Shit Happens…

Byron Bay Lighthouse
Byron Bay Lighthouse

What I’m about to say might get me struck off the astrological register- if indeed there is an astrological register that I am currently on (which I very much doubt).

Sometimes shit just happens.

Yep, it does.

Take the other day for example- I reversed into the garbage bin- one of those tall green weekly collection ones. Thankfully because we had been away there wasn’t a lot to spew out over the road for me to pick up. In any case, it was the fault of the garbage truck company because they usually come at 5 flipping am, and here it was 11am and no garbage truck.

So, I reversed into the bin, had to pick it all up, had to explain to husband who had seen it all happen that no there was no damage to my car- the scratch on that fender had been there for like ages.

An Astro friend asked me what transits I was having. Excuse me, but hello? I reversed into a garbage bin. Shit happens. My transit email for the day advised me to make sure that perceived problems and limitations were real (yep, the garbage bin was there) and if so, what could be done to change it (ummmm move the bin or be careful where I was driving?).

I’m often asked things like:

  • So should I take notice of the little guys?
  • What’s more important? Progressions or major transits?

The answer is not that clear cut.

Today I have transiting Venus square Pluto. Oh, that’s gotta be a scary one, I hear you say. Why? It’s only going to last a couple of days and then it will be gone. A couple of bad hair days and a few days where I need to make sure that I don’t believe false promises and send my account details to that lovely man in Africa who just needs some help in claiming his inheritance.

Sure this is all very tongue in cheek, but usually personal planet transits (ie transits of the Sun, Moon, Mercury and Venus…I’ll deal with Mars shortly) to points and planets in your birthchart will usually only bring a few good or bad hair days, maybe a great opportunity to talk to your boss about whatever issue you need to bring up, or the need to check your appointment book closely. In general, any bad stuff that happens can fall into the shit happens category.

When I say usually and in general, I mean unless that personal planet transit happens to hit the same spot that a larger, longer, big banger is making to your chart. Then that personal transit can trigger something else. Mars transits have the potential to fall into both the shit happens camp and the shit hits the fan category.

Here’s an example. Back in April 2008, Uranus was conjunct my natal Sun. This is classed by us astrologers as a major transit- as is any transit involving Saturn, Uranus, Neptune or Pluto to any of the smaller guys. Especially if by conjunction, square, opposition or inconjunct (yep, I’ve just lately started noticing this one turns up on the biggies)

From memory this was the 1st or 2nd pass. Things had been jumpy, but nothing earth shattering had happened. On the day in question the following transits were impacting my chart:

  • Venus was sitting at 0 Aries, so conjunct natal Saturn
  • Neptune was squaring itself & had been (& would be) on & off for a while
  • Uranus conjunct my Sun was opposite natal Pluto which is exactly inconjunct natal Venus (this is important)
  • Saturn was pretty close to opposing natal Mercury
  • Jupiter was applying to oppose itself
  • The Sun was conjunct natal Venus…and so was the Moon.
  • There was also some stuff happening with progressions & solar arcs, but that would be too much information.

I was in Hong Kong for work the first time, and had predicted an exciting and really cool trip. And it was (except for an incident between my finger and a fire door), until I came home.

I arrived home the day the Sun and Moon were both conjunct Venus ie a New Moon. Surely a nice thing? Nope, I was jetlagged, under-slept, received unexpected news that broke my heart and kicked the bottom out of my world…and came home to find that my kitchen renovations had started and there was a gaping hole where my kitchen used to be- to match the gaping hole where the guts and trust that had been torn out used to be. I honestly don’t think I had cried as hard in years- which of course swelled my nose and eyes up in a rather unattractive manner & ruined the Sun conjunct Venus you will shine transit.

A New Moon on Venus should have been nice, but instead will go down in history as one of the worst days of my life, so far. Why? The New Moon activated that natal Venus/Pluto inconjunction which set off all of the aspects Uranus had been cultivating- without warning, like fireworks. The resultant square also activated the Jupiter opposition- so the loss of hope was sudden and decisive.

