Ask Real Astrologers: How Do Progressed Charts Work?

Our first question in the new year comes from Rossa in Great Britain:

My 50th birthday is coming up soon and I’d like to know if you could tell me anything about progressed charts and how they work. Are they similar to synastry in terms of how you compare aspects and transits? I was thinking of doing one for my solar return in February, but I’m not sure what data to use. Do I use where I live currently or use my place of birth? Also I’ve read that a day is a year in a progressed chart so I assume from that that my progressed chart would be 50 days from my date of birth. Any help would be very welcome. Thanks.



Libra PondersNeith’s response:

Rossa, you are correct about the progressed chart moving one year for one day. In general, the most important transitions by progression are when a planet moves from one sign to another. For example, your Sun progressed into Aries in early April 2005 after spending roughly 30 years in Pisces. If after that time you started to find it easier to assert yourself and put your interests first for a change, you can attribute that to your progressed Sun. The shift from Pisces to Aries is often one of the more dramatic ones because the signs involved are so different.

Since the Moon travels the fastest, changing signs by progression every two and half years or so, it is useful to look at the house and sign to gain understanding into how this affects you. It has been my experience that all progressions add to the expression of our natal charts but subtly in most instances. Your Moon progressed into Libra in June of last year but it remains in your eighth house. Perhaps being more equitable and even-handed in the way you are handling extreme circumstances is possible.

My suggestion is to keep it simple and look for the repeating themes and patterns, Rossa. Astrology is a wonderful tool to gain insight and understanding about ourselves and what’s important in our lives. Good luck with your studies!


Aquarius reflectsPat’s response:

Rossa, I used the progressed chart as a supplement to transits in the birth chart, although I know that some astrologers consider the progressed chart to be a more accurate reflection of where an individual is now in life versus their condition at birth. I also tend to use the progressed chart as a standalone, rather than looking at current planetary transits to the progressed chart. The exception is when a long-term outer planetary influence is hitting an angle or key planet in your progressed chart. Like Neith, I prefer to keep things as simple as possible. Too much information ends up being too confusing, unless you have a good ability to hone in on what transit or progression is the dominant influence in any given situation.

For the progressed chart, I use your place of birth, and there’s no particular magic about doing a progressed chart on your birthday, as it continues to evolve throughout the year, unlike a Solar Return chart, which remains static for the year from one birthday to the next. Incidentally, for birthdays, I prefer Solar Return charts, which also are standalone tools for reading a specific time period. For the Solar Return chart, we generally use the current place of residence, but astrologers disagree on this, too.

In addition to what Neith says about planets changing signs in the progressed chart, I look for changes in houses, especially for the Sun and Moon. The Sun changing houses is particularly important. You and I share many chart similarities, including a change in our progressed Sun from the first to the twelfth house. When this happened to me, I suddenly went from wanting to be famous to preferring to stay in the background, and this was also right about the time that I had a powerful spiritual awakening and began getting involved in metaphysical studies. Your progressed Sun slipped back into the twelfth house in 1993.

I hope that helps! Thanks for writing, and many blessings in the New Year.

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