Astrological Solar Return Chart
Astrologers use a number of techniques for forecasting, primarily Transits, Progressions and Returns, particularly the Solar Return. This is the first report writer to provide a detailed interpretation of the Solar Return chart, both as an independent chart and in relationship to the natal chart. For those who are interested in technical details, the program provides a list of the planets' positions in the natal chart and the Solar Return chart
Solar Return charts are calculated for the place where you are on your birthday. Check the Solar Return data on the lower right hand portion of this page to see that the location and date are correct. Please note that the Sun may return to its birth position the day before or after your actual date of birth. Therefore, a difference of one day is not uncommon. You can see the position of the Sun, is the same for both the natal chart and the Solar Return chart.
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The Solar Return Chart by Ray Merriman
Welcome to your Solar Return! The interpretations given herein apply to your year ahead, based upon the principles outlined in The Solar Return Book of Prediction by Raymond A. Merriman (Seek-It Publications, 1977, West Bloomfield, MI).
The Importance of the Solar Return Moment "Being There on Time"
The exact time of one's solar return is a sacred annual event for each individual. It happens at only one specific moment each year. It is at that moment - and only that moment - in which the Earth/Sun relationship is exactly the same as when you were born. Such a moment constitutes an "event", and as with all events, this one too is the basis for a horoscope of import.
However the importance of this horoscope is unique only to the individual to whom it applies. The quality of that "moment" (i.e. the time of one's solar return) becomes the "seed" of that annual cycle. It is the basis for a horoscope that will describe the astrological factors in effect for that one-year cycle. A "moment" of such importance favors a certain mind-set of the individual as it occurs. This is especially true if one accepts the premise that thought creates (or influences) reality. If every moment of time has its own unique quality, then one would want the "quality" of the solar return "moment" to be special in a favorable way, especially since it becomes the horoscope for the year in that person's life.
Given this premise, the individual is encouraged to enter the solar return moment with a sense of reverence. The individual is encouraged to put some thought and effort into assuring that this moment is somehow empowered, infused, with an energy or thoughts consistent with what that individual would want to experience in the coming year.
What should one do at this moment? That of course is up to each individual (you). Obviously it would not be a favorable omen if you engaged in an argument, or sat home brooding, or went to work in an atmosphere of frustration or boredom. Such experiences at the time of your solar return would likely set the foundation for your mind-set for the entire year - and it would be negative.
The following ideas are intended only as suggestions. They take into account the premise that your solar return is the most personally sacred of all days of the year for you. Therefore, going into the moment of a solar return, you are advised to plan something special, something ideally that would "empower" that moment for you. A ritual of some sort might be a good idea.
For instance, you might take into account your location-to-be at that moment. Choose some place special, some place in which you are comfortable, happy, and in harmony with. Perhaps it is near a lake, ocean, river, or mountain. Perhaps it is on a beach or in a forest. Or perhaps it is in a favorite room.
Set the "stage". Perhaps you wish to have a candle burning, and/or music playing. Perhaps the direction you are facing (North, East, West or South - facing the Sun, or the Moon) has special meaning to you. Perhaps there are artifacts (i.e. pets, jewelry, stones) that have personal meaning, and you wish to display them in your "circle." Perhaps there is a special person whom you have decided to share this moment with.
The setting (if effected) should be completely set at least ten minutes prior to the solar return moment. As you enter the 10 minute time band leading into the solar return moment, you may consider beginning a meditation. How one meditates is completely individualistic. Perhaps you prefer to just enter a very relaxed state. Perhaps you like to chant. Perhaps you use visualization or affirmation exercises. If the latter, then after achieving a state of relaxation, you might visualize the areas of interest coming up in the next year. In this visualization exercise, you might try to see yourself happy and successful in each situation.
This meditation should last into - and slightly beyond - the solar return moment. Once the moment has passed, and the meditation is complete, you are encouraged to give thanks. This may done in a prayer, or whatever form is sacred to you. In this way, you bring a gentle closure to the sacred moment which has just passed, a moment which has now become the foundation for the one-year cycle about to begin.
You cannot be late for this moment. Otherwise, you might be symbolically late throughout the entire year. Do not take this moment in time lightly. Otherwise, all of your affairs may be symbolically taken lightly all year. The solar return is best viewed in the spirit of a pilgrimage, or a mission. It is the most important "holiday" of the year to you. It is the one time during the year that you are "connected" to the Infinite through the special relationship of the Earth and Sun. It is a moment when you are potentially in tune with your destiny, which is signified by the Earth/Sun relationship. The Sun is what you are becoming (the future, your growth potential). The Earth is where you have incarnated (present, your being). Give it the reverence it is due.