And here’s the other thing- there was nothing that I could have done, no pre-emptive actions that I could have taken, that would have made what happened any less painful than it was. Knowing that I had those transits coming up, I had been alert, but in no way would I have predicted what went down. Have I changed anything? Not really. I forgave, and I would trust again- that is part of who I am- although I am a tad more watchful. The structures and feelings that collapsed that day, pushed me out of a zone I had been comfortable in for too long. So the parts of me that needed to learn reliance and individuation, were changed forever- which was the point of that Uranus-Sun conjunction.

The message? Most personal transits will be, dare I say it, transitory, but take notice of anything that activates a major transit or a progression. These triggers can’t be under-estimated.

The Moon and Mars are often culprits when it comes to lighting of fuses, so keep an extra close eye on these in combination with a major transit. Mars transits often signal endings, and in this case, he was pretty close to a square with where all the action was happening.

And todays’ Venus/Pluto square? My little example above constitutes the types of things that you probably shouldn’t say (and will later regret) under this transit, but you know what? Shit happens.

Having said that, I’ll be keeping a close eye on the opposition games between transiting Mars and natal Mercury over the next day or so…

I don’t wanna be the one

pick a red, any red
pick a red, any red

I’m having commitment issues.

Not for the obvious reasons ie relationship, job, etc, but over shellac. Yep that hard stuff that goes on your nails instead of nail polish.

It’s a bit much to have to predict what nail colour mood you might be in 2 weeks down the track. Just saying. Anyways, I blogged this issue across at and anyways…

It’s like having to pre-order meals when you go on a group lunch with work-mates… You know the sort- a farewell for so and so, 20 people around the table, so the restaurant asks you to fax through the pre-order sometimes up to a week in advance. I struggle with this- how do you know what you will feel like a week before you sit down to eat it? It’s the whole commitment thing.

If, like my husband, you have Mercury and Venus both in Libra and find decision making off a menu challenging indeed, pre-ordering can solve the inevitable “just make a flipping decision” from people like me with Venus in Aries.

The other thing I’ve been thinking about is apathy- the NIMBY (Not in My Back Yard) or “it doesn’t matter to me” brigade.

The whole thing came about due a discussion between my neighbours & us yesterday over a bowl of fresh prawns and a couple of bottles of chardy to celebrate Anzac Day (check out my recipe for Anzac Biscuits on the and anyways… blog). A couple of old Aussie protest songs came on the mix and I started reminiscing about various causes I got a tad carried away over. I’ve done my share of protest marching when young -Daintree Rainforest, Gordon/Franklin, Tasmanian logging (South West Tassie’s got a dozer track, and we’ll never ever get Lake Pedder back), Hiroshima Day & a few that I won’t mention here ;). As I got older and so much more mature I graduated to more important things like free corporate car-parking or People Under the Bell-curve (or PUB for short). These days I even feel like responding when spammers spell things wrong like “loose weight quickly”.

But my (Taurus ASC, Scorpio Sun) hubby has a bit of an apathy thing going. I know a few Taurus Moons who have active causes, but these have had Suns (or Ascendants) in one of the more vocal signs. So I wondered if it was a Taurus signature (and no, Taurus, I’m not saying you’re apathetic, I’m just asking the question, so please don’t write to me).

My Cancer (Cap Moon) neighbour was pretty much with him, her Sag hubby (Taurus Rising) was of the “why bother” mentality. The resident 18 year old (Gemini Sun conjunct MC, Leo Moon) is very politically aware, but the 15 year old (Taurus Sun, Scorpio Moon) and 14 year old (my daughter- Cap ASC, Aries Sun, Aquarius Moon) were really only interested in discussing whether any members of One Direction got chlamydia from pissing koalas on their recent visit.

I’m sure I was more politically aware than that at their age…

…the fridge is full of beer and I’m alright so

It doesn’t matter to me, I’ll just watch you all on my colour tv

Thanking God it’s not me…

Lyrics from It Doesn’t Matter to Me and The Long Run by Redgum

left to my own devices


Absolutely Fabulous, Series 4- the Detox episode.

