The best thing you can do to understand transits is to map them to the times when they were/are active in your life, and relate them to what was going on in your life at that time. Transits don’t always show up as remarkable events (although very often they do!), they can equally mirror certain important developmental milestones where something changes inside, leaving you a different person.
You want to approach this mapping to life in two ways. For one, you recall events or changes in your life perspective, them see what was going on with the transits at that time. The other thing you can do is to flip this around. You look at the transits of Saturn through Pluto and see at what times they “hit” your natal planets, then reconcile these times with developments in your life.
Starting with life events is easier, so let’s look at that. (In a following post, we will look at starting with transits first, which is also what you will do if you are forecasting or projecting into the future.)
Imagine a female born on July 11, 1985 at 8:06 AM in Cairo, Egypt. Let’s call her Leyla. Here’s her natal chart:
If you were Leyla, you would recall an event from your past that you simply can’t forget (e.g. relocation, accident, major accolade/recognition/award, marriage, child birth, etc.) or a time period when you experienced remarkable change or development (e.g. change in career direction, return to education, parent’s death, life changing travel experience, etc). Exact dates are not generally needed. In fact, depending on the actual life circumstance, a time span or a few months is fine, too – lasting changes don’t happen overnight.
As it happens, Leyla recalls a time period in the second half of 2010 that was meaningful to her. She can’t quite pin down a date, so she can use the midpoint of July through December as the reference “epicenter” to match with transits. So she picks Oct 1, 2010 as the reference date, and draws up the transit chart for that date. The transit chart is drawn for midnight at London, but it could be drawn for anywhere in the world, for any time on that date, since we don’t need the same exactness we would for the natal chart.
Let’s imagine we are in Leyla’s shoes. With the transit chart at the ready, the first thing we do is to look for conjunctions from the transiting planets to the natal planets and angles. We will stick to the transits of Jupiter through Pluto (social and outer planets), since with their long orbital periods, they correspond best with remarkable events. (The transits of the Sun through Mars are not unimportant, but they are best used for corroborative triggers of the social and outer planet transits.)
Of these two, the Neptune-to-descendant is more potent. In fact, transits of the outer planets to the angles are by far the most powerful and potentially transformative of all transits. The reason being the angles are the most personal and most sensitive part of the horoscope, and an outer planet carries an enormous amount of energy. As for the Pluto-to-Neptune (in 5th house) transit, it is a lot less personal because Leyla shares this natal Neptune with practically everyone in a 2-3 year period around her birth. So we wouldn’t generally pay much attention to it. However, since Neptune is transiting the descendant, its energy is already on the rise, so the Pluto transit to Neptune should be taken as an echo, and considered in interpretation.
What Leyla needs to do is consider Neptunian themes and relate to them to this time period in her life in the areas of the 7th house (e.g. partnership), and 5th house (e.g. children, creativity). This will give Leyla much insight into how Neptune functions in her life. Since Neptune is natally situated in the 5th house, she can learn about its role in her capacity to be creative, in the relationship to her children (if any), in her approach to romance, etc.
Conjunctions of transits to natal planets are the easiest to spot, so they should be the first thing you want to look for. Moreover, conjunctions are the strongest of all aspects, both natally and in transits. After looking for conjunctions, you want to turn your attention to oppositions and squares. I will take this up in more detail in a following post.