Most people are familiar with the 12 zodiac signs in astrology, as it's typically the signs that we first identify with. While the energy of the zodiac is certainly important, it's actually the planets in astrology that are at its heart and soul. Tracking and interpreting the planets' movement through the zodiac (as well as interpreting the planetary aspects they form with one another on their journeys) is basically the definition of astrology, so understanding their meaning is important. And knowing the ruling planet for your zodiac sign can help you understand your astrological energy — and get to the know the planets — on an even deeper level.
Each of the planets in astrology has their own personality, motive, and job — Venus, for example, shows us the ways in which we love and value things, while Mars shows us how we express aggression and chase our goals. They also symbolize different parts of ourselves. The zodiac signs, on the other hand, function as the energies through which a planet can express itself — sort of like putting filters on a photo. The photo (or the planet's personality) is the same no matter what, but it takes on a different vibe depending on what filter you put on it (or what zodiac sign it's transiting through).
That said, certain planets feel more or less at home in different zodiac signs, depending on the sign, and each of them has what's called a domicile, or a "home" sign where they feel most themselves and get their jobs done with ease. A planet's domicile coincides with the sign of the zodiac that they have rulership over — and every zodiac sign is ruled by a single planet.
If you’ve ever analyzed your astrological birth chart, you know that you also have a zodiac sign for each of the planets — but keep in mind that won’t necessarily match up to the sign that planet naturally rules. For example, your Moon may be in Pisces, but the sign that the Moon naturally rules over is Cancer. If you have any of your birth chart planets in their natural signs of rulership, you can expect to see their influence in your life even more intensely.
Read on to find out which planet rules your zodiac sign and what they’re all about.
Aries: Ruled By Mars
It makes perfect sense that red-hot planet Mars would rule over feisty Aries, the first sign of the zodiac. Mars symbolizes passion, aggression, ambition, and animal instinct, so paired with a cardinal fire sign like Aries, its power becomes basically unstoppable. "Mars brings passion to Aries," astrologer Lisa Stardust tells Bustle. Aries is known for its boundless energy and its zealous leadership skills, so Mars is able to step into its true warrior spirit and charge forward within this sign. If you’re an Aries, you can see Mars’ influence every time you catch yourself getting argumentative or overly-competitive.
Taurus: Ruled By Venus
Venus is the planet of love, but it also rules over things like luxury, pleasure, and value. This makes it feel right at home in the realm of the decadent sign of Taurus. Taurus is an earth sign, meaning its focus is on material things and sensory experiences — and in Taurus, Venus is at its most opulent.
Gemini: Ruled By Mercury
Gemini is chatty, social, and intellectual — just like its ruling planet Mercury, the planet of communication and thinking. In Gemini, Mercury gets to be its most articulate self. Gemini's ever-curious and inquisitive nature jives beautifully with Mercury's knack for sharing information and learning new things. "Mercury allows Gemini to think and analyze matters," Stardust says. As a thought-driven air sign, Gemini is both quick-thinking and quick-witted, which is surely thanks to the influence of its ruling planet.
Cancer: Ruled By The Moon
The Moon is the planet that governs our emotions, our feelings, and the things that make us feel comforted – and the Moon in astrology is associated with water sign Cancer, symbolized by the tide-dwelling crab. Cancer is the most maternal, empathic, and nurturing sign of the zodiac, and it allows the Moon's intuitive nature to fully shine. Because Cancer energy is so gentle and sensitive, the Moon can be vulnerable here — and if you're a Cancer, you have the Moon to thank for keeping you in touch with your emotions (and everyone else's, too).
Leo: Ruled By The Sun
Leos are unofficial zodiac royalty, so of course they're ruled by the planet that's at the center of our solar system: The Sun. Just like its ruling planet, Leo loves to be the center of attention. It brings a Sun-like warmth, positivity, and radiance to everything it touches. The Sun is the planet of creative energy, spirit, and vitality, which of course, Leo has in spades — so if you're a Leo, you have the Sun to thank for your endless supply of confidence.
Virgo: Ruled By Mercury
Mercury has a lot of different jobs in astrology, which is likely why it's one of the planets that rules over two zodiac signs. While Mercury's communication-focused side comes through in Gemini, its analytical inner-thinker comes forward in Virgo. Virgo is a practical earth sign, and its detail-oriented energy appreciates when things are well-organized. As the planet of timing and scheduling, Mercury fits perfectly into this segment of the zodiac. If you’re a Virgo, you can see Mercury’s influence in your ability to keep your inbox relatively spam-free.
Libra: Ruled By Venus
Venus is all about romance and pleasure, so it's no surprise that this decadent planet would have enough love to share with two zodiac signs. In addition to Taurus, Venus also rules over air sign Libra, which is the sign of balance and relationships. Because of the Libra's focus on harmonious partnerships, Venus' dreamy, romantic, love-drunk side gets to come out and play here. And the Venusian influence goes beyond love, too: "Venus brings artistry and creativity to Libra," Stardust says. Libra energy is also known for its aesthetic eye, which makes sense given that Venus is also the planet of beauty.
Scorpio: Ruled By Pluto
Pluto is named after the god of the underworld, and this small-but-mighty planet is in charge of some of the most extreme transformations in our lives — like birth and death, or creation and destruction — as well as anything that's hidden beneath the surface. Similarly, Scorpio energy is naturally preoccupied with the darker, more esoteric aspects of existence. "Pluto allows Scorpio to transform and evolve," Stardust says. Pluto likes to transform through intensity, which likely influences why Scorpio gets a reputation for being the dark horse of the zodiac.
Sagittarius: Ruled By Jupiter
Joyful planet Jupiter is the good luck charm of the zodiac, and it rules over the happy-go-lucky sign of Sagittarius. No wonder Sagittarius energy is known for being so endlessly optimistic and free-spirited. Jupiter is the planet of expansion — it loves to learn, travel, and broaden its horizons — and its hunger for knowledge is written all over Sagittarius' face. "Jupiter expands Sagittarius’s philosophy," Stardust says. Through Sagittarius energy, Jupiter is able to try new things and say yes to new experiences in a way that it can't in any other sign.
Capricorn: Ruled By Saturn
Strict, rule-oriented Saturn rules over the sign of Capricorn — perhaps because Capricorn is the only sign that's disciplined and hardworking enough to satisfy Saturn's need for structure. As the zodiac’s cardinal earth sign, Capricorn is all about being diligent and goal-oriented, so it works in perfect symbiosis with Saturn’s tough-love approach. “Saturn brings structure to Capricorn,” Stardust says. While Saturn’s influence can be restrictive, it teaches Capricorn to not take any shortcuts and put in the work needed to build a truly solid foundation.
Aquarius: Ruled By Uranus
Uranus is the oddball planet of the zodiac — it’s all about sudden changes, bursts of inspiration, and challenging the status quo. So it makes perfect sense that it would rule over airy Aquarius as its home sign. Aquarius energy is nothing short of revolutionary. It shuns the traditional in favor of innovative new ideas, and always has its eye on the collective future. When Uranus is here, it can really think outside the box. If you’re an Aquarius, you can thank Uranus for your rebellious streak.
Pisces: Ruled By Neptune
Neptune is the dreamy planet of illusions and spiritual realms, so ruling over sensitive water sign Pisces feels just right. Pisces is highly emotional, poetic, and perhaps the most spiritually-inclined sign of the zodiac — and it has Neptune to thank for this otherworldly influence. “Neptune inspires Pisces to dream and to be artistic,” Stardust says. The Piscean reputation for living in a dreamy fantasy world connects directly to the illusive veil that Neptune draws over everything it touches.