Astro DIY #5: The personal planets


This is the fifth post in Tabby’s Astro DIY column on Little Red Tarot. It’s all about getting started with astrology, beginning with the basics. View all posts in this series here!

Okay so we’ve got the zodiac signs under our belt. Now what are those planets that I keep mentioning all about?

The planets are a super important part of astrology.

If we remember back to the first lesson then we can understand them as the actors in a play, while the zodiac signs are the characters the planets are playing.

There are ten planets in astrology – counting the Sun and Moon, which are technically luminaries, and poor old Pluto who we now know is not actually a planet! You’ll also hear talk about things like Chiron and the Nodes – these are part of a group of more minor celestial influences which we’ll get to another day.

In this post we’re going to look at the personal planets – the ones that have the most powerful influence in our charts.


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A guide to understanding the planets in astrology – part one:

Personal Planets

The following planets are known as the personal planets because they are faster-moving and the sign they fall into in our birth charts is unique to the time we were born, with the longest any of these planets stays in a sign being about a month and a half. The personal planets move quickly from sign to sign, meaning the effects are very different from person to person.


The Sun can provide quite a general description of our selves, because it’s all about self expression and identity. It’s where we get our energy from and shows the things we need to do to sustain that vitality. When our self expression is true, strong and nurtured we have the energy we need for life. When we neglect the needs of our Sun, we can become ill, weak or depressed. The sign our Sun is in is not always something we express immediately or easily – it’s what we’re learning to become through the conscious choices we make in our lives. The Sun also shows the ego – where and how we want to be known, the things we want to be recognised for. The Sun is the driving force behind what we do and who we are.

Keywords: Self-expression, ego, identity, vitality
Sign equivalent: Leo
Stays in a sign approx. 30 days – gets through the zodiac in 365 days


The Moon is the second most important planet in the chart. It represents our feelings, emotions, needs and desires. It shows our instincts, our habits, the way we react to things. It rules the past and our childhood, and indicates what we need to feel safe and secure, how we want to be nurtured and how we want to care for others. The Moon is often associated with our mother and our relationship with her, the sign often characterizing what she was like when we were young.

Keywords: Emotions, reactions, needs, unconscious, mother, the past
Sign equivalent: Cancer
Stays in a sign approx. 2 and a half days, gets through the zodiac around every 28 days


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Mercury rules communication and the sign it is in can show how we connect and exchange information and what our own style of communication is like. Mercury is also all about the mind, how we learn and process information, intellect and thought processes. It also represents all forms of coordination and rules the nervous system, showing where potential anxiety might be in the chart. Transportation/short trips and siblings are also associated with Mercury.

Sign equivalent: Gemini and Virgo
Stays in a sign between 14-30 days, gets through all 12 in about a year
Keywords: mind, communication, logic.


Venus rules love and beauty. It shows how we attract other people to us, how we express affection and the way we want other people to love and care for us. Venus shows us our values and what brings us pleasure, what we want in life and in our relationships. This is a good place to look for those pesky patterns we get ourselves into with relationships (is it a coincidence that a bunch of my ex’s have their Venus in Leo? Hmm!), and to understand the way we express and attract love. Venus also rules money and possessions.

Sign equivalent: Taurus and Libra
Stays in a sign around 3-4 weeks, taking a year and a half to get through the zodiac
Keywords: love, beauty, harmony, values, money


Mars shows how we assert ourselves – while Venus tells us what it is we want, Mars indicates how we go about getting it. While Venus shows us how we want someone to love us, Mars shows us who we are attracted to and how they attract us. Mars is all about action – doing things, moving quickly, being bold and putting yourself out there. If we don’t allow our Mars to express itself properly, then aggression and violence can come to the surface. Mars is associated with our energy for life, physical activity – sports and sex, anger, competiveness and self-assertion.

Sign equivalent: Aries
Stays in a sign for about a month and a half, taking it about two years to go through all 12 signs
Keywords: action, sex, anger, courage, assertion.


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So there we go, a description of the ‘personal planets’ in astrology.

Just like the 12 signs of the zodiac, soooo much could be written about each one, so view this guide as a brief overview of the main themes, not a complete picture! You’ll have noticed that the planets have similar themes to the signs – each planet rules over one or two of the zodiac signs – which makes things a bit easier to learn.

Share your initial findings in the comments! It takes time to figure out the meaning behind your birth chart and it will never stop giving you new insights into your life and personality, but the things we can first spot can be some of the most important.

