Timing Of Events
So, if you don’t know exactly what a solar return is, the quick answer is that it’s a predictive chart cast from one birthday to the next. But, more specifically, it’s a chart cast from the time that the transiting Sun returns to the exact same space in the zodiac as it was when you were born. Exact same sign, degree and second.
The solar return chart will look very different from your birth chart and changes every year at your birthday (sometimes the day before or after your birthday). The solar return Sun can be in a different house than your birth Sun, it can make different aspects to the other planets in the chart… but the solar return Sun will always be at the same sign, same degree of that sign and same second as it is in your birth chart.
So, with that in mind, transits from the Sun to your natal Sun also trigger your solar return Sun at the same time.
Let’s say you’re born November 10th. Every year on November 10th (or sometimes the day before or after) you will get a new solar return chart that will provide information about themes unfolding in the year until your next birthday. That’s easy enough.
But, watch for the transiting Sun aspecting your natal Sun to also activate your solar return. If you’re born November 10th, then every year around May 10th the transit Sun will be in opposition to your natal Sun, opposite the place it held at the of your birth. This is also the exact half-way mark of the solar return chart, or the demi-solar return.
Approximately 90 days before and after your birthday, you’ll also experience transit Sun square to your natal Sun. This transit, of course, will also square the solar return Sun, the quarti-solar return.
So, the transit Sun activates your birth chart and solar return chart at the same time. More specifically, the opposition or “half-birthday” tends to be the most significant in terms of showing how much of the solar return chart has been fulfilled and what is yet to come. If there is a crisis associated with the solar return, or a positive change promised by the solar return, the half way mark/opposition tends to draw it out.
The quarterly squares from the transit Sun to the solar return tends to fulfill the more stressful potential of the SR chart. The results aren’t as long lasting as the opposition, but anytime you see “Sun square Sun” approaching in your daily horoscope you will want to look at the challenges of your solar return and prepare for it. The first square to occur during the solar return year -the first 90 day (or so) mark from your birthday- is the most potent.
Conversely, if you see “Sun trine Sun” or “Sun sextile Sun” in your forecast you’re looking at experiencing the more positive potential held by the solar return. These are “easy” aspects, though, so often go unnoticed compared to the others.
Movement of the solar return Sun from year to year
Assuming one stays in the same location year after year, the Sun will move through the solar return houses in a predictable pattern. The Sun will move clockwise through the angular houses – the 1st, 4th, 7th and 10th – before moving through the succedent houses – the 2nd, 5th, 8th and 11th – and finally will move through the cadent houses – the 3rd, 6th, 9th and 12th houses – before starting over again in the angular houses.
When moving through the angular houses, the typical pattern is 4th house –> 1st house –> 10th house –> 7th house
When moving through the succedent houses, the typical pattern is 2nd house –> 11th house –> 8th house –> 5th house
When moving through the cadent houses, the typical pattern is 12th house –> 9th house –> 6th house –> 3rd house
These patterns repeat themselves in approximately 10 year cycles, so you may repeat certain cadent, succedent or angular house positions of the Sun before moving into a new set of house patterns. There are exceptions to this, so occasionally you’ll see breaks in this pattern, but this is the general pattern the solar returns will follow – assuming you remain in the same location each year at the start of the solar return (your birthday).
To change the pattern of movement, I recommend spending your birthday in a location chosen to give you optimal house placements.
Solar Returns As A Tool In Chart Rectification
On the 33rd birthday, the Sun will occupy the same house as it is positioned in the natal/birth chart. Also, this solar return will have the angles of the chart – the ascendant, descendant, Midheaven and IC – very close in sign and degree as they are found in the natal chart. The 33rd solar return thus can prove helpful in rectifying the birth chart (finding the accurate birth time and house/angle positions of the birth chart) since many of the inherent qualities of the birth chart manifest more openly in this solar return.
Houses Of The Sun In The Solar Return
Even though all is read in a solar return such as in any other chart, the focus of the solar return chart is, of course, the Sun. The house of the solar return chart that the Sun is located shows the area of life most emphasized during the solar return.
