(And Why Do They
By Jim Trader
major newspapers in the U.S. now carry “daily horoscopes” for their
readers. These light-hearted descriptions have acquainted the
culture with the Signs
of the Zodiac and which Sun Sign someone is born
are also many easy-to-find books describing the influences of
and Positions in-depth for the interested reader, and a
of websites that offer generalized and personalized readings and other
astrological information for public consumption.
very little ridicule—in today’s United States regarding the study of
All of this is a wonderful popularization of astrology, and is a source
great comfort and inspiration for many people.
astrology can be used for so much more, as it has been in previous
times. Expanding one’s understanding and use of transits is a good way
“transit” is what astrologers call a specific, time-limited celestial
with a noticeable effect here on Earth. For example, Mercury always
communication, thought, and short-range travel; it’s always influencing
things, and so this cannot be called a transit.
ninety degree angle in the sky with the Moon is a specific,
celestial event that produces a specific effect. Many people have a
figuring out what they’re feeling while this is happening, let alone
their real feelings, and being specific and time-limited, is considered a “transit.”
retrograde—appearing to move backwards in its orbit—is also a specific,
time-limited celestial event with a relatively well-known effect (it
and travel more difficult), and so is also considered to be a
Finally, Mercury forming a one-hundred-and-twenty degree angle with
where the Sun
was when a person was born would also be called a “transit,” although
often given the distinction of being a “personal transit” since it is
transit that only applies to a person with a particular chart element
particular place in the birth chart.
are what tell an astrologer—and through the astrologer, the rest of
going on in an individual and in the world during a particular period
They are the reason astrologers are able to “forecast” events, and are a
part of the service astrology and astrologers provide.
most common way to interpret transits today, is to use one or another
of “personal transits,”. This is done by taking an individual’s birth
comparing where the Planets were when the person was born to where the
This is the basis of the “horoscopes” offered by most
newspapers, although newspaper “horoscopes” are extremely generalized, since
have to generate a “generic” reading for the largest number of readers
When done properly by an astrologer with an individual person’s natal
this technique can be a very useful tool for personal insight and
However, looking at only personal transits can also be very limiting.
transits this way only tells what’s happening for a specific person (or
case of generalized “horoscopes,” a relatively small group of people)
given period of time.
Although it is always good to know how to take
advantage of an immediate situation, we all live in a world much larger
ourselves. We are part of events and movements so large and so
we are unaware of them (because we take them for granted) or they are
These events and movements affect not only ourselves but
majority of those around us, and often cannot be conveniently
encapsulated on a
particular day, week or even month. Focusing on the transits to one’s
chart can be useful, but can also overlook the effects of these larger
movements—these general transits--on our individual lives.
For those of
want to know about the long-term and the Big Picture, and how we relate
picture individually, general transits are important.
following charts will provide some examples of personalized and general
transits, and the different kind of information contained in each.
chart is a Bi-Wheel; it shows the author’s birth-chart on the inner
where the Planets are now (the transits) on the outer wheel.
the outer wheel to the
inner, an astrologer will quickly see that the chart element most
affected in this natal chart by the day’s transits is Chiron, with
Moon and Jupiter are also affected but not as strongly.
Without going into
specifics of which transiting chart elements affect which natal chart
the quick summary is that today will probably be a good day for Jim to
(especially if that involves healing or teaching) and be creative,
should totally avoid spending money.
It is unlikely Jim will experience
particularly dramatic events on this day.
good information to have, of course, but it gives very little insight
what is happening in the wide world around Jim, or what’s happening for
from yesterday that will carry into today and tomorrow.
If we look
just the chart for the day’s transits, a very different set of
there are eleven transits shown on the chart above which will affect
on this day, there are nine that are particularly significant.
particularly significant when it involves more than two Planets, or
lasts multiple days, or both. The two transits that are less
this chart—Mercury conjunct Saturn and the Moon conjunct Venus—will
for less than a day, and involve only two Planets each. The nine
are particularly significant are:
- Mars sextile the Sun
- Mars trine Neptune
- Mars square Uranus
- the Sun opposite Neptune
- Jupiter retrograde
- Chiron retrograde
- Uranus retrograde
- Neptune retrograde
- Pluto retrograde
aspects lasting multiple days (about three days each)
involve Mars, making Martian energy particularly important during these
Starting August 16th (when Mars began to sextile
the Sun and trine
Neptune) putting ideas into action became a top priority for many of
is a general feeling that this is the time to stop daydreaming and put
money where our mouths are.
However, with Mars just beginning its
Uranus, others’ unexpected needs may often get in our way starting
(August 17th) and continuing through the 19th.
many of us acquire a much better understanding of what we want out of
the same time many of us will find ourselves unexpectedly dealing with
people’s drama. We will have to temper our drive for
involving communication--with patience for others’ shortcomings.
Mars-Uranus square in Gemini-Pisces indicates many of us may not know
as we think we do. Other people “getting in our way” will teach us how
to modify our methods to accomplish what we are really after, if we are
to slow down enough to listen.
The Sun-Neptune opposition reinforces
lesson of the Mars-Uranus square. Many of us will be confronted with
information about the people around us, and in order to deepen our
(or redefine them in a constructive way) we may need to listen and
new information before responding.
The Sun-Neptune opposition also
days, (starting August 16th) and so new
information may appear on
any one of these days in many of our lives but is particularly likely
(August 17th) and tomorrow (August 18th)
due to the
reinforcement of the Mars-Uranus square.
retrograde is what occurs when a Planet appears to move backwards in
Retrogrades are important astrologically because they indicate an
period of time (weeks or months) when humanity in general is forced to
“old business” in a retrograde Planet’s sphere of influence, before we
successfully into “new business” in that Planet’s sphere of influence.
of the time element, (and their very visible effects, such as with a
retrograde) I consider retrogrades important transits despite the fact
retrograde involves only a single Planet.
On August 17th
five Planets (or, four Planets and one Planetoid) that are retrograde:
Chiron, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. The Planet to go retrograde most
was Uranus, on July 1st. The Planet that has
been retrograde longest
is Pluto, which began its retrograde April 4th.
None are ending
their retrograde periods soon. The soonest is Pluto, which is going
(moving forward in its orbit) starting September 12th.
many of us are in the midst of re-evaluating our good fortune, what it
are teaching/learning/healing, our relationship with the future, our
and our relationship with power and money.
Since Uranus and Neptune are
aspected by other Planets during the day we are looking at here, many
will find the need particularly acute, to re-evaluate our relationship with both the future
ideals on this day.
are other useful techniques regarding generalized transits. One is to
Lunar transits specifically; not only where the Moon is in the Zodiac,
it waxes, wanes, comes to Full and rests at New.
This can help us
world-centered rhythm of when to be active and when to rest, and what
activity(s) is favored over a given period of time. Another
is to cast a chart for each Solstice
and Equinox. These charts can often be used to see what general trends
living in a particular area will experience over a three month period.
the information provided by both personalized and general transits is
In an astrologically savvy world, we should want plenty of access to
of the astrology readings out there, however, focus primarily on
transits in one form or another. Of those resources that do talk about
it may often seem that almost any transit is as important as any other,
isn’t necessarily the case.
are a very important part of astrology, and can be very helpful in
decisions or simply reviewing what’s up (or what’s coming up) for us in
daily lives. Astrology
is a tool that
has been used by many, many people over thousands of years, and has
proven its worth.
We’ve been shortchanging ourselves in the 20th
Century by demanding everything—including astrology—tell us “what’s in
ME right now.” It’s time to start demanding full value from astrology
listening to it tell us not only “how” and “where” we are going, but
and “as part of what.”
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