The Basics of Transits
Jung said, Whatever is born or done at this moment of time, has the qualities of this moment of time.
From the transits we create not only birth charts, but Horary astrology, Electional astrology, Mundane astrology and Solar Returns rely on them. To utilize progressions one must understand transits. They are one of the most important concepts to grasp. For the most part when someone says they are studying Transits, they mean they are learning how the movements of the planets correlate with current human events. No two moments in time will ever be identical as all the planetary bodies move at different rates.
It must be understood that the Earth rotates on its axis and we see the movements of the celestial bodies from our geocentric perspective. So, from our viewpoint, the Sun apparently transits all twelve signs in the course of a year, (though we know the Sun is actually stationary for all practical purposes) and the Moon appears to transit all twelve parts of the zodiac monthly (even though the Moon is orbiting the Earth). We use the term transits for all movements, apparent and real, and will not differentiate though this should be kept in mind.
All of the planets have different cycles to complete their revolution of the Sun. However, since the Earth is also in motion, at times planets will appear to stand still in their cycle, and then move backwards, called retrograde. The easiest analogy would be two trains side by side moving along the track, and one speeds up. Someone on the slower train would feel they were at a standstill, and only the other train was moving. If then, the slower train sped up and overtook train #2, it would appear that #2 stopped and was moving backwards. What you need to understand is that no planet ever stops and goes backwards in reality, and that retrogradation is only a manifestation of differing speeds and relative positions. The Sun and Moon are never retrograde.
The cycles of the Sun, Moon, and the inner planets, Mercury, Venus, and Mars are linked to fleeting, emotional, inner changes and fluctuations. Unless the planets turn retrograde and station at a degree that is important in an individual chart they are unlikely to produce any lasting observable effects, although their transits may mark off a trigger for a more important transit of a heavier planet or a progressed aspect.
The transits of the outer planets are slower and interpreted more often along the lines of long term trends and conditions.
As you reflect on this, you may want to compare the birth chart to a clock face with planets inserted, and the hour hand as the progressed aspects, but consider the minute and second hands as the transits of the slower moving and quick inner planets. respectively. Although this comparison leaves much to be desired it promotes the picture of the interrelatedness of transits to the progressed and natal charts.
CYCLES OF THE PLANETS
As said above, the Sun moves through all twelve signs in one year. Thus it is in one sign for about one month. We celebrate the return of the Sun to its natal place with a birthday party usually. Meanwhile the Moon moves through all twelve signs in the space of a month, or about 28 days, remaining in each sign for approximately 2.5 days.
Mercury takes 88 days to orbit the Sun, but since the earth is rotating and moving also, it takes approximately a year for Mercury to transit all the signs as seen from earth. Venus is never more than 48 from the Sun, and its cycle is also close to a year even though its orbit around the Sun is shorter. Therefore, Mercury and Venus will return to their natal placement about once a year.
Mars takes almost two years to travel through the zodiac as seen from earth, so it is only going to be conjunct its position in your birth chart once every two years.
Jupiters cycle is approximately 12 years. Therefore it will remain in one sign for about a year at a time. You must wait twelve years for a Jupiter return to its natal place.
Saturns cycles are often noteworthy as they span almost 30 years, and every 7.5 years Saturn will aspect its natal placement. Saturn will remain in one sign for about 2.5 years. The Saturn return to its birth position, near age 30, is interpreted as a fulfillment of both the natal potential and the beginning of a new cycle of accomplishment.
Uranus parallels the average lifespan by covering all the signs in about 84 years. It will remain in each sign for nearly 7 years. Thus the old adages about the 7 year itch and 7 years of good or bad luck. The mid life crisis is often noted at the time Uranus opposes its natal place.
Neptune rarely even finishes transiting half the signs during the average lifetime as its period of orbit is almost 165 years. Its average occupancy of a specific sign is 13.74 years. Pluto has an erratic orbit and a 248 year cycle. Pluto spent 20 years in Leo, but not quite 12 years in Scorpio.
