Decoding Your Destiny: The Impact of Progressions in Astrology
Discover the power of progressions in Astrology, unlocking your inner evolution & navigating your destiny with the celestial roadmap of life.
There are many tools that astrologers can lean into to predict potential energy forecasts, much like meteorologists use a variety of models to predict the weather. Secondary progressions, which I’ll refer to as progressions in this article, is a potent predictive technique that can gauge the evolution of your inner world and the internal resources you may draw on to face external conditions.
Like a blueprint of your inner growth, understanding your progressed cycle gives key insights into the directions you’re pulled to grow towards, the type of relationships that feel fulfilling and even your energy and motivation levels in certain time periods. Focusing on this symbolic rhythm can show why sometimes you feel like you’re swimming against the current, such as leaving a career in your midlife or choosing singledom at a time when you’re expected to get married and have children.
Progressions make use of symbolic time, when one period of time signifies for another. Progressions are a day-for-a-year formula, much like maps shrunk down from true-life scale to make them easier to work with. Essentially, progressions put a microscope onto the stellar energy of the first 80 or 90 days of your life. Like watching a movie in slow motion, all the small nuances and gestures are brought into focus so each can be studied and understood more easily.
While this technique can be traced back to the Hellenistic Greek astrologer Vettius Valens in the 2nd century, modern neuroscience is reinforcing the importance of this technique. Research shows that the first three months after a baby is born is when foundational neural pathways are formed, and events and experiences in this time strongly shape emotional strength and social ability levels in children.
The other beauty of progressions is the unique lens it gives into the experiences you face and directions you may choose to take. A more individual take than other predictive techniques, it takes the specific individual nature of your birth chart and moves it forward, including the Ascendant, Midheaven, even House cusps. Unlike transits, which map external events and relationships that can impact your world, progressions relate to your internal world and how it evolves as you interact with the world around you.
Progressions work with all the planets and points in your chart, though the focus is mostly on the Sun, the Moon and inner planets (Mercury, Venus and Mars). From Jupiter out, planetary movement is so slow in this technique that they seem
to stand still.
Due to secondary progressions adopting the day-for-a-year formula, the days used are those immediately following your birth. This means that whatever planetary aspects and influences were active 10 days after your birth will influence you when you are 10 years old. If you are 35, 42 or 57 years old, it’s the planetary activations when you were 35, 42 or 57 days old that influence your life now.
Let’s look at a quick example. Singer Delta Goodrem went through a period of heightened change in 2010 and 2011, leaving Australia to push for success in the US and breaking off a long-term engagement. She was 25 to 26 years old.
To work out her progressions for that time in her life, you’ll need access to an ephemeris. If you don’t have a printed copy, Google Swiss Ephemeris and your birth year for a free online version (in this case 1984, for the Delta Goodrem example).
First, we look back to when Delta was born, 9 November 1984. Then note where her personal planets have moved to 25 to 26 days after she was born. During this time, the progressed sun arrived at 12 Sagittarius, where it activated her natal Uranus at that degree. The combined energy of the progressed sun conjunct natal Uranus, which includes freedom, restlessness and breaking away from the past, describes her life and experiences 25 to 26 years later.
\Any predictive triggers involving your Sun can have a dramatic influence on your personality, soul and life experiences.
When making connections between the planets and the physical body, the Sun is linked to the heart — an organ so central that without its function, there is no life. This reflects the centrality and importance of the Sun as a centrepiece around which all else revolves. The heart or centre of who you are can be shown by your natal sun, its sign, house and aspects. The path of the progressed sun through the Zodiac and around your chart can reveal how your you-ness unfolds and evolves throughout your life.
Anything the secondary progressed sun touches, or is touched by through aspect, affects your core self. Pay special attention to when your progressed sun:
- Changes sign and house
- Makes an aspect to a natal planet or angle
- Gains or loses motivation and vitality, through either sign or house changes
- Crosses or makes a conjunction to an angle
These factors combine to reveal when you might experience an inner shift that can lead to a meaningful outer change relating to your image, appearance, attitudes and interests. As the secondary progressed sun moves, the ways in which you strive to express your light will evolve.
