How Long Does A Transit Last?

Hi, Elsa.

How long does a transit effect a person? Is it a matter of degrees; like if the transit is within 5 or 10 degrees of exact, or is it a matter of what else is going on in the chart, or is it just the person?


Hi, Studying.

All those things factor to some extent but seeing it that way won’t help. Here are some simple rules:

  • The effects of the faster moving planets are fleeting (Sun, Venus, Mercury & Mars).
  • The slower the planet, the longer the transit is in effect.
  • Transits are stronger coming in (applying) then they are as they separate.

In plain language, if Mars transits a planet in your chart, it will hot things up for about a week.

If Pluto transits a planet in your chart, it will affect you for about two years.

As for how these transits affect an individual, if your whole chart is tied up in a huge t-square, the aftermath of a major transit is going to be different from what a person with a transit to a single planet has to deal with.

Here’s an analogy…

Recently, my neighborhood was hit by a major hail storm. It took out my roof, my windows in front and quite a bit of paint. The next door neighbor lost the same, plus the shutters on the windows and chunks from the siding on her house. My other next door neighbor’s house has no visible damage.  There are variables between individuals!

Last, orbs do matter.  There are astrologers who say that a Pluto transit can be felt ten years in advance. Whatever!  To me, that’s like worrying about your kid’s junior year in high school as you’re dropping them off for their first day of Kindergarten!

Here’s a rough estimate of orbs, of when transits can really be felt (to a single planet), for people with average sensitivity

  • Sun, Venus Mercury – Three degrees applying, two degrees separating
  • Mars – Four degrees applying, two degrees separating
  • Jupiter – Five degrees applying, three degrees separating
  • Saturn – Four degrees applying, three degrees separating
  • Uranus – Three degrees applying, two degrees separating
  • Neptune – Three degrees applying, two degrees separating
  • Pluto – Three degrees applying, two degrees separating

I sell two transit reports which not only list the transits to your natal charts, but give the dates the transit is in effect.

This report covers the faster moving planets (Sun – Mars).  It’s good for day to day, week to week planning.

This report covers the slower moving planets (Mars through Pluto). It addresses the deeper processes occurring in your life.

Good luck with your study!

Have a question? Ask here – please include your city or country. This keeps things interesting!



How Long Does A Transit Last? — 31 Comments

  1. I know each astrologer has a system and tricks and tips and experiences that work for their clients.In my practice and experience, I see and feel a whole lotta action in the applying phase.. the orbs Elsa uses are just about what I use too– and when the aspect is EXACT, the lesson is learned or the transit moves past that exact degree, I usually feel the transit is over..the energy rapidly dissipates. A release or “relief” ensues.. at least in my work.
    In the beginning of practice, it is easy to allow orbs to be too wide on either side, and then the accuracy and timing of life lessons and situations can just drag out all over the place.. loses some punch,eh? I like working with a tighter system.. this one works for me..Elsa’s applying orbs, but with a release just after the exact degree.

  2. Glad to have this chart – thank you. Astro has had Neptune conjunct my moon for YEARS. I know with the retrogrades it does seem to last forever but with ‘-9 separating I think I’m way past it. had a relationship that started at almost the peak that was NOT what I thought it was. It’s good to trust my feelings again. Saturn just entering my 7th house is another story.

  3. I’ve seen separating transits still in effect. So I’m in agreement with these orbs. Very accurate to me.

    Transiting outer planets to the Sun and Moon and Venus are felt at a personal level. While the outer planet transits to each other are more generational.

  4. Love this thread.. orbs were always a nebulous topic! (My other favorite topic is HOUSE SYSTEMS!!!) Have to just get into practice as an astrologer and see how you and it works.. my own teacher used really tight orbs on both sides and that did not work for me,Elsa’s applying orbs really hit home for me.. there’s the build up–then the release…. in my own chart I tend to let it go by the exactitude..and figure I either got it or I didn’t.. but of course we deal with the effects of what we’ve done, in the separations,from those actions we did (or didn’t do..) during applying time… will enjoy seeing others post on this too.. My moon in Capricorn likes concrete endings to things! So I tend to try to let go of a transit after it passes exact,let it fade quickly..absorb the lessons..

    • Thank you for the response, is it possible that as its moving away from ASC the effects are getting less intense prior to passing 3 degrees post ASC.

  5. Hi Elsa,

    Thank you for the article. Are the planets listed the transiting planets or the natal? Does it matter? What if Neptune is transiting natal Mars, how long would it be felt. What about retrogrades back over the natals and the shadow periods? Are they less intense say if the ‘lessons’ are learned with the earlier exact transits?

    Thank you!!!


