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Natal Potential and Progressions
Secondary progressions are, without a doubt, the best starting point when undertaking to forecast using astrology. Since the natal patterns must be considered to properly assess the progressed chart, it is impossible to overlook the birth potential, an essential element in predictive astrology. The progressions show current potential and how the birth potential has developed to the current time in question. This is shown through specific accents involving natal placements to their progressed placements. The relatively few exact aspects formed between the progressed and natal planets at any given time offer a clear and concise background theme for the immediate future. This is similar to understanding the main plot in an unfolding story or a chapter of life.
Add to that the prominent aspects from transiting planets, and the progressed chart provides a detailed and up-to-date scenario. Encompassed in that scenario are current environmental factors, persons of import, fluctuating circumstances, health conditions, and so on. Our weaknesses and tendencies, even our attitudes, are exposed, including those that are hard for us to see in ourselves. By taking an objective view through the progressed chart, it's easy to keep tabs on just where we sit in relationship to the rest of the world. However, leaving out any one of these three important elements-natal potential, progressed potential, or triggering transits-will leave out part of the picture and necessitate a lot of guesswork.
The progressed chart's features show developments taking place within while the transiting planets show developments from outside the self or in the external world. When these outside factors tie in closely to inner potential, events are produced. Some of the inner potential will last for a number of years, such as dedication toward a particular goal, which will have many events take place in regard to that area. Other potential is only available for a short time, and may be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Still other potential passes quickly and is sometimes more accurately described as a phase, a whim, or even a mood. This can be seen in the quick movement of the progressing Moon. As an example, when it applies to square Mars, one is generally primed for crankiness and any little conflict might set off the current tendency. The transits show the origin point of stimulation when they tie into aspect with either planet. When a transit stimulates a planet that has become active in the progressions, that planet's potential is stimulated.
Now, the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity or the uncommon potential is what sets one up for the very unusual experiences, whether positive or otherwise. Excellent possibilities may be shown in the progressed chart but something will be needed from the external world to produce an event. That "something" comes from the transits. In daily affairs, we usually do quite well with our potential and, by taking advantage of opportunities, we make good decisions automatically. To a great extent, we can influence the external elements ourselves and with the proper inner resources will do what we need to bring outside attention to important inner goals. But what about those times we could use a little help in making a decision?
Adverse conditions developing within will also require outside stimulus. The outside stimulation would need to come in such a way as to bring out the worst of the potential for an adverse event to take place. Still, the magnificent and miraculous, as well as the strange and bizarre, happen every day. Free will and choice are available options for almost any event on the horizon, but if we aren't familiar with the underlying road conditions, it's easy to take the wrong turn after it is too late. Those road conditions are found in the progressions.
This reminds me of what happened to a friend many years ago. A young divorcwith two preteen children, she enjoyed her newfound freedom for a few years before coming under a severe Mars-Neptune affliction in her progressed chart. Ruling not just men in general and the mate in a female nativity, Mars ruled her seventh house of partnerships specifically. This was a clear warning to be cautious about trusting a potential mate at this time, especially should it be someone newly met. The configuration also suggested other things, up to and including the most unfortunate and bizarre . . . and so it was. Her reliable baby sitter of many years went off to college and a series of not-so-reliable caretakers replaced her. Her boys began to get in trouble in the neighborhood while she worked second shift as a bartender. Note the Neptunian factors coming into view. An active Neptune always indicates the dissolution of old conditions that are replaced by new entanglements. The fact that her position as a late evening bartender contributed to the situation is very Neptunian.
She then had the misfortune to go on a date with a newly divorced guy who immediately became possessive. When she called off further development of the relationship he began stalking her. This frightened the wits out of her and she asked for a police escort home from work on more than one occasion. This was only a precursor of things to come. Within the same week, she became truly confused and frightened when the welfare office contacted her after getting an anonymous report that her children were neglected. Was it the stalker or someone else? She never did get to the root of that mystery and, here again, is a stream of Neptunian factors. Her judgment of men seemed to be obviously impaired; she was frightened and confused, and, in essence, she was a weaker version of her usual self. She had become vulnerable.
