Solar Return Charts Pt 1

Jo comp SR chart

Warning: This is one for Astro peeps/students/whatever. Happy to field any questions.

It’s blackboard & chalk time. Astro 102- how to read a Solar Return chart.

The Solar Return is a really old predictive astrology tool. It’s not great from a timing viewpoint, but is great when combined with transits & progressions at looking at the overall theme for the year ahead.

From a definition viewpoint, it is a chart cast for the moment that the Sun returns to the exact degree and minute of arc that it was when you were born. For this reason, your Solar Return chart may not actually be on your birth date- eg my Solar return for this year occurred on the 11th March, not my actual birthday. Also, for this reason, it is extremely important that the birth time is absolutely accurate.

Some other other points about the Solar Return Chart:

  • You read it both on its’ own and in conjunction with the natal chart
  • You can “relocate” it to wherever you are in the world at that time. Given that I am super boring and haven’t lived anywhere other than Australia, I don’t need to do that.
  • You can cast your solar return chart for free at astrodienst. Sorry, I haven’t popped the link in as it brings up all my info (heavy sigh). Just head to

So, you have your chart, what to do now? Different astrologers have different methods. The below is a combo of how I was taught & other stuff I have picked up along the way- with my own chart as illustration- after all, it is my birthday & today, at least, it is all about me.

Check out the Solar Return (SR) chart on its’ own.

What sign is the Ascendant in?

This will pretty well be your approach for the year. And heaven help you all, this year my SR Ascendant is in Scorpio. Intensity in triplicate (as an aside, my progressed Moon is also in Scorpio). That means that my personality will be flavoured by Scorpio things- which given that I am extremely Plutonic (a 59 on Donna Cunningham’s Pluto test…ouchee) and already have control issues should be interesting. This will definitely be a year where I go “within” even more than usual.

Other Scorpio stuff like paranoia, jealousy and obsession I will need to be careful with, but can embrace the extra focus & fixity. The words I dislike the most- transformation & regeneration- are associated with a Scorpio SR Ascendant.

Money and finances- especially those of other people are also Scorpio themes. Personally, I live in hope that what was once the property of NSW Lotteries may one day be mine…

Check out the ruler of the Ascendant

OK, Pluto (the modern ruler of Scorpio) is in Capricorn at 7 degrees and is trine my natal north node…and you should take notice of any SR planet in the degree of the nodes…but I am a tad ahead of my self here.

Mars, the traditional ruler, is in the 5th house in Pisces, in a (wide-ish) conjunction to the Sun).  Fifth house activities will definitely drive me this year.

What House is the SR Sun in?
This is the area of life that is most in focus for the next 12 months. Mine is in the 5th, so I want to shine and really make an investment of myself in 5th house themes.

The 5th house is all about the things we give birth to & the things we take risks on. It is where we fall in love, have love affairs, have kids, have sex (but fun sex, not pro-creational, 8th house sex), gamble, party, be creative, give birth to new projects. That sort of stuff. It is also the house traditionally associated with Leo, the ego and self expression.

The house the SR Sun is in progresses in cycles- if you don’t move locations too much. As I already said, I am boring, so mine is fairly standard textbook. Essentially the Sun moves clockwise 3 houses. So last year my Sun was in the 8th house, this year it will be in the 5th & next year in the 2nd…and so on.  If you want a really great explanation for this, and the Sun in each house, check out Mary Fortier Shea’s site.

If the SR Sun is on an angle ie conjunct the cusp of the 1st, 4th, 7th or 10th houses, it will be an important year.

What aspects are made by the Sun

The SR Sun is in between Mars in Pisces and a very powerful Uranus (see part 2 re critical degrees) at the very tail end of Pisces. Change will very definitely colour my Sun this year. The SR Sun also trines the angles.

If the SR Sun is in a challenging or hard aspect to the SR Moon, eg square or opposition, this will be a big year.

Where is the SR Moon

This year it is in social Gemini. The position of the Moon is more important as that shows your emotional focus for the year. For the 2nd year in a row, mine is in the 7th house. Relationships are an absolute focus. This is where I act unconsciously, possibly not as rationally as I could, and where I have a huge emotional investment. As for aspects? There is a square to Chiron (unhealed wounds etc) & and out of sign square to Neptune, indicating some delusional or illusory nature to how I feel. Hello? I am a triple Pisces!!!!

The Moon also is in cycles. It tends to carry the same element for a couple of years. For the last 3 years (08, 09, 10) I have had Earth SR Moons. Practicality & security has been the order of the day. This year it has changed to Air with a Gemini Moon. Change and adjustment will be a large lunar theme for me.

Are there any planets on the angles of the SR chart?

These are emphasised during the year. In my chart, Venus is close to the IC and the Moon to the 7th. Home & relationships & base relationships perhaps?

Tomorrow, we will look at how to read the Solar Return Chart with the natal chart.

Looking for more information?

Cafe Astrology is probably the best online resource I found when I was studying for my Predictive Astrology exam.

Bernadette Brady also has a good chapter in The Eagle & the Lark

I got heaps of info listening to CD recordings from Astro Conferences. Lynn Bell’s Cycles of Light from the FAA NSW Conference 2008 in particular. If you are a memeber of an Astro Federation, see what is in their library you can borrow.


  1. Thanks Jo ,

    You have a gift for translating things into easily digested reading. I read Alan Leo on this subject a while ago and well….you would appreciate the contrast.


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