Solar Return 2018


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, 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!


My Halloween Dream

Happy Halloween!

This is my favorite holiday. The thing I love about Halloween is that all the scary stuff is openly enjoyed. I really love being spooked, and I grew up in the 80’s with movies like Poltergeist, Nightmare on Elm Street, and the Shining…so it wasn’t too hard. I also have an affinity for everything Halloween: witches, ghosts, black cats, pumpkins, fall. I also love that this is a pagan holiday, and that the veil between this world and the nonphysical is the thinnest, tonight.

I have natal Sun opposite Pluto. One foot in each world, one in light, one in darkness. (A major factor is that I grew up with one parent alive and one dead.) I was born on the 13th, and they say a person born on that day inherently understands death. I always felt a bit weird growing up, but Halloween is the time of year when it’s alright to bring out the weird!

There’s another reason I feel connected to Halloween: I have had a reoccurring dream about it my whole life. The dream always begins the morning of October 31st, and usually I forgot that it’s Halloween. I am excited, and get busy because there’s lots to do. When I was little, the dream used to be that my mom hadn’t yet finished my costume and I was worried I wouldn’t get to go trick-or-treating. When I was a teenager, it was about scrambling to make plans with friends. As an adult, the dream typically takes place in Salem, MA (where I’ve been in real life several times on or around Halloween).

Morning becomes afternoon, and the dream changes. I start to panic, because whatever I’m doing is taking much longer than I planned. The sun sinks in the sky, and instead of making progress, new things crop up that I have to do. The last part of the dream is when night comes. I am typically running around desperately trying to finish all my tasks so that I can join in the fun, but in most of the dreams I never seem to make it. I’m searching for someone or something and don’t even know what it is, at that point. I see everyone else having fun and before I know it, Halloween is over and I missed the party.

The dream usually ends here, but sometimes it continues to a post-Halloween night phase. I wander around alone in the cold, never having found that friend or finished my tasks. The streets are now empty, houses are dark, lights are off and the candles in jack-o-lanterns have been blown out. Everyone went home, and I am still out wandering in the darkness. It’s really quite horrifying, and when I wake up I have this harrowing feeling and sometimes I am breathing heavy. But usually the dream ends before this phase. In more recent years, I actually do get to enjoy the night at the end, and it’s a good dream (thank god because I was starting to think I have real psychological problems).

Happy Halloween! 🎃👻🍭

Rising Signs and Schedules

I’ve been thinking about how your rising sign determines when you get out of bed, this morning. I am decidedly a night owl, as are many other Mutable ascendants (Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, Pisces) I know.

Why is that? And why are Cardinal ascendants (Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn) morning people? I think it’s because they are used to being the initiators. These are the annoying “early bird gets the worm” people, but for good reason because their energy is highest fresh out of bed, and wanes as the day goes on. Also, I’ve noticed they like to manage their own schedules, because they are bossy and don’t want someone else dictating to them. If they are in a position to have a schedule made for them with no real say in it, they probably won’t be in that role for long.

On the other hand, us Mutable rising like to go with the flow. We are much more comfortable seeing where the day takes us because our strength lies in our adaptability to situations. Our energy ebbs and flows, and so we actually thrive on frequent change and fluctuation, but aren’t great when left to our own devices. Mutable risings seem to do the worst in a predictable schedule and unconsciously act out to break up the monotony if forced into one.

Fixed ascendants (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius) seem to need a set routine. These are the people that could either take an early shift OR a night shift, but it has to be a consistent schedule. Their energy remains fairly even throughout the day. Although comfortable working for either themselves or others, and little things generally don’t bother them, they give the most pushback of all rising signs when it comes to major transition. They are kind of like the Sheldon Coopers of the Zodiac!

Note, the above tendencies fluctuate depending on ruling planet (the ruler of the Ascendant), and rising planets close to the ascendant….I know a Virgo rising with Saturn conjunct his ascendant who absolutely needs a set schedule because he is a mess without one. And if you have an extremely uneven distribution of planets, it can affect your rising sign’s expression. For example, if you have 7 planets in Fixed signs, your Cardinal rising may be a bit more stick-in-the-mud but your energy will also be more sustainable.

Jupiter Return

Jupiter entered Libra on September 9th, where it will remain for approximately one year. Because my own natal Jupiter is at 3º Libra, I’m having a Jupiter return this month, which inspired me to write a blog post on Jupiter returns. These are pretty rare occurrences, because it takes Jupiter so long to move through the whole zodiac. Unlike your solar return which happens each year on or around your birthday, a Jupiter return happens only once every 12 years!

When Jupiter returns to the exact degree of your birth chart, you begin a new 12-year cycle of your life specific to Jupiter-related themes : personal expansion, higher education, broadening your horizons, spirituality, beliefs, and others specific to the house/sign/aspects of your natal Jupiter (for example, my natal Jupiter is in Libra, so my Jupiter lessons involve partnerships and balance with other people).

