Astrologers share basic ideas about the meanings of the planets. The visible ones -- the Sun through Saturn -- have been observed, interpreted and codified for over 2000 years. Even those discovered since the advent of the telescope -- Uranus, Neptune and Pluto -- have generally agreed upon meanings. For example, Neptune is in charge of your dreamy side, which can easily be interpreted with an Astrology Dreams Profile. There are also more recent additions to our solar system such as Chiron that are included in the work of some practitioners. Astrologers, though, each have their own evaluations of planets that favor some and fear others.
Saturn, for example, is traditionally considered a difficult planet that represents boundaries and limitations. When it's activating a chart by making a challenging angle (aspect) to a natal planet, many see these largely in negative terms while others will emphasize the productive potential of this event. Although some of these differences of analysis are based on the specifics of the individual's chart, most are reflective of the individual astrologer's point of view. A colleague of mine usually emphasizes ways to defend against problems when difficult transits occur, while I tend to encourage engagement designed to transform pain into awareness.
Turning lemons into market-fresh lemonade
This past week I had an excellent example of how the anticipated undesirable effect of a transit can manifest itself in a surprisingly positive way. I'm still in amazing Beijing, China, which I've come to think of as New York squared. This town of 20 million seems to go on forever in a mosaic of old and new, simple and luxurious. My host for this teaching trip is a gracious Libra with his Moon in adventurous Sagittarius, an appropriate placement for an American living so far from home. Transiting (current) Neptune, the planet of dreams and fantasy, is presently making a demanding 90-degree square to his Moon. Another visiting astrologer I met here is a lovely Gemini lady from Denmark who is also experiencing a square to her Moon from nebulous Neptune. In principle, we might expect her and my host to be lost, confused, hyper-sensitive and delusional at this time. This does not appear to be the case.
Rather than wandering in a Neptunian haze, the imagination and intuition of this planet was demonstrated in a most remarkable way. My host and I, along with our wives, were going to the enormous Panjiayuan market, a lengthy subway ride from our hotel. We were supposed to call our Danish friend to arrange to join her there by setting the time and precise rendezvous point but couldn't reach her by phone.
Finding a needle in a hay mountain
It's not easy to find anyone in Panjiayuan, which is like the biggest flea market you've ever seen ... but on steroids. We headed toward it assuming that we'd lost our Danish friend for the day. Yet just as the four of us arrived at the market's subway station our smiling friend suddenly appeared. In a city of 20 million, without a meeting place or time, she arrived at the perfect moment. Two minutes earlier or later or 100 yards away and we wouldn't have found one another. Intuitive Neptune, dreamy, sleepy, spacey Neptune did its magic and we met.
The point is that every astrological pattern, whether in the birth chart or by transit, can express itself in many ways. "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves," Will Shakespeare wrote, reminding us that when we are in tune with the cosmos even the hardest transits can inspire desirable experiences. After magically connecting in the subway station we all spent five hours exploring the great wonderland market with blessed Neptune as our guide.