In This Chapter
Discovering the transits
Tracking the cycles of the planets
Staying calm in the presence of a worrisome transit
Once upon a time, astrology was the province of the privileged. Kings and pharaohs consulted astrologers, not because they were fascinated by the intricacies of personality but because they wanted to know when to wage war, when to stockpile grain, when to build a temple, and when to marry. They wanted to know, in short, how to lead their lives. Astrology provided some answers.
Today, anyone can take advantage of the wisdom astrology has to offer. You can glean some of that wisdom from your birth chart — and some of it from the current position of the planets. Transiting planets are the planets as they appear in the sky now. As they wheel across the zodiac, they trigger your birth planets, presenting you with challenges and opportunities. Transiting Saturn is conjunct your Moon? Be prepared to combat depression. Uranus is crossing your Midheaven? Get ready for an upheaval in your career. Every time a planet in the sky forms an aspect to a planet or an angle in your birth chart, it stirs up a different area of your psyche.
Sad to say, this book isn’t long enough to consider every transit. I’m leaving out the transits through the houses. I ignore transiting squares (they’re stressful) as well as sextiles and trines (they’re helpful). And I entirely omit aspects made by transiting Venus, Mercury, and the Sun because they move so fast that their influence is fleeting. (The Moon whizzes through the signs at an even faster clip. But it’s so close that it exerts an influence anyway, which is why I devote Chapter 17 to lunar transits.)
In this chapter, I focus on the slower-moving planets, beginning with Mars and ending with Pluto. I consider the conjunctions and oppositions that those planets make to your natal chart. And I try, as best I can, to highlight the possibilities that they open up for you. Transits don’t change your natal chart. Like it or not, your birth chart is eternal. But they can help you achieve the potential contained within your horoscope. And that, as they say, is priceless.
To identify the transits in effect now, turn to the Appendix at the back of this book and look up the current position of the planets. The planetary tables in the Appendix tell you what sign each planet is in. Jot down the positions of the planets from Mars to Pluto. Then make a copy of your birth chart and position the transiting planets around it. As models, look at Figures 16-2 and 16-3, which present Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s chart. In each case, the inner wheel represents the birth chart, and the outer wheel shows the location of the transiting planets.
To know exactly where the transiting planets are and whether they’re within a degree or two of your birth planets, you need to consult a professional, wander about on the Web, or — better yet — buy an astrological calendar, which can tell you the precise position of the planets at a glance. The best ones are Llewellyn’s Daily Planetary Guide and Jim Maynard’s Celestial Guide and Celestial Influences calendars.
Showing the importance of transits
Anne Morrow Lindbergh was the author of 14 books, the mother of six children, and the wife of the aviator Charles Lindbergh, who flew across the Atlantic Ocean by himself in 1927 and became an instant international hero (though his reputation was sullied later on when he accepted an award from the Nazi government). Unlike many wives of famous men, she became famous in her own right — which is exactly what you would expect from someone with a tenth house as packed as hers. Figure 16-1 shows her extraordinary birth chart.
After Lindbergh’s triumphant solo flight, he became a goodwill ambassador to Latin America. In December 1927, he visited Mexico, where he met Anne, whose father was the American ambassador. A year and a half later, they married. Figure 16-2 shows Anne’s chart in the center surrounded by the transits for her initial meeting with Charles. Notice that Jupiter, the bringer of opportunity, and Uranus, the lord of the unexpected, are conjunct in her seventh house of marriage. Any astrologer could have told her that she would meet someone soon and that he would be an unusual person.
The inner chart is the birth chart. The planets in the outer circle represent the transits.
Figure 16-1: Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s birth chart.
Figure 16-2: Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s chart with transits for December 1927.
When they married, Uranus was still in her seventh house. Almost three years later, tragedy struck when the Lindberghs’ 20-month-old baby was kidnapped and killed. The murderer’s trial, known as “the trial of the century,” was arguably bigger than O.J. Simpson’s. Her transits at the time of the kidnapping are shown in Figure 16-3.
Figure 16-3: Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s chart with transits for March, 1932.
Notice that Saturn, the planet of restriction, is now in her fifth house of children, and Uranus, the planet of the unexpected, is in her eighth house of death and transformation. Those two transits, I should point out, aren’t nearly enough to trigger such an exceedingly rare and terrible loss. After all, everyone who had an Ascendant in the neighborhood of 21° Virgo also experienced those transits. A birth chart must show the potential for an event in order for it to happen. And there it is: The close opposition of her natal Uranus to her natal Sun, Moon, Mars, and Neptune clearly introduces the possibility of violence. The transits acted on the possibilities already there in her remarkable chart.
Following your transits
To follow your transits, make a copy of the empty chart on the Cheat Sheet and place your birth planet in the appropriate sections. (See Chapter 3 for more information on constructing your birth chart.) Then position the transiting planets around the outer rim. You’ll see right away that there’s a lot going on. Mars is here, Saturn is there, Pluto and Jupiter are together in a third place. So how can you tell which transits to concentrate on?
Here’s the rule: The transits that pack the biggest wallop are those made by the slowest planets — Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto — to the Sun, the Moon, the Ascendant, and the faster planets. Contacts made by the faster planets are usually short-lived. Contacts made by the slower planets to the slower planets (such as Uranus opposite your Pluto or Neptune conjunct your Saturn) may be too subtle to detect (unless the natal planet happens to occupy a prominent position in your chart). But contacts made by a slow planet to one of your personal planets — Pluto conjunct your Moon, Uranus opposite your Sun, and so on — signify the chapters of your life.
