Secondary progressions is by far one of my favorite astrological timing techniques, due in no small part to the teaching and mentorship of Kelly Surtees.
Secondary progressions—often simply called progressions—looks to a day of life to describe a year of life, such that the 90 or so days following birth foreshadow the 90 or so years of an average life. The transits—or the real-time movements of the planets—on the days following one’s birth provide a microcosm of the macrocosm of one’s life, like a fractal unfolding across multiple scales of time. These scales of time are fundamentally solar in that both a day and a year are defined by the movements of the Sun—a day demarcated by the Sun’s rising and setting, a year demarcated by the Sun’s journey through the 12 signs of the zodiac. The Sun’s journey through the zodiac correlates to the cycle of the seasons, the Wheel of the Year, which is qualitatively similar to the warming and cooling of each day and night. Sunrise is like springtime, noon like summer, the setting Sun like autumn, and midnight like winter. Progressions recognizes a kind of equivalency between these solar cycles in order to describe the developments and becomings that compose a life. While we can look at any planet by secondary progression, the framework for this technique is defined by the motion of the Sun. Even the progressed lunation cycle—arguably one of the most popular and useful components of working with secondary progressions—is defined by the progressed Moon’s relationship to the progressed Sun, a matter of condition relative to the synodic cycle.
Why is the Sun so central in this technique? Perhaps because the Sun is the source and sustenance of all life in our solar system. Our lives are the unfolding of living thermodynamic processes that begin with the Sun. Astrologically, the Sun also describes a central organizing principle in our charts/lives, as I recently discussed with Kelly Surtees in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=573Nd32Gcf8
Progressions are also entirely personal. Unlike transits that we are all experiencing in our own ways simultaneously, progressions are specific developments from the origin point of our unique charts. That uniqueness also reflects a solar principle: the Sun is the only star in our solar system, the only celestial body that generates its own light. It is unique in these ways, and similarly progressions describe developments that are entirely unique to us.
In working with progressions, along with the progressed lunation phase, we can pay attention to when progressed planets change signs or bounds, when they make aspects back to the natal chart, when they station retrograde or direct, or when they make conjunctions with fixed stars. We can also look at the movements of the progressed angles—the Ascendant, Descendant, Midheaven, and IC—but know that there are a number of different ways to calculate the progressed angles. Some people also interpret progressed planets aspecting progressed planets, but I prefer there to be some direct connection back to the natal chart.
If you would like to learn more about progressions, here are a few excellent courses that Kelly has available:
-Intro to Progressions: https://www.kellysastrology.com/product/live-webinar-introduction-to-predicting-with-progressions/
-Predicting with Progressions: https://www.kellysastrology.com/product/predicting-with-progressions-workshop/
-Professional Predictive Power (blending progressions and transits): https://www.kellysastrology.com/product/professional-predictive-power/
Kelly also had a great discussion about secondary progressions with Chris Brennan on The Astrology Podcast in 2018: https://theastrologypodcast.com/2018/02/22/secondary-progressions/
I use secondary progressions in all of my Year Ahead + Timing astrology consultations. If you would like to learn what is developing in your own secondary progressions, you can book a consultation with me on my Bookings page.
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