zodiac signs

Astrology: Ten Steps to Self Awareness

There are many reasons why people get into astrology. Most of you have read a horoscope and some of you will have taken your interest in astrology further and read astrology books and blog articles. However, all of you will have had one fundamental objective – to use astrology to discover more about what makes you the unique person you are.

With this in mind, I started to think about how astrology works to reveal your inner self. Most of you will be familiar with the sign occupied by your natal Sun – and some of you will also be familiar with your Moon Sign and Rising Sign or Ascendant too. However, the best way of getting to know yourself is to become familiar with all of the planets. Why? Because each planet represents part of the human psyche. So, in astrological terms when you look at the planets together you get a very good blueprint of the person you were born to be.

By looking closely at what each planet signifies in astrology, what sign it occupies and where it’s located in your natal chart, we can understand how complex we are as human beings and how each part of us, represented by the planetary energies, contributes to the whole person.

So, let’s remind ourselves of what each planet represents in astrology. Learning how each planet works in your life – and using your knowledge to ensure their energies are expressed as well as possible – is your own 10 step program to better self awareness and understanding.

Sun

Regardless of sign, the Sun, ruler of Leo, represents the basic essence of your character – your personality. It’s the energy you radiate into the world. The Sun is your ego. It lights up your self esteem and if you’re that way inclined, your self importance. It governs your pride – and we all know the difference between being proud of our achievements and, well, just being proud.

Understanding how your Sun‘s energy works according to it’s Sign and house position is the key to you becoming aware of how you can use your Sun to increase your self esteem. Solar traits can be acted out in both positive and negative ways. The more conscious you are of your own character, the easier it is to combat the expression of negative traits by bringing them to light and accepting yourself as you are. The Sun is your source of confidence, courage and creative expression. Use it well.

Moon

The Moon, ruler of Cancer, governs your emotional responses, your sense of security and the things that make you comfortable – or not. Getting to know your Moon is a great way of upping your levels of emotional intelligence. However, the Moon is unconscious and instinctive and it’s not always easy to bring your deepest emotions and needs to light. This is because the Moon has a dark side – the emotions and feelings we are happy to repress as we find them hard to deal with.

So, a great way use your Moon wisely is to understand that it’s sign and house position tell you how best to process your responses to the world around you. Being comfortable with life and emotionally balanced is always preferable to hiding your more difficult feelings away on the ‘dark side’.

Mercury

Mercury, ruler of Gemini and Virgo, is where and how you make contact with the world. Your speech, movement, transportation – even your choice of car and phone – will owe a great deal to the sign that rules your natal Mercury. Mercury’s house position in your natal chart and Mercury by sign govern how you use and enjoy language, the books you read – or not.

Mercury is the planet of curiosity and by sign and house position it tells you a great deal about how you take in and process information, organise your thoughts – and organise yourself. You need Mercury to make decisions, to evaluate between one course of action or another, to understand those handy instruction booklets that come with every appliance – and to process and understand everyday life itself. Without Mercury your life would be a lonely place.

Venus

There is a tendency in astrology to think of Venus, ruler of Taurus and Libra, purely in terms of relationships as Venus is the goddess of love. Venus according to sign does indeed tell you a great deal about your approach to relationships – and love relationships in particular. Venus shows who and what you find attractive but to focus on this to the exclusion of all else is selling Venus short.

Your Venus house placement is a pointer to your basic values in life – the things that are truly important to you as well as the things that give you pleasure. By sign, Venus governs your personal tastes and is an indicator of your artistic and aesthetic inclinations as Venus loves to create beauty and order. Venus is, of course, always happy to spend money to do so – your Venus by sign is a good indicator of your attitudes to material things – especially cash – and her house position shows where you may be spending it.

Mars

Every Venus needs a Mars. Venus may rule romance but Mars represents your most basic go getting drive – the force that propels you after the things you want, whether it’s a person, an object or a personal goal. Mars, ruler of Aries, wants to ‘win’ – and I use that word in the broadest sense as in ‘to go after and get’.

Mars is your basic survival instinct and your Mars sign shows how your Martian side behaves. Your sex drive, your competitiveness, how well you control your temper , the ways and force with which you assert yourself will be determined by the nature of your natal Mars sign. Natal Mars by house will show the part of your life where those Mars energies are most likely to act out.