On a girls night out, which is every night frankly, because no one has a man, the girls are talking about how every racehorse needs a donkey (symbolically speaking) as 2 racehorses in the same stable would, as Patsy so eloquently put it, “kick the shit out of each other”. The discussion moves onto attachments:

Magazine Girl to Katy Grin: Everyone has their crutches, their security blanket- being mean is yours.

Eddie: I haven’t got one

(all the girls laugh)

Katy: You’re fat. Surely you can see that, we certainly can’t miss it!

Katy: What’s yours Patsy?… Its obvious… the 60’s forelock. Put it back, lets see what you look like  under there….at least you can pin your fringe back whereas you (turning to Eddy) you can’t pin your fat back.

Eddy has an epiphany and decides to reinvent herself into a luggage-less version of herself. Her fat is her excess baggage. She embarks on a detox (nobody diets these days, darling) with the aim that in 3 weeks time she wants to be on the cusp of organ failure, an x-ray with a pulse…

Eddy for all her “out there” behaviour and spotlight hogging, swallows her real feelings and accumulates things around her to guard against tomorrow. When Pats says “your stomach is like a dog that doesn’t know when it is going to be fed next and just hangs around until you want to kick it,” she is talking about a reluctance to trust that abundance will continue. (Patsy, on the other hand, hasn’t eaten since 1974.)

Materialism, attachment, accumulation, fear of letting go- all of these are words associated with Taurus. It is no coincidence that the RSS feed on my personal email has lately been filled with other peoples blogs on materialism, living the minimalist way or getting rid of attachments.

Like Eddie and Pats, our attachments don’t necessarily need to be materialistic. It can be anything that makes us feel safe, anything that makes us feel secure. I can totally identify with Eddie’s fat as security- those extra layers can definitely provide protection- they stop people from seeing the person under the layers, in a way they provide protection from temptation or exposure. They provide an excuse for staying with the status quo.

We can be attached to feelings, to goods, to a hair style, to the past. We can be attached to the way things are, the way things were or the way that we think they might be. We can be attached to a dream, a hope, or a vision. We can be attached to a lost love, the idea of love, the fantasy of a love.

Not everything that we hang onto is, by definition, good. How many people do you know of in unhealthy relationships for whatever reason? How many people do you know who will listen to good advice and then pop their own roadblocks or excuses up? I’ll be the 1st to put my own hand up for that one- on a number of different levels.

Getting rid or letting go of what we are attached to can be scary as it removes an excuse for moving forward. Holding onto that clutter or baggage can weigh you down physically or symbolically. It is there in the friend who insists on closure from her ex before saying yes to the guy standing in front of her.  It is there when we hold onto a job long past its use by date because the current one, for all its faults, makes us feel safe. It’s there when we hold onto a pair of jeans that are 2 sizes too small because throwing them out is almost like abandoning the idea that we will ever fit into them again.

At the end of the day, those jeans really are just jeans (no pun or inadvertent advertising intended) and getting rid of them is not an admission of failure. It is acknowledging that they are taking up valuable room in your wardrobe that can be filled with something fabulous and new when you do drop those 2 sizes.

I am doing it at present- holding onto words I have written for a book that I am too scared to have someone read because putting them out there will expose me without the layers of protection.  I know I need to let it go and trust, but with trust is fear of rejection as well. I will choose carefully and grit my teeth and hope that my trust is not misplaced.

Wherever Taurus is in your chart will give you an idea about where you have problems letting go. It also shows where you need to just “be”- in the present, in the moment, in the pleasure. Where you need to take the time to smell the roses, reconnect with your body and indulge your senses.

With Mars now direct (thank goodness- just how long was that retrograde?), we have the support needed to move forward, to shore up what needs to be stabilized, and the discrimination to let go of what needs to be let go of- even if that includes that pair of 2 sizes too small jeans at the back of the wardrobe. It also gives you the energy to replace old worn out habits with something more appropriate (where required)…although the most annoying thing about starting new habits is that you have to do it more than once…

Anyway, back to Eddy… after 3 weeks on detox without so much as a sniff of alcohol, she has lost some weight and is feeling well chuffed with herself. The same group of girls in the same restaurant, but this time they are discussing Sex & the City.

