Posted by: Donna Cunningham | October 30, 2009

Tough Transits: Best Case/Worst Case Scenarios

©10-31-2009 and 3-22-2011 by Donna Cunningham, MSW

Planet+House=the Best and Worst Possibilities of a ToughTransit

This article was orginally part of a survival kit developed to help readers get through the long, difficult square between Pluto in Capricorn and Saturn in Libra during 2008-9. I’m updating it a bit because people will soon revisit those same places in their chart as Uranus in Aries makes the same aspects and ultimately forms a square to Pluto in Capricorn. The process we’ll see below using Saturn as an example is similar to the one you’d use to analyze a Uranus transit, but you’d substitite Uranian qualities for the Saturninan ones.

What we’re doing is analyzing how the transiting planets’ issues and modes of operation combine with the matters of the houses involved. This will help you brainstorm about what kinds of events and situations might develop.


 Step 1: List Issues and Concerns of the Transiting Planet and its House

Saturn in Libra will be methodically proceeding through my 3rd house, so let me use that as an example. We’ll tackle Pluto later, but here are some concerns for Saturn and for the 3rd:

 Saturn Issues: Structure, discipline, desire for quality and accomplishment, maturity, ageing, and the passage of time, authority, perseverance, self-discipline, accountability, realism, learning from experience, ability to face and deal with reality, establishing limits and boundaries, setting the bar higher, standards.

During a Saturn transit, in some areas of life, you are:  Confronting lack or loss; taking responsibility; eliminating dead wood; getting your act together; raising the bar; performing at peak; waiting for the right time; and reaping what you have sown—whether rewards or consequences.

Worldly matters associated with Saturn and Capricorn: professions, career, big business, corporate sector, executives, bosses and our attitudes toward them, status, expectations and atttoolmanoverwhelm-a2ditudes about success, conservative political eras, depressions and eras of contraction, crackdowns, cutbacks, reality checks.

3rd House: How the person thinks and communicates, any barriers ­to learning, writing, speaking.  Describes situations with siblings and other close relatives (not parents) as well as any ­problems regarding them. Relationships with neighbors and the impact of the surrounding environment.

  Step 2: Develop Best Case Scenarios

First, generate a list of the 7-10 best things that could happen, given the particular planet/house combination. To do this, you’d list the functions of the transiting planet (its best and worst qualities and modes of operation).  You’d then combine them with the areas of life governed by the house it’s traveling through.

They must be logically related—one from column A (Saturn, in this case) and one from column B (the 3rd). Think of positive events or situations that might occur if you worked toward the best possible outcomes.  Rank those in terms of their desirability or where they might take you in terms of long-held dreams or goals.

The house placement of transiting Saturn often relates to career developments, and since I’m a professional writer, its trip through my 3rd –the house of communication–could in fact have many payoffs for me. The last time it went through my 3rd—a whole Saturn cycle ago—I began publishing astrology articles and wrote my first book. (If you’re old enough to remember what you were doing 30 years ago, this would be the Saturn return of whatever foundation you laid during that era.)

Encouraged, I proceeded to generate a list of potential positive outcomes that could logically occur during this Saturn transit. I’ll share them, so you can see how it’s done.

  1.  I could write a different kind of book, one for the mainstream, and emerge as a serious novelist.
  2. Given that Saturn is in Libra, some sort of writing partnership–or finding an agent–could take my writing to a whole new level.
  3.  I could organize all the writing I’ve done since the last passage of Saturn through this house in some formal body of work….maybe a CD to market.
  4.  My blog could reach the top of the lists for astrology blogs.
  5.  I could prepare an email course on writing for metaphysical markets and have an ongoing group of writing students.
  6.  I could establish a program of teleseminars on astrology.
  7. I could finally step up to the plate and take on some responsibility for my grand-niece if she decides to go to a vocational school when she graduates this year.
  8.  My mean Aunt Bernadine, now in her late 80s, could finally kick the bucket. (Oops! Sorry.)

Keeping it real:  In assessing your list of best case scenarios, give some thought as to how realistic they are. Saturn transits simply do not lend themselves to pie in the sky outcomes; they reward you for putting in consistent sweat equity on your goals. Part of keeping it real is setting priorities–there are a limited number of hours in a day.

Looking at my list, 5 out of 8 have a pretty good chance of manifesting because I work really hard at my writing and have a doggone good track record. There are 3 of mine that probably aren’t going to happen.  One’s chances of becoming a successful novelist are approximately the same as hitting the lottery.  That about the blog, not gonna happen either, because of sites like relationship-oriented Sasstrology, that get about 3000 hits a day.  And mean Aunt Bernadine is never going to croak—she’s one of the undead.  (I could tell you stories!!)