Based on progressed movement, your progressed sun will change zodiac signs once every 30 years. The age at which your sun first progresses, or moves into a new sign, will be unique to you. This age is determined by a simple calculation, which involves subtracting the degree of your sun at birth from 30. Once you know this age you can simply add 30 to it to determine when your sun will next change signs.
For example, Dionne Warwick has the Sun at 20’40” in Sagittarius. It’s appropriate in this instance to round up to 21 degrees, then subtract that number from 30. She was around 9 years old when her Sun first changed signs by progression.
Using the one-degree-a-year formula for the secondary progressed sun, Dionne’s progressed sun would have also changed signs around 39 years of age and again around 69 years of age.
Your progressed sun will first change signs at some point between birth and age 30. This formula works for the progressed sun only.
In your birth chart, the symbol for the Sun is the circle with a dot in the centre. The degree is the number with the circle (not the apostrophe) near it.
Your progressed sun changing signs will bring a significant shift in energy and will describe the end of an era. It’s also a time of rebirth as you undergo a profound evolution, especially around your personality and identity.
As your progressed sun, which symbolises identity and essence, settles into a new sign, your personality will be influenced by a new element and modality. Your interests, habits and hobbies will need to updated to reflect these changing influences. This can feel a bit like having a personality transplant, in that you become a new and refreshed version of yourself. This can bring latent talents to the surface or mark the end of a longer chapter in your life journey.
Your soul may seek experiences it previously had no interest in, and those things which always fulfilled you may no longer seem satisfying. You don’t become this new sign, rather your inherent personality or the influences of your sun sign at birth will now be filtered into the world through the lens and qualities of this new sign.
When your progressed sun changes sign, be curious about the new you waiting to emerge. Allow yourself to consciously end or complete things. Give yourself the freedom to explore new interests.
The progressed sun, Leo and the houses
If you are familiar with your chart and astrology, consider whether your progressed sun gains strength or weakness through its sign change. Does it move into a sign of its rulership, exaltation, detriment or fall?
The progressed sun is in rulership in Leo and in exaltation in Aries. The progressed sun moving into these signs can bring stability and confidence, as well as more consistency in key areas of your life.
The progressed sun is in detriment in Aquarius and in fall in Libra. The progressed sun moving into these signs can bring a greater focus on other people, relationships and your community. It brings a time of variety and change, when you’re less focussed on routines and more interested in connection, service and support.
You can also consider the house ruled by Leo in your birth chart. As its ruling planet, the Sun, adopts a whole new way of being, new opportunities and different priorities can emerge around that area of life.
Let’s look at the example of David Bowie, who was a Capricorn, born with the Sun at 17 degrees. This means at age 13, in 1960, his sun progressed into Aquarius, then, in 1990 at around 43 years of age, his sun progressed into Pisces.
Bowie had a Leo descendant, or 7th House, the part of the chart ruling relationships. This means the Sun ruled or described his relationship experiences. His first marriage, during the progressed sun in Aquarius, where the Sun is less stable due to being in its detriment, was unsettled and full of unpredictable events and experiences.
Within 12 months of his sun progressing into Pisces and out of this unsteady influence, he met Iman and married her within two years. True to the deeply romantic Piscean way, Bowie fell in love with her instantly, saying afterwards, “I couldn’t sleep for the excitement of our first date. That she would be my wife, in my head, was a done deal.” They remained happily married until his death.
In your chart, the Sun will rule whatever house has the sign of Leo on the cusp. This might be your 10th House of career, your 4th House of home and family or your 11th house of friends. Whatever house it is, your experience of the topics associated with your sun/Leo house will change as the progressed sun changes signs.
Working with the progressed moon
The ancients linked the Moon to vitality and fortune and saw its light inextricably linked to our own motivation and energy levels. The Moon is the heartbeat of the sky, translating the light of the Sun and drawing in other stellar influences. In the 29.5 days it takes to complete each of its phases, she waxes and wanes in energy, grows in light then heads into darkness. Those energies are then reflected here on the Earth. If we live to 90 years, the progressed moon will have the opportunity to complete three full cycles around our natal chart.