Mars is associated with vitality, initiative, passion, force, anger, and aggression. Mars stirs your desires and prods you to take action. As a rule, Mars spends about two months in a sign, taking about two years to travel through the zodiac and return to the position that it occupied at your birth. But those figures are only averages because, like the other planets, Mars sometimes slows down, turns retrograde, and spends several months in one sign (see Chapter 18 for more on retrograde planets). To show you how varied its schedule can be, in 1997, Mars sped through Scorpio in about six weeks. But when it returned to that sign in 1999, it lingered there for over five months. Naturally, the more time it spends in a sign, the more it energizes the planets it contacts there.
The major transits of Mars are as follows:
Mars conjunct the Sun: You feel determined, aggressive, and brave. But act quickly (and try to avoid angry outbursts). This energetic transit usually lasts only a few days, although occasionally, when Mars goes retrograde, it can carry a longer, hardier charge.
Mars opposite the Sun: You’re energetic but embattled. This is a don’t-mess-with-me transit.
Mars conjunct the Moon: You’re feisty, expressive, and in no mood to repress your powerful emotions or peevish irritations, which somehow just pop out. Just remember that a little self-awareness goes a long way.
Mars opposite the Moon: Take care. Your emotional outpourings — which feel externally caused — can quickly escalate into confrontation. Count to ten.
Mars conjunct Mercury: You feel impatient, excited, and filled with ideas. You express your opinions with confidence — and aggression. A hint of competition or hostility may sneak into your communications.
Mars opposite Mercury: You argue, you debate, you take no prisoners. You’re quick to respond, but you may also feel frustrated, beleaguered, confrontational, and hostile. Be careful of what you say.
Mars conjunct Venus: Your sex drive, ability to love, and artistic impulses are working overtime. You’re at your most irresistible.
Mars opposite Venus: Socially and sexually, you’re in the mood for love. But your strategies for getting together with other people may be less than successful. You run the risk of being too assertive or uncooperative — or of attracting people who are behaving in a similarly out-of-balance fashion.
Mars conjunct natal Mars: Mars returns. The hero’s journey begins anew as a fresh wave of energy and desire washes over you. Your challenge is to harness that energy. This transit, which occurs every two years, marks the end of one energy cycle and the beginning of another. This is the moment to pursue a new interest, invent a project, and stay open to possibilities that arrive unbidden. Transiting Mars can also generate hostility, so watch your temper.
Mars opposite natal Mars: Though your stamina is high, you may not find it easy to use your energy in a constructive, consistent manner. Something you’ve been involved in for about a year has reached a critical point. Much effort is required, and your temper could flare out of control.
Mars conjunct Jupiter: The universe supports your grandest visions by prodding you to get off the couch and do something to actualize them. You’re motivated to take action. Under this encouraging, expansive transit, you also benefit from travel and education.
Mars opposite Jupiter: This can be a fortunate transit. You have plenty of energy, and you’re buoyant and optimistic. But you run the risk of promising too much, overestimating your capabilities, and overreacting.
Mars conjunct Saturn: Because you have a strong sense of limitations and bristle at the obstructions you face, this tends to be a challenging transit. It can also be a time of great accomplishment, thanks to your increased ability to get organized and to focus.
Mars opposite Saturn: This transit calls for caution, diligence, and responsible behavior. Alas, you’re likely to act rashly, resist the dictates of others, and express your authority awkwardly. Plus you’re irritable and you feel sorry for yourself.
Mars conjunct Uranus: You act impulsively, rebelling against constraints and sometimes taking off in unanticipated directions. During the few days when Mars is conjunct your birth Uranus, buckle your seat belt and avoid skateboarding. As usual with Uranus, the rule is simple: Expect the unexpected, and be safe.
Mars opposite Uranus: Tension, strain, accidents, and unpredictable events can interrupt your plans. Don’t take reckless chances during this agitating transit. And be sure to back up your computer files.
Mars conjunct Neptune: Your dream life picks up, and you seek inspiration. Artistic, spiritual, or healing activities excite you. But be careful about drugs and alcohol, and avoid making big decisions — your judgment may be skewed.
Mars opposite Neptune: Vivid dreams and artistic inspiration characterize this transit. But your efforts to get something done in the workaday world could go awry. You may feel taken advantage of, confused, or out of the loop.
Mars conjunct Pluto: Your attempts to pursue your ambitions and express your personal power in interactions with others receive a boost.
Mars opposite Pluto: In your desire to establish yourself, you run the risk of stumbling into power struggles.
Mars conjunct the Ascendant: You express yourself effectively, as long as you avoid sounding angry, and you’re motivated to take steps on your own behalf. Following the conjunction to the Ascendant, Mars travels through your first house, boosting your physical energy and lending you a boldness that you may not normally feel.
Mars opposite the Ascendant: You may feel angry or upset. After forming the opposition to your Ascendant, Mars travels through your seventh house for about two months, highlighting issues concerning marriage or business partnerships and underscoring your unwillingness to be passive. But arguments and tension upset you, and you may take out your frustration on those to whom you feel the closest.
Mars conjunct the Midheaven: This transit, along with the two-month-long sojourn of Mars in your tenth house, motivates you to chase after your professional desires. It also increases your impatience. Try not to be belligerent.
Mars opposite the Midheaven: Your professional efforts fizzle out or are rebuffed, and your attention goes elsewhere. As Mars conjuncts your I.C. (which is directly opposite your Midheaven) and travels through your fourth house, it awakens your interest in home and family and energizes your domestic life. Hidden conflicts emerge.
