From “The Symbolism of the Transits”

by Carla Pretto

translated by Nick Skidmore

INTRODUCTION. The astrological method of prediction consists in observing the daily planetary movements in relation to the fixed positions of the horoscopic chart, in other words the snapshot of the sky, fixed at the moment of birth. The transit of a planet, at a given moment, on a sensitive point of the birth chart, be it planet or angle (Ascendant, Medium Coeli, Descendant, Icumun Coeli) forms an aspect that may be conjunction, sextile, quadrature, trigon and opposition according to the size of the angle that is created between the passing planet, called transiting and the planet in the birth chart, called radical or radix planet.

The planet in transit is always identified before the radical planet, for example, the passage of Jupiter in transit in trigon to the radix Sun would be read thus: Jupiter trigonal to the Sun and not the Sun trigonal to Jupiter. The symbolism of the aspect is the same, but the difference lies in the fact that in the first case, the period in which Jupiter forms an aspect to the Sun lasts for a minimum of one month and a maximum of seven, while the transit of the Sun across radix Jupiter lasts for three or at the most four days. 

To observe the transits, it is therefore necessary to consult the astronomical tables for the day about which information is required or, even simpler, use a computerised programme which, once the birth chart details and the data relating to the transit of interest are entered, will immediately give all the precise aspects that the planets of transit form with the radical ones, and the angle points, Ascendants and Medium Coeli.

As with the aspects, the transits also have their orbits with degrees of arc; those that I personally take into consideration vary according to the planet; for the slow planets, like Pluto and Neptune, I count an arc of more or less 2 degrees for all aspects, that is: conjunction, quincunx, sextile, trigon, quadrature, semi-quadrature and opposition; for Uranus, the arc is more or less 2.5 degrees, for Saturn and Jupiter, the arc is more or less 3 degrees.

In my astrological practice, I have found that the aspect of semi-sextile (an orbit of 30°) should not be ignored, especially when it is the slow planets forming it, departing from Saturn and arriving at Pluto, when the arc of orbit being considered is more or less 1.

The semi-sextile or semi-quadrature have the same symbolism as the sextile and the quadrature, though slightly accentuated, while the quincunx is similar to the conjunction. 

One hard and fast rule is that the importance of an aspect of transit depends on its duration; which is the same as saying that the slower the passage of the celestial body across the planet or radical angle, the more important will be the effect that it has.

The principal transits are those of Pluto, Neptune, Uranus, in so far as they remain for a good two years in aspect with the planet or with the radix angle, deeply influencing the existence of the individual, causing interior and exterior changes.

Saturn takes a year to complete the transit between the retrograde drift and the two forward passages, remaining in aspect in this way for a minimum of a month and a half and a maximum of five months, indicating important choices for the individual that will bring long-lasting effects.

One can therefore establish a sort of scale of relative values of the influence of the transits, dividing them up into six orders of magnitude:

  • The slow planets : Pluto, Neptune, Uranus; the principal transits

  • The semi-slow planet: Saturn; important transit

  • Jupiter: high transit

  • The Sun: secondary transit

  • The fast planets: Mars, Venus, Mercury; tertiary transits

  • The Moon: negligible transit.

 

Mars, Venus and Mercury, even though they give rise to tertiary transits, which are considered less important, assume a greater relevance when they make the ring of occupation, which consists of the fact that such planets slow their transit, moving first forwards, then seem to reverse before finally resuming their forward direction. When this phenomenon is seen in fact with Mars, Venus or Mercury, they will take, respectively, about six, four and two months to transit in the thirty or fifteen degrees of a sign. In such circumstances, a tertiary transit takes on greater importance and more power than a secondary transit, that is, by the Sun.

To analyse the transits, it is vital to closely study the radix planet, which is involved in the aspect, checking the house in which it is situated and remembering, before making the interpretation, that every transiting planet brings with it the characteristics that belong to it in the birth chart, proceeding then to study the symbolism of the transiting celestial body in the house and then the aspects that it forms with the radical planets or angles.

