Category: Astrology Basics Written by Robert Wilkinson Views: 1257
Over the years I’ve heard many questions about how the Solar Return charts fits into the bigger picture of our lives as shown by our progressions and the transits we’re dealing with. Since we all have one Solar Return every year, today we’ll explore how the Solar Return fits into everything else in our charts, lives, and consciousness.
We’ll begin with a fundamental fact. The Solar Return chart is a snapshot of the transits at a certain moment. It is a chart showing the transit patterns in an exact moment of time exactly where we are.
A Solar Return chart indicates a set of on-going transit patterns within which our Solar Return Sun finds itself. Just like any other transit, it shows the larger gestalt and circumstances within which other primary factors in our charts play out in our lives. The Sun is center stage, illuminating all else on stage. The other planets are players, moving in and out of view on stage, positioned in different ways to each other as we move through the years.
The Solar Return is a snapshot of our "view of the field of circumstances" relative to the return of the Light to our Light. Transits represent the external circumstances of our lives. The Solar Return illuminates an exact transit pattern in time, and as it is based in the return to the Light to our Light, gives us a view of the patterns and lessons of the Light of our next year.
What It Is and What It’s Not
The Solar Return shows us an illuminated pattern of the year to come. It shows the place and sign of each planetary player when the Sun is aligned with our Sun. Each Solar Return gives us a glimpse of Illumination, whether of Self or things, whatever that means at the time we’re having it. However, the Solar Return cannot override or replace our natal factors and how we have progressed in those traits and subsequent traits to the age we’re at now. What we bring to the table determines the feast.
This is an important point in how Astrology relates to our lives. Regardless of whether our natal and progressed positions are this or that, we all have elements of personality (shown by our natal patterns) and from childhood on have the task of integrating our body, feelings, and mind so we’re a natural vehicle for the Higher Self. Our personality parts are shown by our “Sacred Seven” planets.
The Solar Return shows the “Light of circumstances” we will see in the course of the next 12 months. It can show specific emphases and the requirements of the seasons to come, but we will still BE who we are regardless of those circumstances. We enter each Solar Return with the momentum of who we’ve been and who we are. We can always choose to change certain personality expressions, but we’ll always act according to our State of Being.
In my counseling sessions over the years I've helped thousands find an ideal Solar Return chart within the limits already discussed in previous articles. Still, a Solar Return chart cannot be considered "more important" than the natal or progressed charts. They cannot indicate something contrary to what the natal indicates, nor can they be used to bring forth a result not in alignment with our Dharma.
Regardless of our natal patterns, we are an Eternal Consciousness dancing with matter. Our evolution is a continuum of consciousness. We are always aware of certain things on our never-ending journey in that continuum of evolving awareness.
The Solar Return chart must be related to what is already indicated by the natal factors, as well as our progressed Sun, progressed Moon, progressed ruler of the Ascendant, natal and progressed dispositors of our Sun, and so forth. Then what we put into motion at the Solar Return corresponds to elements of our existence which we can work and play with. This can be related to how we are responding to the transits, since in fact it is a "frozen moment" of transits relative to our natal Light/Life.
Some astrologers have the idea that a SR chart exists on its own, and read it like a natal chart, as though magically the natal and progressed factors are of less influence than the SR. Again, It can help us identify our "Light" response within the larger patterns of the year to come, but regardless of the sign on the SR Ascendant, our natal or progressed Ascendant tendencies are not altered, nor the power of the rulers of the natal and progressed Ascendant. The SR Ascendant shows us how we will relate to our self-image in the following year, modifying our inherent self-image through how we deal with circumstances the next 12 months.
What we are aware of from our earliest years is indicated by our natal chart. We are born with certain tendencies. These are modified over time and experience in our dance with transits and progressions, from childhood to adult. These create habit patterns in our physical/material, emotional/social, and mental arenas of our lives.
These patterns “are as they are” regardless of whether a transiting planet has returned to its natal position or not. That said, if we note the patterns going on at various planetary returns, we do get a general snapshot of the themes of those cycles to come. And by knowing which planets are accented, which are stressed, and which are specializing, we can understand what to do and when, aware of any tendencies to resist change or malfunction instead of acting wisely.
Other Planetary Returns
There is an entire sub-branch of Astrology devoted to studying the correlations of planetary returns applied to natal and progressed tendencies. The most popular of these is the Lunar Return, happening each month when the Moon returns to its natal degree and minute. The Mercury return always happens at least once a year, or as many as three times if it retrogrades.
The Venus Return is of course the return of Venus to its natal degree and minute each year, as is the Mars return every two years. Every two years or so, Venus and Mars go retrograde. So in 2020, anyone with a Venus between 7 and 21 Gemini will had THREE Venus returns; the first in April or early May; the second in late May through late June; the third in late June or July 2020.
In an example, because my Mars is at 24 Aries, I had THREE Mars returns in 2020. The first was in mid-August; the second was in early October; the third was at the December Solstice. That means I began a new Mars cycle in August, but it slowed down and/or reversed course in September, and I got a new understanding of how my Mars was related to the general Mars energy in early October.
Then Mars went direct in November, and by the December 2020 Solstice I was expressing my Mars according to my new experience. That in fact was the case, as that period correlated with stopping something which had become a gigantic ongoing hassle for many months.
Beginning with the Jupiter return, it gets more difficult to calculate an exact Ascendant since Jupiter’s degree and minute of longitude may be several minutes’ duration. A Jupiter return shows us a cycle of expansion, whether individually, socially, or spiritually, that will last approximately 12 years.