The Moon changes sign every two and half days, so every two and half years, a progressed moon will change signs, bringing a different flavour to your emotional landscape. When in fire signs you may crave more action and energy in your life, in earth signs more stillness and practical accomplishments. The years in air signs we crave knowledge, information and conversation, and in water signs, intuition and sensitivity increases and a quieter pace feels comfortable.
A progressed moon will also change houses, drawing emotional emphasis to the topics of the area of your chart it currently occupies. For example, when the Moon transits our 7th House, relationships come into focus and I often see clients meet a significant partner or choose to marry at this time.
Jane Fonda spent all three of these periods in her life dating widely, then marrying once the Moon moved into her 8th House; or giving up on relationships altogether, as she stated in 2018.
The Moon through the 10th House is often a period of focusing on career and public image. When Jane’s progressed moon was in her 10th House in 1968-71, she became more prominently known and critically acclaimed. Interestingly, it’s there now, when she’s in another career peak of television and movie projects, at the grand age of 85.
The progressed lunar phases
Like the Moon in the actual sky, a progressed Moon moves through eight phases in the sky, each with its own level of light, energy and vitality as it changes position in relationship to the Sun. Each phase lasts approximately 3-4 years and acts as a backdrop against which to gauge other predictions. As the Moon is the fastest mover in progressions, I find focusing on the phase a progressed moon is in a powerful predictor of energy and motivation.
The phases new to gibbous are waxing, when the tide of vitality is coming in and we are able to build towards fulfilment under the full phase. From the full to the balsamic (dark) phase, vitality is draining out and we are more focused on synthesis and release, then preparing for the next phase.
Another attribute of the lunar phase to note is the cycle of light. From first quarter to last quarter is when light is most obvious. We may spend those phases actively engaged with the world, or being noticed more by others. The darker phases are when we tend inwards. The phases are also deemed more or less active depending on the relationship the Moon forms to the Sun. The more active phases of new, first quarter, full and last quarter have more action, energy and dynamism, while the crescent, gibbous, disseminating and balsamic are quieter and more about integrating the lessons and challenges of the previous stage.
New Moon phase (0 to 45 degrees)
This phase is a significant time in your life, occurring twice or perhaps three times in your lifetime. It signifies the new beginnings of a cycle that will last 29-30 years. As the Moon reflects a sliver of the Sun’s light, this phase is about starting afresh as energy turns towards new beginnings, like seeds coming alive beneath the soil in the first warmth of spring. The sign and house this New Moon phase occurs in offers a background theme for the whole 30-year cycle ahead.
It may be external shifts or your internal yearnings that cause change, but whatever is at play, expect to be in a different place than where you have been in recent years, even decades. Your vitality begins to build after the quiet withdrawal of the balsamic phase. You may find more energy or excitement in reconnecting socially or initiating new projects. Energy in this phase can be on and off, and easily dispersed, so beware of starting too much or pushing too fast in this phase. Fortunes may feel like they are turning forwards, though this phase is still predominately dark so conserve your energy and don’t expect overnight success. Instead, know seeds planted well now and tended to in the next seven years will bear good fruit.
For Jane Fonda, her first New Moon started at 12 years of age. Not long after her world changed forever when her mother died and her father quickly remarried. Twenty-nine years later, under her next New Moon phase, she starred in one of her most well-known roles as Judy in the film 9-to-5. While filming this movie, Jane formed a lifelong friendship with co-star Lily Tomlin, a relationship that Jane credits with shaping who is she today.
Crescent phase (45 to 90 degrees)
In this phase, the Moon’s light is growing, bringing more energy and confidence. What was started in the previous stage begins to emerge and, depending on the results, you may wish to put in more effort or start again. For that reason, I see this stage as experimental, a chance to enhance and improve outcomes as light continues to build. This phase has a natural excitement around what is possible when results first start to show themselves. It’s a good period to follow the breadcrumbs of your curiosity to see where potentials lie.
Dedication, consistency and persistence are good traits to develop in this phase, as while some things fail others will grow, and staying focused on what is working will help you if you’re feeling discouraged by what didn’t work.
