Art by Leif Leith
In ancient times, humans were more intimately connected to the tides of nature and consequently felt more subject to the whim of fate than we do today. The ancient Greeks viewed Fate as three sisters that made up a single triple goddess: the Moirae, most likely from the ancient word “moera” meaning a phase. The Moirae did not decide the fate of humans, but they supervised it.
Each of the three Moirae, or Fates, were represented by a phase of the moon: Clotho spun the thread of life from the cosmos and was represented by the New Moon, goddess of the spring;
Lachesis measured the thread of life and assigned each man his destiny; she was represented by the Full Moon, goddess of summer; and Atropos, the Crone-goddess of autumn represented by the waning Moon, who cut the thread of life with the “abhorred shears.”
The triple nature of fate is mirrored in the working of the planetary cycles that we call “transits.” These cycles occur when planets in their current orbits make an angle to planets in our birthcharts, creating an atmosphere where change and transition can occur. The hard angle transits (90 and 180 degrees or squares and oppositions) can be challenging events that force us to make changes in our lives. The harmonious transits (60 and 120 degrees or sextiles and trines) tend to open up doorways that encourage growth rather than force it. In any case, these events unfold in a series of three phases.
The “applying” phase occurs as the transiting planet approaches the degree of our natal planet. This is the phase of initiation, where the first shift occurs. The second phase occurs at the exact alignment of the transiting planet to our natal planet where the fullness of the cycle is experienced. The third phase is the “separating” of the transiting planet to our natal planet where the integration takes place and we are cut loose from the energy of that cycle, just as Atropos cuts the thread of life.
Occasionally, because of the retrograde phenomenon, a transiting planet will retrograde back over our natal planet and extend the transit cycle; sometimes hitting our natal planet two and three times and occasionally, in the case of Pluto, even five times. In this case the three phases are opened up into a longer time period, with the first “hit” marking the applying phase of the cycle and the final hit marking the separation and completion.
Planetary transits are fated events: like the Moirae, their timing is predestined and out of our control. However, we do have control over how we handle the energy of the cycles and the choices that we make when faced with the challenge of change. From moment to moment we are faced with the choice to let go of the things that hold us back and move into a future that brings us closer to our truth.