by Robert Wilkinson
The Solar Return is one of the more important charts we can have done. It is a chart done for the exact time each year that the Sun returns to its natal position at the exact degree and minute of longitude as it was at our birth. It provides a snapshot of what the year to come looks like, and stands on its own as a powerful indicator of what we can expect in the year that follows. It is the original reason the birthday was deemed so important, and why we celebrate our birthday every year. It represents the renewal of our light.
The exact degree, minute, and second of our Sun was fixed by the time, date, and place we were born. Each year, the Sun returns to that exact position at some point. It may be our birthday, but I have found it is just as likely to be the day before, and in some cases, the day after. It can fall at any time of the day, as that is dependent on the place we are when it happens.
For example, if it occurs in California at 5:58 pm, it will occur in Texas at 7:58 pm, New York at 8:58 pm, and in London at 1:58 am the next day. Thus you can see the Ascendant changes depending on where we are, which affects which houses the planets will occupy at the Solar Return. The sign and degree of the planets never changes, but the houses do change.
We cannot affect which planets are in square or trine to each other, and cannot shift their sign positions by going somewhere else, but we can shift what’s on the angles, and which houses the planets fall in. Thus we alter the accent of which areas of our lives will be the focus of different planetary energies, rulerships, etc.
Over the years, I have chosen to go to the place where my own Solar Return is most auspiciously placed, to facilitate the most favorable conditions for my “Solar” year that follows. Some years I have stayed home, since that was the most favorable chart, while other years I have flown or driven to other states, or even other cities near my home, to get the best possible chart. It is very auspicious to be meditating on that exact moment, since I believe it provides an exact moment of attunement of our light with the Light.
Every planet in our charts has a return at some point except the outer invisible triad, and even there if we live long enough we’ll get a Uranus return. Most will never get a Neptune or Pluto return, unless we live to 250 years, an unlikely possibility unless we are a fully realized yogi or yogini. That said, we get a Lunar return every month when the Moon returns to our natal Lunar position. We get Mercury and Venus returns once a year, a Mars return every two years, a Jupiter return every 11-12 years, and a Saturn return every 27-29 years.
So we get many planetary returns, and each one sets the following cycle. I believe that many astrologers give the Lunar return more power than it is due while underestimating the power of the Mars return and the Jupiter return, even if finding an “exact time” is more difficult for these due to the relative slowness of their motions. For instance, a Jupiter return can show us how best to apply ourselves spiritually and opportunistically for the 12 year period to come, no small thing.
Of course, everyone dreads the Saturn return, though I have found that it is the time of life when free will works most powerfully to help us throw off the chains that enslave us to obsolete ways of life and claim dominion over our responses and move into the life we should be living rather than the life others have imposed upon us.
Each planetary return has their place of importance in our lives, and offers a picture of the cycle to come. They are interpreted somewhat differently than the natal or progressed charts, since they are merely a snapshot of the transits in a cosmic moment, and are relevant only relative to the natal chart and whatever progressions we have at the time of the return chart. While they have merit as charts to be interpreted in their own right, for maximum understanding they need to be seen in light of the natal rulerships and configurations.
And for those of you who wonder why I’m writing about this now, today is my own Solar return. So on this auspicious day, I send my Aries birthday greetings out to all of you, and hope that you will celebrate with me the renewal of the light in my life. I will certainly continue to send it out to all of you. Namaste !
p.s. No, I'm not worried that the recent eclipse fell so close to my Sun. As I've said, I believe it will usher in very favorable changes for all of us. Have no fear of what is leaving, since what is coming will no doubt be more appropriate to your future than whatever is taken away. Even if it feels bad, it's time to move on, with as much goodwill and positivity as you can muster. Aries can "turn on a dime," and I have no doubt that may be a useful skill in the future.