Mars transits are energizing. When Mars is traveling through a house, you find the energy to take action in that area. You benefit from taking a courageous approach.
Jupiter spins through the zodiac in slightly fewer than 12 years, spending about a year in each sign. Its transits are among the most eagerly anticipated — and the most disappointing. As the planet of expansion, opportunity, generosity, and prosperity, Jupiter can bring happiness, growth, and success. As the planet of philosophy, religion, and education, it can stimulate an exploration of belief and the pursuit of knowledge. But despite its reputation as the lord of abundance and the bringer of good fortune, Jupiter doesn’t necessarily deliver the sweepstake’s prize patrol to your door, and people who sit around passively waiting for their wishes to come true under its influence are bound to be dissatisfied. The problem is that while genial Jupiter may lead you right up to the doors of opportunity, it also prompts feelings of contentment and self-indulgence. Instead of trying to push those doors open, many people lean back to enjoy the transit and thereby miss it.
In my experience, a Jupiter transit is a trumpet call to arms. When you see Jupiter poised on the brink of your Sun sign, about to contact your career-oriented Midheaven, or entering your seventh house of marriage, you know that opportunities are available in those arenas. But you have to do your part. To get the most out of Jupiter, make a legitimate effort to learn something, to tackle an old dilemma in a novel way, or to find time for the things you always say you want to do. When you take action under a Jupiter transit, rewards inevitably follow.
A transit can only activate the potential that already exists in your chart.
Jupiter conjunct the Sun: Seize the opportunity to branch out during this year of growth, but be warned: If life is going well, you may be tempted to do nothing. If life isn’t going your way, you may become disheartened or cynical. Don’t let Jupiter lull you into complacency. This is the time to reach out, be generous, and take risks.
Jupiter opposite the Sun: Opportunities are available, but you run the risk of overextending yourself, overdramatizing your situation, or simply promising too much.
Jupiter conjunct the Moon: This transit brings expanded sensitivity and a greater flow of emotions — which is pleasant if your birth Moon makes mostly harmonious aspects to other planets but exhausting if your Moon is afflicted by squares and oppositions.
Jupiter opposite the Moon: Why does every emotional blip — every minor snub, every disappointment, and every little boost — feel utterly seismic? The answer is that, thanks to Jupiter, you’re supersensitive, with a tendency to inflate your feelings and overreact.
Jupiter conjunct Mercury: Jupiter enlivens your intellect and expands your ability to express yourself. You speak up freely and travel happily.
Jupiter opposite Mercury: Seek knowledge. Read vociferously. Write daily. And remember that overconfidence can be a problem. Don’t talk too much, and postpone making important decisions.
Jupiter conjunct Venus: Your social life blossoms. You express your affections easily, attract love, and enjoy the arts. This fortunate transit even improves your earning ability.
Jupiter opposite Venus: You’re attractive to others, and your social life is active but not necessarily satisfying. Perhaps you’re trying too hard. You may also be spending too much.
Jupiter conjunct Mars: You’re courageous, passionate, busy, and filled with vitality. Being assertive produces excellent results.
Jupiter opposite Mars: You feel energetic but frustrated, and you may find it difficult to repress your hostility. Demands are numerous, and disagreements may arise.
Jupiter conjunct natal Jupiter: Jupiter circles back to its birth position every 12 years, renewing your optimism. This can be a lucky, adventurous time during which travel, education, and philosophical explorations bring fulfillment. Your efforts to brush past old boundaries pay off, and you have some fun along the way. But beware: Jupiter can also promote self-satisfaction, laziness, and smug indifference.
Jupiter opposite natal Jupiter: You’re in a generous, exuberant mood, but you may be merrier than the situation merits. Watch out for overindulgence.
Jupiter conjunct Saturn: You may become supremely conscious of your fears and limitations, but they have less of a charge. You find the help you need, or you figure out a way to get organized, or you finally buckle down and do something about your problems.
Jupiter opposite Saturn: As much as you want to break out of your old patterns, circumstances may not permit it. However tempted you may be by new acquaintances and fresh opportunities, your responsibilities are ongoing. Your best move is to accept your obligations.
Jupiter conjunct Uranus: Unusual opportunities present themselves to you, and you have the courage to take a leap and express your individuality. This is an exciting time of positive change.
Jupiter opposite Uranus: Surprising opportunities may bring a longed-for chance to break away from confining circumstances. Overconfidence leads nowhere, but there’s something to be said for taking a calculated risk.
Jupiter conjunct Neptune: Your mystical side, spiritual interests, supernatural ability, and imagination are enlarged. Possible problems include excessive daydreaming, substance abuse, and the refusal to accept reality.
Jupiter opposite Neptune: Accepting reality isn’t easy — and you probably aren’t even trying. Your imagination may be soaring, but your judgment is poor. You’re impractical and easily deceived. If you’ve ever struggled with substance abuse, you must be vigilant now.
Jupiter conjunct Pluto: Your ambition and personal power are enlarged, and your labors bear fruit. In the past, you may have journeyed through the underworld of sorrow, fear, or isolation. If so, you now return to the light.
Jupiter opposite Pluto: Your desire for power can get out of hand, and obstacles may block your way. At this moment of transition, you may feel as if you have little control or that you’re caught in a power struggle.
Jupiter conjunct the Ascendant: You’re open, ebullient, and even lucky. During the year or so when Jupiter contacts your Ascendant and travels through your first house, you’re outgoing and receptive, and people respond to you positively. The bad news: Weight gain is a distinct possibility.
