Progressions and Transits - 3
Progressed Lunation Cycle:
While the progression of the Moon through the houses and in contact with natal planets in these houses are significant, because the Moon should always be intimately linked with the Sun, the most important cycle of progressions to be considered is what I have called "the progressed lunation cycle." The different periods in this soli-lunar cycle are made obvious by the ever-changing size of the Moon during the 30 days this cycle lasts. What changes, however, is not the Moon itself, but the relationship between the Sun and the Moon as seen from the Earth. The progressed lunation cycle therefore is the cycle of relationship between the progressed Moon and the progressed Sun.
The progressed lunation cycle no longer strictly belongs to the category of progressions in which a moving planet is referred to the natal position of other planets. In technical terms, the lunation cycle is a progressed-to-progressed cycle
, whereas the above-mentioned progressions of the Moon through the houses, as it forms aspects to the planets of the birth-chart, refer to the progressed-to-natal
category of relationships.
progressions, the astrologer deals with the relationship between the seed-in-the-beginning (the birth-chart), and what has emerged from it at one or another moment in the process of unfoldment and self-actualization. This approach and technique is particularly valid in a strictly person-centered interpretation because, as I have said, at that level personal growth is essentially considered the actualization of a definite set of potentialities symbolically described in the birth-chart. Thus any new phase of growth should validly be referred to or compared with the original seed-potential. What occurs in the new phase of development may either help or endanger the hoped-for total and harmonious fulfillment of what was in the seed-in-the-beginning (and can be said to remain — perhaps within the genetic structure or perhaps in an electromagnetic "design body", linga sharira
On the other hand, progressed-to-progressed
indications increase in significance when an individual has become definitely intent on radical self-transformation, and therefore pays less and less attention to the past from which he or she is consciously emerging. From the transpersonal point of view, the progressed lunation cycle, as a progressed-to-progressed cycle, establishes the basic rhythm on whose dynamic foundation an individual's attempts at radical self-transformation operate. From such a transpersonal point of view, the progressed lunation cycle serves a purpose broadly similar, in terms of process
, to that which the birth-chart has in terms of individual structure of being
. Yet, in order to see how far one has moved away from what originally had been a determining and binding factor, one can refer the progressed lunation cycle to the natal chart.
I personally do so by marking on the outside of them natal chart the position of each progressed New Moon. The natal house in which the first progressed New Moon after birth occurs may not be the house in which the natal Sun is located. If it is not, a new house (and the life experiences to which it refers), at least temporarily receives the life-accent. The places of the succeeding New Moons inevitably fall in subsequent houses, as they occur about 30 and 60 degrees ahead of the position of the first New Moon. The zodiacal degrees on which they occur, and also of the progressed Sun and progressed Moon when in opposition (progressed Full Moons), are often most significant, the symbol of the degree (in the Sabian series) giving a clue to the overall character of the new phase of personality-unfoldment the progressed New Moon begins, at least until the progressed Full Moon some fifteen years later.(4
Recently, however, Antony Milner, a graphic artist as well as astrologer, has designed charts especially for the study of all the phases of the progressed lunation cycle in itself — thus entirely as a progressed-to-progressed cycle of planetary relationship. A visual symbol of the whole process is provided which has been found to be extremely helpful in giving to students and clients a vividly experiential picture of the development of their life and personality during a 30-year period.(5
) While this development in most cases occurs at the level of the gradual process of individualization or of personal fulfillment in terms of a particular, cultural way of life, it can just as well be interpreted at the level of a transpersonal process. In such a case, the progressed Full Moon is particularly important, because it marks, at least potentially, the beginning of a psychomental process of discovery or recovery as the result of what had occurred during the fifteen years since the preceding progressed New Moon.
The first fifteen years of the progressed lunation cycle are usually related to the unfoldment of some new impulse or life-opportunity having been released around the progressed New Moon — it most often had been developing during the preceding two or three years in the inner life, or even in terms of outer events acting as a necessary prelude to the more definite start at the time of the progressed New Moon. The fifteen-year period following the progressed Full Moon theoretically operates in two ways: (1
) The mechanisms of action that had been built or grew up during the waxing half of the cycle tend slowly (or sometimes suddenly around the time of the progressed Full Moon) to lose their efficacy or their power to forcefully draw the attention of the maturing I-consciousness; (2
) at the same time, a process of mental development is given an opportunity to unfold its potentialities. What had mainly been physical and social or cultural activity (or the acquisition of a new technique or capability), during the waxing hemicycle of the progressed lunation cycle is, if not replaced by, at least combined with and inspired by, a deeper, more objective or transcendent development of the mind — a development having its origin around the time of the progressed Full Moon.
On the transpersonal path, a progressed Full Moon may coincide with some kind of "illumination" or the intuitive revelation of a new goal and purpose. It can be an excellent time for withdrawing from and beginning to transcend the past, especially if what had occurred since the progressed New Moon has proven frustrating or illusory. It usually is a moment of choice — thus a "crisis" — even though at first the choice is not yet clearly definable. It becomes clearer at the progressed Last Quarter when a final confrontation with what remains of the past often occurs. About three years before the coming progressed New Moon, the transition between the closing progressed lunation cycle and the next one begins. This is what I have called the "Balsamic" (an old alchemical term) or "seed" period of the 30-year cycle. It is often a life-phase during which transformative forces are best able to operate. If one realizes that such a period has begun, one should feel particularly open — yet discriminating — to any opportunity for changes that may come one's way.
