The Solar Return Chart

Each year the Sun returns to the same sign, degrees and minutes it occupied when you were born. A horoscope chart generated for this special moment during the most recent birthday can be used to forecast the tone, activity emphasis and challenges for the year ahead. Except for the Sun being in the same position as it was natally, every other planetary position and house cusp would likely be different from the natal chart placements, because the planets are always on the move. The time at which the Sun will align with it's natal spot will have shifted somewhat; this is why we lose a day from the month of February every four years, so the calendar we employ doesn't get too far out of line with the movement of the Sun along the ecliptic.

The return chart can give indications as to whether the pace of life in the coming year will be fast or slow, easy going or full of change. Health issues, chances for romance, job changes, maybe moving to a new residence and more can all be discerned from reading the chart. The following features should be considered:

  • First it is useful to consider the balance of fire (passion, inspiration, entrepreneurial ability), air(speaking, writing, commerce and travel), water (feelings, intuition, artistry) and earth (the job, house, pleasure, kids, etc.)

  • The pace and nature of activity to be expected can be determined from the signs ruling the angles of the chart and the houses in each quadrant of the chart that hold planets. Energy expression for change can be quick and purposeful, even impulsive (Cardinal Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn); flowing, compromising and adaptive (Gemini, Virgo, sagittal, Pisces) or fixed, stubborn, hard to sway (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius).

    Many planets in the angular houses indicate greater challenge likely in the first four months of the year; in succedent houses, the middle four months of the year; in cadent houses the last four months of the year. If the planets are well scattered through out the chart and making many hard aspects to one another (as in a conjunction, square or opposition) one can expect to be kept hopping on a regular basis for much of the year.

  • The central theme of focus for the year is determined by the solar return Sun and the Moon's Nodes. Suppose the return Sun is located in the eleventh house; much energy and effort will likely be directed into networking, community affairs, friends, lovers, fantasies and wishes during the upcoming year. The Moon's Nodes are relationship indicators; for example if placed across the second and eighth houses,one will have many interpersonal dealings centered around money, assets or or debts; also personal values versus sex and intimacy, or powerful institutions and people.

  • The zodiac sign on the Ascendant, or eastern horizon line of the return chart, along with its planetary ruler is considered the chart ruler; as such the energy represented by the sign and the location and aspects of its ruling planet will play an important role in influencing the proceedings. Suppose Scorpio is on the Ascendant; the traditional planetary ruler Mars is in the first house of basic persona; one is likely to have intensified drive and ambition this year; if other factors agree health, vitality and libido will be in excellent shape. The modern ruler Pluto is in the second house of values, self-esteem and ways of making money. Much energy is likely to be directed into transforming how one goes about making money; along the way some ethical dilemma will likely need to be addressed, or not.

  • Key planetary influences shift over the course the year, for example as in action (Mars) and money (Venus). As the energies represented by these faster moving planets visit the various houses, they lend their resonance to the issues represented in that house. For example, during the five weeks Mars will visit the sixth house, the native will likely be more than usually active in dealing with work, co-workers, service, mental or physical health or small animals.

  • What processes are under way or in what way is the individual moving on to a new phase in life? Are the individual's plans and hopes supported or challenged by the Return chart? concisely, how practical and realistic is one being about proposed projects? What are areas of limitation that one might need to work around? Saturn in the Solar return fourth house indicates an increase in burdens and responsibilities associated with home base; a child could be acting up, the spouse isn't working or a parent needs home care. Conversely, one could be kept so busy in public life that hearth and home are neglected. Positively, Saturn in the fourth always indicates laying new foundations for future success, especially as pertains to real estate or business.

  • How do the birth chart planets and points tie in with the Solar Return chart? For this part of the analysis, the natal planets and points are arranged around the outside, relative to the return chart. If there are many major aspects formed between natal points and the solar return pattern, the year in question is likely to be quite challenging and very pivotal in the conduct of affairs. One is definitely being asked to work on unfinished business or further develop some latent potentials evident in the natal chart.

  • Major planetary transiting and eclipse events during the year do impact on themes presented in the solar return chart. Transits involving the big boys from Jupiter on out or some of the major asteroids, hitting on the angles of the chart or sitting in major aspect to Return planets will be actively felt and acted out on the stage of life as indicated by the themes shown in the Return chart. Ditto eclipses, especially if falling within three degrees either side of a Return or natal planet or angle. An average year has four eclipses; they usually occur in pairs consisting of a solar eclipse (change in direction or essence) and a lunar eclipse (change in form) about two and a half weeks apart.

    The month within which an eclipse occurs is likely to be quite changeable. If at all possible it is better to wait until the eclipse period is over if wanting to implement major decisions or changes. A common theme can involve information that has been with held or hidden circumstances which are likely to be revealed as the eclipse period gets underway. Souls may elect to be born or die close to an eclipse. Those who are born near one will face a major crossroads of destiny at some point of their life. Suppose a solar eclipse occurs on the solar return chart Moon; this can translate into changes involving the native's mother; a change in residence or a change in heart that ends a relationship.

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