Jupiter opposite the Ascendant: You easily connect with others, and your relationships flourish. During the year or so when Jupiter opposes the Ascendant and inhabits the seventh house, you could attract a new partner, either business or personal, into your life.
Jupiter conjunct the Midheaven: Jupiter’s conjunction with the Midheaven, followed by a yearlong sojourn in your tenth house, can bring success, an enlarged role in the world, and career options galore. Take advantage of them.
Jupiter opposite the Midheaven: Family relationships improve. This is a fine year to move, invest in real estate, focus on domestic pursuits, and heal family wounds.
Jupiter transits bring growth, opportunity, and the danger of indolence.
Coping with Saturn
People who know something about astrology tend to look forward to Jupiter’s transits — and view Saturn’s transits with alarm. Saturn takes almost 30 years to whirl through the zodiac. It spends about two and a half years in each sign, and it’s associated with duty, discipline, effort, obstructions, limitations, boundaries, and lessons learned. Gloomy Saturn can bring despair, apathy, and a dangerous case of the blues. But just as Jupiter doesn’t necessarily deliver matchless love, best-selling first novels, or winning lottery tickets, Saturn doesn’t necessarily beget misery. It can bring responsibility in the form of a better job, limitation in the form of a committed relationship, and the enhanced self-esteem that accompanies self-discipline. To benefit from a Saturn transit, you need to create structure, get organized, and figure out how to manage your time.
Transits, by definition, are transitory. They don’t last long, so you must act promptly to take advantage of them.
Saturn conjunct the Sun: You reap what you sow: That’s the message of this challenging and sometimes discouraging transit. Saturn stimulates your ambitions, increases your need for security, forces you to learn discipline, and may confront you with your weaknesses. But it can also bring security, fulfillment, and recognition for work well done.
Saturn opposite the Sun: Pessimism and low vitality characterize this difficult transit, which takes place approximately 14 years after Saturn conjuncts the Sun. Other people may oppose your efforts. Be patient.
Note: The squares of Saturn to the Sun, which occur seven years before and after the opposition, are also trying.
Saturn conjunct the Moon: Worries afflict you. You may feel melancholy, misunderstood, unloved, or unlucky — not to mention filled with self-doubt. You’re imprisoned momentarily in the abyss, where the time is always right for confiding in a journal, talking to a therapist, and reminding yourself that this too shall pass.
Saturn opposite the Moon: Insecurity, bitterness, and stressful relationships may cause you to withdraw during this isolating time. Though you may wish for sympathy from others, you aren’t likely to get it. Avoid self-pity and take practical steps.
Saturn conjunct Mercury: You’re in a thoughtful and possibly pessimistic mood that favors study, concentration, and regular schedules. This is the ideal time to read War and Peace, Moby Dick, or any other massive classics you’ve been avoiding.
Saturn opposite Mercury: Circumstances may cause you to question your ideas or to look for a more effective communication style.
Saturn conjunct Venus: Weak relationships may crumble. You may feel lonely, inhibited, unloved, and underfunded. And yet a new, more serious relationship can begin, possibly with an older person. This is also a fine time to launch an artistic project.
Saturn opposite Venus: Breaking up is hard to do, even if it’s the only move to make. Healthy relationships survive this stressful transit. But even then the blinders come off as you face the truth.
Saturn conjunct Mars: Your efforts are frustrated, provoking you to feel resentful and overburdened. If anger is an issue for you, learn to manage it now. This is also an excellent time to hire a trainer or to join a gym. You’re being challenged to learn control. If you act methodically, you can accomplish a lot.
Saturn opposite Mars: This transit can be rough, especially if you’re the sort of person who collects enemies. Obstacles impede your progress as Saturn forces you to accept reality, take appropriate action, and — worst of all — be patient.
Saturn conjunct Jupiter: Even though the opportunities that arise during this tedious time may not be flashy, they’re nonetheless real. During a Saturn transit, facing reality is essential. Although you may need to streamline or limit your goals in some way, Saturn rewards your efforts.
Saturn opposite Jupiter: Luck isn’t with you, though it isn’t against you, either. Instead, this is a time of restricted growth, dampened enthusiasm, industriousness, and acceptance of the status quo.
Saturn conjunct Saturn: Saturn returns. This is a pivotal moment, a time to face reality. Saturn returns to the position it occupied in your birth chart when you’re between the ages of 28 to 30, 58 to 60, and 88 to 90. The first Saturn return represents the true onset of adulthood. During this typically trying time, you’re forced to face the truth about yourself, stop messing around, and grow up. The second and third returns represent further turning points, during which you must admit to your dissatisfactions and prepare for a new phase in your life. In each case, Saturn encourages you to confront your fears, acknowledge the obstacles in your path, name your ambitions, and change your habits.
Saturn opposite Saturn: This transit, which forces you to see yourself in relationship to the larger world, can be upsetting, especially the first time around, when you’re about 14 years old. Subsequent experiences occur roughly at ages 44 and 74. In each instance, you may feel lonely and insecure. What helps? Focusing on specific tasks and practical efforts can increase your sense of security. The message: persevere.
Saturn conjunct Uranus: Though you may feel constrained, it’s pointless to rebel. Instead, seek controlled ways of expressing your individuality, which will allow you to sail through this transit with aplomb.
