by Robert Wilkinson
The Solar Return happens every year when the Sun returns to the exact degree, minute, and second as it was 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 location we are at, gives us a snapshot of factors at play in our year to come.
As many of you know, my birthday is April 1. However, I always meditate in the immediate time before, during, and after the exact moment of the Solar Return. I move into an inner space of making my consciousness receptive to the promise of the possibilities of what could develop in the year to come from the doing the best with the Solar Return factors.
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."
I always calculate the chart for the location where a person is, 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. In the Solar Return, a square is a square and a trine is a trine regardless of what sign is on what house. However, where we do the return is important, since many times where we are determines what house a planet falls in. This is important in one way of viewing how we will experience our year to come.
Some years I traveled across the continent to achieve a certain set of positions. Other years I stayed home since it yielded a great chart, or because of time, space, financial, or some other "real world" limitation.
Other 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. Even a shift of one degree may matter in this regard, since that may affect the Part of Fortune and occasionally even what sign is on what house cusp.
Some years that shift in one degree matters more than others. While last year I stayed home since any difference in location would not have yielded a substantially "better" chart, this year I'm driving to a place about 90 miles away to put significantly more favorable degrees on the angles.
As I told you in a past Solar Return article, 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 the Solar Return chart was better for staying in the city that night rather than drive out and do the meditation in Bridgehampton. 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 mostly they demonstrated at the end of that Solar year rather than throughout the entire 12 month period.
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 cruising by checking my car out. 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 very good way to launch a new Solar year. By all means try to achieve whatever focus you can for as long as you can, since everything really is connected on many levels simultaneously.
Even if your Solar Return has already passed, much can be discerned by studying the chart set for wherever you were at that time. 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 how you're viewing and experiencing this particular year of your life. Seen from an angle of Solar integration of your Light/Life, you may get clues of how this time is helping you align your consciousness with your Solar Self.
As I mentioned, 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 evident and sometimes even dramatic from the outset. 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 indicated in 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, intend, or attempt isn't in line with our integrity or Path to 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 previous and future ones hold different lessons and realizations.
Basically, the Solar Return chart is a snapshot of the transits at a certain moment. Thus it indicates 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. It is our "view of the field of circumstances," but it does not override nor replace our natal and progressed Self.
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, 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.
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 our evolving Self 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. Again, the SR can never override our natal and progressed patterns. It can help us identify our "light" response within the larger external patterns 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 and the precepts for reading the Solar Return chart, it 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. Also, I believe the SR chart should 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 few hours, I think I'll post this, 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 in retrospect has been very productive and fulfilling.
Mahalo, L'chaiim, Prosit, A Salut, Namaskar, A votre sante', Aum and Blessings!
From the April Fool, enjoy this day (and tomorrow!)
© Copyright 2010 Robert Wilkinson