Solar Returns 1
interpreting solar returns
Predictive Astrology - Techniques for Predicting the Future
On this Page:
- Overview of Solar Return Charts
- An Example Solar Return Chart Interpretation
- Personal Notes
Solar Returns Feature
On this first page of our Solar
Returns Feature, we offer our preferred
techniques and key points to
consider when interpreting Solar Returns, as well as an example
Solar Return interpretation. Note that we sometimes abbreviate
"Solar Returns" as "SR".
page 2 of our Solar Returns Feature, we offered a second example
of a Solar Return at work.
page 3 of our Solar Returns Feature, we discuss more techniques
for fine-tuning a Solar Return analysis.
On page 4 of our Solar
Returns Feature, we offer interpretations of the Ascendant sign
in the Solar Return chart, as well as the natal house brought to the
On page 5 of our Solar Returns
Feature, we offer interpretations of the Solar Return Sun in
aspect to other Solar Return planets and points.
On page 6 of our Solar Returns
Feature, we discuss the importance of the Moon in the Solar
Return chart, by sign, house, and aspect.
page 7 of our Solar Returns Feature, we compare books and
suggest resources for interpreting Solar Returns.
A Solar Return chart
is a chart calculated for the exact moment when the Sun returns to its natal
position (within 2 days of one's birthday). This chart can be read
much like a natal chart, except that it must be kept in mind that it
is in effect only for the course of a yearapproximately from
birthday to birthday. [Some astrologers believe the Solar Return is
in effect for a longer period of time.]
It is especially
important to have an accurate birth time when working with Return
Note that astrologers
work with lunar returns and planetary returns as well. We interpret
Interpreting Solar Returns:
A Solar Return chart
can be read in as much detail as desired. Some key points to
consider are as follows:
The Ascendant of
the Solar Return chart will color the individual's approach to
his or her environment for the year. For example, if Aries is on
the Ascendant in the Solar Return chart, the individual may
approach the year with increased energy and enterprise, and
perhaps with some impatience. It describes the individual's
overall temperament and attitude during the period. Read more about the
Solar Return Ascendant
sign. The ruler of the Ascending sign,
and its position by sign, house, and aspect, will hold more
information as to the individual's general temperament and focus
for the year.
Note which planets
and points in the natal chart, if any, are effectively brought
to an angle of the Solar Return chart. Let's say, for example,
that the Solar Return Ascendant is 22 degrees Virgo, and the
natal position of Venus is 24 degrees Virgo. The natal Venus is
therefore conjunct the Solar Return Ascendant, and one can
presume that the condition and issues surrounding the
individual's natal Venus will be highlighted (effectively coming
to the fore) in the Solar Return year. This consideration shows
us what natal conditions, or inherent personality issues, are
highlighted in the year of the Solar Return. If, for example,
you have a natal Sun square Mars, and the Sun is on the Solar
Return Ascendant, perhaps with Mars on the Midheaven as well, we
can safely presume that the Sun-Mars struggle or challenge will
be especially highlighted in both a personal (Ascendant) and
public (Midheaven) manner.
which Solar Return planets are on or aspecting Solar Return
angles. These are transits that are emphasized in the year of
the Solar Return.
What is the
condition of the Sun? Where is it located by house? (We know the
sign, of course, because it will be at the exact natal
position). This can show a strong area of focus for the upcoming year.
The house position of the Sun in the SR chart shows where (which
areas of life) the individual wants to shine. The individual
will take pride in this part of his or her life, and a big ego
investment lies in this area. He or she has the opportunity to
rejuvenate this area.
What kind of aspects does the Sun make? See
interpretations of the
Solar Return Sun in aspect.
Another area of
focus this year can be found by determining which natal house
is effectively brought to the Ascendant. For example, if the
Solar Return Ascendant is 14 degrees Cancer, and this degree is
found in the natal fifth house, the natal fifth house is
effectively "brought" to the Ascendant, and will be another area
Where is the Moon?
The position of the Moon by house and sign will show where your
heart is, so to speak. If, for example, the Solar Return Moon is
in Libra in the 5th house, you will likely to be emotionally
tied up in, and concentrated on, love and relationship. A strong need
for personal self-expression will be characteristic of the year,
and emotional ups and downs are likely to occur in this area of
life, simply because this is where your heart isthis is the
area of life that you have the biggest emotional investment inand you may not
be completely rational and "in control" in this area.
More than simple fluctuations will be in store in this area of
life if, for example, the Moon is also forming a square to Pluto
in the Solar Return chart. Profound changes are likely to occur
here. Thus, factoring in the Moon's aspects will help refine the
reading. Read more about the
Solar Return Moon by sign, house, and aspect.