General Overview for the Year
At the time of your solar return, planets are positioned throughout the sky in a system known as "houses." Houses are simply a 12-fold division of the sky as seen from the location of your solar return.
These 12 houses are furthermore divided into three types: angular, succedent, and cadent houses. Each of these types have certain general meanings. The more planets you have in a certain type of house, the more it points to a certain type of year about to unfold. The character of the year will be shaped greatly by which house types have the most - and the least - number of planets.
In this calculation, both your natal and the solar return planets are used, as they fall within your solar return horoscope.
The majority of your natal and solar return planets fall in:
Balance: Having a balance of planets in each house type is most desirable. You have this, and it indicates a "balanced" approach to life, a nice combination of initiative, follow-through, and inspiration or new ideas.
The House Containing the Sun
The Sun is definitely the most important planet (star) to consider in the interpretation of solar returns, for the whole chart is based upon its principle. It is the only placement which is always identical (by longitude) in the natal as well as the solar return chart. Its house position shows where the greatest growth may take place during the year and where one may express the self creatively. It also denotes the area of greatest recognition as well as the area where the individual will "identify" the self this year. It is an indication of success according to house placement -- an area where the person may "shine" and show honor, a place where the individual may take pride in his or her accomplishments.
The houses have basically the same principles in the interpretation of a solar return chart as they do in a natal chart. The only difference is that the solar return houses are temporal in nature, and thus the actual interpretation of their meaning will be slightly modified because of this factor.
Cusp Conjunctions of Solar Return or Natal Planets
An area of life is highly emphasized for the year of the solar return if a solar return or natal planet conjuncts any house cusp. The orb of the conjunction is approximately 3 degrees, 45 minutes, either side of the house cusp. The house system preferred (default) by the author is Placidus, Tropical method.
The planet making the conjunction describes the nature of activities - events, conditions - that tend to unfold in the coming year. This planet's nature is highlighted as being prominent for this year.
Since the time and location of the solar return set up a structure (astrologically) for which an experience will occur that the individual will relate to, the foundation of that structure becomes extremely significant. This structural foundation is symbolized by the angles of the horoscope, the axes of the Earth, in which all the zodiac and all of the planets combine within. The relationship of these axes (angles) to the planets -- both natal and solar return planets-- give special meaning to the structure of experience the native will undergo during the period of the solar return's influence (one year). A planet (solar return and natal) in close aspect to the solar return horizon (Ascendant-Descendant) -- orb no more than six degrees -- affects the nature of how one perceives reality, how one projects the self, what one considers important in dealing with others, and the behavior and activities which one expresses in the world during the year. It also describes how one tends to handle situations as they arise during the year.
Here are some brief descriptions of the 12 houses and what they mean to astrologers. We will start with the 10th house -- the house of clear, practical vision.
The Significance of Vocation and Family: Planets in Aspect to the Solar Return Meridian
A planet in close aspect to the meridian -- Midheaven and I.C. axis -- describes influences upon your vocation and home or family matters. It may also describe your spiritual impetus in the coming year and sense of purpose.
Being in the Flow: Solar Return Planets Related to their Natal Positions
Some years we feel totally in synch with certain aspects of our nature, and some years we feel completely out of synch. Such periods may show in the relationship of your solar return planets to the natal planets of the same type. Although specific aspects between the two (solar return and natal planet of same type) are most powerful, a simple analysis of gender can be quite revealing. Generally speaking, if the solar return planet is in the same sign as your natal counter-point, you tend to be very much in synch with that planetary principle. If they are even in the same gender (Earth-Water are Yin, or Feminine, while Fire-Air are Yang, or Masculine), there is the sense of being compatible and in synch with this planetary principle. However, when the planet of the same type are in different genders, and especially if square or semi-square to one another, we may feel awkward and out of synch with that principle.
Areas of Harmony or Stress: Aspects to a House Ruler by Planets in its House
A planet in a house, in an aspect (especially major aspect) to the ruler of that same house, will indicate the ease or the difficulties to be encountered in those areas of life ruled by that house, according to the nature of the aspect. Of course, most of the planets in a particular house do not usually aspect the ruler of that house, but in those cases where they do, the nature of the aspect will indicate whether matters pertaining to that house will go smoothly and harmoniously (harmonious aspect) or whether they will tend to be obstacle-forming and conflict-orienting in their nature (affliction aspect). The aspects between these two planets, when they occur, take precedence over all other aspects to the planet located in the house.
