Solar Return 2018

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Yesterday was my birthday. I got a deep tissue massage at the spa next door, went to a salt cave for an hour to release toxins, and finally, went into town for a tarot card reading. What a packed day! It was a personal 9 day so I was feeling the release vibes, but got a little moody and emotional by the end.

I also thought this is a great time to do a post on the solar return. This is the time of year when your sun returns to the exact degree (right down to the minute and second of the degree) that it was when you were born. It is usually on your birthday, or a day before or after. The location you are in matters, too.

It’s easy to calculate if you use astro.com, because their extended chart selection has a solar return option. Here is mine for this year:

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It is interpreted much like a natal chart, but only good for one year. I usually refer to Mary Fortier Shea’s Solar Return book when trying to figure out what areas a person is going to focus on during their upcoming year….it’s a phenomenal guide, and very detailed. The sun is the most important part, specifically what house it falls in (because it will always be in the same sign and degree as your natal chart), and the aspects it makes to other planets. Mine is in H3 this year, loosely conjunct Uranus, and square Pluto (yay!).

The sun will be in the same degree as your natal chart, but everything else is generally different. Your rising for the year depicts how you will interact with people, the SR moon represents your general emotional climate for the year, Mercury represents how you will give/receive information…same as a natal interpretation. You can look at the chart as is, but it also reveals more depth when you compare it to your natal chart:

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You can see aspects between the charts when you use the “synastry” option under extended chart selection. For example, my SR ascendant in Aquarius squares natal Uranus in Scorpio…interesting. Also, my SR Venus in Taurus is exactly conjunct natal Chiron…yikes! You can also look at how the houses line up with one another: all those Capricorn 12th house planets line up with my natal 11th house. Issues regarding friends, groups, hopes and wishes are going to be significant this year, but I may not be able to access them on a conscious level because they fall in the SR H12…that’s one interpretation of how that will play out.

There is another method I have read about using for the Solar Return chart calculate, called a “precessed” chart. This is when you find the time of the SR in sidereal (what they use in vedic astrology) rather than tropical because that is technically more accurate on a real-time level… then once you find the time, make a chart of that exact moment in tropical. I have read that some astrologers have more success with this method, so I usually look at both. Here is my precessed 2018 SR chart:

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Equally interesting, because the AC/DC line is exactly opposite my natal, same degree. This also makes the coming year more significant because there is a planet and asteroid conjunct one of the angles (those are always the most significant years)…moon and Juno. When I have looked back at my solar returns, the precessed chart does tend to be a more accurate depiction of what occurred that year.

The SR is not great for timing or predictions, because it’s more about what you are focusing your energy on that year, and the internal changes you experience. Since the sun is your identity and life purpose, this is a chart primarily about how you are evolving in those specific areas. You can do return charts for other planets like Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and the dreaded Saturn return. (Again, interpretation is based around the planet you are focusing on.)

The worst SR I ever had was a giant grand cross, just planets grouped together all squaring and opposing one another! But that was the year I bought my home, ending a long-term relationship, and at the end of the SR got fired from my job. Major year! I ended up growing a lot through all the contrast. The years that you have all trines and sextiles, you might not do much. Years you have a lot of water will be emotional, a lot of Cardinal will be self-starting years (maybe not a lot of follow-through), if you lack earth you may not be too practical that year, etc. I’m happy to see a nice little bucket formation in this year’s SR, and a good mix of elements and modalities… hopefully things will go well. I’ll let you know next birthday!

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Mercury Rx Insights

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This Mercury retrograde in Aries has been giving me all sorts of insights to my own behavior, and life in general. It hasn’t been awful for me personally, although I have some friends going through hell during this retrograde. But the Libra full moon was quite dramatic…I got really sick with a stomach bug, and then new (noisy!) neighbors moved in, and I had a meltdown and berated everyone close to me for not offering to bring me anything because I live alone. Then I berated the neighbors for being noisy. Then I was done and had to apologize for the berating, then I got berated by someone for apologizing…it was an endless cycle.  But I feel better now!