Saturn opposite Uranus: Born free? That’s not the way it feels. Events conspire to make you feel as if your options are limited, but don’t underestimate the positive power of Saturn. Saturn supports organization and self-discipline. It rewards you by allowing you to develop the most idiosyncratic and original aspects of your self.
Saturn conjunct Neptune: You may feel steadier and more in control during this introspective phase — or you may be pessimistic and creatively stymied. If you’ve been troubled by alcohol or drug abuse, you’ll likely be forced to come to terms with it.
Saturn opposite Neptune: You may feel beset by confusion, uncertainty, and despondency. Dreams can come true, yet you feel disappointed. This transit presents yet another chance to accept reality (sigh) and grow up.
Saturn conjunct Pluto: Issues of control and manipulation arise during this long-term, transformative transit. Despite restrictive and frustrating circumstances, you can find a way to acknowledge your mistakes (or obsessions) and rethink your purpose. As always with Saturn, reaching these goals requires you to acknowledge the realities of your situation.
Saturn opposite Pluto: Your desire to control your circumstances and pursue your goals collides with external pressures, which may be more powerful than you are. An obsession that may have you in its grip needs to be broken, and yet you may feel incapable of doing so. Look to areas of your life that are going well and focus on those.
Saturn conjunct the Ascendant: You strike people as dependable and trustworthy, and greater responsibility may come to you as a result. Though you may feel restrained and overworked during this difficult time, this transit brings some benefits. It improves your ability to concentrate, stimulates you to regulate your behavior (making this the ideal time to start a sensible diet), and encourages you to rethink your ambitions. At the same time, you’re beginning a seven-year stretch known as the obscurity cycle, which is characterized by introspection and a search for personal growth.
Saturn opposite the Ascendant: This transit marks a turning point in the way you relate to the world. It may bring dissatisfactions to the surface and disrupt relationships, both personal and professional. Established relationships (if they aren’t solid) may break up. New alliances are likely to be with people who are older or more authoritative. Though relationships are likely to be a challenge during the next two and a half years, the good news is that you’re beginning a seven-year period of opportunity and accomplishment known as the activity cycle. For 14 years, your focus has been primarily internal; now you’re opening up to the world.
Saturn conjunct the Midheaven: With this transit, the seven-year influence cycle begins. If you’ve been paying your dues, you can expect to reach a peak of recognition and responsibility. This is a time of success and prominence during which you establish your place in the world. But if you’ve been slacking off, this transit could herald a wave of failure and defeat. If that’s your situation, remember that Saturn always responds positively to increased structure.
Saturn opposite the Midheaven: Issues regarding home and family beg for attention. Though you may feel weighed down by family needs and the burden of the past, you should know that you’re beginning another component of the Saturn cycle. Having just completed the seven-year obscurity cycle, which is described earlier in this section, you’re now entering the emergence cycle, a more creative and exciting time. A move is also a possibility.
As the planet of limitation and loss, Saturn requires a clear-eyed assessment of your situation. It also brings responsibility and rewards hard work.
When Uranus rides into town, life gets interesting. As the planet of revolution, invention, electricity, individuality, and eccentricity, Uranus disrupts the usual flow of events and is associated with unforeseen occurrences and unusual people. Uranus takes 84 years — about a lifetime — to traverse the zodiac. (Turn to Chapter 10 for more information about the outer planets.)
Uranus conjunct the Sun: You’re in a holding pattern, but you aren’t going to be there long. Your need to express your individuality propels you toward once-in-a-lifetime change. If you’re on track, this transit shouldn’t be traumatic. But if you’re drifting, stuck, or otherwise off your path, this transit augurs disruptive change — one way or another. If you don’t initiate alterations on your own, you can expect it to arrive unbidden from external sources. Act now.
Uranus opposite the Sun: This disruptive transit supports innovative thinking and ushers in a creative, explosive era of change and instability. Digging in your heels against it won’t work. Flexibility is required.
Uranus conjunct the Moon: Intuitive flashes bring insight during this moody, unstable transit. Look for emotional storms, shifts in family dynamics, or a sudden urge for independence.
Uranus opposite the Moon: Feelings of restriction and a need to break from the past make this a time of emotional fluctuations and revolutionary changes.
Uranus conjunct Mercury: Though you may feel overscheduled and frantic, rigid thinking holds you back. Fresh insights and facts compel you to abolish tired ideas and patterns of communication. Uranus triggers your ability to think in an original way. Carry a notebook.
Uranus opposite Mercury: You’re mentally active and physically nervous, and you may have trouble sleeping. Tackling your problems in the same old way leads to the same old result. Willingly or not, you must try a new approach.
Uranus conjunct Venus: If the sizzle has gone out of a relationship you value, you can no longer be passive about it. Reinvigorate it or look elsewhere. If you’re alone, you could meet someone new in an unexpected way, and that person won’t be like anyone else you know. Relationships that carry a hint of unpredictability appeal to you. Boring old alliances, no matter how worthy or rooted in history, don’t.
Uranus opposite Venus: In your desire to escape boredom, you — or your partner — may be tempted by a relationship that seems to offer greater pizazz. But will this new union last? I wouldn’t bet on it.
Uranus conjunct Mars: You’re restless, anxious for change, and ready to take the initiative: that’s the positive part. You’re also angrier than usual and likely to act rashly and make impulsive decisions. Plus, you’re accident-prone.
Uranus opposite Mars: Something needs to change during this volatile period, but your actions may be erratic because you aren’t sure what you want. Controlling your animosity and competitive feelings can be tricky, and you may provoke the opposition of others. Yet those outer influences may provide just the kick you need.