Furthermore, it is important to remember that, when two planets are transiting at the same time, for example Mercury transiting positively across a radix planet, for example Jupiter, and that same Jupiter is transiting negatively across radix Mercury, they present two opposing symbolisms that do not reciprocally annul each other, but maintain the distinctness of their identities. This symbolism should be considered with great attention, because the first transit, even if it is of a short duration, exerts its positive influence in specific sectors, while the second, of greater duration, exerts its negativity in others; sectors that vary according to the houses in which the transits take place.

It should be borne in mind that in a transit expression may be found for all the symbolism that the transiting planet brings with it as well as all that the radical body contains.

For example, a transit by Neptune in opposition to radix Mercury, among various symbolic meanings, can indicate anxiety caused by the flowing of money, owing to the expense that the subject must engage in on behalf of children, brothers, young people in general or relatives. But the symbolism of the transit doesn’t end there, it can include other difficulties as well, due to lack of money because of work-related matters or unfavourable commercial factors.

Greater attention is needed in interpreting transits in a birth chart, which present conjunctions or stelliums, in so far as it is necessary to carefully analyse the planets that make them up: for example, if there is a Uranus-Mars or Pluto-Mars conjunction and in the accumulation there are also other planets, a positive transit by Mars can bring an overload of energy that can impact on the subject by making them over confident, leading them to exaggerated attitudes, to being too bold and therefore carrying them towards moral or practical difficulties. On the other hand, a negative transit, still by Mars, represents anger, insecurity, which will make the subject more careful and therefore less prone to ominous events.

There are some transits that I define as resolvers, at least for as long as the passage lasts, and they are those of the slow planets, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto, which, if afflicted in the birth chart, above all by the luminaries or by the fast planets in the moment in which they are transiting positively, will mean the subject faces a considerable obstacle. For example, in a horoscopic chart, Uranus forms quadrature to Venus, among the various symbolic meanings there is also emotional insecurity, which will make the subject hesitant in relations with their partner, interpreting their being late for appointments or going home earlier than expected in the evenings as an affront because this will automatically give rise to the belief that the partner is going with someone else. This will ruin the evening and spoil all enjoyment. With the transit of Uranus in conjunction, sextile, semi-sextile and trigonal to Venus, the subject acquires an inner emotional security so that such lateness will be accepted as normal, caused by traffic or sudden problems at work, and, as a consequence, he will enjoy a pleasurable and harmonious evening with his partner.

In cases in which a transiting planet forms positive aspects, but is afflicted in the birth chart, the subject will always act in such a way as to bring favourable results and will therefore realise their aims, but the effort and the trials they will be forced to undergo to achieve this will be considerable. If such a planet is Saturn or Uranus, the subject will be lucid and rational, so that his expectations will be realised; if, rather, it is Neptune or Pluto, it will often happen that he will not succeed in realising the objectives he has established rationally, but will achieve others; this is because his unconscious goals are completely different, and unknown to him; the unconscious will is not acting in accordance with the conscious will.

To simplify the reading of the aspects, I have divided them into two groups: in the first, I consider the conjunction, sextile and trigon, and here also the semi-sextile should be read; in the second, quadrature, opposition and therefore also the semi-quadrature.

The conjunction is one aspect that is, shall we say, ambiguous and must be assessed carefully, in this respect, that if the radical planet across which the transiting one passes forms thereby a conjunction, it is positively aspected, and the result of the transit is doubly positive, as long as there is not an overload. If, instead, the radical planet is aspected negatively, that of the transit, which in passing gives rise to a conjunction, also forms the same negative aspects to the radix planet, whose symbolism will therefore be negative, while the transit of conjunction will of itself bring its own positive significance.

A quincunx too is an ambiguous aspect and must be examined carefully according to the radix planets with which it forms the aspect, and the houses; the interpretation is therefore similar to the conjunction. 

The semi-sextile and the sextile have the same influence as the trigon, if slightly more accentuated; the real distinction is given by the houses in which the aspects are seen.

