One astrology question that seems to pop up every now and then is the difference between transits and progressions. There’s no easy or straightforward answer, so this is a bit of a lengthy post. I hope you find it informative.

The most obvious difference between transits and progressions is of course, how they are calculated and how it affects the faster and slower moving planets. Transits represent aspects made to the natal chart by the planetary bodies as they orbit the skies. Secondary progressions represent the natal chart as projected into the future, with the movement of one planet in a day equalling a year. So, for example, the sun moves roughly one degree in one day and as such, the secondary progressed sun will move one degree in one year.

As such, with transits, it is the slower moving planets that illustrate longer, developmental changes while effects from the personal planets  are more transitory. With progressions, the slower moving planets may hardly budge at all, while it is the more personal planets that indicate development.

But does a transit and progression affect the native in a different manner? I have not read too much on this topic that I have found to offer any definite answers and I myself do not intend to offer anything of the kind. The most common theme that arises suggests that transits represent the “outside” world of events, your situation, etc. and progressions represent “internal” shifts and changes.

I can confirm this to a certain degree. I have seen time and time again, transits correlating very readily with external events. Moreover, they almost always represented opportunities to learn from and to invest in oneself, or to collect rewards from previous efforts. (N.B., these efforts are not necessarily personal. For example, I once had a transit in my 8th house coincide with receiving a part of a deceased relative’s estate). Just a sampling of some transits from my own life include:

  • TJupiter crossing MC: Suddenly my figurative phone was ringing off the hook with potential job offers. This would be the reaping harvest type transit.
  • TSaturn transits my 5th house: I attended art school where I developed mad art fundies skills and had the worst period ever of my dating life. My fave pickup lines from that time are: “I don’t like stuff like reading. I mean, I don’t like books. Hey, wanna grab a coffee sometime?” “I don’t like white girls, I only date Asians. Let’s go out on a date!” Yeah, I wish I was making that up. A learning transit.

Progressions relating to internal shifts is also a pattern I can confirm. A smattering of random examples:

  • PMercury enters Pisces: Previously, I was a very concise, direct and forceful communicator when speaking. I can still be this way but I find now that I’ll also drift and stop mid-sentence.
  • And of course, I’ve already written about how my progressed moon sign has affected my tastes in fashion.

Despite the above examples, however, I have experienced the opposite in which transits have represented “internal” shifts and progressions coinciding with external circumstance. For example:

  • TSaturn opposing natal sun: Nothing whatsoever changed in my life but I had a series of very powerful dreams and a sense of psychic pressure as if I was being ground to dust. To date, this remains the most difficult transit I have experienced, even though outwardly, everything appeared to be normal.
  • Pmoon transiting Libra/8th: During this period, my closest friends had strong Libra signatures. I also was audited and called for jury duty. Twice.

Generally speaking however, most transits and progressions I’ve observed in myself and others have coincided with a mix of internal/external influences, each playing off the other in a complex feedback loop.

Bernadette Brady of the ever popular “Predictive Astrology: The Eagle and The Lark” offers a more nuanced explanation. She believes that transits are experienced as foreign, and as such, the psyche projects this onto their environment whereas progressions are more continuous with one’s existing personality and as such, they are experienced as internally driven. It might follow then, that certain transits that already have an affinity to the natal chart may not be experienced as external influences, impositions or opportunities, but rather, shifts in one’s motivation, interests, constitution, etc.

It all comes back to that puzzle of causality, psyche and matter. Our models we use to understand these concepts and their relationships to one another change over history, and we usually adhere to a model that is inadequate (but is nevertheless functional enough for us to not make ourselves extinct). Make no mistake, I don’t believe transits or progressions cause anything, nor do I believe that they even impel. The only thing that I feel confident stating is that there are correlations, which as we all know, do not present us with causation. So my best advice to you is to keep track of your own experiences with transits/progressions and if reading for others make sure to ask for their history and look for patterns!