“I’ll be Sarah Jessica Parker,” volunteers Eddy.

The others laugh and Katy Grin says “you’re still too fat!”

No one notices Eddy’s weight loss- that particular baggage was more important to her than it was to anyone else… as all good baggage usually is.

Taurus New Moon 1Taurus35′, 5.18pm (Sydney time) 21 April, 2012

Ask AstroJo: Traditionally Yours

Mooloolaba Beach at sunrise
Mooloolaba Beach at sunrise

I’ve been on a family holiday/roadtrip to the Sunshine Coast. Along the way I had some connectivity issues which, whilst convenient for me, meant that I haven’t posted on here for simply ages. Here’s one I prepared earlier…I’ll post more astro later today (& maybe some travel stuff as well) after I finish emptying suitcases into washing machines. Oh, and thanks to those readers who asked these particular questions! Keep ’em coming.

Sometimes you talk about Traditional Astrology. What do you mean by that?

Traditional astrology is the craft as practised hundreds, ok thousands, of years ago. It uses techniques as taught back then.

Traditionally people weren’t interested in things like relationship astrology, or what their Aries boss was like or whether you had control issues as a result of all the Pluto in your chart. Traditionally, Pluto didn’t exist- the Universe existed only to Saturns boundary. No asteroids, no Chiron, no Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. Life spans were shorter and priorities were very different and seriously, if you were feeling unfulfilled at work, well, it was a 14th century case of buy some cement and harden the flip up.

Medical practitioners studied astrology, and for most of the population, astrology was useful really only for what we now now as “electional” ie pick a time, and “horary”, single question purposes.

The aspects were as expressed by Ptolemy (this dude who lived forever ago) and were simple: conjunction, square, opposition, sextile, trine.

Fixed stars and calculated points or “arabic parts” (such as the part of Fortune, the part of Misery, the part of Spirit, the part of Barley) were used widely.

These days most astrologers use a combination of modern and traditional techniques. By default, as soon as you start looking at personality profiles and psychological astrology, you are in modern territory. Some stick purely to the traditional, while others bring in every asteroid or moving part in the Universe and every possible aspect.

Ultimately, it is what suits you.

Personally, I like a mix of both- traditional, with some modern. I tend not to use asteroids (but that isn’t to say I won’t get into that in the future) mainly because I don’t like to complicate things and I really haven’t spent much time learning about them. Having said that, they illustrate a chart beautifully and absolutely have a place. I especially like to see the impact of Lilith and find Ceres fascinating when it comes to looking at eating disorders and weight issues- but that is just something I am playing around with at present.

I also follow other traditional “rules” such as I consider only same sign aspects. As an example, I have the Moon at 27 Pisces, and Saturn at 1 Aries. Many astrologers would consider that conjunct. I don’t. To me, there is no aspect at all. The possibility of my Moon to make as aspect with Saturn ceases at the border of Pisces. Same sign only. But, that is my opinion.

Do you use traditional and modern rulers when you are writing an article of in one of the FAA exams?

FAA is the Federation of Australian Astrologers.

It depends on the topic. When I did the electional and horary questions in the advanced paper I stuck only to the traditional planets and traditional rulers.  Traditional astrology questions = traditional rulers.

When it comes to more modern topics ie relationship astrology, personalities etc I use both- as I believe both have a role to play. I don’t think you can understand Pisces from a personality viewpoint without considering the nature of both rulers- and the same applies to Scorpio and Aquarius.

When I was doing the exams, I kept it consistent and also “worded in” that I was using both. Oh, and yes, I passed 🙂

How close to the cusp in your natal chart do you read for the planet being in the next sign? What about house cusps?

I don’t. At all. When it comes to planets they are either in a sign or they aren’t. The first degree and last degree seem to have a huge amount of whatever that signs energy is, so enjoy it.

