STEPS ON HOW TO INTERPRET A SOLAR RETURN CHART,
A Solar Return chart is a chart made for only one year in the life. It is a very personal way to see how transits will relate to your natal chart and especially the personal planets give an important insight in how they work out this year.
Once you understand the basics of your birth chart interpretation, you can use the same technique on your Solar Return chart. The Solar Return chart is a chart drawn up for the exact time when your Sun makes its yearly return to the position it was on at your birth. So you have a different Solar Return chart every year, but the Sun is always at the same sign and degree. Solar Return charts can be created at http://www.astro.com/ under "Free Horoscopes" "Extended Chart Selection". (excerpt from Wilscontc)
A Solar Return chart should always be looked at in connection with your natal chart , at least according to my own experiences, because we want to see what our natal planets are doing this year and looking at their positions in the SR chart is one way doing that. Putting them on a 2-wheel chart is a good way of viewing them. Put the natal chart in the inner wheel. Use different colours (for the planets, highlight them by hand if you print it out) for both charts. Personally I draw a Solar Return chart, then also a Natal chart with the SR positions around the wheel. That way you can also keep an eye on the natal chart positions of planets.
Note:You can also view the Solar Return as a chart on its own, but it wont tell you as much as when you compare with the natal chart.
It is not easy to interprete a Solar Return chart because very often what we see in there, reflects the hopes and wishes of the individual and not necessary what will happen to him/her. That is also why we have to look at the birth potential. If the Solar Return shows a fantastic career move, but in the natal chart it is clearly seen that any career attempt is going to be non existent (when the woman is a mother rather than a career type) or when there is no fire present, nor any ambition to be seen (Cardinal mode), then we have to be careful. It could be a wish, not a reality.
We start by only looking at the Solar Return chart.
Begin by looking at the overview of the SR chart, just like you would do it for a natal chart.
If you have most planets in your natal chart above the horizon, but now all of a sudden most appear below the horizon in the SR chart, than this could show a year where you will tend to keep more to yourself, turn inwards and become more subjective.
When it is the opposite, then you could probably try to become more social or circumstances will force you to be more “public” this year.
When most planets fall on the Asc. side (east) of the SR chart, you might become more driven and action orientated. You will have more opportunities to do what you like without having to take too much into consideration what others might think or expect from you, which would not be so much the case when most planets would fall on the Desc. side (west).
Which quadrant is most occupied in the Solar Return:
1-4 shows personal needs
5-8 shows much involvement with other people
9-12 could show a transpersonal time in your life, much thinking about your life, your wishes and hopes for the future and more time spend in private, necessary to think things over.
Next, where are most planets situated looking at the houses of the Solar Return chart?
Most planets in angular houses (1-4-7-10), comparible with the Cardinal quality/signs. Angular houses are always very strong and much action could take place, new projects and /or relationships could be started, in any case, mostly anything new undertaken.
Most planets in succedent houses (2-5-8-11) are comparable with the fixed quality (signs)and could show that what you have started at the beginning of the SR year, could be finished (“fixed”) or needs to be finished . Depending on the aspects, opportunities for growth are possible.
Most planets in cadent houses? (3-6-9-12), comparable with the Mutable quality/signs. Therefore it could be a year of change and mental activity. Adaptability is necessary and one could tend to start several things at the same time, unable to really concentrate on one thing at a time.
NOTE: Rising planets, especially natal planets which are in the rising side of the SR chart, and especially the one’s in the 1st house and close to the SR Asc. have a lot of power in this year.
It has also been seen, that natal planets positions in the Solar Return chart can have more impact in this year than Solar Return planets in the SR chart. Always look at both.
Lastly look at the Angles of your Solar Return chart.
Ascendant shows what you want, how you will express your personality.
MC Show what you will aim for and the IC how things could end.
See if they are Fixed,(wanting to stay the same) Cardinal( wanting to advance), or Mutable (wanting to change certain situations).
Cardinal Asc. and IC/MC Fixed: you could start something and end the year by completing what you wanted to do. The Cardinal energy could bring on an exciting and busy time, trying to get something done and the Fixed quality will help you to make it a finished (fixed) product or plan.
Fixed Asc. and Mutable IC/MC? Your conservative ideas or situations (fixed) might have to be changed or will undergo change (Mutability always shows changes with a great deal of activity indicated.
Mutable Asc. and Fixed IC/MC? Things you have not finished yet will need to be concluded . (mutable people have trouble to finish something they started). Try to accomplish something you started a while ago (if you think it is important of course) but listen to your own intuition, rather than to what others tell you.
Fixed Asc. and Cardinal IC/MC: You could expand or update established, (maybe oldfashioned) ideas and . Maybe now is the time to do what you actually wanted to do for a long time and take action (Cardinal attitude)
Intercepted signs and planets are also important to look at, because those houses will be so much bigger. Intercepted planets could have trouble to express their energy at the beginning of the year but when by progression of the angles, they move out of those interceptions they could express their energy later on in the year.
Now begin by comparing SR chart and natal chart.
Begin by looking at the SR Ascendant.
If the SR Ascendant is the same as your natal Asc. then this year could be a very important year with great integration from your part. It does not necessarily have to be an easy year however. The outer planets Uranus, Neptune and Pluto will easily show you if they will cause difficulties or chances.
Should the Natal Descendant become the SR Ascendant, then a difficult year could be awaiting you, but not necessarily a bad year. You might be at the “mercy” of others this year (the East side is now seen on the Asc.,( West side) and East side is always associated with helping others, being of service to others or being dependent on others). Jupiter or Venus rising might help to diminish the problems a bit .
