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Solar Returns Feature

On this first page of our Solar Returns Feature, youll find my preferred
techniques and key points to consider when interpreting Solar Returns, as well
as an example Solar Return interpretation. Note that I sometimes abbreviate
Solar Returns as SR. On page 2 of our Solar Returns Feature, a second
example of a Solar Return at work.
On page 3 of our Solar Returns Feature, more techniques for fine-tuning a
Solar Return analysis.
On page 4 of our Solar Returns Feature, interpretations of the Ascendant
sign in the Solar Return chart, as well as the natal house brought to the Solar
On page 5 of our Solar Returns Feature, interpretations of the Solar Return
Sun in aspect to other Solar Return planets and points.
On page 6 of our Solar Returns Feature, the importance of the Moon in the
Solar Return chart, by sign, house, and aspect.
On page 7 of our Solar Returns Feature, comparison of books and
suggestion of 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 ones 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

It is especially important to have an accurate birth time when working with

Return charts.

Note that astrologers work with lunar returns and planetary returns as well. I
interpret Venus Returns here.

Keys to Interpreting Solar Returns:

A Solar Return chart can be read in as much detail as desired. Some key points
to consider are as follows:

1- The Ascendant of the Solar Return chart will color the individuals
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 individuals 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 individuals general temperament and focus for the

2- Note which planets and points in the natal chart, if any, are
effectively brought to an angle of the Solar Return chart. Lets 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 individuals 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.

3- Similarly, note which Solar Return planets are on or aspecting Solar

Return angles. These are transits that are emphasized in the year of the Solar

4- 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.

5- 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 of focus.

6- 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 Moons aspects will
help refine the reading. Read more about the Solar Return Moon by sign,
house, and aspect.

7- 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 Returns
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.

8- 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 mutable).

9- 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.

10- A consideration that I have found to be particularly significant is critical

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.

Example #1:

Lets 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 Anns 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:

1. Solar Return 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.

2. The natal Moon conjuncts the Solar Return Midheaven.

3. Solar Return 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 Anns 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
transformationsExperiences 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 Anns

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