Note: “transits” are the passing of planets in the sky to planets in our birthchart.  The geometric angles that planets make to either other describe the nature of their interaction.  There are harmonious transits, which bring ease and opportunities; there are also challenging aspects, which can bring discomfort but motivate us to change areas of our life that aren’t working.  For more information see this article on my website.
Everyone experiences planetary transits differently, and that’s why what we call “cookbook” interpretations, while helpful, can only go so far.  Depending on where we are in our life and in our soul’s evolution, we can experience planetary cycles on a physical or reactive level, on an emotional or instinctive level, or on a spiritual and integrative level.
When I was new in the astro biz, I had just completed my first Saturn return.  I have an extremely difficult chart, and any time a planet moved it bumped into something in my chart and created stress for me.  In the readings I did for others, I assumed that the challenging cycles would create similar stress for them.  That did not always occur, and I assumed it was my faulty prediction.   But I came to see that while some people do become rather stuck in a particular place, others more through challenges more easily and as we get older this difference can become more pronounced.
Some of my greatest teachers have been my elderly clients who, on a path of transformation their entire lives, have become more and more free as they integrated the difficulties in their chart.  And as I’ve matured myself I’ve come to see this in my own life; a Saturn transit does not now hold the same fear that it held for me twenty years ago.  Saturn is getting ready to hit my Mars after a two-year visit of Pluto on my Mars, and I’m ready to get down to business.  I often have clients call me who are getting ready to go through their second Saturn return and they are fearful because the first one was so difficult but the second Saturn return is nearly always easier than the first.
If we resist the lessons of the planets, though, and fail to integrate those energies into our life (for example, in the case of Saturn if we flee from responsibility and shirk our duties) these transits will be more difficult.  There is a certain amount of planetary alchemy that we can create through our own intention, but any lessons that need to be learned will still come about.
We can’t solve every planetary problem with planetary alchemy, though.  A couple of years ago Saturn was about to transit my Leo Moon/Pluto conjunction.  My relationship with my mother has always been treacherous, and though it has greatly improved since she moved to North Carolina about eight years ago I didn’t want to take any chances, so I told her that while Saturn was on my Moon I thought it was best if we didn’t see each other for a few weeks.  She agreed and I prepared to hunker down for my Saturn transit, journaling and working hard.  But then she found a tumor on her dog and I ended up having to take her to the Vet hospital and we ended up in a raging battle.  So Saturn got me after all, but we did work through it eventually and ended up in a better place.
Planetary cycles are not to be feared; each planet has its own job and its own lesson plan for us and will only create challenges where we are weak and need to develop inner strength and resilience.  Approaching a transit with trust and openness will help us to get the most out of the experience.
I visited a friend yesterday and on her computer she had this list of Ten Rules for being Human.  I love this list and it’s relevant to this discussion, so I share it with you:
Ten Rules for Being Human
by Cherie Carter-Scott
1. You will receive a body. You may like it or hate it, but it’s yours to keep for the entire period.
2. You will learn lessons. You are enrolled in a full-time informal school called, “life.”

3. There are no mistakes, only lessons. Growth is a process of trial, error, and experimentation. The “failed” experiments are as much a part of the process as the experiments that ultimately “work.”

4. Lessons are repeated until they are learned. A lesson will be presented to you in various forms until you have learned it. When you have learned it, you can go on to the next lesson.

5. Learning lessons does not end. There’s no part of life that doesn’t contain its lessons. If you’re alive, that means there are still lessons to be learned.

6. “There” is no better a place than “here.” When your “there” has become a “here”, you will simply obtain another “there” that will again look better than “here.”

7. Other people are merely mirrors of you. You cannot love or hate something about another person unless it reflects to you something you love or hate about yourself.

8. What you make of your life is up to you. You have all the tools and resources you need. What you do with them is up to you. The choice is yours.

9. Your answers lie within you. The answers to life’s questions lie within you. All you need to do is look, listen, and trust.

10. You will forget all this at birth.
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