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What is a Sign? Why Does A Planet Rule A Sign?

Zodiac Signs: The Role and Influence of Planetary Rulerships

As I offered in Saturn: Spiritual Master, Spiritual Friend, the art and science of Astrology has four basic building blocks: planets, signs, houses, and aspects.

The rest is commentary. I was recently asked the questions in the title. Today I’ve give you my short answers and a little elaboration.

The knowledge of these four building blocks is absolutely fundamental if we are to find any sort of organized approach to how all of them work together. Briefly, the planets are “the inner Lights,” the parts of our personality which we must learn to express in healthy ways while transmuting the unhealthy expressions.

These inner Lights express through the filters of the signs. Regardless of what name we give the 12 sectors of our perceived reality, a “sign” is a span of experience. We have experience which initiates, experience which stabilizes, and experience which distributes in the hemispheres of self/not-self and private/public. This makes up the total of the journey of each planet as it moves through all the signs.

The phases which initiate, consolidate or stabilize, and the phases which distribute each has its expression in the material world, the emotional world, the mental world, and the spiritual world. The Fire signs are associated with Life, that which brightens and warms our path. Air signs are associated with interactions of all types. Water signs are associated with feelings, whether personal, interpersonal or transpersonal. And the Earth signs are associated with all material things.

While some associate planetary rulership of the signs with “dominion,” my friend Carl Payne Tobey offered that a planet "rules" a sign in the sense of "measuring" a sign. The sign a planet “rules” shows the measure of that sign as it is able to express those planetary energies. The two signs a planet rules shows us the “whole package” of the measure of that planetary expression.

Each planetary Light has its "department of labor" and duality of healthy/unhealthy function. Each planetary Light is a combination of the two signs it rules, with a healthy growth tendency in its exaltation and an unhealthy repetition in its fall. However, regardless of what sign any planet is in, it can still find a healthy expression, as each sign is merely a phase of each of the other 11 signs.

For example, Venus is said to be “unfortunate” in Scorpio. However, Scorpio is the 7th sign from Venus’ home in Taurus, and the 2nd sign from Venus’ home in Libra. As Venus naturally “rules” the archetypal 2nd (Taurus) and 7th (Libra) signs, clearly while Venus may not do well with Scorpio’s intensity, it is familiar with operating in a 2nd or 7th house context.

We learn about the material, emotional, mental, and spiritual expressions in the personal, interpersonal, and transpersonal dimensions of existence each year as the transits move through all 12 phases we call the signs. The 12 phases of experience are what are known as the "three fold Self," with the first four phases we call "signs" related to the personal dimension of our existence, the second four phases related to the interpersonal dimension of life, and the third four phases related to the transpersonal dimension of our experience.

From one point of view, it doesn’t matter what we call the 12 phases of the Whole Cycle. That’s the genius of astrology. We are able to detach from narrow interpretations of our ever-changing, ever-evolving reality and enter into the natural dance of various inner parts of us as they are introduced to the changes in the outer world as shown by the transits.

So if you’ve ever wondered why it’s not time to “go public” with something, it’s probably because the phase is still buried beneath the surface of your life as shown by the horizontal axis in your chart. I have seen many people breathe a sigh of relief when I have pointed out that when it’s time to establish foundations, that’s all we need to do, and when it’s time to take something public, then we can advance with confidence, knowing we’ve already done the foundation work while the planets ruling the project were still below the surface.

A brief guide looks like this: if you have 11 Leo rising, you have 11 Aquarius on the 7th. That means the period of August through January is when there’s going to be a lot of below the surface activity which will then be brought to surface between February and July.

If you have 9 Scorpio rising, then your period of “below the surface growth” is from November through April, while your public push will come between May and October. If you have 15 Virgo rising, then you’re doing foundation work between early September and early March, and public work between early March and early September.

This applies mainly to the inner planets, but observing the cycles of Mars relative to the horizon will yield good insights about whether to push the roots or push the flowers. And when it comes to the outer planet transits, obviously some rising signs have the long wave spiritual cycles above the horizon, while others have it below.

The house where Saturn is transiting shows where we’re learning responsibility and maturity. Is the transit in the hemisphere of Self, or Not-Self? Is it below the horizon or above the horizon? These are discussed at length in Saturn: Spiritual Master, Spiritual Friend, so if you have a copy, please take another look with an eye to how Saturn has helped you, both privately and publicly, to bring forth your power in each area of life shown by your houses.

Look to where you have Aries, Taurus, Gemini, and Cancer to see where your archetypal personal sign experiences are oriented in your life based in what houses they occupy. Look to where you have Leo, Virgo, Libra, and Scorpio to see where your archetypal interpersonal sign focus in in the life areas with those signs on the cusps, and look to see where you have Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces to see your orientation toward those archetypal transpersonal sign energies. You’ll understand a lot about why you relate to those parts of your life the way you do.

Reprinted on crystalwind.ca with written permission from Robert Wilkinson. Copying this article to other blogs is strictly prohibited. It is copyright protected. 

© Copyright 2024 Robert Wilkinson


© Copyright 2024 Robert Wilkinson - https://www.aquariuspapers.com

About the author:

Robert wilkinson An internationally-known astrologer, author, public speaker, metaphysician, and futurist, with over 25 years experience as a counselor and educator. He has presented hundreds of public talks on all aspects of Astrology, the Eastern Wisdom tradition, the Western Wisdom tradition and promoted many mass gatherings and cultural events. Some of his specific areas of interest and expertise include personality profiles, degree patterns, integrative astrology, various aspect harmonics, among others.
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Reprinted on crystalwind.cawith written persmission from Robert Wilkinson.

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