  6. I’ve been watching the Pluto / Uranus square in people’s charts over the last three years. The exact squares coupled with lunar eclipses, full moons , and Mars transits seem to wreak the most havoc. I’ve been sadly disappointed to see people hit with accidental death and suicide with Pluto several degrees past the exact transit to the natal planet. My Mercury is at 7 degrees Sagittarius and I had what I consider the culminating event of the Neptune/ Saturn transit the first of July – the moon was in Gemini – so I think it triggered the Neptune/ Saturn square. My daughter became mentally ill – bipolar from using Zoloft . We had two months of suicidal thoughts and mania, hospitalization etc. Neptune has been past that point. I’m thinking 2 – 3 degrees past you are still under the influence. This was certainly the most difficult event of my life.

    • I would agree with that observation. I have yet to see a Pluto transit pass out of existence with only two degrees of separation. And it should be noted that Dr. Liz Greene, Ph.D and Robert Hand, two of the pre-eminent astrologers practicing today, also give 3 degrees past “ground zero.” Dr. Greene is one of those who believes Pluto transits have a 10-degree approaching/departing orb. Myself, I can’t quite go for that, but if you know psychology and have patients, you can frequently discern when they stop writing in agony after a Pluto transit goes, say, 3 degrees out of org.

  7. Frankly I am not sure the way Orbs are calculated.
    I also have a question.
    What are Orbs for sextiles,squares,trines,oppositions etc?

  8. Can you please say how long it takes Saturn to transit a house ? Just found out Saturn is transiting my 8th house. Now of course I’m wondering when it will leave !

      • Thank you very much ! I really appreciate the reply. I’d rather not have Saturn in the 8th ! Aughhh ! At least now I know what the duration is though. Maybe I’ll be able to live through it without dying, or having my private parts fall out or anything too horrendous, LOL ! Thanks again, you are a kind person.

  9. What about transits to natal planets at 0 degrees into a sign? My Venus is 0 degrees Taurus. Had Mars recently transit it, and it was like being suddenly punched in the gut, as though someone had broken my heart. Literally the day that Mars hit 0 degrees of Taurus. For about a week I felt like I was nursing a broken heart.

  10. Have had two clients this week, the exact degree of the natal planet has been passed by the Pluto transit and they have “got it”.. life certainly has transformed for them both.. now they will be dealing with some of the rebuilding and consequences of the past 2 years, but the intensity of the drama and disruption is rapidly giving way to concrete action possible..I still like a tight orb on the separating side.

  11. What i do not understand is if i was born with pluto retro in my 9th house. And pluto takes 2.5 years to transit. Why does it feel like its been in my 12 house all my life? (Now it is currently residing in my 12th) and has been since i am guessing 2014 currently oppossing my sun. Something is off with the calulations.

    • Hi Henry,
      You may be interested to know that the well known, and oft verified psychic, Edgar Cayce, said that as Souls, we don’t always complete our connections to the body right at moment of birth. That there can be minutes, and even a number of hours of difference before or after the physical birth, and that this can difference in Soul and physical birth times, can alter and confuse regarding a person’s chart.

      In other words, the chart is most accurate for the Soul birth completion time.

      However, Cayce’s guidance, being pragmatic and also putting the most emphasis on our spiritual Will (the past use of which is what makes up our present chart), said to go ahead and just use the physical birth time.

      If you are curious as to your true Soul birth completion time, holistic rectification between major events to transits and progressions, as well as a holistic understanding of how one’s looks are indicated by the Ascendant and it’s various factors, can help one to figure that out.

      On a few occasions I have “guessed” people’s rough birth times, based on just their looks, their personality, and knowing their general birth date.

      However, it’s a very complicated, relative subject, and few people have anything close to a “pure” Rising Sign. Strong aspects from Planets near or in other angular areas or the 5th House, for some examples, can really alter the basic archetype of the Sign Rising. Then of course the traditional ruler of same, and it’s aspects, placement, etc also often shades in.

      I’m quite Leonine looking all in all, and have a relatively less affected Rising Sign than many, but I’m definitely shorter than the average Leo Rising male and the general Archetype, and this is indicated by my Sun being in Capricorn and closely inconjunct my Leo Ascendant degree.

      Oddly, I have a rather unusually short back. Finally figured out part of the reason when I went to a Chiropractor a few years back and he X rayed same, and told me that I was (genetically) missing an entire lumbar vertebrae. My legs are as long as some folks that are from 5′ 10″ to almost 6 foot. Yet, I’m 5’7″ thanks to this weird, genetic mutation. Many males on my mother’s side actually have the typically rather long, Celtic torso thing going on (not me, though I look quite Celtic otherwise).

      It’s not that astrology “causes” one’s looks, not at all. Rather, the Soul knows what body/genetic type it is choosing ahead of time, and part of the life plan is to match up the astrology timing to various levels of one’s life, including the physical. In other words, astrology only indicates and reflects, but does not directly cause.

      But if Cayce’s source is right, and I’ve seen plenty of charts that do not fit people holistically, but fit much better if adjusted a Rising Sign or two before or after the physical birth one, then this makes it all the more difficult to figure out and delineate.

  12. Thanks a lot for these explanations,was very smart somebody to make it and they are so correct!Again thank you very much!

  13. If I remember aright it was Liz Greene, who actually said a Pluto transit was 10 DEGREES past exact, not 10 years.

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