Every so often I get a call from a client whose chart is in the throes of a LOOONG, uncomfortable transit—“Make it stop!” is the general sentiment.

Unfortunately, I can’t.

What I can do is to help them understand the nature of the transit to the planets it’s visiting and its purpose vis-à-vis the chart as a whole. Then I can offer up some strategies for riding it out (and even making it work FOR them).

Swift-moving planets—the Sun, the Moon, Mercury, Venus, and Mars—their transits to the birthchart are fleeting, and easy to understand and weather. Jupiter occupies a sign for an entire year; but since its effects are generally benign, no one minds very much: whatever Jupiter touches is strengthened and expanded. But transits of Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto seem to last forever; and THEY require us to stretch.

The lessons of Saturn are restriction and focus, and often bring loneliness in their wake.  Like the Moon, Saturn is a timer; but its transits span weeks and months, instead of hours and days.  All told, Saturn spends about 2.5 years in a sign, making SURE we got it right.

Uranus is the harbinger of change: it reminds us that we’re not dead yet and we really CAN field that pop-fly on an instant.  The craziness seems to go on and on; but it does have an end: Uranus takes last about 7 years to transit a sign.  The best advice for a Uranus transit comes from Lewis Carroll: when faced with the Lobster Quadrille, Alice wailed, “But what do I DO?”  “Just change lobsters and dance!”

If you’ve been confused for a while in a certain part of your life, it’s probably undergoing a Neptune visit.  Neptune transits demand that we suspend our conscious, logical conclusions and look deeply within to our intuition.  Eventually the mists part and we see our way much more clearly than we could before they descended, because we drew on deeper parts of ourselves that know.  More stretching.

And Pluto…that not-so-minor, not-so-ex-planetary planet.  Pluto transits are LONG: its entire orbit around the Sun takes 248 years, so it only moves a couple of degrees a year—which translates to 12 to 20 years in a sign, thanks to the earth’s wobble and retrograde motions.  Pluto is the planet of transformation; and deep, visceral changes can bring pain as well as healing.  Understanding a Pluto transit is a concrete step in grokking one’s own processes, because that’s where the growth is.

And THAT’S where the good stuff is…