The Planets are the “Rulers” of the Zodiac (the stars behind the Ecliptic). The Sun and Moon (in astrology) are also called “planets”, although they are more properly referred to as “luminaries”. Earth, appearing stationary to primitive man looking heavenward, was not considered a planet, but as the center of the universe, and as home to the only known life forms, is still accepted as such when casting horoscopes and astrology charts.
Every individual, from his vantage point on Terra Firma, has a unique view and perspective that is ultimately personal. Since ancient times, the Earth was the “cross-hairs” of reality and existence.
Nearest to the Sun are the fast moving, rocky planets: Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars. Further away from the Sun are the slowly moving gas giants: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto, that may inhabit a sign for a whole generation.
The assignments of “ruling planets”, by prehistoric star-gazers, appear to be based upon the seasons. The Sun, passing each year through Leo, brought the warmest and longest days. Distant and cold Saturn, was awarded rulership of Aquarius, the sign opposite Leo. Jupiter, next farthest away, was given the next sign Pisces, and Mars, next in order, was assigned Aries…, and, so on.
Mercury never appearing more than one sign from the sun was deemed to rule the signs on either side of Leo (Virgo and Gemini), and Venus, never found more than two signs from the Sun, was given Libra and Taurus.
Each planet represents a different and distinct function and is given a particular human characteristic, personality and psyche. Grouped into two categories; the inner or “personal” planets, closest to the Sun, and the outer or “social” planets.
The personal planets account for the significant differences between individuals born just days (or hours) apart. The Moon speeding through all 12 signs in less than 29 days has enormous consequences in our personal lives (ask any woman).
Inner planets are best viewed when they are at “elongation”. This is when the Earth, the Sun, and the planet are at their widest angles. At elongation, the inner planets are at their highest peak above the horizon. And even then, we can only see the planets “on edge”. Through a telescope, they only appear as crescents.
Venus is the easiest planet to locate. With a solar orbit of 225 days, it moves slowly through the constellations, and is far enough above the horizon to be seen for many weeks before and after its elongation.
Mercury, the “winged messenger” on the other hand, is very elusive with its solar orbit of only 88 days. It never rises very high above the horizon, and when it does, it doesn’t stay long. You have, at most, about a week to get a view of it.
Outer planets, in contrast have an “opposition”. This is w