Book review: Planets in Transit- Life Cycles for Living
Robert Hand, the author of some well-known books like Horoscope Symbols, Essays on astrology, Planets in Composite, Planets in Youth, Whole Sign Houses or Night&Day: Planetary Sect in Astrology, published Planets in Transit: Life Cycles for Living for the first time in 1976.
In 2001 he published a revised and expanded second edition which covers a period of 25 years of astrological practice and makes us happy. Happy because it is a joy to read a book where a vast practical experience, a profound understanding of astrology and an impressive capacity to express ideas and thoughts clear and bright are harmoniously blending producing a classic book of astrology and, in the same time, a standard for the upcoming astrologers.
It is a book divided in two parts: the first one filled with theory has only 44 pages (3 chapters), the second one covering the interpretations of transits has 482 pages.
In the 1st chapter Interpreting Transits the author presents a list with the difficult and easy transits and explains the significance of aspects by numerology, assigning for each aspect a number (ex. square = 4 because 90 = 360/4).
In the 2nd chapter Timing Transits Robert Hand gives 6 rules to help us find more precise the time when the events generated by transits happen. I think Rule 3 is quite interesting:
“When a number a transits describe an event, the time of the event will be closest to the time when the average orb of all the transiting planets approaches to zero.”
Also note that the effect of an outer-planet transit will be timed by an inner planet (Rule 1) and transits on midpoints are very important (Rule 4). Hand is an astrologer who uses midpoints extensively and is happy with the results.
After those valuable advices the author proposes another innovative aspect: the precession correction of the natal planets. The idea is that we should treat natal planets like fixed stars and make the proper correction due to the precession of the equinox. Even is not more than 1 degree for a planet in 70 years, this can help in timing transits. But the most important difference will be on Solar Returns where the position of planets in houses and even the Moon position will change dramatically. The question is: if we use the Tropical zodiac why to see natal planets like fixed stars? I mean that in the natal chart I place natal planets not on the sidereal signs based on the morphomaton (the constellations formed by fixed stars which can be seen on the sky), but on the tropical zodiac, in relation with the vernal point. Why not to keep the relation (longitude) with the vernal point if I used it at first? My opinion is that the correction of the natal planets due the precession is not sustained by good arguments. The tropical zodiac means the relation with the vernal point and we can’t change that relation for the planets of our solar system when the time passes.
In chapter 3 Case Study: Nixon and Watergate the author uses transits to analyze the events happened in 1972-1973.
In chapter 4-13 you can find the interpretations for the planets (Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto) transit through houses and in aspects with the other planets, the Midheaven and the Ascendant.
The aspects made by planets in transit are analyzed in a dual manner, taking in account what planet is in transit, for example Mercury transit square Venus natal has some interpretations and Venus transit square Mercury natal has different interpretations. It is a very good approach which we don’t find in every book on transits.
MY EVALUATION: 9,6
Conclusion. It is probably the best book on transits ever written. It is comprehensive, clear and… real! The explanations for every aspect are fitting with the reality and the author practical experience gives results. Also, you can notice the psychological approach because every transit delineation contains the feelings you may experience and your possibilities to act. It is not a fatalistic approach, he supposes you have free-will and tries to guide you in making the best choice and being aware of what is happening. My evaluation is 9,6.