How Each Planet’s Astrology Directly Affects Every Zodiac Sign

By NINA KAH, Lisa Stardust, and Caitlin McGarry

In astrology, zodiac signs get a lot of attention — after all, all you need is a sun sign to read your average horoscope. But the world of astrology is big, bright, and beautiful, and if you want to know what the stars are really trying to ya, you need to have an idea about what planets mean in astrology. It's not breaking news that planets are a thing in the astrology world — after all, interpreting the movement of the planets and other celestial bodies through the sky (and zodiac) is exactly what astrology is. But understanding the planets will help you make so much more sense of things like your sun and moon signs, and you'll have a clue in the next time someone's ranting about Mercury going retrograde again, or their Venus placement ruining their love life.

You're probably already familiar with the planets of ye old solar system (shout out to elementary school science teachers around the world), but have a seat back at your desk, because planets in astrology are going to differ a lil' bit from what you learned via Bill Nye the Science Guy. Firstly, in astrology, the sun and the moon are both considered planets. While they may not be planets in the astronomical sense, they are vitally important celestial bodies to all of us Earth dwellers, and therefore considered planets as far as astrology goes. Also, in astrology, Pluto is still a planet. While astronomers may have demoted it to a mere dwarf planet a few years back, in astrology land its still a full-fledged planet — and it's just as powerful. Lastly, scratch the Earth from the list of planets in astrology — I mean, it's important, but we also live on it, so from our Earthly vantage point it's not moving through the sky in the same way as the other celestial objects. All in all, that makes for 10 major planets.

In astrology, each of the planets represent a different set of qualities and characteristics, and rule over a different part of our lives — each bringing with them their own unique vibes. "Each planet symbolizes a different component of life, a different type of energy," explained Astro Library. "In psychological terms, we can call them 'needs' or 'drives.'" The planets ranging from the sun through Mars are known as "inner planets." They move relatively quickly from sign to sign, and therefore have more of an influence over day-to-day, shorter term issues. "Outer planets," which span from Jupiter out to Pluto, move much more slowly through the zodiac chart, therefore influencing larger, more grand-scheme parts of your life and self. And when someone refers to a planet as "benefic," it refers to their association with bringing really good vibes (Jupiter and Venus are known as benefics). Conversely, "malefic" planets, such as Saturn and Mars, are known for having tougher, more destructive energy (although we love 'em and need 'em nonetheless!).

In order to know how the planets affect us, well, that all depends on where they're located. Planets travel through different signs, and their energy plays out differently depending on where they're at. If you want to know where your natal planets are, you'll have to check out your birth chart (you can draw yours up online if you have your exact birth time, or consult a profesh astrologer to help). Your birth chart is made up of twelve astrological houses, as well as twelve zodiac signs that overlap with said houses. But within all these signs and houses are planets. "Every house literally provides a home for the planets residing there — giving that planet a place to act out its particular energy," explained Insightful Astrology. So planets themselves don't cause anything — it's more about where they're placed and how they interact with other aspects of your chart.

Bustle also spoke with astrologers Lisa Stardust and Caitlin McGarry to weigh in with some additional planetary insights to help you make sense of this big, bad astrological solar system. Let's take a quick trip through the galaxy and get to know each of the major players.

Sun

Planet of: the self; the conscious mind; creative energy; life purpose; the truest n' purest version of ~you~.

Naturally rules: Leo

The sun is the center of our universe. It's what colors the world around us, the star that we revolve around and that gives us life. That's part of why our sun signs are such an integral part of our astrology and who we are! "The Sun represents our ego, what we are driven to do, our life-force," Stardust tells Bustle. The sun is the driving force behind who we are at our core, and it's said that people who can embrace their sun placement tend to feel happier and more fulfilled. Let the sun shine down, y'all.

Moon ☽

Planet of: emotions; instincts; feminine energy; security; all the emo poetry you wrote in your journal in high school.

Naturally rules: Cancer

The gentle, emtotion-driven moon is totally our astro mom (I know I'm a crazy lil' witch and all, but I literally greet the moon with a "Hi, mom!" when I see her in the night sky.) "The Moon represents our inner emotions, the parts within us which we cannot express," explains Stardust. "It also represents our maternal side, our mother, our memories, and what foods we enjoy." Nurturing, sensitive, and ruling over matters of security, the moon governs over the shadowy, more vulnerable sides of ourselves, as well as the things we need to feel safe and comfortable.

