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A Beginner's Perspective
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What are transits?
A beginning point in learning.
When we use the term "daily transits," astrologers are describing the movement of the planets through the sky based on a visual perspective from Earth. If you were to go outside (preferably out of the city where you can actually see beyond the buildings) and you were to turn all the way around while looking out to the areas where the "sky" meets up with the Earth, that is called the horizon. When you turned all the way around, your perspective of the horizon made a complete circle. The perception of the planets crossing the horizon at various points along that circle is the basis from which Astrology was formed
Astrologers noticed that, at certain times of the day, they could see the planets dawning and setting on the horizon at slightly different points of the circle as the days passed. When they charted these points, the astrologers began to see a pattern of movement that we now call transits. Early on, the planets that the astrologers were able to see were the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. They also noticed psychological patterns that seemed to correspond with the locations of the planets on the horizon. At some point in time, some of the astrologers divided up the circle into twelve sectors that we now call the zodiac. The zodiac is believed to be in relation to the various constellations of stars that can be seen at different times of the year.
The Sun moves relatively quickly through the zodiac as defined by its placement in the sky. Okay now, we all know that the Sun is not really "moving," right? In truth, it is the Earth that transits around the Sun, making it appear as though the Sun is moving. However, we still call the perception of the Sun moving, the Sun's transit. Astrology was established long before we had the ability to understand that it was our Earth moving in a solar system, and not the other way around. We also know that the Sun is not a planet. The Sun is an enormous star. But, for astrology sake, we call the Sun a planet.
The Sun's movement through the zodiac is at approximately one degree per day. There are 365.25 days in a year, so there are more days in the year than there are degrees in the zodiac's 360 degree circle. Because of this, there is always a little shift of time and space between the twelve signs of the zodiac and the placement of the Sun. To explain that factor is well beyond the scope of this beginner's guide. To keep this at a beginner's level, we will just say that the Sun moves approximately one degree per day through the zodiac. With the movement, the Sun will transit through all the signs in the zodiac in about one year.
From the astrological point of view, everyone has twelve houses, which are similar to the 12 signs in their charts. The size of the houses and the placement of the Ascendant (the chart's starting point) will depend on when and where we were born. To find this information, you will need to have your chart cast. There are many services out there, online and in astrology magazines, that will cast your chart so that you can know this information. Without this information, you can not begin to figure out how the transits are likely to impact you. This is the type of information that moves you well beyond those Sun Sign Horoscopes.
Now that we know just how confusing the Sun's transit is, we can throw in the Moon's transit which will be equally confusing. In the astrology world, the Moon is called a planet. We all know that it is not a planet, but is actually a satellite to the Earth. Explaining the the placement of the Moon in the solar system is moot since it needs the Earth in order to function. The fact that the Moon is so close to the earth allows it to move quickly through the zodiac. The Moon can, and does, move through all 12 signs in less than 30 days. That means that it only stays in one sign for about two and one/half days at a time before moving into the next sign. The transits of the Moon are quick, to say the least. The connections (aspects) that it forms to other planets generally do not last for more than a few hours. In the grand scheme of things, the transits of the Moon are as fleeting as our emotions. They feel important for a moment, but are ever-changing throughout the day.
When looking at transits of the Moon, there are certain factors that astrologers pay attention to more than others. The house that the Moon is transiting can tell us what type of actions to take within a short period of time. Lunar returns denote the return of the transiting Moon to a specific point in the natal chart where the Moon was on the day of birth. This occurs once a month and is usually not the same day each month. An assessment of the Lunar return can help us set the stage for an entire month of activity. Lunations and Eclipses are other factors that astrologers can to pay attention to. Each month, there are lunations; a New Moon, where the transiting Sun and Moon conjoin, and there is a Full Moon, where the transiting Sun and Moon oppose. The Eclipse transits are amplifications of the New and Full Moons. When some astrologers interpret transits to a chart, they may look at these events as highlights of initiating activity or finishing activity.
A New Moon and a Full Moon usually occurs once a month. The New Moon's transit through a house in the chart can indicate an area in our life where it would be advantageous to begin an activity. The Full Moon's transit through a house in the chart can signify a time to wrap up a project in a certain area of our life. Using the Moon in this way can help clear up some of the confusion that we might be feeling. These are the areas in our life that would not be covered by a daily sun sign horoscope.
Some astrologers do not use the Moon when forecasting because the Moon does transit through the chart so swiftly. On the other hand, using the Moon can help us to hone in, with finer detail, about what might be the solution to a bigger problem. Looking for the significant highlights based on the lunations, eclipses and house transits can provide considerable guidance.
There's more. That was just the beginning of transits. Other planets that we can look at and factor into a forecast to help guide us through life are Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. Not counting the Moon, the Sun, Mercury and Venus move the quickest through our charts and tend to be the most noticeable in the short term as they move through. They generally make a circle in approximately one year. The transits of the Moon, Sun, Mercury and Venus are defined as the personal planets. We feel their impacts more often on a day to day basis.
Mars, Jupiter and Saturn move less quickly. They are sometimes called transitional planets because we generally notice a transition when they make a complete cycle. Mars completes the circle in a little less than two years. Jupiter completes the circle in a little less than 12 years. Saturn completes the circle in a little less than 30 years.
Uranus, Neptune and Pluto are called a variety of terms, from outer planets to trans-personal planets to generational planets. Because their transits are very slow, we are not quick to notice their transformative affects. Uranus completes the circle in approximately 85 years. Neptune completes the circle in a little less than 165 years. The longest transit that we are aware of is Pluto which completes the circle in a little less than 250 years.
My goal with this article is to encourage everyone to learn more about their own chart. It is my personal belief that if you are going to rely on astrology to help guide you, then you should take the time to develop a basic understanding of how your chart looks and where the planets are located in your chart. Lunar Living Astrology provides a very basic, online version of the birth chart's planet placements, without all the fancy icons and glyphs. However, there are lots of other sites out there that can be used to cast your chart. Knowing your chart can provide you the beginning tools for truly understanding your life.
The DayWatch calendar system that we provide can help to bring the Daily Transit information to you in a simplified way. The calendar systems and transit details are easy to read and help you stay current with the planetary messages.
-- © 2004 J McCaul Lunar Living Astrology --