No shade to anyone who merely skims their horoscope every morning on the way to work, but we are here for some serious astrological studies. Whether we’re learning what our rising sign says about our personalities or figuring out what the moon’s nodes mean, we find it fun to get deep into the zodiac — and there’s a lot there. Every aspect of our cosmos is present and accounted for in astrology, from the sun to the moon to the stars to the planets. Next up, we’re outlining what each planet means in the natural zodiac.

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the basics

The sun, moon, and planets each embody the energy of a specific sign in the natural zodiac — a physical representation of the sign’s inherent qualities. We all have a unique natal chart that tells us precisely where in the sky each planet and constellation was at the moment we were born. For example, while Mars traditionally rules Aries, this fiery planet may have been in Capricorn when you were born. This means that you personally filter all those classic Martian characteristics through a Capricornian lens.

One more cool thing to keep in mind. The inner planets — sun, moon, Mercury, Mars, and Venus — move quickly through the zodiac, which means they affect us on a more personal, intimate level. The outer planets — Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, Uranus, Pluto — take seven years or more to move through the zodiac, which explains why each generation can be identified by a specific movement or feeling (the Roaring ’20s, Age of Aquarius, and so on).

sun

Sign: Leo

Governs: Ego and sense of self. The sun is the source of our ego; it’s where the truth of our nature resides, where our identities are forged. When someone says “what’s your sign?” they’re actually asking “what’s your sun sign?” You are who you are because of your sun sign, and truly understanding and accepting this integral part of yourself helps you lead a positive, well-rounded life.

moon

Sign: Cancer

Governs: Emotion and feeling. If your sun sign represents your outward personality, your moon sign focuses inward, revealing your emotional core. It determines how you process your feelings and moods, and understanding how your sun and moon signs interact reveals a much fuller astrological self-portrait. Check out our moon sign guide for a more in-depth look into what your moon sign means for you.

mercury

Sign: Virgo, Gemini

Governs: Transmitting information. Your intelligence resides within your Mercury sign, and it governs our ability to communicate, explain, and understand. Your Mercury sign informs how you listen, read, write, and talk, so understanding how your Mercury sign works can help you understand how best you’re able to learn and teach. This also explains why Mercury in retrograde means miscommunications (and missed flights!).

venus

Sign: Libra, Taurus

Governs: Love and beauty. Oh, sweet Venus. Our Venus sign determines how we give and receive love, and it’s where we find comfort and support within ourselves and others. Venus rules all the delightful, swoon-worthy, aesthetically pleasing things in life. In understanding your Venus sign, you open yourself up to truly fulfilling relationships because you’re able to articulate what you need and can also give what your loved ones need.

mars

Sign: Aries

Function: Will and courage. Fiery and passionate, Mars governs how we assert ourselves — our “fight” in the “fight or flight” battle (Mars is the god of war, after all). It’s here that we can fall into aggression and volatility, but if harnessed correctly, our Mars sign can be our greatest source of bravery and self-empowerment. You can find incredible freedom and independence within your Mars sign as well, so if you’re feeling stuck or passive, turn here first.

jupiter

Sign: Sagittarius

Function: Abundance and generosity. This giant planet fuels all sorts of positive optimism in our lives, and is considered to be the planet of miracles, hope, and opportunity. Jupiter just wants you to grow as a person by experiencing new things, and if you take care to listen to your Jupiter sign, you’ll surely reap the benefits.

saturn

Sign: Capricorn

Function: Discipline and commitment. Saturn is the solar system’s task master, known for sending major challenges your way — but for your own good, of course. Your Saturn Return is to blame for your quarter-life crisis, and whenever you’re feeling particularly put out by a hard situation, it’s usually Saturn’s doing, forcing you to work through the tough stuff to become a better person.

uranus

Sign: Aquarius

Function: Individuality and change. Uranus is an outer planet and takes seven years to orbit the sun, which, as we mentioned earlier, means that there are large groups of people who share a Uranus sign. Ever heard of the Age of Aquarius — the peaceful protesters who spent their time enacting positive change in the ’60s? These folks all had Uranus in Aquarius, and radical change, questioning authority, and championing individuality are all astrological hallmarks of Uranus.

neptune

Sign: Pisces

Function: Intuition and healing. Neptune is here to help you step away from your ego and away from awareness, and exist in the in-between. Sounds trippy, doesn’t it? Neptune is known for being a little out there (and we don’t just mean its distance from the sun). It’s all about uncovering your soul and developing your spiritual awareness, whatever that means to you.

pluto

Sign: Scorpio

Function: Transformation and power. Even if Pluto’s planetary distinction is up for debate, its incredible astrological influence is not. Pluto reigns over our destinies, giving life to our biggest desires while simultaneously reminding us of how short life is, so we better do something memorable while we’re here.

Are you as astrology obsessed as we are? Tweet us @BritandCo and let us know what else you’d like to know about your horoscope!