Transiting Planets in Astrology, Explained

In astrology, we refer to the orbiting planets as “transiting planets.” A “transit” means a movement. Just as subway and buses are referred to as “mass transit,” the planets are always in motion, too.

What does it mean that a planet is in transit?

Each of the planets orbit around at the sun at a different speed. The transiting planets can move quickly or slowly through the zodiac signs. Each has its own “energy” when it is transiting depending on where it is in the zodiac. Their journeys through the zodiac affect your day-to-day feelings.

The inner planets in astrology

The planets closest to the Sun are called the inner planets. These transiting planets cruise through the zodiac signs in a matter of days or weeks.

The inner planets are the Sun, moon, Mercury, Mars and Venus.

Because these transiting planets move quickly through the zodiac. As a result, they affect your day-to-day life, moods and habits. And you’ll notice the Sun is included among the planets in astrology.

The outer planets in astrology

Planets farther from the sun are known as the outer planets. These transiting planets can take months or years to complete a tour through a single zodiac sign.

The outer planets are Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, Uranus, and Pluto. Because they move slowly, they shape the bigger trends in your life. Because Neptune, Uranus and Pluto orbit the sun so slowly, they are said to shape entire generations.

How long do transiting planets take to orbit the Sun?

Below is a chart of the planets and the time it takes each to orbit around the sun. Divide that time into 12 (for each of the 12 zodiac signs) and you’ll have an idea of how long a planet generally stays in one zodiac sign. For example, Jupiter takes 12-13 years to orbit around the sun. On average, it stays in one zodiac sign for 1 year, or 13-14 months. (See transit table on the next page.) Pluto, on the other hand, is a little wonky, staying in a signs from 12-20 years variably.

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Time it takes transiting planets to orbit the sun

What do the transiting planets mean for my birth chart?

Is this different than my birth chart? Yes it is. Remember: Your natal (birth) chart is a “freeze frame” of where the planets were at the moment you were born. In other words, it’s a snapshot of the transiting planets at your birth. This chart never changes—it remains a fixed chart throughout your lifetime.

A transit chart, on the other hand, captures the planets in motion at any given day. You can use a transit chart to “plan it by the planets,” or look back and review a particular date in your past. Some people pick their wedding date by running transit charts. 

How transiting planets wake up your natal planets

When transiting planets are over the same zodiac point as natal planets (in your birth chart), it wakes up those planets energy. Imagine the natal planet was lounging on the couch watching TV and suddenly, the transiting planet burst, glides or struts into the room. (This all depends on if we’re talking about Mars, Neptune or Venus, of course). There is a reaction as the two energies combine. 

The same is true if transiting planets are “aspect” one of your natal planets, landing at a 90º square or 120º trine, for example, on the zodiac wheel. Read more about aspects/angles in astrology, here.

PlanetFull transit through 12 zodiac signsTime spent in each zodiac signWhat the transiting planets influence in your life and birth chart
Sun1 year1 monthSelf-expression, personal growth
Moon2.5 days2-3 daysEmotions, desires
Mercury88 days3 weeksCommunication, information, mobile devices, short trips
Venus225 days5 weeksLove, social relationships
Mars685 days8 weeksDrive, temper, lust
Jupiter12-13 years1 yearLuck, travel, expansion, risk-taking, ego, optimism
Saturn29.5 years2.5-3 yearsRestrictions, challenges, work
Uranus84 years7 yearsCommunity, innovative ideas, technology, sudden changes
Neptune165 years13-15 yearsDreams, fantasy, illusion, spirituality, creativity
Pluto284 years12-20 yearsPower, sex drive, transformation
Lunar Nodes18 years18 monthsKarma, destiny, spiritual evolution
Transiting planets timetable in zodiac signs and what they mean in your chart

All about the transiting planets

Sun (solar) transits

Length of transit: 5-10 days 

Since the Sun moves approximately one degree per day, solar transits are pretty brief, lasting for about a week on average. But that doesn’t mean they can’t pack a punch. The Sun governs our ego, after all. Solar transits can be a stellar time for self-reflection or doing some productive self-development work. Self-expression is affected too.

f you have to perform or present, you might time the date around a well-aspected solar transit, like the Sun trine lucky Jupiter. The Sun can affect our public image and the way we want other people to view us. During a solar transit, we get insight into what matters most to us — or, said another way, what we want to have at the center of OUR universe.