Now, who do you think should turn up right in the midst of these crises? Exactly, it was the "big bad wolf" dressed in lamb's clothing-a magnificent specimen to boot! Big, tall, incredibly good-looking, he was also protective (possessive). Under Neptune's influence, she only saw what she wanted to see, despite the warnings from her friends who had no such Neptunian illusions. In her eyes, a helpmate who was so adoring toward her and her kids was surely a timely godsend. In truth, he only sought material and other advantages for himself by hooking up with her. He completely pulled the wool over her eyes and convinced her and her kids that his charm and goodness were authentic. As soon as they married, however, he became not only abusive but also took everything she had. Years later, as Mars moved out of range to Neptune and she finally escaped this horrific chapter of "fatal attraction," she recalled that her gut instincts had tried to warn about the relationship before it had progressed to the alter. Those years did a lot of deep emotional and financial damage to her and her children. Some of the damage was irreparable, yet she emerged feeling lucky to have her life. Her Jupiter Return for this unfortunate era is illustrated and summarized in chapter 9.
We see these relationships all too often, and it seems that no echelon is immune. She had, up to that point, had good relationships and wondered how she managed to pull in such an experience. The natal potential was found primarily in the twelfth-house position of Mars in Libra and a minor affliction from Neptune to the Sun (the co-ruler of the husband), but it took that progressed affliction and just the right transit to bring it about. The main transit was a square from Neptune to natal Mars, exact on the day of her regrettable marriage, and perfectly duplicating the potential suggested by the progressed affliction. This is the kind of evidence you will seek. A theme from the natal chart will be exposed in the progressions, and then an underscoring transit will tie in.
The question remains about what she might have done had an astrologer sat down with her and said: "Look, your longing for the ideal is interfering with your ability to see reality and you are prone to take unwise actions." Certainly, she had some warning as it was. Might she have actually dealt herself such a hand, or was this a fated attraction? (We will return to this question later.)
The illusions and fog of Neptune are so pervasive when it is under affliction that even astrologers can have a difficult time seeing through its veils when it becomes significantly stressed in their own charts. It is the most overlooked planet in astrological charts in general, due to its elusive nature.
In assessing the birth potential, it will assist the student to know that one important factor in the natal chart will be found to distinguish individuals of great prominence from the commonplace person. In the charts of the former, the planets form very tight aspects and nearly all are interwoven into one complex pattern. It is as if every fiber of the being has evolved to possess but one primary intention. Sometimes two or three complexes appear, which will overlap and interconnect through the aspects, as if sharing a common bonding thread. Often, in these charts, a prominent configuration is angular. In the charts of more ordinary persons, the separate complexes remain separated from one another, indicating various features in the nature as yet to become integrated. This individual may go along one path for awhile, then switch to another as opportunity arises. The nativity of these individuals might also show a planetary emphasis in the cadent houses.
What this boils down to is that those individuals with ties among most of the planets will have the entire pattern stimulated concurrently by important planetary transits. This is similar to those with a Stellium, a T-Square, Grand Cross, or even an array of planets in the angular houses. These individuals tend to experience sweeping events and cataclysmic developments due to stimuli affecting so many areas of life at once. With a Stellium or close-knit configurations, the natal aspects frequently become exact at a very young age through progressions. Thus, these individuals may experience events of magnitude early in life. An extraordinarily fortunate phase in such a person's life may be followed by a phase of apparently unfortunate events or vice versa. This is determined by both the progressed potential and outer planet transits along with the nature of the aspects coming from them. In any case, these individuals usually become noticed in one fashion or another. It is notable that those of great success have often been provided with many squares and hard aspects in the nativity. Such a person is presented with situations in which there isn't an option other than to "do" something on an immediate basis. Combined forces put one to the test and it becomes a matter of sink or swim. Under sufficient pressure, these survivors learn to swim and that builds confidence.
