Thursday, July 29, 2010

Transits of the Outer Planets

Transits, or more accurately planetary transits, are terms used to describe real time movements of the Sun, Moon and planets. Astrologers relate the planets' transits, or positions during a particular time span, to the position of the planets in a birth chart or mundane chart. This exercise enables them to predict a variety of likely life cycle "atmospheres" and changes.

In his book Astrology for the Millions American astrologer Grant Lewi put forward a theory which I hadn't come across before, but which makes a lot of sense to me. He considered that, with regard to transits of the outer planets, it is the length of time they spend in a particular position that is paramount in their influence upon matters on Earth, rather than any inherent differences in the astrological characteristics of the planets themselves. Transits of the inner planets, to near-exact degrees of a sign, can last from hours to weeks, whereas the outer planets' transits last from many months to several years. Lewi believed that the nature of the experience under transits of Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto is substantially the same.
"It is in reconciling the similarity of the experience with the lengthening out of the time process that you achieve an understanding of yourself, and of how to handle the influences"...
.....of Uranus, Neptune, etc. as they travel through the signs and houses and over the planets in your chart. He feels that, for instance, a Uranus transit to the Sun is essentially the same as a Saturn transit or even a Mars transit. The difference is in the time the planet remains in one place (over or in aspect to a natal planet or point).

Our bodies and minds are naturally conditioned to the fast transits of the inner planets and Moon; even to the relatively fast transits of Jupiter and Mars. By adulthood we have experienced several of these and instinctively, or subconsciously respond quite naturally to them. But when we experience a conjunction or hard aspect involving one of the outer planets, lasting for much longer, it seems different. It is different. Not in the ways we might first suppose: i.e. Saturn's influence is said to be restrictive or severe, Uranus brings the "unexpected", Pluto is the transformer....etc. the transit feels different because it lasts so much longer. In truth, the influence itself is the same in each case. Or so Mr Lewi theorises.

From chapter 12 (page 376) The Grand Strategy of Living - part 1: The Nature and Meaning of the Planets
"It used to be stated, or implied, in the older astrological texts, that each of the Planets had a different quality, character, or tone, because of something inherent in its nature, Thus Saturn might have been said to have the quality of iron, hardness, weight; the character of sobriety or gloom; the tone of G-sharp Minor below middle C, or of the rumble of distant thunder. Mars might have been said to have the quality of hot steel, the character of courage or recklessness, and the tone of an awakening bugle. Whether these attributes emanated from the physio-chemical structure of the planets, which caused them to emit rays of a certain quality, or from other causes, was not clarified.

The premise seems to have been that each Planet had a quality inherent in itself, differentiating it and its influence from that of other Planets because of this self-contained quality.

Over a long period of study, in contact with numerous charts viewed experimentally and clinically, I have come to the conclusion that, so far as their astrological influence is concerned, the Planets do not differ in inherent quality. We know from the astronomers, physicists, spectrum-analysts, and chemists that the physical structure of the Planets is different, quantitatively, with respect to the percentages in which the elements are found in them and their atmospheres; and qualitatively, with respect to their stages of hotness, coolness, age, youth, formedness or non-formedness. It is possible that these differences do bear on their astrological influence.

However, consistent observation of planetary effects in a very large number of charts leads me to the conclusion that, whether or not Planets differ in their inherent character, their chief observable difference as they act in the chart is traceable directly to the difference in the rate of motion with which they pass through the Vitasphere...................."
(Grant Lewi calls the natal chart, or "map of your birth" the Vitasphere.)"Once we disabuse our minds of the idea that Planets differ in quality, and base our view of the chart on their differences in rate of motion, we come to grips with the basic realities of the Vitasphere, with the meaning of planetary influences in the forming of character and the timing of opportunity."
That the effects of outer planet transits might have more to do with the length of their stay than with the traditional definition of the nature of that planet, seems logical enough. Pluto, Uranus and Saturn are broadly similar - they bring changes. This isn't surprising. Their motion is so slow as to make a visit from them to natal planets something unusual - a change in itself, and fundamental changes of outlook do occur at these times. Neptune is not as easy to see as a bringer of change though - change of attitude, perhaps, rather than experiencing change of outside circumstances.

It's quite difficult to turn off the astrological definitions stored in memory. In spite of trying I still tend to fall back on traditional interpretations. Even so, Grant Lewi's idea is well worth keeping in mind.

(Edited version of post from August 2007.)


gian paul said...

For not having read Lewis's book, I risk saying what he says there, or in part at least: His observation being entirely convincing, I wonder if the natal position in a horoscope of a RETROGRADING outer planet does not have a special influence/imprint.

From Saturn outwards, retrogradation can take up to 12 month for Neptune, less for Uranus and more for Pluto.

Suppose a person or event at birth/inception having Neptune retrograde (I have that): his being marked by the imprint of that planetary influence will be so much stronger.

In some cases, with one of these outer planets barely direct at the moment of birth, but soon after retrograde, the imprint will be triple! And that's "hell of a marking", for life, as each subsequent transit of every other planet - inner and outer - will have more weight or influence.