The Moons Nodes, although not an actual body, also may be considered a point that transits a chart. They are the points on the ecliptic the Moon crosses during its orbit. They have almost a 19 year cycle.
Read more about Cycles Of The Planets
TRANSITS AND PROGRESSIONS
As we grow older the gap between the natal planets and the progressed planets growsthus, the older we get, the longer we experience ALL of our transits. The influence of a transit begins when it touches the planetary point of the natal planet and remains until it touches the degree of the progressed planet. Therefore, the older we get, the longer an influence is experienced.
Thus time seems to pass so much slower for a child than an adultyet, conversely things happen faster for a child than an adult. The child FEELS time is everlasting, because they are so immersed in their first experience of any given situation.
Look at each planetary transit as a chance for us to experience fully the dynamics of its energy as it travels through every house and as it makes every possible zodiacal contact with a natal planet we can ponder all the ramifications of that energy. When a planet returns we have already encountered this body in every possible way.
The swift planets fascinate us as children; the Shakespearian ages of man come to mind as personified by the the Lunar moods (the babe in arms), Mercurial curiosity (the schoolboy), the innocence of Venusian social contacts (the lover).
As we encounter these over and over again, we become automatic in our responses, can pay attention to other matters, and then the slower planets grab our attention and we feel the long range patterns of our lives through Mars, then Jupiter, then Saturn, until finally Uranus comes full force into our consciousness, along with the other planets of the Universal Mind, Neptune and Pluto .
Now that you have a feel for the cycles of the planets you may want to note that each time a planet or body returns to its natal place it is considered a Return. Naturally, Pluto and Neptune will never produce a return in a human birth chart.
If you regard transits as what is happening now, and watch a planet as it moves through the backdrop of a natal chart, you will see there are times this planet makes an aspect with the natal position. Thus, during the course of a year, the transiting Sun will first make a sextile to its natal placement about two months after the birth date, then a square a month later, then a trine the next month, a quincunx, then an opposition six months after the birth date, another quincunx, another trine, square, and sextile.
Although the transit of the Sun is not considered important (See Note 1) it demonstrates the manner by which to look at all the transits. The path of transiting Saturn through the birth chart is the most often noted return. However, the Mars and Jupiter returns are also significant.
During a planets travels between the natal place and its first square to that point, it is called the opening square, and it can be considered a time when the energy germinated at its rebirth (or return) is first seen in the way of results.
Next important point is the opposition which is a focus of culmination in the activity of the planet and a time when other people, through their relationships with you, will reflect how well you are doing with what has been started.
The closing square, the square between opposition and the next return can be considered another point at which constructive action can be taken to offset any problems from the beginning point.
Again, the natal potential is brought to our attention and we can judge how well we are dealing with these forces. At the return to the natal position one examines the entire cycle of events and if dissatisfied begins again, perhaps on a different tack.
Most important to note would be the cycles of the ascendant ruler and the Sun sign ruler.
The Solar return, the Birth Day, marks the beginning of a new cycle of motivation and the Mercury return a new cycle of thought and communication.
Overall, every return is the beginning of a new cycle, and I like the thought of watching the Venus return, especially for a Venus ruled person, or Venus ruled Sun. Here is a time when a new cycle of relationships or money can begin. (See Note 2).
The Mars return, every 2 yrs, is a good time to begin again a phase of industry, energy and initiative. Every return is a time of examination of how you are using that energyand whether you are satisfied with the results in your life.
