What’s the difference between Progressions and Transits?

For those who are beginning to look at astrology, the difference between progressions and transits may seem a little confusing. I know I sure was confused!

In his book, The Changing Sky, astrologer Steven Forrest writes that each individual is like a seed planted into the ground. Each new phase of development is a progression. You wouldn’t treat a giant oak tree the same you would treat a sprout, even though it’s the same living organism.

Transits, then, can be imagined as the environment around the growing tree. Is it a dry season and does the wind blow today? Will this plant get enough water in its early developmental stages?

The difference can be simplified by saying that transits affect us externally while progressions affect us internally. However, taking a deeper look tells us that both affect us inside and out. The difference between progressions and transits is that the former shows the evolution of the self while the latter shows the evolution of the world.

Transits of some of the personal planets (Sun, Moon, Mercury, and Venus) happen very quickly and may represent our passing whims, new interests, or daily adventures but not much more. Slow moving transits, of Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto, affect us in a much deeper way because they have more time to make an impact at each position.

Transits affect everybody differently because of house placement but will affect everyone in the same sign at once. This is why they can be represented by the environment. To say that they affect us based on their positions in the objective sky, however, would be a mistake. The zodiac signs we divide up the sky up are not the same as the constellations actually in the sky. This means that transits show us changes in a seasonal cycle based on the oldest relationship of human to world – the harvest cycle. I will write more about this difference in another post.

The progressions of the slower moving planets, if you are using secondary progressions, are too slow to really affect us too greatly. When considering personal development, then, it’s the faster moving personal planets that we would consider – Moon, Sun, Mercury, Venus, and Mars.

The progressed Moon, our evolved needs, changes every three years. This is a always moving, thematic change our lives cycle through. Predictive astrology must always consider the progressed Moon. When our progressed Moon reaches our natal Moon, we experience emotional maturity for the first time.

The progressed Sun, our evolved identity, moves just a degree every year and most people go through just a few ego changes throughout their life. By the last one, many will have realized what a laughable, clownish object an ego really is and have some fun with it.

Mercury is our evolved worldview, Venus our evolved relationships, and Mars our evolved assertion.

The secondary progressions of your entire life are also determined by you first week alive, as an infant, and is what most astrologers use. This means that progressions are a constant evolution based on your earliest imprint.


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