Imagine you have a series of photographs of yourself from childhood to now. In each of those photos you will look different: your hair and body will have changed, you’ll be wearing different clothes and have different dreams, ideals, goals, fears and wishes depending on your experiences at the time. And yet for all the differences, each picture is still a picture of you. You are the constant. In astrology, the natal chart is the constant. The changes however are represented by the progressed chart. Your chart grows up, just like you.
The progressed chart is calculated on a day for a year basis. So the position of the planets for example 15 days after you were born will represent your 15th year. The Sun moves roughly a degree each day so 30 years after you were born, the Sun will have progressed 30° forwards in the zodiac.
In the progressed chart, we look mostly to the Moon as this is the fastest moving body. Other aspects between the progressed planets themselves and between the progressed and natal charts are important but here the focus is on the Moon.
The Moon waxes from New to Full Moon to new again over the course of around 27 – 28 days. This cycle then is also contained within your progressed chart. Throughout your life, the phase of the progressed Moon gives you an emotional backdrop and the beginning of each phase tends to mark important changes with the most marked being the progressed New and Full Moons. The Quarter Moons too seem to make an impact. As well as considering the house, sign and aspects of the progressed Moon, it’s important to take into account the phase of the progressed Moon as this too expresses something of the rhythm of where you are within the larger cycles that over-arch life.
The Progressed Lunation Cycle
There are eight phases to the Moon cycle. Eight is the number representing ‘as above, so below’. Turned on its side, it is the symbol for infinity. The progressed Moon phases then have a way of connecting us to the Greater Pattern and showing us where we are in the cosmic story. For each of the phases below, I have included an image of the chart of Queen Elizabeth II so you can see the movements of the progressed Sun and Moon. The natal chart is the inner wheel, the progressed chart is the outer wheel.
Moon is 0 – 44 ° ahead of the Sun [conjunction at 0°]
The Aries point in the natural chart – the Ascendant
A pivotal point in life often characterised as the closing of one chapter leading to new beginnings. There may be a period of disorientation, confusion or a sense of being in the dark. You may feel vulnerable, naïve or fresh as a daisy! New and perhaps far reaching intentions are set. You may move, marry, divorce, have a child, start a new job or experience something that sets the course for the next 30 years or so. Whatever occurs outwardly begins on an inner level.
Keywords – beginnings, birth, potential.
A germinating seed.
Moon is 45 – 89 ° ahead of the Sun [semi-square at 45 °]
15 ° Taurus in the natural chart
What was begun at New Moon begins to be tested. There’s an urge to push forwards and expand. Circumstances may push you out of your comfort zone. The path ahead may not be clear but there’s a sense that you must get moving. You may be testing out your plan, refining it, putting firmer foundations in place – all the time gaining a clearer idea of where you are going.
Keywords – Emergence, courage, testing the water.
The shoot inside the seed breaks the shell.
First Quarter Moon
Moon is 90 – 134° ahead of the Sun [square at 90°]
The IC – 0° Cancer in the natural chart.
The square produces tension. There may be a crisis or test. It’s time to take action to ensure your continued growth. It’s a delicate phase rather like hardening off young seedlings or an 18 year old leaving home. Your strengths and weakness are defined. You may need to grow a tougher shell. This phase tests your level of commitment.
Keywords – Independent action, commitment, tests, crisis.
The seedling adjusts to a new position. Wind and rain force it to strengthen and put down deeper roots.
Moon is 135 – 179° ahead of the Sun [sesquiquadrate at 135°]
15° Leo in the natural chart.
A sense of promise is in the air. You are beginning to see how your efforts are paying off. If there was a defeat at the first quarter Moon, this phase may be marked by a period of over-reaction or stress. There’s an urgency to alleviate discomfort, to try to force fruition. If things went well at the quarter Moon, you may now be excited to see the results of your labours and this can bubble over into impatience, drama or over-stretching.
Keywords – Over-reaction, excitement, anticipation, perseverance, urgency.
The plant has grown strong and buds appear. Alternatively, the plant bolts necessitating nipping things in the bud to protect future growth.
Moon is 180 – 134° ahead of the Sun [opposition at 180°]
The Descendant – 0° Libra in the natural chart.
Showtime. You are in the limelight. Plans reach fruition. What you worked on manifests. This is the climax – or anticlimax. Like the Full Moon in the monthly cycle, this represents a peak point. Emotions may be heightened. Relationships with others may be emphasised. This may be a time when you realise your dream or when you realise it was just a dream. If this time is met with failure, this phase encourages re-orientation where you let go of what isn’t possible and look to the possible.
Keywords – Fruition, fulfilment, clarity, inspiration, materialisation, success or failure, revelations.
The plant blossoms. The flowers contain the seeds of potential which will be set at the next New Moon.
Moon is 135 – 89° behind the Sun [sesquiquadrate at 135°]
15° Scorpio in the natural chart.
After the peak of the Full Moon, the work continues in earnest but there is a sense that something is beginning to shift. You recognise that you have changed and grown. What you have learned is now given out to others, like flowers being pollinated by bees. You put your skills to work, demonstrate what you know, pay your dues and share your wisdom. If the Full Moon period was met with failure, this may be the time where you exorcise old ghosts. Experiences during this phase may challenge you to question your understanding of life to clarify what you really believe.
Keywords – Demonstration, evaluation, sharing, productivity, distribution, integration, assimilation.
The flower draws insects to pollinate it. Fruit begins to form.
Moon is 90 – 46° behind the Sun [square at 90°]
The Midheaven – 0° Capricorn
You have reached a level of maturity. Your life bears fruit – sweet or sour. The challenge now is whether to continue or to begin a process of releasing those things which no longer interest you. This phase demands facing up to reality and recognising when things have outgrown their usefulness. This period of tension may be marked by taking things apart, restructuring, de-structuring. It may feel like the last chance to push for what you want in this cycle. As the progressed Moon moves towards darkness, you may experience a growing sense of emptiness or meaninglessness. The void within calls you to acknowledge what must be released in order to make room for new growth in the future.
Keywords – Maturity, reality, de-structuring, dissipation.
The fruit is harvested. The windfall is left to rot providing fertile ground for the future as well as the seeds.
Moon is 45 to 1° behind the Sun [semi-square at 45°]
15° Aquarius in the natural chart
Moving towards the darkness of the next New Moon, you enter a period of release. This period is normally characterised by a sense of things winding down, that you have done all you can and now it’s time to let go and surrender to the next chapter of life. In the first part of this phase, you may feel called to seek out kindred spirits and share your experience. You may question how you fit into the whole. As the phase proceeds, it may be marked by a period of introspection as you prepare to bring things to a close. Sometimes circumstances force you to fall back on yourself or withdraw. It is a necessary process to allow you to release everything that needs to be released to clear the way for new growth. You may find yourself thinking over the past, grieving for what has been lost. Recognise this is a process of transition. It is your faith that can carry you through. Dreams may be vivid during this time.
Keywords – death, release, endings, surrender, withdrawal, retirement.
The plant drops its leaves, shrivels and dies but deep beneath the surface the new seeds are waiting for the right time to grow.
The Sabian Symbols
Do check the Sabian symbols at the beginning of each progressed Moon phase. In Robert Blaschke’s book ‘Astrology: A Language of Life – Volume 1 Progressions’, he suggests paying particular attention to the Sabians of the New, Full and Quarter Moons and I have found this to be valid. Bear in mind that the Sabian of the progressed New Moon will say something of the entire cycle for the next 29 or so years until the next Progressed New Moon.