The Sun represents our capacity for individuation--our ability to form a unique identity and to perform that identity in the external world. The sign placement of the Sun describes the qualities we value and want to be recognized for; the house placement of the Sun tells us in what area of life we search for that recognition; and the aspects the Sun forms to other planets in the chart show the challenges we face in becoming ourselves. Karmically speaking, it represents what we are learning to become in this lifetime. Symbolically, the Sun represents the biological father figure, and often says something about how the person views the father and/or the relationship with him. The Sun signifies the identity we begin to cultivate both consciously and unconsciously, and therefore most accurately describes our “self” from age 21 and beyond.
The Moon is our unconscious self, and represents the way we instinctively respond to the world. The sign and house placement of the Moon says something about how we nurture others and how we were nurtured as a child: It is our inner self, our inner child. Aspects to the Moon from other planets in the birth chart will describe the relative level of difficulty or ease in how we go about getting our emotional needs met, as well as our ability to meet the emotional needs of others. If the needs indicated by the Moon’s sign and aspects in the birth chart are not met, the person will not feel “fed,” and happiness will be difficult to find. The Moon is associated with the mother, but also represents all maternal figures and the experience of early nurturing in general. Our Moon sign describes the qualities we naturally exhibit, and thus describes our disposition during that crucial developmental stage from age 0-7, when early conditioning governs our behavioral patterns and our instincts begin to form.
Mercury is how we think and communicate--how our minds work. It represents objective consciousness without moral judgement and, as such, is a symbol for the level of objectivity or subjectivity we are capable of when processing information. Like the Moon, Mercury has much to do with habits and how we move about our daily routines. The major difference between the Moon and Mercury is that Mercury is, of all the planets, the least “feeling.” Mercury has nothing to do with emotion and is rather concerned with objective consciousness and our ability to use rationality. Do we process information slowly or at lightning speed? Do the details of daily life excite or bore you? You would look to the sign and aspects of the person’s Mercury to understand how to answer these questions. Mercury represents the stage of life from age 4-12. This is when we start to become curious about the world, asking copious questions, wonder why things are and how they work.
Venus is traditionally a symbol of romantic aptitude; however, what it really represents is the principle of attraction: the sign and house placements, along with the aspects made from other planets, will describe our ability to attract, in terms of both people and material wealth. Consequently, the placement of Venus in our birth charts has much to say about how easy or difficult it is for us to function socially, and can often reveal a great deal about our relationship to money. Money and friends are both forms of capital, and aspects to Venus indicate the challenges we face in building both our social and financial capital. Venus represents the stage of adolescence (approx. age 12-19) when we become aware of social dynamics and begin to cultivate a social persona as well as an understanding of how we relate to others.
Mars represents our desire and drive--how we assert ourselves in the world. Mars and the Sun share some commonalities in that both represent our physical and spiritual vitality as well as our strength of will power, courage and leadership. The difference between the two is that while the Sun describes the identity we are developing, Mars is about how we go about developing and asserting that identity. Mars has much to do with goal setting, ambition, and our ability to take action; it describes the passion we have, our rawest desires, and, more importantly, how we go about getting what we want. Are we committed or uncertain about our desires? Are we passive aggressive, or assertive in going after what we want? Are we patient or impulsive in our approach?