When I first started with astrology I used to painstakingly work out all my transits. I’d get my ephemeris out and decide what was going to hit me and what date it would be exact. I even used that sort of language – language like “direct hit” or “wallop”. Using language like that it was really no wonder that I’d then worry about it.
Granted there were probably good reasons. Back then – when I was first learning – it coincided with a lot of “big” transits. Uranus was in Pisces and conjunct all my Pisces planets….one by one, one after the other. Pluto was in Sagittarius and squared all my Pisces planets…one by one, one after the other. Saturn moved into Virgo and was opposite all my Pisces planets…one by one, one after the other. At the same time, I had all the usual mid-life transits happening in the background. I could go on.
Needless to say, it was a busy 3-4 years – and I was exhausted by the worry of what would happen. Nothing did. Not on the surface anyway. Plenty was going on below it. At the time, all I wanted was for it all to be over; and then suddenly it was over – in the way that things tend to be over, without me knowing it.
Everything in those few years was taking place in the 1st, 7th and 10th house of my chart. My entire life was changing. What occurred over those years – as tough as those few years were – changed me forever, in a good way, I think. I wouldn’t be doing what I am now if it wasn’t for that time. I grew in a way that I wouldn’t have grown had things been easier.
On their own, the transits were like individual trees – only part of the story, but when I plotted them all on a spreadsheet, I could see the forest. The big picture came into view. By looking at them in isolation, I lost perspective. By plotting it all, I could see the big picture. Now it’s become part of my annual planning session. In fact these days I rarely look at individual transits – I’m more interested in what it means as a whole.
It’s how I knew that 2015 would be tough and 2016 tougher. I could see it on the map. Plotting my transits put the whole thing into perspective, and allowed me to deal with it more intentionally. Rather than blaming someone or something for what was happening – although there were times that I did that – I could see what the lesson what that I was supposed to be learning and react or act accordingly.
Notice I didn’t say that it allowed me to predict or control the outcome of what was going on. What it did do was allow me to see the themes and adapt my behaviour and my actions accordingly.
Those years were tough and the decisions we made hard, but I wouldn’t be living the life I am now if it wasn’t for the transits of the last couple of years.
In contrast, 2018 was relatively “quiet” in terms of so-called “difficult” transits – and that’s very much how the year has panned out – more on that next time.
How to map your transits
Ok, this does take some work on your behalf – there are no shortcuts – and the first time this will take you a couple of hours to do. I now know my chart really well and have everything in place so it took me just an hour to do this year.
So this is what I do.
You’ll need your chart…
Of course. If you know your birth time, follow the instructions here to get your own chart. If you don’t know your birth-time, you can either use 12 pm, or use the Solar format which sets your birth time at dawn, placing your Sun in the first house.
You’ll need an ephemeris…
Ok, you can shortcut this process a little by checking out the degrees that the heavy hitters will be moving through each year. I’ve made this easier for you by updating the degrees each of the outer planets will be moving through this year.
Had to the planet tab on the top menu bar and select the outer planet you’re after.
Because you’re only looking at 2 degrees either side of the transit point, you know, for example, not to bother looking at the Pluto column in your ephemeris if you have no chart points in the range he’ll be moving this year. Eg the Pluto detail for 2019 is below.
Anyways, I’ve told you before how to read an ephemeris. You’ll need this to work out what planets are doing and when.
I use an excel spreadsheet that I drew up years ago.
I divide the month into four columns – one for each week…and yes, I’m aware that there are more than 4 weeks in each month. This isn’t meant to be
This is what mine looked like for 2018. I have a template now, so it took me less than an hour to complete.
I select a colour for each transiting planet and graduate it:
- The darkest shade for the same degree as the natal planet being transited
- The next shade up to 1 degree out – either way, both applying ie getting closer to the exact degree, and separating ie moving further away from the exact degree.
- The next shade up to 2 degrees out – both applying and separating. I don’t go any further than that.
