Your birth chart is like the hand you were dealt in a game of poker: it shows your potential strengths and weaknesses, but it’s up to you how you play that hand. Transits represent the things that the Universe is doing to and/or for you at any given point in time.
Transits can be complex, but one of the easiest ways to understand them is to look at the cycle of transits that each planet performs to its own position in the birth chart.
Jupiter takes about twelve years to travel around the Zodiac, and thus around your birth chart. The timing on this varies from person to person and depends on where Jupiter is in its orbit at any given time, but roughly speaking it changes Sign once a year, and once every one to three years it performs a major aspect to its natal placement, waxing for six years, reaching the opposition, then waning for six more years until the Jupiter Return.
Perhaps the easiest way to characterize the Jupiter Cycle is to look at the developmental milestones a person goes through during their very first Jupiter Cycle.
Age Zero: Natal Jupiter
You’ve arrived and you have a basic idea of what makes you happy and what doesn’t. You know you like your meals warm and wet, and you know you like that comfortable feeling in your belly… but sometimes too much of that can lead to discomfort. So you yell until Mommy remembers to burp you, then you have a nice big poop, and all is well with the Universe again. And when all else fails, a good nap usually fixes everything.
Age Two: The Waxing Sextile
“Hey, look everyone! I’m here and I’m doing my thing!”
Before the age of two a typical human is largely on Life Support: you’ve graduated from the womb to running around and talking, but it’s only at age two that you really start figuring out that there is a larger world of humans out there beyond simply your home environment, and that those people sometimes act differently than yourself. You’re starting to learn that not everyone thinks you’re God’s Little Gift every time you do everything, and you’ve learned that pooping your pants is no longer a source of amusement to others, but that the world can be forgiving of such mishaps, by and large. You’re beginning to socialize and learn the ropes about other humans.
Age Three: The Waxing Square
“Hey, how come I can’t do my thing any more?”
All of a sudden, Mommy has become the thing that drops rules on you every time you’re having fun with life. You want that box of Count Chocula, and you’ve figured out that Mommy doesn’t like looking like she doesn’t know how to control her kid… so lying down in the aisle at the store and screaming and kicking gives you a reasonable shot at getting that cereal, which is your birth right, isn’t it? What, I can’t have it? You HATE ME!! Still, life goes on, and Mommy is getting tired, and the soda is only two aisles away, so it might be worth another shot. Besides, you’re feeling pretty lucky, and you are still the center of the Universe.
Age Four: The Waxing Trine
“Hey, look, other kids! Let’s party!”
You’ve encountered other humans beyond Mommy and figured out that they come in various shapes, sizes and temperaments, but now you understand them well enough that you can work with them within the framework of your social setting. Miss Crabtree runs the joint, Billy will share the toy dump truck if you ask nicely, and Mindy will only give up her Raggedy Ann if you apply force… but she’s kind of mean and may just be asking for it. Just make sure you run away before Miss Crabtree gets there, and do that innocent-face thing if she accuses you. You might get away with it. Oh look, puppets! Yayyy!
Age Six: The Jupiter Opposition
“Oh, look, only ten minutes until recess!”
By this point you understand the basic rules of how your life operates pretty well and you’ve learned how to both operate within those constraints and how to make them work to your advantage. You know that different people are different from you, but if someone steps too far beyond those boundaries (yourself included) there will be consequences. You know when lunch is going to be, and even if you’re hungry you know it rolls around at noon. Learning to spell may suck, but at least there’s recess to look forward to. The Universe has a certain order, you fit into it, and even when it’s not easy you know that it can be worked with… or that patience will eventually win out and things will eventually change for the better. Probably. Well, hopefully anyway.
Age Eight: The Waning Trine
“If I finish my turnips, I get dessert!”
By this point you’ve learned that successful completion of Task X… even if it’s painful, long, and complex by your standards… will usually result in Reward Y. You know that life has certain patterns, rhythms, and seasons that can generally be relied upon. You’re getting better at spending time with others, learning how to adapt to bullies, and getting a handle on the idea that one day you’ll be an adult and you’ll Rule The World and do what you want to do. And hey… Billy’s older brother makes funny jokes and has cigarettes, and that makes him pretty cool too. Maybe you could learn something from hanging out with him, provided Mom doesn’t find out. Why not? What’s to lose?
Age Nine: The Waning Square
“Why can’t I stay up until midnight? Billy’s Mom lets him do that!“
Sure there are rules to life, but it seems like there are always exceptions, and it seems like everyone except you gets to exploit those loopholes. And you’ve got an allowance, but everything you want costs way more than that. Perhaps saving your allowance will get you to that goal… or maybe you could just get away with swiping your candy bars instead of spending money on them. Either way, there are still rules, but a little cunning application of brainpower might get you around them… and might get you in a load of trouble too. And if you keep doing it, then eventually that trouble WILL happen. And it WILL suck. Still: nothing ventured, nothing gained… right?
Age Ten: The Waning Sextile
“Well, okay… I suppose I can live with that.”
By this point you’ve had a chance to flex your muscles as an independent human being and you’ve both reaped the rewards and paid the prices. You have individual tastes and hobbies that you enjoy working on, and you’ve found your own way to find happiness within the context of your social and personal limitations.And what’s more, you can foresee a future for yourself that might be even better than the life you have now, because after all those boring Sundays Mom made you spend in Church, you’ve finally figured out that when you grow up you’ll spend your Sundays sleeping in and watching cartoons. Yeah, the future looks bright.
Age Twelve: The Jupiter Return
“I still like eating and laughing, and I’m better at it than ever!”
The days of not being able to talk, burp or poop on your own are completely forgotten, and you can look forward to a life that includes adulthood and all its privileges. What’s more, you still get to enjoy the benefits of being a kid now, like not having to work 40 hours a week. Even though summer breaks from school never last long enough, you still have that to look forward to. You’ve developed your own philosophy of life… even if you don’t know what a “philosophy” really is… and you know that people who agree with it are good and that people who don’t are weenies. You’ve reached the pinnacle of excellence as a human being, and there’s only bigger and better things to come!
Of course, the older you get, the more sophisticated you become and the more complex life is. Or is it, really? You may grow and change as time goes on, but in one way or another, this is roughly how The Jupiter Cycle will continue to manifest itself. Wash, rinse and repeat throughout your life… each time with increased experience, sophistication, and (hopefully) wisdom… and that’s how your Jupiter Cycle works!