When I work with current patterns, secondary progressions are one of my preferred systems. I also use solar arc directions regularly, and include the outer transits. Below are a few tips I’ve developed over the years for working with these various forecasting techniques.
LOOK BACK FIRST
One of the basic principles is that the best way to practice learning about current patterns is to apply the tools to your horoscope for past events to see how the symbols worked. Once you have a good mastery of the past, you will feel more comfortable considering the future. A complete discussion of interpretation is beyond the scope of this column, but I’d like to “hit a few highlights” in terms of some key items to watch for in working with current patterns.
1. Every significant event has a whole network of aspects. One single aspect is not enough to signify anything.
2. It is worth looking back at some “major” astrological patterns that have occurred in your life and discovering that many of them did not correspond to major events. Check, for example, conjunctions, squares, and oppositions to your Ascendant, Sun, Moon and 1st house planets by any progressed, directed or (outer) transiting planets.
3. With transits, long-term patterns (months and years) are indicated by Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. Shorter-term issues (weeks and months) are shown by Jupiter and Saturn. Mars is often the symbolic “trigger” in the sense that its “relatively” rapid motion by transits will often be the “icing on the cake” that indicates when patterns already shown by outer transits are most likely to manifest.
That is, when Mars activates patterns already in place, events are more likely. Inner transits move too rapidly to pay much attention to them. If you want to do electional work (choosing a day to get married, open a business, etc.), you would include the inner transits as well. Most people don’t have the time to consider the inner transits every day and inner transits are more likely to reflect ephemeral issues anyway.
4. With secondary progressions, the Moon is the symbolic “trigger.” When it activates patterns already indicated by other planets, events are more likely.
5. With all forms of current patterns, your most important aspect is the conjunction. The “hard” aspects (conjunction, square, opposition) and the quincunx are more likely to reflect events. “Soft” aspects can show opportunities, talents, etc., but are less likely to show major shifts in the life.
6. Note any changes of house or sign in all systems. (This includes the progressed or directed Ascendant and Midheaven changing houses and signs on the stationary framework of the natal chart). These changes point to possible new chapters in regard to the planet or angle which is changing house or sign.
7. Note any changes in direction by any planets in secondary progressions. They point to a new direction in regard to the nature of that planet and/or the house it rules or occupies in the natal chart. Going from direct to retrograde does not automatically equal repression (nor the reverse sudden release). A change in either direction indicates a shift in one’s handling of that part of life.
8. Watch the angles (Ascendant and Midheaven) closely in secondary progressions and solar arc directions. The more activity involving the angles, the more likelihood that events will occur. Remember, angles are cardinal in their own nature, so more associated with life’s structure (identity, home, relationships, career) and outer events. If you work with them, also watch the East Point/West Point axis and the Vertex/Antivertex axis.
9. Familiarize yourself with the cycles of the planets. This will help you stay in tune with human developmental cycles and knowing the planetary speeds in the different systems allows you to easily look ahead.
10. Remember that most patterns can be expressed in a variety of ways, on a variety of levels. We are expressing and coming to know ourselves physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. If we look for a range of possibilities and different ways to manifest the drives and needs depicted in the current patterns, we will be better off, and our clients can make the most of their opportunities.
AN EXAMPLE FROM REAL LIFE
Having laid out the principles, I’d like to present an example chart. I’m giving you one of the few “easy” charts I’ve done as a consultant. By easy, I mean that the particular event involved in this chart rather screamed out at me when I first looked at it. This is a rare occurrence. Most of the time, you will have many different possibilities evident. It really is not (nor should it be) the astrologer’s job to “pick” the event. It is our job to explicate the themes involved, and help the client understand some of the choices (inner and outer events) s/he has to work with.
In (the rare) cases such as this one—where a particular event is strongly suggested—one could do some philosophizing. Is that event one that is more “fated” than the average? Did the person agree to this before incarnating? It makes for interesting questions—with no real answers!
Please look over the chart on the next page and form your own opinion regarding the possible event. Primarily, however, notice what themes are in high focus. Those themes will suggest certain outer manifestations to you.
