The Sun is so central to understanding the paths of our lives, Steven Forrest writes in The Book of Fire, that the most effective predictive tool is to track the progressed Sun. Moving at approximately a degree per year, the Sun moves into the succedent sign to our Sun sign at some point in the first 30 years of our life, shifting our focus to a new layer of being. “True fundamental evolutionary charge happens at the pace of a glacier,” Forrest states. “And that is the domain of the progressed Sun.” We continue to carry the characteristics of our natal Sun sign throughout our lives, but we learn to incorporate the lessons of the progressed Sun sign into our life experience.
To explore this phenomenon, I looked at the chart of Princess Diana. Born a Cancerian on July 1, 1961, she was a shy, reclusive child, living in a remote country manor house with a cold and distant father. She only saw her mother for weekend visits since her parents had divorced and her father had custody. As the Sun progressed through Cancer, it formed a square to her Midheaven/IC axis in 1975, when her father inherited his title and Diana became “Lady Diana.” This reflects the change of status reflected in the Midheaven, and it also brought a move to the seat of the new Earl Spencer, a more grand and stately remote country mansion.
Diana eventually left school and settled into a flat in London with some friends, coming out of her shell as she enjoyed her newly independent social life. It was at this time that she came under the radar of the royal family, who had been wondering when their commitment resistant heir would finally settle down with a suitable bride. In the summer of 1980, Diana and Prince Charles, who had known each other for several years, began dating, and both seemed very taken with each other.
Diana, after her lonely childhood, longed for someone to love and be loved by. The Cancerian nurturing energy was strong as the progressed Sun remained in the sign of Cancer. However, as the relationship between Charles and Diana moved towards an engagement, this Cancerian progressed Sun opposed Diana’s natal Saturn in Capricorn. We can see that the warm and light of this loving Sun was meeting a roadblock, a relationship that would give her status and responsibility (Capricorn), but not the love and family she yearned for. It was almost as if she knew in the lead-up to the wedding that this was not a path to her happiness, but the irresistible tide of circumstances pulled her in.
She struggled in the early days of her marriage and then early motherhood to find her place in this very hierarchical family, and the achieve some warm and closeness with her new husband. Both remained out of her reach. In November of 1982, however, Diana’s progressed Sun moved into Leo and her ninth house, and slowing her light in the world began to build. During public appearances, Diana outshone her husband, and she proved to have the “common touch” and empathy lacking in other members of the royal family. She soon became an international superstar.
Diana learned to find in her connections with others the outlet for her Cancerian need to nurture, and the love she received from the public helped warm her need for assurance. She also sought love in other relationships once she understood her husband was in love with and having an affair with another woman. So by developing the Leo gifts of putting ones authentic self out to others, and into the world, Diana was able to meet some of the needs of her Cancerian Sun.
The path of the progressed Sun also tells the tale of the subsequent years of Diana’s life. As the her progressed Sun opposed her natal Jupiter in the third house, Diana confronted Charles’ mistress, and the couple no longer made a pretense of having a happy marriage. Charles and Diana were referred to as “the Glums.” As the progressed Sun came to square Diana’s 12th house Neptune in 1991, Diana secretly provided tapes to biographer Andrew Morton, detailing her struggles with bulimia and the loveless state of her marriage. The book, published the next year as the progressed Sun was inconjunct her natal Sun, vanquished the fairytale image held of Diana by her public. It also seriously undermined her already shaky marriage, although her divorce from Prince Charles would not be finalized until 1995.
And what of the position of Diana’s progressed Sun at the time of the tragic accident that killed her? It had reached 14 degrees of Leo, not making any sharp aspects to her natal planets – except that it fell in opposition to the midpoint of Jupiter, her chart ruler, and the Moon, her 8th house ruler, in her 3rd house. We know that being chased by the media and a reckless driver (both 3rd house matters) led to her death in a foreign country (9th house). However, there is another way to analyze the progressed Sun. Forrest reminds us that we should also consider transits to that Sun. If you look at the chart of Diana’s progressed chart on August 31, 1997, with the chart of the accident on the outer wheel, you can see that transiting Moon (Diana’s 8th house planet) and Jupiter (Diana’s ruling planet) were in opposition right along the line of the Midheaven/IC in Paris on that night – and both fell across Diana’s progressed Sun at 14 degrees of Leo.
It's very sad to look at the path of Diana’s progressed Sun in the years following her death. In just four years, it would trine her Ascendant, promising a new self-confidence and ability to bring her Cancerian empathy to the greater world. Shortly after turning 50, Diana would have experienced a major life transition as her progressed Sun moved into Virgo and her 10th house. A deeper service and real practical work in the world is promised here, and with Mars-Pluto in her 10th, possibly the establishment of an enduring caring institution. She had much growing and evolving ahead of her, and was truly taken from this lifetime too soon.