Eg if you have your Moon at 29 Pisces 36’, it is a Pisces Moon and shouldn’t be “read” into Aries…assuming your birth time is correct, that is (as an aside, any time you have a Moon within 5 degrees of a sign (ie 0-5 or 25-29 degrees) make sure that the birth time you are using is reliable.

Now, to house cusps…this one is a tad trickier to answer.

If you read any of John Frawleys’ Real Astrology texts, if a planet is in the same sign as the house cusp and within 5 degrees of that house cusp, he “reads” the planet as being in that house. Eg say the cusp of the Midheaven (or 10th house) is 10 Taurus and Venus is at 7 Taurus, you would “read” that Venus as being in the 10th house.

Other astrologers may argue with me (and that is fine), but I only apply this logic when I am working with horary, electional or other traditional techniques. I do not apply this to natal charts. In a natal chart, that Venus at 7 degrees is a 9th house Venus- in my humble opinion.

This is what has worked for me. Again, though, be consistent and listen to what resonates with you.

Let It Go: Pluto Retrograde 2012


OK, I am holidays at present, so here is last years Pluto retrograde post updated…

In my younger less married days I used to love doing the Cleo and Cosmo sex quizzes on the train to work. Learned some interesting things from them too… but obviously that is not for here..I would make sure that I counted the score in my head so no one reading over my shoulder could see my answers and therefore know what I really thought about doing _______, or whether I really would be likely to________ or indeed had done_______ where? Really? There?

Recently I have been having some fun with a series of Outer Planet point scoring quizzes that Donna Cunningham has been running on her Skywriter website. Just like the Cleo & Cosmo sex quizzes I have learned a lot, but this time the things I have learned have been about myself and are therefore possibly more useful in everyday life- or so I would hope.

Obviously I am so much more mature now too, so am going to publish my results for all to see-  the results are possibly not as interesting (to some) as the sex quiz stuff, but some things are best left to the imagination.

First up was How Plutonian are you? Being so Piscean, I always knew that I was pretty influenced by Neptune, but the Pluto result blew me away. Using her system (check it out here), my Pluto score was a massive 74 points. Anything over 25pts is seen as being very Plutonian, with association with all the good and bad sides of Pluto and Scorpio  (see Donna’s article for more explanation– Donna is the expert on all things Pluto): power, control, trust, holding on to things & feelings, revenge, obsession, healing, transformation. Looking honestly at myself, I do have to say it is all true- the good & the bad. With most of my Piscean planets in opposition to Pluto & with Pluto sitting right on my Descendant, the struggle with trust & power & control- particularly in relationships has been constant battle.

Anyways, Pluto is now retrograde through until mid September. As with all retrograde planets, the retrograde motion makes Pluto act, well, more Plutonian and Plutonian people even more susceptible to Pluto.

As with all retrogrades, the energy is directed inward rather than externally. In Plutos’ case, it acts sort of like a planetary detox where the crap (for want of a better term) in our lives is eliminated (a very Pluto word). This can be emotions we have been holding onto, attitudes or values which should have changed or evolved, vendettas we should have let go of, revenge fantasies we are just waiting for the right moment to act upon (ooops, that’s me!), secrets that you have been keeping under wraps.

For those of you who are strongly influenced by Pluto (see below) or currently experiencing major Pluto transits (especially anyone with the Sun, Moon or ascendant at or around 4-8 Cancer, Capricorn, Libra or Aries), this will be a big thing. Now is the time to get rid of those photos (you know the ones at the back of your drawer of X with Y), or, alternatively do some internal Pluto work on yourself- a physical detox, heavy meditation- anything that is regenerative and gets you back in touch with the innermost core of you. Pluto retrogrades often bring sudden expansion or loss of power, manipulation, obsession and power struggles are the order of the day.

As with all retrograde cycles, the critical points are the station degrees- in this case 9 Capricorn 33’ where he is stationing retrograde and 6 Capricorn 57’ where he will station to turn direct. These are points of pretty huge transformation and metamorphosis if they happen to fall on a sensitive point in your natal chart. Personally speaking, my north node falls at 7 Taurus 44’,  & Mercury at 6 Pisces, so this is one retrograde period I will be taking notice of.

