What’s a solar return chart? How does it work? A solar return chart is your birthday horoscope for the year ahead! It's an astrological method for predicting the future. As the words 'solar' and 'return' suggest it is a horoscope drawn for the precise moment when the sun returns to where it was when you were born. This happens once a year as the sun completes a full tour of the zodiac. And - surprise surprise! - it happens on your birthday! It doesn’t have to be the exact day of your birthday. It could be a day before or the day after. Just as the sun doesn’t always enter a new star sign on the same date every year (one year it can be the 21st, the next the 22nd), so can your personal solar return happen on a day or two either side of your actual birthday. The precise moment this happens gives you your solar return chart.
Interpreting The Solar Return Chart
How is the solar return chart different from your birth chart? While the star sign position of the sun in the solar return is the same as when you where born, the sun might fall in a different astrological house or have different aspects. Your Ascendant might be different too and the planets might be dotted around in different patterns, signs and houses. And so the solar return chart gives you new information, above and beyond your birth chart, it doesn’t replace your natal chart.
Why is it important? Because it’s a mini-you for the year ahead! It describes the next 12 months from your birthday - your 'birthday year' - as well as any available resources and challenges you will face. Look at the house position of the sun. Is it the 10th house? Then you’ll be very focused on your career, on gaining visibility and steering your life into a more meaningful direction. Is it in the 2nd house? Then finances will be central, as will generating security and self-reliance and focusing on what really matters. Is it the 7th house? Relationships will take centre stage and other people - partners, agents, competitors - will play a larger role in your life. You get the picture. The solar return chart works like any other chart. The rest of the horoscope can be analysed as usual, paying special attention to angular planets (i.e. planets conjunct the Ascendant or other angles). Saturn conjunct the Descendant for instance tells a story about relationships being a source of lessons and responsibilities this year. Uranus on the Midheaven signifies unpredictable life changes. Pluto on the Ascendant signifies intensity and personal transformation.
Can you tell if it's an important year? Yes you can! Not all years are created equal. A major aspect between the sun and moon in your solar return chart often indicates an important year ahead. Why? Well, anything involving the sun in your solar return is important because this is a horoscope that focuses on the solar energies in you — your will, ego, vitality and identity. When the sun and moon are in aspect, the moon can help you channel the life force of the sun and so this is a year when you can pour all your energies into things that matter to you greatly. A Leo ascendant also tells an important story in the solar return chart since Leo is ruled by the solar rays. Again it focuses you on following your heart and pursuing your aims.
It’s also worth comparing your solar return chart to your birth chart. How do the two compare? Are there similarities? Differences? If your birth chart shows a predominance of water signs and your solar return chart is full of air signs, for instance, then this might make you feel a little like a fish out of water. Water signifies feelings, which, if you have a watery chart, will be your default mode. With an airy solar return, you’ll be called to set your instinctual reactions aside and develop a more detached, objective approach. Repeat aspects and similar placements between the solar return and natal chart are also of interest, bringing a familiarity to the year’s events and offering a stage for specific dynamics in your character to play out. It’s also worth checking which natal astrological house your solar return Ascendant falls in, as well as whether any natal planets fall on solar return angles and vice versa. Again, this gives you another focal area for the year.
Can you influence your future? Yes you can! This is a fun astrology fact about solar returns! They are usually calculated not for your place of birth but for where you are spending your birthday — or, more precisely, the day that the sun returns to the exact position it was when you were born. So if you draw a solar return chart for your coming birthday in advance and don’t like it too much, you can choose to go spend your birthday in India or in Italy or in Timbuktu and change your luck! Moving location changes your Ascendant and the house placements of all the planets and can make a big difference. Isn't that neat? But you have to be there in that moment! Read also: Jupiter in your Chart: Where is your Luck?
OK, so you’re convinced that solar return charts are worth a look. How can you calculate yours? You need an astrology programme to do so or you can use an online app. You simply input your birth data and the year in question and hey presto! You can also do it manually using the old astrology books but it is a lot harder. Why bother when you can just press a button? Interpretation, of course, needs an experienced astrologer. To bypass all that and get an in-depth look at the year ahead by one of our friendly astrologers just dial 0207 111 6384! And don't forget to check out Tomorrow's Horoscope!