As mentioned in my previous post, I switched to WSH system last year, and the spark that set it in motion was realizing that in whole signs, my own Aries planets are in the 2nd house, not the 1st. I got berated (yup) recently by air sign friend for being a subjective thinker, but the truth is, that’s how natal Mercury in Aries functions. I have oppositions to planets in Libra (including Saturn) so it’s not like I don’t consider things carefully; but my decisions tend to be at a gut level first and foremost, and after deliberation I usually circle back to my first instinct anyway. That’s how fire signs work. Also, it’s not my fault Aquariuses over intellectualize their emotions, just saying.

But the thing that struck me about having a 2nd house stellium was the Taurus-y feel. I am Taurus-y on many levels. I am actually very resistant to change, which wouldn’t be someone you’d see in my Placidus chart. But historically I have stayed in relationships, jobs, and residences past their expiration date because I fear the potentially worse situation that could develop if I were to try something different. The 2nd house is all about self-preservation, security, stability, sensuality, material things, self-worth issues….that is all my jam. I typically try not to rock the boat, until a certain point when I crave transformation and burn everything to the ground myself. You can see it natally in the hourglass opposition between my Aries/H2 and Libra/H8 planets, especially Sun-Pluto (my chart is posted on the About page).

Since becoming more cognizant of my own tendencies, I have made an effort to open up and trust the universe, and embrace changes. It is my personal 1 year in numerology so everything I do now is setting me up for the next decade (no pressure!) and I don’t want to be stuck in the same job industry/role, relationship patterns, or even the place I live for the next 9-year cycle. I really don’t. But part of embracing change is getting used to discomfort, I have discovered. If you’re comfortable, you’re not changing. If you’re not changing, your dying. There’s no utopian future where everything lines up and works perfectly…it doesn’t exist on this plane. That’s called death.

Whole Sign House System

I made a significant change to my astrology practice a couple months ago: I switched to whole signs. Prior to that, I was using Polich-Page (which is more or less identical to Placidus, the most popular Western astrology house system and typically the default on any website that generates charts). However, I read some compelling arguments that convinced me to make the switch.

It started with this article by Michelle at AstroFix, who attended a lecture by Demetra George about the topic. To be honest, Michelle’s article alone was enough. Reading this was an epiphany… it changed my whole perspective!

Also, this article by Marina at Darkstar which goes into more depth about the history of whole signs and how it fell to the wayside, and a PDF by Chris Brennan listing 12 reasons why WSH is best. I’m not going to try and explain it myself, because they have done an excellent and thorough job already.

Whole signs offers what I have been looking for: simplification. WHS does not take the Ascendant and put it on the cusp of the 1st house, nor does it put the Midheaven on the cusp of the 10th (gasp!). Instead, the sign of the Ascendant is the 1st house, and the zodiac lines up from there. No splitting signs between houses, no intercepted planets. The angles are no longer house cusps, but sensitive points.

To illustrate the difference, here is my chart first in Placidus, and then in whole signs:

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WSH

You can see in Placidus I have multiple intercepted signs and planets, but all of that is removed in WSH. Signs line up with houses perfectly. This speaks to me because I already practice the concept that sign boundaries are hard lines (Mars at 29º Cancer and Venus at 0º Leo are not conjunct, as an example). To be frank, it spoke to me on a personal level first, because in WSH my Aries and Libra planets moved to H2/H8 respectively, and it was like I saw myself for the first time. Everything in my life made sense in an instant!

It’s nice to still be able to have those aha! moments, even after a lifetime of practicing astrology. Although I haven’t done any readings since the switch, I will be using this house system for all readings going forward, and I feel like it will really take things to the next level.

A New Year of Numerology

I can’t believe it’s 2017…where did this past year go? It feels like just yesterday that I was sitting down to figure out all that I was going to accomplish in 2016, my personal 8 year.

This is a universal 1 year for the world. That means that unlike last year, which was filled with death and emotional turbulence, this year will be about new beginnings. For me  it is a personal 9 year, which will be filled with….death and emotional turbulence (yikes!)