Uranus conjunct Jupiter: Rare opportunities and startling changes in circumstances mark this conjunction. In one chart from my files, this transit coincided with the loss of a family member and an unplanned pregnancy. In another case, it brought a disruptive but positive cross-country move. In a third instance, a woman rocketed to professional prominence when Uranus conjoined her tenth-house Jupiter — and plunged to Earth a year later when Saturn contacted her Sun and she received the dreaded pink slip.
Uranus opposite Jupiter: A need for independence and an urge to take a risk characterize this unruly influence. Fresh possibilities may tantalize (or frustrate) you. In your desire to lead a bigger life, you make some astonishing choices. Surprise your friends by all means — but don’t let your optimism (or grandiosity) run away with your common sense.
Uranus conjunct Saturn: You feel boxed in and tense and no longer able to tolerate the constraints you put on yourself. Uranus acts as a catalyst, forcing you to shed old fears, limitations, and even jobs in search of a less confining sense of self.
Uranus opposite Saturn: You feel uneasy and anxious. Old habits die, and outworn patterns crumble under the onslaught of forces beyond your control.
Uranus conjunct natal Uranus: The Uranus return occurs when you’re 84 years old. It symbolizes a complete cycle of individuality and can stimulate you to seek a new expression of your most essential self.
Uranus opposite natal Uranus: This unsettling, anxiety-provoking, midlife-crisis transit, which happens around age 42, encourages you to take risks and boosts your desire to rebel against the status quo.
Uranus conjunct Neptune: If you were born in the early 1990s, you may have undergone this perplexing, sensitizing transit as a child. (Episodes of psychic awareness may be traced to this influence.) However, if you’re old enough to remember 1993 (Hint: President Bill Clinton was inaugurated), you won’t experience this transit in your lifetime.
Uranus opposite Neptune: If you’re feeling the effects of this transit, you’re probably in your 70s. The advantage of aging, aside from getting into the movies at a discount, is that you worry less about what other people think and more about what matters to you. Amazing dreams, modern music, and nontraditional spiritual pursuits have a surprising appeal. Avoid get-rich-quick schemes.
Uranus conjunct Pluto: This heavy-duty transit can bring transitions that are unforeseen and momentous. However, unless you’re over 100 years old, you aren’t going to experience it.
Uranus opposite Pluto: Old patterns and obsessions fall by the wayside with this transit, especially if Pluto is prominent in your horoscope.
Uranus conjunct the Ascendant: Altering your appearance, acting in an abrupt or unpredictable manner, and emphasizing your greatest eccentricities are methods of expressing your insistent need for personal freedom. This transit can also coincide with unexpected recognition.
Uranus opposite the Ascendant: Whether you initiate these changes or someone else does, unexpected shake-ups in relationships clear the way for greater freedom and individuality. The people who attract you now are markedly different from your usual type.
Uranus conjunct the Midheaven: Career upheavals can open a dramatic chapter in your life if you have the courage to respond. When an unusual opportunity presents itself, grab it. Don’t let unresolved feelings of inferiority keep you from fulfilling your destiny.
Uranus opposite the Midheaven: Unexpected events and challenges can turn your domestic life upside down and alter your social status or professional relationships. A sudden move isn’t impossible.
Uranus, the planet of upheaval, brings unexpected changes and can be associated with chaos and disorientation, as well as liberation.
Magical, mysterious Neptune is befuddling and inspiring. It dissolves boundaries, spawns illusions, encourages compassion, and stimulates the imagination. Unlike Uranus, Neptune’s influence can be difficult to detect, because it comes wrapped in a haze of confusion. When something’s happening but you don’t know what it is, look to Neptune, which takes about 164 years to travel through the zodiac. The Appendix presents its itinerary.
Neptune conjunct the Sun: Self-pity, moodiness, and a diminished sense of self-esteem are the downsides of this lengthy transit. It can also fortify your idealism, compassion, vision, and psychic sensitivity.
Neptune opposite the Sun: Your ability to deceive yourself (or to allow yourself to be deceived) is at a peak during this vaguely mystifying transit. Though your confidence may waver, sometimes wandering in the wilderness is all you can do. You’re looking for a more compassionate sense of self.
Neptune conjunct the Moon: You’re empathetic, forgiving, and highly attuned to the emotional environment around you, be it positive or negative. To defend yourself against illusion, set limits and pay close attention to your intuition.
Neptune opposite the Moon: Emotional uncertainty, the urge to escape, and unfamiliar obsessions may afflict you. You’re easily deluded, so be cautious about falling in love or devoting yourself to a spiritual advisor with an answer for everything. Don’t let others erode your trust in yourself.
Neptune conjunct Mercury: If you’re a poet, artist, or musician, you’re going to love this transit. But be prepared: The imaginative boost occurs at the expense of the ordinary things you count on Mercury for — like making intelligent decisions or remembering to pay your bills.
Neptune opposite Mercury: Think you’re communicating clearly? Think you’ve come up with a foolproof plan to eradicate war, hunger, or terrorism? Think again. Neptune stimulates your artistic impulses, but it also foments an atmosphere in which misguided thinking can thrive.
Neptune conjunct Venus: You’re acutely sensitive and primed to fall in love. But does the object of your devotion return your affection? Is the relationship as perfect as you imagine? Remember, please, that Neptune is the planet of delusion. Similarly, if you tumble into the trap of self-pity and become convinced that you’ll always be alone, dismiss that feeling and put your trust in art, music, poetry, and the universe.