Now, this is the bit where I have to have a good hard talk to some of you guys- Pluto does not necessarily equal bad, so don’t look for negativity. Where there may be potential. Sure it may be like that- there is no denying. It will also be hard, challenging and all those words where it does hit your chart, but a Pluto transit can also be healing, manifesting and transforming ie ultimately powerfully cool.

Whatever happens there is no escaping the effect…Pluto is like that…but trust me, hanging onto those photos, revenge fantasies and whatever will not help. Let em’ go…if you can…

Was it worth it?

Aberdeen, Hong Kong. Pic by me.
Aberdeen, Hong Kong. Pic by me.

Regular readers have heard me wax lyrical from time to time about those soupy dumplings I first tried in Hong Kong, and later wherever I can get them…xiao long bao…

Anyways, when I was in Hong Kong, I could easily have had these 3 meals a day. In case you’re interested, there are about 310 calories in a serving of 5 of the succulent little beauties. Being on limited funds, being on my own, and being in a new country, I would grab these wherever I could, although there was this great place right next to where I used to stay at the Excelsior, that was just a little too convenient.

There is this restaurant over there which does dumplings to Michelin rated standards- which sounds like a dream come true for me, except for one teeny little detail. You get a ticket and wait. Hello? One of my favourite tweeps tweeted today that he was facing a 3 hour wait. At lunch time on a Monday? You can’t be serious. I get the irrits at a 40 minute wait at our local yumcha, and time any visits to Din Tai Fung to keep the waiting time to the absolute minimum.

I don’t do queuing, and I most certainly do not do delayed gratification. I have Venus in Aries and trust me, when I want something, I am going to want to hunt it down Right Now. And with Venus square Jupiter, I want a lot…Right Now.

My neighbor and I are doing these tarot classes at the moment and she laughed last week when I asked “don’t you ever just want to go straight to the outcome card?” I was serious.

In contrast, a friend with Venus in Scorpio is painstakingly putting away money each week for a special weekend she wants to take her husband on. For her the anticipation will make it so much sweeter- especially when she breaks out the new lingerie saved for the occasion. Speaking of which…anything new? I have to wear it immediately.

Another friend with Venus in Taurus is waiting for a particular man she knows and wants…and has been, waiting and wanting, that is, for some time. For her sake I sure hope that he is worth it. Someone else I know with Venus in Virgo delays doing things until the time (or the finances or the situation) is exactly right- which it never seems to be.

My mother (Venus in Aquarius) used to say “you can’t miss what you don’t have, Joanne.” She might be able to detach, but I can’t. I do miss it, I yearn for what I can’t have- usually an opportunity that isn’t coming around quickly enough. Yes, Pluto is involved heavily in my chart and inconjunct Venus, so I obsess a bit and then I move on- to something else, and yearn for that with the same intensity.

I know the argument for waiting is that the taste is so much sweeter- sort of like the first time you kiss someone after wanting to for so long. You can only ever experience a first kiss once, a first anything once. But surely once there has been a first, you can then look forward to the second- unless the first was pretty crap, in which case it was better that you find out early in the process rather than wait and be disappointed…in my humble opinion anyway.

They say that if you get it easily it isn’t worth as much, but what if when you get it, it really wasn’t worth the wait? To use the same analogy, what if he is a crap kisser? All that time that you could have spent doing something else? And if he is great, think of how many wonderful kisses you would miss out on while waiting?

The Economist in me thinks also about the opportunity cost of delaying gratification:

  • What if the book ending is naff, the dog dies, the heroine gets the wrong bloke, or it is otherwise really disappointing? Your time would have been better spent reading something you enjoy or can learn something from.
  • What is the movie ending is not how it should be? Ie the dog dies, the heroine gets the wrong bloke, or it is otherwise really disappointing? That’s 3.5 hours (including travel, parking and waiting time) that you’ll never get back.
  • What if you miss out on something in the meantime? And yes, I know the whole “the one you miss out on is the one you never get”, but I’m Plutonian, so, what if?

