How to Read a Mars Return Chart

One for Astro Peeps and Students…

I do a Solar Return chart each year on my birthday- to mark when the Sun returns exactly back to the position it was at birth. It helps me identify what themes will be important during the year and where my head and heart is likely to be focused.

Lunar Return charts have their uses from a monthly forecasting viewpoint, but that means doing one 12 times a year. Venus returns come around once a year, as does Mercury. Neither of these planets are that strong in my chart so whilst I will cast the return chart, I don’t pay a huge amount of attention to it.

Jupiter is my ruling planet, so his cycles are super important, but given that it takes that great gassy giant 12 years to tramp around the zodiac, I don’t have the focus to use that for planning- I am flat out maintaining a habit for 1 week, let alone setting goals for 12 years!

Mars is different. Mars is very strong in my chart- almost as strong as Jupiter- but with a cycle that is only around 2 years, the plans are achievable.

Just like a Solar Return chart shows where the focus of your solar energy, your ego is invested in the next 12 months, the Mars Return chart indicates where the action will be for the next 2 years.  What is pushing us, where is our passion, where is our motivation?

Mars is also important because it is this energy that empowers us to live the potential of our Sun. Mars fires our creative identity.

Reading the Mars Return (MR) chart

  1. Pay attention to the natal promise of Mars. What is the sign and house of natal Mars? Eg my Mars is strong- in Scorpio in the 8th house. For me, Mars is about transformational and profound experiences. Hunger and sexual energy are absolutely words associated with Mars in Scorpio in the 8th.
  2. If you haven’t looked at Mars Return charts before, check out, say, the last few. Looking with hindsight, how did that energy manifest for you? Looking at my last few Mars Return charts, the Mars story has definitely played out.
  3. Are there any themes from Solar Returns, Mercury or Venus returns that are being repeated in the Mars chart? In my SR chart Jupiter is at 8 Taurus and almost exactly on my North Node. This point is being brought to the Ascendant of the Mars Return chart. Anything that contacts the natal nodes is important in a return chart. This point is repeated in the Mercury Return chart with the Ascendant being 8 Scorpio, my South Node.
  4. Where is Mars in the chart? What is his position by house and aspect? Mars is in the 6th house with a sextiles through to the MR Sun in Virgo. The next couple of years has a 6th house energy about it. The themes are of hard work, perfecting of craft, head down bum up.
  5. What planets are on the MR angles ie 1st, 7th, 10th, 4th? Mars is very close to the Descendant, so Mars will absolutely touch my relationships over the next couple of years. In my Mercury Return chart, Mars is at 19 Virgo and therefore conjunct the natal descendant an Pluto.
  6. Are there any natal planets being brought to the angles of the return chart? Just the Nodes. This is an important return chart.
  7. What part of life is being brought to the MR Ascendant? This will be the area of life that is getting a lot of Mars attention. The natal third house is being brought to the forefront. This also repeats the themes of the Mercury Return.
  8. Check out the position of the Mars Return Moon. It’s in the 9th in Capricorn which ties in well with my publishing ambitions and the business attitude that I am taking with that.


*I cast my Mars return chart using Solarfire. I don’t believe this function is available on the free charts on perhaps other readers may know where a Mars Return chart can be cast for free.

Related Posts:

Mercury Returns

Solar Returns



  1. Excellent article, Jo.

    I made up a chart on Astro*Dienst in the future according to the time I was able to whittle down to make transiting Mars exactly conjunct my natal Mars.

    I’m not anastrologer – help me out – would that make a Mars Return chart?

    1. Yes. When transiting Mars is exact to the degree and the minute of natal Mars is your Mars Return ie Mars returning to its natal position. Have a go at interpreting it- it can be fun!

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