A Circle of Fortune--Exploring a Solar Return Chart

While we celebrate a collective New Year each year depending on our culture, each of us celebrates a personal new year every time our birthdays roll around.  On this day, we begin a new cycle determined by the new planetary alignment in the sky as the planets fall into the houses in our Natal Charts in the form of transits.

When our birthdays roll around we visit an astrologer who casts a Solar Return Chart for the upcoming birthday year.  While the Sun always returns to the exact degree of our births, the other planets land in different signs and directions while informing us of upcoming energies.  As I prepare to explore my own Solar Return Chart, I feel guided to share general insights.

As you already know, astrology transits feature cycles whether that is the shorter cycle of the Moon or a longer cycle of an outer planet.  For instance, the Moon travels through each Zodiac Sign every 28 days, but there are even longer Moon cycles such as the cycle between a Cancer Full Moon which lasts approximately 365 days.  A Jupiter cycle lasts 12 years and so on.  Mercury goes retrograde 3 times a year for around 3 to 4 weeks and the outer planets retrograde for 5 to 6 months.

Each birthday year or Solar Cycle (when the Sun returns to the Sign and degree when we were born) gives us an overview of potential events and situations for the upcoming year.  While I don't believe in using the Solar Return Chart as a fortune telling tool, some astrologers do and if the birth time on the chart is accurate, and the person experiences few changes overall in his or her life, those predictions could manifest.  However, most of the people reading this blog came here because they were or are experiencing transformation and shifts in their perspectives and lives so for you, I'll view the Solar Return Chart from a different angle.

photo by Patricia Herlevi
First things to look for is the signs of transiting planets.  For instance, I doubt anyone is experiencing a Sun, Mercury, Venus and Jupiter returns on the same day, which is their birthday.  So we first look at the transiting personal planets (and possibly the progressed planets too) in the Solar Chart and the houses where the transits occur.

Say a person was born with the Sun and Mercury in Cancer, but at the time of the Solar Return Mercury falls in Gemini retrograde.  And say, the person had Venus, Saturn and Neptune retrograde at birth and now experiences Pluto, Neptune, Saturn and Mercury in retrograde. Does this mean that the person can expect a quiet year or an introspective 12 year cycle of working less hard, but putting more effort into clear communication and relating to others on a deeper level?  Perhaps the lesson here is to stop going it alone and giving off an air of independence and accepting help or cooperation from others.  The lesson for the upcoming year (of yes, subtle transformation with Neptune and Pluto retrograde) is to reap harvest of previous discipline and hard work at building new structure (Saturn RX).

Also look at any planets transiting over the AC, MC or in angular houses (1, 4, 7 and 10) because those transits highlight personal identity either by conjunction, square or opposition, relationships/partnerships, home and career/public life for the next Solar Cycle (until the next birthday).  For instance, a client has transiting Saturn on the MC for the Solar year, then this client could expect either hard work of the past to finally pay off (especially if Saturn is retrograde which to me suggests past events) or feels that they have to work hard in the new cycle to build new structure that eventually brings career success.

Look for heavy hitters such as Mars, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto transits in the Solar Chart by house placement, degree and aspects to Natal and transiting planets.  And don't gaze negatively at these transits and use the positive correspondence such as Mars represents drive and passion, Uranus represents change, freedom, innovation and liberation, Pluto represents transformation and coming into one's power and Saturn represents rewards from work and walking in integrity.  And if the client is older, hopefully they will have developed some mastership over these planets so the reading of the transits is positive.  Certainly that is a worthy mission of anyone using astrology as a tool for transformation.

Finally, do a simple breakdown of each of the Solar Return planets by sign and house to get an idea of how they will play out for the next year.  Create a story or play if you feel imaginative.  For instance, my Solar Moon falls in Leo (right after the New Moon in Cancer, so it's a waxing Moon in Leo, even better), Mercury falls in retrograde or trickster Gemini, Mars is in Libra, Venus is in Gemini, and so on.  So will my life feel comical with unexpected events that bring up Shakespeare's famous words about the world as a stage? Certainly I can expect a lot of chatter (in my mind and with others) that goes nowhere, but provides entertainment nonetheless.  Or perhaps I can expect harmless flirtation full of witty dialogue.  This already feels like a playful year with dinner parties, social gatherings and plenty of information getting passed around that might not survive discernment and investigation.

I could also look at the progressed planets and aspects between the Solar and progressed planets if I want to delve more deeply. Since I'm a workaholic, I'll probably do that.  However, even a trip through the personal planet transits in the Solar Chart, house placement and Solar planet aspects with Natal planets provides a clear picture and provides a map for the upcoming year.  This suffices for anyone who already experienced a shift or transformation or any client with a status quo year.

An astrologer will go more in depth with a client going through a major transit with Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune or Uranus. People born in the 1960s for instance are experiencing numerous outer planet transits at this time, people born in the late 1980s are dealing with Pluto in Capricorn and Uranus in Aries transits and there are other highlighted transit periods to look for which would suggests taking a deeper look at the Solar Return Chart instead of giving it a quick brush over.

I believe that a Solar Return Chart reading provides a client enough of information for the upcoming year to reap rewards, make wise choices and have faith that the outer planet transits promise transformation in the areas of their lives that correspond with the houses in their charts. I also like the idea of each Solar Return cycle acting as a rebirth or a fresh start.  Combine the reading with a personal ritual of letting go of events from the previous year, reassess life goals and toss out everything that no longer serves the new you.

I give astrology readings and intuitive coaching sessions (for artists, entrepreneurs and artisans) in Bellingham or online through e-mail reports.  If you're ready to use the transits to propel you into a deeper reality, sign up for a reading at Whole Music & Whole Astrology.  Please read the Whole Astrology page first for details.

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