Did you have any revelations? Figure out why you always fall for Aquarian’s or now you understand why you’re so emotional, despite your Capricorn Sun? Let us know!

Next time we’ll move onto to talk about the social planets and the outer planets.


Your homework:

Using this blog and the previous one (the 12 signs of the zodiac), see if you can start to put the planets and the signs together and begin interpreting your chart.

Write out your findings. How do you think the signs feel where they are placed in your chart? Are they in places where they will naturally express themselves well – such as having Mars in Aries. What about if Mars is in Pisces? How do those two fit together?

Like this post? Please share it!


  1. Dany says:

    How do all these things get weighted? Like, I’m super heavy in Fixed signs (my sun, moon, and rising are all Fixed signs), which should suggest that I’m overall very stubborn and resistant to change (yeah, okay, I am) but I’ve got Pisces in Venus and Gemini in Mars (which are the only mutable signs I have in my chart). So the way I’m interpreting this is: I’m stubborn and resistant to change, but what I want and what I attract (Pisces in Venus) is change, flexibility, and adaptability. And how I go about it (Gemini in Mars) is also very mutable–unstable and restless. I guess I’m having trouble piecing this all together.

    By the way–this is a FANTASTIC series that you’re doing, so thank you so much! I had no idea there was so much to astrology other than the “if your birthday falls between this date and this date then that’s your sign.”

    • Tabby says:

      Thanks Dany! Yeah what you’ve interpreted sounds right – that generally you have lots of fixed qualities, but when it comes to attraction and relationships you’re more adaptable. Probably in some other things too – say someone with a fixed Venus sign might not like to change things up in their house or appearance much, but with a mutable Venus it’s more likely that you’re flexible about your surroundings. With Mars in a mutable sign, it might also be that you are more adaptable, or unfocused/scattered when it comes to the way you *do* things – especially physical things.

      So yeah as a general rule we use the counting up of the elements and modalities to see which of those we are strongest in overall, generally as a person – but it doesn’t mean we are that way in every area or situation in our lives. When we look at the sign one particular planet is in (representing a particular part of us) the energy we express in that area of life will usually be that of the sign it is in (the element and modality are a way of us understanding what makes up that particular sign). Hopefully that makes sense but let me know if it doesn’t or you’re confused about anything else!

  2. Celia says:

    Sun: Aries
    Moon: Leo
    Mercury: Pisces
    Venus: Aries
    Mars: Pisces

    First of all, I absolutely adore the way that you’ve framed what the sun means– for a long time, I didn’t necessarily identify strongly with Aries because I felt I lacked the courage and vivaciousness of the sign. But, a lot has changed since I was younger… so it’s really nice to think about the sun in terms of what/who we’re *learning* to become.
    I know I already asked about certain planets being stronger in different signs, but is the opposite true? Are there certain planets that cause discord/are a bit funky when paired with a certain sign?

    I had to double check what Leo stood for when I was jotting down notes in my journal about this and couldn’t help but laugh out loud– Leo is ruled by the heart and a storyteller, and I think that’s a wonderful (and true) description for how I want to be nurtured & care for other people. I love telling stories and making the people I love feel special.

    Of course plus mercury in pisces, storytelling and a flair for… a little of the dramatic definitely rules my communication style. My communication style makes so much more sense to me when I think about moon + mercury in conjunction!

    I’m not quite sure how to read venus & mars, because to be quite honest, with my history of relationships I definitely feel like it would have been the opposite. Maybe this is where my current lack of a relationship (along with the hella desire for a relationship) is coming from! Time to think more about relationship/sex styles!

    • Tabby says:

      Thanks Celia! Yeah you’re absolutely right about some planets not being particularly at home in certain signs – your Mercury in Pisces is actually one of those! I might do a post on it some time. 🙂

      Awesome to hear you relating to your Moon and Mercury so well. The Venus and Mars thing is interesting – be something to think about as you learn more, as there could be an astrological explanation. I also have Venus in Aries and Mars in Pisces and sometimes find it a bit contradictory (see my reply to Nova below). Sometimes we can also project these energies onto other people in our relationships, rather than expressing them ourselves!

