Posted by: Donna Cunningham | February 11, 2009

“The Sky Is Falling!”–Looking ahead at Tough Transits

transits-starsfallinhouse-a2d©2009 by Donna Cunningham, MSW

 Astrology students often worry when looking ahead at outer planet passages. Transits do herald changes–not CAUSE but HERALD in the sense of announcing them. Most of us are fearful of major changes, even ones we’ve yearned for and worked hard to create. Students seldom, however, get into the panic state I call the Chicken Little syndrome. That state is more typical of the novice who is convinced the sky is falling because of something in an astrology book or magazine.

Chicken Littles write to my Dell Horoscope advice column all the time. Reading that Pluto has gone into Capricorn, scads of Capricorn who only know their Sun sign have become alarmed. They believe they’re in for 14 years of relentless stress. That includes late-degree Capricorn who aren’t going to hear a peep from Pluto for another 10 years. These folks know just enough astrology to freak themselves out.

One woman called in hysterics when she heard Mercury had gone retrograde. Hyperventilating, she gasped that the last time Mercury went retrograde, she got fired, her husband left her for a younger woman, and she was in a car wreck. Now she was being forced to move, and she just couldn’t handle Mercury going retrograde again!

You and I know that a transit from an inner planet like Mercury could never accompany that degree of meltdown. Which outer planet would you say was active, and to which chart features? My immediate take, which proved correct, was that she was having Uranus aspects to all four angles at once. (See my post about Craig Ferguson on this blog for more about that particular chart pattern.)

Articles in astrology magazines-or computerized transit reports you order about your chart-may create the impression that the sky is falling because they can’t be personalized. They can’t possibly take into account the level you are using both planets. Also, reading about single aspects, it isn’t clear what checks and balances are operating. Rarely is the chart an unmitigated disaster–often there are trines or sextiles to the birth planet, either natally or from other current placements.

It’s humbling when the book that frightens the student is one of my own. Any number of people having Pluto transits to the Moon read Healing Pluto Problems and became petrified that their mother was going to die. I would point out that they’d had major Pluto angles to the Moon once each decade, sometimes more, and Mom was still around. Even if she was getting on in years, she was at least as likely to retire and move away–a second possible expression of that combination.

As they checked in with me over the course of the dreaded aspect, what inevitably changed was their relationship to both the inner and outer Mom. What determined how much healing occurred was their degree of willingness to tackle issues around that important relationship. Often, changes in the mother’s life circumstances and emotional state–for better or worse–created fertile ground for the offspring to mature emotionally.

True to the nature of Pluto, if resentment was an issue, working on forgiveness created a powerful healing of lunar concerns on many levels. More than one woman forgave her mother and was suddenly willing to diet. And, yes, some of those mothers did die–moms do that eventually, even the best and most reliable. In those sad instances, anticipating the aspect and working to resolve long-standing conflicts resulted in better closure.transitssmooth-a2d

If a transit several months down the line highlights a possible problem, start to prepare now. Soul searching about your contribution to the difficulty is a good beginning. Think about more constructive ways to use those same planetary energies. If the affected area is a source of pain, look into healing or counseling methods to stop unproductive patterns. Meet the challenge head on rather than deny or resist it, and life changes for the better.

Note: This is an excerpt from a longer exploration of transits in my hard copy book, How to Read your Astrological Chart, which can be purchased at or by calling 978.465.0504


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