It is generally acknowledged that when transiting planets form hard angles (conjunctions, squares, oppositions) to natal planets their effects are immediately apparent in the external world and often manifest as actual events or people.
By contrast, when a transiting planet forms a soft aspect to a natal planet (trines, sextiles), its effects are said to be more subtle and often manifest on a subtle, inner level that may not be immediately apparent.
This is not always the case, however, and sometimes transiting planets forming a trine or sextile to a natal planet may manifest as literal, concrete events.
As a general rule, however, I have more or less found that hard angles equal concrete events and soft angles manifest as inner revelations.
Transiting Soft Aspects form your Celestial Support Team
If you take a look at your current transits, you will probably immediately recognise the effects of say, transiting Saturn conjuncting natal Venus, or transiting Pluto squaring your Moon, however, a sextile from Neptune to Mercury may be less apparent. If you are going through a rough time because you’ve got Saturn transiting your Sun or Pluto opposing your Moon, for example, look to the “soft” transits (aka your celestial support team) as keys to help integrate the lessons the hard-angle transits are putting you through.
For example, if you’re having a rough time as transiting Saturn conjuncts your natal Sun then look to your transiting Neptune trine your natal Jupiter to help give you spiritual sustenance and meaning during this time.
Transiting Planets are our Inter-Galactic Messengers
It is helpful to think of transiting planets as messengers providing natal planets with new insights and lessons that will help deepen and improve their overall function. Transiting planets do this by adding different archetypal dimensions to the natal planet's ordinary expression.
“They represent the next step to be taken on the foundation of earlier phases which have already occurred,” says Dane Rudyhar.
Example: Transiting Saturn conjunct Natal Mercury
For example, when transiting Saturn was going over my natal Mercury, my entire mode of thinking was being restructured. My concentration improved as my interest in meditation deepened and my dislike of being bogged down by technical details was called into question.
I was being forced to consider mundane, “boring” practicalities rather than diving straight into things without thinking them through (I have natal Mercury in Sagittarius conjunct Uranus).
In short, transiting Saturn was showing me where my natal Mercury had “homework” to do.
Celestial Homework: Transits show us where there needs to be a "Refining" Process
The nature of the transiting planet will show us where our natal planet has work to do – something in us wants to grow and change and reach beyond its "normal" functioning or default setting.
It’s as if the natal planet being called into question has been operating in an immature way that is now limiting our overall growth and so one of the slow moving planets comes along by transit to help "shake things up."
Transits Represent a Celestial Rewiring Process
The transiting planet is there to help us “work through” issues regarding the natal planet and helps us to rewire some ingrained, outmoded behavioural patterns that no longer serve us. This way they can be transformed into something more conducive to our development.
When a transiting planet forms a soft aspect to a natal planet we often fail to notice its effects because we are so caught up in the action surrounding hard aspect transits. Even natally, our trines and sextiles require conscious effort to yield their full benefits.
The Integrating and Harmonising Nature of Trines
It is said that trines (“ease”) fall into our laps and come so easily to us that we often don’t even realise that we have considerable talent in the area that they govern. Trines harmonise and integrate the natures of the planets involved but we are often markedly lazy or passive in actualizing their potentials.
As Dane Rudhyar pointed out:
“the equilateral triangle symbolises in most religions perfection of being i.e., God as the supreme foundation of all existence. In that sense, it is the symbol of both a static and transcendent condition. It contains no opposition aspect; therefore, it is essentially subjective. It simply is, without conflicts, what it is.”
Opportunity Knocks: The Creative Potential of Sextiles
Sextiles (“opportunity”) take a bit more work to actualise, but once activated, can be used to our creative and evolutionary advantage.
Dane Rudhyar says of sextiles:
“both ‘action’ and ‘reaction’ must be integrated with a wider, more inclusive field of activity… and begin to take advantage of environmental opportunities for their growth and development… and opportunities for development will present themselves.”
Final Thoughts on Trines and Sextiles
Take a look at your current transits and see what transiting planets are forming soft aspects to your natal planets. This will show you where there is work to be done on refining and manifesting the nature of the natal planet.
As Rudhyar says, soft aspects “need to be actualised through a process of development and do not “magically” manifest by themselves.”
Greater spiritual awareness is bestowed upon us as we begin to work with our planets, helping us usher in their highest expression through consciously developing the qualities they represent.
Rudhyar felt that transiting trines “exemplif[y] for us the meeting of a challenge and the taking of some ‘next step’… the... partial fulfillment of the need the aspect symbolis[es].”
So, what are you waiting for?
Why not take that ‘next step’ in your evolutionary development by helping to ignite the latent power contained in your transiting sextiles and trines?
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