by Robert Wilkinson
The Solar Return is the moment each year when the Sun is exactly the same natal degree, minute, and second as when we were born. It can happen the day before our birthday, the day after, or on our birthday. A chart done for that moment, set for wherever we are, offers a look at what we can expect in our year to come.
As many of you know, my birthday is April 1. However, I always meditate at the time of the Solar Return, opening to the promise of what could be. It is said that moment opens us to our Solar Self, the Limitless Light that illuminates us. And 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 return of our Light, offering us a chance to re-identify our lives with its incredible power and radiance, is an important moment in our evolution.
We do the chart for where we are, since that's where we experience the commencement of our next Solar year. As you can infer, the Solar Return gives us some latitude in shaping how we will experience the year to come, since where we choose to be at that moment influences what sign and degree are on the angles and therefore what house the planets are in.
We cannot influence the planetary aspects, since they are set by time itself rather than space. But by where we do the return, we can select whether we want a planet in a certain house. This is important in how we will experience our year to come.
Sometimes I've traveled across the continent to achieve a certain set of positions. Other times, I've stayed home since it yielded a great chart, or because of time, space, financial, or some other "real world" limitation. And some years I've been able to go a short distance to affect the degrees on the angles, placing the planets in seemingly more favorable positions.
This year I'm staying home, since I'd have to drive more than an hour simply to achieve even a shift of one degree on the angles. That's a lot of time, energy, and money expended for relatively little difference. Who wants to drive for more than an hour on a freeway, try to meditate from a place of centeredness in a strange location, then jump back in the car and drive over an hour back? You can see that spending a lot of time on a freeway might not be the best way to enjoy a Solar Return!
As I offered last year, I've had some very strange Solar Returns. One involved getting up at 4:20 am in New York City and trying to meditate, which of course is not the best time to do it unless you've trained your body to get up that early. I had just flown in for charts and talks, and saw that it was better to stay in the city that night. The meditation was short, since my body was still on PST, so it felt like 1:20 am. Still, that chart yielded the results I hoped for, though they came at the end of the year rather than throughout the entire year.
Another weird Solar Return involved driving a half hour to meditate in a park in a strange town in Northern California at 12:55 am, which became somewhat surreal since the police kept driving by. I'm sure they were wondering why a strange car was next to a park in the middle of the night! As you can imagine, that also was a relatively short meditation. That chart also yielded the results I hoped for, given the limitations of the aspects and just how far I could tweak the chart.
Still, I've had some really great meditations in other years at more reasonable hours, which is a good way to launch a year. By all means try to achieve whatever focus you can for as long as you can, since everything really is connected on one level and another.
Even if your Solar Return has already passed, much can be discerned by studying the chart set for wherever you were. You may see how some things have transpired already, or are challenging you to move your view in a certain direction. You may get clear about why you're feeling differently, or why you have had a new set of interests since your last Solar Return. Even if you were not in meditation at your last SR, you can still meditate on what the chart is showing you about this year of your life, and so align your consciousness with your Solar Self.
As noted above, sometimes the effects of doing the Solar Return in another place have seemed to be "postponed" until near the end of that particular Solar year, while other years the effects have been fairly dramatic from the get-go. Regardless of where we choose to do the Solar Return, it's always good to be in meditation at that moment of perfect Solar alignment with our natal Sun. We can set many intentions at that time, though I must add that we seldom achieve anything lasting not already shown by the natal and progressed charts.
That's because the Sun symbolizes our integrity, power, light, and centeredness within our "Solar system" of life and affairs. If what we want isn't in line with our integrity or illumination path, then even if we muscle it into existence, it will usually dis-integrate fairly quickly, being a set of aggregates with no substantial reality. Nothing is forever except our Light, Love, and Power to "restore the Plan on Earth." And one Solar Return gives one set of lessons and harvests, while the next holds different ones.
The Solar Return chart is a snapshot of the transits at a certain moment, thus showing an external set of patterns within which our Sun finds itself. It shows the larger gestalt and circumstances within which other primary factors in our charts demonstrate. The Solar Return chart must be related to what is already indicated by the progressed Sun, progressed Moon, progressed ruler of the Ascendant, and so forth. Then what we put into motion at the Solar Return corresponds to an element of our existence which we can work and play with.
In my counseling sessions over the years I've helped thousands find an ideal Solar Return chart within the limits already discussed. However, here I must stress an important fact. A Solar Return chart cannot be considered "more important" than the natal or progressed charts. Its influence lasts only one year, and it indicates the activities of that span to be incorporated in our Life Mythos. While any given year brings important experiences, they must be framed within our natal and progressed tendencies, since those indicate the unbroken experience of ourselves in various life areas.
Some amateur 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. The SR can never override our natal and progressed patterns. It can help us identify our "light" response within the larger pattern for the next year, 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.
Natal and progressed factors do not cease to exist regardless of whether the SR chart indicates x or y. AND! According to traditional Astrology, the SR chart must be interpreted in a very different way than a natal chart. 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, everything relates directly to the rulerships of the natal houses. And the SR chart must be done with Equal Houses for very important reasons. I can't really go into the nuances of chart interpretation here, since that's an entire course of study. But when I set up my on line classes....
Anyway, since it's my Solar Return in a short while, I think I'll get another cup of coffee, pet the cat and prepare to do my meditation. If you want to know more, please revisit the article The Solar Return. In it I elaborate on some of the things I've touched on here. And to note, the Eclipse I reference at the end of that article did take me away from where I lived at the time, but also allowed me to embrace a new life that all in all is quite fulfilling.
Mahalo, L'chaiim, Prosit, A Salut, Namaskar, and A votre sante'!
From the April Fool, enjoy this day (and tomorrow!)
© Copyright 2009 Robert Wilkinson