The Power of Astrology: An Overview of Planetary Transits
Your astrological chart is a snapshot of where the planets were at the exact time you were born. This forms the part of you that doesn’t really change much during your life. However, in real life, you grow up, get your heart broken, find others who bring you joy, change jobs, and mature into a unique and wonderful adult.
Like you, the planets don’t remain still; they move across the sky at varying speeds. And this movement through the sky – and through the houses and signs of the astrological wheel – are called transits.
Inner and Outer Planets
Planets transit through signs and houses at different speeds. Planets that transit faster are sometimes called “inner” planets. These planets are the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, and Mars. These planets rarely have long-lasting influences but can sometimes be disruptive to other outer planets whose transit times are much longer. The Moon, Mercury, Venus, and Mars are also considered “inner” planets because they closely follow the Sun.
Outer planets – Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto – spend much more time transiting through the entire astrological wheel. It can take Saturn roughly 30 years to make an entire turn on the wheel, and Uranus can take up to 84 years. Neptune and Pluto take well over 100 years to circle the wheel. Clearly, you’ll only experience these planets transiting certain houses and signs during your lifetime.
When a planet transits a house, it brings action and awareness to that house and the areas of life that house represents. For example, a planet transiting your second house would impact your resources (what you have and how those resources are earned), your possessions or “stuff,” and your material values.
Depending on which house system you use to pull your astrological chart (two popular systems are Placidus and Whole Sign), one house may be larger than another. It will take planets longer to transit larger houses, and you may feel the effects of these planets more. For example, Mercury spends 14 to 30 days (depending on its motion) in a sign while Neptune can spend up to 14 years in a single sign.
Planets other than the Sun and Moon all go into “retrograde.” These planets may appear to be moving backward in the night sky, but in reality, this is an optical illusion. Retrograde planets in your chart are marked with an “R” and a little “x.”
During times of retrograde, matters relating to that planet may be unstable or unpredictable. One of the most common retrogrades is Mercury retrograde. Because Mercury deals with communication, people sometimes feel the need to be extra clear and specific when speaking or writing to others. They sometimes put off signing contracts and can experience technical glitches.
The energies of planets in retrograde are often thought of as being “in review.” Reviewing, revisiting, renovating, revamping, and revising are all words associated with times of retrograde. It’s as if the planets are taking a pause “just to check and make sure” before they go direct (move forward) again.
Because transits are connected to our reality, and our reality – and the world- change daily, transits reflect the consciousness of our collective reality. And because each of us has different charts and planetary aspects (how planets relate to each other), we experience that collective reality differently.
Understanding transits can help us understand what is going on in the collective world and our own lives. Knowing that inner and outer planets transit at different speeds can help us understand why one event may impact us much more deeply than another. Remembering that retrograde periods are times to revisit and review can help us not feel quite so stressed when planetary energy is unstable.
Next month, I’ll discuss the importance of your ascendant, sun, and moon.
Written by Brooke Davis
Brooke Davis is a tarot teacher and wellness coach who enjoys helping the tarot-curious learn about the cards by using intuition and insight, not just definitions from a book. Her four-course Tarot 101 series is offered online through Discover Your Spiritual Gifts. Register for the next session here.
Information for this post was taken from Astrological Transits: The Beginner’s Guide to Using Cycles to Plan and Predict Your Day, Week, Year (or Destiny) by April Elliott Kent.