In her Crescent Moon phase, from 1982 to 1986, Jane was experimenting with her fitness career, after an injury in her New Moon phase shifted her from ballet to aerobics. Her fitness videos became a huge success, and the profits enabled her activist work in her next phase. In a more recent Crescent phase in 2012, Jane moved into television, a media she had only dabbled in before. Guest starring in The Newsroom was an exciting experience for Jane and went on to see her nominated for five major awards, winning two of them. The dedicated work she put in for the three years of this phase led to building the current career resurgence she is experiencing today.
First Quarter phase (90 to 135 degrees)
This phase is the most obviously active as innate urges arise to manifest what began seven years prior. High energy, drive and ambition are hallmarks of this phase. It’s important to give focus to this energy. Remind yourself of what you started in the new phase, or create a focus if one isn’t there already.
Starting with a square relationship between the Moon and the Sun means tension is inherent as this phase begins. After the experiments of the Crescent phase, you can actively sorting out what will work and what must be left behind. The Ancient Greeks liken this phase to adolescence, when the stretch from childhood to adulthood creates a discord of facing tests that end in a new independence and maturity. Like puberty, this phase has impulsive and risk-taking moments, so if you’re feeling restless in some way, you may be encouraged to take a bold step in a new direction or take back the reins of your own life.
This is also the first stage where there is more light than darkness. Your efforts may become recognised, or the first
flush of success may come your way. We can see a clear example of this for Jane when her work in The Newsroom meant she moved from being not only a guest star on the show, she also got the opportunity to become an executive producer on the highly successful TV series Grace and Frankie.
Gibbous phase (135 to 180 degrees)
The Gibbous phase is another quiet phase, though the building light means you become more familiar with the extra energy and emphasis this light brings. It’s a time to trust in what you have started in the last 10-11 years and build confidence from what has manifested in the last phase, while still improving your skills and experience.
This phase is about refinement. I often see clients choose personal development or ready themselves in some way for
the fulfillment stage of the Full Moon ahead. Think of it like the understudy in the theatre, preparing for the main role
by watching and waiting in the wings, ready to step centre stage when needed. You do need to push yourself out of your comfort zone to stand in the spotlight when opportunities come along, but you likely won’t feel relaxed here until the next phase.
In Jane Fonda’s life, she stepped from the strong foundation of her work in theatre into the world of film during this phase in 1960. She pushed herself out of her comfort zone and started to get noticed, but her breakout roles didn’t come until the next phase.
Full Moon phase (180 degrees to 225 degrees)
Close your eyes and imagine you’re walking under the light of the Full Moon. Its brightness means you can see the path ahead clearly and can move forward without a torch. The climactic light of this phase brings peak energy and visibility to all you started in the New Moon phase. Expect a spotlight to fall on you or your endeavours, bringing a sense of fulfillment or achievement with it as you’re kept busy tending the results. Opportunities about.
It’s important to be strategic in this phase and concentrate energies into relationships or situations that can resource you, as this lunar phase wanes during the coming 12-14 years. Perhaps this time also highlights what hasn’t worked, so choices may need to shift to salvage and repair, or fall back on what may have been discarded at the First Quarter phase seven years prior.
In her first Full Moon phase (1966-68), Jane starred in her breakthrough role in Cat Ballou and filmed many roles she’s still famous for today, including The Chase and The Game is Over. She was also infamously featured in a Playboy spread, with photos taken on a film set without her permission — which she later sued the magazine for.
With your progressed sun in the opposite sign/house, this can also be a time of polarities as you seek to find harmony and balance between two areas of focus. You may also choose to focus on the relationships and partnerships in your world, depending on your age at the time.
Jane stepped away from her 30-year acting career in 1992 to focus on philanthropy and activism, as well as her third marriage, given her first two marriages faltered under the weight of her career and stardom. She said in a 2014 interview (Carrillo, 2015) that she was deeply unhappy at the time and couldn’t act when she was unhappy. A perfect example of meeting a turning point under the Full Moon and making the choice to turn in a different direction.