  3. Finally caught up on the series! (I have commented on all the previous Astro DIY posts 🙂 If you want to take a peek.)

    Sun – Scorpio
    Moon – Libra
    Mercury – Sagittarius
    Venus – Scorpio
    Mars – Gemini

    Oh geez almighty. I’m going to just focus on my findings on Mercury and Mars. Those were the revelation planets, for sure.

    So Sagittarius in Mercury. Restless adventurer in the communication planet. To me, that says the way I connect and communicate is my traveling, I gain new perspectives from different places and new people and get bored talking about the same old stuff.

    The Gemini in Mars now makes quite a bit of sense. Mars being the action and energy of life. Gemini’s are super adaptable and while most of the time I wouldn’t use that word to describe me, when it comes to figuring shit out and getting work done, I’m pretty good at adapting and changing course to get what I want.

    Okay, I lied. I’m totally going to talk about Scorpio in Venus. There is a misconception that Scorpios will have sex with just anyone. But that has never been the case for me (or most Scorpios that I know, in fact.) Scorpios tend to be the most long term monogomist people you’ll encounter (again, from personal and knowing tons of Scorpios). I have only had one serious relationship in my life and we got married (and divorced because reasons) and it’s been almost a year and half since our separation and people wonder why I’m not out there dating. I love intensely and am incredibly loyal. To me, that means a long term commitment. I’m not saying forever, forever is a very long time. But now I’m just rambling. But yes, this makes more sense to me now.

    • Tabby says:

      Thanks for all your comments Ashley! Awesome, those are great interpretations. And you’re totally right about Scorpio – it’s associated with sex but that doesn’t mean promiscuity – with Scorpio love is intense, it’s kind of like all or nothing. Scorpio is possessive, passionate, committed and loyal!

  4. saricchiella says:

    Sun: Aries
    Moon: Aries
    Mercury: Pisces
    Venus: Aquarius
    Mars: Libra

    Okay, where do we start… First, I have only two fixed signs in the whole chart, which I definitely can relate. Also, a lot of fire and air, only two signs of water and NO earth whatsoever. I’m cardinal-heavy, and I struggle to finish the thousand things I can come up with.

    Aries in sun and moon are not much of a surprise. I have always felt very connected to Aries and identify a lot with most of its traits.

    Libra in Mars explains so much! I understand it as my way of relating to others, how we get what we want… and asking for help and doing it collaborating with friends sounds very familiar.

    I have more trouble understanding the other two…
    Pisces in Mercury. The mind. Can it be too much imagination and daydreaming? Maybe this is related to my interest in esoterism and the unexplainable?
    Aquarius in Venus. Love and beauty, how we attract other people. Is this talking about personal freedom and individuality? And about the being superior and detached part… does it mean I like to play hard to get? XD (that can be totally true).

    What do you think? Do you see something important that I’m missing?

    I want to thank you too, by the way! This series is great! I appreciate all the work you’re doing by explaining such a complex topic in a way that’s easy to understand. Way to go!

    • Tabby says:

      Thanks for your lovely comments! Cool to hear how you relate to your chart.

      Yeah those are good interpretations of your Mercury and Venus! As well as what you said I would say that Mercury in Pisces probably communicates quite sensitively, imaginatively and is probably quite intuitive (which could tone down the natural tendency for Aries to be so harsh and direct).

      Venus in Aquarius – yeah definitely a bit detached, likes to have/give people space but also quite freely expresses affection, and maybe you use your intellect to attract people and want to have relationships with people who you can have a strong mental relationship with?

      • saricchiella says:

        Thanks for your reply! And re:Venus in Aquarius, the last thing you say, about strong mental relationships… totally true as well! I love to be challenged this way, and one of my favourite things about my current love relationship is that I get to be a learner of SO many different things (while being a teacher in others… It helps to maintain the balance).

        Can’t wait to read the next post! ^_^

  5. Nova says:

    Sun: Taurus
    Moon: Aquarius
    Mercury: Taurus
    Venus: Aries
    Mars: Pisces

    A lot of this fits me well. Especially Pisces in Mars. As far as Venus in Aries goes, I took that to mean that I’m assertive and direct in my romantic relationships. This is something that took me a few years to embrace.

    • Tabby says:

      I have the same Venus and Mars placements and also can relate a lot to Mars in Pisces but Venus in Aries is one I struggle with more – maybe I’m still learning to embrace it. In a way I find having this combination quite strange, because Aries is kind of the opposite of Venus and Pisces is the peacemaker while Mars is the warrior planet! And so then paired together they are perhaps a bit contradictory….

