Every single heavenly body is constantly on the move (relative to the earth), so in a sense transits are happening all the time. Sort of like trains running continuously in your metro area, round and round the same routes. But for the most part, a train going by on the tracks a mile away does nothing for you, and neither does one that blows by right where you are standing on the platform. It only matters when you board one that stops at your station.
When you look a transit chart, you will of course see each heavenly body passing through one house or the other of your natal chart. For illustration, I am reproducing here the transit chart from an earlier post:
Where are the transits happening here? See the outer wheel. The Sun is transiting through the 3rd house, and so are Mercury and Saturn. Venus and Mars are in the 3rd house. Pluto is in the 5th house. Neptune is in the 6th, bearing down on the descendant. Jupiter and Uranus are in the 8th house. And the Moon is in the 11th house. (Planets shown in red are going retrograde.)
If every passage of every planet through every house were to cause some kind of event, or change of circumstance, or remarkable experience, our lives would be eternally chaotic and not worth living. But that’s not how it works. For most people, life follows a steady rhythm, punctuated by those times when things change noticeably, for good or bad.
So, when a planet is transiting through a house, it is mostly like the train going by on a track some distance away. We hear the sound of it, and after a while we get used to its coming and goings. That awareness that hangs in the background is the kind of thing that happens in life when a planet transits through a house. So, for instance, when Mercury passes through the 4th house, we may have an unusual amount of talking and interaction and general Mercurial energy in the house–perhaps we have more guests visiting than usual, maybe we are stuck at home recovering from a sickness and watching a lot more TV than usual, etc. Many of these things are sort of routine happenings, even though they are inflection points in an otherwise even more routine life, so we don’t think twice about them. It happens to everyone at some point, and that’s just that.
The faster the transiting body, the less we notice it. For two reasons. One, such a transit just sort of swooshes by and is gone in a jiffy, before we even realize what happened. Two, it will arrive at the same spot again very soon and will reprise that here-and-gone act, over and over again in a way that gets to be just another repetitive routine. The Moon is the fastest moving body, with a period of about 29 days. Imagine you are focusing on the 10th house of your natal chart. Here comes the Moon: enters the house, zips through it, and is gone in a little over two and a half days. And then scarcely a month later, it is back, zips through the 10th house, and is gone. Again, and again, and again. Month after month after month. The 10th house indications include career, and reputation, and public image, etc. They are not going to see dramatic ups and downs every time the Moon goes over the 10th house. You actually don’t want that to happen!
What of the Sun? Well, it stays in a sign or house for a month, then moves on, and will revisit a year later. It’s not as if every year in April we experience a special effect that corresponds to whatever house the Sun is transiting through at that time (whatever house is in Aries/Taurus in your natal chart). Mostly, this April was likely very much like last April, which was much like the April before that. If anything remarkable did come about this April, it would have been resonant of activity due to one of more planets Jupiter through Pluto, not the Sun by itself.
What about Mercury and Venus? Same type of thing, they move in lock step with the Sun, more or less–Mercury is never more than one sign away, and Venus never more than two signs away. Truth is, I hardly ever look at the transits of the Sun, Moon, Mercury or Venus because it’s just not important in the bigger scheme. Although, when I say I hardly ever look at the transits of Mercury and Venus, I am not giving you the entire story. There is an exception, and that is when they are retrograde. When Mercury or Venus go retrograde, they are effectively slowing down and going backward, then some time later they will stop and start moving forward again. This whole dance is exceptional in that either of these planets ends up spending more than the usual amount of time in the house of your natal chart where they transiting, and that very likely becomes noticeable.
In an earlier post on Mercury retrograde, I pointed to February-March 2020 when Mercury spent an inordinately long time in Pisces. It entered the sign on Feb 4, and after a few days began to retrograde, all the way to the end of February and through March 4. So that’s one month in Pisces. But it wasn’t done. It kept sliding back, into Aquarius for a few days, then straightened up and moved forward again. It re-entered Pisces on March 17, and went through the sign through April 11, when it finally had enough of Pisces. Those extra 11 days in Pisces over the typical month-long stay in a sign stands out in an attention catching way.
Whatever house Pisces is in your natal chart (or two houses since more often that not, houses straddle more than one sign), you would have noticed unusual Mercurial activity in the realm of that house during February-March-April 2020. These are the times when contracts are signed, houses are bought, cars are sold, etc. In other words, Mercurial things that are out of the ordinary, that don’t happen every day. Likewise for Venus.
You can look up the ephemeris for imminent prolonged periods of direct-retrograde-direct motion of Mercury and Venus, and prepare to sharpen your awareness for those periods. Or, if you feel that there is exceptional Mercurial or Venusian activity at the current time, you can then look to see what’s going with Mercury/Venus in the ephemeris and reconcile that with the positions of these planets in your chart. (They could be closely aspecting an outer planet, for instance, so it’s not always about only the house transit. But more on that in a different post.)
We then come to Mars. This is when the action (a Mars word, if ever there was one!) starts to happen. We register things that stand out, that are pointed, that carry energy, that disturb the environment. These are all things that Mars stands for. In an earlier post, I spoke of Mars as the trigger that discharges energy and thrusts a lingering energy into sharp focus. Mars has an orbital period of 687 days, which is just under 2 years. So it stays in a sign for roughly 2 months on average. This in itself is a standout quality in the group of luminaries and inner planets. But more than that, Mars carried an active energy that almost always shows up as a noticeable event or circumstance.
So when Mars is transiting through a house, you can almost always be sure of some heightened activity in the area signified by the house. For instance, if Mars is transiting your 9th house, you may see heightened activity in one or more 9th house areas: higher education, knowledge acquisition, travel, etc. If it is passing through your natal 1st house, you will be more assertive in getting what you want, less afraid to show your true colors, perhaps more inclined to physical activity (a good time to join the gym!) and so on.
Long story short, the transits of the luminaries and inner planets through the houses are generally not memorable–they come and go, and leave little of significance behind. The only exceptions are the transits of Mars, and the direct-retrograde-direct transit period of Mercury and Venus. (Mars goes retrograde as well, in which case it becomes even more significant.)
However, the transits through the houses are much more important when they are undertaken by the planets Jupiter through Pluto. Going in sequence, they spend increasingly more time in a house: Jupiter will spend a whole year, Saturn will stick around for over 2 years, and so on. I’ll take up these transits in a following post.