Disseminating phase (225 to 270 degrees)
As the light begins to fade with the Moon past its peak, energy turns to passing on rather than accumulation. Imagine you’ve reached the peak of a mountain and enjoyed the view and now it’s time to turn back to base camp. Reflecting on lessons learned is healthy at this time, and if you lose fulfilment in what has felt purposeful until now, a change in jobs or relationship can be part of this period.
If Full Moon is the flower in full bloom, this phase is when the petals drop and the seeds are released into the wind to sow a new generation of flowers. The experiences and wisdom of the last five phases can be drawn upon to share wisdom with others. There is often a teaching or mentoring component to this phase.
In 1967, Jane literally spread her seeds in this phase with the birth of her first child, a daughter, Vanessa Vadim. In her next Disseminating phase (1996 to 2000) she supported the next generation in a broader way by focusing on non-profit activities to empower young people, including the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Power & Potential to create positive experiences in adolescence for young people at risk.
Last Quarter phase (270 to 315 degrees)
Another dynamic phase, the Last Quarter phase is about reorientation as the drop in light level signals a similar drop in energy and drive over the next seven to eight years. This phase calls for an active realignment and restructuring as focus is drawn to repurposing what already exists rather than creating something new.
An analogy for this phase is the ancient process of fermenting. If a glut of produce is harvested in the Full phase, the excess that isn’t eaten can be repurposed into wines, ciders or pickles via a process of breaking down and then discarding the leftovers to compost. You may have opportunities that came in seven to eight years ago that are still available to you, but you’ll need to use whatever you have on hand to make the most of them. There is also a sense of preparing for the winter, making the most of what’s available to stock the cellars and fill the compost heap.
As the light continues to dim, processes become even more internal, to the point that others may not know why you make the choices you make, but they must be yours. A sense of urgency may accompany this time as you try to make the most of the light left. Focus energy on jettisoning what isn’t productive so you can hone in on the key goals that remain.
Jane was born under a Last Quarter phase, so not only is she familiar with its energy, but these periods are when she is at her most creative and fertile. The first of this phase in Jane’s life coincided with the Vietnam War, when Jane’s inner activist came to light. In 1970, her celebrity status, acquired through the earlier stages of this phase, allowed her to tour the battlefields of Vietnam, with a personal goal to uncover the truth and stop the war. An unfortunate photo opportunity while there cast a dark shadow on her activism efforts in the coming decades. This was a hard lesson learned, which she used to guide her future activist projects. Despite this setback, Jane went on to form and fund The Indochina Peace Campaign to stop the war.
Balsamic phase (315 to 360 degrees)
The Balsamic phase, the final of the eight phases, the Moon returns to its darkest point. The active release has finished and life can take on an almost dormant quality, like the dead of winter. There’s a calm urge to retreat and quieten as the focus of the previous 25 years fades away. This is when clearing is finalised to make way for the next New Moon phase. The main characteristic is a quiet and gentle release, like fallen leaves decaying into soil to create nutrients to feed the next growth cycle. Focus on the future in this phase and create space, allowing what wants to leave to go so there is room for the next New Moon phase in three to four years’ time. See it as a time to rest and restore to allow creative energies to flow of their own accord.
I have seen clients choose retreat of some kind, such as work in a foreign place where they feel isolated or dedicating themselves to a period of intense study. It’s also a time when parents can be confined through pregnancy and the early years of parenthood. You may see relationships leave your life and it feels like opportunities are scarce, trust that this time of restoration is essential for your health, with growth soon to come.
In Jane Fonda’s life, her film-making still happened, but it was lower profile or her films received negative reviews. In 1977 she decided to focus solely on issue-based films such as Coming Home and The China Syndrome. This style still informs her production choices to today.
In her next Balsamic phase (2004-2007), Jane worked on a very introspective project, writing and releasing her autobiography, My Life So Far. Interestingly, she described her life as three acts in that book, predicting that her coming third act would be her most significant. Now, at 85, she is in the Full Moon phase, and, with a slew of awards for Grace and Frankie under her belt, multiple charitable works and environmental activism projects on the go, a recent battle with lymphoma successfully behind her and two movies premiering this year, I’d say she got that prediction right!