As with everything, there is an upside and a downside in either case. While the more common individual might wish for a more adventurous lifestyle, the adventurer looks upon the other wishing to have some predictability and peacefulness. Since the majority of individuals fall into the former category, the logical explanation is that the current lifetime offers an opportunity to continue exploring the various fibers of the being, to nurture them and empower them to come together in cohesion. Regardless of whether we are destined for distinction, each of us entered this life with a specific purpose and specific lessons to learn: a contract with the universe, set down and agreed upon when we were at a peak of awareness, and we came into this life fortified with the precise tools we would need to carry out our purpose. Here is found the true value of the horoscope. Because we entered our earthly life newly invigorated with a spiritual mission, all the answers are there, within the horoscope. The design of life is to provide the pathway for the personality to support the task of the soul. The experiences we choose and the choices we make influence the speed and success of this journey.
So, because we are all born with an individual purpose in life, it is upon the ever-changing path of life that we meet with opportunities to fulfill it. As we approach these junctures and enter a fitting environment for some of the natal potential to be utilized, it is reflected in the progressed chart. At times we may proceed very slowly as only small amounts of the natal potential are provided an outlet. At other times we make rapid progress when conditions are prime for a utilization of a great deal of the natal potential. All comes to pass according to a higher plan and there is a time for everything. These trends are revealed in the progressed chart for any given time in the life.
As mentioned earlier, we have choices about most everything occurring in our lives. Some events, however, may be predestined, and the nature and time of death is most likely an event that has already been arranged. There may be few, if any "accidents" in this regard since we have already made that choice. Other destined events involve coming in contact with soul personalities who have agreed previously to lend a hand in our journey, and to help us learn the lessons we chose to work through in this lifetime. Specific types of stimulation in the progressed and return charts indicate these fated or karmic connections as well. Activity involving the Nodes of the Moon and/or the Vertex provides ample evidence in this respect and Vertex links may show an appointment with destiny.
There were numerous of these links in the charts surrounding the fatal/fated attraction. The natal Vertex was rising in one Solar Return and the Solar Return Vertex was found in an Aries Point degree, and transited by Neptune on the day of the marriage! There was also a configuration of return Moon-South Node on the natal Vertex in another variation of the Solar Return, so revealing of the dwindling spiral of domestic experiences. Similar to so many of these cases, she felt compelled to be his savior and heal him of his emotional wounds-almost as if he'd been delivered into her hands for the job. With these return contacts on top of the progressed potential, it is highly unlikely that anything short of a long-distance move could have prevented this relationship from running its course.
The general theme of the progressed chart, combined with the types of contacts and aspects involving these special points, will reveal the nature and energy of these connections. Happily, many of these relationships of destiny are very fortunate and show up frequently in family ties, marriages, friendships, etc. Ties of the Sun, Venus, and Jupiter are generally very good.
Following is a concise, step-by-step procedure for setting up, judging, and interpreting the progressed chart. A few factual case histories will then be helpful in grasping the meaning behind planetary prominence and progressed trends. An understanding of the progressed chart will then provide an excellent foundation for interpreting activity shown in the Solar, Lunar, or planetary returns falling within the same time frame.
Calculating the Progressed Chart
The basic calculation for the progressed planets is that one year in the life of an individual is equal to one day of planetary movement. So, for someone who is thirty years old, the progressed planets will be at the sign and degree they held on the thirtieth day following birth. The Sun is easiest to calculate since it transits 1 degree each day; in the progressed chart, this is 1 degree of movement through the zodiac for each year of life. The Ascendant and Midheaven also progress about 1 degree per year forward through the zodiac and in a counterclockwise movement through the houses. Use of a computer program is recommended to calculate the progressed chart, both for accuracy and as a time-saving convenience. The Moon varies in its rate of speed from 12 to 15 degrees per day, so its progressed position will depend upon how fast it was traveling at the time of birth. This margin of speed would quite substantially influence the position it would hold in the progressed chart by the age of thirty.
The easiest way to see all of the activity occurring in the progressions and transits is to use a three-wheel chart with the natal chart in the center, also called the radix or radical chart. The progressed chart should occupy the middle wheel and the transiting planets should be in the outermost wheel. In this format, it is the birth chart that holds dominion and functions as the backdrop for the progressed and transiting positions. This allows for the easiest identification of important activity and gets the astrologer accustomed to seeing the whole picture at once. I use and recommend the Tropical zodiac and Placidus house system.
