Uranus sits precisely on the border between the visible and invisible.
If your eyesight is excellent, conditions are perfect, and you know exactly where to look, Uranus is visible to the naked eye. He’s the same brightness as the dimmest of the visible planets.
However, since his 84-year orbit is so slow, Uranus’ movement is nearly impossible to detect without the aid of a telescope.
English astronomer William Herschel spotted Uranus in 1781. Herschel originally wanted to name it George, after the reigning king. It took a few years to find an internationally acceptable compromise: the new planet was named for Saturn’s father, the sky god Uranus.
After that, nearly 100 years passed before astrological symbolism for Uranus regularly appeared in astrological publications. And then for another century astrologers debated whether its meaning should be taken from its discovery chart, or from how it could fit into the Zodiacal pattern, or from event charts when Uranus is in a key location.
The Meaning of Uranus in Astrology
Modern astrologers associate Uranus with the liberation of all forms – from extreme detachment to individuation. He’s the impulse to shed our skin so we become more.
Along the same lines, Uranus incites revolution. Where he is, we seek to awaken, to overthrow, to shock, or to rebel.
At his best, Uranus brings genius, innovation, iconoclasm, even eccentricity.
At his worst and least skilled, Uranian energies become extremist, reactive, erratic, chaotic, wantonly destructive, and traumatizing.
Uranus in a Horoscope Chart
Uranus’ motto might be “don’t fence me in.” In an astrological chart, a prominent Uranus brings up themes such as:
- Breaking the rules, challenging authority
- Freedom, individuality, originality, independence
- The unexpected, spontaneous, unusual, shocking
- Invention, innovation, inspiration, genius, flashes of illumination
- Disruption, rebellious, unstable, impulsive, deviance
Uranus, of course, refuses to be defined by stereotypes. So consider what other keywords might fit the Uranian vibe. And then prepare to have him defy those too.
The Astrology Glyph for Uranus
The glyph for Uranus is a circle with a line extending upward, crossed by the letter “H” for Herschel, the astronomer who discovered the planet.