The moment you were born the heavens froze and this the mystical map of the soul, called a birth chart, is what astrologers use to understand an individual’s life path or journey. We spend our lives attempting to integrate the entirety of our chart, in an attempt to realize our soul’s potential (or to individuate in psychological terms). Ideally we move between aspects of our chart with ease allowing every planet its own expression.
However, as we go along in life, the planets continue moving around the sun and coming into relationship with the planets in our chart. This real-time movement of a planet orbiting a moment in time as our birth chart is called a transit. At any given time, we can have myriad transits to our personal charts in addition to the collective planetary alignments we may be experiencing at any given time such as the current Mercury Retrograde or Mars conjunct Saturn. While sometimes transits can get a bad rap (I’m looking at you Saturn), to me they are not good or bad, only an opportunity to reveal another part of ourselves wanting consciousness. Transits offer incredible moments to learn more about our charts and our individual evolutionary process.
One of the more important transit we have are called “returns,” which are moments when a planet returns to the same place it is in our chart when we were born (i.e. our “Solar return” is our birthday). Below are the planetary returns both major and minor:
• Lunar Return: Occurs every 28 days, or 13 times a year and may offer a theme for the next lunar cycle depending upon which house your moon is in.
• Solar Return: Occurs once a year and can be a recharge time for your life force energy and a renewed sense of purpose. (Somewhat confusing is that your birthday and Solar Return may not occur on the same day, but for that is an explanation for another time.)
• Mercury Return: Once a year, even though the orbit of Mercury around the sun is only 88 days, because of its retrograde cycle three times a year it moves more slowly around the chart. It can be a great time for revitalizing our intellect and thinking.
• Venus Return: Approximately once a year, and can indicate a time of renewal around pleasure, love, or feeling attractive.
• Mars Return: Around every two years, bringing with it more courage, assertiveness, or possible agitation.
• Jupiter Return: Every 12 years and tends to bring about growth, expansion, or new ideals.
The less frequent returns often coincide with larger life decisions or transitions:
• Saturn Return: Every 28-30 years depending on its retrograde cycle and your chart. Tends to get a bad reputation, but this transit is about clearing out what doesn’t serve you to move more into your maturity. It beckons us into reality and responsibilities and may show us all the areas of our lives or show us where we are out of integrity. Saturn may come with more difficult lessons, but its rewards are timeless and incredibly valuable to our overall journey. Those things we don’t face in our first Saturn Return may be revisited during our 2nd around 60 or even our 3rd at 90.
• Chiron Return: Every 50 years and can offer a deep time of healing and resolve any wounding that may be unacknowledged or holding us back. This time may also be about becoming a healer or claiming authority about a healing modality to serve others. It may offer a time of owning more of our spiritual potential as it rules the 3rd eye chakra.
• Uranus Return: While Uranus takes much longer to orbit, we don’t experience a Uranus Return unless we live into our 100s, but we can get a dose of it at the Uranus Opposition famously called the “mid-life crisis” around 40-42. At this time we can be restless and may have difficulty navigating our energy (Uranus rules kundalini), it is a wonderful time for exploring our evolutionary process and diving into consciousness studies or astrology!
• Pluto Return: Every 248 years, most likely won’t be alive for this unless some sort of immortal elixir is confirmed. However, the Pluto square Pluto transit in 50s or 60s depending on your chart, can be quite stressful if not understand. As the planet Pluto rules power, truth, and it can be a time of a lot of transformation and powerful change.
Most of the time when people come see me they are having a major transit and needing support-- especially wanting to know will end and things can get back to normal. The length of a transit depends on the planet, as the smaller ones move more quickly and don’t last as long. Planets such as Saturn or Pluto, their effects can be much longer lasting up to a few years depending on the orb, or distance the planet is from your natal planet.
I often describe a transit as a time when that planet really wants your attention, like a retrograde In this way, first part of a transit tends to show us the more difficult or shadow aspects of that planet. As it continues and we get more of the lessons we needed it tends to loosen its grip a bit as we integrate what it wants to teach us.
In this way a transit can feel somewhat like a pressure cooker at times--shifting and evolving our identity sometimes in intense ways. It may evoke more happiness, fun, or spontaneity or conversely sadness, depression, or agitation. Planets like Pluto tend to transform, while Saturn begs us for more structure. However, what all transits all have in common is the desire for our own evolution and growth to more fully embody our life’s purpose. With that in mind, I do my best to feel grateful for each transit…yes, even Saturn.