Mercury ☿

Planet of: communication; expression; reason; intellect; your ability to carry on six different coherent conversations at once.

Naturally rules: Gemini & Virgo

You probably know this planet more for its infamous retrograde periods than anything else, but actually, when it's not turning everything in your life upside, this quick-witted master of communication is really cool. "Mercury affects how we communicate, transmit information, and travel," McGarry tells Bustle. Mercury is known as the messenger of the gods, so it makes sense that communication, information sharing, and traveling is its jam.

Venus ♀️

Planet of: love; romance; beauty; pleasure; hearts n' chocolates n' flowers.

Naturally rules: Taurus & Libra

Ah, lovely Venus, planet of all things flowery and sensual and heart-flutteringly delicious. Named after the goddess of love herself, Venus loves to love, and to be immersed in the aestheticism and beauty of the world. Venus is also associated with money — specifically the money we spend more frivolously on things that bring us pleasure and joy. "Venus is the lesser benefic, [and] represents love affairs, romance, luxury, fine wines and rich food," shares Stardust. "Venus also represents self esteem and money." She's sort of like the Valentine's day of the planets — think a romantic evening full of chocolates, wine, red rose petals, and a sweetly-scented bubble bath. That's our gal.

Mars ♂︎

Planet of: action; sexual drive; aggression; raw energy; losing your sh*t on the next person who triggers you.

Naturally rules: Aries

Wild n' fiery Mars, named after the god of war, is determined, driven, and full of raw, unbridled, animalistic energy. "Mars represents how we fight and assert ourselves," explains McGarry to Bustle. The so-called Red Planet certainly lives up to it's name with it's red-hot intensity and passion. And you may have heard "men are from Mars, women are from Venus," right? Well, we actually all have a nice balance of both, so while sexy romance is Venus' territory, Mars rules over our more animalistic sexual drive and desire. Venus is the butterflies in our stomach and emotion, while Mars is the primal, physical instinct.

Jupiter ♃

Planet of: good luck; abundance; optimism; expansiveness; everything coming up roses and then some.

Naturally rules: Sagittarius

Love us some Jupiter. As the saying goes, the bigger the hair, the closer to god — and in this case, the bigger the planet, the closer to sweet, sweet harmony. Jupiter is considered especially auspicious, bringing growth, positivity, opportunity, and good vibes along with its massive presence. "Jupiter, the greater benefic, represents luck, growth, travel, philosophy, education, teaching, and expansion," Stardust tells Bustle. This big boy is a spreader of positive and good cheer, so embrace Jupiter's peachy vibes whenever possible.

Saturn ♄

Planet of: boundaries; tough love; life lessons; discipline; questioning everything you've ever done in your life in a depressing, critical angst.

Naturally rules: Capricorn

If the moon is our cosmic mom, then Saturn is totally our cosmic dad. Think of this planet as the stern father who's a little overly rigid and authoritarian and strict. "Saturn is the greater malefic, representing boundaries, limits, restrictions, and the relationship with the paternal," shares Stardust. You may be familiar with Saturn in relation to the infamous Saturn return, which happens to everyone around their late twenties (cue total existential breakdown). Saturn is all about tough love — but remember, it's only hard on us because it wants us to learn and grow.

Uranus ♅

Planet of: originality; awakenings; progressiveness; revelations; letting your freak flag fly while marching to the beat of your own drum.

Naturally rules: Aquarius

Expect the unexpected with Uranus, as this planet is all about shaking up the norms. It's progressive, forward-thinking, hyper creative, but also prone to abrupt shifts and changes. "Uranus is considered the 'Great Awakener,' as it shakes up the world, through revolutions, technological, and innovation, on a global level," Stardust tells Bustle. Uranus doesn't care about tradition for the sake of nostalgia — it cares about being innovative, fresh, and unique. In fact, this planet is sometimes likened to a lightning bolt given the way it shocks us with sudden insights and inspirations

Neptune ♆

Planet of: intuition; dreams; spirituality; idealism; psychic/floating off into astral space during a deep third eye meditation.