The location of an individual for the time period in question is used to calculate the progressed chart. Always! A relatively small change in location can alter the position of the progressed Midheaven and/or the progressed Ascendant by 1 or 2 degrees and if aspects involving these angles are overlooked, an enormous amount of information is lost. One or two degrees may not sound like much but in progressions they are everything! Traveling to a new locale often opens up potential that may not have become active in the location of residence for several years-if at all. Princess Diana comes to mind. It was due to these factors that the danger for her was much more prominent in Paris than at home at the time of her death. The transits are also calculated for the current location or the location of the individual for the time in question.
For those with Matrix WinStar, use the natal chart to calculate the progressed chart and then the transits. Open three windows for the names of the charts and drag the natal to the top, the progressed to the middle, and the transits to the third window. Click on "Add Chart" and find the Tri-Small wheel. Click "OK" to calculate this chart and then print it out. The ties from the natal to the progressed planets can now be easily tabulated as well as the transits stimulating them and we'll go through each of those steps.
An accurately calculated progressed chart can be utilized for up to three months to keep tabs on major themes. Of course, it could be done every day, but almost nothing in the progressed chart will change and the only real difference will be seen in the quickest moving transiting planets. The progressing Moon will travel approximately 1 degree per month and it is the fastest moving of the progressing bodies.
Active Orb of Aspect
To correctly identify the active aspects from natal to progressed planets and points, the orb of aspect must be kept very tight. This is the key element to accurate forecasting and there will be a relatively small number of active aspects at any given time. Considering the major aspects is sufficient. These include the conjunction, sextile, trine, square, and opposition.
In progressions, the planets move very slowly from their birth position, and some of the outer planets will hardly move at all over an entire lifetime. The active orb of aspect is 1 degree for any planet or angle, and 1.5 degrees for the Sun and the Moon, also called the Lights or luminaries. The Lights are given a bit more width because they are instrumental in vital areas of life. Since the Sun progresses at the rate of about 1 degree per year, this means that when it moves within range to aspect another planet, the aspect will be active for about three years. That is one-and-one-half years (or 1.5 degrees) in its approach to the exact aspect and one-and-one-half years moving away from exact. When a progressing planet approaches an aspect to the radical Sun, the aspect will be active for the duration of the time that the planet is within that 1.5-degree range. The length of time the aspect is active depends upon the progressing speed of the specific planet. The progressing Moon moves approximately 1 degree per month, depending upon its speed at birth, so the aspects it forms will be felt for about three months altogether.
For the remaining planets, the time period of an active aspect depends on the varying rates of speed in which they are progressing. Some aspects involving the outer planets might remain active for months or years at a time, especially if they were near a stationary point or retrograde at birth. These aspects must always be considered in light of other indicators for the time period in question. Although within the proper orb, some of these long-term aspects remain dormant for all appearances unless they are emphasized by progressions reflecting similar conditions and stimulated by transits. That's because one active aspect is never enough to produce an event of any great significance. The general rule of thumb requires three separate indicators or configurations of a similar nature to produce an event according to the theme signified. A planet that has become very prominent by numerous aspects, a planetary combination, or an activated house may produce such a similarity. This will be broken down and simplified shortly.
The closer to exact an aspect is, the more potent it is; our experiences verify this. For instance, the progressing Moon transits the chart relatively quickly compared to the rest of the progressing planets. It reflects fairly temporal circumstances affecting the emotional responses. Due to this rapid movement, it depends a great deal on longer-term aspects in the progressed chart as to how it will operate. In any case, when it comes into orb to aspect another planet, the associated trend is formed, a peak in the trend is experienced as the aspect becomes exact and the trend slowly dissipates afterward. However, as long as a contact is within the proper orb, other active aspects, progressed or transiting, can trigger the potential. So, under the right conditions, an aspect may manifest or "work" quite potently even when nearly out of range.