What’s yours? To calculate your personal year, just add your day and month of birth to the current year. For example: my birthday (April 13th) added to 2017 goes like this:

April = 4

13 = 1+3 = 4

2017 = 2+0+1+7 = 10, and 1+0 = 1

4 + 4 + 1 = 9

Easy, right? Here’s what to expect in a nutshell:

1 – New beginnings, the start of your new 9 year cycle, learning lessons of authority and independence, change

2 – Ego takes a back seat to relationships and harmony, learning lessons of compromise, diplomacy, and patience

3 – Creativity and self-expression are paramount, expanding your life, experiencing joy and stretching to new heights

4 – Laying foundations under the dreams of last year, hard work, fixing what’s broken, creating stability

5 – The “snow globe” year that shakes you up, expect the unexpected, go with the flow, live in the now

6 – The love year that focuses on commitments, duty, family, giving and receiving love, and home

7 – A quiet, contemplative, and solitary year of retreat. Time to meditate, do research, and center yourself

8 – The power year of accomplishment. Learning lessons about personal power, financial gains/losses, and success or failure in business and career

9 – The end of a cycle, emotional release, giving back to others, letting go of outdated people/places/things

These are basic explanations, but you can hone in on what’s happening month-by-month by adding the number value of current month we are in to your personal year. For example, if you are entering into a personal 5 year, then January is a 6 month (5 + 1 = 6). So although you are entering into a year of change and turbulence, January in particular will be focused on responsibilities and loved ones.

Happy New Year!

Happy Sagittarius Season!

The Sun has entered Sag! I love this season because everyone is so much happier and full of hope.

The Sun entered Sagittarius on November 21st and will leave on December 21st. So it starts with a gluttonous feast (Thanksgiving) which is appropriate, and ends on the first day of Winter. I have a theory that most people don’t start worrying about Christmas until the Sun moves into Capricorn, and that’s why there is such a ridiculous rush to get all the last-minute shopping done!

But December is all about parties, fun, decorations and lights, and eating nice things. That basically sums up Sag. To me, the Sagittarius spirit is embodied in Santa Claus. The only way the magic works is through belief (a major Sag/Jupiter theme). That belief can control a child’s behavior the entire month. Just think about what organized religion has done to control the mass population for millennia!

Remember when you were a kid and how magical this time of year was? Yes, you had to try to be good or Santa wouldn’t bring you any presents, but that never actually happened. But mostly it was the thought that someone was out there waiting to shower you with presents.

I think that’s the real magic, having faith that something is out there and loves you unconditionally. It’s a time to enjoy life and realize that most religions are celebrating in their own way this season… the same miracle in different cloaks. Sag’s ugly side (argument and competition) can get people on a soap box about their POV, and that would be a shame….to waste the holiday season arguing semantics.

Happy Holidays 🙂

The Jupiter-Pluto Square

There is a major square coming up that will hit three times between now and 2017: Jupiter in Libra square Pluto in Capricorn. The first one will be exact on November 24th at 15º (so you can feel it building already), and the other two will happen on March 30th and August 4th of 2017, respectively.

Jupiter is all about expansion, and in Libra, it’s currently magnifying relationship goals and social ideals. The house it’s riding through in your chart represents what life areas are taking larger significance. In my chart, Jupiter is transiting the 7th house – Libra’s natural house of committed partnerships – so I’ve got a double-whammy of focus on idealistic relationships. For you, it might be your 5th house of children and romantic/creative partners, or your 10th house representing business/professional partnerships and connections.

Pluto is about transformation, and in Capricorn (where it’s been riding for eight years) it examines and breaks down traditional power structures. On an individual level, this could mean a slow but permanent change in your professional life, hierarchies such as family or work structure, and how you interact with government. If Pluto is in your 2nd house, your self-worth and personal finances are going through permanent changes. If it’s transiting your 4th house, family and home hierarchy is being transformed.