When Jupiter returns to its natal degree by transit we have the opportunity to reexamine our philosophy, and profit by the benefits promised in the natal chart. Consider the Jupiter period from the standpoint of the first completion near age 12. In some cultures this age is celebrated and one example is the holding of a Bar Mitzvah to celebrate an entrance into adolescence. Puberty begins about this time, and one begins making a contribution to the world by way of personal opinions. By age 24, one has usually completed an education, begun a career, and has developed confidence in ones personal philosophy. Each aspect by Jupiter shows how well we have adapted to the cultural traditions in which we are placed and how well we deal with the opinions of others. Jupiter aspects the natal position every 2 years, and gives us a boost by way of optimism and gratuities, but we so seldom appreciate this cycle. The Jupiter aspects guide us to areas where our faith and optimism and the good will of others rewards us in direct proportion to how well we use this energy.
The Saturn return gets the most press because it is so concrete. It shows in the outer world. Our teeth and bones build according to this cycle. Children lose their baby teeth and start getting adult teeth around age 7 1/2. Near age 22 our bones are fully formed. The Saturn Return gets much more negative press than it deserves. On its first pass we are fully experienced and often come to a realization that what we have been building is haphazard and needs refining, so we turn from our path and go onto a new one. So many people come face to face with their shortcomings or mistakes at that time. If only someone told us at age 29 or 30, that what problems we now face indicate and point out only our past mistakes and what we lacked those first 30 years, and that we should use this to plan out the next 30 years, maybe it would be easier. How few of us are wise enough to do so even if told. The Saturn return affects the entire structure of ones life as this is the framework around much is built. Saturn can represent our career, our reputation, our ability to plan, be organized and self disciplined. This return reinforces the natal potential, and clarity is given to what the natal chart offers. If we have built well, and remain aware, we can use past experiences to build upon, to go forward and build even better on the foundation of the past. If weve built badly, at the time of the return, something will topple. A building is only as good as the foundation. The return is a time of testingas all Saturn aspects are.
The Uranus opposition and squares mark periods when we break out of our accepted molds and make needed changes. But if we resist change we find some surprises in store for us. Uranus energy will manifest somehowwe have the choice to guide it or allow it to guide us. The opposition that occurs in the 40s and is otherwise known as mid life crisis, is also a test of how well we have achieved our objectives in life. This cycle is even more important than the Saturn return in my opinion because Uranus has to do with our relationships, and the higher mind. At this juncture our need for independence and freedom becomes accentuated and had we not given others autonomy or been allowed this ourselves in the past, this is a period when we will break away from existing conditions and look for a new, more exciting path. The 43 year old man who leaves his wife and children suddenly after 20 years of marriage exemplifies this transit. Or perhaps he buys a sport car as an act of rebellion. Or in his frustration he becomes eccentric and difficult and others leave him, forcing him to learn independence. Perhaps in most cases this manifests as merely taking up new friends or setting new goals. All reflect the need for change and getting out of a rut.
Neptune cannot travel quickly enough for a return, but the square to its natal placement, usually in the 40s, and often close to the time of the Uranus opposition, denotes a time of possible disillusionment when false appearances and dreams seem to dissolve. Our psychic potential opens up, we feel connected to the mass consciousness, and we review our ideals and sympathies, often finding that some were misplaced. At this time we may become overwhelmed by our desire to help the poor and needy, or we may merely experience confusion as forces that are difficult to understand enter our life. We become aware of how others have deceived us, or how we have deceived ourselves, as we come face to face with our inner imagination. Disappointment or ecstasy: the glamorous facade we have built somewhere in our life may be found to mask something mundane just as the thrilling Ferris wheel, sparkling with lights, may have chipped paint and ugly cables when seen in the light of day.
Pluto cannot return by transit, and it may or may not square the natal position. If it does, the natal potential of that planet in the birth chart will be reinforced, and situations or even people in the life that have been retained past their usefulness will be abandoned. Those things which we should have gotten rid of or eliminated may, at this point, cause us problems. Issues neglected or buried may emerge into the light and require action.
Another pattern to notice is the house quadrants involved during the cycles of transit. Transits through the Eastern hemisphere, houses 10 through 3, will find activities ruled by the planet more self determined and directed, whereas, while transits move through the Western hemisphere, houses 4 through 9, activities governed by this planet will be influenced by others in some way.