This position could also indicate health problems during the year. Look at the SR 6th house to determine that. Same problems can arise when SR Moon opposes the Sun.
When a marriage should take place in this year, then very often you also will see that the natal Descendant appears on the Solar Return Asc. In my opinion this cannot really show a “difficult” year. That’s why I always look at other transits to the natal chart AND progressed planets to the natal chart, to determine whether this will indeed be a difficult year or not.
The sign on the Asc. will colour your natal Ascendant sign. So if natal Asc. is Capricorn but Solar Asc. is Saggittarius, you might become a bit more adventurous this year, maybe get more interested in other cultures, travel or starting a new study.
As written above, the SR Ascendant ruler and any planets in the 1st SR house are very important.
Look into which house the SR Ascendant falls in your natal chart.
If it falls within 5° of the next house cusp then take the next house.
That house will usually get a lot of focus in the year to come, as well as the house where the Sun is in the SR chart. The Sun never changes sign, but does change house. Also look at both natal and SR rulers of that house.
NB: Should your SR. Asc. be ruled by a transpersonal planet (Uranus, Neptune or Pluto), then also look at this one. The traditionalists amongst us can look at Saturn, Jupiter and Mars or both modern and traditional to get an allround picture
The house in which the Sun falls in the SR chart is the birthday month's forecast and influence, and each house the Sun travels through after that show the following month, since the Sun transits at the rate of one sign or house per month. Each house the Sun gets into will get some focus that month and the sign and planet ruling the cusp of that house, influences the outlook for that month. Pay attention to the aspects the Sun makes to other planets as it will be possible that it could trigger an event.
Look at all the natal planets and see where they are now placed (which house and sign) in the SR chart. The sign will change their expression a bit or add to the natal expression, the house shows the area where they will “shine” this year.
Where the Solar Return MOON falls in the natal chart indicates an area of restlessness at the beginning of the year. The Progressed Moon has to be taken into account as well to form an idea of how your emotional state could be this year.
Natal Saturn in the SR 12th house can show the need to spend time alone, or even hospitalization. A good placement for solitary work. When it is near the Ascendant, then it should be seen as a 1st house planet and there it will show the necessity to concentrate and focus this year or the need for serious assessment of your life situation.
Natal Jupiter in the SR 12th can show a certain amount of protection during the year. (Same is said of natal Jupiter in the 12th house.) When near the Asc. it will be more noticeable in the 1st house and can show more optimism and the need for freedom and/or expansion.
Indicators of Marriage: 3rd, 7th houses accentuated. Sun or Venus conj.SR Ascendant. 5th and 7th houses both activated and Venus prominent could show a love affair (5) which might end into a commitment (7). Also see if progressed Venus is making an important aspect to the MC or Ascendant of the natal chart the following year(s).
Childbirth or Pregnancy: 4th, 5th and 11th houses activated, North Node in the 5th house, ruler of the 5th in the 1st house. Moon in the 5th could mean thinking about it but not necessarily becoming pregnant.
Career/Job change: 2nd, 6th and 10th houses activated. Uranus or Moon in 6th and 10th especially show change. Also look at Uranus transits over the natal chart’s 10th or 6th house.
Home change: 4th house prominent. Moon or Uranus in 4th. Uranus can also show changes within the home as well, like an addition made or changing the furniture. Mars could show more activity regarding family or home matters.
Saturn in SR 4th shows staying in the same place.
Health:1st, 6th and 12th houses. Sun-Moon oppositions could show health problems. Good aspects between them show good health.
Surgery : 8th and Mars in the 8th or on the Asc. or the Moon in the 8th, challenged. (also for dental surgery and caesarian section delivery) but also look at the transiting or progressed Mars aspecting the Ascendant.
Inheritance: strong 2nd/8th activity.
Divorce: 3rd (dissolution of contract), 7th (break with partner), 8th (financial settlements) and the 9th (legal activities). Pluto, Uranus and Mars angular (because they will conjunct, square or oppose the 7th house.
Solar Return planets are only to be considered active when they aspect a natal planet!
Any planet within 3° of a cusp, activates that house.
Any planet on an angle or within 5° before the angle should get extra attention, as well as the house this planet rules.
Any Solar Return planet which conjuncts the same natal planet, like SR Venus conjunct natal Venus (within 3° to 4°) is particularly significant and the SR houses ruled by them also need special attention.
SR planets forming a T-square or Grand Square with a natal opposition or T-square or a YOD with a natal quincunx can show great activity in the natal houses.
A Solar Return chart can be progressed by moving the housecusps. This is done with the moving of the MC. The MC moves 1° every 4 days which comes then to 7.5° per month etc. When you have found the new position of the MC, then look in your table of houses to find the corresponding Ascendant and other housecusps.
So in this case it is not the planets which move, but the angles which move towards the planets! When any planet gets to less than 5° distance from a SR planet, that could then show that something might happen in relation to that planet and the house it rules.
Do keep all aspects between natal and Solar Return planets within 5° orb.
Below you find some links, also explaining the Solar Return by Celeste Teal and Mary Shea:
Frequently asked questions about Solar Returns, also which location you should use to draw the SR chart, your present location (where you spend most of your time during the year), your place of birth or the place you are at the time of your birthday (on vacation in another country for instance) are explained here:
Revised by Starlink, March 30, 2010