About       Susan       John     Astro*News     Astro*Reports       Contact Us       Order      Music   Articles

When transits and progressions chase each other...

...The Race Is On!

...and while you're reading, listen to the song...!

By John Townley, January 2013

When we look at the developments in a nativity, we usually look at how the progressions are moving across the natal chart, then how the transits are moving across the natal chart and the progressed chart. That’s because the natal planets remains stationary, the progressed planets move slowly, and the transiting planets move faster. That makes us look at the relationship of transits and progressions as a series of hits of transits to progressions, almost as if the progressions are passively always on the receiving end.

But that’s not, in fact, the case. There are often-crucial periods where the reverse is actually in play or where particular transiting and progressed planets may be in a head-to-head race with each other that can prolong an ongoing situation for years or even decades. That’s most well-known in the case of what’s alternately called “Moon chasing Saturn” or “Saturn chasing Moon” (properly the former, as the faster applies to the slower), it happens when the progressed Moon (with a 27 ½ year cycle) locks into aspect with transiting Saturn (with 29 ½ year cycle). It’s most noticeable in nativities with Moon conjunct Saturn, as the poor child has transiting Saturn right on top of its progressed Moon for its formative years. Depending upon the speed of the Moon and the closeness of the original aspect, it can be as brief as three or four years or last into the teens, as the Moon plods along and Saturn backs and fills around it in alternating direct and retrograde motion.

You get more than one race...

The same relentlessly-long effect occurs with nativities with Moon square or opposite Saturn, emphasizing and prolonging the Saturn effect well after birth and into childhood. You’ll usually find it referenced in relation to the natal chart, but it happens to everybody as a progression-transit tangle, at least twice in an average lifespan, with two succeeding Moon-Saturn involvements, though not always hard aspects. That’s because the synodic period of the two is about 420 years, and so roughly every 35 years they engage one aspect further along (if you’re only using Ptolemaic aspects plus semisextile and quincunx, more if you use others). If you’re born with Moon near the waxing trine (120 degrees) with Saturn, come age 35, they will have worked themselves into a quincunx, and by your late 60s they’ll be in opposition. Or, if they were near a waning square (270 degrees) at birth, around 35 you’ll be experiencing a supportive waning sextile (300 degrees) and finish off with a waning semisextile (330 degrees). And if you live to 105, you get three versions.

Progessed Moon chasing transiting Saturn chasing progressed Moon is the most common race

Of course, if your natal Moon and Saturn aren’t in aspect to begin with, you’ll get your first lock-in at a different age, but they’ll usually be about 35 years apart. As a rule of thumb, if your natal Moon is, say, 20 degrees from its next aspect to Saturn, then your first Moon-chasing-Saturn aspect will be that aspect and start around age 23 or so, the next one at the following aspect 35 years later at around 58. But, because the speed of the Moon varies so much, it’s best to do it on a computer, as that general rule can be as much as a decade off for periods when the progressed Moon is very slow or very fast.

More than that, it’s not just the progressed Moon that changes speed – so does transiting Saturn. And we’re not talking yearly retrograde and direct changes, but average yearly speed, which also helps determine its place in the race. At perihelion (most recently in July 2003), Saturn is cooking along at 13 ¾ degrees a year, whereas at aphelion it’s doing only about eleven degrees. So at its fastest, it’s actually going two degrees a year faster than a slow progressed Moon (slowest – 11.6/year; fastest 14.8/year). Put a fast transiting Saturn against a slow progressed Moon and for several years it’s actually overtaking the Moon, which then takes several more years just to regain its position, and then even a few more to make progress ahead. A fast Moon against a slow Saturn, however, virtually zips by in a couple of years.

Everyone gets a taste...

So, for everybody, the race of Saturn and Moon pulls closer to a standstill around Saturn’s perihelion, making those surrounding years (before and after 2033, 2003, 1973, 1944, for instance) maintain their current Saturn-Moon relationships, whereas years surrounding 14 years before and after (at Saturn’s aphelion) things change much more rapidly. If you’re lucky you get stuck on a supportive aspect (or none at all) rather than a hard aspect, depending on how you view Saturn, of course. But look back and find it in your own experience, it may explain a lot.

Some sources, notably Celeste Teal, have rather dire things to say about the hard aspects, and others paint it as a rarity, which it’s not. Here are some opinions on the subject ranging from Devore, Teal, and others, which themselves have further references:

* From Kingsley’s blog about Ben Cousin’s chart
* From Café Astrology, comparing it to Lemony Snicket
* From Celeste Teal’s site
* From Devore’s Encyclopedia of Astrology
* From
Identifying Planetary Triggers (Teal)

Moon and Saturn aren't the only transits and progressions trading positions on theplanetary track...

Although you usually see it brought up in reference to individuals, you can also see a mention of it in America’s national chart in our own Dark Days piece a while back. For the Sibly chart, anyway, the Moon will be chasing Saturn by conjunction right around the period of America’s first Pluto return. The opposition happened in the early 1800s, starting some time after the War of 1812. And there’s even more on the specific Moon-Saturn chase, with numerous personal examples and commentaries, on my blog here.

But that’s not all!...

Although the most commonly-noted, that’s not the only transit-progression chase you may run into. In charts with Pluto in Taurus and Gemini (most recently from 1851-1913), you will find the progressed Sun locked in with transiting Pluto, as Pluto at its slowest then moves exactly a degree a year, the same as the progressed Sun. That’s a lifetime sentence for many back then, and Pluto hadn’t even been discovered yet!

Less lengthy, but worthy note, is progressed Mars locking in with transiting Pluto when progressed Mars is fast (up to a degree and a quarter a day at solar conjunction) and Pluto is average, which can last for dozens of years, depending on their relative speeds.  The same with Mercury and Venus, when they’re at max speed and Pluto isn’t, but not for quite for so long.

    Keeping track of racing transits and progressions can be an unexpected handful -- and a life-changing tangle!

Finally, on a much shorter scale, progressions may suddenly overtake transits due to the retrogradation of the transiting planet as it drops behind and then re-overtakes a progressed planet. It usually only lasts a few months, but the reversal effect of this quickly-exchanged power transfer can be really pivotal in reorienting life events, especially when the progressed Moon gets tangled up with it as well.

So all in all, it’s wise to think of transits and progressions not as active-on-passive events, but as a dynamic tangle of bodies moving at varying speeds that can wonderfully expedite or dreadfully delay the hopes and expectations of a lifetime...

Not a newsletter subscriber already?    Subscribe Free Here!

Let us know what you think! Write us:  townley@astrococktail.com

And every day, keep in touch with our Astrology In The News section...please take a look! -- Breaking news from around the globe, plus articles, reviews, it's all happening there, changes daily...

  Copyright © John Townley 2013. All rights reserved.
About Us Reports | Readings | John | Susan | Books | ArticlesNewsLinks | Music | Contact | Site Map