  6. Rebecca says:

    Sun: Leo
    Moon: Gemini
    Mercury: Leo
    Venus: Leo
    Mars: Leo

    I had heard that the closer planets tend to be in the same sign as the sun, but I haven’t seen this level of convergence in anyone else’s charts who’s commented. Leo, Leo, Leo, Leo. Not just a Leo sun, but communicating in that way, relating to others in that way, and acting out that way.

    I like what you said about not always expressing the sun sign with ease. I was going to write about how I’m not naturally a Leo – but when I think back to my early childhood, I’m not so sure if that’s the case. I think I was socialized to put my lion in a cage for the sake of fitting in–but she was always there, even when I called and called and wondered why she never came to me.


    • Tabby says:

      Yeah, Mercury in particular is often in the same sign as our sun, but it’s not overly common to have as many in the same sign as you do! My ex actually had exactly the same but a different Moon, Leo overload! What’s your rising sign? Do you identify with that sign much?

      What you described sounds totally plausible. All the best with letting your lion roar a little! x

  7. Sara says:

    My Mars is in Pisces.. which is why I think my get up and go is so weak! I don’t have a lot of assertiveness or follow-through.. and I’m scattered all over the place. And… a tendency toward passive-aggression that I am learning to overcome. Surely there must be some positives with this placement?!

    • Tabby says:

      Oh there absolutely are positive things about it! Different for everyone, but for me my Mars in Pisces speaks to why it’s so important to me that the work I do is community based and what I’m doing is helping others, as Pisces is so compassionate. Pisces is also associated with dreams and so having Mars there shows a real desire to see our dreams come true and act on that!

  8. Lisa says:

    This one seems trickier to interpret for myself — applying Aries to the Moon really stumped me

    Pisces SUN
    I need to express and be known for creativity, emotions, mystery

    Aries MOON ???

    Pisces MERCURY
    In communication I need creativity and sensitivity, deep connections, small talk sucks

    Capricorn VENUS
    In my relationships I like to step in and take care of my people when they can’t, and I want structure, support and someone to put my needs first ( a soft place to fall)

    Sagittarius MARS
    I’m definitely a restless adventurer and growth junkie, need freedom and independence to function, not sure how this relates to the guys I’m attracted to (they tend to be Cancers or Scorpios – not really optimistic adventurers)

    Thanks for your thoughts!

  9. Lisbeth says:

    SUN – Libra
    MOON – Cancer
    MERCURY – Libra
    VENUS – Sagittarius
    MARS – Libra

    I get the planets in Libra – I’ve always known that it well and truly fits me, but Venus in Sagittarius? I love travelling, learning new things, meeting new people, so maybe that might attract others? And the Moon in Cancer? I’ve got to be honest, that meaning of that one’s got me a little stumped.

  10. Dana says:

    Sun: Scorpio
    Moon: Sagittarius – hates being bored, needs intellectual stimulation, mood swings
    Mercury: Scorpio – intense when sharing, closed-off, information is power
    Venus: Sagittarius – freedom, not being tied down to one person, excitement, intellect
    Mars: Cancer – struggles with feeling confident when asseting onself, acts according to emotions

    I’m struggling with how to make sense of the contradictions? Which is often how I feel in life, very much caught between my wish for freedom and self-expression and an intense need for secrecy. Usually manifests as me blurting out whatever my saggitarius nature is thinking and then my scorpio/cancer side brooding about it for days after.

    Venus in Sagittarius/Scorpio in Mercury definitely explains why I’m so ferociously polyamorous though! New lovers are exciting to my Sagi side, but possessive Scorpio doesn’t want to give one love up to pursue another. I’m infatuated at the drop of a hat, and also really serious about committing.

  11. Adam Carter says:

    Just want to start by saying I love your series. Only just catching up now so I’m a bit behind.

    I’ve always been intrigued by astrology but never really been able to decipher all the different parts to truly understand.

    I have to admit to quite a lot of confusion though. I’m struggling to see how some of my signs fit into the planets :/. So I’ll just say what I think and if you have any feedback that’d be great :).

    I’m heavy Cardinal (9) with (3) Mutable and (2) Fixed. This makes a lot of sense. I am always trying to do something with my life, starting new projects etc however quite often they are not followed through with, and I end up staying stagnant where I am (which I detest).

