by Robert Wilkinson
Our planets show the people in our life. Each of the planets in our chart represents an important person in our life. Actually, they represent many people in our life, past, present and future. For example, when we were young our Sun sign was represented by our father and our Moon sign our mother. Our brothers and sisters were represented by other planets, maybe even an entire configuration in our chart. In this case, it may be that a sibling set off multiple responses in our life and character development, and helped us reveal how various parts of our inner nature are connected.
The way it works is simple. If each of the planets represents part of our inner makeup, it is useful to remember that we usually shape our character by our interactions with the outer world. This involves relationships. As we get older, the planets no longer are exclusively represented by our family, and increasingly reflect our friends. That's why some people disappear in our lives. They served to represent a planet in the "solar system" of our life up to a point, and then it was time for us to learn something new about that planetary function.
For whatever reason, or for no reason, the person representing that old function no longer represented that inner or outer quality, and so the magnetic attraction that held us together no longer had resonance, and the bond was severed. (As an aside, "severing" is a quality of Mars.) Then, depending on who we were and what we needed to learn and manifest, another person embodying that energy showed up, and we did what we did with them for as long as they represented that quality.
And we were also a planet in their life, whether we knew it or not. It often is not the same planet, since each learns different lessons depending on the season of life we're in. We become different planets to many people, often at the level of understanding they're at. If we are important to them, we often assume the role of an important planet, whichever that one is to the individual chart in question. Those doing transformational work often act as Uranus, Neptune, or Pluto to others.
Of course, since these are invisible factors beyond individual control, it may show through one of the visible planets, or obvious character traits. For example, though my function as an astrologer is often Uranian (renovating, revolutionizing, individuating), I am often regarded as more of a Saturn influence, since I describe the boundaries of the known and the unknown, and show people the limit where their human-ness meets their Divine Spirit. This "ring-pass-not" function is most often associated with Saturn.
In our life, Jupiter is represented by people who opened our imagination, or gave us a long journey, or showed us how to be more generous or humorous in our life. When we were younger, our Saturn was no doubt represented by the elders who taught us to be afraid, or that we were bound by some inflexible rule or expectation, whether personal or societal. As we get older, Saturn can be our boss, or any authority figure who shows us limits, duties, and responsibilities. Mars may have shown as the endless succession of people who aggravated us, irritated us, our created a need to fight or flee from hassles, or taught us to be good warriors or just simply mobilize our energies in a focused and determined way.
By exploring how we came to manifest certain character traits we show our world, we can see how certain people gave us patterns to imitate or follow into that character trait. Then we can see by when those traits ended and were replaced by new ones how certain planets were embodied by the people in our life, and don't have to feel badly that someone left for no apparent reason.
We learn what we learn by our interactions with the world. Once we learn our lesson on any level, then we move to a new way of framing that lesson, ultimately so that we can serve ourselves and our world from a place of conscious wisdom and compassion. It's not that we don't regret the passing of certain people; it's just that the passages can show us our larger path revealing our dharma, or "true function" on this Earth. So next time you wonder why someone is in your life, remember that it may be to learn to say yes, say no, say maybe, perhaps glimpse a greater reality, or dance a more enjoyable dance on this beautiful Earth. And in any case, no matter how close or distant, appreciate who brought you to the dance, since God loves gratitude.
(Originally published 11 May 2005)