Many of us wonder when looking in the mirror how come we look the way we do? Why did our genes conjure this mixture instead of a different one? And why is it such a lottery in the first place, where even siblings can look quite different from each other?

From the viewpoint of astrology, the answers to those questions are quite simple indeed, as the way we look is directly connected to the positions of the planets in our birth chart. More precisely, it is the planet ruling the ascendant together with any planet influencing the 1st house which broadly speaking dictate our appearance. While the rest of the astrological chart plays an important role as well, the rulership and influence on the first house can sometimes give enough information about a person to recognise them even without ever seeing their photograph.

So how exactly does each planet influence our appearance?



A good caricature for the sun phenotype would be the lion, which is not surprising given it’s rulership over the sign of Leo. People with the sun connected to their ascendant usually have attractive faces, relatively short height and muscular, mesomorph bodies. They normally have a medium skin tone with a yellowish or reddish tint, which is often freckled. They also often possess amber, auburn or tea colored eyes, and red, brown or brunette hair which is usually curly or wavy. Often their hair is also longer and more accentuated than normal, somewhat reminiscent of a lions mane, with men often having a well groomed beard.



Curves aplenty are one of the main defining characteristics signified by the Moon. People with the Moon connected to their ascendant often have round “baby” faces with full cheeks, medium to slightly taller than usual height, and an endomorphic body type with fluctuating weight similar to the waxing and waning of the Moon itself. Their skin tone is usually very pale but the eyes and hair are darker than average, giving their appearance a snow-white effect. Women with the Moon influencing their appearance are often noted for their pronounced curves and larger than usual breasts. Unfortunately for the men with such a moon influence they too get a curvier and less fit figure with both sexes tending to develop a belly, especially later on in life.



Youthful and childlike is the name of the game with Mercury’s influence on the ascendant, with such people often seen as being funny and even somewhat mischievous. They often have youthful, somewhat elongated faces and are known for their smiles. They are usually of medium-tall height with a rather slender, ectomorphic body type. Their eye, hair and skin tones are usually lighter than average which adds to their youthful appearance.



The exotic beauty, the dark and mysterious stranger and the femme fatale are good stereotypes to describe the influence of Venus on the ascendant. Such people look somewhat similar to the Moon phenotype, but with a more slender, sculpted and mature looking face. They are usually of medium height with an average yet curvier than usual mesomorphic body type, with women often having larger than average breasts. Similar to the moon, their eye, hair and skin tones are somewhat darker than average, which adds to their exotic appearance.



While many might imagine the mars phenotype to be the bodybuilding supersoldier, in reality karate kid would be a much better stereotype. People with a strong Mars influence on their ascendant tend to have a lean face with jutting cheekbones. They also tend to be of a somewhat smaller than average height with a rather lean but very muscular ectomorphic build, with women usually having smaller breasts and wider than average shoulders. Similarly to the sun, their eye, skin and hair often have yellowish or reddish tones.



The champion, the superman, the beauty queen and the porn star are all excellent stereotypes for the influence of Jupiter on the ascendant. Such people tend to have sculpted, symmetrical faces and square jaws. They are usually taller than average with a rather large, endomorphic build which gives them a rather imposing appearance, and they have a stronger tendency towards obesity than the rest of the planetary influences. Men with Jupiter influencing their ascendant tend to have large, well defined muscles while women with such influence tend to have extremely curvy bodies with larger than average breasts. Their eye, hair and skin tones tend to be lighter than average, often with the skin having a pinkish or golden hue.



Two rather surprising stereotypes one can assign to the saturnine appearance are the fashion model and the marathon runner. People with Saturn influence on their ascendant tend to have an elongated, thin face with somewhat sunken cheeks and thick eyebrows. They also tend to be rather tall with a thin, slender ectomorphic build, with women often having smaller breasts. Their eye, hair and skin tones tend to be darker than average with the hair often being long and straight but rather thin, with man often having beards.



Unusual, otherworldly, freakish and alien are all words that come to mind when discussing the most unique of the planetary influences. People with Rahu influence on their ascendant tend to have elongated, asymmetrical faces with exaggerated or unusual features such as large eyes and jaws, long noses, piercings, tattoos etc. They are usually taller than average, sometimes as the result of gigantism, Marfan syndrome or other genetic disorders, with a thin, ectomorphic build similar to that of Saturn. When it comes to eye, hair and skin color the sky is the limit with both naturally occurring abnormalities and induced ones such as dyed hair, colored contact lenses, plastic surgery etc.



Just like with Rahu, the influence of Ketu tends to produce some of the most unique and hard to define appearances. The most noticeable characteristics of Ketu’s influence on the ascendant include a rather wrinkled or scarred face with large bedroom eyes. They tends to be quite short with a lean but muscular body type that is very similar to the Mars Phenotype.  They tend to have short, thin and rather sparse hair that often look somewhat burned, and darker than average eye, hair and skin tones.



The characteristics outlined above for each planet should be considered as guidelines only, as the appearance of a person is usually influenced by more than one planet. And while some of the traits described are normally viewed as gender or race specific, the astrology behind them is not even limited to our own species and even when the genetics doesn’t support a certain trait it should not be viewed as irrelevant, especially with today’s technology.

In addition, the 9 phenotypes described above are there for a reason, and the examples above of the variety they induce clearly show that regardless of fashion or cultural norms they can all shine in their own right. Hopefully this will serve as a reminder that whatever you see when you look in the mirror it is still part of the grand design, even if it’s not the part that you wanted.

Back to ‘The Planets’