The planets, their glyphs, and meanings
The Sun Just as its target-shaped symbol or glyph suggests, the Sun represents your center: the center from which all your energies radiate, the center from which you view the universe, and also the physical center that is your body. Its position by sign, house and aspect shows how and where you radiate your energies into the world. The Sun is the basic life-initiating or father principle. You could think of the Sun as the king.
The Moon Whether you see this symbol as a crescent Moon, bowl, or radar dish, the idea is the same. The Moon receives, contains, and gives form to the abstract energy represented by the Sun. If the Sun is the basic you, the Moon is what gives you your particular personality – your genetic heritage, earliest training, and habit patterns. The symbol can also be seen as a cradle or enfolding arms; the Moon is the basic life-sustaining, nurturing or mother principle. Most obviously, the Moon is the queen, but she is also the land and the people.
Mercury This glyph suggests the messenger of the gods with his winged helmet. Fittingly, this planet represents how you think, communicate and move about. Mercury appears from Earth to shuttle back and forth near the Sun – like the nerve impulses in your body or the transportation systems of our society. It is a link, a bridge, a translator, putting abstract energies into symbols so they can be manipulated within your mind or communicated to others. Mercury has many guises, including the scribe, the ambassador, the merchant, the bell cord that goes from banquet hall to pantry, and the air itself, which carries the sound waves of speech. Mercury is also the nimble juggler, and the child who skips through the hallways and plays pranks.
Venus This glyph is traditionally the mirror of the goddess, but it is even more like a flower, whose function is to attract pollination so the plant can bear fruit. Venus symbolizes your powers of attraction, of bringing people, objects or ideas together to create harmonious wholes. It shows how you project and appreciate beauty, how and what you love, what gives you pleasure, the areas of your creativity, your tact and social skills. Venus could be the royal mistress, the hostess, or the artisan who makes the castle beautiful.
Mars The shield and spear of the war-god Mars are also like the Sun glyph with an arrow showing energy emerging from it. Whereas the Sun is your basic energy center, Mars, centerless but with an arrow, shows how you apply this energy to get things done. And, if the Sun is your basic self or ego, Mars is how you assert yourself and defend your ego. It is anger and aggression, but it is also the energy that enables you to fight for survival. Mars is the "muscle" of society as well as your body: the workers, the soldiers, the knights who defend the helpless, and the police who enforce Saturn's law.
Jupiter The glyphs for Jupiter and Saturn are almost the reverse of each other, just as the planets in many ways symbolize opposite energies. Jupiter is like arms raised and flung out to take in all the goodness of the world. It signifies that part of you that wants to reach out, overcome limitations, and take in everything to make it your own. (Appropriately, Jupiter is the largest planet in the solar system.) It gives expansiveness, optimism, generosity, magnanimity and a love of freedom and new experiences, but it can also bring acquisitiveness, wastefulness, insensitivity to others' needs, and lack of attention to detail. Jupiter can be the chancellor who helps the king rule, a minister of far-reaching vision who sees the big picture and lays plans for the future prosperity and well-being of the state. He can also be the lawgiver who maps out the basic code that holds society together; or the archbishop, who calls on a higher power and unites the realm under the banner of faith.
Saturn To make a bad pun, the glyph for "Sat-on" looks like a seat-or maybe a candle-snuffer. When carried to excess, Saturn can keep life down or even snuff it out, but when applied in moderation it is the necessary force that defines limits and keeps Jupiterian expansion from getting out of hand. It signifies obstacles and frustration, but also discipline and order. Saturn could be the minister of finance or the royal housekeeper who keeps a tight hand on the purse-strings, the conservative advisor who champions traditional values and stems the tide of change, the severe judge who puts a stop to crime (and sometimes people's lives as well), or the wise old counselor who guards against excess. Saturn is the furthest planet in the solar system to be seen by the naked eye. Beyond lie planets not ordinarily visible; these enable you to transcend the everyday reality of Saturn and explore worlds outside ordinary common sense.