A Rudimentary Primer on Secondary Progressions

By Marilyn Muir, LPMAFA

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Our lives progress with an incredible variety of experience and astrology provides us with a variety of tools to study the life process. Transits, progressions, directions, returns:  solar, lunar and planetary, diurnals and a host of other techniques are available. The astrologer only has to choose what works best for them singularly or in combination.  I personally use progressions, directions and transits to do general chart readings and turn to the other techniques to provide additional detail or for research. We have many techniques. We also have personal skills and our eventual choices marry the techniques to our skill set.

Many astrologers look at personal evolution by means of secondary progressions as the natural unfolding of the natal promise. The technique utilizes a day for a year, with each 24 hours after birth representing one year in the progressed life. If the native were ten years old, the tenth day after birth would represent the tenth year as it unfolds, as birth equals zero to one year. We are thus able to look at a lifetime of the unfolding of the potential of the birth pattern. There are two popular ways of using these new positions: progressed to natal and progressed to progressed.

I have relied on progressed to natal for almost forty years and it has not disappointed me. When the positions form new aspect patterns the native experiences some type of activation that is of the nature of the progressing planet to the to the natal sensitivity. The key to reading is that the progression is the activating energy and the natal is the energy being activated or acted upon. It took me a long time to learn to separate the activating energy from that which is being activated but it will simplify your reading to keep the two energies clearly marked in your mind.

Progressed to progressed offers both the concept of activating and being acted upon simultaneously and adds a deeper layer to your reading, but it also supplies you with a whole new chart that can be read as a temporary natal. It is not a static chart – it is in continual motion just as the natal is not a static chart. It is the chart of the progressing human arrested at a selected point in that development, a snapshot to be read at one moment of the human being’s development. Each planet and/or point moves at its own measure and must be calculated and applied individually.

Some bodies (such as the outer planets) move so slowly that little new action is shown. That slow movement can involve a planet progressing through a station, either retrograde or direct, which can affect years of experience in contrast to the faster moving planets or points and their aspects. Some bodies perfect a natal aspect through progression. The moment of actual perfect aspect is primary and gives you a specific time frame. It is my experience that such perfect aspects tend to trigger just prior to perfect, perhaps as much as 95% of them, with the remaining 5% triggering just after the fact especially if Saturn is involved. To me applying aspects represents that which is coming into being and separating aspects represent the past that begins as immediate and which over time transition into history.

If you use primary directions do not confuse those positions with progressions, read them as a separate system. Note: use direct to natal aspects only because natal aspects just keep repeating themselves when you aspect direct to direct.

If you are using transits, you may use transits to natal and transits to progressed successfully. I have never found transits to directions to be valuable or to produce new and useful info. Why? Because directions are a construct, a device for determining arbitrary activations, but are not naturally formed. Progressions are natural movement of the natal planets and did exist in physical actuality just after birth and can be acted upon by natural transits. We all read and teach from our personal experience so in my world natural to natural works beautifully, but natural to constructed device does not appear to be as useful.

There is such a thing as converse progressions where you progress the positions backward in time using the day for a year measure. The day of birth still represents 0 to 1 year, the day prior to birth represents 1-2 years, backward through the life. You might think that the intent is to look at what led up to the birth. That might be an interesting study to determine the progress of the pregnancy itself. This might lend itself to a study of birth defects, accidents or diseases that affect the pregnancy, or the environmental status of the pregnancy, such as droughts, famine, war, etc. I have never seen nor done a study of that type but it could prove educational. Instead the converse progressions are used to show changes or activations in the unfolding or progressing life of the individual. Please do not ask me why that should work but I have seen chart workups using that method. Anyone up to a research project?

First published on All Things Healing Oct 2012, republished with slight editing.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.