The quadrature and the opposition, are similar in symbolic value; the difference lies in the fact that the quadrature and the semi-quadrature create tension, some obstacles which the subject will not succeed in extricating himself from, remaining almost psychologically and physically paralysed, forced to submit himself to a state of mind or a tangible solution that is imposed by others or by outside events.

In the opposition, on the other hand, the tension flows from one pole to its opposite and the subject succeeds in discharging it, even though the result might prove frustrating later.

It is necessary to bear in mind the fundamental importance that, in the reading of the transits, the symbolism of the planets transiting in the houses possess.

In astrology, the planetary influences are immense, as wide-ranging and multi-faceted as the psychological characteristics of each one of us, or the different ways of carrying out the same job, for example, or the multiplicity of the different kinds of work. I believe it is almost impossible, at least for me, to speak exhaustively of all the possible symbolic meanings, examining the details in depth. For this reason, I have decided to describe the symbolic meanings of the planet at the beginning of each treatment, and I suggest these are kept in mind and applied in all their variations.

For example, if I write: “Difficulties with communication; news received by word of mouth, in written form, by telephone or computer will be negative or encounter obstacles” can mean what it says, but also: the breakage or loss of a telephone; finding the number we want to reach forever busy or not finding the person or making a mistake in dialling the number; having problems with the computer and therefore being unable to send or receive emails: waiting for a letter that doesn’t arrive, because it’s been lost or is late because of a postal strike; discovering some bad news in the newspaper or, for those who are journalists, writing a poor article or failing to get a good one published. 

One could go on but the writer can get lost in details, neglecting the whole: what’s more, however much one writes, something will always be omitted because human nature and imagination will always be greater than anything the writer can come up with.

PLUTO

 

Pluto take 250 years to travel through the circuit of the Zodiac, its daily motion is so slow that only the annual progress is registered, which varies from 50 sixtieths to 2 degrees. The arc of orbit that I personally take into consideration during the transit is of 2 degrees, as a consequence its passage across a radical planet between two forward and one retrograde motionlasts around two years, and is therefore considered a principal transit.

I have noticed that when Pluto transits positively across one of the luminaries or one of the fast radical planets, his symbolism of creativity, strength and resilience is completely respected and this provides a “guarantee” that the subject will overcome any other negative principal transit: they can happily say that “the world may crumble, but I will be saved”. If, on the other hand, he transits negatively, especially across one of the luminaries, the existential crisis that the subject will face will be harrowing, destabilising, destructive, first for themselves and then for anyone around them.

Pluto symbolises creativity, growth in the broadest sense, and so represents even the production of cells by the human organism, which, especially if the planet transits negatively, can mean the growth of anomalous or malign cells and therefore the origin of tumours. In fact, with a negative transit by Pluto across the luminaries and across the fast planets, and across Jupiter, too, I have noticed that, above all among very old subjects, there is a high percentage who develop this dark malignancy; the parts of the body affected are represented by the planets with which he forms aspect, by the houses and signs in which they are situated and by the houses and signs through which Pluto transits. From my own experience, I can add that, during the period of the transit, the subject may also come into contact with such illness, not because it is necessarily him who suffers from it, but because someone dear to him has been struck by it.

The subject, furthermore, is forced even to come into contact with death, given that Pluto represents this, and depending whether the transit is negative or positive, this will be experienced as either a trauma or a liberation. 

I maintain, however, that Pluto is the most difficult of the planets to interpret in transit, not because of the symbolism he represents, but because of the way in which this is experienced, perhaps precisely because, for almost the whole period of the transit, his occult symbolism tends to hide what is actually happening and only at the end of the aspect does the subject realise what has really occurred.

The symbolic meanings are:

  • Creativity.

  • Profound vital energy, the Id.

  • Intrigue, the ability to deceive.

  • Love of risk-taking.

  • Individuality.

  • Subterranean liquids: petrol, drains, sewage.

  • Other people’s money: inheritance, insurance, money that has long been expected, banks, taxes.

  • The testicles.