This method applies to a solar return planet located in a particular solar return house, in aspect to the ruling planet of that house. That ruling planet may be either the solar return or natal planet. In cases where the solar return planet falls in the same solar return house as the ruler of that house, this may be treated as a conjunction. The matters of that house are thus considered very significant for the year.
Shifting One's Focus: The Transiting Sun to the Solar Return Houses
Since the solar return is based upon the movement of Sun (actually the earth in relationship to the Sun), it is logical to assume that the transiting position of the Sun in relationship to the solar return chart would be important. And it is.
Although the entire period during which the transiting Sun through a house emphasizes conditions dealing with that house, it is primarily the three-day period surrounding that house ingress that is most important. Three days before through three days after the time the transiting Sun conjuncts a solar return house cusp brings to the forefront conditions involving that house's domain.
Specific Dates of Potential Noteworthy Events: The Progressed Solar Return Angles
One of the most accurate techniques of timing significant events and changes during the year is by progressing the angles of the solar return chart. The meridian (M.C. and I.C.) is progressed forward through the solar return chart at the same rate as the transiting Sun, or approximately one degree per day. In other words, if the Sun has transited 5 signs and 20 degrees from the time of the solar return, you may move the M.C. of the solar return forward 5 signs and 20 minutes to see where it is by progression. By the same token, you can then look up the corresponding Ascendant for that M.C. degree, and that will represent the progressed horizon (Ascendant - Descendant axis) for that same day.
What follows is a brief introduction to some of the terms and concepts used in astrology. Reading through this material may make your Astro*Talk report more useful and understandable.
The angles progressing through the solar return chart may be likened to transits: they "bring" conditions to the individual, according to the angle's nature. The planet receiving aspects by the progressed angle denotes the individual's likely response, or expression, to the condition. The area of life emphasized is a combination of the angle involved (which is also an area of life), and the house which contains the planet being aspected, as well as the house which the planet rules in the solar return chart.
One point needs to be highlighted here: it is primarily the conjunction (or opposition) of the progressed angles to a solar return or natal planet that is important. Although other aspects, like the square and trine, may coincide with events or conditions described by the angle and the nature of the planet(s) involved, it is primarily the conjunction/opposition aspect that seems to consistently point out the times of the major events of the year to which the return applies.
This technique of progressing the angles is reliable within a three-day time band, and usually within only one day. When used with the other techniques of prediction, like the progressed solar return Moon and the transits to the solar return chart, these dates can be an amazing indicator of significant events to unfold in your life during this year.
Keeping a Diary of Your Solar Return Experience
Astrology is a language of symbols. It is also a study of time. At any given point in time, astrological symbolism is present which assists in the understanding of that time.
Throughout our life, people come in and situations arise. On the surface, these people are indeed people, and these situations are indeed specific, identifiable conditions. However, these people and these situations are also symbolic of lessons in life which each one of us is working on. Our experiences with these people and these conditions afford us an opportunity to understand ourself more fully, to get a grasp on our patterns, and possibly to make a conscious effort to break those patterns if we so wish.
In the course of your solar return day, you will come into contact with people and situations, You will experience certain conditions that arise in your life. And you will react as well as interact with these people and circumstances. You will have impressions and make judgments concerning these events and interactions. In some cases, you will react favorably, and judge them as positive experiences. In other cases, you may react more critically, and judge them less favorably.
The moments of these experiences and these interactions with others during the solar return day can be progressed into the future of this year. Basically the premise is this: whatever you experience during the solar return day will symbolically represent the nature of your experiences during the solar return year. Furthermore, the time of these experiences - whether external or internal - will relate to a specific period in the year when that "symbolism" will likely repeat. The formula is the same as used in the calculation of the solar return Moon. That is, every two hours of time from your solar return represents one month of time from the date of your solar return. In the same token, approximately every four minutes of time is the equivalent of one day in the solar return year.
Therefore it can be very enlightening to carry paper and pen with you on the day of your solar return. Mark down the time in which things happen during this day. In fact, you may want to keep a very detailed daily record of what happened as it goes along. It is also a good idea to plan things during the day which you know will be favorable and enjoyable, as that will set the tone of a favorable and enjoyable activity later on this year
To briefly illustrate, let us assume your solar return occurs at 6:00 PM. At 8:00 PM, the circumstances that you experience (in the external world, or your interior world) will be symbolic of what is going on in your life about one month after your birthday. If you went out and had a wonderful dinner with someone you love, then perhaps one month later you will find your life very wonderful, almost like being out for a wonderful dining experience.