So yes, this all makes me sound like a spoiled bitch, and I guess I am. I am actively trying to stop and feel gratitude before moving on. I am also trying to actively remind myself that things happen when the time is right for them to happen, but have to admit to more than a small part of me (the Pluto part) wondering whether there is something that I can do to hurry the process up just a tad.

I googled the Hong Kong Dumpling House. Apparently the dumplings are miraculously good- like dumplings elevated into something higher. I guess if I snacked on something first (hunger never results in good manners), and concentrated on the people watching opportunities, or did a spot of shopping in the meantime, or even read a book while waiting, I could manage the wait…if the dumplings really are that good.

How does your Venus reflect what you want and how long you are prepared to wait to get it? How do you respond when you lose or miss out on something of value?

Ask AstroJo: The Transit Edition


Thanks for the questions. I have more to post, but for now, here are the ones relating (loosely) to transits…

What order do you refer to transits eg if transiting Venus is conjunct Pluto in your birthchart, how do you say that?

A very good question, with 2 answers.

  1. When we refer to planets making contacts with our birth (or natal) chart, we always refer to the transiting planet first eg Venus conjunct Pluto, or, if you want to be exact, Venus conjunct natal Pluto. If it is Pluto that is the transiting planet, this would be reversed ie Pluto conjunct Venus…and in this case, just a tad scarier!
  2. When we refer to aspects being made in the planetary weather, ie now in the sky, we always refer to the fastest moving planet making (or applying) a transit to the slower planet. In order of speed, they are (usually): Moon, Sun, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Pluto. The exceptions? When a (normally) slower planet is applying to make an aspect to a retrograde one or one that has slowed down eg if Venus is coming up from behind and will pass Mercury along the way, Venus is applying to Mercury, so we would say Venus conjunct Mercury.

Sometimes you say “applying” and sometimes you say “separating”. What does this mean?

A planet which is moving towards an aspect with another planet is said to be “applying” to that planet. Eg if Venus and Mars are both in Leo (which we know they aren’t). Venus is a faster moving planet and will most likely pass Mars. So, if Venus is at 10 Leo, and Mars is at 12 Leo they might meet or “perfect” the conjunction at 14 Leo. Until they do, the aspect is “applying”. Once the aspect has been exact (to the minute), or “perfected”, the faster moving planet will begin to “separate” or move away. Naturally this relates to all other aspects as well. As an aside, say you have Venus applying to Mars at 18 Gemini 21′ and Venus gets as far as 18 Gemini 12′ before turning retrograde, strictly speaking that aspect did not perfect. This is important mainly for horary or electional astrology.

Are you scared of any transits?

Wow! Ummm, how do I answer this? I have so many people saying stuff like “Saturn is moving into my 5th house, so there goes my fun for the next couple of years” or “Uranus is conjunct Venus- when will I ever get a break?”

Firstly, when personal planets (Sun-Mars) transit something bigger in your birth chart, it generally means little more than a good or bad hair day…unless there is an underlying bigger theme happening (ie an outer planet transit or a progression…a subject for another Q&A). So when someone says OMFG I have Venus square Pluto coming up, I’m a little “whatever” ish about it.

It’s when they say Pluto square Venus that I start to listen.

Having said that, don’t just read the horror stories. Sure it might be hard or challenging (and, let’s face it, whenever Pluto is involved there will be challenges involved even with the so called “easier” transits) but look also at how you can work with that transit.

Eg Pluto conjunct the Midheaven can mean problems with authority and power struggles, It may manifest in your career being kicked out from under your feet. But none of that will happen unless it needs to. It can also mean that you step up and accept power, leadership or authority- that you are ready to accept this.

Look also at the aspects that outer planet makes natally. Eg if Pluto aspects Venus natally or you have Venus in Scorpio, any Pluto-Venus transit may not be as difficult for you as it would be for someone else because you live with those themes every single day of your life.

Back to the question: Am I scared of any transits? Yep. When I see Saturn coming I run a mile- simply because Saturn does not aspect any other planet in my chart, so I have not integrated it well into my life. As a result, any Saturn energy coming at me is new, unfamiliar and just plain eeeeuw.