At this point, I’m going to add a brief note about Mars and Venus. Traditionally they are associated with male and female archetypes, and it was thought men found it hard to express their feminine, Venus qualities and vice versa. I don’t hold with that view – regardless of gender or sexual orientation for that matter, we are all capable of expressing Venus and Mars energies is a positive manner and should strive to do so. Remember, as I said earlier, those energies are part of you and should be honoured.

Jupiter

Jupiter, ruler of Sagittarius is a social animal – and your Jupiter sign shows how you seek to expand your world. Your Jupiter sign tells you how you approach acquiring knowledge or any activity that pushes your boundaries. Your attitudes to long distance travel, higher education, anything foreign or alien to you are governed by your Jupiter sign. Jupiter is the force that moves you onward and upward in life. If you feel stuck in a rut? Check out your natal Jupiter and discover how you can express your Jupiter energies by sign. Jupiter’s natal house shows where they may be best deployed.

If you’ve been frustrated with your life to date you may have been overlooking your Jupiter potentials. You need to trust your own abilities, and how other people will respond to your efforts. You need to approach life in a more optimistic frame of mind and make an effort to improve your life. Getting to know Jupiter can be great way of opening your mind and developing the wisdom you need to be truly happy in life.

Saturn

Saturn, ruler of Capricorn is the complement to Jupiter. Often viewed as the depressing polar opposite to the bringer of joy, Saturn is like green vegetables – essential for your wellbeing though you’d rather be eating something else. By sign, Saturn shows you how you approach responsibility, dedication and hard work and tells you a great deal about your attitudes to authority. Look closely at how Saturn can help you develop self control and self discipline. Regardless of sign, that potential is always there with Saturn.

Saturn by sign governs your attitude to commitment, the ways in which you are reminded of your limits and how you approach being part of society. Saturn by house is also however, an indicator of the things you like to avoid doing, where you procrastinate in life, what you fear and try to ignore. Facing up to those things and simply getting on with them is perhaps the greatest lesson you learn – often our limitations are self imposed and using Saturn’s energies well helps you to simply get over yourself. It hurts to hear that but sometimes it needs to be said.

Uranus

Uranus is the first of the ‘generational’ planets – so called as the outer planets move slowly in the heavens. That, however, doesn’t prevent Uranus from having some personal input in your chart as it’s influence will be felt, in the house it occupies in your natal chart – and often it will be felt in a very disconcerting way. Uranian energy is disruptive and where Uranus falls in your birth chart indicates the area of your life where you experience change and stress. However, some people welcome the excitement Uranus brings – and this approach offers the solution to dealing with the disruption Uranus brings to our lives.

Learning to embrace change is perhaps the best way to deal with it. However, that’s not always easy as it involves having to accept changes that are often uncomfortable. Uranus can eject you out of your comfort zone with astonishing speed but the purpose of this is to get us to discard the outworn in our lives, accept new situations and discover they’re not so bad after all.

Neptune

It’s difficult to describe Neptune‘s energy as, well, energy. In fact it’s difficult to describe Neptune at all. Another generational planet, Neptune’s house placement it shows the area of your life where you find it hard to stay in the present. The planet of escapism and dreams, Neptune can be inspirational, creative, addictive or delusional and it can be the most difficult planetary energy to deal with as it is so elusive.

The house where Neptune, ruler of Pisces, is situated can feel like a soap opera – but even that tells you one obvious thing – unless you let go of the people and emotions that keep turning your drama into a crisis you will never find the inner peace you need. Sometimes you need to get real and enforce a few boundaries – it’s the only way you will achieve inner peace and be able to relax.

Pluto

Finally, the darkest energy of all. Pluto, ruler of Scorpio, is the outermost planet (in astrological terms), and is associated with raw primeval energy – the dark side of our existence. Plutonian energy is difficult for many people to own. Pluto‘s energy is influenced by it’s sign but it’s most noticeable in the house Pluto occupied at the time of your birth.

Depending on it’s house placement, Pluto‘s energy can erupt as obsession. Pluto in your natal chart shows where you need to be in control – because underneath you feel powerless and out of control. You can see it can be incredibly self destructive – both to yourself and others – manifesting as jealousy, manipulation, bullying, stalking, coercion and control.

Deal with your Pluto energy by meeting it head on. Pluto wants you to look deep inside yourself and root out the fears, phobias and obsessions that have taken over your life. Stop projecting your fears onto others – and transform your life by accepting yourself as you are. This is the legacy of Pluto – the ability to heal using unrelenting honesty as your medicine.

© Sara Shipman

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