Transits through the Northern hemisphere, the personal houses below the horizon, will be reflected in matters of personal concern and subjective thought while when a body travels through the Southern hemisphere houses, houses 7 to 12, affairs of the world at large and matters of social order will be drawn into play.
Yet another manner by which to view transits is by the overall distribution in the birth charts of the planets and the order in which they are encountered. Starting at 0 degrees arrange the planets in a chart into a 30 degree sort list and notice how each one will be aspected by transit in a sequence. For example, if a chart has the Sun at 1, Neptune at 6, Mars at 12 , Moon 18, etc, as a planet enters a new sign it will first aspect the Sun, then Neptune, Mars, and the Moon, in a pattern repeated over and over again. This will give you a grasp for how an individual experiences each and every transit. In this instance, the individual would first absorb the transit energy by way of being motivated, perhaps use this energy in matters of creativity, joy, children, or exercise personal authority, and then as Neptune is reached by transit grasp the energy along the lines of spiritual or idealistic modes. When the transit aspects Mars, the native may take physical action, experience struggle, or need to work with this planetary influence. Then, when the Lunar self is touched by transit, the energies are reflected upon, or affect through the moods, habits, or home.
The exception is the Solar Return chart. This is a chart drawn for the moment of time during the present year when the Sun returns to the exact degree and minute as in the birth chart. From this chart, some astrologers ascertain the conditions of the coming year by way of the transits and house placements derived at that point in time. The chart is drawn according to the time of the Solar Return and uses the transits then in effect. The lunar return chart uses the same premise. These both deserve attention and study by the advanced astrologer.
Venus also has another cycle which repeats with periods of Rxs and Directs over an eight year period, forming a 5 pointed star, which may also be taken into account. These Planetary Periods have more to do with the planet returning to its same degree of longitude and declination simultaneously. According to this Mercury has a 10 year period, Mars 15, the Moon 4 , and the Sun 19 years, with Jupiter and Saturn the same as above.
As stated above, retrogrades are merely the apparent turning of a planet backwards. In an esoteric sense when experiencing a retrograde we are going back over matters again.
When a body enters a period of retrograde motion, it appears to slow down, then it apparently stops and this is called its station. Next, it seems to go backwards and is then called retrograde (Rx), until it stops again (stations) only to turn Direct (forward) again.
The degree at which it stations is then sensitive and the influence will be felt in some way until the planet returns to this degree again by direct motion. When a planet stations on a natal planet, it marks an important turning point in events. In this instance, there will be two contacts between the transit and the natal planet. One, the turning point, then the period while events are digested and gone back over as the transit retrogrades, and then secondly, when it is has turned Direct and touches that degree again and passes back over the natal body, usually a time when events culminate.
Usually there are three points of contact from a retrograde planet. First when a planet aspects a natal planet, then it stations to turn retrograde, then it aspects the planet again while retrograde, it then continues backwards, turns direct, and then for the third time aspects that natal planet as it continues forward to pass the degree of its original station. Accepted astrological thought holds that at the first contact the event is in gestation. Then the second, retrograde contact, indicates the time during which the attitudes and events gather momentum. As the final contact is made, decisions are made, a path of action is chosen, and events denoted by the transit are then forthcoming.
Age of the individual has much to do with how soon the effects of these are fully felt, because due to the precession of the equinoxes the zodiacs from different years may not match. Each year the tropical zodiac shifts 50 seconds of arc, so for a middle aged person or older person outcomes may be delayed. A person in his 70s will need a full degree extra before the aspect actually closes. And since during retrogrades planets move slowly this may mean a much longer time for manifestation.