 
Professions

All activities arising out of crime; from the detective to the police constable, to people who work for the secret services, those who form part of the Special Forces, to criminal psychiatrists, to the writer of thrillers. Any activity connected with the disposal of rubbish, from the garbage-man to those who select and incinerate refuse. Professions that have to do with the burying of the dead, from grave-diggers to someone who runs a funeral parlour or who sculpts headstones or who sells flowers to adorn graves. All activities based on the management of other people’s money, such as insurance, banking, loan sharks. But also professions that deal with matters of State, such as politicians, union leaders, and, why not, even the mafia. Another branch to add to the list is that arising from sex, starting with those who prostitute themselves, “pimps” and people who run or work in ‘red light’ districts, people who publish or write for pornographic magazines. And finally, all activities arising out of crude oil, from those who work to extract it to the man who operates the gas pump.

Transiting Pluto in Conjunction, Sextile or Trigonal to the Sun

 

Pluto represents creativity, great vital energy reserves, the Id, while the Sun symbolises the individual, the Ego, consequently when the two planets transit positively between themselves, it means that the Id and the Ego collaborate; all the libidic energy of the subject is turned towards creativity and self-affirmation and he, without realising it, becomes more secure, individualistic and courageous, so much so that no-one will be able to make him do what he does not want to do. It is a passage that, especially for a man, represents the interior work that the subject undertakes on himself, through which he becomes conscious of himself, of his qualities and defects, accepting them, and that allows him to use, in a positive and constructive way, all his energy. Therefore, for the whole time the transit lasts, he succeeds in obtaining that which he most desires, focusing his energy and resilience on the objective that he wishes to reach, employing derring-do and deceit if necessary.

Work 

Pluto represents creativity, great vital energy reserves, the Id, while the Sun symbolises the individual, the Ego, consequently when the two planets transit positively between themselves, it means that the Id and the Ego collaborate; all the libidic energy of the subject is turned towards creativity and self-affirmation and he, without realising it, becomes more secure, individualistic and courageous, so much so that no-one will be able to make him do what he does not want to do. It is a passage that, especially for a man, represents the interior work that the subject undertakes on himself, through which he becomes conscious of himself, of his qualities and defects, accepting them, and that allows him to use, in a positive and constructive way, all his energy. Therefore, for the whole time the transit lasts, he succeeds in obtaining that which he most desires, focusing his energy and resilience on the objective that he wishes to reach, employing derring-do and deceit if necessary.

Father 

The positive transit represents the unconscious and natural assessment that the subject makes in comparison to the father, who from being the parental figure who tries to make him observe the rules and imposes limits, is transformed into the father - a man, who portrays himself to the son as creative, proud and sure of himself, but with whom the son can have a relationship without fear, establishing communication and togetherness and, if necessary, holding his own in a conflict. That exerts a positive influence on the individual growth of the subject who thus begins to strike out on his own, autonomous path, knowing however that he will be find paternal support if he should need it.

Partner 

The self confidence, vitality and above all the mystery with which the subject manages to surround himself, to which he adds sensuality in his attitude or way of dressing, will attract a great number of suitors, which whom he will enthusiastically and charmingly engage in relationships, but he will also enjoy himself sexually, once he sees that he can play them as he likes. The great number of possible partners will make the subject more aware of the choice he makes, even if it is not certain that he will choose only one, and it will be an unconscious choice based on the fact that the companion will transmit back to the subject the high opinion they have of him and will make him feel unique and special.

For a female subject, the transit indicates the assessment that she will make of her own masculine prototype, an assessment that will allow her to embellish and totally accept the masculine figure and therefore succeed in have a relationship of equals with them. If, however, radical Pluto is strong at birth, the transit may spur her towards adopting a masculine attitude in her relationship with her partner and that will lead her to take the initiative herself, in fixing up dates and in deciding whether to start a relationship or not, and whether to continue with one or end it, if she is already involved. For both sexes, however, the transit will prompt them to have numerous relationships at the same time, exactly because of the symbolism of the love of risk, of hiding things, of intrigues, that Pluto represents. Naturally, it is necessary to judge the individual tendencies that are represented in the birth chart.

