Working with Secondary Progressions: focus on progressed New Moons

To read Part One of this two-part article, “Some thoughts on Secondary Progressions…who needs transits? Part One”, click HERE

Part Two

Planets going retrograde, then direct, by progression – and progressed New Moons

When preparing for an in-depth astrology reading, I routinely do an ‘SP    (Secondary Progressions) scan’ through the ephemeris: planets going retrograde, then direct some years later, usually reveal significant phases in a person’s life.

Take “Antonia”, for example, aged sixty-one when we met two years ago. She has been living in Scotland for many years. Her Venus went retrograde by progression at age eighteen, when she “escaped” from a difficult family life in another part of the UK. At age fifty-nine, when Venus went direct, she began to feel the pull back to her home country, as well as feeling greater openness to people – and to the possibility of a significant relationship, after having been single for a number of years.

I also note years where there was a progressed New Moon. Depending on the length of a client’s life to date, there may be two or even three of those, if the first one occurred in the early years.

“May” ’s first progressed New Moon occurred when she was six years old, at which point she moved with her parents to the UK and a new life phase began. Her second progressed New Moon, at thirty-six, co-incided with her return to the UK – she had by then been living abroad again for a number of years – her marriage, and the birth of her child.

“Pearl” – an unfolding life

By a timeous piece of serendipity, last autumn 2016 as I was beginning to reflect on writing this article, I encountered a client in her mid-thirties who ticked several of the above key SP boxes in one reading.

She has very generously allowed me to use parts of her story to illustrate just how much SPs on their own, before one even begins to add the overlay of current transits, can give a vivid picture of an unfolding life. Here is what I wrote in my summing-up notes: “ A most interesting reading with a remarkable young woman, who despite a very difficult early life and teenage years has managed to turn her life around.”

click on image to enlarge

The two dominant SP features symbolically structuring Pearl’s life’s unfolding are the progressed New Moons, and ruling planet Mercury’s shifts of sign as well as retrograde then direct motion.

Her first progressed New Moon, at 5 degrees of Libra in the 6th House, came at age four. At the same age, progressed Mercury moved from Libra to Scorpio, also in the 6th House. She hit puberty at that age, and “I was overwhelmed by a power I had no idea how to handle…” She was treated with hormone injections. Family, social and school difficulties arose from this, unsurprisingly. Family life was turbulent, they moved around a lot, and her parents separated whilst she was growing up.

Progressed Mercury went retrograde in Scorpio when she was twelve,  a point at which Pearl became “a total nightmare” to herself and her family, getting into sex, drugs and all kinds of self-destructive behaviour. She fell in love and had her first serious love affair at fifteen. On the positive side, she was always drawing and painting, and into music and the Arts. Pearl did various jobs after leaving school, then had her daughter at nineteen. This co-incided with the progressed Full Moon, and the start of her grounding herself.

Mercury retrograded back into Libra when Pearl was twenty-two. In her early twenties she had a crisis involving drugs in which “I nearly died” . From then on she went from one extreme to the other, turning her life around.

  click on image to enlarge

She took up yoga, became vegetarian, and aligned herself with as she put it “ the guidance of the Divine”. She is now a teacher in the world of complementary therapies, loves teaching, and being a natural performer, is probably very good at it.

She has also been with the same man since her early 20s, but as she has become more independent and self-motivating, the relationship has gradually withered and died. They broke up at the end of 2015, timed with progressed Mercury going direct in Libra, and with her second progressed New Moon in early Scorpio, which will be unfolding over a powerful natal Jupiter/Pluto conjunction in the next few years.

Pearl feels she is now in a new life phase but is not as yet clear about the way forward. She wants to develop her business, and her writing, so I made various suggestions about how she could go about developing them both, pointing out that New Moons, progressed or otherwise, take place in the dark.

Just as the familiar Sun/Moon monthly cycle takes a couple of days for the waxing crescent to appear, so in the thirty year progressed New Moon cycle, it takes a couple of years for the shape of a new life phase to become clear.

Pearl found knowing about her progressed New Moons’ and progressed Mercury’s  unfolding, as well as the reinforcing information provided by transiting Jupiter’s and Saturn’s 11-12 year and  29-30 year cycles, extremely helpful and comforting. It gave her a sense of awe, a feeling of being held in something, a meaningful pattern much, much bigger than herself.

I felt the same. Inevitably, you become used over many years to astrological symbolism ‘delivering’ consistently. Every so often, however, you are privileged to witness the life of another person in which the symbolic tools we work with, in Pearl’s case her Secondary Progressions, speak with such eloquence that it takes your breath away…


I do hope that this guided stroll through some of the highways and byways of  Secondary Progressions and their mysterious significance has some effect in stimulating especially those of you who have not yet explored that territory, to consider doing so. You could start by following the shifts of the progressed MC/IC axis; like the progressed Sun, they are easy to plot since they both move at roughly one degree per year.