At any level of astrological practice, the progressed lunation cycle can be an extremely valuable psychological tool. The lives of individuals groping for a basic understanding of why and exactly how they had to pass through a series of perhaps traumatic experiences have been illumined and at least partially transformed by its use. Transformation cannot be truly effective unless the individual has become objective to the events of the past and — the next step — detached from them. One, however, is never entirely detached from a past one still does not understand, and with which one has not come to terms and accepted as a necessary step in the process of developing character and consciousness. The sense of guilt — or even of personal inferiority — is born of lack of objectivity and understanding. On the transpersonal path, guilt and inferiority complexes are largely responsible for either some kind of collapse based on a subtle type of defeatism and mistrust of one's power, or — by compensation — for the kind of price that is bound to insecurity and fear.
In order to overcome these repressed, unconscious, or semi-conscious feelings, the progressed lunation cycle and all that relates to it can be an excellent tool. If well used by an astro-psychologist
, it can be more effective and safer than "regressions" in semi-hypnotic states, and even than dream-analysis — which, when made by the dreamer may be too subjective, and when made by most psychologists, too dependent upon intellectual concepts and specialized forms of training. Unfortunately, however, the progressed lunation cycle is still not used by most astrologers, perhaps because they seem unable to think in terms of whole processes — especially processes spanning several years — and because their training has prepared them to think primarily in terms of separate and isolated events.
An event has been defined in physics as the intersection of world-lines. But these world-lines are in fact curved; they are the abstraction of cyclic processes. To understand an event is to be able to perceive it not as an isolated entity, but as the intersection or conjunction of cosmic or planetary cycles. The event has to be perceived not by an "I" involved in its own existence, prestige, or happiness, but by a mind able to embrace entire processes and to give meaning to all their phases. Theologians and philosophers have spoken of understanding an event sub specie eternitatis
— but "eternity" is a misunderstood and glamorized word which simply refers to the cyclic character of all existence. The Latin phrase simply means that existence can only be understood as a vast complex of cyclic processes. No event can be understood in isolation. It has not only a past and a future, but it is a combination of a vast number of cyclic activities at many levels.
Thus I repeat: progressions should not
be interpreted in terms of precise, expectable occurrences. Astrology should not be a "predictive science", or even merely a descriptive process in which all the described features remain basically isolated, because unrelated to a holistic grasp of the whole life-span, from birth-to-death. Especially at the transpersonal level, the realization of the direction or orientation of the entire life-process is an essential factor. Life has to be purposeful and meaningful — however distant the fulfillment of the purpose may seem. One should not attempt to define such a purpose in precise, concrete terms. Metaphysically speaking, there is no conceivable end to the process of transformation, because there is no end to the hierarchical series of wholes. The spiritual life simply consists in taking the next step
toward an open-ended future.
Another point should be made concerning the technique of progressions and the difference between progressed-to-natal and progressed-to-progressed aspects. In the first case, when the progressed Sun or Moon or any other planet reaches the place of a natal planet, the latter does not directly affect the progressing planet. A progressed Sun, for example, would bring to a natal Saturn power and light; but Saturn would not "do" anything to the Sun. What might be said to happen is that at the age corresponding to the progressed-to-natal aspect, the life-force (the Sun) will tend to and should focus its attention upon all that Saturn represents in the circumstances defined by the birth-chart and manifest in the life. This, however, could have two kinds of results: on the one hand, the Saturnian sense of form, organization, and responsibility could be thrown into a sharper and clearer relief and probably aroused to action. On the other hand, however, whatever basic fears and sense of guilt or inferiority that exist in the psyche may be revealed. The Sun pours its light upon everything: a diamond will sparkle magnificently; a decaying fish will decay more quickly.
The situation is different in a progressed-to-progressed situation, because in such an aspect both planets are moving and, let us say, their conjunction is an actual fact in the sky a few days or weeks after the child was born. In this case, what is represented by the two planets can at that time be said to have blended in the psyche of the baby, and to have become the unconscious source of life developments which at a later age will potentially allow the individual to objectify and release whatever in infancy had been stored in the psychic depths.
According to the transpersonal approach to astrology, the progressed-to-natal aspects seem to mark particular times at which an opportunity to neutralize the karma
of the past appears. The progressed-to-progressed aspects refer more characteristically to openings in life which allow the energy of dharma
to operate through what is symbolized by the relationships between the planets forming the aspects. The progressed lunation cycle is of course a progressed-to-progressed cycle, and much can be gained from its study that may enable the intuitive astrologer to gauge objectively where the client stands — and to advise him or her concerning the kind of efforts and activities most conducive to foster a radical change in attitude and outlook.
For a study of the meaning of degree symbols In astrology, I refer the reader to my book An Astrological Mandala: The Cycle of Transformations and Its 360 Symbolic Phases
(New York: Random House, 1973). The extraordinary manner in which the Sabian Symbols were obtained, the remarkable inner structure of the entire series of the 360 symbols, their modern character and how they should be used, is explained at length in that book, written in 1972 but preceded, many years ago, by a series of articles on the subject (American Astrology, May, 1954 - October, 1957).
For a detailed explanation of how to use the progressed lunation cycle, see my book. The Lunation Cycle
(Santa Fe: Aurora Press, 1971), and The Lunation Process in Astrological Guidance
by Leyla Rael Santa Fe: Aurora Press, 1979).