For the woman who already has a husband/partner, the positive transit symbolises the good relationship she has with the person with whom she feels sexually satisfied, but also with all that he does, especially in the workplace. The partner is full of energy, creativity, indefatigable, sure of himself and this, as well as transmitting a sensation of being protected, stimulates and encourages her to compete and to be his accomplice.

In cases in which the woman is in a frustrating relationship, marriage or partnership, the positive transit of Pluto will allow her to succeed in summoning all her energy in order to face up to separation and to be happy doing so, since it allows her to rediscover her own individuality and dignity.

Sexuality

In the symbolism of the testicles and therefore of sexuality, represented by Pluto, a harmonious transit across the Sun, for a man, will result in great sexual energy, which will increase his lust and spur him into intense and gratifying experiences, at least as long as there are no other collateral, negative transits, like for example negative Uranus across radical Mars. For the woman too the transit represents greater desire and sexual energy, which normally she manages to satisfy with her partner, but if it is the case that he is unable to give her that satisfaction, she will find it with other, more gifted men.

Masculine figure 

Favorable, creative, intriguing, close - these are the relationships the subject will initiate or continue to conduct with the masculine figure in general and with friends in particular. He feels himself admired and supported and that allows him to be himself, to show his gifts, but also his excesses.

Economic situation

The significance of other people’s money, symbolised by Pluto, transiting harmoniously with the Sun, underlines the satisfaction the subject draws from his own economic situation: the possibility of enjoyable windfalls, that might be from sound investments, successful speculation, inheritance or money from the father or grandfather, from returns on insurance or tax rebates. The transit also indicates the facility with which the subject may obtain bank loans or the relationships with male colleagues with whom he works.

I’ve noticed that for a woman the transit may also signify money coming from the husband, from his annuity, if separated, or in any case coming from the father or some other masculine figure. 

Healthe

The positive transit, representing the vitality and creativity of the subject, indicates at the same time how these characteristics are also signs of good health and protection from any kind of illness. One can add that with such a transit, even if the subject is suffering from some sickness, perhaps due to other, negative transits, he will succeed in coping with any sort of treatment or intervention with energy, and will recover so quickly as to astound not only himself but even the doctor treating him.

Pluto Transiting in Opposing Quadrature to the Sun

This destructive transit will be experienced in a more dramatic way by men than women, simply because the Sun represents the male figure and Pluto is considered a masculine planet.

The discordant transit symbolises the deep existential crisis in which the subject is plunged, making him feel frustrated inwardly and worn out by the life he is leading. This feeling, which he succeeds in hiding from the eyes of others, pushes him to reassess his lifestyle and the work he is doing, often leading to the conclusion that everything he has achieved and built is useless and insignificant. He will question himself and his work, and will want to take action, to do something or throw everything to the wind, but he has neither the energy nor the courage to do it. And so he is obliged to remain rooted, if not completely hemmed in by his frustration for two years. The crisis may be resolved initially by outside factors or events, but they will return to haunt him, producing severe dissatisfaction with himself, which in some cases may result in a breaking up of the personality and, less frequently, with important collateral negative transits across the Sun, even the desire for death or actual suicide.

Work 

The discordant transit highlights for the subject, both masculine and feminine, the problems that they must confront at work. Initially, it may trigger a general dissatisfaction, that he cannot pin down exactly, precisely because it is likely he is the subject of hidden manoeuvres on the part of colleagues or superiors. These, over time, will emerge as negative and detrimental for the subject, who, as well as having to give up his usual role, therefore feeling impotent against the machinations, will be unable to come to terms with the personal affront that he has sustained, becoming angry and resentful as a result, and these feelings will be directed inwards, precisely because it will be difficult to express this tension to the people involved.

For the person who works in a company with partners of the male sex, the transit indicates the possibility that the subject will be tricked or deceived by one of them, with serious consequences, that reflect not only on the work level, with the disintegration and ruin of the activity involved, but also on the financial plane.