At this point, one specific exception to the rules of determining an active orb must be noted. Occasionally, two separate aspects from one planet will pull in the orb of the activated planets to one another. For example, in one of the illustrations in the following chapter, an active aspect from progressed Mercury at 8 Scorpio squared the progressed Ascendant at 7 Aquarius while also squaring Mars at 9 Leo. Even though the progressed Ascendant was not technically within active orb of an opposition to Mars, Mercury's stimulation to the midpoint of the two allowed the opposition to function. This appears more common if the planet is prominent in the natal chart, or if the nature of the planet exemplifies the current progressed theme. In this example, the individual was in the midst of a war, ruled by Mars.
Prioritizing the Progressed Aspects
When noting the active aspects, they should be listed in order of their priority. This task should be undertaken with great care. Rather than using a search feature on a computer program to handle the task, it is to an astrologer's advantage to find the active aspects by examining the previously printed chart. This helps to get a feel for the current vibrations, develops the intuitive faculties, and establishes certainty for future readings. Although minor aspects may be noted, it is not usually necessary and the major aspects are quite sufficient to produce a clear theme. Accounting for minor aspects prematurely tends to be more of a hindrance than help and tends to complicate the picture. An excellent method is to consider the major aspects and then check for exact minor aspects involving a prominent planet or point.
Since the active "hits" will be a short list, they can be noted by hand in order of priority in a blank space on the chart using planetary symbols and abbreviations. For the progressed Midheaven, abbreviate it MCp to distinguish it from the radical Midheaven, which would be MCr. The same would be done with the Ascendant, using ASCp or ASCr. For the planetary symbols, follow each with the p or r. In parenthesis, note the house ruled by a planet in active aspect. A different area on the page can later be used to tabulate transiting hits from outer planets. Use T in front of the planetary symbol for the transiting planet and continue to note whether it is a natal or progressed planet that it's stimulating.
Because they furnish such a fruitful outlet for energy, angular contacts are given top billing, and these include several possible combinations. Major aspects formed between the natal or progressed Ascendant with natal or progressed planets or luminaries fall in this group, as well as the natal or progressed Midheaven with natal or progressed planets or luminaries. These contacts signify important and eventful periods. These links will always be found when an important life event takes place. In fact, it is safe to assume that without such contacts, the time period is likely to remain relatively routine unless the Sun is very prominent. The more aspects involving the angles, the more significant the time period becomes for notable changes and for dynamic events to take place.
To easily find these points of emphasis, begin with the radical Ascendant and scan the progressed wheel to see if any major aspects have formed, remaining within the allowed orb of 1 degree. Don't forget that the Sun and the Moon can be given an extra bit of width. Basically, you're looking for a planet or point that is at nearly the same degree as the Ascendant in the same or different sign. Then, it must form a 0-degree aspect for the conjunction; a 60-degree aspect for the sextile; a 90-degree aspect for the square; a 120-degree aspect for the trine; or a 180-degree aspect for an opposition. If within the allowed orb of 1 to 1.5 degrees, it's a hit. Repeat this process for the radical Midheaven, followed by the progressed Ascendant and then the progressed Midheaven. For the latter two, both the natal and the progressed chart must be checked for new aspects.
The types of events represented by an active Midheaven do not differ greatly from those reflected by an active Ascendant, with the exception that the Ascendant is slightly more influential in health issues, due to Mars' natural affinity with the first house. Because of this similarity, it is best to judge the specific body and nature of aspect to an angle. The Midheaven can be considered as slightly solar in nature and the Ascendant as slightly lunar in nature, but events linked to either are quite personal, frequently regarded as a major turning point by the individual. Of the aspects, the conjunction, opposition, and square present a wider scope for important developments.
Before exploring all of the various planetary potentials, the remainder of the contacts should be noted. Following the angular aspects in priority are those made by the Sun. Once again, the Sun is very nearly always involved in one or more active aspects at times of climactic life events, and this may be either the natal or the progressed Sun or both. As the vital life force and symbol of the higher self, it illuminates and vitalizes any planet that falls within its rays. By a conscious effort of the will, also symbolized by the Sun, the potential of the planet in aspect can be developed, strengthened, and directed toward fulfillment of the inner purpose. It is when the Sun becomes active that an individual has the best opportunity to make a personal mark upon the world.
