I have a bit of an obsession with symbolism. Symbolism in everything: the words an authors chooses, abstraction in art, choices in marketing, the way someone portrays themselves to the world, consciously and subconsciously.
I especially love symbols though - symbolism with symbols. Anyone who has taken a swim with me at the river would know this, for they would have had a nice view of the symbols I have added permanently to my skin.
This total intrigue with symbols is one of the reasons I love reading charts; it’s like a puzzle of symbols to find harmony amongst, revealing deep inner workings of the psyche.
Since my most recent tattoo, an image that begins with the symbol of Venus, the literal and dominant understanding of symbols has come up almost every time I have shown it off. “Oh, that’s the symbol of the female.” Yes, true, it is used for that often, and that is how most people know it.
Venus has a stereotype, a very broad and superficial stereotype of symbolizing the feminine, and it makes sense how this came about. Venus is about beauty - harmonizing, softening, opening, luxuriating, enhancing, flirting pleasure, basking in admiration. And these ideas are qualities commonly associated with the yin, the feminine energy. The roman goddess of beauty was named Venus, and it is said she was female.
I could be over analyzing this, but are humans obsessed with viginas and penis’ or what? What if we identified people with energies of feminine and masculine rather than a physical attribute giving one their gender association? And this energy would change as much as we wanted…
Ok, ok that last spat was a bit of a personal digression. What I am trying to get at is to me, these feminine qualities are attributes of spirit. And that is they symbol of Venus, the circle which represents pure spirit, over the cross which represents matter. Venus is just the quality of putting spirit before all else.
And now the real focus of this post…I thought it would be fun to go through all of the planets symbols and how they came about, what is means, how it brings enlightening to their nature.
First we must look at the main symbols/shapes before we can combine them into the planetary symbols.
The circle represnts a perfect shape, a never ending shape, unlimited, un-ending potential, basically the spirit, but the spirit which is connected to all, that travels life among life, the idea beyond the veil of ideas.
The crescent is half the symbol of spirit, and it represents the soul. The soul which does have a beginning and ending in this lifetime, a chosen focus to express itself. It can be reaching upwards toward the heavens, spirit, extrovert world, downwards into the deep unknown of the inner self, backwards toward the past / focus of primary self issues, or forward to the future and humanity as a whole.
The horizontal line represents the body. I honestly haven’t found a legit source for this. Maybe it’s the body because of the physical limitations to inhabits one realm, one physical plane.
A vertical line represents the mind. Again, not confident enough to say where the hell this came from. Maybe its that the mind can penetrate many physical planes?
The two lines combined creates the cross, which presents physical matter. I particularly like how it divides space as well, which can be easily viewed as cardinal directions.
East: spring, physical, actions, ego, expansive
South: Winter, mental, awareness, understanding, inward, hibernation
West: Earth, emotional, relationships, empowerment,
North: Summer, spiritual, dignity, values, connection, fruition
I will stop there because I could really go on….and on.
So lets combine!
The Sun: Circle with a dot in the center = the limitless potential brought to a definite focus, or with a spark of conscience.
The Moon: The crescent shape, most commonly reflected backward because it is our past experience that develop the soul. The reflected shape of the crescent is also symbolic of reflecting parts of our spirit into the world.
Mercury: The crescent shape reflecting upward, on top of the circle, which is all above the cross. Contains all the symbols, showing the integration of physical, mental (soul) and spiritual. Mercury is receptive because of its exaltation of spirit over matter, and the souls discriminating and accepting and reflecting values above all; discerning and sharing all in the spirit and material world.
Venus: Circle over cross, Spirit over matter. This can also be viewed as Spirit held up by matter, meaning an understanding of the material world, through which you chose to view all in a spiritual way, or the spirit is the lens through which one views the world.
Mars: The Old symbol for mars was actually the cross on top of the circle. Meaning material/ physical value over spiritual value. This is also where the desire to meet ones personal needs are above the greater whole. Not in a bad way, just in a basic needs type of way, or egotistical type of way…
Jupiter: The crescent opening at the east, coming before the cross. This is the soul’s yearning taking precedents over material matters. With the crescent opening to the east, a receptivity of past experiences and basic needs being brought into the physical world. A need to meet soul desire more necessary then definite physical need.
Saturn: The cross of matter over the crescent, which opens south. This shows a need to meet tangible goals in the realm of soul purpose, or emotional security. Also, Saturn is easily affected by past experiences, which is taken easily into subconscious behaviors or encoded (programmed) model of being.
Uranus: The cross above the circle, and sandwiched between two vertical lines (lines of the mind, which one is east, self and basic need concerned, and one is west, relationships and connecting with others) Some say the line two vertical lines represent the columns of good and evil. This symbols basically shows spirit represented in the material world through a very mental point of view.
Neptune: The cross with an upward (north) opening crescent placed in the top part of the cross (the northern hemisphere of the cross) This represents the souls desires being corned with spirit affairs yet caught on the material plane, and more specifically the realm of the plane concerned with fruition, which is quite the challenge for a soul only concern with ideas in the intangible realm of spirit.
For each symbol there many other meanings you could pull. Use your imagination.
Maybe now we could have a discussion of why I must label or “genderize” or energize spirit and matter the way I do? Also a sterotype or bias?
I don't have sources for the info above, because it is my own ideas and takes on the material I have read until now. I will say if you are interested I can provide recommendations or tell you to start reading old alchemy books.