For many astrological matters and questions, it’s common practice for people to fixate on their star sign, the sign the sun was in when you were born and is typically the sign you look to for a horoscope reading. But that totally leaves out ruling planets in astrology, a super-important aspect of your birth chart that can provide crucial intel about your cosmic profile.
But what are ruling planets in astrology, exactly, and how can you learn yours and what it means? “Every sign has a ruling planet, and this planet is the most significant planetary influence of a sign,” says astrologer and psychic medium Rachel Lang. “This planet influences how the sign is expressed, and it gives us insights into the personality traits inherent within the sign. To draw those connections, you would look at the archetypal symbols for that planet’s associated god or goddess, as well as the qualities of the planet.”
“Every sign has a ruling planet. This planet influences how the sign is expressed, and it gives us insights into the personality traits inherent within the sign.”—astrologer and psychic medium Rachel Lang.
To learn your ruling planet, put your birth info into an astrology-chart generator and find your ascendent or rising sign, which, as transformational astrologer Corina Crysler puts it, is “your soul line that creates the script of your life.” It’s essentially how you show up in the world. Each sign is connected with a planet, and the planet associated with your rising sign is your ruling one.
“The ruling planet can show you how to fully embody your life with wholeness and purpose,” Crysler says. “Your birth chart can tell you so many different things about your soul’s mission and who you are, but your planet ruler can be used as the starting point of understanding what that means for your journey.”
Below learn the significance of all ruling planets in astrology, by sign.
Aries ruling planet: Mars
“Mars rules go-getter sign Aries, the sign of intimating action and leadership,” says Lang. “Mars is the god of war, and the planet represents what motivates and drives us, as well as what we’re willing to fight for.”
Aries folks are masters of action. They’re the firstborns of the zodiac, the spark that starts the whole wheel, and “hotheaded” describes them to a T.
Taurus ruling planet: Venus
“Taurus is connected to the divine feminine energy, which allows Venus’ feminine rulership to manifest,” Crysler says. “Taurus rules money, luxury, and our resources, due to the Venus characteristic of what we love in terms of the materialistic side of the world.”
Gemini ruling planet: Mercury
Astrologer Susan Miller once told me that the Mercury was the messenger of the gods, the clever child of Zeus who was gifted with the ability to travel between Mount Olympus, Earth, and the Underworld. We know Gemini to be exceptionally quick-witted, and we know Mercury retrograde to be when conversations and travel are prone to be misinterpreted. Put two and two together, and it all makes sense: of COURSE chatty Gemini rising signs are ruled by a god of communication.
Cancer ruling planet: the moon
Okay, technically not a “planet,” per se, but the moon is nonetheless an important and temperamental astrological luminary. A few energies we usually attach to Cancer include nurturing and even “maternal,” but we also know that Cancer signs can skew moody. Crabby folks, you’re natural children of the moon, a feminine force with potential to awaken tempestuous emotional waters.
Leo ruling planet: the sun
“The sign the Sun is in at the hottest time of year in the Northern hemisphere,” says Lang. “The sun, astrologically speaking, represents the way we shine our light in the world. It’s how we express our individuality. Likewise, Leo is a sign that emphasizes creative expression.”
If you’re a Leo, you probably have a magnetic, warm aura, a stage presence that no one else can rival. You might also believe the world revolves around you…which it happily tends to do. Own your self-pride, Leo.
Virgo ruling planet: Mercury, Chiron
This this perfectionist sign is often associated with Mercury, but Crysler points out that Chiron, the wounded healer, is sometimes also associated with Virgo.
“In mythology, Chiron was the centaur that taught astrology and the healing arts of medicine,” says Crysler. “He was the master healer and known as our wound or pain we carry in our birth chart. Virgo is deeply connected to the past and is of service to the daily routine that creates healing and movement. Most Virgos have a strong ability to know what is needed to move the pain we carry (both past and present) and are known as being the healers of the zodiac as, they are the mentors of Chiron.”
Libra ruling planet: Venus
Libra is focused on aesthetics (always the most fashionable in their friend group) and is romantically inclined, looking to be balanced out by someone else. So it makes sense why Libra shares its ruling planet, Venus, with Taurus, given the sign’s clear ties to the goddess of love and beauty.
“Taurus rules the material world, however, Libra rules relationships,” says Crysler. “Therefore Venus shows up in Libra by deciding whom we love, not what we love.”
Scorpio ruling planet: Pluto
“Pluto is the furthest planet out, so it requires us to connect on an emotional, energetic, and/or subconscious level,” Crysler says. “It’s not conscious, therefore Scorpio’s ability to connect to the deep water—emotions and subconscious—allows us to understand Pluto by bringing the information to the surface.”
Sagittarius ruling planet: Jupiter
Sagittarius is ruled by Jupiter, the “luckiest sign of the zodiac” and the planet of personal expansion (which, BTW, is why you should mark your Jupiter return on your calendar). When Jupiter is your ruling planet, it’ll feel like the world is yours to take, which is why those with a Sagittarius rising sign may have an urge to travel.
Capricorn ruling planet: Saturn
Saturn rules over Capricorns, who are likely to have an easy time with the whole “maturity” thing. While many of us groan at Saturn return, it’s a necessary time for growth, structure, getting your life in order, and any Capricorn is capable of conquering the world because they have excellent discipline.
Aquarius ruling planet: Uranus
Aquarius is an eccentric and forward-thinking air sign who’s always willing to go the extra mile as a humanitarian. Aquarians are ruled by Uranus, the god of the sky, which explains the head-in-the-cloud aura common to Aquarius.
Pisces ruling planet: Neptune
Pisces is the twin fish who deals with everyone’s empathy waves (a blessing and a curse). Neptune, meanwhile, is both a strikingly blue planet, and the god of fresh water and the sea, according to Roman mythology. A water sign through and through, Neptune is the obvious ruler of Pisces.
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