Step 3: Develop and AssessWorst Case Scenariostoolmanwipebrow-a2d

So what about the worst case scenarios? I’d suggest you do that list second, after you’ve begun to get a sense of some of the progress you could make with this transit.  I’d also suggest that, as a reality check for your late-night heebie jeebies, you rate the odds that this worst case would ever occur.

Here’s my list of the not so wonderful ways Saturn’s 3rd house sojourn could manifest.  (As you’ll notice, when an astrologer looks at her own chart, objectivity can fly out the window, and she can conjure up some worrisome possibilities!)

  1. My columns for Dell and/or The Mountain Astrologer could be canceled or the publications could go out of business.  (Brrrr!! 50% chance, in this economy)
  2. My only sister, whose health is quite terrible, could die or wind up in a nursing home.  (80%)
  3.  I could become even more forgetful than I was…..well, a while back. (Actually, my memory performance is getting better as I learn how to compensate, so I’d say only 20% chance.)
  4.  My mobility issues could get worse.  (40%)
  5.  I’m preparing to move to a senior complex in the next year or so, and my elderly and disabled neighbors there might prove to be an unwelcome responsibility.  (33%)
  6.  My tendencies to ALMOST stutter under pressure could get worse. (20%)
  7.  My eternal fountain of writing ideas could dry up. (Yeah, right!! .005%)

Not so much fun!   What strikes me as I list the unfavorable possibilities is that almost all of them are out of my control.  They’d happen because of other people  or social trends or TO people who matter to me.  Only 3 of them would come about as a consequence of my not doing the things Saturn would require of me. I’d be interested in hearing whether this proves true of you as well when you try this exercise.

After you’ve speculated on the odds that your own worst case scenario could happen, ask yourself if you’re being realistic. Are you seeing it through rose colored—or mud-colored—glasses?  If there’s a chance the odds you came up with aren’t realistic, you might ask someone whose advice you trust how they’d rank the same list for you.

 Step 4:  Repeat the Process with Transiting Pluto

 What issues and concerns might you work with in generating a similar list for your Pluto transit?   Use the lists below, and get the list of areas of life for the house involved from Part 1 of this series.

Pluto Issues: Power and control, trust, to discover and analyze what lies beneath the surface and eliminate the undesirable, separateness, holding on to things or feelings, revenge, death and endings, rebirth, healing, transformation.

Worldly matters associated with Pluto/Scorpio: Sexuality, wealth, uses and abuses of power, corruption and dirty dealing, secrets, exposes, occult, healing, psychology, death and the afterlife, national and personal debt, terrorism, stocks.

Under a Ptoolmanscratchhead-a2dluto transit you are:  Brooding on wrongs; delving into causes of pain; unearthing the suppressed or the secret; reacting to your discoveries; accepting your part in it; healing the wounds; and reclaiming your power.

 Step 5:  Work toward the Positive Possibilities/Away from the Negative

 Now you have a clearer idea of  the best and the worst that could happen during the transit.  Clarity in itself can help reduce anxiety, because it makes the task ahead of you concrete rather than a nameless dread of what Might Happen.

As a first project,  pick out one of the positive outcomes you want to manifest. Develop strategies for change,  brainstorming about what has to be done for that project.  List steps that have to be taken, and evaluate what parts are easy and can be done quickly and what parts require time and learning new skills.

Try researching your project on the internet.  (wikiHow – The How-to Manual is a great resource—see the various posts here under Guest Blogger for examples.) The more information you have about what needs to be done, the less overwhelmed you’re likely to be.

Related Posts for Using the Transit to Change Unwanted Patterns:

FREE EBOOKLET FOR SKYWRITER SUBSCRIBERS ONLY: Mothers, Daughters, and the Moon, a 50-page excerpt from The Moon in your Life. Read more about it here: NEW: FREE BOOKLET FOR SKYWRITER SUBSCRIBERS!  If you’re already a subscriber and want a copy, forward the most recent email post to me at To sign up for a subscription, go to the top right hand corner of the blog and click on “Subscribe.”  Then send me an email with your subscription confirmation or an email post with a request for the booklet in the subject line.