Consider this: my Secondary Progressed MC/IC shifted into Cancer/Capricorn, and my ASC/DESC into Libra/Aries, when I was thirty two.  Secondary Progressed First House Sun was a mere 2 degrees away from an exact square to natal Tenth House Uranus at the same time. Did anything change? It certainly did!

I met both my future husband – Sun and Venus in Aquarius, how literal is that?! –  and astrology that year. In the three years following, I obtained the Faculty of Astrological Studies Certificate and we moved house so that I could work from home. I also acquired a half share in two small children (still with me, now grown up, both very Uranian) and a very elderly cat.

Who needs transits?


Chart Data and Sources:

“Pearl” is not the client’s real name, and birth data are confidential. Source: “Pearl” ’s mother. Rating: A.

Note: “Pearl” read and approved her case study prior to my finalising this article. “Antonia” and “May” have read and approved their extracts. I am no longer in contact with “James”. All clients’ names have been changed. My grandparents’ names are their own.


This two-part post was first published as Secondary Progressions – stepping into the Mystery  in the May/June 2017 Issue of the UK’s Astrological Journal, edited by Victor Olliver.

(1)The Inner Wheel:

(2) Unfortunately, I can’t now recall where!




1250 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2017

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page of Writing from the Twelfth House

26 responses to “Working with Secondary Progressions: focus on progressed New Moons

  1. Thank you so much for this informative article. I remember my SP New Moon was so intense and my life changed completely. My SP Sun and Moon changed the sign and house from Libra to Scorpio and from 3rd house to 4th. I quit my job and moved to a small town and started to have a brand new life. Since then whenever I see my clients have SP New Moon I feel excited for them 🙂


  2. Via Facebook:
    Clare De Mayo:
    What does the progressed full moon tend to indicate?


  3. Well, Clare, generally speaking it indicates that the new life phase begun 15 years previously at the progressed New Moon, has reached a point of fulfilment, for both good and ill depending on the choices we made at the outset of the cycle. It’s time to take stock at this point of full realisation, where we have a clear view if we choose to take an honest evaluation of where we now are, and review what our goals may be as we begin to ‘head down the mountain’, so to speak…


  4. The timing of this great post is amazing and very helpful. Thank you!
    I am weeks away of my SP new moon in 8th H. very beginning of Taurus as SP Sun changed sign last year (one of the most obvious things I can share is a clear feeling of a new level of connection with my body, which started few years before the change of signs).
    Progressed IC is mere seconds to natal Venus in Aquarius and transiting Uranus just made the first opp to natal Uranus. Saturn is in on Natal IC and NN right now…we’ll see how that goes!
    I checked and PG new moon definitely had to do with changes of residence. SP full moon: marriage and moving too etc..
    I am curious about your example of 10th house and marriage and how you see it. I understand it from the 10 H ‘status in the world’ point of view but I have come across that trend several times lately, even more than transits or SP to 7th house!


    • Many thanks for your kind words, Sabrina – and for your most illustrative feedback.

      Re MC/ 10th House and marriage, I have noticed often over the years the correspondence between those chart factors both natally in terms of describing the marriage partner, and between transits and/or progressions there and actual marriage. I think this is because marriage is a formal public contract and has a specific, concrete status (10th being Saturn’s house) in the world’s eyes. It does not and should not imply any value judgement between varied kinds of committed relationship and marriage. It’s just that the latter is formal, legal and specific.


  5. Wonderful work! I shall certainly have a look at my chart. Does this work with the charts if nations, do you think?


    • Many thanks Cindy, your comment is much appreciated! That’s an interesting question re-national charts… The progressed picture was certainly very revealing when I wrote about Scotland’s chart in relation to the 2014 Independence referendum. I shall include the link later – currently working from a mobile!


  6. Via Facebook:
    Jennifer Rhind:
    Fascinating article. I have never looked at secondary progressions! I’m wondering what is happening to me just now – as a person I feel intact, but my whole way of life is being totally disrupted. (I also had a look at the linked article on the 2014 independence referendum – so interesting, and great insights in the comments too. I would love to hear what you make of the aftermath, especially what was going on to manipulate the vote and the results. … And a look ahead at possible dates for the next referendum!)