It’s essentially a new cycle of opportunity. The approx. 12-year Jupiter cycle is similar to the lunar cycle. A Jupiter return is the new moon phase, when possibilities are unseen. 3 years later, you are in the “1st quarter” phase when Jupiter squares Jupiter, building on your opportunities. Jupiter opposite natal Jupiter (6 years) is the “full moon” phase, a culmination of your efforts, and possibly a major change in direction. At the 9-year point (“last quarter” phase), you become disillusioned and begin to withdraw energy from your Jupiter projects. A year or two prior to the next Jupiter return is the “dark moon” phase, when you are directionless, waiting for a new challenge to come.

Wherever Jupiter transits your chart (regardless of whether or not you are having a return), it magnifies the issues of that area…for good and bad. If it passes over a natal planet, that’s even more significant because it expands the energy of that planet and the activities of whichever house(s) it rules.

A caveat: Jupiter brings opportunity, but if you are negative or expect things on a silver platter, it’ll pass you by. In fact, a lot of people report awful things happening under Jupiter’s influence. When Jupiter transited my natal 6H moon (direct, retrograde, then direct again), disaster struck with each pass. My boyfriend broke up with me, then my cat died during the retrograde, and I got fired from my job! But in hindsight, each event was for the ultimate best, in that none I would have left willingly, but each provided a new sense of freedom.

If you want to see where Jupiter is transiting in relation to your own chart, go to, create a free account, plug in your birth information, and choose “Natal Chart and Transits” under the extended chart selection.

Natal Chart Interceptions

Interceptions in the natal chart are when a sign is totally encompassed by a house. This only holds for house systems that allow for different house sizes in different locations like Placidus – NOT Equal House System or Whole signs, for example! An intercepted sign doesn’t rule any house of its own, and therefore its expression is considered to be dormant or blocked, until it can be accessed (often in an explosion)…or at least, that’s the most commonly held theory. Please note that when one sign is intercepted, its opposite sign is always intercepted as well. Any planets in intercepted sign (“intercepted planets”) would also be inhibited in their energy expression. Often, the key to “unlocking” the intercepted sign or planet’s energy is through duplicate signs (explained further down), the slow transit of an outer planet, or a progression that passes through.


I have read about a more progressive theory on interceptions that I really like, and it makes more sense to me than that old, traditional astrology that is so negative and fatalistic! This theory is from Evolutionary Astrology. Essentially, the energy is only dormant in an intercepted sign if its ruler is weakly placed in the chart. For example, if you have Aquarius intercepted in your 4th house (so Capricorn is on your IC and Pisces is on the cusp of your 5th house), with no planets in it, and its ruler Uranus is in your 12th house with only a weak sextile to another planet and no other aspects. Then and only then do you need to explore your intercepted Aquarius energy, because it hasn’t yet been integrated into your experience!

If you have planets in your intercepted sign like I do, or you have a very strongly placed sign ruler (say, in the above example, Uranus was conjunct your Sun trine your Moon…a prominent planet!)…then you don’t have to keep exploring its energy, because you’re already using it.

So which is it for you? If you have intercepted signs and/or planets, do you feel that energy is “blocked” from its purest expression, and why?

A key to understanding a block is a) the house it’s in, and b) the duplicate signs in your chart. The house and its ruler (in our example above, say the 4th house and its ruler, Capricorn/Saturn) determine what life area you are experiencing the blockage of expression. The ruler determines whose “permission” you need to express it. So, if you have Aquarius intercepted in your 4th house with a weakly placed Uranus, you may have trouble expressing your originality and experiencing freedom (Aquarius) at home/with family (4th house stuff). You need Capricorn’s “permission” to do so…so you may only act quirky through traditionally acceptable means (like on Halloween when its ok to be weird!), or once you are the head of your own family.

Natal Chart Interceptions

Duplicate signs are the ones that cusp two houses, which you will have in your chart if you have interceptions, because it’s mathematically impossible not to have two duplicate signs if you have two interceptions! (See my chart above. The intercepted signs/planets are circled in purple, and the duplicate signs are circled in blue.) These are also a way of understanding how to express your intercepted energy, if need be. As you can see in my chart, I have Aries intercepted in H1 and Libra intercepted in H7, each with a fair number of planets, so according to the evolutionary astrology theory, I don’t have a blockage. But if I did, I could look to the duplicate signsGemini, which rules both H3 and H4, and Sagittarius, which rules both H9 and H10. The joint activities of those connected houses, and the energy of Gemini’s ruler Mercury and Sag’s ruler Jupiter in my chart, would be avenues through which to express my sense of self (Aries) and achieve balance in partnerships (Libra).

Finally, as with everything else in your chart, your intercepted signs will eventually be affected by transits and progressions. You can’t escape this… no one can get away from eventually experiencing all the energy in their natal chart! So in the example above, eventually that person will have a Saturn, Uranus, Neptune or Pluto transit to Aquarius, and it will “unzip” that energy. Or, they will have Progressed Moon move through Aquarius, and have to deal with that energy on an emotional level or in their relationships.

Do you have well-integrated interceptions, or do you feel like you still need to explore that energy?