In general, the years when the solar return Sun is in the 3rd, 6th, 8th, and 12th house tends to be the most worrisome; the years that has the SR Sun in the 1st, 5th, 9th, and 11th house tend to be the easiest. Years when the solar return Sun is in the 2nd, 5th, 8th and 11th houses are years focused on money. This is only a general rule of thumb and other factors can support or override this rule.
Here’s themes for every solar return Sun house location, keeping in mind other factors in the chart will decide which of these themes is most likely to manifest:
- Solar Return Sun in 1st house: A year focused on self interest in the present time. Can show changes to appearance, the vibe you give others, and sometimes health.
- Solar Return Sun in 2nd house: Definitely a year mostly focused on savings and spending practices and either increasing or decreasing income. Self esteem is sometimes affected.
- Solar Return Sun in 3rd house: An intellectually hungry year. New ways of thinking can lead to inspired ideas or depression. Issues with vehicles or travel, sometimes siblings if shown by other factors.
- Solar Return Sun in 4th house: Focused on home life: buying, selling, renovating, expenses, accidents, becoming a homebody, changes in living arrangements. Can sometimes show issues with older relatives.
- Solar Return Sun in 5th house: A year more focused on restoring joie de vivre and overall vitality. Can show new romance, rekindled romance or the realization that romance has died. If supported by other factors can show child birth. Great for artistic endeavors.
- Solar Return Sun in 6th house: Generally a weak year for advancing beyond everyday chores. Work and health is front and center and can change for better or worse.
- Solar Return Sun in 7th house: The house of relationships either shows a new relationship or changes in existing ones, for better or worse. If supported by other factors can show legal action/litigation.
- Solar Return Sun in 8th house: The house of crisis. Depending on other factors in the chart, can show either new traumas or reliving old ones. Therapy and counseling recommended, sometimes necessary. Sometimes death of loved ones and subsequent issues surrounding family legacy and inheritance, financial or otherwise. Financial debts either paid off or become overwhelming depending on other factors but either way financial health dominates.
- Solar Return Sun in 9th house: Changes in one’s beliefs; sometimes a year of education, other factors will suggest whether it’s a formal education or self-taught. Usually some involvement with people “foreign” to you in culture, race, religion, language etc. Sometimes shows long distance travel.
- Solar Return Sun in 10th house: Generally focused on career path and achieving or planning long term goals. Both new careers and losing ones job are possibilities. Reputation changes for better or worse, depending on other factors. Sometimes shows trouble with employers, parents, “authority figures”.
- Solar Return Sun in 11th house: Focus on long term goals not necessarily career related, more ideals related. Changes in friends, cliques, social circles. Money can reflect what is going on in the 10th house.
- Solar Return Sun in 12th house: A “time out” or quieter year, most work done behind the scenes. Sometimes starts with a health issue to remove the person from society temporarily and turn the focus inwards.
Relocating Or Moving The Solar Return Chart
One frequent question people have after understanding the basics of a solar return is “can I change the solar return by spending my birthday somewhere else?” The answer is YES! You can’t change the degrees or aspects of the planets – if Mercury is retrograde in the solar return, or Venus is conjunct Saturn or Pluto, that will remain the same regardless of where you are.
What you have control over is what houses you’d like the solar return Sun, Moon, chart ruler and so on to fall. In other words, if you have a serious debt issue and see that your next solar return has an emphasis on the 8th house, it would be wise to try to go somewhere and spend your birthday in a location that will move the planets out of the 8th. If the place you’re living in or the place where you would spend your birthday gives you a solar return you don’t like, play around with various locations until you find a place that gives you a solar return you can live with. This is an interesting template for adventurous vacation planning!
For the record, I’ve experienced relocated solar returns myself and seen more than enough in my clients to know that where you spend your birthday makes all the difference and that the relocated solar return is the one you’ll end up with the rest of the solar return year.
Remember that since the solar return chart is cast from the time the Sun in transit returns to where it is in your birth chart that sometimes the solar return actually starts the day before or after your birthday. If you’re planning on spending your birthday in a specific location to optimize your solar return, allow as much time as possible in that location but at the least spend the day before, the day of the birthday, and the day after in your optimized location. It’s more crucial to be there before the birthday than after.