So what happens when Jupiter and Pluto clash? A square means tension, crisis, and/or conflict of interest. In this case, the Libra idealism/hyper-focus on equality clashes with Capricorn traditional hierarchy. Capricorn’s natural ruler is Saturn, Jupiter’s opposite planet: where Jupiter expands, Saturn contracts.

Globally, Jupiter’s strong ideals and high hopes are being stymied by those in power. I’ve already talked about the U.S. election on this blog, and this square would certainly apply to those who oppose our current president elect. Like Jupiter ramming itself against Pluto’s iron fist, people may attempt to push their ideals even more strongly when told, “no.” It would also apply to his supporters who have high hopes (perhaps too high, and he won’t be able to live up to them).

On a personal level, check the square against your natal chart. If you have personal planets, angles (Ascendant/MC), or Lunar nodes from 14 – 19 degrees of the Cardinal signs then you will be more personally affected by the square. Just try to remember that if you find yourself thwarted, and attempt to fix that by pushing your ideals even further down people’s throats….you’re not handling this well.

Make use of this energy by allowing yourself to compromise and work with any restrictions that come up, not against them, especially if this transit manifests for you via a person in a position of power limiting you in some way. Ultimately squares spur us into growth, once we accept the challenge they present.

Progressed Full Moon Phase

I’m coming up on a very rare event: my progressed full moon phase (read what natal progressions are here). Just like the sun and moon in the sky, your progressed sun and moon go through phases: new moon, first quarter, full moon, etc.

As explained in more detail in this article, the progressed moon is the fastest moving progression at a speed of two and a half years spent in each zodiac sign. So it takes about 30 years for your progressed moon to move all the way around your chart. The progressed sun takes 30 years in each sign! So when they make connections with one another, it’s really significant and the energy lasts a few years. The progressed sun represents your evolving ego identity and life purpose. The progressed moon represents your evolving needs and relationships.

My PR sun is at 27º Taurus, and my PR moon is at 27º Scorpio (exact November 25th). This is a personal culmination, just like the Full Moon is in general. All my efforts over the last 15 years (since my progressed new moon phase) are coming together, and supposedly I will either see great success and recognition, or significant loss and the crumbling of everything I’ve worked for. No pressure!

This progression phase for anyone begins a 4-year period of picking up the pieces and starting in a new direction, either in the wake of success or the wake of failure. The action happens at the beginning of the phase, and then the following few years are pretty smooth, because whatever happened is over and you can go from there. It seems kind of like Christmas, to me: you anticipate it for a while, then it happens and you get to open your presents. The aftermath is either being satisfied you got what you want, or dealing with disappointment, but either way you know for sure.

This is what my progressed chart looks like right now. You can see the Sun and Moon glyphs in opposition from one another (with the bold red line between them), in Taurus and Scorpio, respectively. You can also see that my progressed moon is conjunct Uranus, which I will talk about in a minute:

Progressed Full Moon Phase

I’ve known this phase was coming for a while, just being an astrologer who looks all this stuff up way in advance. But I have been terrified of it! Because up until the beginning of this month I literally didn’t which way my life would go. Over the last few years during my progressed Scorpio moon phase things have been really shitty, to be perfectly frank with you. I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.. But it looks like I am going to be okay…I have a new job, I managed to keep my home through a financial struggle, and of course I’m still alive (the ultimate win!).

On a side note, it’s interesting that the U.S. election has coincided with my own personal culmination, in a weird synchronicity. There was such anticipation and emotional investment nationwide (worldwide, actually), and now that we all know the outcome, we have to pick up the pieces and move on from here. At least we know…right? The Taurus Full Moon today (a supermoon) has been emotionally taxing for everyone, and on a personal level it falls on my progressed Ascendant and sextiles my natal Ascendant. Bottom line…I was very emotionally tied up in the events of my nation.

Another weird coincidence is the element of surprise in this election is also clearly present in my own progressed chart. My PR moon at 27º Scorpio is conjunct Uranus, which represents the unexpected. Also – because things are always mirrored multiple times in astrology – transiting Uranus in the sky is conjunct my natal Sun in Aries, right now. Hey, it keeps things interesting, right?