On the Nature of Astrological Transits

          It might be of interest to take a new look at an old subject regarding the nature of astrological forecasting. It has long been an accepted practice to consider the orbital motion of planets as they form aspects or angles to fixed points and planets in the natal chart. The strength of an angle is denoted by its approach and separation from the point of being exact. Many astrologers are mainly concerned with the major angles, that is the conjunction (0 degrees), sextile (60 degrees), Square (90 degrees), trine (120 degrees), and opposition (180 degrees). The minor aspects are considered when deeper analysis is required.

          Before working with transits, it is important that the birth chart be thoroughly understood. The natal planets need to be analyzed in terms of their strength and position, along with critical points such as the ascendant, house cusps, etc.

          Each planet represents various qualities and characteristics unique unto itself. While we tend to think of ourselves as a composite or totality of all planetary influences, it is easy for astrologers to segregate the various elements that make up our nature as human beings. It is almost with reverential awe that we can observe these mighty beings moving through the firmament, and realize the cosmic link that binds us to the universe. With knowledge of their motion and location, our lives can be more carefully planned.

          The best approach takes account not only of the subjective nature of planetary influences that reveal our character as human beings, but also the objective side of planetary rulerships that denote the things of the world that comes under their domain. The most important consideration of the objective quality of a planet is how it stirs us into activity. It might be thought of as an outer stimulus that touches our inner nature. With this method one should be able to tell from the reading alone which planet is in transit and which is natal. This may prove helpful to students still sorting things out, or beneficial to teachers helping students learn subtle distinctions that often dominate astrological thought.

          The inner planets seem to influence our lives on a daily basis to a greater extent than the outer planets, and therefore "rule" more of the mundane things that affect us directly. Because the furthest planets travel so much more slowly, their influence lasts for longer periods. The emphasis gradually shifts the further the planet is from the center of the solar system.

          The planet Mars is a good example because of its widely descriptive nature. In its subjective mode indicating our human qualities it is strength, determination, energy, courage, etc. But in its outer or objective mode it rules, danger, weapons, violence, explosions, war, and finds kin with soldiers, surgeons, and policemen. With this description we should be able to identify which pertains to a transiting or natal Mars.

          Venus is a very personal planet that we associate subjectively through our feelings of love, tenderness, happiness, peace, beauty, creativity, etc. As an objective influence ruling the things that pertain to her nature, such as flowers and gardens, Venus represents art, music, social affairs, and entertainment, etc. In other words, the 'idea' of beauty is subjective, while beautiful things, or activities such as dancing or painting are objective. What stirs an esthetic response may likely be noted from the planet that is in transit bearing that unique influence.

          Let's see how these two planets work together first as a transiting planet and then as a natal planet. When these two planets are in mutual reception, we are dealing with matters pertaining to love-hate, male-female, affection-sex, war-peace, etc. Consider Mars transiting trine to natal Venus; a dominate, aggressive person, may enter our life activating feelings of attraction and love. Mars transiting square to Venus could represent a danger of breaking up a relationship, or spur us to initiate a sudden love affair. On the other hand, Venus transiting trine to natal Mars represents a gentle, attractive person circling into our life with a strong tendency to arouse our sexual interests. Venus square to natal Mars would have us painting portraits or composing music, and manifesting the inner drive to seek companionship.

          It is interesting to see how Mars and Uranus interact as they change roles from natal to transiting planets. The influence of Uranus tends to be long and subtle; therefore its effect is to work in the background; conjoined with Mars there is apt to be an underlying tension that can be triggered at any time.

          Uranus rules such earthly things as inventors, electronics, aviation, magnetism, astrology, humanitarian and social movements. In its subjective mode we respond to Uranus as originality, eccentricity, altruism, and non-conformism, etc. When Mars transits in a 180-degree opposition to Uranus we might be faced with personal danger, or preparing to force a response in hopes of bringing about social change or greater freedom. Of course this would inevitably bring problems with established authority. The urge to pick up a gun or sword is very strong. With Uranus transiting to Mars, we can be accident prone causing injury to ourselves from the most unexpected causes, such as lightening or electrical devices. Under this configuration, it is easy to become irritable and nervous, or exhibit reckless behavior.

          The inner planet Mercury is very closely related to the mundane affairs of our everyday life. All forms and methods of communication such as correspondence, telephones, computer networking, etc. come under Mercury's realm. All modes of transportation and methods of travel are Mercurial; Clerks, typists, bookkeepers, newspapers, and methods of information-transfer come under Mercury. In its subjective sense Mercury has an influence over our thoughts, the mind, and all mental processes. The conveyance of ideas between people in the exchange of concepts, and information through speech and writing come under Mercury's domain.

          Uranus in transit to Mercury gives original, inventive ideas; human rights find expression through the pen. The mind is lifted to great intellectual heights. Inspiration finds novel methods of expression. The intuition reaches keen and acute levels. Mercury in transit to Uranus might find us taking a trip for unexpected reasons, or receiving mail for support of unusual causes. We could be asked to deliver a speech at the last moment to garner support for a humanitarian effort.

          The foregoing examples illustrate a subtle but distinct interpretation of forecasting methodology. But such examples would not be complete without comment about everybody's favorite planet—Saturn.

          As mentioned earlier, all of the planets, including sun and moon, out to Saturn can be thought of as having concerns that deal with specific affairs pertaining to the life of humankind. The furthest planets, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto, have a more nebulous influence over the things they claim to rule. It is easier to think of them as activators rather than as object oriented entities. Instead of dealing with the things of life, they operate on life itself. My example with Uranus shows it to be active where movements or causes are at stake, and as it transits to natal planets stir our impulses in the appropriate direction.

          Saturn rules more of the physical objects of the Earth than any other planet. Land, real-estate, and the rocks and dirt of the earth itself. Saturn controls the established order; the anchor for all that is tried and true; that which is realistic and practical. Saturn is the ancient of days, and rules time itself, along with old mementos and historical sites. Saturn bestows lessons learned the hard way, but lessons learned for life; He is the stern taskmaster of the solar system. The subjective side of Saturn is caution, prudence, cold calculation, and cool contemplation. Careful and exacting, critical and demanding; Saturn can bring disappointment, delays, sadness, and sorrow, yet what we gain through Saturn we tend to keep—and value.

          When Mercury transits to Saturn, which is not for very long due to its fast motion, there is sure to be a break-down in communication. Messages may bring bad news, or not reach us in time. We could find ourselves in an unexpected traffic jam making us late for an important meeting. The better aspects between these two can bring constructive and beneficial information that increases our understanding and justifies our hard work. Saturn in transit to natal Mercury, which could last for some time, is apt to cloud our otherwise good mood, or bring bad news. There is an inclination to be pessimistic, or our thoughts take a depressive turn. At best Saturn brings stable, practical, and workable ideas. While the attitude is apt to be somber, the opportunity to learn that patience has its own rewards will result will in long lasting virtue.

          Astrologically, that faraway little planet Pluto is especially difficult to read from its objective side as a transiting planet primarily because of its long orbital period. In a single lifetime it will only transit through about three signs. It is often thought of as the planet of doom and gloom, but it operates on a far deeper level, and we are seldom aware of it in our daily lives. Everyone has the potential to live a full, happy, and productive life, and do it never knowing a thing about astrology. Yet, celestial guidance is always an option.

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