If the solar transit is in a favorable position or soft aspect to other planets in the chart, you may:

  • Feel vital, energized, and ready to take on the world. Go!
  • Get a surge of confidence that helps you pursue your passions
  • Find your way to the stage, podium or recording studio      
  • Step into a leadership position that brings public acclaim      
  • Rebrand or update your public image     

If the solar transit is in a challenging position or hard aspect to other planets in the chart, you may:

  • Deal with ego-trips and power struggles 
  • Feel suppressed, as if you have to hide yourself or that no one understands you
  • Realize you’ve made someone else the center of your universe or given them too much power     
  • Be too needy of approval or validation—and go to extremes to get it    
  • Become overly aggressive, cutthroat and domineering      
  • Realize something “embarrassing” about yourself that you’d like to change 

Moon (lunar transits)

Length of transit: About one day 

Lunar transits are the briefest of them all, since the moon changes signs every 2-3 days. But we all know that a single day can make an epic difference in the stories of our lives, so why not clock in with la luna? If you’re having an especially sentimental (or downright shitty) day see what the moon might be aspecting in your chart.

Since the moon governs our inner desires and feelings, a lunar transit can certainly make us emotional—especially surrounding the issues related to the planet it’s aspecting. The moon can also soften the edge of a harsher planet’s effects. It might even feel more nurturing to express that planet’s qualities during a lunar transit. For example, the moon trine piercing Pluto can sharpen our intuition and make us quite seductive.

If the lunar transit is in a favorable position or soft aspect to other planets in the chart, you may:

  • Meet an amazing woman or nurture bonds with your girl gang
  • Connect to maternal figures or have a breakthrough moment with your mama      
  • Remember to bring more heart and feeling into the work that you do      
  • Resolve a family matter or trouble at home      
  • Feverishly download décor porn and update your space      
  • Find the courage to share your feelings      
  • Attract caring people      

If the lunar transit is in a challenging position or hard aspect to other planets in the chart, you may:

  • Attract needy people who want you to mother them
  • Get into power struggles with women or relatives      
  • Feel moody, depressed and isolated     
  • Have getting motivated and leaving the house      
  • Become highly sensitive about relationships, work, neighbors…anything!      
  • Go on emotional eating or retail therapy binges      
  • Have a “nobody loves me, nobody’s there for me” kind of day. Boo.   

Mercury transits

Length of transit: 2-3 days 

Mercury the messenger is the celestial Superconnector. During a Mercury transit, the way we communicate with others comes under the microscope. We want to build bridges — or maybe tear them down. Who wants to brainstorm, research or learn something new (and fast)? These are brilliant times for clever innovation or drumming up short-term solutions to get us over a hump.

How we relate to our peers, manage our daily schedules and commute from one place to the next can also shift during a Mercury transit. Since Mercury speeds along at about 2 degrees per day, these transits have a “carpe diem” vibe to them. You literally have to seize the day to make the most of a Mercury transit because it lasts for around 48-72 hours. The exception being Mercury’s thrice yearly retrograde, which can bring Mercury back to the same degree, repeating the transit, several times.