For the person who works for themselves, the passage of Pluto discordant to the Sun represents a serious work crisis that they must confront, caused by mistaken investment in products or the wrong machinery, by being the victim of some trick or by some ominous event that puts in serious jeopardy the continuation of their activities. For he/she who is looking for work, the transit leads to difficulties in finding one, but above all forces them to accept or submit to an activity that is not what they want to do or are qualified for.

Father 

The discordant transit highlights the re-assessment that the subject is obliged to make of the paternal figure,often is due to the fact that they must live closer in contact with the father, perhaps to take care of their health, mental or physical. He now has before him a weak figure, which on the one hand can create feelings of responsibility, but, on the other, can give rise to feelings of annoyance and forbearance. The parent, unable to make decisions, leaves the child weakened, while in some rare cases, the fragility of the father is the trigger of great depression that can even lead to suicide.

Partner 

The reassessment of the father figure and the existential crisis that the man experiences cause him, in his role as partner, to show his worst side, projecting onto whoever is at his side all his frustration and insecurity. It is difficult for the man to meet someone and have a straightforward relationship, precisely because the identity crisis that he is undergoing prevents him knowing inwardly what sort of woman will be right for him; uncertainty that is clear from the disorganised way in which he woos her.

For a female subject, the discordant transit reflects the psychological assessment that she carries with her of her father, and therefore of her masculine prototype. If she already has a partner, the problems that she must confront are serious and destructive in as much as her feelings oscillate from love to hate, from creativity to the destruction of the relationship, all without half measures, because she realises that she has at her side a weak man, insecure and dissatisfied with himself, a man who doesn’t know how to solve the problems that surround him and who tries to hide the fact, reacting sometimes in an aggressive and peremptory way, imposing his will, even if that interferes with her choices and creates obstacles in her daily life. A sense of oppression, of irritability and rancour is built up, which the woman does not however show openly, both out of a desire for a quiet life and because she lacks the energy, and so she hides her own frustrations.

The discordant transit reflects the duality between hate and love that the woman feels in relation to the masculine figure, with the result that the woman who does not have a partner will find it difficult to meet one, much less find a gratifying relationship, precisely because it is unavoidable that her companion will recognise her ambivalence right from the start, the fact that one side of him attracts her while the other repels her.

Sexuality 

In the symbolism of the testicles represented by Pluto, the discordant transit across the Sun represents for a man a deficiency of sexual energy that takes away desire and therefore the impetus to have sexual relations. Should he force himself to have them, his performance will be poor and the intercourse frustrating, not only for him but also for his partner. But the transit can also indicate constrictions that he is obliged to accept, in the sense of limits on sexual relations due to the condition of his partner, for example because she is pregnant or because she is far away or separated from him. For the woman too, the transit represents a fall off in desire or sexual energy, precisely because of the aversion that she sometimes feels towards her partner or towards the masculine figure in general, but the diminution of sexual relations can also be due to her being far away or separated from him.

Masculine figure

Relations with male figures in general and with friends in particular can prove problematic for the subject. He may feel himself to be betrayed or cheated, and as a result there is the possibility of destroying a relationship that has lasted for some time.

Economic situation 

In the matter of other people’s money, symbolised by Pluto, the discordant transit with the Sun means the distressing loss of money, which the subject must face up to; losses that may be caused by being obliged to pay more than is owed, or by deceit, scheming or trickery to which he has fallen victim. But it may also indicate difficulties in obtaining bank loans, in having relations with people of the male sex they work alongside, problems with the division of inheritance, or due to the collection of insurance, but also taxes or fines that must be paid. In addition, for the woman, the transit indicates the possibility of having to pay out for, or having less income because of a male figure, be it husband, partner or father.

Health 

With a negative transit, the subject is often obliged to become concerned with the poor health of the father, which may arise from bouts of depression or from tumours. He may suffer from various disturbances, caused by his frustration, but only the presence of other collateral negative transits would indicate insurmountable illness.

© 2023 Carla Pretto