  7. Many thanks, Jennifer. I do hope the posts have stimulated you into tracking SPs further…

    Referendum fever – or IndyRef2 as it is called here – seems to have gone off the boil somewhat since the Scottish National Party lost one third of their seats in the recent UK Election: much of the electorate has tired of the Nationalists’ constitutional obsession, and would prefer them to be ‘getting on with the day job’ of actually running Scotland which has considerable problems with eg Education and the NHS. So – we may be coming down from peak SNP and there may not BE another referendum for a long time. However, much depends on how the UK government handles our exit from the European Union in the next few years, given that Scotland voted by a substantial majority to STAY in the European Union in the UK referendum on that question, last year. In sum, UK and Scottish politics are in an unpredictable upheaval – just like almost everywhere else!


  8. Via Facebook:
    Jen Howell:
    Fantastic article! I keep an eye on these shifts for myself and my clients and always find similar correlations to what you’ve outlined here.


  9. Thanks, Jen! It’s really helpful to get this overview feedback.


  10. Via Facebook:
    Rena Hdesign:
    Wonderful article Anne – love the specificity of the examples! It was looking at the progressed Moon cycle that really excited understanding the real life connection astrology has. It’s too easy for a Gemini Mercury mind to make it all intellectual – but the SP really helped ground it in. Following is the synopsis that was an eye opener upon looking back: Progressed Moon cycle in houses: 2009 – Progr. Moon 6th house – needed new start & moved across the country, 2010 – Progr. Moon 7th house – met my future husband, 2012 – Progr. Moon 8th house – we found and bought a home together, 2015 – Progr. Moon 9th house – my studies of astrology became ever more serious. Now, as the Progr. Moon moves toward MC, the new skills I’ve been honing and building (graphics & astrology) are started to be called out into the world. Such richness in these mysterious symbols😊


  11. Brilliant feedback as ever, Rena! It really helps all our understanding of how this mysterious system works when we are willing, as you and other readers are, to share our experiences…


  12. Via Facebook:
    Morgana Dee:
    Anne I am rather excited because I just had my SP Lunation in the past few days and now this morning the eclipse a ten minute orb to my natal Jupiter sets off my natal Jupiter-Pluto opposition, which is just behind my Lunation progression by directions as well, and Uranus by transit will flow back over the Lunation and the Directed Jupiter Pluto opposition as well as Jupiter as it moves ahead sets it off again. It has to all change for me or I give up astro!


  13. Well, Morgana, I think you’re just going to have to wait-and-see how this all plays out…


  14. Morgana Dee:
    I am. Drives me bonkers that wait.


  15. Via Facebook:
    Clare De Mayo:
    What does the progressed full moon tend to indicate?


  16. Well, Clare, generally speaking it indicates that the new life phase begun 15 years previously at the progressed New Moon, has reached a point of fulfilment, for both good and ill depending on the choices we made at the outset of the cycle. It’s time to take stock at this point of full realisation, where we have a clear view if we choose to take an honest evaluation of where we now are, and review what our goals may be as we begin to ‘head down the mountain’, so to speak…


  17. Via Facebook:
    Clare De Mayo:
    Wow, OK. Unfortunately it’s also in square to Pluto (PSun in Sag, PMoon in Gemini, PPluto in Virgo). I’m pretty unhappy where I’m living right now, and yes, it’s 14-15 years since I came back from overseas…this has a very difficult period as I am natally Sun Libra, Moon Aries and have had Pluto square MercVirg, VenusVirg the Sun and Moon. Sat currently doing the same. Your post really helped though as I was wondering why I hadn’t felt the release I had hoped to, at the end of the Cardinal cross transit, so rechecked my Progressed chart. Universe is certainly squeezing blood out of a stone at this point 🙂


  18. Yes, Clare, I know from my personal transit and progressions ‘demolitions’ in the past, that certain times can feel very bleak. But all things pass… And behaving with as much self honesty, integrity, and faith in the wisdom of that which lies beyond our understanding – as well as being patient – certainly helped me through some very dark times… Also, on emerging from them, one can see in retrospect how one has deepened and become enriched. That’s certainly been my experience anyway.


  19. Pingback: Working with Secondary Progressions: focus on progressed #New #Moons — #Astrology: Questions and Answers – Ola Queen Bee of Astrology

  20. Would you comment on, in your experience, what is the difference between progressed Moon in progressed house and progressed Moon in natal houses? For instance, my progressed Moon is currently in Leo in the natal 7th house, but in progressed 5th house. I have to say I have felt more 5th house topics than 7th house topics so far.


    • Hello Frankie, sorry, I had overlooked your question! I think, as with all those things, there are unfortunately no hard and fast rules but only subjective judgements made on the basis of experience. My own practice has always been to overlay the progressed positions on the natal houses and angles, and take it from there. I find that pretty accurate…


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