Progressions and Transits - 1
Personality as an Unfolding Process
In dealing with any process of growth or basic transformation, one has not only to envision, at least along broad and tentative lines, the possible end of the process, one should also be able to discover when its successive phases can be expected, and to learn about the conditions under which the periods of transition from phase to phase are likely to occur.
Two factors are implied in any change taking place in an organism or organized system of social activity: (1) the necessary internal readjustment of the organism and its functions in order to meet successfully what is involved in the change, whether this requires expansion, contraction, or radical reorganization, and (2) the environment's reaction to the change. The "environment" may be the family or society, and its reaction may be actual or expected by the changing organism. Also, in many instances, the internal change will be the result of external causes, of important events taking place in the biosphere, family, and/or society, in which one operates, making internal changes necessary.
If we consider a birth-chart the symbolic seed of an individual personality, we can readily see that the growth of the germinating seed into a large tree depends, on the one hand, on the inner rhythm of the natural process of unfoldment of seed-potentialities into the actualized form of the tree, and on the other hand, upon weather conditions, sunshine and rain, and what insects, large animals, and human beings might do to the growing tree.
Astrology provides techniques for dealing with these two kinds of factors. The timing of inner changes in the process of biopsychic and mental-spiritual unfoldment of a particular person can be deduced from the study of what are broadly called progressions — of which there are several kinds. Another type of timing is derived from the actual motions of the planets — day after day, year after year — after the birth-moment: the transits.
These two types of techniques should be clearly differentiated, but, unfortunately, they are usually not. In one sense, both progressions and transits are the results of the fact that a birth-chart is a snapshot taken of a single moment in the continuous process of cosmic change, and that the planets whose positions are marked in the birth-chart keep moving; on the other hand, in progressions this motion is given a restricted and very special character, which is essentially different from what it has in transits. By mixing up the two techniques and not keeping the types of indications they provide strictly separate, astrologers lose the possibility of getting a clear view of the relationship between an individual's inner growth and the impact of the biopsychic and social environment upon this growth. Moreover, astrologers are taught how to calculate or observe progressions and transits, and how to interpret them according to keywords and formulas, but not why they should be considered valid.
In the techniques of progressions and transits, the new positions of the planets are usually referred to the birth-chart, which remains the foundation for astrological judgment — as it must be if we are concerned with the karma and dharma of an individual person. But astrologers also use a third approach in which the state of the solar system on any day and hour is studied with no reference to an individual's birth-chart — or in the case of the popular "sun-sign-astrology", only to a person's natal sun-sign. The astrologer then assumes that the state of the solar system as a whole is reflected in that of the biosphere: "As above, so below." Thus, the tensions represented in the sky by a square of, say. Mars and Saturn can be expected to manifest in all living organisms within the biosphere as a tension between the impulsive, outgoing Mars-function and the limiting, contracting Saturn-function: in all living organisms in the biosphere and not merely in individual cases.
Granted that such an effect exists, it can be compared to that of the weather. Yet the weather is a factor affecting only a particular locality, while the state of the solar system — the sum-total of all the currents of energy generated by the motions of all material masses with the strong electromagnetic field of the solar system — should affect the whole Earth, or at least the areas of the globe under the direct line of impact, and everything in that area. The determination of what constitutes a "direct line of impact" is a very controversial matter; and so is the often postulated correspondence between geographical areas (or nations) and zodiacal signs. These matters belong to the field of "mundane astrology", however, and they cannot be covered in this book. I mention them here because they do not properly belong to the category of transits either, for this word refers to the passage of one moving body across another which is either practically non-moving or moving more slowly.
In the following I shall suggest what may be a more realistic explanation of why secondary (or solar) progressions are significant and what they specifically reveal; then I shall deal with transits. Both techniques can be used at all levels of interpretation, but I have so far refrained from mentioning them because their application at the first three levels has been formulated in detail in many books, but primarily in terms of a predictive type of astrology.
At the individual level of interpretation, transits and progressions have much the same meaning as the one I will now explain in relation to a transpersonal interpretation. But at the individual level, the birth-chart is the dominant factor, because a strictly individual life should lead, in principle, to the fulfillment of what was potential in the natal chart. In transpersonal astrology, on the other hand, the dominant concern of the astrologer is to understand the dynamism and rhythm of the transformative process itself. The birth-chart is only the starting point of this process, which even physical death may not end — if the individual has succeeded in raising his or her I-center to the transindividual (or symbolically, the "galactic") level. From the transpersonal point of view, "rebirth" may be more significant than "birth", if the karma of the past has been lived through, absorbed and neutralized. But until this is accomplished — a rare occurrence — the natal foundation of the personality, with all it implies and all the future possibilities it may evoke, remains an essential base of operation.
By permission of Leyla Rudhyar Hill
Copyright © 1980; by Dane Rudhyar
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