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    Paul Wade

    Paul Wade's Transit Course Part 1

    Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4


    This article is the first in a short regular series of features from the keyboard of British astrologer and lecturer Paul Wade. These will help guide you from an interest in astrology alone, with the desire to learn more, through to effective forecasting and prediction in four easy stages!


    Transits are one of the main techniques employed by astrologers for predictive purposes. The term transit refers to the movements of the planets day to day, month to month and year to year around the zodiac and particularly the influence of these relative to our own individual horoscopes. Media astrologers incorporate a large transit component in their sign forecasts and consulting astrologers place great emphasis on this method in their individual consultations.

    But what precisely are planetary transits, how is their influence determined and how can we best understand these influences for ourselves? Today we will begin to address these questions from an accessible and easily comprehensible perspective. There may also be some valuable tips for the expert too!

    Before you can truly begin to understand the effects of planetary transits on your own life it's really necessary to have your own unique birthchart. It is certainly possible to make coherent comments regarding ongoing and future trends in a person's life based on their Sun Sign alone, but to investigate this subject properly it's much better to view matters in direct application to yourself and to your own unique circumstances. Your birthchart can be readily obtained from one of the several chart calculation services now available online, or you can calculate it yourself ~ either by hand or by using one of the many freeware/shareware computer programs which are readily offered for download.


    The next thing which you'll need to know is where the planets are for a given moment in time. Your unique birthchart is a 'snapshot' of the heavens for the precise moment and location that you were born. But of course it doesn't stop there! The planets are always in perpetual motion through the constellations of the zodiac ~ some of them quickly, some very slowly ~ but continuing with largely predictable orbits which they've followed for millions of years. Human beings have only observed these movements for a fraction of this time, but still long enough to determine the planet's orbital periods and to extrapolate their future positions.

    This data is tabulated in a reference book called an ephemeris, the plural of which is ephemerides. This word comes via Latin from the Greek word for 'diary' and lists planetary positions on a regular basis, both in the past and into the future ~ since by and large planetary motions are entirely consistent. Ephemerides are produced either in printed form or increasingly as computer software.

    Any computer program which can calculate birthcharts contains an ephemeris. Thus if you need to know where the planets will be on a certain date you can always calculate a new chart for that date ~ although this is probably rather a long-winded approach! Otherwise basic printed ephemerides are contained in many astrology books, or for greater depth and detail are published in book form themselves on an annual or century long basis. The latter probably represent the best value for money.

    Once you have the necessary data for where the planets will be at a given moment in time, you are ready to start relating this to your birthchart and subsequently determining their effects. First choose a moment ~ either now, in a month's time, six month's time, or whenever you would like to know about. Since the motions of the planets are predictable, so is their influence and effect on a certain date. Plot the positions of the transiting planets (i.e. the planets on the day which you are investigating) around the outside of your birthchart. Don't worry about the Ascendant, Midheaven, North Node or other more obscure astrological features ~ it's simply the Sun and Moon (known as the luminaries) and the eight planets with which we'll be concerned.


    In fact we can narrow things down still further. All the celestial bodies move at different rates. This is not so important in natal astrology since we are dealing with a fixed moment in time. However, when it comes to forecasting and prediction a large component of your subsequent delineation will consist of when specific events are likely to occur, or how long certain trends will last. Thus it is crucially important to be aware of how fast each planet completes it's journey through the zodiac and in the shorter term, how long it will stay in each sign or will form an aspect to your natal placings.

    © PAUL WADE 1999

    Planet Through the Zodiac Through the Sign
    Sun ONE YEAR
    (365.26 days)
    Moon ONE MONTH
    (27.32 days)
    2¼ ~ 2½ DAYS
    Mercury ABOUT ONE YEAR
    (Always within 28º of the Sun)
    (Average figure: variable & depends on retrogradation)
    (Always within 48º of the Sun)
    (Average figure: variable & depends on retrogradation)
    Mars 1.88 YEARS
    (About 23 months)
    (Average figure: variable & depends on retrogradation)
    Jupiter 11.86 YEARS ONE YEAR
    Saturn 29.46 YEARS 2½ YEARS
    Uranus 84 YEARS 7 YEARS
    Neptune 164.79 YEARS 14 YEARS
    Pluto 249 YEARS 12 ~ 31 YEARS
    (Elliptical orbit: equivalent to or faster than Neptune's through Virgo ~ Capricorn inclusive)
    Chiron 50.7 YEARS 2 ~ 8 YEARS
    (Elliptical orbit: fastest through Virgo ~ Scorpio and slowest through Pisces & Aries)

    Referring to the Planetary Motion Table it is clear that there is a great difference in the speed at which the planets and the luminaries move. The Moon for example takes less than a calendar month to traverse the whole zodiac ~ the word month being derived from this association. At the other extreme Neptune will take about fourteen years to transit one sign, thus only passing through half the zodiac if we live into our eighties. Pluto can take even longer, although currently it is actually rather closer to us than Neptune and thus moves slightly quicker. Pluto's transit of Sagittarius ~ which began in early 1980 ~ will be completed in the region of thirteen years.

    When assessing the importance of planetary transits it is recommended that the greatest emphasis be placed on the motions of the slower moving outer planets, namely Jupiter through to Pluto inclusive. This is due to the more pronounced effects which such ponderous motions engender and the lower frequency with which they occur.

    Having established the essentials of forecasting with planetary transits and the equipment necessary for their application, next time we'll begin to consider what this all means! Please don't miss the next crucial installment!

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    Paul Wade is a professional astrologer and lecturer based in the rural South East of England. From here he runs a busy astrological consultancy, as well as speaking widely and writing for several printed and online publications. Paul also offers accredited astrological study within the educational mainstream and has lectured at Goldsmiths' College of the University of London since 1992. His website at is well worth a visit, with free forecasts, free astrological screensavers, fun astrology games and full information concerning Paul and his various activities!

    (c) Paul Wade

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