The lunar phases in context
This snapshot of progressed lunar phases can provide powerful insights. I encourage you to calculate the phase you’re in now using the methods mentioned above. I find clients feel reassured when they understand when large growth periods might not be on the table, or it validates their feelings of building towards a peak.
I also find, when combined with other predictive tools, progressions can offer a detailed picture of the way energy manifests. For example, if you’re having significant Jupiter transits pointing to abundant growth when in a progressed Balsamic Moon phase, it may feel like the volume has been turned down on how that Jupiter energy manifests. Or, a Full Moon phase could curb the limitations that Saturn transits can bring.
In addition to progressing the Sun, you can also progress the angles, the ascendant and midheaven, as well as the faster moving planets, Mercury, Venus and Mars.
Progressions slow down planetary movement, taking what happens in real time on one day and extending it over the course of one year. This means the slower moving planets, Jupiter and Saturn, will not move much at all. Without movement there is no new information to be had. The outer planets, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto, move slower still and can for the most part be ignored in this technique. Once you know how to fully interpret your faster moving progressed planets you won’t miss them.
Planets and points to progress
- Sun and Moon
- Mercury, Venus and Mars
- Jupiter and Saturn
What to watch for
- Sign change
- Direction change
- Progressed planet or angle making an aspect to a natal planet or point
- Progressed planet crossing an angle
Progressed planets changing signs
The most important shift is when a progressed planet changes signs. This means that everything ruled or symbolised by that planet is being refreshed and that new desires will emerge.
If your progressed Venus changes signs, you will want new experiences in relationships. You’ll also redefine beauty and may enjoy new experiences relating to comfort and pleasure. In addition, the houses ruled by Venus, those houses that have Taurus and Libra on the cusp, will also be refreshed. The new qualities of the sign Venus has progressed into will flavour your interests and goals around these areas of life.
Taking this example further, if Venus progresses out of Taurus and into Gemini, the element of your Venus changes from earth (Taurus) to air (Gemini). In relationships, you may become more interested in a mental connection, or need a partner you can talk with.
In addition, this Venus progression moves Venus out of a fixed sign (Taurus) and into a mutable sign (Gemini). Progressing from a fixed sign to a mutable sign can describe needing less stability and routine (fixed) and wanting more change, variety and freedom (mutable).
Finally, if you have a Libra midheaven or career point, then these new and emerging air and mutable qualities of your progressed Venus would affect your career choices, in addition to relationships.
Power points: the angles
A progressed planet can also change houses or cross an angular point, like the ascendant, IC, MC or descendant. Due to the many different house systems, a progressed planet changing houses is somewhat arbitrary, while a progressed planet crossing an angle is exceptionally important. Provided the planet is moving forward, not retrograde, this means the planet is moving over one of four activating points in the chart.
The angular points are like power points and can intensively activate and energise whatever planet progresses over them. This will highlight the talents and qualities of the planet progressing over the angle and can bring exciting new opportunities around these themes into your life.
Aspects and action
Progressed planets will also make aspects back to the planets in your natal chart. These happen infrequently and are powerful indicators of change and evolution. Your progressed sun might square natal Saturn or oppose natal Pluto. Your progressed Mercury might conjunct natal Uranus or trine natal Neptune. Each of these aspects will help activate latent talents or remind you of forgotten dreams. They can also bring about turning point events that help you shift focus or change direction.
The mythology of the planets involved will become an obvious or influential theme in your life during the time in which the progressed planet forms the aspect back to the natal planet. As progressed planets move slowly, you will find it helpful to stick with an exact aspect, rather than using a wide orb. Even with an exact aspect, this may highlight a 12–18-month time period.
Let’s look at a quick example. In 1990, a relatively unknown actress scored a breakout role just as her progressed Mars, the planet ruling her 10th House of career, formed a supportive trine to power planet Pluto. The actress? Julia Roberts, who starred in Pretty Woman and went on to become a Hollywood star.
Living your truth
Progressed planets show how your desires and needs have evolved since birth, and highlight the best times for opportunity, progress and change. Your progressions help shine a light on your inner self and reveal what adventures lay ahead.