How To Interpret Astrological Transits

Hiro asks:

1. What happens when a planet changes signs, but doesn’t change houses? Example: My ascendant is 11 Virgo. Saturn entered Virgo, but is only in the first degrees. So, Saturn is in my 12th house still. But Saturn is in the sign of my ascendant.

The planet is transiting the house it is transiting, period. So in the example you offer, Saturn is transiting your 12th house. It doesn’t matter what sign is on the ascendant.

When it crosses your ascendant, it will be transiting your 1st house.

2. So, when do we feel a shift? When it enters the sign or when it transits over the actual degrees?

I feel a shift when a planet changes signs. I also see indications everywhere I look; in the news and in the lives of the people around me.

I notice when a planet changes houses in my own chart. I see my life progressing. Life unfolds and advances.

3. And how many degrees does an aspect last?

This depends on your sensitivity. You can compare it to nature. The seasons come in one after another no matter what we do. There’s a transition.

If you are the type to see the first autumn leaf fall, then you see these changes early. If you are the type to wait until you’re up to your hips in snow before you break out your winter clothes, well that’s another way to be.

Neither way is preferable that I can see.

Anyone else with an opinion?

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13 thoughts on “How To Interpret Astrological Transits”

  1. 1. transits for houses and for signs are felt independently.

    3. planets are always aspecting each other. a few of the aspects have been given names and long tested for meaning (ie, conjunctions – 0 degrees, oppositions – 180 degrees, etc). that’s confusing multiple use terminology, but yeah.

    it’s usually looked at like a process, where one major aspect is leading towards the next major aspect, and so on. so even if a transit isn’t near exact aspect, that’s inevitably what’s coming, and your life and/or thoughts evolve towards it.

    what you (hiro) specifically asked about was orbs, though. orbs are the bit of space padding an exact transit where an aspect is said to still be felt. for major aspects it’s usually around 6-8 degrees on either side of exact. i think you’d have to see for yourself in order to say exactly how you would want to approach this, though. i don’t think transits are sudden or have numerical walls. things progress. but, closer to exact seems to be more intense.

  2. I notice when planets change signs. As to orb for planets transiting my natal planets, from personal observation 10 degrees waxing is when I start noticing the effect & it increases up to the exact transit, then quickly fades. Betty Lunsted’s book on Transits is one I particularly find useful.

    I also force myself not to obsess about the whole thing . . . so stay with looking at the larger picture usually and do my best to go about business as usual. Caveat here: Mercury Rx and making purchases or signing paperwork – avoid if at all possible. 🙂

  3. I’m just learning this as well, so I don’t know how much help this will be, but:

    I don’t really notice when planets change houses, but I have noticed when one hits a natal planet. I think because it’s more personal, ya know? I ~feel~ (Cancer rising) it more! And, if it’s a major aspect (conjunct, opposed, square, trine), I tend to feel it very early, then lose it rapidly once the planets de-couple, like Neith said. Usually I don’t notice the other aspects too much, but I think that’s because I’m still nebulous on them in general, whereas I can spot the “big dogs” pretty easily. 🙂
    So, yeah. I think it’s subjective depending on how much you know. But as a amateur, that’s my 2¢.

  4. Signs I definitely notice in myself and in others: you can see them fidgeting and adjusting. But as far as houses are concerned the only ones I seem to notice/feel are the 12th and 7th.

    I am very curious though, to see the affects of pluto moving into my 6th.

  5. 3. Its interesting Elsa, my husband often wonders and asks me why all transits affect me only and not him. His life pretty much goes smooth no matter what goes on outside, as if he is somehow shielded against outside influences or he is like a deep well, which can accept a lot before spilling it over. I completely agree that astrology is acting through one’s nature. Everyone goes through transits and feel them differently/sooner/later.

  6. Well it depends on what house system you use, so I’m at loss on this matter. If I use placidus, transit Pluto just about entered my 5th house.

    If I use whole signs, Pluto is about 10 degrees from leaving my 5th!

    If I use equal, Pluto has been in my 5th for a while.

    So nope, I don’t know which is which. Also I’m Plutonian and have my sun ruler Venus in a stellium in my 8th. So the question “Well have your relationships made you more obsessed lately?” Does not cut it since I have always been that way.

    Its a mess. The astrology systems , is a mess.

    1. Well I did state the issues above. Either for ex Pluto just entered my 5th, or it has been there for a while. Its the same with whole house vs placidus.

      The issue is, there is many systems, and not possible to know which is right or wrong.

  7. What i have seen this year has been that aspects to my North Node have been the most powerful…I have a bunch of Pluto conjunctions coming up, which may change things.

  8. Incorrect if a house has 2 signs placed in it , it will effects of the next sign briefly.I have Aries and part Taurus in 2 house, so now Uranus in taurus will give 2nd house effects applied to sign taurus.

  9. Hi Elsa I’ve been searching everywhere but can’t seem to find an explanation anywhere about the difference between when an aspect is at its “most powerful” and when it is “exact.” What is the difference? and how can they be determined? Thanks!

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