If the Mercury transit is in a favorable position or soft aspect to other planets in the chart, you may:

  • Organize your systems, streamline your schedule and devise clever lifehacks
  • Intellectualize and make sense of difficult topics      
  • Change your commuting plan: a new car or bike, perhaps?      
  • Strengthen friendships and the connection to peers like coworkers and siblings      
  • Get more involved in local affairs or a neighborhood group      
  • Fact-find, research and solve vexing questions      
  • Sign up for short-term workshops or teleclasses      
  • Get inspired to learn a new language       

If the Mercury transit is in a challenging position or hard aspect to other planets in the chart, you may:

  • Become caught up in petty gossip, squabbles or silly arguments
  • Miscommunicate information or make a sloppy oversight
  • Misrepresent yourself through your words or a social media post
  • Feel like a victim of your schedule, overbooking or forgetting appointments
  • Have a hard time learning, comprehending or processing information
  • Get overwhelmed by facts and figures — resist reading the fine print

Venus transits

Length of transit: About one week 

Venus is the “peace, love and harmony” planet and these transits bring sweet romance and creative inspiration. Decorating, hosting parties, styling our hair and wardrobes: Venus is the astro aesthete. These can be stellar times for building bridges—but peace at any price? We have to be careful not to gloss over conflict during a Venus transit or become saccharine instead of authentic.

Love is Venus’ raison d’etre. During a Venus transit we may fall head over heels. Much like the Sun, Venus advances a little faster than 1 degree per day so these transits won’t linger longer than a week’s time. However, every 18 months, Venus turns retrograde for about 6-8 weeks. She may pass over a degree several times, adding extra chapters to an ongoing love story. 

When Venus aspects another planet we may feel drawn or attracted to that planet’s energy — even seeing the beauty in it. Venus can brighten a planet’s energy or soften its blow. For example, Venus trine Pluto can inspire us to sharpen our intuition or fall in love with someone who is mysterious or brooding (but lovable nonetheless).

A hard aspect between transiting Venus and another planet can interrupt the peace process or simply make us lazy, overindulgent or superficial. For example, Venus square Mars can stir up sexual tension or bring power struggles between the sexes.

If the Venus transit is in a favorable position or soft aspect to other planets in the chart, you may:

  • Go on a decorating spree, hit the salon or update your wardrobe
  • Bring a friendly, social or festive vibe to the area of life that planet governs
  • Work with women or need more social time with the girls
  • Have a romantic awakening or heart-opening moment
  • Invest in luxury: something beautiful and valuable
  • Break the ice, call a peace summit, build bridges with people who are “different”
  • Find ways to make beautiful something that is “ugly”

If the Venus transit is in a challenging position or hard aspect to other planets in the chart, you may:

  • Get stuck in a people pleasing trap
  • Gloss over—or buckle on—an important issue to “keep the peace”
  • Deal with phony, superficial or status-obsessed people
  • Experience challenges in your love life or learn important lessons
  • Make dramatic or difficult romantic choices
  • Be a sucker for flattery—watch out for those slippery salesmen!
  • Have conflicts with female friends; deal with difficult women

Mars transits

Length of transit: Two weeks 

Let’s get it started in here! Warrior planet Mars rouses us to action, bringing fierceness and passion to whatever it touches. During a Mars transit, we’ll feel fired up and ready to take on the world—which can veer into being aggressive or combative. Mars transits ask us to look at how we fight for things and what we’re fighting for. Is it worth the battle? Are we being strategic enough? Red-hot Mars is lusty too. Our sex lives may pick up and get rather interesting during these transits.

Mars moves a little faster than 2 degrees per day so we’ll feel the impact of its transits for close to two weeks. Every other year, Mars turns retrograde for eight months. Depending on Mars’ degree during the retrograde, a Mars transit can linger on for months—or repeat itself a couple times as it crosses back and forth over the same degree. Whatever planet Mars is aspecting will be galvanized, aggravated or heated up.

The body part associated with that planet could even become inflamed. For example, Saturn rules the teeth. A harder aspect to Saturn from transiting Mars could bring swollen gums—or even a loose tooth from getting into a barroom brawl as you defend a friend’s honor!

