The planets can be divided into three groups, according to their distance from the Sun and the length of their planetary cycles (the time that it takes for each planet to complete one revolution around the zodiac, as seen from Earth).
Knowledge of what each planetary cycle represents will help you attune to your own growth cycles and the meaning behind some of your critical life events.
The three groups of planets are: the Personal planets; the Social planets; and the Transpersonal planets.
The Personal Planets
The Personal planets are the planets that are closest to Earth, and tend to play a more tangible role in your everyday affairs. They relate to issues that are largely subjective and within your personal sphere of experience – such as your vitality, how you feel, how you communicate, and how you relate.
Since they are closer to the Sun, they have smaller orbits and take less time to finish one complete revolution around the zodiac. Their cycles tend to symbolize milestones of development that occur more often snd regularly.
The Personal planets are the Sun, the Moon, Mercury, Venus, snd Mars.
Some of the most notable planetary cycles of the Personal planets are listed below.
The 29-day Lunation cycle delineates the path of the Moon, in relation to both the Earth and the Sun. It is in this cycle that we observe both the New and the Full Moons.
Your annual birthday is marked by the time it takes for the Sun to complete one revolution around the zodiac and return to the exact position it occupied in the heavens on the day of your birth. In Astro-speak, we call this your “solar return”. Study of your solar-return chart clues you in to salient themes and lessons for the upcoming year.
Another notable cycle is the first “Mars return”, which occurs at roughly the age of two when Mars returns to the degree and sign it occupied on the day you were born. True to form, this is often a time of increased awareness of your personal autonomy and power, and is most commonly referred to as the “terrible two’s”.
The Social Planets
The Social Planets are Jupiter and Saturn. These two planets can be considered a dyad, with planetary cycles that relate to major milestones of development within both the personal and collective spheres.
Jupiter represents our tendency to expand, enlarge our borders, explore new territories, and integrate knowledge in order to understand our world. It takes roughly 12 years for Jupiter to finish one complete revolution around the zodiac. Your Jupiter return marks the beginning of a new 12-year cycle of expansion, growth, and higher learning.
Saturn represents our drive to contract, build structures, establish systems, and enforce law. It takes roughly 29 years for Saturn to complete one revolution around the zodiac. Your Saturn Return, which occurs for everyone every 29 years, marks both the completion of a major period of maturation, and the beginning of a new one. Generally, the first Saturn return at the age of 29 brings a significant restructuring of a person’s life, such as marriage, divorce, parenting, or career changes. The same can be said of the second Saturn return, which occurs around the age of 58.
The Transpersonal Planets
The transpersonal planets are the planets that lie outside of the orbit of Saturn, which is the last planet that can be seen with the naked eye. The transpersonal planets are Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. With the exception of Uranus, the time that it takes for each of these planets to complete one revolution around the zodiac is so long, that no one person will ever see it in their lifetime.
The cycle times for Uranus, Neptune snd Pluto are 84 years, 165 years, and 248 years respectively.
We all experience major turning points or “awakenings” at the quarter points and/or the half-points of these cycles. Astrologically, the “mid-life” crisis occurs for everyone between the ages of 36 and 42, when: Pluto and Neptune reach their quarter-cycles, and Uranus reaches its half-cycle.
Though the lessons and influence of each of the transpersonal planets is deeply personal, their energies play a huge part in shaping whole generations. For example, all of the “baby-boomers”, born between 1946 – 1958, were born when Pluto was in the sign of Leo; while the majority of the “Millennials”, born between 1984 and 1995, were born when Pluto was in the sign of Scorpio.