Jupiter is the largest of all the planets in the solar system. This fact bears heavily on its symbolic function of “expansion” in all its forms. It’s been said that Jupiter is the planet of “luck,” and certainly of abundance; but when taken to extremes the line between “luck” and delusion, and abundance and greed can become very thin indeed. Jupiter’s placement in our birth charts has much to say about our sense of faith, in terms of both our larger more general sense of optimism and faith in others/the world. More specifically though, it also says something about the philosophies we live by, what we believe in, our sense of morality, and our relationship to religious, moral, and/or spiritual dogmas. Jupiter is all about the “big picture.” Consequently, it represents our vision of the future in its broadest (sometimes most impractical) terms. Expansion can also lead to exaggeration, and those with heavy Jupiter influences in their birth chart can at times get caught up in grandiose visions or philosophies without much thought of how to make these practical “in real life.” It is crucial in analyzing any chart to see, if there is a heavy Jupiter influence, to check the relative strength of Saturn in the chart. Saturn balances Jupiter in that it gives form and structure to the larger concept.
Saturn in many ways can be thought of in contrast to the principles of Jupiter. While Jupiter represents future vision, expansion, abundance, and limitlessness, Saturn is all about restriction, rules, respect for the past, and the establishment of healthy limits. Saturn is concerned with how the world works on a practical level, and thus symbolizes all of society’s structures and hierarchies. Saturn’s placement in our chart is critical in determining our relationship to the structures of society, whether we can follow rules. Though there are many symbols in the chart that point to our karma, or the challenges we’ve inherited, Saturn in particular symbolizes the kind of karma we’ve inherited. If, for instance, we were born with our Venus in difficult aspect to Saturn, one lesson in this lifetime may be how to cooperate better, how to share more, learn how to show affection, or how to “get along” better with others.
Uranus is the planet of sudden awakenings, disruption and chaos; yet its keynote is about revolution and change, brought about through the proclamation of (sometimes uncomfortable) truths. It represents the future and the future is unpredictable. This is why those born with a strong Uranus in their charts often appear unpredictable, erratic, or downright off the wall. Like Pluto, Uranus is about speed: speed of thought and of movement. But it’s also about freedom and the will it takes to attain that freedom. In a birth chart, the house Uranus falls in tells us where there is a strong will and a desire for freedom that will dominate that area of life.
The action of Uranus is to break away from outdated patterns and stymied traditions—to take the unconventional route, constantly questioning the rules and rebelling against the established order. Wherever Uranus falls in your chart is the area of life where you’re “different” in some respect--and the area of life where you’ll experience the most upheaval.
Neptune is an elusive planet. Just as Saturn can be seen as a kind of “antidote” to Jupiter, Neptune in turn can be seen in similar relationship to Saturn. Where Saturn is all about structure, rules, and confronting harsh realities, Neptune is about the dissolution of structure, the exceptions to the rules, and the ability to overlook reality by sinking into our deepest dreams and fantasies. Neptune is similar to Jupiter in emphasis on "vision"; but while Jupiter represents a conscious molding of the future through principled action, Neptune is our unconscious dreams and fantasies--the root of many of our conscious visions. Neptune enables us to see the best in people, in the world in general, to see beyond the world of appearance to the beautiful and overlook harsher aspects of reality. Yet it can also represent delusion or fog that can cloud our judgment and distort.
If Neptune is elusive, Pluto is almost unreachable in its depths. Though now considered merely a "dwarf planet," its symbolism holds no less weight as it affects the interpretation of a person's chart. As the smallest, darkest planet furthest from the Sun, Pluto tends only to be felt on a conscious level when in aspect to another planet, sensitive point, or as part of a larger configuration in a chart. Pluto is our darkness--our most subconscious, buried drives and desires. Pluto is considered the "higher octave" of Mars, and so represents an ambition so intense it cannot be expressed in the conscious mind. Thus its strong connection with obsessions and compulsions. The obsession with speed in all forms is common with strong Pluto energy in a chart. Speeding up the body, speeding up the mind: both are means of quickening a process of transformation. Transformation is the quintessential meaning of Pluto, with the associated metaphor of the phoenix rising from its ashes. Plutonian people have this gift: to morph themselves, to create an identity entirely their own, to turn the struggle for survival that is life into a splendiferous spectacle of identity creation.