Certain words will always catch our eye when they appear in our horoscope: retrograde, full moon, solar return. They suggest that there are flashy astrological events on the horizon — and aren’t those the kinds of updates we read our horoscope for?
A not-so-flashy word that your eyes probably glaze right over is “transit,” but if you want to really understand what’s going on in the heavens (and how that activity is going to affect you), this little astrological term is one to know.
It’s easy to assume that “transit” simply refers to any planetary movement — “transit” implies movement, right? But, according to astrologer Amy Tripp, this term is actually a lot more specific than it seems.
Most of the time, Tripp explains, transits occur when a planet moves across your “natal planets,” or the planets’ positions in your birth chart. For example, let’s say that Venus was in Capricorn when you were born. When another planet, maybe Mercury, moves through Capricorn now and aligns within 10 degrees of the point that Venus was in back when you were born, an astrologer would say that Mercury is transiting your “natal Venus.”
As you might already know, your birth chart is a snapshot of your whole personality — you can get an idea of your moods, strengths, weaknesses, actions, and more just by looking at where the planets are located in relation to the signs of the Zodiac. With that in mind, if you feel a shift in your mood or behavior, another planet might be transiting one of your natal placements, prompting a change in energies.
Let’s go back to that natal Venus example for a moment. Tripp says this transit suggests a blending of Mercury’s chatty influence with Venus’ “let love in” kind of energy. “This is a classic example of communicating with loved ones, sharing your affections, and making pleasant social connections,” she says. In other words, since Mercury is moving through the point in your chart that’s all about love, your mind might start buzzing with thoughts of affection and you may start putting words to feelings that you normally wouldn’t.
However, transits don’t always have such a specific effect on your life. Sometimes, they simply change the overall vibe of your day-to-day life — it depends on which natal placements are being transited. If a planet is transiting your sun or moon, you’ll probably feel its influence more broadly, across different areas of your life. “If someone is undergoing a Uranus transit, they will attract people of a Uranian nature: people who are unconventional, disrupt the status quo, open up new and exciting pathways, etc.,” Tripp says. “Essentially, transits influence who you meet and what you attract.”
Tripp adds that it’s also important to note that transiting planets behave differently. The “inner planets” (the moon, sun, Mercury, Venus, and Mars) move through the signs relatively quickly, so their transits and effects are on the shorter side. Meanwhile, if you find that a slow-moving “outer planet” like Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, or Pluto, is transiting a natal placement, expect to feel that shift for much longer.
Keeping track of your transits is fundamental to understanding how the planets affect your daily life. Tripp says you can find out about transits ahead of time by looking up an ephemeris, or a table listing all of the planets’ movements in the upcoming months and years. Otherwise, you can just wait until the next time that your astrologer mentions an important transit in future. And when they do, don’t let your eyes glaze over — instead, mark your calendar.