Harsh Mercury – Saturn Aspects

I finally finished a YouTube series on natal Mars last night (or today, technically, at 3am), and have been reflecting on my natal Mercury-Saturn opposition, and how it affected my ability to make those videos. I started the series last year, and didn’t finish until mid-way through this year. That’s a long time to produce 14 videos…especially considering that when I first started this channel, I could record and upload a series of 12 videos in about two days.

The truth is, I recorded the Mars series many times over, and just wasn’t happy with it. I did a full series recording last summer, then scrapped them all. I re-recorded and published Mars in Aries in November, then deleted the rest of the videos. On the third try, I hated every video and took a YouTube hiatus for a couple months. On the fourth try, I managed to salvage everything through Mars in Libra (rejoice!) before deciding the rest wasn’t viable. After that, I went one video at a time, often recording them 4 or 5 times before deciding to publish.

Does that make you mental just to read? Well, this is often the process I go through for everything I write, as well – a lifelong hobby – including private journals that nobody else would ever see. This is Mercury in harsh aspect to Saturn: communicate, then critique immediately…there is no space for creative brainstorming without judgement. To be honest, I probably have it easier than most with harsh Mercury-Saturn aspects, because I don’t have a speech impediment or learning disability which is common. Another side-effect of these two planets in aspect is a tendency towards negativity, limited thinking, and passing judgment. I get a bit of a pass again, because Jupiter is conjunct my Saturn, lessening the effect.

On the positive side, Saturn lends structure and control to Mercury; an astrologer once told me the opposition gives my words power. I don’t know how powerfully my words come across, but the aspect has certainly driven me to learn more and become more articulate, mainly out of fear of ridicule (that’s Saturn clamping down). I still often stumble over my words both in my head and aloud, and have trouble speaking smoothly without pausing or saying “um, ah, like…” and I have a college degree in communications. Yikes!

Natal Mercury-Saturn trines and sextiles are much more smooth and lend power in a harmonious, opportunistic way. However because structure and discipline come easily to these natives, they will ultimately accomplish less than the folks with the squares and oppositions. As I said above, I have worked very hard on nearly every piece of communication I put out, including this blog. I regularly re-write articles to make them more clear, concise, and helpful to the reader (I also do it out of self-judgment). It will be a lifelong process, but I hope to feel accomplished at it when I look back.

The IC and AC Connection

The IC and AC ConnectionThe IC is the Imum Coeli, and cusp of the 4th house. The AC is the ascendant, and cusp of the 1st house. They are two of the “angles” (the others are the MC or Midheaven opposite the IC, and the DC or descendant opposite the AC). The AC is calculated based on the sign on the horizon when you were born, and the IC is calculated based on Midheaven, which is (I think) where the parallel you are born in meets the ecliptic and … AH SCIENCE! I’m really not entirely sure. Sorry 😦

The IC represents your family roots and your past, including past conditioning. It’s sign indicates how you experienced your childhood and home life. The AC represents your physical body, but also your approach to the world, which is psychologically based on the role you took on in your family unit. These two angles, therefore, are linked by your childhood experience and family role.

So, for example, if you have a Capricorn IC, you experienced a cold, structured childhood with limits and responsibilities. Often, a Capricorn IC has a Libra AC. Libra risings are often mediators in their family unit, and at the very least expected to be socially correct, polite, graceful, placing social expectations at top priority. That’s not really an easy role for a child to take on. Even though Libra risings are admired for their looks and popularity, it might have taken them a lot of restriction, self-denial, and hard work. They never felt that parental nurturing, or had the chance to just be a selfish kid.

Now for a completely different IC sign: Gemini. This is the child that grew up self-taught because they were left to their own devices, and although Gemini represents siblings, they felt a disconnect. I have Gemini IC and I grew up with a brother 12 years older than me, a huge age gap. I also have half- and step- sisters, but we grew up in different households. Remember, the IC represents how you perceived your family and childhood, so a sibling of yours could have a very different perspective than you (and a different IC).

Gemini IC is the kid that reads and writes from an early age. They are creative and excel at using their hands, via musical instruments, Play-Doh, video games, etc. They multi-task, at home, and breeze through elementary school academically. School feels restrictive however, because they are a) too smart and therefore unstimulated, or b) shy/ostracized by other kids.

The IC and AC Connection

Gemini ICs often have Pisces AC. Pisces risings are the space-cadets of their families. Gemini IC develops a rich inner life because they feel unstimulated. Pisces risings develop a mind palace to play in, and seem otherworldly or lost in their own fantasies. They are imaginative and often have artistic or musical skills. Gemini IC often has issues with one parent, whom they are unable to communicate with, or don’t see eye to eye. Pisces risings frequently grow up with a parental lack that helps to shape their strong sensitivity/empathy for others.

What is your IC sign, and how do you think it shaped your AC? Maybe you have a Scorpio IC (if so, I’m sorry for your shitty childhood), which helped shape your enviable Leo rising (actually, not sorry because you’re probably attractive and popular). It’s good to make the connection from your upbringing to why you do what you do. It can help you realize that you bite people’s heads off because you grew up in a competitive household, or that you never say “no” because your parents helped everyone who came begging. But once you realize where the behavior stems from, if you don’t like it, leave it in the past where it belongs.