The Planets

Planet GuideNot only does the Sun change its position constantly, but so do the other planets too. Astrologers refer to the Sun and the Moon as planets, even though astronomically they are not.

Each of these planets will occupy some position in the Zodiac at any given time because they too revolve around the Sun in their respective orbits. You might have been born with the Sun in Aries, but the Moon might have been in Sagittarius, or Leo, or any of the other twelve signs along the ecliptic, the same applies to every one of the other planets. So the Sun might be in Aries, the Moon in Gemini, Mercury in Leo, Venus in Capricorn, and so on! Being an "Aries", or a "Taurus", is only part of the story! Each planet will have a position along the ecliptic (or Zodiac) too, say for example; "Mars is at 24 degrees and 56 minutes of Leo", and similarly for the other planets.

Here are the planets and their astrological symbols:

Sun
SUN
Moon
MOON
Mercury
MERCURY
Venus
VENUS
Mars
MARS
Jupiter
JUPITER
Saturn
SATURN
Uranus
URANUS
Neptune
NEPTUNE
Pluto
PLUTO
Moons Node
NODE

Planet Guide

Ascendant & Midheaven

Because the Earth rotates on its axis once in twenty-four hours, every morning the Sun rises above the horizon, crosses the sky until it reaches its highest point, then appears to fall again to the opposite horizon where it sets, and the day is ended. These three points in its daily apparent path are considered significant by astrologers. When the Sun first rises above the horizon it will be at a certain position in the Zodiac, and therefore in a certain sign.

As the Sun moves across the sky during the course of the day, so a new sign will be rising above the horizon. The sign that was rising over the horizon at the time you were born is called your "Rising Sign", or "Ascendant". The point opposite to the Ascendant, on the opposite horizon where the Sun sets, is called the "Descendant". In between these two points however, there is the point where the Sun is at its highest position in the sky on the particular day in question. This point is called the "Midheaven".

At the time of your birth, your Ascendant may be 28 degrees and 5 minutes of Aquarius and your Midheaven at 16 degrees and 48 minutes of Sagittarius, for example. In astrology, both the Ascendant and the Midheaven are also sometimes referred to as "planets", though, of course, they are not! Professional astrologers prefer to use the term "Angles" when talking about the Ascendant, the Midheaven and other significant "points".


The Lunar Node

Space Needle at night ImageThe Earth revolves around the sun, completing one revolution every year. This is the Earth's orbit, and therefore the ecliptic as described above - the path the Sun seems to follow from our vantage point. But, the Moon also revolves around the Earth in its own orbit. The Moon is a natural satellite of the Earth. Both the Moon and the Earth revolve around the Sun therefore, but the Moon has an additional orbit around the Earth. Think again of the Earth's orbit - the ecliptic, and think of the Moon's orbit around the Earth. The orbit of the Moon must intersect the ecliptic at two points. When the orbit of one celestial body intersects the orbit of another, the points of intersection are called the "nodes", or nodal points. So the Moon has two such points. They are the Lunar Nodes, and are considered significant in astrology. The two Lunar Nodes are referred to as the Ascending Node and the Descending Node. In astrology we are only concerned with the Ascending Node, which is always just referred to as the Moon's Node the Node, or the Lunar Node.

Because these points of intersection are along the ecliptic, they have a measurable position in the Zodiac. At the time of your birth the Moon's Node might have been at 20 degrees of Aquarius, or Scorpio, etc. Actually, because of the nature of the Moon's motion, coupled as it is with the Earth's orbit around the Sun, the position of the Lunar Node varies over short periods of time. It is therefore useful to consider its average position rather than its "true" position. The former is referred to as the Mean Node, and the Latter the True Node in astrological parlance, and sometimes it is also referred to as a "planet", although of course astronomically it is not. So we have yet another important point in the Zodiac.

 



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