If the Mars transit is in a favorable position or soft aspect to other planets in the chart, you may:

  • Finally get started on a project instead of just talking about it
  • Get our groove back and enjoy mind-blowing (and athletic) sex—from a partner or a memorable fling
  • Kick off an exercise program; join a sports league or simply be more physically active
  • Stand up for our rights, fight for what we believe in, or lead the charge for change
  • Initiate romance; be bolder in the bedroom and wear sexier clothes
  • Connect to fascinating and inspiring men 

If the Mars transit is in a challenging position or hard aspect to other planets in the chart, you may:

  • Clash with people; start fights by being overly bossy and aggressive
  • Come on way too strong in the romantic arena; forget the line between classy and trashy
  • Rush into a relationship, job or project without considering the ramifications
  • Have trouble managing stress
  • Injure ourselves by being rash or careless—or too competitive at the gym
  • Encounter domineering men or struggle in our relationships with the fellas

Jupiter transits

Length of transit: 1-2 months 

Jupiter is the cosmic Jumbotron: It magnifies and expands whatever it touches. Bigger! Stronger! Faster! A Jupiter transit can reveal what we want more (and more and more). It can bring a bountiful harvest or an opening for abundance. Of course, the issues in our lives can actually become bigger under Jupiter’s beams. But this jovial planet is also one of the “benefics” and associated with good fortune. Should a problem flare up, we’ll have extra support with turning those lemons into lemonade.

During a Jupiter transit we can get a little TOO confident, assuming everything will just work out and letting important details slide. We can O.D. on the truth serum, spewing out facts without using tact. Get ready for a vision quest: Jupiter transits can also awaken our spirituality, our desire to travel or our entrepreneurial urges.

Since Jupiter is an outer planet, it moves more slowly and its transits have a much longer impact. The red-spotted planet advances about one degree per week so the effects of its transit linger for about a month-and-a-half, on average. Jupiter turns retrograde for about four months each year. Depending on the degree of the sign it’s moving through, you could feel the transit a couple times annually.

If the Jupiter transit is in a favorable position or soft aspect to other planets in the chart, you may:

  • Do some epic visionary work, discovering the next steps of your life purpose
  • Meet a way-shower, Yoda-like teacher or “earth angel” type who opens doors and speeds up access to your dreams
  • Find the courage speak your truth and restore authenticity to your life
  • Travel the world, go on a spiritual pilgrimage
  • Sign up for a course of study in the field the planet governs
  • Start a business or become more intrapreneurial at your 9-5 job 

If the Jupiter transit is in a challenging position or hard aspect to other planets in the chart, you may:

  • Sparklepony out, chasing shiny adventures without a sense of directions, leaving others in the lurch
  • Gain weight from overindulging—Jupiter is the god of the feast!
  • Batter people with the truth hammer or make a bold (and erroneous) claim without fact-checking it first
  • Fritter away energy on petty arguments; be an armchair revolutionary instead of taking effective action for change

Saturn transits

Length of transit: Several months, repeating throughout the year due to its annual retrograde 

Careful, cautious Saturn is like a wise Yoda figure and a military drill sergeant rolled into one. It teaches us that practice makes perfect. If we “wax on, wax off” for long enough we build a solid muscle.

During a Saturn transit, we may see the cracks in our foundation—or ways we need to mature and develop mastery. Some doors may close during a Saturn transit. We may feel suppressed, restricted or slowed down. But forget about falling into a crumpled heap of despair. This pragmatic planet pushes us to come up with practical solutions to get back on the horse again. With some research and elbow grease, we can devise brilliant plans during a Saturn transit.

Saturn governs the father and authority figures, particularly ones associated with our career path. We can lock horns with the boss — or even become the head honcho and deal with the pressure of responsibility — during Saturn’s reign. Ultimately these Saturn-fueled “time outs” have a silver lining. They force us to dig deeper or look in another direction for our happiness.

