Transits and Orbs
Transits are interpreted by comparing your horoscope to what’s happening today, usually by penciling in the transiting planets in the appropriate spots, then looking at the houses and planets there affecting.
Transiting planets represent incoming influences and events that your natal planets will be asked to handle. The nature of the transiting planet describes the types of situation that will arise, and the nature of your natal planet tells which “piece” of you you’re working on at the moment.
When a planet transits through a house or aspects a planet in your chart, you will have opportunities for change and growth. Every transit you experience adds knowledge to your personality.
A Sun transit points to the places in your chart where you’ll want special attention, pats on the back, and appreciation. Here’s where you want to “shine.” These are often times of public acclaim, when we’re recognized, congratulated, or applauded for what we’ve done. Of course, the ultimate Sun transit is our birthday, the day when we’re all secretly sure that we should be treated like royalty.
When the Moon touches one of our planets, we react from an emotional point of view. A Moon transit corresponds to the highs and lows we feel that often last only a day or two. Our instincts are on high during a Moon transit and we’re more liable to “sense” what’s going on around us than to consciously know something.
Transiting Mercury creates activity in whatever area of life it visits. The subject is communication of all kinds, so conversation, letters, and quick errands take up our time now. Often, because of Mercury’s love of duality, events will occur in twos – as if Hermes the trickster were having some fun with us – and we’re often put in the position of having to do at least two things at once.
Transiting Venus brings times when the universe gives us a small token of warmth or affection, or a well-deserved break. These are often sociable, friendly periods when we do more than our usual share of mingling and are more interested in good food and cushy conditions than anything resembling work. A Venus transit also shows a time when others will give us gifts. Since Venus rules money, this transit can show when we’ll receive financial rewards.
Mars transiting through a house can create high energy times. You’re stronger and restless, or maybe you’re cranky, angry, accident-prone, or violent. When Mars happens along, it’s best to work or exercise hard to use up this considerable energy. Make yourself “too tired to be mad.” These are super times to initiate projects that require a hard push or energy to begin.
Under this transit, you’re in the mood to travel, take a class, or learn something new about the concerns of any house or planet Jupiter visits. We ponder the big questions. You grow under a Jupiter transit, sometimes even physically. Now is the time to take chances or risk a shot at the title. During a Jupiter transit is when you’re luckier, bolder, and a lot more likely to succeed. This transit provides opportunities. Be sure to take advantage of them.
When Saturn comes along, we see things as they truly are. These are not traditionally great times, but they are often times when your greatest rewards appear. When Saturn transits a house or planet, he checks to see if the structure is steady and will hold up. You are then tested, and if you pass, you receive a symbolic “certificate” of some kind – and sometimes a real one, like a diploma. We will always be tested, but if we fail, life can feel very difficult. Firming up our lives is Saturn’s mission. A Saturn transit is a great time to tap into Saturn’s willpower and self-discipline to stop doing something. It is not traditionally a good time to begin new ventures, though.
The last thing in the world you’d ever expect to happen is exactly what you can expect under a Uranus transit. Remember, this is the planet that revels in suddenness, and delights in last-minute plan changes, complete reversals, and shock effects. So if you’re feeling “stuck” in your present circumstances, when a Uranus transit happens along, you won’t be stuck for long. “Temporary people” often enter your life at these times, folks whose only purpose is to jolt you out of your present circumstances by appearing to provide exactly what you were sorely missing. That done, they disappear, leaving you with your life in a shambles. When these people arrive, enjoy them and allow them to break you out of your rut – just don’t get comfortable.
A Neptune transit is a time when the univers4e asks only that you dream. Your sensitivity heightens to the point that harsh sounds can actually make you wince. Our compassion deepens, and psychic moments are common. A Neptune transit inspires divine discontent,. We sigh, wish, feel nostalgic, and don’t see things clearly at all. At the end of the transit, you realize that everything about you is different, that the reality you believed in at the beginning of the transit was gradually eroded or erased even as you lived it.
A Pluto transit is often associated with obsession, regeneration, and inevitable change. Whatever has gone past the point of no return, whatever is broken beyond repair, will pass from your life now. As with a Saturn transit, this time is not known to be wonderful, but we do learn how strong we are when circumstances peel away everything from us and were forced to see ourselves as we truly are. Power struggles often accompany Pluto’s visit, but being empowered is the end result of a positive Pluto transit. The secret is to let go, accept the losses or changes, and make plans for the future.
An orb is the distance by which a planet is allowed to deviate from the exact aspect. The modern standard sets an orb according to the aspect, but traditional techniques allow for the prominence of the planet involved, so that an aspect between the Sun and Moon, for example, is allowed a larger orb than an aspect between Mercury and Venus. The more exact the aspect, the stronger the influence, the looser the aspect the weaker the influence.
Many modern astrologers apply an orb of 8° before and after the most powerful aspects (conjunction, square, trine and opposition) to indicate the periods of application and separation. A smaller orb of 4° is similarly applied to the sextile, with 2° applied to the remaining, minor aspects.