Neptune opposite Venus: You feel riled up, especially (but not solely) about your love life. Romantic visions dance in your head, yet you’re unwilling or unable to fulfill those dreams. This transit, like the conjunction of Neptune and Venus, stimulates wishful thinking in a big way.
Neptune conjunct Mars: If you’re angry or envious, or you’re wasting your abilities, you dissipate your energy. By acting intuitively and marshalling your talents, you lay the groundwork for success. Pay attention to coincidence and luck, whether good or bad. The outer world mirrors your inner reality and tells you whether you’re on the right path.
Neptune opposite Mars: Confused about what you want? Observe yourself as your suppressed desires rise into awareness and express themselves in your actions. And watch, too, when you respond negatively to other people. Those reactions reflect your shadow, the dark side of your personality.
Neptune conjunct Jupiter: You fantasize about a multitude of possibilities. And so, without even realizing it, you open yourself up to new experiences. Your idealism, compassion, and faith in life grow.
Neptune opposite Jupiter: You’re sympathetic, idealistic, and open to experience — but you’re out of touch with reality. Don’t buy that bridge.
Neptune conjunct Saturn: The rigid rules and regulations you live by aren’t working anymore, and you need to update them with a more inspired, less fearful set of bylaws. Remind yourself that everyone who was born within a few months of you is experiencing this transit. And be sensible about money.
Neptune opposite Saturn: Old fears and blockages appear, and you have to face them squarely. This is a challenging but not necessarily negative time, for Neptune can dispel the limitations of the past.
Neptune conjunct Uranus: In the 21st century, this generational transit affects only the elderly. It’s likely to produce altered states of consciousness, a vision of freedom, and an outbreak of eccentricity.
Neptune opposite Uranus: Vague dissatisfaction of the midlife-crisis kind afflicts you. If you’ve been in a rut, even if it’s one you dug yourself, you may try to redefine yourself through exciting experiences.
Neptune conjunct natal Neptune: If you’re experiencing this transit, you’re too young (still an infant) or too ancient (164) to worry about it.
Neptune opposite natal Neptune: This transit happens at age 82, about two years before Uranus returns. It can coincide with increased confusion, but it can also strengthen your imagination and spiritual awareness.
Neptune conjunct Pluto: This conjunction isn’t going to happen in your lifetime.
Neptune opposite Pluto: This transit exerts a subtle influence that increases awareness and encourages you to rethink various aspects of your life, including psychological issues you’ve tried to repress.
Neptune conjunct the Ascendant: Neptune dissolves the boundaries of the external personality, leaving you unfocused or lost in a reverie. Consciously or not, you may alter your image. At worst, you’re self-destructive. At best, you’re intuitive and creative. Art, music, film, dream analysis, and spiritual exploration are healthy outlets. And there’s nothing wrong with daydreaming.
Neptune opposite the Ascendant: If you’re in a satisfying relationship, the two of you develop a form of communication that’s virtually clairvoyant. But if your relationship is shaky, secrecy and deception can bring the house down. Pay attention to nuance.
Neptune conjunct the Midheaven: The boundaries of your career are dissolving. Mysterious goings-on in the office may worry you and cause you to consider other career options. Satisfaction may come through spiritual matters, film, photography, music, art, oceanography, and anything that involves the healing professions. But beware, for you may also be subject to delusion, as often occurs with Neptune.
Neptune opposite the Midheaven: Confusion or dissatisfaction with your career, your parents, or your home life clouds your decision-making ability. To find purpose and resolution, listen to your inner voice. Or talk to your grandparents. As always with Neptune, help can be found through art, music, spiritual pursuits, and long walks on the beach.
Neptune dissolves boundaries, creates confusion, invites illusion, and sensitizes the imagination.
In 2006, astronomers reclassified Pluto as a dwarf planet. This may make a difference to astrophysicists (though I can’t see why it should). Astrologers essentially don’t care. In our interpretation of the universe, Pluto is associated with power, regeneration, and the underworld of the psyche — a place where alchemy is the operative metaphor and size is deeply, truly meaningless. Plutonian transits, which last for two or three years, coincide with periods of profound change.
Pluto conjunct the Sun: Your awareness increases. You become obsessed with your potential and are ultimately unwilling to be anyone other than your most powerful self. Inappropriate relationships and jobs can drop away during this critical period. Also important: Unresolved issues regarding your father or other authority figures need to be addressed. In the first half of the 21st century, only Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces will experience this transit.
Pluto opposite the Sun: Circumstances force you to take control of your destiny. Relationships may suffer. Despite opposition or conflicts with authority, you’re determined to act in the most powerful possible way. Above all, you seek recognition. Constructive action leads to success; vengeful, fear-based, or egotistical behavior backfires. Over the next couple of years, a new phase of your life begins.
Pluto conjunct the Moon: Powerful emotional forces are swirling around you. You may even have to deal with a death in the family. Concerns that you may have ignored since childhood reemerge, including issues regarding your mother. Confronting issues of dependency and inferiority brings healing and catharsis.
Pluto opposite the Moon: Emotional turmoil and changing family circumstances provoke shifts in your domestic environment. Facing the truth is the only option, painful though it may be.
Pluto conjunct Mercury: Take yourself seriously. Your mental capacity is developing, and your insights are more penetrating than ever before. You’re able to influence others through the spoken or written word.
Pluto opposite Mercury: Differences in opinion, problems in communication, and obsessive (or depressive) thoughts may disturb you. Secrets may be revealed. You also have a chance to communicate in a more forceful way.
