The planets are symbolic expressions of functional principles found at all levels of existence. They refer to nothing in particular, but to functions found in every organic unit.
    Dane Rudhyar

The planets in astrology correspond with biological, emotional, psychological and social functions. The planets don’t make things happen or cause people to be a certain way, they are symbols for the many factors which comprise the person as a whole.

There is no such thing as “bad” or “negative” planetary energies or attributes. We, as human beings, may abuse or misuse a planet’s function, producing unpleasant or negative results. But a planet’s functions and energies do not possess inherently negative qualities.

The cyclic motion of the planets of our solar system provides the fundamental variables of astrology. The planets are the basic meaning centers of an astrological chart, symbolizing organic functions found in all forms of life. Like the organs and glands of your body, they each play an essential role in regulating natural processes, and their activities must be well-coordinated and balanced to sustain health and wholeness. Everything is needed and proper in its place, in harmony with the whole system. Inhibit or exaggerate the action of any vital organ or gland and illness results. Similarly with astrological planets, each is interconnected with all the other planets, and each has its unique and essential place and function in the whole. Saturn (the “great malefic” of traditional astrology) is as “good” and necessary as Jupiter (classical astrology’s “great benefic”), trouble rises only when a planet’s symbolic function is inhibited, repressed, misdirected or acts against the well-being of the whole.
      In the symbolic language of astrology, the planets are not regarded as causal or controlling agencies, the planets don’t “make things happen.” In other words, although the human heart is said to be the biological analogue of the Sun in astrology, the Sun doesn’t make the heart beat, no more than the clock on my wall causes me to feel hungry when it indicates dinner time. The symbolic correspondence between the human heart and the Sun is holistic and symbolic rather than causal, the heart serves a function in our biology similar to the Sun’s in the solar system.
      We live in a quantum universe which works much differently than the classical, force-against-force worldview of nineteenth-century science. It is a universe in which resonance, and what the eminent physicist David Bohm calls the implicate order, holds things together and allow all parts of a whole to communicate and inform one another and the whole. From this point of view, the astrological planets may be imagined as radiant, gong-like centers of power. The tone of each planetary gong operates at a certain level or octave. A gong sounds a unitary tone comprised of a multiplicity of notes. Each of the astrological planets sounds forth a single, fundamental tone or quality comprising a multiplicity of attributes and functions. In their togetherness, the astrological planets form a celestial orchestra, the tone of each interacting with the others.
      According to the holistic, humanistic approach upon which this work is founded, there is no such thing as good or bad planets, signs or aspects. Everything is appropriate and needed in its place. Since the 1960s, the basic outlook and philosophy of humanistic astrology has filtered down to the popular level and has influenced astrological literature in general. While Mars, and especially Saturn, are still often assigned very negative attributes in contemporary astrological literature, it is no longer vogue to regard them as “malefic”—as the “bad guys” in a horoscope. Astrological books today usually provide extensive tabulations and descriptions of the planets “negative” attributes. Some attempt a more sophisticated approach, identifying the planets as “gods” and tabulating the planet’s attributes when “dishonored.” Either way, the implicit message is that the astrological planets, signs, houses and aspects possess inherently positive and negative attributes and qualities.
      We go a large step beyond the traditional attitude holding that the astrological planets carry positive and negative qualities. The functions symbolized by the planets in astrology, and similarly the qualities of human energies symbolized by the signs of the zodiac, simply are. There simply is no such thing as negative Saturn energies or negative Scorpio energies. Mars does not have an inherently “bad” or negative side, nor does any other planet. We may misuse the Mars function or Scorpionic energies, producing undesirable, harmful and generally negative results, but the functions and energies are not inherently negative in themselves. The functions of any astrological planet may be abused, misdirected, inhibited or repressed in a myriad of ways; yet there seems to be but a few modes of behavior and reactions to situations typical of the blockages and misdirections of a particular planet’s symbolic functions.

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