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In this article, we’ll be discussing the outer planets and their influence over our birth charts: these include Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto (which was demoted to dwarf planet status recently, but this doesn’t affect its influence in the skies).
Unlike the inner planets, the outer planets can spend quite some time in a zodiac sign before moving on – for instance, Jupiter usually spends about 12 to 13 months in each sign, whereas Pluto stays an average of 21 years in one sign. Hence, their influence can extend up to an entire generation of people, determining the blessings, challenges, and required actions to take for large sectors of the world population at a time.
Let’s get started!
Jupiter is the largest planet in our solar system, and is known as the Great Benefic – meaning that the energies of this planet are traditionally associated with joy, blessing, and all the good things in life.
As such, Jupiter is associated with abundance and expansion. Its appearance in your birth chart highlights the area of your life where you have the most potential to expand and progress. For instance, a person with Jupiter in their third house (the house of self-expressions and interpersonal contact) will find great potential and many opportunities to expand their careers and life paths through communication and community.
Fun fact: people ruled by the planet Jupiter (either Sagittarius Sun or Rising) tend to be lucky, especially when exploring new ventures or taking risks. Similarly, people with a strong Jupiter influence in their birth charts tend to love travel, learning, adventure, and philanthropy. They also need to watch out for weight gain in the later part of life: as my jeans would testify, Jupiter expands everything it touches (ack)!
Saturn is the complete opposite of Jupiter! Just as Jupiter is the Great Benefic in medieval astrology, Saturn is the Great Malefic. Its energies are associated with contraction (as opposed to Jupiter’s expansion), limitation (as opposed to exploration), and karma (as opposed to luck). Traditional depictions of the god Saturn included him holding a scythe, which is a powerful symbol of time (i.e. seasons of growth/harvest), karma (i.e. you reap what you sow), and – of course – death (i.e. the end of cycles).
Saturn’s position in your birth chart indicates where in your life you will meet the greatest adversities, which you are meant to overcome in order to learn and grow. It also indicates the areas of responsibility, self-discipline, and maturity that you’ll be focusing on in this lifetime. Whichever sign your Saturn is in represents the ways and manner in which you will overcome your challenges. For instance, a person with Saturn in Virgo will be careful and detail-oriented in surmounting obstacles.
And of course, there’s the Saturn Return. Also known as the Lord of Karma. Saturn takes about 28 to 30 years to make one full cycle through the zodiac. When Saturn reaches the same position where it was when you were born, that’s your Saturn Return, which is a kind of karmic reckoning for all you’ve done (or not done) in your life thus far.
Most people will experience their Saturn Return about three times in their lives. During this time, which can last anywhere from one day to a couple of years, people undergoing their Saturn Return will notice that karma bites them hard and fast. They then have the choice to get back on the right track, or continue in their foolishness and poor decisions. Should they refuse to learn their lessons during their Saturn Return, the following Saturn Return will re-impose the same old lessons on top of the new ones for the current cycle!
Uranus was discovered in 1781 and, since then, has been associated with innovation, transformation, and originality. As such, Uranus represents the ways in which you seek freedom and autonomy, as well as aspire to make this world a better place.
Uranus is quite the maverick planet, and its energies tend towards Shock & Awe!!!, rather than anything slow and gentle. It’s a mover and a shaker – Uranus can attribute elements of possible instability where it is strongly positioned. To me, Uranian energies feel like a constant caffeine high: a nice buzz that sometimes leads to shaky hands, restlessness, and that feeling of being on a non-stop roller-coaster.
Uranus in the eighth house and/or in Scorpio usually imbues in the individual a deep fascination with esoteric spirituality, the occult, and anything to do with the paranormal. These people lead eventful lives. Their mindsets and boundaries of knowledge are constantly being tested, and replaced, by exciting new paradigms. Many astrology fans I know (myself included) have this Uranian placement in their birth charts.
Neptune is associated with our imagination, emotions, and ideals. This dreamy planet tends to stay in one zodiac sign for an average of 14 years. Its energies inspire us to pursue our hopes and manifest the true depth of potential in our souls. This planet is concerned mainly with getting us to see past materialistic concerns, to understand life from a higher perspective, and to manifest our spiritual destinies in the physical realm.
Because of its illusory and elusive qualities, Neptune’s influence can be vague and ambiguous. I’ve seen Neptune enhance the personal charisma of one individual, yet turn another into a flaky drama queen. It’s safe to say that Neptune works in a way by bringing our fantasies out in the open, be they noble ideals or hopeless delusions. Ironically, by highlighting our innermost hopes and dreams, Neptune can show us the truth of who we really are, but don’t dare to face in ourselves.
Ah, the (dwarf) planet of soul transformation, death, and rebirth! Like the zodiac sign it rules, Scorpio, Pluto is a largely misunderstood planet. Known as the Lord of the Underworld, Pluto’s energies relate to major crossroads in our lives where we could face crash-and-burn experiences which motivate us to change, evolve, and grow – often in completely new, different, and unexpected ways.
Change and transformation – isn’t that Uranus? You might wonder. The difference between Uranus and Pluto is that Uranus rocks the boat, but Pluto sinks it to build a new, better one. Pluto’s energies are much slower, and affect us at a far deeper level than Uranus (not that Uranus is weak or superficial, just different).
An example of a Uranian crisis would be an unexpected stock market correction that sends prices haywire – with Uranus currently in Taurus, this is actually very likely to happen over the next seven years! On the other hand, a Plutonian crisis could come in the form of a marital breakdown and divorce – the kind of situation where those involved could see the signs for years that their marriage was ending, but could not do much about the seemingly inevitable end.
Where Pluto is situated in your chart could indicate where you may experience a major turning point, death, and rebirth. Nothing to fear – just keep your eyes open to wisdom, and your heart open to change. You’ll be just fine.
In the next article, I’ll be talking about the twelve houses in your birth chart. Stay tuned!