A Promise Fulfilled – When Transits Echo Natal Aspects
Each natal aspect contains a host of promises, since even the most difficult of combinations has gifts to bestow once we learn to use the energies of the two planets well. Throughout our lives, transits to a natal aspect represent windows of time when we are challenged to make changes in how we are using that aspect. If we are wise, we gradually learn to let go of self-defeating ways of expressing the energies of those planets and, instead, to capitalize on their strengths.
Never is that more true than during the periods when the natal aspect is echoed by the transit — that is, when one of the planets involved natally is the transiting planet as well. For instance, suppose that Saturn is square Mars in the birth chart, and now transiting Saturn is opposite natal Mars. The aspect isn’t the same, but the pair of planets in the picture (Mars and Saturn) are. Saturn forms hard aspects (such as squares or oppositions) to its natal position about every seven years, during its 29.46-year orbit around the Sun; so, at seven-year intervals, Saturn will echo all of the major difficult aspects it makes in your birth chart. (It also forms trines to its natal position twice during that orbit, providing opportunities when Saturn’s better qualities can be developed with somewhat less stress.)
In those recurring intervals, you will be challenged anew to master the lessons of Saturn and to make substantive progress through self-discipline, hard work, and a more mature perspective on your old limitations. You may wish to consider how you’ve been using your Saturn energies in the seven years or so since the last such aspect. If you have worked hard in the areas of life represented by that natal aspect, the transit may very well be a time when your efforts reach fruition — provided, of course, that you have been both diligent and wise. Sometimes, we work much harder than we need to, when not only our methods but even our game plans are flawed. If so, it may be time to evaluate your priorities and redirect your efforts toward more appropriate ends, so you won’t wear yourself out.
The so-called Midlife Cycle of the late thirties to mid forties is a crucible for much change and growth, because the astrological picture at midlife includes a series of outer-planet aspects by transit to their own natal positions. Transiting Uranus makes an opposition to its natal position in the chart, transiting Neptune squares natal Neptune, and transiting Pluto squares natal Pluto. In the process, the transiting outer planets trigger all the aspects that the outer planets form in the birth chart, giving us the chance to learn how to use those aspects better and to fulfill more of their innate potential. (The exact ages when these aspects occur vary from generation to generation, because the orbits of these three planets around the Sun are not as regular as the orbits of the inner planets.)
The energies of the outer planets are not as accessible to our consciousness, nor are they easy to express; instead, they require a great deal of maturity to handle well. This sort of meandering through life and having a variety of experiences seems to be a necessary part of growth and evolution — as though the life journey were a long pilgrimage through a wilderness. It’s easy to lose our way with the outer planets; where these planets are located in our charts, we often do so repeatedly — learning much from our mistakes as we stumble and fall on our faces. It is usually at midlife, when all the natal aspects to an outer planet are also set off by transit, that we bottom out on the less-productive uses of these energies and are impelled, if we are blessed with sufficient maturity, to work toward more uplifting expressions.
For example, suppose you have a Venus-Neptune conjunction in your birth chart. The slogan for that combination might be: “Someday my prince will come — but first I have to kiss a lot of frogs.” (Of course, there are many ways to express that particular combination, but this is a fairly common pattern.) During earlier transits to that conjunction, over the years, frogs of countless varieties are likely to have appeared — looking for all the world like princes. Unfortunately, your heartfelt efforts to turn the current frog into the prince you know he could be are doomed to failure after wrenching failure. Reluctantly, you’re forced to conclude that this particular frog will remain a frog until he croaks. Still, you may persist in the notion that, if you could just somehow succeed in morphing yourself into a princess, your prince would surely appear.
A likely window for changing this persistent pattern is during the Midlife Cycle, when transiting Neptune squares natal Neptune, because in the case of this particular conjunction, transiting Neptune will square natal Venus as well. One of the numerous ways that this transit can manifest itself is that the frog of a lifetime arrives — clad in such elegant, princely attire that you are certain your soul mate has finally come along. If he is not in fact a prince, the experience of trying one last time to kiss someone into princeliness may represent the bottoming-out of an old codependent pattern of relating through rescuing. Under this transit, the romantic haze that has always clouded your ability to see potential partners clearly may lift. Sadder but wiser, you now begin to look more realistically at new prospects. Relationships will never be the same, and that’s a good thing! Until now, that same romantic haze has kept you from recognizing the occasional true prince who does come your way (perhaps because you can’t get past his frog-like spots and raspy voice). Now you may recognize him — and learn how to relate to him in a healthy way.
One way to evaluate the intervals when natal aspects are echoed is to consider the type of angle (e.g., square, trine, or quincunx) formed by the natal aspect and compare it to the type of transiting angle. The transiting angle does help us to revise how we have worked with the planetary energies in the natal angle. Especially when these energies are used consciously through an in-depth analysis of the meanings of the current and natal planetary placements, the transit represents a fruitful time to upgrade how we express those energies. For instance, suppose someone has natal Pluto square the Sun, involving the career or money houses (the 2nd, 6th, or 10th), and now, transiting Pluto is trine the natal Sun. This is an opportunity to address the problems that this square may have highlighted for much of the individual’s life.
Perhaps that individual has always been visited by self-doubt, or even self-loathing, when confronted with those in powerful or wealthy circumstances. This self-esteem problem may have alternated with a sneaking sense of pride at not being as corrupt as “those awful power-mongers with all that filthy money” — a pride that may have created persistently self-sabotaging financial patterns, such as remaining underpaid. Under the transiting trine, catalytic events, opportunities, healing work, or new self-awareness may well create a major shift, both in self-confidence and in financial dealings. The resulting greater prosperity could give rise to a benign spiral over the two years or longer that the transit is in effect: As the sense of self-worth grows, the workplace may reflect that growth with additional well-deserved raises, which in turn grant new confidence.
In contrast, suppose someone has a natal trine between Pluto and the Sun. Depending on the signs and houses involved, the mantle of authority or power often sits very naturally on the shoulders of such individuals. This may not be worldly power. If the 12th house is involved, it might be spiritual power where the person’s mere presence can be healing and comforting to those who suffer, helping the downtrodden to reclaim their own power. Likewise, if the 4th house is involved, this person might be the family matriarch or patriarch around whom the whole family network revolves.
The problem with trines is that we don’t always make of them all that we might — it’s so easy just to coast. However, for such individuals, a transiting square of Pluto to natal Sun is highly energizing. It echoes the natal trine between the two planets, yet represents a golden opportunity to make much, much more of the potential of that trine. Circumstances shift, new demands are experienced, and although the resulting challenges may make the person doubt those taken-for-granted gifts, the end result is likely to be a new and more powerful way of expressing innate abilities. Through the pressure of the transiting hard angle, the natal promise can be fulfilled.
When working with clients, I watch very carefully for transits that echo natal aspects, for they are among the most meaningful transits of all. In our session, we then spend considerable time grappling with that natal aspect and the life patterns — both self-defeating and self-fulfilling — that they represent. If you yourself are in the process of an echoing transit, analyze that natal aspect thoroughly to see how you are currently using it, for the transit can be a true gift that allows you to bring that natal aspect to a new level. Unlike the often overwhelming transits that represent entirely new influences — that is, combining planets that do not aspect one another natally — an echoing transit is like an old favorite song sung in a whole new key. The melody is hauntingly familiar, yet in this brand-new arrangement of the song, you discover exciting possibilities that never existed before.
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