To read Part One of this two-part article, “Some thoughts on Secondary Progressions…who needs transits? Part One”, click HERE
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.”
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.
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: http://theinnerwheel.com/the-inner-wheel-a-new-look-at-secondary-progressions/
(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