Let’s review some of the aspects involved, and the issues they raise, before jumping to “the answer.”
We note that transiting Uranus and Neptune are making their conjunction on her natal Midheaven. This certainly suggests dealing with issues of idealism and individuality in regard to her career, status, relationships with authority figures or handling of reality. There are many ways people can express this combination, but the most common include some kind of change of career or change of status.
That same transiting Uranus/Neptune is quincunx her natal Mars and natal Saturn gets pulled in. Since Saturn rules her Midheaven, we again get a focus on restlessness and possible changes in regard to work, status, power, etc. As Mars is always one of the keys to our personal action (and just to the individual herself), we see the potential of the client (Mars) separating from a former career or status or power figure.
Neptune rules her 12th house natally, and is in her 6th, so we see issues around the balance between real (6th) and ideal (12th) or nitty-gritty details versus Oneness. Uranus rules the 11th natally and is in the 2nd so alterations in friendships or associations (11th) or finances and pleasures (2nd) are possible.
Transiting Saturn has been going over her natal Juno (the marriage asteroid). This suggests a “get real” or “get down to business” attitude toward relationships. This can range from a working partnership, to a decision to limit a relationship, to a decision to commit to a serious relationship (such as marriage). Saturn also sextiles Jupiter which is in the 8th (relationships again) and ruling the 9th (issues of idealism and expectations once more). Natally Saturn rules the 10th (status, career, and power) and is in the 5th (love relationships, creativity).
Transiting Pluto is approaching the conjunction to Chiron in the 7th (again idealism in relationships). Transiting Pluto is closely quincunx natal Uranus in the 2nd (changes in finances or pleasures and possibly associations through its rulership of the 11th).
Transiting Jupiter is approaching the conjunction to natal Neptune in Libra (idealism in relationships) in the 6th house (work or health). Since Jupiter rules the 9th and Neptune rules the 12th, our idealistic theme emerges again.
We note that progressed Sun is conjunct natal Venus and Node. Also, progressed Venus is conjunct the progressed Ascendant. All those factors emphasize loving and being loved in relationships. Indeed, either Sun/Venus alone or Venus/Ascendant (or Venus/Descendant) alone can trigger “marriage” as a possibility in the astrologer’s mind. Progressed Venus is also opposite natal and progressed Jupiter—across the 2nd/8th house axis. So, possible changes or fluctuations in finances, resources and shared pleasures are indicated. And questions of balancing idealism (Jupiter) with relationship or pleasure needs (Venus) may arise.
The progressed Sun is moving into the sextile to Vesta, suggesting harmony between love and work, but the square to Saturn lurks ahead in a year or two, suggesting ambitions may clash with love needs, or risk-taking may vie with caution.
Progressed Vesta is also going over the natal Moon. This suggests a combination of work attitudes (critical, repair-oriented, focused on details) tied to the home, family, or dependent/nurturing relationships. It could mean working out of the home, taking on extra family duties; feeling emotionally restricted or criticized; literally working on the home (remodeling, etc.) or moving into a field that involves caretaking, etc.
The progressed Moon had a conjunction to Juno about 8 months before and will conjunct the Sun in about 4 to 5 months. Both those patterns again emphasize love, commitment, attachment, relationships. Since all bodies are in Pisces and two are in the 12th house, we again get issues around idealism, beauty, or escapism.
The progressed Moon is trine Chiron in the 7th and just moving into a trine to natal Moon (and progressed Vesta). Again, some harmony is implied in regard to idealism, relationships, emotional closeness, and effective work. The Moon is square progressed Uranus in the 2nd so individualism or money/pleasure issues may require some attention or integration. The Moon is also quincunx progressed Mars (in Leo in the 5th), suggesting changes. It looks like the client (Mars) is changing her “family matrix” (Moon natural and actual ruler of 4th). This could be a new home, moving in with someone else (or someone else moving in with her); remodeling; a separation from a parental figure; changing her own nurturing role (e.g., kids going off to college), etc. The progressed Midheaven square progressed Ceres (earth mother asteroid) also suggests challenges in balancing work and home life, dominance and dependency. Changes of status or home are possible.
