This article first appeared in Issue 10 of Infinity Magazine in November 2016. Read every issue of the mag for free here
So, transiting Saturn/Uranus/Neptune/Pluto has finished its Conjunction/Square/Opposition to your Sun/Moon/Mercury/Venus/Mars/Jupiter/Saturn/Angle [Delete as appropriate!]
You breathe a big sigh of relief. It’s over. Finally.
If you track your transits, you were anticipating it long before it came and as it inched ever closer to its target, you watched carefully for signs of its influence. Perhaps the transit reflected major life changes, challenges, losses or new opportunities? Maybe years of hard work started to pay off or conversely, you had to face the consequences of unwise decisions made in the past? Possibly, the shift was more internal as you chose to (or were forced to) confront deep-rooted baggage, heal old wounds, grieve, move on, let go. Perhaps your resistance to the process, to the shifts in your physical, material and/or psychological circumstances, caused you to suffer. Maybe you were aware of your resistance, maybe you weren’t.
But now what?
If, under your transit, you experienced any kind of loss, setback, shock or major change, the chances are, now it’s over, you’ll be seeking to replace those losses, reverse the changes, return things to how they were. It’s human nature. We are creatures of habit - most of us take comfort in even the things we know aren’t good for us, because that’s the way it’s always been, the way we’ve been programmed. It’s simply easier to carry on as before than it is to change.
Here’s a familiar scenario.
A relationship breaks up under a Uranus transit. Now the transit is over and after a while you feel ready for romance again. You’re attracted to your new partner because he’s just your type. Consciously or unconsciously, something about him reminds you of your old flame. Your new partner pays you constant attention, says you belong together, whispers those three little words in your ear and proudly shows you off to his friends. It’s all so flattering and is just how your former relationship started. The nice part, before the possessiveness and jealousy kicked in. Your new beau doesn’t approve of your friends and you start to see less of them (he’s taking up all your time, anyway). You attend a party and have a brilliant evening chatting and dancing, but you barely speak to him all night and he makes his feelings clear about that later.
If you’re not in denial, not telling yourself that this time it’s going to be different, you realise that your old unhealthy relationship pattern is starting to recur. After all, you know it’s written in your birth chart, in that difficult aspect, so what can you do?
But maybe this time something tells you (maybe your inner self or maybe your friends, or both) that this is a good opportunity to put the lessons of that completed Uranus transit to good use, to allow your life choices to reflect the higher promise of your birth chart rather than the lower expression.
You consider your options.
Do you (1) run a mile, but feel miserable alone and then either repeat the pattern down the line with someone else, or stay lonely; (2) leave the relationship, but work on your own issues, through therapy, self help, through your chosen spiritual practice, or simply by giving yourself proper time to reflect, heal and claim your independence, to learn that it’s OK to be single; (3) stay in the relationship, but confront the issues early on and do your best to set healthy boundaries that allow you to be yourself and to have a life independent of the partner, remaining prepared to move on if it doesn’t work; or (4) stay in the relationship, do nothing and hope for the best?
There’s no right or wrong answer, this is not a quiz, nor is it an advice column. Options (1) and (4) seem least likely to lead to growth and learning, however. But then, none of the options are without risk and all of them, except (4) involve change, but at least options (2) and (3) carry forward the lessons of the Uranus transit that occurred during the breakup of the last relationship.
But remember, it’s not as easy as it sounds on paper. If this is a client’s situation, while it’s our job is to make them aware of the processes their transits represent and to help them to better understand the meaning of those processes, it is not our job to tell them what to do.
It’s also worth remembering that often, for those going through the scenario described above, the idea of being alone may be more terrifying than staying in an awful relationship. While for us astrologers Uranus transits are often welcomed as exciting and invigorating, for our clients they can signify scary, confusing times and after the initial transit they may be dealing with the fallout of what was set in motion for some time to come.
Here’s another scenario:
You lost your job under a Saturn transit. Saturn’s moved on and so must you.
You didn’t like the job much and would love to do something completely different or perhaps work for yourself, but you also have to think about the practical and financial issues. Can you afford the time and money required before a new business starts to pay for itself? And can you run the risk of it failing? Or are you prepared to abandon years of hard work, a good salary and status to start at the bottom in a totally different career?
Saturn transits might be about getting us back on track, but unfortunately they don’t let us off the hook when it comes to the material necessities of life. Saturn teaches that our dreams need to be tempered by reality, need to be ‘grown up’ (a Saturn transit at any age is about growing in maturity).
Here are three possibilities in keeping with carrying forward Saturn’s lessons:
Conscious that you might be missing an opportunity to fulfil a dream, you do the sensible thing and look for a role similar to your last one because you have responsibilities. The dream might be on hold (you hope not forever) but using the ‘be realistic and patient’ lesson of your Saturn transit, you realise that there are things you can do to make things better reflect your needs in your next job.
For example, you think carefully about what you liked and disliked in previous roles; you target companies which better reflect your personal values; in interviews, you don’t just ask about what the job itself entails, you ask also about the company culture, the personalities of the team you’d be working with, enquire about the future direction of the company, about opportunities to develop new skills. On your resume, you emphasise the skills that you most like to use, making less of those you don’t.
Or perhaps you use your years of experience in a different way, by seeking part time or contract work. It might lack the security of a permanent role, but it provides an income and buys you more time to consider your future, to start laying down the foundations for the business you want to start or for the new career you want to pursue.
Maybe you’re one of the lucky ones, able to follow your dream all out. However, if you remember the lessons of the Saturn transit, you will plan it out carefully, give yourself a timeline and a budget, learn any new skills you need (or hire an expert to do the things you can’t do) and so on.
However, it’s wise to reassess our dreams, goals and priorities after a Saturn transit. We age, we grow, the world changes around us, responsibilities fall onto our shoulders, spanners fall into the works.
Think about that dream of old. What does it boil down to? What’s its essence? Why did you want to be an artist/cosmonaut/vet/photographer/lawyer? Were you following an innate talent or a personal interest? Were you trying to please a parent or conform to a social stereotype of success? Was it because of the things you thought that career might bring - money, power, status, glamour? Or did it stem from a need to express yourself creatively, to help others, to give something back to the world?
If you look at it from this angle you can see more easily where you need to let go of old dreams and also when to hold onto dreams that are still valid, but need to be adapted so they better suit who and where you are now. You may even find that you have already made your dream come true, in essence at least, but didn’t realise it because it manifested differently to your fixed expectation.
Whichever path you take, you remain realistic, patient and focused and you don’t give up because you know you are laying down solid foundations for the future. You’ve absorbed the lesson of your Saturn transit.
But please don’t ignore the feelings of depression and self-doubt that can often accompany a job loss - even the loss of a hated job - which can linger long after the transit the loss occurred under has passed. And of course, as professional astrologers, this also applies to our clients.
P.S. Check out the Academy of Astrology YouTube Channel, which includes talks from me on The Descendant, Venus in Art and Mercury Retrograde (with more to come soon):