Ruling Planets of Zodiac Signs

The solar system, illustration
ANDRZEJ WOJCICKI/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY / Getty Images

The ruling planet of each Zodiac Sign is the archetype, or original pattern or first-mold, for better knowing its meaning.These are the players in the cosmic drama, that are then also expressed through the Zodiac Signs. Planets are the wanderers of the symbolic sky and come with a mythical story or atmosphere of associations.

To know your Zodiac Sign (for any planet in your birth chart), you'll want to know its ruling planet.

How Ruling Planets Were Assigned

Based on their observations over time of qualities and "energies" of both the planets and the Zodiac signs, early astrologers started to match them up.

Some have remained unchanged since the earliest days of Astrology, while other pairings were made after the discovery of Uranus in 1781, Neptune in 1846 and Pluto in 1930. The discovery of Chiron in 1977 and the recent demotion of Pluto to dwarf planet may alter these associations further.

What Does it Mean That a Planet is "Ruler" of a Sign?

It means that the Ruling Planet, and all its energies, are in charge and is the primary influence. For example, if your Sun is in Gemini, the influence of Mercury prevails as far as your Sun sign is concerned. The "energy" of the Sun is harnessed by Mercury, whose influence overrules the Sun's unique qualities, and determine the way that solar power is expressed.​

Ruling Planets of Zodiac Signs

Every Zodiac sign has a ruling planet (or two), and this adds a dimension that builds on what's known about its qualities.

 

  • Capricorn's ruler is Saturn.
  • Aquarius' rulers are Saturn (ancient) and Uranus (modern).
  • Pisces' rulers are Jupiter (ancient) and Neptune (modern).

*These are two modern associations for Taurus and Virgo, that are not universally accepted or integrated. 

Cosmic Match-Ups

These associations were first made by the Greeks and based on the seasons, not on attributes of the Zodiac signs.

However, they've become a kind of Muse, in the symbolic language of astrology. When I'm looking at charts or current transits, I find that their associated influence takes the story further, and adds depth or archetypal meaning.

These match ups make sense and are a cosmic archive to draw from when you're interpreting a chart. For example, if someone has a constellation of planets in Pisces, you can look for a Neptune-themed narrative in his or her life story. A strong Aries cluster shows up with Mars-style ways and pursuits.

Once you know astrology, the associations become richer. And these planetary link-ups with traits have long been part of the English language. An erudite writer is mercurial; a cheerful and generous soul is jovial; and a serious, responsible sort is said to be saturnine.

Ancient and Modern?

The pairings were originally made with just the planets in view, with Saturn at the outer edge.

When Uranus, Pluto, and Neptune were discovered, astrologers made changes, with new match-ups, while keeping the established "classical" rulers, as well.

Chiron, a.k.a., the Wounded Healer, is a comet discovered in 1977, that's since been linked to Virgo, a sign of purification and health. Even so, Mercury (its classical ruler) still looms large for Virgo, with this sign's analytical outlook.

A lesser used example is the asteroid Ceres for earth sign Taurus. Ceres is associated with early care and sustenance and the basics like food and clothing.  

Which Planet Rules Your Sun Sign?

The planetary ruler of your Sun sign is important, and its myths and attributes tell you a lot about your own nature. For example, if your Sun is Sagittarius, your Sun's planetary ruler is Jupiter.

You radiate in an expansive, faithful way, just as Jupiter acts as a cosmic guide to life's lucky breaks.

And the House in which your Sun sign falls is the life area in which you expand. The planetary ruler of your Sun's House position is like the host, who directs that Jupiter-ruled quest toward a particular life theme or lesson.

There's a planetary ruler of both the Zodiac signs and the Houses, and this kind of intuitive synthesis is a key to “getting” astrology. Planets in their own signs, like Moon in Cancer, are said to be dignified, and that's a placement of strength.

And yet, that Cancer Moon may sit in the Second House, the natural house of Taurus, ruled by Venus. This tells us that the Cancer Moon will seek to nurture via the senses and knead love into the dough. There's also a strong instinct for creating material stability, as well as emotional.

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Hall, Molly. "Ruling Planets of Zodiac Signs." ThoughtCo, Aug. 8, 2017, thoughtco.com/ruling-planets-of-zodiac-signs-206734. Hall, Molly. (2017, August 8). Ruling Planets of Zodiac Signs. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/ruling-planets-of-zodiac-signs-206734 Hall, Molly. "Ruling Planets of Zodiac Signs." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/ruling-planets-of-zodiac-signs-206734 (accessed November 23, 2017).