Saturn can spend, on average, between 1-3 weeks at a single degree of a zodiac sign. A Saturn transit can linger on for a few months. (You’ll have to check your ephemeris to track the transit’s actual length.) And since Saturn goes retrograde for nearly five months annually, the transit may even repeat itself a couple times in a year. Hey, that’s just more opportunity to work out the kinks and lock down a solid plan.

If the Saturn transit is in a favorable position or soft aspect to other planets in the chart, you may:

  • Map out a brilliant master plan—one that generates lasting results
  • Put a savvy structure in place to tackle problems or bring order to chaos
  • Be attracted to people who are older or more established — and objects that stand the test of time
  • Step into a role of authority
  • Start a challenging training program; work alongside a master
  • Find the beauty in simplicity, scale back to reduce stress, become a proud minimalist 

If the Saturn transit is in a challenging position or hard aspect to other planets in the chart, you may:

  • Get a tough love lesson about accountability, responsibility and where your limits lie
  • Get saddled with an insurmountable project that zaps your energy
  • Learn things the hard way, even through a form of punishment
  • Feel stuck in a rut, as if you can’t make progress
  • Get hung up on the rules at the expense of joy and creativity
  • Struggle with authority issues or a strict, difficult boss
  • Put plans on hold or a slower timeline so that you can do them the right way 

Uranus transits

Length of transit: 5-6 months, repeating over 2-3 years due to its annual retrograde 

Bring on the shock waves! Uranus transits are like lightning strikes that jolt us out of routine. This is the planet that rules electricity after all, and its current can be strong enough to turn our worlds upside down. If it’s time to break a pattern or think outside the box, Uranus is your ally.

A Uranus transit can bring instability, shaking the ground beneath our feet. We might even act impulsively—and regretfully so—burning bridges during these transits. Forget about forcing an area of life to be “normal.” The method of Uranus’ madness is to get us to THINK differently. Use your head more than your heart — if not to be logical than to be clever, innovative and quirky.

This is the planet that rules revolutionary ideas, technology, futurism, and radical change. Unconventionality? Non-conformity? Yes please. These are the times to dive into the think tank and wait for the white light moment to hit. Radical thought can get fanatic under these transits too especially if groupthink takes hold. Uranus advances about 2 degrees per month so its transits can effect whole quarters of our year.

And Uranus turns retrograde for five months—nearly half a year—so we are likely to get a double dose of each transit, feeling it for a second time annually if Uranus creeps back over the same degree during the retrograde. Because of Uranus’ long retrograde, the transit can repeat itself over two (and even three) years since Uranus goes back and forth over the same degrees multiple times. 

If the Uranus transit is in a favorable position or soft aspect to other planets in the chart, you may:

  • Open your mind to new ideas
  • Have a stroke of genius or breakthrough insight, especially with science or technology      
  • Connect to thought leaders; join a mastermind group or think tank
  • Find an outlet for progressive humanitarian work
  • Break free from the pack and express your individuality
  • Pursue an offbeat interest 

If the Uranus transit is in a challenging position or hard aspect to other planets in the chart, you may:

  • Feel smothered by conventionality and break away from something/someone stable
  • Get involved with the wrong crowd or a fringe group
  • Rebel against authority to your own detriment (hello, My First Mug Shot)
  • Break away from family and friends so you can truly find yourself
  • Struggle with anger management issues

Neptune transits

Length of transit: Five months, repeating over several years, due to its annual retrograde 

Dreamy, quixotic Neptune is the master of illusions. This can bode well for our artistic pursuits—Neptune transits are highly creative and cathartic. We may have psychic dreams or intuitive flashes that are difficult to put into words. But those knowing feelings should be fact-checked as they may be more symbolic than instructive.

Dealing with reality ain’t easy during a Neptune transit. We’d rather float off on a dreamy cloud and there’s a strong tendency to escape into fantasy, even using illicit substances or getting swept into addictive behavior. Neptune transits can dissolve our boundaries or remind us of the need to have better ones. We can attract “earth angels” or toxic “demons” during these times—run the background checks!