  1. I love this toolkit! Going through the process has made this transit seem a lot less scary and helps me to feel empowered to use the energy in a positive way to transform areas of my life (I have Saturn/Libra in 12th and Pluto/Cap in 3rd). Most of my scenarios are within MY control, which is great news. Thank you so much for this wonderful work and teaching us how to apply this information!

    • Thanks, Jennifer, I’m glad to hear it’s helping.There’s lots more where these two came from. My head is fairly buzzing with ideas!

      With transiting Pluto in the 3rd, this will be a great winter to hole up and read a lot of empowering self-help/healing books, and maybe even to take a workshop or two (just be sure there aren’t any sweat lodges involved, she sez wryly.) Donna

  2. these are great. have been pretty concerned about my husband with the 0.5 degree Libra in Saturn that he has, yesterday, working in the yard, he thought he wrecked his knee (it popped!).. And i thought, good grief,that square is happening now! I will sit down and study all this stuff tomorrow when it’s calmer and send him to the doctor!
    thanks for doing this, it does help to have a worksheet..

    • So using your method and sending husband to doctor; we determined his knee was ok, but the hassles setting up our vacation later this month in November to Arizona (his 11th house)
      and getting a little notice from the IRS about some mistakes on our return (9th house) and the eternal myriad of health problems I have and HAVE had for 30 odd years (6th house) are more what it was about, and not my dear husband’s knee. and his knee is still holding up if battered.

      I used your method to alleviate my anxieties. Thanks!- Now cross your fingers that i don’t go to jail ~! (12th house Jupiter Squaring Saturn and Pluto EEEK!) LOL

      • so anyway; I see what i wrote wasn’t completely clear; the 9th and 11th are where Saturn and Pluto are in his chart, and 6th and 9th in mine.

  3. Speaking of ‘novel’, did you know that November is NaNoWriMo??? (National Novel Writing Month) It’s an amazing literary/writing experience. I started reading more fiction (and for a Virgo librarian to do that? Huh? Well…), and that helped my writing and development of character. Check it out!!

    • You’re doing that, Kristy? I so admire you!! It takes a tremendous commitment. Maybe I’ll do that some November. Speaking of Novembers past/present, the other day I was working on a post about flower essences for this blog and discovered something interesting. I’m co-editor of Vibration, an educational flower essence magazine and blog. Each November for the past several years, we’ve published an issue that is crammed full of highly intense articles about essences and other modalities for deep-level healing. Can you spell SCORPIO? I never realized the pattern until I put them together like that. Maybe that Scorpio capacity for intense focus is why they chose November for the challenge of writing a whole novel in 30 days. Donna

  4. Donna,
    My head is spinning with all this information here. I am one of those born with pluto-saturn square. Didn’t realize that consciously until I started reading your blog! I am in the throes of trying to get ORGANIZED and de-cluttered. This has been a long-term issue for me and I knew things were coming to a head because I kept finding myself living in smaller and smaller quarters (400-700 square foot apartments).

    And I figured the Universe was forcing me to look at material items and ‘get a grip’!ha! Anyway, today I have been going through several boxes of my daddy’s possesions, figuring out who to give what, etc. Along with the little bit of material goods is a TON of emotional issues and I’m trying to process those too.

    On a lighter note, I am still tickled over the synchronicity of ‘finding’ you again. I ‘met’ you almost 20 years ago when I was editor of Fifty/something magazine; now I really am ‘fifty-something’ and we’ve met again — when I really do indeed need all this help. THANK YOU!

    • As you can see from reading the comments, clearing away years and years worth of unwanted possessions is a theme for many of us. Going through your father’s possessions while in the grieving stage should be a very tangtible reminder of many of the dimensions of that key relationship. Intense, however. Donna

  5. Donna, do you by any chance know Dusty Bunker? She is a numerologist who has ventured into writing mystery crime novels with a numerology twist. OH…she writes for Dell, too, so maybe you do know her. Anyway, you’re blogging of branching out into mainstream novel writing made me think of her…..

    • I do know Dusty, terrific gal, though she and I haven’t been to the same conference in about 20 years. Donna

  6. I also have a Cancer asc so Saturn is in my 3rd (as well as my 2nd saturn return) so I really appreciated your example! What really cracked me up was your comment about Aunt Bernadine.
    I am enjoying (HA!) the Pluto-Saturn to my Mars-Uranus square after just having it to my moon-saturn opposition! Ah, life is so full….and yes, I am using flower essences!
    Love this site Donna….

    • Glad you enjoyed, Terry. Are you in the market for one slightly used aunt? Donna

      • Aunt Bernadine, don’t we all have one..:-)

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