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:
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:
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:
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!