It's a fascinating field of observation. I recently mentioned in this blog my personal experience with people having Jupiter and Saturn retrograding in their birth horoscopes. Obama being one of these people. And for him the two planets are conjunct and in prominent "horoscopical position". So an easy occasion to observe, for whom cares to follow the evolution of your actual President, or a "teaching event".

Twilight said...

gian paul ~~~ I tend to ignore retrograde, apart from the usual flurry of comment about Mercury Retrograde. I have Neptune and Pluto retrograde natally, but so do around half the Earth's population I understand.

Your remarks inspired me to do a little research though.
Grant Lewi didn't have much to say on the topic in the book I quoted from in the post today, so I Googled around and found a 6-part article by Arlene Kramer at Advanced Astrology - I'll link it below.

In Sections 5 and 6 she outlines some surpirse findings related to retrograde planets, by another astrologer, John Mccormick.

This from section 5

Similarly, if there were no reason to believe in the astrology of retrograde planets, one would have expected that the groups of Generals, Statesmen, Writers, Athletes, etc, would have about the same occurrence of none, one, two, three, four, five, six, and even seven retrograde planets in their natal charts. One would further expect, if there were no astrological significance to retrograde planets, that the occurrence of none, one, two, three, four, five, six, and seven retrograde planets would match the statistics of retrograde motion developed for the hundred year study.

Neither expectation was met and validity was developed for the astrology of retrograde planets.

One striking example pointed out by McCormick was the relation between Retrograde Neptune and World War II Generals. Neptune was retrograde forty-four percent of the time in the studied interval. Consequently, one would have expected about forty-four percent of the Generals to have a Retrograde Neptune, but ninety-two percent was found! (General MacArthur was an exception.) In the opposite direction, only nineteen percent of United States Presidents had a Retrograde Neptune. What is there in a Retrograde Neptune that encourages the development of Generals, but restricts the development of Presidents? Is it because a Retrograde Neptune impedes the talent for lying and pretending? Troops must trust their leader. The public expects politicians to skirt the truth when necessary. And successful politicians do.

The big surprise in John McCormick's work is in the analysis of quantities of natal retrograde planets. He discovered that the quantity of retrograde planets in any one chart was more significant than the actual identity of the planets. In the studied hundred year period, there were no retrograde planets only eight percent of the time. Thus, while there is an eight percent expectation of no retrograde planets in a group of charts, he found that this condition existed in the natal chart of thirty-six percent of United States Presidents. Isn't Astrology amazing?

John McCormick came up with a set of conclusions about the significance of the number of retrograde planets in a chart. I have tested his conclusions for twenty-five years as part of my Astrology practice and, in the next column, I shall pass them on to you as worthy of incorporating in your natal interpretations.

Section 6 is interesting too.

Yes, agreed - Obama's Jupiter/Saturn is something we should keep track of as transits pass. :-)

gian paul said...

Thanks, Twilight. Will look at Arlene Kramer later tonight. Just to give a summary of my own findings:

The more Retrogrades in a Chart, the better be careful in employing that person. Has to do with "underdog complexes" , ensuing insincerity etc.

I experienced that when I was managing people in various banks and in my private life, there restricted to housekeepers, people you have around in your private sphere.

Always looked at some candidates' map without him/her knowing and without having the birth-hour. But that thing with "many retrogrades" helped mightily. And when I had not followed "my own advice" (if the girl was too pretty, so to say), I later paid the price!

gian paul said...

Just gave a glance at Bill Clinton's map: Zero retrogrades. After a conference he gave some 8 years ago at one of the universities here in São Paulo, he joked that "even Monica Lewinsky believed him" - and the applause was roaring...

Twilight said...

gian paul ~~~ LOL! Well - in Section 6 of the article I mentioned, there is this:

He also found zero retrograde planets in an unexpectedly high number (36%!) Of the charts of United States Presidents. The road to the Presidency is arduous and perseverance is needed to attain that goal.

gian paul said...

Being Swiss and having never lived in the US besides frequently going there, I had little reason to care about American Presidents - except that once I had a strange dream. What I retained of that dream in the following days, was something like "hintonclinton".

I could not figure it out until some weeks later Bill Clinton surfaced as one of the democrat candidates for President.

It was one of those "coincidences" or maybe better signposts why I should be involved with astrology. It also coincided with Saddam cabling Bush father, after he lost the elections, that he, Saddam, still had a job.

Another person with no retrogrades in her horoscope is Arianna Huffington - and that's quite a program!

Applying simple logic (possibly dangerous in astrology), a person with no retrogrades, all other things being positive to normal, probably has less inhibitions or scruples to do what he dreams is best for him/her. That's what Clinton confesses he did - and Obama kind of imitated Clinton.

Not Jefferson etc. That's what he told who wants to believe it. (Effects of Maya...).

Twilight said...

gian paul ~~~ Those are interesting points.

Bill Clinton certainly has "that certain something" - it's not easy to describe it, but it leaps off the TV screen (to me, at least). Perhaps, as you say, a lack of retrograde motion could promote an extra dose of positivity and allow that person's personality to come over more sharply and in brighter colour - a bit like High Definition TV. :-)

Obama displayed something similar during the election campaign, but seems to have switched off now.

Ms Huffington is another good example of high positivity and high definition. :-)