I thought that this might be the perfect time to do a little piece on solar returns, a favorite technique of the astrological pro and novice alike. If you know a little bit about each of the planets, signs and houses, then you should be able to read your own solar return chart.
The concept is thus; once a year the sun returns to the exact same position it was at the time of your birth. For example, I was born at 14 degress 14 minutes Gemini and once every year the sun returns to that spot. The idea is that casting a chart for the time that the sun returns to 14’14 Gemini in 2008 will show me what my upcoming year will look like. This is a solar return chart.
If you do not have astrological software the easiest way to do this on your own would be to go to the site http://www.astro.com and enter your birth data and they will give you a free chart. You can scroll down from where it says ‘natal chart wheel’ to ‘natal chart + solar return chart, with houses’.
Because the suns movement is measured by degrees and not by days, your solar return could actually be happening a day before or after your actual birth date. For me this year, my solar return was at 8:04 am on June 4th, even though my birthday is on the 5th.
Now there are two schools of thought when it comes to solar returns. One school of thought is that your solar return should always be cast for the place where you were born, whether or not you live there, have lived there recently or will be celebrating your solar return there. The other school of thought is that once you find out the exact time of your solar return in the place you were born (eg. 8:04 am in NYC) you can cast a separate chart for that time somewhere else, like where you are planning on spending your birthday.
I live in the Virgin Islands, not in New York, so I will cast a chart for 8:04 am, June 4, 2008 for St. John and this will give me different version of my solar return. Personally I think that both charts are valid, just like it is valid to read both your sun sign and your rising sign in the horoscope column. It is certainly worth doing a chart for the place you will be for your birthday if it is not the place you were born. The two charts could look quite different! And while no charts are necessarily ‘better’ than others, being in a certain location could move a lucky planet into a finance house for example and that could be desirable. I even know some people who go so far as to plan trips around their birthday to places where they have a more favorable chart than the place that they live! It is something you can have fun with.
The main thing to look for in solar return charts is planets being very close to one of the four major angles; the 1st (self), 4th (home), 7th (partner) and 10th (career) houses. These will show that major themes of the upcoming year. And the house position of the sun and moon will show the areas of life where much of your energy is being directed.
Just another fun astrological tool!