Mercury And Venus

The orbits of Mercury and Venus are nearer to the Sun than to the Earth. Consequently, the two planets always appear from Earth to be quite close to the Sun — hence they are known as the Sun's family. When placed in the birth chart, Mercury, Venus, and the Sun form a close cluster, which is known astrologically as a stellium.

Mercury, the planet nearest the Sun, can never be more than 28° from it, and so can only fall in the same sign as the Sun or in one of the signs either side of it. If the Sun sign is Gemini, for example, Mercury will be in one of three places: in Gemini with the Sun, in Taurus, or in Cancer.

Venus's orbit is between the Earth and Mercury, and it cannot be more than 48° from the Sun. In the birth chart, it can only fall in the same sign as the Sun or in one of the two signs on either side of it. If the Sun sign is Aquarius, for example, Venus will be in one of five places: in Aquarius with the Sun; in Sagittarius or Capricorn; or in Pisces or Aries.

Because of the close proximity of Mercury and Venus to the Sun, it is always relevant to relate the influences of these planets to that of the Sun sign.

Nicolaus Copernicus was the first scholar to formulate a heliocentric, or Sun-centred, theory to explain the workings of our solar system.

Nicolaus Copernicus was the first scholar to formulate a heliocentric, or Sun-centred, theory to explain the workings of our solar system.

"Celestial Map of the Planetary Orbits"

from The Celestial Atlas (1661) by Andreas Cellarius. Here, Earth is shown at the centre, encircled by planetary orbits and the band of the zodiac.

SPHERES OF iNFLUENCE

Though the planets of our solar system have been known, astronomically, as superior and inferior planets, astrologically this has nothing to do with the power or nature of their influence. Whatever its position in the solar system, any planet can dominate a birth chart because of its individual relevance in that chart. The influence of the inner planets, however, does often blend with the qualities of the Sun sign.

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