Category Archives: Secondary Progressions: Parts One and Two ( 2 articles)

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…

Conclusion

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?

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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.

Endnotes:

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: http://theinnerwheel.com/the-inner-wheel-a-new-look-at-secondary-progressions/

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

Zodiac

Zodiac

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1250 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2017

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

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Some thoughts on Secondary Progressions…who needs transits? Part One

‘I would love to live like a river flows, carried by the surprise of its own unfolding.’ John O’Donohue

Consider this surprise. Astrology textbooks tell you that the planets from Jupiter outwards move so slowly by progression that their shifts are of no consequence. On the very day in June 2016 that my third house Jupiter moved by secondary progression from life-long occupancy of Scorpio into Sagittarius, I was offered a large library of astrology books from a university lecturer whose wife, a keen student of astrology, had recently died.

“Phoebe” a participant in the 1997/8 research I did on Jupiter/Uranus conjunctions, started piano lessons for the first time and became very interested in fashion/image in 1997, the year her natal Neptune in Libra went direct by secondary progression. No doubt readers could add their own examples of progressed planetary effects which supposedly are of no consequence!

Introduction

I am very well aware that there are several ways of progressing a horoscope which are no doubt valid. However, traditional Secondary Progressions or SPs as I shall now call them for short, are the only type which have consistently spoken to me with great accuracy. These are calculated by moving the planetary positions in the ephemeris for the day of birth forward one day for every year of a person’s life, offering a means of determining the timing, and understanding the meaning, of significant developmental points in that individual’s unique unfolding journey.

In this article, I am not proposing to reinvent the astro-wheel by offering detailed tuition on what SPs are, how to calculate them, work with them, and relate them to whatever transits may be in operation at any given time. There is plenty of information of that type available on the Web, as a quick Google search will reveal. However, my USA colleague Dawn Bodrogi in my estimation has done the finest recent work on the topic. You can find her writing at The Inner Wheel (1).

Instead, my aim is to offer a personal reflection on Secondary Progressions, continuing in the same spirit as the opening paragraph. I’d like to share my clients’ experiences of those mysterious symbolic tools, as well as my own. My observations are also offered to experienced practitioners in such a way that they can take a moment: to step back from their astro-toolkit and be freshly awestruck by the essential Mystery which SPs evoke.

Most of all, I’d like to intrigue and inspire readers who are fairly new to astrology to begin their own journey into this misty, awesome territory.

From the time I discovered SPs as a Faculty of Astrological Studies student in the 1980s, they have fascinated me. This fascination was amplified as I slowly became an experienced astrology teacher, using my classes (as you do) for the brilliant qualitative research opportunities ‘on the hoof’  that they undoubtedly provide.

When you first go round a class of a dozen students, tracking their Suns changing signs by secondary progression, discovering their corresponding life changes as well as your own, it does rather cause you to scratch your head – after you and your students have come down from the sheer buzz of it all – and ask “But why does astrology work ?And why does a purely symbolic technique like SPs seem to work too ?” 

Help is at hand – from quantum science

Ancient Stargazers

Ancient Stargazers

Good questions, which astrologers have been asking for centuries, millennia probably, ever since those Chaldean priests on their chilly watchtowers scanned the night skies for helpful advance warning signs that their kings and kingdoms were under threat. I do not propose in this short article to add to the vast amounts of erudite speculation which has arisen from such questions.

However, very briefly, my conclusion is this: modern science has demonstrated that we live, move and have our being as part of a vast energy field which ripples and changes in a sinuous, shapeshifting dance between order and chaos, order arising out of apparent disorder, in invisible patterns which would appear to hold 4 % matter, 23 % dark matter, and 73 % dark energy together in a vast cosmic web.

I think that astrology works by tracking and mapping those energy patterns through planetary cycles against the backdrop of either the constellations via sidereal astrology, or our more familiar tropical astrology which is pegged to the ecliptic. By a blend of astronomical calculation, mythic imagination, intuition, and observation of correlations between life on Earth and planetary movements over millennia, humans arrived at a way of deriving meaning from the energies generating the solar system, our tiny corner of that vast cosmic web.

It is no surprise that reductionist thinking cannot cope with the possibility that something of great value to the human project could have arisen from this eclectic weave.

There are several ways in which one can creatively reflect upon that 4%, 23% and 73 % ratio. I like to think of it in terms of the worlds of consciousness, personal unconscious and collective unconscious, finding Jung’s term ‘psychoid’ very useful in enabling me to make sense of energies which can and do manifest simultaneously, all the way from very obvious and tangible to being highly influential in a person’s life although invisible to the wider world.

For example, consider the client I saw some years ago with a dominant Saturn square Neptune aspect in his horoscope. “James” ’ profession was highly tangible: he made musical instruments. But a significant factor in the unfolding pattern of his life, also linked to that Saturn/Neptune square, was his having had to survive growing up with a severely alcoholic father. Being very aware of an inherited tendency to indulge in addictive escapist behaviours, he was trying to address this when he came for a consultation – as his secondary progressed Sun triggered natal Saturn square Neptune.

I think that an important part of the creative value of being a practising astrologer lies in helping clients like James to understand, accept and work constructively with the shape-shifting potential inherent in the particular energies with which they came into the world.

From the above perspective very briefly outlined, it isn’t too difficult to tie in the planetary patterns in the sky here-and-now to the static picture of the natal horoscope. You are working, at least in part, with what you can actually see. However, in working with SPs, you are stepping into the mysterious, intangible world of the purely symbolic.

I find that my (metaphorical at least!) understanding of that 4%, 23% and 73 % ratio is very helpful in feeling comfortable with such mysterious territory. That which cannot be seen, perceived or understood via our five senses within the 4% world of matter, still has energetic validity in the landscape of the unseen 96% – that which modern science tells us is there, although we can only perceive it by inference and don’t yet know what it is.

Secondary progressions and family inheritance

The most striking example of  the mysterious power of SPs that I have ever had, occurred a number of years ago when I was playing around with the weave of interconnectedness which you find as soon as you begin to spend time looking at family horoscopes.

Having acquired the birth certificates of all four of my grandparents, three with accurately recorded birth times, and having calculated their horoscopes, I took a notion to progress the birth charts of the two grandparents who had been most significant for me, and whose characteristics I most clearly recognised blended in myself, ie my maternal grandfather Calum and my paternal grandmother Isabella – both born in different years at different times. I progressed their charts, both with accurate birth times, to the day of my own birth.

The result stunned me. BOTH grandparents’ progressed Ascendants were 9 degrees Virgo, BOTH progressed Midheavens were 28 degrees Taurus. And my Angles? Yes, you’ve guessed it. My natal Ascendant is 9 degrees Virgo, and natal Midheaven is 28 degrees Taurus. My North Node is also 28 Taurus – and my pre-natal solar eclipse is 28 degrees Taurus, thereby emphasising the significance of the IC/MC axis in the transmission of family fate, karma, genetic inheritance or whatever you wish to term it. I have written about this before, and described my feeling then of having been ‘brushed by the wing of a great Mystery’(2).

Recently, whilst thinking about this article, I re-calculated that set of progressions, just in case I had somehow made a mistake all those years ago. The result was the same.

Part Two of this post follows shortly. As ever, your comments/feedback are most welcome.

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Endnotes:

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: http://theinnerwheel.com/the-inner-wheel-a-new-look-at-secondary-progressions/

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

Zodiac

Zodiac

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1500 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2017