Naturally rules: Pisces

Dreamy, other-worldly Neptune. This planet's meanings are as deep as its color is blue, as it's representative of pychic intuition and spiritual attunement, as well dreams and artistic expression. As Stardust explains, "Neptune represents dreams, illusion, and fantasy." Given it's dreamy, inter-dimensional nature, it also has a tendency to detach from reality a bit. But if you can avoid falling into the escapist tendencies this planet can induce, it brings a helpful sensitivity and psychic power.

Pluto ♇

Planet of: transformations; the underworld; the subconscious mind; power; hella deep, intense sh*t, basically.

Naturally rules: Scorpio

Pluto may have been robbed of its planethood by scientists back in 2006 — a harsh move indeed, especially to the planet named after the ruler of the underworld. But in astrology, Pluto is as ~planet~ as can be. As McGarry tells Bustle, "Pluto encompasses the energy of transformation." Trasformation covers a lot of ground — think the energy of light and dark, death and rebirth, day to night, endings into beginnings. As Anne Welles says in Valley of the Dolls, "You've got to climb Mount Everest to reach the Valley of the Dolls." And if the valley of the dolls is your ~inner truth~, then yeah, prepare for the exhausting and treacherous but transformative battle that Pluto insists upon, because it's definitely for the ultimate good.

The Worst Things That May Happen To Your Love Live In 2019, Based On Your Zodiac Sign

A must read article I contributed to alongside author Carolyn Steber, Carmen Mayes, Lisa Stardust, and Jay Austin for Bustle

With each new year comes a fresh chance to take your relationships to the next level, hopefully by making them healthier than ever. But it also can bring new opportunities for things to not go as planned. And this is where astrology can come in handy, by shedding light on some of the problems that could happen in your love life in 2019.

While there are obviously a lot of factors at play when it comes to love, astrologers can help you make sense of what may come — good, bad, or otherwise. "Astrology helps you prepare for the unexpected and gives perspective on the deeper meaning or lesson that the universe is giving you through a difficult situation," Carmen Mayes, an astrologer and spiritual wellness coach, tells Bustle. "Hopefully astrological insight serves as support through the process."

And there are several ways to do that. "When we want to look at love in astrology we look at Venus [the planet of love] and her connections to planets," Mayes says. But at the end of the day, what happens in your love life — and how you react to it — is largely up to you.

If anything bad or unhealthy is going on, remember that you have to power to change it, to discuss it with your partner, or to learn from the situation. With that in mind, here are the worst things that may happen to your love life in 2019, according to your zodiac sign.

Aries (March 21 - April 19)

For Aries, the new year will bring a big desire for more financial stability, which may explain why you've been itching for a new job. But once you start raking in the dough, don't be surprised if jealousy starts to rear its ugly head in your relationship.

As astrologer Lisa Stardust tells Bustle, "You’re primarily focused on making money this year, through various endeavors, which may make your partner feel insecure."

It can lead to arguments and misunderstandings, but the thing to remember is that's their insecurity — and shouldn't be something that affects how hard you work, or how you feel about your success.

It is always possible, however, to create a better work-life balance, should you feel like your needs in the relationship aren't being met.

Taurus (April 20 - May 20)

"With 2019 [Taurus] will feel uneasy about the boundaries that their partners are imposing on them," astrologer Caitlin McGarry tells Bustle. "Taurus cannot stand change and especially in relationships."

If it turns out your partner has unfair expectations that you just can't deal with, it'll be important to let them know how you're feeling. It may be the only way they'll know these boundaries don't feel right. And from there, you can make an effort to keep things fair.

Gemini (May 21 - June 20)

Gemini will notice that their jealousy might take over in 2019 in a fairly overwhelming way. "This will be their year of jealousy according to the stars," McGarry says.

But that doesn't mean you need to spend the entire year seething with envy. McGarry says Gemini hates to admit that they're jealous, but that may be the very thing you need to do.

Jealousy is often a sign of something deeper going on in a relationship, and talking about it may be the first step in finding out what's wrong.

Cancer (June 21 - July 22)

For Cancer, 2019 could bring about more conflict with a partner. As Stardust says, "Power struggles in relationships may cause you and your partner to get into heated arguments this year."

One way to overcome it is by spotting the arguments before they start to bubble over, and choosing to act differently. "Take a step back and stop arguing just to argue," Stardust says. "You don’t always have to win the fight."