SOLAR ARC DIRECTIONS
There is an interesting repeated pattern in the solar arc directions. Solar arc Jupiter is opposite natal Pluto and solar arc Juno is opposite natal Neptune. Thus we have both idealistic planets (Jupiter and Neptune) in an opposition (a challenge to integrate, to avoid seesaws, extremes, or projection by finding the middle ground) to a factor indicating intimacy (Juno and Pluto), particularly concerned with sharing possessions, power, finances, and pleasures (Letter 8 “stuff”). Jupiter is also moving into the square to Venus (to create a T-square) which repeats the challenge regarding ideals, beliefs, expectations in love relationships. Fortunately, solar arc Juno is trine to natal Pluto, so there are supportive aspects for handling closeness, intimacy and emotional attachments. Also, solar arc Mercury trines Saturn. This indicates her mind or communication skills could become more of a career asset. It also shows the possibility of harmony between the laws of life (Saturn) and her handling of money (2nd house rulership of Mercury), her mind (3rd house rulership) and her work (6th house rulership).
Solar arc Pallas squares Mars (closeness versus freedom). Solar arc Ascendant is just finishing the sextile to Mars (harmony within herself regarding personal action and identity). Solar arc Nodes (emotional “hot buttons”) are squaring natal Sun, triggering a mutable dilemma by house and sign (ideal versus real when we may demand too much).
Solar arc Vesta quincunxes the Sun (work versus love for the planets and love versus idealism for the signs and houses). Solar arc Pluto squares Jupiter in Sag in the 8th (again idealism issues in relationships) and Pluto also quincunxes natal Juno (repeating the focus on the need to clarify and keep what’s working and throw out what’s not—the quincunx—in regard to shared resources and intimacy—Juno and Pluto).
Solar arc Mars quincunxes natal Mercury (from Libra to Pisces). These signs emphasize romantic ideals in relationships. The houses emphasize work versus freedom or individuality. The planetary combination highlights mental restlessness and the need for stimulation. Since Mercury rules the 2nd, 3rd, and 6th, we also have the possibility of the client (Mars) separating (quincunx) from finances or pleasures (2nd), siblings, mental activities or communication styles (3rd) or her work (6th).
Solar arc Neptune squares natal Juno, repeating the challenge regarding idealism in relationships. (Recall, this can manifest as keeping standards too high and never being satisfied; of feeling like you—or your partner—never does enough, sacrifices enough, is loving enough; expecting the relationship to be “Heaven on Earth” and not knowing how to deal with inevitable conflicts; putting a partner on a pedestal or playing savior/victims scenarios with partners, etc. Positive manifestations can include sharing a spiritual quest, artistic pursuits, or idealistic activities with a partner.)
What actually happened was that the client got married. I do not have the exact date, alas. (It was sometimes in June, July or August.)
However, what was helpful for the client was the issues which were emphasized. After all, she already knew she got married that year! It was a marriage between two “older” people, so they had some issues over the handling of shared power, possessions, and finances. All the 2nd/8th and Juno/Pluto stuff that was emphasized was clearly relevant. We discussed some of her options (e.g., separate bank accounts for each of them as well as a third account for agreed-upon joint expenses such as household ones). As you would expect from her Taurus focus in the first, money and comfort were important issues for her.
The current patterns were also highlighting the issue of idealism in relationships. This is, of course, one of her natal challenges: Chiron in the 7th; Jupiter and Sagittarius in the 8th; Neptune in Libra; Sun and Pallas in the 12th and Sun in Pisces as well. With Saturn conjunct Pluto, intimacy issues (shared power, possessions, pleasures) are a karmic challenge. She is well aware of the issues and she and her husband do share a spiritual world view which helps to express the best side of the 9/12 mixed with 5/7/8 combinations.
She and her new husband are also contemplating working together (to help satisfy those love/work challenges). And, they did move in together—a new place for both of them—after marrying. So, her home changed as well as her status.
We could go on and on, just with this one example, but I think the ideas are clear. I hope you all enjoyed the exercise. Remember that even the rare chart that “screams” a particular answer at you will show the issues that are vital to the client. And that is what we are supposed to work with as counselors!