“Men are from Mars. Women are from Venus.” Maybe not!
I’ve always had a problem with that phrase, though I never knew why. Thinking back now, it’s probably because I never felt like I was a fit for either of those planets: more upfront and sarcastic than the genteel, seductive Venus but more thoughtful and introspective than the aggressive, loud Mars. So, if I didn’t belong on either Mars or Venus, which planet could I claim as my own?
As I became OBSESSED (as we INTPs tend to get) with personality typology, I began to focus more and more on the subtleties of the eight cognitive functions. (For information on the history of the cognitive functions, and what they entail, Google it. That goes beyond the scope of this post. I highly recommend personalityjunkie.com, the site that got me hooked on this stuff, or other great overviews here on thoughtcatalog.com.)
One night, a couple days after my dad had uttered that same blasted expression, I thought, “Eight planets. Eight cognitive functions. Coincidence? Hm….” So I set out to attempt and tie each of the eight cognitive functions to each of the eight planets of our solar system. (Sorry, Pluto, you don’t count anymore.) Finally, I could claim the proper planet as my own.
The table above summarises my analysis, and though imperfect, I’ve settled on these connections. Some are quite appropriate, while others appear off or misplaced. Therefore, I will provide a short rationale for each of my selections. I shall start with the functions I attributed most easily and work my way down, since I ended up in a process of elimination for the most difficult placements.
This was the easiest function for me to place. Mercury (Hermes in Greek) is the god of communication and travellers. With his winged feet, he carries the messages of the gods. Extroverted intuition, or Ne, is all about exploring vast possibilities and novel ideas, and it seems like a perfect companion to the quick-paced, excitable and scattered Mercury.
Terra (or Gaia), the earth mother. What function could more accurately fit our home planet than extroverted feeling? Fe is always concerned with the well-being of others, from physical needs such as food to emotional needs such as love and belonging. The connection here seems obvious.
Jupiter (Zeus), the king of the gods. As leader of the immortal realm, Jupiter must remain objective but tough, the two main features of extroverted thinking. Te is often referred to as the executive function, since it plans and organises using a logical, cohesive system. No other function pairs as neatly with the role of Jupiter, our largest planet.
Neptune (Poseidon), the god of the sea, was a wrathful god (see Homer’s Odyssey). Yet, the sea, though often foaming, usually conveys a peaceful, serene atmosphere. It also possesses an almost omniscient quality as a mighty and all-knowing entity. Introverted intuition, Ni, perfectly captures this convergence of silence and wisdom into one cognitive function.
Uranus (same name in Greek), the detached sky, notwithstanding the gory myth associated with the mythological figure, merits an introverted function. As the first, albeit controlling, father of the universe, he established the traditions and set a precedent of royal overthrow subsequently enacted by his children and grandchildren. This emphasis on tradition and precedent pairs nicely with introverted sensing, Si, the cognitive function primarily concerned with preserving institutions and the status quo in society.
Saturn (Kronos in Greek) was the son who overthrew his father, Uranus. Together with his mother, Gaia, he concocted his plan and overtook his father as ruler of the immortals. With tremendous organisation and an incomparable sneakiness, Saturn showcased, albeit not in the best light, the logical precision of introverted thinking, or Ti.
It is ironic that the most difficult planets to assign a cognitive function for me were the infamous Mars and Venus. Mars (Ares), the god of war, shines red in the night sky. And, though often paired with aggression and fighting, he hides an underlying restlessness and an itch to act beneath these associations. Therefore, it makes sense that Mars should receive the most excitable and physically energetic of the cognitive functions, Se, or extroverted sensing.
Alas, poor Venus (Aphrodite), last but certainly never least. Often portrayed as a lustful and vengeful goddess in Greek mythology, the Roman counterpart is a softer, more maternal goddess. In addition, Venus in the night sky is an individual and incomparable beauty; no other celestial object (except, perhaps, the moon) rivals her. She possesses a serenity and quiet confidence, often reflected in the stalwart individuality of the introverted feeling function, Fi.
Now that we’ve allocated a function to each planet, find your planet, and claim it as your own! Break from the Venus-Mars dichotomy!
In the table above, I’ve given each planet the two Myers-Briggs types that hold that function in the dominant position. So, for example, as an INTP who has Ti as his dominant function, I hail from Saturn. My mother (ESFJ, Fe-dominant) belongs to Earth, while my father (ISTJ, Si-dominant) belongs to Uranus. Meanwhile, my brothers (ESTJ and ESFP) can claim Jupiter and Mars as their own.
Have fun with it! You can go by your dominant or auxiliary function, whichever appears more right to you, or perhaps the function pair for which you have a stronger affinity (see table).
As for me, I’ll be relaxing in my Snuggie with a mug of hot chocolate on the icy rings of Saturn (which, let’s face it, has always been the coolest planet).