Neptune is a slow mover, only trekking through five degrees per year, on average. And with a five-month annual retrograde, these transits can linger for 2-3 years. Neptune aspects can also summon guardian angels to support us in our growth in the areas of life that planet governs. 

If the Neptune transit is in a favorable position or soft aspect to other planets in the chart, you may:

  • Find an awesome therapist, healer or spiritual guide
  • Be inspired to write poetry or song lyrics, dance or become an arts appreciator
  • Surrender: let go and let the universe guide you
  • Drop your defenses and let other people in
  • Make pleasure a priority, yes, even if you are overindulging a little
  • Go with the flow instead of trying to control everything
  • Get involved in charity work
  • Explore dreamwork, shamanic journeying, hypnotherapy, energy healing and other metaphysical modalities
  • Become interested in spirituality, especially the afterlife
  • Learn to work with your intuition  

If the Neptune transit is in a challenging position or hard aspect to other planets in the chart, you may:

  • Deal with paranoia and nightmares, both real and imagined
  • Struggle with addiction or escape using toxic substances: alcohol, drugs, unhealthy food
  • Get pulled under by codependency
  • Make too many sacrifices and burn out; let others take advantage of you
  • Attract illusory types: liars, cheaters, people with false identities
  • Have a crisis of confidence, losing faith and self-esteem and giving other people power over you; become gripped by fear
  • Blur boundaries as chaos ensues
  • Spend time in a hospital or institution  

Pluto transits

Length of transit: 3-5 years, repeating several times due to its annual retrograde 

A Pluto transit can be among the most disruptive of them all. As the ruler of the underworld, Pluto can cause what’s bubbling below the surface to erupt. That hot lava simmering below the surface of a volcano is bound to surface sooner or later. Our unquenchable sexual urges (and the soulful ones too), our magnetic attractions to others, and our lust for power can be activated by Pluto.

Major transformations often occur during Pluto transits and they can feel extreme. We can get a glimpse of our shadows and discover some unsavory information about other people too. Whatever is out of alignment with our highest good comes up for review—and if it doesn’t pass the test, it’s a goner.

These changes don’t happen suddenly; in fact, they can feel like an achingly long process. That’s because Pluto swings over the same 4-5 degrees every year. Like Neptune and Uranus, its annual retrogrades last for approximately five months so it will inch ahead, then creep back. We can feel Pluto transits for 3-5 years — and there is likely to be an exact aspect several times within that period. Hey, no one said transformation was easy!  

If the Pluto transit is in a favorable position or soft aspect to other planets in the chart, you may:

  • Step into your power and enchant. You’ll have them at hello!
  • Make a surprise comeback like the phoenix rising from the ashes
  • Tackle an extreme makeover with unwavering determination
  • Do deep grief or shadow work, complete your mourning process
  • Become involved in a spiritual, esoteric or mystical pursuit
  • Discover and develop your own psychic gifts
  • Be inducted into an undercover and elite group
  • Come to terms with the concept of death in an empowering way 

If the Pluto transit is in a challenging position or hard aspect to other planets in the chart, you may:

  • Get caught up in power struggles; deal with a ruthless leader or cruel people
  • Discover a betrayal or betray someone you love
  • Deal with a loss or death; need to release something for good
  • Become driven by jealousy, spite or vengeance
  • Discover a shocking secret that you have to keep to yourself
  • Attract or come into contact with criminals
  • Lose self-control and become overpowered by animal urges, vices, sexual longing and taboo urges—obsessively!

The AstroTwins

Identical twin sisters Ophira and Tali Edut, known as The AstroTwins, are the founders of and the authors of multiple bestselling astrology books. Their horoscopes reach millions here and through their resident astrologer column at ELLE Magazine.