Leo (July 23 - August 22)

Problems for Leo will likely stem for a need for attention in 2019, astrologer Jay Austin tells Bustle. "[Their] drive for attention and recognition may burn too hot, leaving [their] partner feeling neglected, like just another member of the audience," he says.

While it's great to reach for your goals, keep in mind it's possible to so and maintain a healthy relationship at the same time, if you so choose.

Virgo (August 23 - September 22)

Since Virgo is a sign that values organization and order, you may find yourself overthinking your dating life in 2019, possibly to the point you end up feeing confused.

"The over-analytical Virgo will find themselves on a bit of a hamster wheel of feeling unsure of what they want in relationships," McGarry says.

But don't let it throw you into crisis mode. This may be the perfect time to slow down and focus on yourself for a change. The right relationship will come along in due time — no need to force anything or make hasty decisions.

Libra (September 23 - October 22)

Like Aries, "work may force you to spend more time at the office than [with your partner], which [can] in return cause friction in your relationship," Stardust says. So if you keep having inexplicable arguments with your partner, this may be why.

Again, making an effort to have a healthy work-life balance balance can make all the difference. But it may also be helpful to ask your partner just what, exactly, is bugging them. Is it the time spent apart? Or their own insecurities? Having a chat may be just what you need to overcome this hurdle.

Scorpio (October 23 - November 21)

"Of all the signs, Scorpio has the potential of having the toughest year when it comes to love," Austin says. And this is all thanks to the planet Uranus, which will be moving through Scorpio's "seventh house of marriage and partnerships from early February on," he says.

During this time, you might notice that your love life will feel rocky, or that you and your significant other are suddenly talking about breaking up. But by focusing on what you need in the relationship — and whether or not it feels like it's working for you — you can get through it.

Sagittarius (November 22 - December 21)

The main planet affecting Sagittarius in 2019 is Jupiter, which will be the case for most of the year. "This means, in part, that Sag has been hard to pin down, particularly in relationships," Austin says. "Sag is not, by nature, about planning or commitment; they prize their freedom above all else." And this can lead to misunderstandings, should you happen to be in a relationship.

The best way to weather it all will be by maintaining a constant line of communication with your partner, or anyone you happen to be dating. It may be possible to find a compromise between what you want, and what they want. But only if you say how you're feeling.

Capricorn (December 22 - January 19)

Capricorn will notice all sorts of changes in 2019, mostly for the better. And yet, your progress may cause a few surprising problems in the romance department.

"You’re transforming at a fast speed this year, which may make your partner feel you have outgrown the relationship," Stardust says.

So try to be understanding, if they start to feel left out. "Try to grow together and ensure your partner they are enough for you," she says. While it's not up to you to slow down and match someone else's pace, being in a relationship may mean making a few compromises.

Aquarius (January 20 - February 18)

The worst thing that might happen for Aquarius' love life this year, is how your partner will react to your friendship, which, in the grand scheme of things doesn't have to be that bad, if you handle it in a loving way.

"This year, you’re filling your loving cup rekindling friendships," Stardust says, "which may get in the way of romance, as your [partner] may feel threatened by the hold your peers have on you."

All you'll need to do is balance time spent with them with time spent with friends, while also talking about the importance of boundaries and a healthy amount of time spent apart.

Pisces (February 19 - March 20)

In 2019, you may find that you don't have any time for relationships, even if you want one. "For the first time in a while, you are focused on your career, which may force you to put love on the back burner," Stardust says. While this may not be great news for your love life, it can be great news for your other goals.

Which is a nice way of looking at these "bad" things that will happen in 2019. Usually they aren't so bad, but simply different than what you were used to. And if you want to have a healthy relationship, there's usually a way to strike a balance, and make it all work.

GHANA'S WITCH CAMPS

Excerpts of stunning photos + article by photographer Ioana Epure via Broadly.

PHOTO BY IOANA EPURE

PHOTO BY IOANA EPURE

"For decades, Ghanaian women have been banished to live in segregated camps on suspicion of witchcraft. The Gambaga witch camp is one of the most famous in northern Ghana."

PHOTO BY IOANA EPURE

PHOTO BY IOANA EPURE

"I want to know more about the ritual through which the chief determines whether a woman is a witch or not. From some other people I have talked to in Gambaga, I know it involves a chicken being thrown up in the air, but nothing more."

Read more here