Astrology

Personal and General Planets Affect You Differently—Here’s What Each Means, According to Astrologers

Photo: Getty Images / Sarote Impheng / EyeEm
In astrology, each planet has its own distinct meaning, but when grouped, collections of planets can have special significance, as is the case with personal planets and generational planets. Personal planets, also called “inside planets,” are those that are closer to Earth and change zodiac signs frequently, meaning that they have a larger impact on our personalities and they vary from person to person, says astrologer Amber Jay. Generational planets, also called “outer planets,” are further away from us, move more slowly, and change anywhere between every one-and-a-half to 18 years, says astrologer Rachel Lang. Understanding the difference between personal and generational planets can help you contextualize the astrological intel in your chart that applies to you, versus what applies to you and others born around the same time and place.

Personal planets include the sun, the moon, Mercury, Venus, and Mars, and affect peoples’ day-to-day lives. “A lot of times they [may] point to a literal event happening in your life—an actual occurrence, like getting a text message, a job offer, or [filing] for bankruptcy,” Jay says. Generational planets are planets are Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto, and they more so reflect societal goings-on, and events that will impact entire communities of people rather than just you.

To map your personal and generational planet placements, input your date, time, and location of birth into your favorite astrology app or an online generator. Then, read on to learn what personal and generational planets mean in your birth chart.

Personal planets: the sun, the moon, Mercury, Venus, and Mars

The sun

“The sun is like your identity, your personality, vitality, [and where] you get your spark of life,” says Jay. It stays in a sign for a little less than a month, so there’s quite a bit of variation to this personal planet placement, which is what you typically read for when consulting your daily horoscope.

The moon

The moon rules over one’s emotions and intuition as well as how they may find comfort and security. It also moves pretty quickly, changing signs every two to three days. This is why in identifying your moon sign, the timing of your birth is important.

Mercury

Shifting signs every three to four weeks, Mercury is the planet of communication, intellectuality, travel, and thought processes. Your Mercury sign rules over how you communicate and, per Jay, “almost literally, sometimes, the way you speak.” It can also reflect what you like to talk about and how you think through things.

Venus

Often nicknamed the planet of love, Venus has to do with a person’s sense of value, the way they love and are intimate, what they consider to be loving, and the relationships they thrive in or attract, says Jay. “It is also your artistic taste,” adds Jay, because Venus also rules over aesthetics. This celestial body dances into a new sign every four to five weeks.

Mars

This personal planet rules a person’s passion, energy, sense of power, sexuality, and physical body, says Jay. Lang adds that Mars also relates to how someone might handle conflict (e.g., whether or not they even want to). It takes Mars six to seven weeks to move into a new zodiac sign.

Generational planets: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto

Jupiter

“Jupiter is like your sense of hope, optimism, philosophy, [and] your ability to sort of see the bigger picture,” says Jay.

It moves into a new zodiac sign every 12 to 13 months, which is not the same span as a generation, which tends to reflect timeframes extending 15 to 20 years. That’s why Lang calls Jupiter a social planet, or a connection between the personal and generational planets. “Jupiter represents the beliefs that we inherit, [which we then] personalize, given where we are in historical context,” Lang says.

Saturn

“Saturn is a little bit more rigid than Jupiter,” says Jay. “It’s about your trials and tribulations; your challenges in this lifetime; and where you need to grow up or mature.”

Because Saturn takes about two and a half years to move through a sign (read: less than a generation), it’s also considered a social planet, says Lang, adding that “if Jupiter is our faith and what we believe, Saturn is law and order.” Practically speaking, Saturn informs how people apply (or don’t apply) societal rules to their personal lives.

Lang adds that Saturn shapes peoples’ sense of “what’s right, what’s valuable, and what’s allowed.” Combining that sentiment with the timing of a Saturn return (which happens every 28 to 29 years), it’s not all too surprising that Lang says Saturn “defines our adulting journey.”

Uranus

Uranus, the planet of innovation, takes about seven years to move into a new zodiac sign. “Uranus is all about liberation and changing the world,” says Lang. “It’s on the other side of Saturn, which rules structure, and Uranus asks how those rules feel limiting.”

Let’s take a look at how this breaks down for people with Uranus in Libra, who Lang says were mostly born between 1968 and 1974. (Because planets tend to move backwards right after they’ve entered a new sign, there will be some variability in generational planet placements.)

“Uranus in Libra actually [wanted to push] the envelope in terms of relationships, so we saw a lot of people who really saw the potential for relationships to be based on equality and love,” Lang says. Because Libra values harmony and fairness, people born during this time frame may want “to do things differently for themselves and for future generations,” says Lang.

Neptune

According to Lang, Neptune relates to culture, informing the stories humans tell and influencing what they’re interested in.

Take, for example, Neptune in Sagittarius, which is the sign for most people born between 1971 and 1984. Because Sagittarius loves philosophy just as much as they do freedom, and because Neptune considers how we can improve, people born with this placement might have loosened their ideas about spirituality, “moving away from the dogmatic religious practices of previous generations,” says Lang. This generation tends to question freedom and personal preferences in relationships, too.

Pluto

Pluto, the planet of rebirth, is the generational planet, says Jay, as it takes between 16 and 18 years to move into a new sign (and a whopping 250 years to make a full trip around the zodiac). According to Lang, Pluto may encourage folks to contemplate contemporary social ideals and frameworks. “Things that have been hidden in previous generations start to come into the light,” she says.

Consider Pluto in Scorpio, a common placement for people born between 1983 and 1995. “Scorpio represents those aspects of culture that we're not talking about: sex, sexuality, life after death," Lang says. "All of those things started to surface when Pluto was in Scorpio, and that impacted that entire generation.”

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