Our destiny is painted in broad strokes, and astrology enables us to get a sense of the qualities of experience that are likely to be present during a defined period of time. Using this as foreknowledge, it is possible to prepare in advance for experiences that are likely to arise. Although I still believe the most substantial, meaningful preparation we can make in all of life is the work we do in our inner world.
It’s possible to have a different, better experience of a period of time that is shown by the symbolism of a transiting planet if it’s given attention and forethought. While we can’t possibly plan for every possibility, astrology provides the ability to have a good sense of what might come up. In that case, the ability to think and feel through a situation, visualizing it and giving it attention and thought in advance, helps us to respond in the most present, thoughtful, and rooted way we can.
Preparing in advance for the potential of some experiences may save us work down the line, whether that’s an internal orientation to an external reality, or an actual external preparation. The benefits come in terms of time, emotional/psychological/spiritual experience, money, and overall well-being.
While it’s possible to “prepare” for a transit from any planet in theory, I want to add some caveats here.
- For Uranus transits, preparation mostly includes getting comfortable with the idea of change, or if you’re a Taurus or have a lot of fixed signs in the chart, finding ways to bring novel, fresh ways of living into a lifestyle that you wish to sustain.
- It might be just because I’m “here” right now psychologically, but, even (some author) said it… the best laid plans of mice and men. We concoct these great schemes for our lives, but we never really know what is going to happen. The best thing we can do is architect a strong inner world, a resilient nervous system, a strong body, so we can flow more gracefully with the currents of life.
- Preparation for transits can also include giving consideration to cyclical cycles like annual profections. This entails knowing the baseline expression of one of the traditional seven planets in the birth chart, looking back into previous activations of that planet, and a handful of other considerations in order to predict the theme, arc, or likely experiences in a given year.
- I believe transits from planets like Pluto and Saturn are fruitful to be considered in advance, especially for those who have day time charts, with respect to Saturn. My observations of the expression of Saturn in night time charts suggests there is a more fated, less apparently malleable quality of experience.
What is a planetary transit?
A transit is the movement of a planet in the sky, today, in the past, or in the future, that makes an alignment with the placement of a planet or point in the natal chart. The planets are all moving along the ecliptic, and they occupy a certain degree at any given moment. At the minute and hour of the day you were born, the planets were all in unique degrees of the zodiac. You were born at that celestial moment that was most appropriate for your soul to express the particular qualities that were “ripe” to be expressed at this moment in time and space… But that is a topic for another blog post.
Astrologer’s freeze-frame the movement of the planets according to the place, time, and date of your birth to conjure up your birth chart in our handy dandy astrological software.
Transits are one way to describe a period in time when a certain planet’s symbolism is going to be more pronounced in an individual’s life.
But are the planets actually doing anything to us? Is Saturn up there with a clipboard tsk tsking at us? Is Pluto up there waiting for the opportunity to annihilate some feature of our lives or our selves? If yes, what exactly are these planets getting out of it?
From where I stand, I don’t think the answer is yes. I believe the answer is, the movement of the planets in a given alignment with a placement in the birth chart simply indicate a specific feature of the broader narrative of our lives that is pronounced during a particular period of time.
The planets are not causal agents, doing things to us when they come into orb of a placement in the birth chart, and then backing off. The planets are indicating a range of experiences that could occur during a time their transit is active.
So while we astrological enthusiasts and practitioners, myself included, have the habit of speaking about the planets as if they are the ones doing something to us or producing something in our lives, this isn’t actually the case as far as I am aware; rather they are signs of what is happening.
Preparing for Pluto, Saturn, and Mars transits and activations
Preparing for Pluto transits is mainly an inside job. These transits are potently psychological. They raise to the surface many vasanas or samskaras – which are defined as imprints of memory on our souls, or nervous systems, whether from this lifetime or other lifetimes, that express themselves when the moment in time-space is ripe for them to come to fruition.
Pluto transits put pressure on us to release old ways of being. Typically it is easiest for us humans to hold on to what is known to us, even if it is uncomfortable. Especially if we are walking into a big unknown, which is often the case with Pluto transits. We would rather stay on a sinking ship than swim into the wide open ocean. While we may not be able to see the lush island a short distance away, this place is often there on the other side of Pluto periods of experience. And there is typically a life raft and a gentle wind to supply us with enough power.
The best thing to do to prepare for this is to cultivate the practice of abiding with ourselves in discomfort. We can use the teachings from wisdom traditions, like Buddhism, or the Vedas, any mindfulness practice, yoga, meditation, breathwork, journaling, contemplation, prayer to establish resources, tools and ways of being far in advance of coming into a Pluto experience. But it’s never too late to start, and it might be a Pluto experience that brings an individual to these ways of living.
Saturn (when placed in a day-time chart)
Preparing for Saturn transits in a day-time chart is as simple as looking ahead to the house or planet that Saturn will be transiting and conducting an audit in that space. The benchmarks to look for are:
- Attention: Have I been paying attention to this area of my life? What is my gut feeling about anything that I need to do in this space? Are there ways that I can fortify this part of my life?
- Official-like Foundation: What can I do that has a more formal, structured, or dedicated feeling to it, to create something I can build from in this area of life?
- Clean-Up: Are there any loose ends here that I would like to tie up?
- Am I living this area of my life from a place of maturity? Patience? Integrity? Marathon thinking rather than sprint thinking? Planting in Winter for a Summer harvest thinking?
Remember, this also applies to planets being activated by annual profection.
I wanted to address these two planets in this post because they seem their reputation about being more challenging precedes them.
While Mars can also bring challenges, Mars’ transits (not activations by profection) are short-lived, and typically we won’t do enough in the time of its transit to cause any real damage, subjectively speaking. Mars can really heat us up and invite impulsive actions, especially if there is already a lot of fire in the chart. Developing mindfulness, and thoughtfully, proactively mitigating impulses, anger, hasty action, and overly negative yang expressions are ways to prepare for the red planet’s passages.
My baseline belief is that we can’t really ever do anything wrong, or anything we are not meant to do. But for some reason we were given the ability to reason through our actions. And astrology gives us the ability to have foresight. With these two variables, and with the extent of conscious choice that we have it is a blessing to the world if we take the time to intend to act in the most thoughtful, rooted, and considerate way we can.