A good friend wrote to me recently after receiving an astrology reading. The reading gave her some context for the difficulties she’s currently experiencing. However because several difficult transits are occurring simultaneously in her chart she feels dis-empowered, and like many people feels her only choice is to hang in there and wait it out. She writes, “Reading it and going ‘aha….aha…aha’ does make me question how much free will we really have!”
I responded by suggesting an old analogy, that astrology is very much like a weather forecast. We cannot stop the rain and the bad weather coming, but we can choose to wear warm clothes and carry a big umbrella. Unfortunately this is a great metaphor, but difficult to apply in real life! As my friend responded, “I wonder what sort of umbrella will help me move out!”
So, the topic of this post is the kind of umbrellas we need for difficult transits. More than this it’s about how we can not only survive difficult transits but grow stronger through them. Just as plants need rain to thrive, and wind to make them more resilient, we too need the challenge of difficult transits to catalyse our growth.
Growing through difficult transits from Saturn
Difficult transits from Saturn tend to bring a sense of limitation to the area of the chart they touch. Sometimes this is a real physical obstruction such as illness, while at other times the obstruction is within us. We may feel incapable of achieving what we set out to achieve or bring ourselves down with negative self-talk. Establishing where the blockage lies is a good first step towards resolving it. Look to the sign and house placing for clues to this.
The positive side of Saturn transits is that through overcoming limitation we develop great will-power and tenacity. Like Capricorn the mountain goat, we can climb to great heights through determination and persistence. It’s all about testing yourself and your boundaries. Push gently at first to gauge your own strength and resistance, then slowly and consistently push until you break through. Don’t force anything, don’t exhaust yourself. Just push gently.
If your obstacle refuses to budge, consider moving around or over it. Allow yourself to go where the energy flows. Like a trickle of water slowly wearing a path through a great stone wall, be flexible and move with the Tao. And remember, as Eckhart Tolle writes, ‘All structures are impermanent.’ No barrier can outlast the gentle force of your faith in yourself.
Umbrella needed during these difficult transits: gentle persistence, trust and flexibility
For more on Saturn transits check out Saturn Transits: When things get serious.
Growing through difficult transits from Uranus
Uranus breaks things down, changing in dramatic ways all things that are stagnant or stale. Uranus is a friend who comes to your house, takes one look around and says, ‘Whoa! Time for a clean-out!’ Without thought for nostalgia or sentiment he sets to. Old newspaper clippings you’ve been hording, Auntie Jean’s fig jam at the back of the fridge, your ex-wife’s underwear, loose change that’s been hanging around since before the Euro was introduced, out it goes.
‘Hold it right there!’ you say. ‘I like these things. You have no right…’ But your friend Uranus doesn’t take no for an answer.
Of course during difficult transits from Uranus you may well find yourself saying goodbye to much more significant things than fig jam and old knickers. Depending on the planets and houses involved you might have to let go of relationships that have run their course, a career that no longer reflects who you are or outdated ways of thinking. It may well be painful but after this big clear out you’ll feel a marvelous sense of release, spaciousness and freedom.
Umbrella needed during these difficult transits: ruthless detachment
Growing through difficult transits from Neptune
When Neptune passes we awaken to the true nature of things. This sounds lovely, but when we’ve been deluding ourselves about something it can be downright humiliating and miserable. Let’s say you’ve been seeing a guy for a while and you think he’s just wonderful. Strangely your friends and family don’t agree. For some reason they’ve all got it in for him and for months now you’ve had to defend him from their unreasonable persecution.
Along comes Neptune and your eyes are opened. You realise with a sick feeling just how deceptive and conniving he is. Worse, you see how badly you’ve treated your friends, who’ve only had your well being at heart. You are filled with sorrow and disillusionment. But Neptune also rules unconditional love and as the transit progresses we can discover within us great wells of compassion for ourselves and others, even those who’ve deceived us.
Umbrella needed during these difficult transits: unflinching courage in the face of reality
Growing through difficult transits from Pluto
Difficult transits from Pluto tend to bring our shadow to the surface. Those who think they don’t have a shadow are usually the ones hit hardest by Pluto transits. Our shadow is all the things we feel ashamed for wanting, all the parts of ourselves we’d rather hide. The problem is, hiding them doesn’t make them go away. In fact our shadow tends to become more pronounced and perverted the more we try to suppress it.
The Plutonian shadow comes in many forms but usually manifests elements of obsession, fear of losing control, death and the darker side of our sexuality. Allowing yourself to experience these aspects of yourself fully, without judgement, can release you from them. Their compulsive quality will relax and shrink back into proportion, just one part of a healthy balance of shadow and light within your being.
Umbrella needed during these difficult transits: loving acceptance of our dark side
Growing through difficult transits from Chiron
Difficult transits from Chiron can bring up old wounds from painful experiences in the past. Perhaps something that is happening in the present is similar to your past experience, triggering fears and painful memories. Or perhaps a person who hurt you deeply comes back into your life, offering you the opportunity to forgive. Occasionally, experiences you are having now can leave new wounds.
The beauty of these transits is that through our experience of being wounded we are able to heal others. Chiron brings empathy for others in pain, and gentleness towards ourselves during our process of healing. They say time heals all wounds but sometimes what is needed is acknowledgement of our pain and forgiveness of those who have hurt us, as well as space to rest and recuperate.
Umbrella needed during these difficult transits: self-nurturing, forgiveness and reflection
During all difficult transits it’s important to stay present so we can respond with clarity and wisdom to the experiences the transit brings. The most effective way of staying present that I’ve found is meditation. This can be traditional sitting meditation, or a more dynamic form such as yoga, tai chi or walking meditation. Any simple activity can be a meditation really: singing, dance, even the washing up. It just needs to be done with full awareness.
George Gurdjieff wrote, “The evolution of man is the evolution of his consciousness, and “consciousness” cannot evolve unconsciously. The evolution of man is the evolution of his will, and “will” cannot evolve involuntarily. The evolution of man is the evolution of his power of doing, and “doing” cannot be the result of things which “happen.” In other words, we must be active in our own growth if we are to make the most of difficult transits.
Are you currently experiencing a very difficult transit? Please share your experiences below
Faith is founder and principal of Insight Astrology and has been teaching and giving readings for over twenty years. She is fascinated by astrology as a tool for personal growth and passionate about empowering others to read its language.