism takes many forms; both
positive and negative; from mediatation to drugs and alcohol.  Neptune is the
planet of denial, confusion, and not seeing things clearly.  It’s hard to pin down and
sort out.  Neptune can be very deceiving.  Any way that you can avoid reality is
Neptune ruled.  People who have trouble understanding the boundaries of other’s,
and people who can’t set their own boundaries, have a difficult Neptune in their
chart. Neptune corresponds to the sign of Pisces, the 12th house, and the element
         Pluto’s function is to transform.  Pluto governs your relationship to power
and control.  Birth and death, rebirth, personal transformation, and sex (because of
it’s connection to birth) are all Pluto issues.  So is anything that can be perceived
as a power symbol.  Pluto has many secrets. Other people’s money (money YOU
didn’t EARN) is also Plutonian.  Pluto corresponds to the sign of Scorpio, the 8th
house, and the element water.
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