Pluto conjunct Venus: Jealousy, resentment, or obsessive love may have you in its grip. Unconsciously you seek a profound connection, and you can probably find it during this intense — and occasionally miserable — period.
Pluto opposite Venus: An emotional crisis can cause a relationship to either crumble or deepen. Disputes, a clash of value, or unresolved sexual issues may need to be addressed. Also, financial problems may hound you.
Pluto conjunct Mars: Increased determination and ambition open many doors. Your increased ability to focus enables you to act with greater effect. Although you need to find ways to manage your anger, your energy is transformed.
Pluto opposite Mars: Upsetting events or circumstances beyond your control force you to take action and to channel your anger in constructive ways.
Pluto conjunct Jupiter: Expand the boundaries of your life, and you can utterly transform it. Opportunities pop up through education, travel, religion, or the law.
Pluto opposite Jupiter: Your desire for success and power motivates you to widen your horizons. Be aware that overestimating yourself is a distinct possibility. Also, if you’re religious, you may experience a crisis of faith.
Pluto conjunct Saturn: Shedding your self-imposed chains is far from easy. This conjunction ushers in a period of intense self-examination and results in permanent change.
Pluto opposite Saturn: Outside forces thwart your efforts and force you to alter your plans during this time of unasked-for change. As always with Saturn, you benefit from self-control and hard work.
Pluto conjunct Uranus: If you’ve repressed your individuality, it reemerges now. Simple rebelliousness leads nowhere. If you have overplayed the flamboyant role, you’re ready to tone down your eccentricities. If you’ve tried to hide your most idiosyncratic self, embrace it now. You’ll find unexpected fulfillment.
Pluto opposite Uranus: Surprising circumstances propel you into the future, forcing you to come to terms with who you are and who you want to be.
Pluto conjunct Neptune: Your dreams, beliefs, and ideals are slowly shifting.
Pluto opposite Neptune: Unless you’re well over 100 years old, this transit isn’t one you have to worry about.
Pluto conjunct natal Pluto: Not possible.
Pluto opposite natal Pluto: Not possible (unless you’re 123 years old).
Pluto conjunct the Ascendant: You’re no longer willing to deny or suppress your personal power. A stronger self-image fortifies your resolution and spurs you to initiate change.
Pluto opposite the Ascendant: You demand to be recognized for the powerful person you are, and you want to make an impact on the world. If a relationship is holding you down in any way, it must go.
Pluto conjunct the Midheaven: Your career (or your role in the community) enters an era of slow, major shift.
Pluto opposite the Midheaven: Habits need to change. Over the next few years, your circumstances at home and your relationship with your parents will undergo a deep shift.
Pluto brings disintegration, regeneration, and metamorphosis. External conflicts with power and internal rumbles within the psyche characterize these transformative transits.
Warning: The Astrologer’s Curse
If you’re anything like me, you may discover that knowing the rudiments of transits can fill you with fear. Sooner or later, you’ll notice a troublesome transit approaching and you’ll start to panic as worst-case scenarios haunt your imagination. Weeks or months later, you may be surprised to realize that not one of the disasters has occurred. Major events, whether positive or negative, require a confluence of influences, which is why the longer you follow the transits, the more restrained you’re likely to become in your predictions.
The rules of transit interpretation are simple:
If the configurations in your birth chart don’t make a certain event possible, it won’t happen, no matter what the transits. Unpredictable Uranus dancing through your second house of finances cheek to cheek with bountiful Jupiter brings a lottery bonanza if and only if your birth chart is littered with aspects for making easy money. The predisposition has to be there.
Even with a birth predisposition, a single transit seldom correlates with a life-altering event. Those dramatic situations arise from a collection of influences, all pointing in a similar direction.
Any transit has several possible interpretations. Nothing is predestined. But the energy of the transit must be expressed. The way that occurs depends on circumstances and on the choices you make.
Here’s a case where foreseeing catastrophe would have been so easy — and so wrong. Imagine a person whose Sun, Ascendant, and several planets are being pummeled not only by Saturn but also by Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. Even individually, those distant worlds have been known to make astrologers twitch. When they all act up at once, it’s hard not to get nervous.
So I wonder what I would have said in 1993 if Toni Morrison, whose chart is reproduced in Figure 16-4, had asked me for a consultation. Her birth chart is in the interior part of the wheel. The transiting planets are in the outer part. Looking at that chart, I would have noticed that Saturn, the planet of lessons, was transiting back and forth over her Sun (and had twice made an exact conjunction with it earlier that year); that Uranus and Neptune, traveling in tandem in the ninth house, were conjunct her Saturn and opposed to her natal Pluto; and that transiting Pluto had been dueling with her Ascendant for about a year and was approaching an exact opposition.
Observing all of this, I might have uttered cheerful words about transformation (Pluto) and responsibility (Saturn). I certainly would have told her that Saturn transiting through the tenth house often correlates with professional success. But secretly, I would have been worried. Like a lot of people, I find it easy to imagine catastrophe.
Figure 16-4: Toni Morrison’s natal chart. Her birth chart is on the inner part of the wheel. The planets scattered around the outer rim represent the transits for 1993.
So what actually happened to Toni Morrison in 1993? She won the Nobel Prize for Literature. And sure enough, with Saturn in her Sun sign, she had indeed reaped what she had sown.
The most self-destructive mistake you can make as an astrologer is to allow your knowledge of transits to become a source of anxiety. Take it from me: Most of the terrifying things that astrologers agonize over never come to pass. Don’t waste your time worrying about them.