In an example, using my software it calculates my previous Jupiter return (25 Pisces 23) for all three transits in 2010. The first while direct is said to have happened on May 8 at 11 pm MST, the second while retrograde is said to have happened on October 15 at 8:37 am MST, and the third while direct happened at 4:47 am MST. As you may wonder, which is the chart for the return? I would think all three would have played some part in my Jupiterian expression these past 11 years! (The next one is April 18, 2022, at 3:32 pm MST, which will re-set the entire cycle!)
Any planet beyond Jupiter is almost impossible to calculate to an exact minute of time. Of course, good software calculates it to the exact degree, minute, and second of longitude, so we can get pretty close these days! In a strange twist of fast, my second Saturn return also happened three different times! The first while direct was October 12, 2009, the second while retrograde was May 14, 2010, and the third while direct was June 14, 2010. So I had literally THREE exact Jupiter returns and THREE exact Saturn returns in a 14 month period!
Besides having the chart for the exact planetary return, there’s another important factor I introduced in Saturn: Spiritual Master, Spiritual Friend. I have found we usually begin to experience our Saturn return from the moment it enters the sign of our natal Saturn, or if our Saturn is in the early degrees of a sign, then it begins as Saturn gets to within about 20 degrees of our natal Saturn, especially if our natal Saturn is retrograde, since then it progresses backward toward the previous sign.
I began to experience my Saturn returns when Saturn first entered Virgo, even though mine is at 29 Virgo. I have experienced my Jupiter returns beginning at Jupiter’s first entry into Pisces, as well as the months it occupied the sign whether within range of a conjunction with my natal Jupiter or not. That also means I should begin to experience my next one in May, when Jupiter again enters Pisces, even if it goes stationary retrograde at 3 Pisces.
By all means, take a look at your planetary returns, since they may give you clues as to why your Mercury and Venus lessons took the shape they did in a given year, and why your 2-year Mars returns set your “attack on the affairs of life” during key periods of your life.
And now, back to the Solar Return, which lights up our Life from year to year!
Why Is The Solar Return Such A Strong Influence, and How Long Does It Last?
The influence of the Solar Return chart lasts only one year. It indicates the activities and experiences of that span to be incorporated in our Life Mythos, the arc of the narrative of our “Hero’s Journey.”
Each Solar Return shows us a new way to view and live our Light. While any given year brings us important information, we will still reference everything to who we are. That is indicated by our natal and progressed tendencies, since those indicate the unbroken experience of our evolving inner Self in life.
Here I’ll reiterate an important point I offered recently. Since the Sun is the ultimate point of reference in a Solar Return chart, everything indicated by the Solar Return must in some way serve to bring forth that Light of the true Self, the Light of the Heart. That’s why the house position of the Sun, and how it aspects the Ascendant, are very important in a Solar Return chart.
It is said the moment of the Solar Return, the transiting Sun exactly conjunct our natal Sun, opens us to our Solar Self, the Limitless Light that illuminates us. As we are illuminated, so we illuminate others. That's why the Sun in a chart is the single most important indicator of our true Self.
The Sun shows us our Light/Life that continually integrates and re-integrates us with the source of all vitality. The return of the Light with our Light offers us a chance to re-identify our lives with its incredible power and radiance. You can see how this is an important recurring moment in our evolution toward "Sun-ship."
A Few Hints About Reading A Solar Return Chart
On a final note for astrologers, according to what I learned from older sources about the precepts for reading the Solar Return chart, it must be interpreted in a very different way than a natal chart. In traditional astrology, everything in the SR must be referenced to the natal houses and their rulers, as well as progressed planets. While we can find important factors standing on their own in the SR chart, we were told to regard the planetary SR positions in terms of the houses they rule in the natal chart.
Thus the ruler of the natal Ascendant will be involved in whatever sign and house affairs are indicated by where it is in the SR chart. This will govern the affairs of your evolving self-image and body. If you want to get a snapshot of your partnerships for the coming year, look at where the natal ruler of the house of partnership falls in the solar return chart, as well as where the ruler of the SR 7th is in the SR chart and how it aspects planets in the natal chart. Generally, look at the various aspects between the SR planets and you’ll see the relationships between those areas in your natal chart in the coming year.
Another approach involves two different but related ways of superimposing the SR and the natal chart. The first places the SR chart over the natal, showing the actual transits positions as our natal tendency is to view things. The second places the natal inside the SR chart, supposedly showing how we view that frozen moment. Much can be learned from all three of these techniques. In any case, because the SR represents the moment when the Great Light returns to our Light/Life, it illuminates the patterns we’ll live with as we open to being illuminated, and illuminating others.
In our final article in this series which I’ll publish soon, we’ll flesh out some concepts from our first three articles, and go more in depth on other planetary returns and how Solar returns generate evolving patterns of growth on their own, as well as with Eclipses.
© Copyright 2021 Robert Wilkinson - https://www.aquariuspapers.com
About the author:
Robert wilkinson An internationally-known astrologer, author, public speaker, metaphysician, and futurist, with over 25 years experience as a counselor and educator. He has presented hundreds of public talks on all aspects of Astrology, the Eastern Wisdom tradition, the Western Wisdom tradition and promoted many mass gatherings and cultural events. Some of his specific areas of interest and expertise include personality profiles, degree patterns, integrative astrology, various aspect harmonics, among others.
Reprinted on crystalwind.ca. with persmission from Robert Wilkinson.
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