When both the angles and the Sun are involved in aspects, there are crossroads ahead and this is predictive of major life events unfolding. The more activity, the more profound the events are likely to be. Again, the nature of the planet and its aspect to the Sun or angle provides insight to the types of events coming due when compared to the overall theme of the progressions.
From this it becomes obvious that when the radical Sun forms an aspect with a progressing angle or the progressed Sun with a natal or progressed angle, a momentous time period is underway and the most significant events of life are shown in these contacts. The conjunction, square, and opposition provide the most efficient outlet of the potential, though if the rest of the chart agrees, a sextile or trine may produce spectacular progress.
Following the angles and then the Sun, the ruler of the natal Ascendant should next be considered for active aspects, both natal and progressed. Since this planet rules the physical body, personality, and outlook of an individual as well as incoming stimuli, its active aspects are a dominant note in tracing the current potential. These aspects may be nearly as fundamental as those of the Sun if the chart ruler is prominent in the nativity and, if this ruler is a fast moving inner planet, a bit of leeway may be given its orb.
Once the activity of the angles, the Sun, and chart ruler have been tabulated, take into consideration the natal prominence of each of the planets to establish priority among the remaining contacts. If the radical chart shows that a planet is positioned on an angle, most elevated, a leader or part of a Stellium, or in some way outstanding in the natal chart, the aspects it forms in the progressed chart are likely to be a dominant note in the unfolding trend. A heavily aspected natal planet would be on this list.
The aspects involving the Moon are very important, especially those made by progressing planets to the natal Moon. The aspects made by the progressing Moon also mark important personal events. However, since it moves so quickly, this Moon is quite temporal in nature; thus, these contacts must be considered in light of the remaining active aspects. Nevertheless, it will usually make an exact aspect to a planet that quite appropriately describes even a relatively minor event. The progressed Moon is covered in greater detail later in this chapter.
In noting activity in the progressed chart, note also the house(s) ruled by highlighted planets. Events corresponding with a house will take place when its ruler becomes involved in progressed activity. If a house is brought into focus by several factors, such as exact aspects involving planets in the house and by aspects involving the ruler, activity relating to that house is more pronounced. This general formula works in reverse as well. For instance, marriage will usually not take place unless the ruler of the seventh house is active in the progressions along with Venus, the Moon, and Mercury. For significant career moves, the ruler of the tenth house becomes active as well as the Sun, Jupiter, Saturn, and so forth.
In judging the theme within the progressed chart, it is quite helpful to keep in mind the traditional meanings of the planets and the aspects. The old and classical judgment of benefic or malefic planets and aspects has been largely abandoned these days by the counseling astrologer for good reason. Considerations are now more focused on whether unfortunate events will, in the long run, prove beneficial as far as soul growth. However, from the standpoint of accurately pinpointing the current trend from which to forecast, the traditional classifications are most efficient. The evidence that is repeated over and over is that a dominance of beneficial planets and aspects will be followed by events bringing joy and pleasure while a preponderance of adverse aspects and malefic configurations signals the approach of difficult situations.
Mars, Saturn, Uranus, and Pluto are more apt to tell of reversals when involved in harsh aspects than the Sun, Venus, or Jupiter. Generally speaking, squares indicate more challenging times than trines when judging the way events will manifest on an earthly level. This is not a hard and fast rule, however, and the natal potential must always be considered.
When planets that were in aspect in the natal chart are once again linked together through progressed aspects, it indicates current conditions and circumstances that are especially inviting for the natal potential to surface and operate. The type of aspect does not matter, only that the two are once more linked together. At times of unusually significant events there will frequently be several of these repeating links found active within the progressed chart and even the transiting configurations will be in agreement, often through aspects formed among themselves as well as to personal points. When one of these natal links is thus emphasized through such a repetition, the birth aspect often describes the manner in which the new aspect will oper