Progressions are a highly under-rated and under-used method for casting horoscopes. They are especially helpful if one wants to understand the psychological, emotional and internal journey of an individual. Most astrologers focus their attention on transits, that is what is happening in the stars at this very moment, and how they are affecting one’s birth chart, which is indeed a very thoughtful, important and nuanced art. However, an up-to-the-moment understanding of the state of the individual is woefully incomplete without assessing the progressed chart as well. Together, studying transits and progressions, in conjunction with the birth chart will get one much further in an understanding of their specific path and journey.

Transits are external energy. What is happening in the sky yesterday, today, tomorrow.. we have no control over these thing. We can simply watch to see what is happening, and how planets are positioning up to one another and how things could affect our own energies, as seen by the placement of planets in our birth chart. Mars, for example, could be in the sign now that is opposite the sign it was in at your birth, and this could cause you some discomfort. It is simply an external irritant, in a sense, that could push your actions in one direction or another. This is a transit and it shall pass.

Progressions are internal energy. A progressed chart looks at the energy of the birth chart and how it flowed, or where it was going, when you were born. A birth chart is literally a moment in time and space, and innumerable insights can be gained from that one moment, but all the planets continued on their course in the minutes, hours, days and weeks after your birth. That moment was part of a greater wave of energies that were surfacing and interacting with one another around the time you were born. And those energies are a part of your life as well. Just as you get older, gracefully I’m sure, your birth chart ages, or progresses, as well. This is natural and wonderful for you, as hopefully you have aged not just psycially but spiritually as well, and it is appropriate for new energies to take over from ones you have outgrown. So when your progressed Mars moves from the sign it was in when you were born into the next sign, your Mars energy will shift the way you work, the way you get things done and how you move through the world. Obviously that is very different, and much more important internally, than even a dramatic Mars transit.

And the great news is, progressions, or solar progressions at least, are very easy to determine. And solar progression are, by the power of the sun, by far the most important progressions out there. The trick is this: Find a source you trust to tell you the dates for the sign you were born in. For example, lets say you are Leo and Leo dates are July 23-August 22. Now using the first day of Leo as one, count until you reach your birthday. If you were born on August 9th, then your number would be 18. You were born on the 18th degree of Leo. Each sign is 30 degrees, so after you were born the sun only had 12 more degrees to go before it reached Virgo, the next sign. Solar progressions move at one degree per year. Thus, when you were 12 years old your progressed sun moved from Leo to Virgo. You may or may not have other planets in Virgo, but in one way or another the Virgo energy comes into your life, in a BIG way. And as we already discussed each sign is 30 degrees, and your solar progression moves at one degree each year, so 30 years after this benchmark you will have another major ingress, or transition between signs, from Virgo to Libra, and so on every 30 years. Don’t worry, you will always “be” the sign you were born into, but the energy of these other signs becomes a very important part of your life.

Once someone has recognized the year of their first solar progression transition into the next sign of the zodiac, and the subsequent 30 year transitions, it is easy to look for meaningful events that happened around this time. Even the most reflective and ‘in-tune’ people can be thrown way off balance by all the inner turmoil that one can be plunged into in preparation for this occasion, as you are, in a sense, being kindly yet forcefully nudged into a new chapter in your life.

Naturally, all of the other planets and the moon progress as well. Beacause the outer planets (Jupiter, Neptune, Pluto, Uranus) move relatively slowly, they move hardly at all in the progressed chart, a few degrees at most, yet depending on their relationships with other planets in the chart, these shifts can of course be very powerful. Mars, Mercury and Venus will generally change signs at least once or twice in a person life, and checking to see the position of ones progressed Venus, for example, can uncover a trove of useful information about love life, etc. that never could have been found simply by studying chart compatibility and transits. And the progressed moon moves most quickly of all, moving from sign to sign roughly every 2.3 years. While not as earth-shaking as the solar progressions, much can be gleaned by studying these lesser progressions.

I have spent some time focusing on this matter beacause it is of great personal interest to me as an astrologer, and it is something I wanted well explained here beacuse I intend to focus quite a bit on progressions as I continue to examine the lives and fashions of celebrities (in particular, I will soon publish about the recent misadventures of Lindsay Lohan as her progressed sun moved from Cancer to Leo). As I hope you will see for yourself, progressions can unlock the key to a lot of fascinating insights.