Note that a Solar
Return chart can be read much like a natal chart, always
keeping in mind that it is transient rather than permanent. If you are
interested in looking at a specific area, such as finances, you
can study the Return's second house, eighth house, and the
condition of Venus. For example, if Solar Return Venus is
opposite Solar Return Neptune, especially if Venus also rules
the second house in the Solar Return, you might presume that
either this coming year there is less emphasis on materialism,
or that your income might be fluctuating and somewhat unstable.
Get an overall
feel for the Solar Return chart by examining hemispheric
emphasis, whether or not it is scattered, and which houses
(angular, succedent, and cadent) are emphasized. Also, note the
qualities of the dominant signs of the year (cardinal, fixed, or
You know the upcoming
year will be a "big" one (in a transitional sense) when
the Solar Return Sun forms a hard angle with the Solar Return Moon.
This is also true when the Sun is conjunct a Solar Return angle.
that I have found to be particularly significant is
degrees. The most significant critical degrees in Solar
Return interpretation are 29 degrees and 0 degrees of any sign.
When found in the SR chart, there can be significant events
surrounding the energy of the planet/point itself, and/or the
house it rules in the chart. I do look at the classic critical
degrees as well, but as a secondary consideration.
For an insightful
and rather thorough analysis of the Solar Return chart, look to
Planets in Solar Returns: Yearly Cycles of Transformation & Growth
by Mary Fortier Shea.
Let's look at an
example. The following is the natal chart of Ann:
The Solar Return
chart for the year we are studying is presented below, along with
Ann's natal chart in the outer wheel so that we can easily see which
natal planets conjunct the Solar Return angles.
Immediately, I honed
in on a few standout features involving the angles:
Jupiter is conjunct the Ascendant (rising) in the Solar Return
chart, and it opposes a conjunction of Mars and Neptune on the
Descendant. Mercury squares this opposition, forming a T-square.
All planets involved are in the foreground (angular), in prominent
positions in the Return chart.
The natal Moon
conjuncts the Solar Return Midheaven.
Mercury is conjunct the natal Midheaven.
We also note that
there is a conjunction of the Moon and Pluto in the Return chart,
and that it trines SR Jupiter, and sextiles SR Mars and Pluto.
Many different issues
came to the fore in the year in question. Most notably, her good
friend with whom she maintained a friendship with for a few years,
committed suicide and a murder on the same day. This, of course,
came as a complete shock, and the violent act rocked Ann's world.
She had no clue that this man who seemed to be quite
"together" could have committed such acts.
Ann, of course,
struggled with this tragedy for some time after it happened. She
struggled with guilt (did she ignore signs he may have been
displaying?), loss (of a friendship), shock, and anger. If we had looked at the Solar Return chart before the
events happened, we would not have been able to predict what
actually happened. However, we may have easily seen that Ann would
confront some powerful emotional issues, perhaps in a public manner
(natal Moon conjunct the SR Midheaven), and that she would struggle
with illusion/guilt/anger/excess with regards to her personal
relationships (Mars conjunct Neptune at the Descendant). Mercury
rules her natal 11th house of friendships, and it also rules her
Solar Return 11th house. Mercury (both natal and Solar Return) is
found in the 10th house conjunct her natal Midheaven, effectively
bringing 11th house issues into the fore in a public manner.
The SR Moon
conjunction to Pluto suggests an emotional crisis of sorts. James A.
Eshelman, in his book Interpreting Solar Returns, describes this
aspect as "Sharp, intensive alterations in life situations;
dramatic transformations...Experiences elicit a profound, climactic
emotional response (crisis, shock)...Encountering the unlikely,
improbable, unbelievable." (1)
Of course, we cannot
expect something as dramatic as what happened in Ann's life to occur
as a result of the individual factors found in the Solar Return
chart and noted here. For example, Neptune conjunct the Descendant
in a Solar Return chart, taken alone, can very certainly represent
the encountering of disillusionments in close relationships. It can
also suggest a year in which the native looks for new meanings in
relationships, for example.
It is interesting to
find Jupiter prominent in Solar Returns and transits when, for
example, a person has had an accident, or goes through something
like Ann did. At first, it seems counter-intuitive because we
consider Jupiter the planet of luck. Indeed, it does have a
protective influence. Perhaps prominent Jupiter suggests a level of
protection in the sense that the person survived the incident or
crisis. Another way of looking at it is that Jupiter is the planet
of expansion and excess. Effectively, it does represent some
level of drama. Involved with Neptune and Mars, and we can easily
see that it expanded or emphasized the Mars/Neptune issues of
disillusionment. When in difficult aspect especially, Jupiter
can suggest over-confidence and recklessness or misjudgment as a
References & suggested further
(1) Interpreting Solar Returns
by James A. Eshelman.
Planets in Solar Returns: Yearly Cycles of Transformation & Growth
by Mary Fortier Shea.
We have Solar
Return computerized reports that examine any given Solar Return
chart piece by piece. We have two different styles, and each report
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