The daily record should begin six hours before your solar return, and continue 30 hours afterwards. The six hours before are symbolic of the three months leading up to your birthday. Even these events and circumstances are symbolic of what you have already gone through, and seeing the symbolism helps put the recent past into perspective. The six hours following the 24 hours of the birthday are also important. They refer to the momentum of this year carrying into the next solar return, and your ability to make the successful transition from one year's issues to the next.
Choosing One's Solar Return
One of the most exciting facts about solar returns is that you may actually choose your own horoscope wheel for the year! Your choice is limited, as might be expected, by both certain mundane as well as astrological factors. From an astrological point, your choice is limited to the angles and house placement of planets as well as rulerships, which covers quite a bit of territory. Your choice does not consist of what relationship (aspects) the planets will have to each other or to your other natal planets -- only their relationship to your solar return angles and houses. From a mundane point of view, your choice is limited to your means and willingness to be mobile at the time of your solar return. The angles and houses are directly related to your location at the moment of your solar return; hence, your freedom and willingness to travel to specific location will influence just how much choice you have in creating your own chosen horoscope for the year. And another limitation, of course, is your knowledge and ability to work with solar returns, for without this knowledge you have absolutely no choice in the matter whatsoever.
What you can determine, then, are the axes of the Earth -- the horizon and meridian of the solar return chart. The actual moment of the solar return will not change -- cannot be changed; but the local mean time (LMT) and consequently the True Sidereal Time of the solar return can be chosen; hence, the angles and houses -- the "structure of the experience" in the forthcoming year -- can also be chosen.
In choosing your solar return chart for any given year, there are two basic questions you might ask: first, "What area of life do I want to highlight (in a positive manner) this year?," and secondly, "What are my boundaries, or limitations, in traveling at the time of my solar return?" Obviously if the most astrologically desirable place to celebrate your solar return is somewhere in China, a combination of financial, governmental, and time factors may make that choice an impossibility. So you must work within the boundaries of your means, or those means placed upon you by "outside" forces.
In answering the first question, you should remember some of the basic rules presented earlier. For instance, a balance of planets in the different house types is desirable; a majority of planets in angular houses - or at least three personal planets posited there -- will indicate a "significant" year; an overabundance of planets in cadent houses will tend to indicate the opposite -- a year of changes and/or preparation for future years.
Locating planets in harmonious aspect to an angle is most desirable, and so too is the positioning of benefics close to a house cusp -- especially in that house which pertains to your areas of interest for this year. Another desirable placement is a harmonious aspect between a planet in a particular house to the planet that rules that house. If you are able to arrange for a combination of these factors to occur, according to the house chosen to be highlighted, then it is a favorable indication that matters ruling that area of your life will flow successfully in the coming year.
There are, of course, some factors that will inhibit even the finest of house and angle arrangements. If the aspects between your solar return planets to each other, and even to your natal planets, are discordant according to the expressions you wish to highlight, there is not much that can be done to "assure" their favorable expression this year. At best, you can "lessen" their potential negative manifestation by traveling somewhere that will position an angle to make a "soft" (harmonious) aspect to one of the planets involved. For example, if there is a T-square in the solar return chart involving planets in houses that you have determined are important to you in the coming year, you may wish to travel somewhere at the time of your solar return that will bring the horizon (Ascendant - Descendant axis) or meridian (Midheaven and I.C. axis) into a favorable aspect (sextile/trine) to the planet and/or house ruler you are concerned about.
It is also possible to more greatly empower positive aspects between planets in your solar return chart by simply traveling to a point in which these same angles make yet another positive aspect to them. For instance, if you have a trine between two planets that relate to an area of great personal interest this year, you might consider traveling somewhere for your birthday that will find the Midheaven or Ascendant forming a grand trine to these planets. That location would greatly enhance the expression and experience of the two trining planets during the course of the year.
If you are not an astrologer, and you are interested in designing a solar return chart that most positively highlights your solar return planets, you are advised to consult a well-trained, qualified and professional astrologer who can assist you in this matter. This would be greatly suggested in the event that you find certain parts in the "Planets In Aspect To Angles", or "Planets Conjunct The Solar Return House Cusps" sections particularly troubling. Those conditions can be altered simply by traveling for your solar return. In addition, planning a trip on your birthday is an excellent idea. It will cause you to put great conscious effort into that most sacred of all days of the year for you personally - your birthday, the day the Sun and Earth return to their exact position of your birth moment. It is a special day for you every year. Treat it with reverence. Make its unfoldment an annual pilgrimage, a mission, a challenge for you to have a super experience. The experiences of that day will be the foundation for the whole of your next year of life.
(This is the text from the supplement of terms and concepts included with the Solar Return Report , created from the author, Ray Merriman.)
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