INTERPRETATION IN GENERAL
TRANSITS THAT HAVE THE MOST NOTICEABLE EFFECTS ARE THOSE THAT REINFORCE NATAL ASPECTS THAT ARE SIMILAR. To carry this one step further, should there be a progressed aspect in operation in the natal chart and a transit to any of the aerials of this progression (i.e.: the natal positions of the two planets or the progressed positions are like little antennae receptive to signals broadcast by the transit), the transit will not only be important, but most likely manifest an event as depicted by the progressed chart. The power of a transit has much to do with how important that same planet is in the natal chart and where it is by natal house placement and how it is aspected at birth.
It is usual to give special attention to the birth chart ascendant ruler and its transits. The transit of the ascendant ruler may have personal significance.
It is reasonable suppose that if in the birth chart Saturn is poorly aspected or weak by sign or position, that a transit by Saturn will denote influences which are either difficult or of less importance, than the transit of a planet that is prominent, and heavily aspected in the birth chart.
To be methodical in your thinking, first of all consider the house that a planet is transiting. Venus in the 4th house will bring pleasure, social activities, and possibly romance into the home environment. This may be a time when one feels compelled to beautify the environment and spend money on new furnishings. Now, tie this in with the natal placement of Venus. If natal Venus is in the 2nd house, financial concerns may be tied in with home, family, and the roots. The sign on the 4th house cusp, its ruler, and how Venus and the 4th house house ruler combine by aspect must also be brought into the picture. Then note the aspects it makes to other planetary bodies during its transit. A transiting square to natal Saturn may possibly denote a lack of pleasure or an obligation through these matters. Now, tie in the other houses influenced by Venus, which would include the houses that have Libra and Taurus on their cusp as well as Pisces which is the sign of Venuss exaltation. Next, consider the natural houses where Venus would be the natural ruler, the 7th and 2nd house. Next, we look at Saturn, its house position, aspects, and strength in the natal chart, as well as the houses it rules, the natural houses of Saturn, and examine how Venus and Saturn combine in the natal chart. Should they have no aspect in the natal chart, this transit is of less importance, but should they have an energy exchange at birth, this transit will reinforce the natal aspect, in the MANNER of the natal aspect.
For instance, if Venus and Saturn are 120 apart at birth, the transiting square can be turned to good use. Perhaps the built in good sense and caution will offset the possible financial or intra personal burden. But should they have a natal semi-square, the transit may denote an ongoing difficulty or irritation that is emphasized. (Never forget, pearls are also created by an irritation)
Should the two have no natal exchange, the transit will be a temporary period when caution in relationships or finances must be exercised. The exception would be if Saturn and Venus have a progressed aspect, in which case this small, minor transit, may represent the beginning of a activity along the lines of the progressed conditions indicated.
As you can see above, MANY bits of information must be considered before a judgment may be made on ANY transit. We build up inner weather by our repetitive experiences with the inner planets setting off by transits the conditions denoted in our birth charts. The manner in which we handle these transits and our attitudes towards them can be changed. A square can be very beneficial if used wisely.
Many wonderful books exist that give precise interpretations for each and every transit. These are commonly called, with a bit of loving sarcasm, cookbooks and while a valuable tool, leave much to be desired in the way of precision.. Unless you understand the natal chart thoroughly, these will always miss the mark in details.
The best keyword interpretations provide a structure so that you can use your very own synthesis of the many factors entering into the interpretation. Use the keywords learned in basic astrology and apply them to transits.
Find your favorites or develop your own. They are only guides and not rules. Each and every chart must be looked at as a whole. Each and every chart is unique and as individual as the person before you. People who have learned to use their energies in the best and highest manner will not be devastated by what may appear to be difficult transits, whereas others may be at sea with minor or so-called easy ones. Character IS destiny. We are presented with choices every day and each planet has its positive and negative side. It is our choice to demonstrate these energies in the best possible manner consciously or merely be a victim of the tides of fate. The Cardinal nature of squares represents the universal truth that every obstacle is also an opportunity to overcome difficulty.
Last updated on June 12, 2017 at 11:51 pm. Word Count: 4390