    Four Fire and Earth (which I see in that I’m very driven, ambitious, creative, passionate) and Three Water and Air (even though I thought I would have much more water! I am a very emotionally driven person)

    Anyways to the planets…

    Sun: Libra – So my energy comes from balance and harmony. And the vitality is sustained when immersed in beauty, art and social spheres. (This rings pretty true)
    Driving force – expecting things to be equal and receive as much as I give. (100% agree, especially in emotional settings! But does this link with Libra? I’ve never though if the sign as overly emotional??)

    Moon: Sagittarius – all I could get from this is that I hate being bored. I often try to rectify this by changing things up. I’ve always lived in the same place, and I’m not sure how much of an adventurer I am (i guess I have been feeling like I need to get out and see the world lately, but I could be projecting this to fit it into Sagittarius). I think I would understand Sagittarius more if it was in Mars, I’m struggling to link it to emotions and feelings? :/

    Mercury: Virgo – I think I get this one. I am 100% a perfectionist. And have a huge fear of underperforming, even though most of what I put my mind to works out in the end. I’m also very critical and judgemental of myself which I think fits with Virgo in this position?

    Venus: Scorpio – I definitely express affection fully and wholeheartedly, so I guess that fits? I love intensely and I’m completely loyal from the first spark of feeling. Could Scorpio here mean that a want intensity out of life? That I attract through depth of emotion? I do wish to be loved intensely when in a relationship, which would link Scorpio and Venus together and I’m just going to throw this one out there but could it also have something to do with my Sun being Libra (my driving force being expecting things to be equal and recieving as much as I give)?? I do know in my past relationship it hurt me quite immensely when I felt I wasn’t being given back the same amount/quality of love that I was giving!

    Mars: Libra – sorry but this one has got me confused. I’ve never really looked at Libra in a ‘doing’ sort of way. “Doing things, being bold, owing quickly” how do these Mars traits fit with Libra.

    I’m sorry there are so many questions, I just really want to learn and get it right, I guess that my Virgo in Mercury coming out?!? 😛

    Thanks in advance,


    • Tabby says:

      Hey Adam,

      Awesome, I think you’ve done a really good job at interpreting your planets.

      A few thoughts – Libra is all about relationships, so yeah what you’ve described would totally relate to emotional settings. Your Venus in Scorpio description is pretty spot on – Scorpio is definitely intense!

      Mars in Libra – tends to reflect before you act on things – not very decisive, could show a passion/talent for something associated with creativity/beauty, means you probably don’t enjoy conflict and prefer things to be calm, could be quite a strategic thinker – especially if you are angry you’re more likely to be passive aggressive or be sneaky about expressing this/responding rather than being direct, love being in relationships, want to seek justice. Those are just a few ideas for how it could express itself – you’ll need to work out how it works for you (look at the house is is in and the aspects to other planets too). If you do a google search you’ll be able to find lots of people’s interpretations that might help you relate and understand this better.

      I would also encourage you to read more about the Moon in Sagittarius as I’m sure you’ll find a lot more to it. Needing freedom and independence (though this might be contradicted by your Libra), wanting to teach and help people, optimism could be things you experience for example.
      I wonder if you have any aspects between your Moon and Venus? Or any aspects from your Venus actually – that might account for feeling so emotional/watery! Would also be good to see if any of your planets are in the water houses – 4, 8 or 12.

      • Oooh thank you so much for your reply. I will definitely have a look into the moon.

        I don’t have any planets in 4 or 12 but both my Moon and Venus are are in the 8th house??
        As for the aspects in not sure if I’m reading this right but there is a semisextil between my moon and Venus and Venus to Mars/sun is a semisqaure?

        There is so much more to this then I could even imagine. Thank you once again for showing us how amazing astrology is 🙂


  12. Wen says:

    Hi Tabby! I’m discovering your series as I am taking karmic astrology lessons IRL and looking for additional and complementary info online. I’m glad I found your series, as you present things in a different way from my teacher, from what I’ve seen so far, and it definitely helps me understand some things better, or see another side of things. Really helpful!
    Anyway, I had a question for you, what are your thoughts on Ceres? My teacher and, from what I’ve read online, many other astrologists, at least here in France, tend to believe that the Virgo is ruled by Ceres, and to me (probably because this is how I first learnt it) it makes more sense than Mercury.
    I’m off to continue reading your work, thank you for all of this info and for how easy you make it to read and understand!

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