Transits and progressions are what we use in the predictive art of astrology, and they are fairly different. A transit differs from a progression in that it represents the real-time position of a planet orbiting at a particular moment in time. Whereas a progression symbolizes a symbolic movement which has no relation to the planet’s actual positions in the heavens at the time. Some astrologers, for this reason, focus solely on transits, but this would lead to a wide gap in the information available. Both progressions and transits seem to operate in a similar way – they specify something is being indicated on a psychic level, which may or may not be visible in a physical event. Unlike progressions, however, transits, being a mirror image of actual planetary movements, reflect genuine forces of energies in the outer world which encroach on the psyche from without, producing a response according to the individual’s psychological make-up. It also shows how society and cosmos impress upon any personality. Progressions, on the other hand, are wholly subjective reflections of the individual’s inner growth pattern, and can deal with gradual transformations, essentially on an internal level.
It is to all these impacts, pressures, and influences of the environment (psychic and mental as well as geographical, cultural, and social) that the transits refer in astrology. These transits constantly exert a pressure upon our permanent and essential identity, symbolized by our birth-chart. The pressures may cause pleasure, happiness, exaltation — or pain, misery, and depression. Some may strengthen basic factors in our nature; others may tend to disintegrate our personality. But, generally speaking, they are that which every day and year after year challenges us. What is it in us which will accept these challenges and make of them opportunities for becoming more and more that which we potentially are?” By Dane Rudhyar
Rudhyar believed the marked difference between astrologers using either progressions or transits were due to some possessing an introverted or extroverted outlook. In a sense, the progressions when subtle can make an astrologer turn to transits for powerful revelations and to reveal what is happening in an individual’s life. A transit cycle is a return of a planet to the position it occupied on the birth chart. Each planet has an orbit of its own and its own interval for completing its cycle. The Moon requires just twenty-eight days; the Sun requires one year to make its return and Pluto requires two hundred and forty-eight years. The cycle of time tends to repeat itself in a repetitive sequence in values of days, months or years. Every human has a lifespan and astrology uses cycles as a way to divide the different phases of life, revealing a pattern of unfoldment from beginning to end. Planetary movements also highlight times when there could be changing events or inner states influencing an individual in a particular period.
Progressions: The moment of the “first breath” of the human organism establishes, as it were, the person’s permanent individual character underneath all subsequent changes; this is the birth-chart. But changes are incessant after birth. The earth rotates; the Sun, Moon, and planets move on in their orbits and the astrologer claims that what happens in the solar system during the 24 hours after birth somehow gives us basic clues to changes occurring in the human being during the whole first year of his life, each hour corresponding to a fortnight of actual existence.
The birth chart reflects the beginning of an individual’s life cycle and is symbolic of a plan. Perhaps it is better explained by what Jung called the individuation process, revealing how each person can fully become what he potentially is. In predictive astrology, this foreknowledge we gain by observing both progressions and transits can help us to gain a better perspective of what is happening, however, some people will experience negative effects from knowing what’s coming up, mostly due to anxiety and fear of a possible impending crisis coming in the future. Otherwise, both methods of predicting the upcoming trends, progressive movements and transiting events, will hold valuable information and insight into the times ahead and the patterns unfolding within the flowering of a human life, though, we do not know exactly what will happen or how a person will react to these developments.