I’ve found that most of the “action” (if you can call it that) tends to occur at the degree or 1 either side – although Saturn transits, in my experience, can have long tails. What do I mean by that? You could still be feeling a Saturn transit 2 degrees after it’s separated or left the transit point.
In my example, the orange is Pluto, blue tones are Neptune, the green is Uranus, the brown is Saturn, and the purple is Jupiter.
The concentration of colour on your spread-sheet will give you a good idea of what’s going on and where there are overlaps.
What planets do I map?
I tend to only track the outer planets and Saturn transits – these are the game changers – but include a rough look at Jupiter as well. Unless he’s approaching his station, Jupiter moves just a little too fast for it to show up well on the grid.
Faster moving personal planets and New and Full Moons can, of course, trigger these big-picture events. I track these as well if the lunation is
Whilst I keep an eye on the transits outer planets make to each other, bear in mind that this will be happening to everyone in your age group – what makes it personal is the bigger picture and what else is happening at that time.
What house system?
To keep things simple and, because it seems to work for me, I’m using a whole house system these days, but feel free to use whatever system works for you.
Know your chart
- Where is each of the outer planets natally in your chart?
- What house/s do each of the outer planets rule in your chart? If you don’t know the answer to this question, check out this Toolbox as a refresher.
- What about the planets receiving the transits?
- Check for any patterns – is one area of life – house – receiving more attention than another?
- Check also for transit combinations that mimic natal combos. Eg I have Pluto opposite the Ascendant and the Sun. As Pluto sextiles these points in 2018 he will, in the process, give me a reminder of what that aspect means for me.
I look at what house and sign the Progressed Moon is in. This gives you a backdrop for the period in question.
I take note also of the “terms” that the progressed Moon is in, as it adds an additional layer of info. Don’t worry about this too much if you don’t know what I’m talking about!
You can find your progressed Moon on astro.com…but that’s a whole other topic on it’s own!
Keep an eye on any other progressed planets that are changing sign or house (if you’re using other than whole houses). In my chart in 2018 Progressed Mercury changed from Aries to Taurus.
Astro T accounts
I knock out a quick set of what I call astro t accounts:
- The natal position of the planets involved (where the action is initiated)
- The house being transited (where the action is occurring)
- The house/s ruled by the planets involved (where you’ll see the outcome)
I tend not to worry about all of them – these days I do enough to get an idea of any repetitive themes. It’s the pattern that I’m after.
What’s the Moon up to?
I mark up any close transits being made by the New or Full Moon, taking special note of eclipses. I take note of any falling in date ranges that have heaps of colour…these could act as trigger points. They could also reinforce the patterns and themes you’ve already begun to notice.
As an example, there are a lot of blue lines in my 2018 map i.e. New Moons forming close aspects to my chart. New Moons are about new starts and intention setting. In my 2019 map there are more Full Moon aspects – indicating culmination of something or something that I need to see clearly.
I’ve popped these dates and degrees onto a page for you too.
I eyeball the retrograde dates and station points to see if any are occurring at key parts of my chart. If so, I’ll make a note of it. In 2017 Saturn stationed square my Moon – making that period, and that transit, the single biggest hot spot of the year, and the transit that I needed to learn the most from.
I’ve also made this part easy for you by putting all the retrograde dates into a page for you. You’ll find them here.
I pin the charts on the cupboard door in my office and then worry about what’s coming… No. I. Don’t!
Yes, I pin the chart on the cupboard door, but most of the time, I put it to the back of my mind and simply observe as things happen, or if things happen. I used to worry but these days I try more to dwell on what the possible positive outcomes could be, and what I can do to help the transit along. Again, this isn’t me trying to control the outcome or predict the future. It’s more about me attempting to work with the transits and maximise my good day ratio. It’s me trying to intentionally approach the transits.
Try it for yourself. Don’t get hung up on making it perfect – do as much or as little as you like. What you’re after are patterns. What you then choose to do with them is up to you.