Astrology is based on observation of the planetary cycles in the heavens. The astrological wheel of your birth chart is a fixed wheel constructed from the time of your birth and the place you were born. The exact positions of the planets in the sky at that location the moment you were born is called your birth or natal chart. However, as the planets keep moving (or transiting), they travel on through your life and hit off your natal chart planets; like hands on a clock. These cycles of the planets (transits) mark periods of challenge, growth, and crisis. Most life cycle transits occur at roughly the same age for everyone. Let’s look at a few major planets and their cycles and what energies they bring to your life.
– approximately every 12 years, we have a Jupiter return to its natal position. Jupiter expands our energy, optimism and self importance in some sphere of life. We are offered the bounty during this time. Whether we work with it to our advantage or drown in the excesses of it is the critical question. Believe in abundance, express it in your life and good fortune flows your way. But if you are suspicious of it or excessive with it, it can get you into trouble. We have Jupiter transits at ages 12, 24, 36, 48, 60, 72, 84 and so on.
– Approximately ever 29 ½ yrs, Saturn cycles around the zodiac. When we have a Saturn return to its natal position, we draw inward towards introspection to focus on long term goals. Saturn cycles prompt us to be realistic and to realign things where necessary. Work and effort during this period tends to bring returns for many years. Saturn’s lessons are not easy ones, they require suffering, working and maturing, which is not always fun. They are times of great learning and hard lessons. But Saturn’s lessons clear the way for a more confident expression of your nature and the determination of new goals. We have Saturn return transits at ages 29 and 58 years old. Smaller Saturn cycles occur every 7.5 years and mark times of hard lessons we must repeat until we learn what we need to know.
– This planet’s cycle is about 165 years. It usually makes its most potent transit somewhere around age 42-44. Neptune is about our faith and dreams in life and if we haven’t been clear in our faith or accomplished our dreams, we experience that midlife crisis at this age. Neptune dissolves our old life and paves the way for new dreams during this time in our lives. A common occurrence that can happen during a Neptune transit is that we chase that “perfect” someone or something, sacrifice all for it, then find it was an illusion, an empty dream. We must tread carefully through this Neptune transit time which has subtle traps, yet also the highest potential for realizing our dreams.
– Pluto’s cycle lasts 248 years and is the slowest moving planet of all. So when it transits our birth chart planets, it has a major transformative effect on some part of our lives. This often happens as a 90 degree “square” during the midlife period of age 36 to the mid 40’s. Breakdowns and breakthroughs occur during the one to two years that Pluto transits our birth planets. Pluto teaches you to acknowledge your dark side, to accept its reality and to let go. It is the planet of transformation, often breaking us down in order to reorganize and rebuild our lives in some way. Once the Pluto transit is over, you usually feel a new sense of empowerment and renewed energy for life, love, and success.
Making the most of the more difficult outer planets transits is really about your attitude towards them. If you view the challenges as periods of growth, keep your composure, and realize that it is just part of a cycle, you will often find good fortune is the end result.
Astrology helps you see these cycles, prepare for them, understand them and how they are building up your strength, and take advantage of the opportunities afforded by them. Taking positive action in line with the transit influences brings you good fortune. Adversity helps us grow if we meet the challenges with maturity and the willingness to change. The cycles of life continue in a cyclical pattern and if we are aware of these cycles with astrology, we will be more willing to face the challenges and more prepared to reap the benefits of them.