The Solar Return is the return of the Sun to its natal position. The Return Chart is a summary of the year ahead. A striking year will be one where a planet is partile or within a degree to one of the angles like Ascendant or Midheaven. Donald A Bradley, author of “Solar and Lunar Returns”, and Eshelman in his book “Interpreting Solar Returns”, both recommend precessing the chart so that the Sun truly returns to its natal placing. Robert Hand also suggests using precession correction in return charts in “Planets in Transit“. UPDATE! ~ I have tried various methods of Solar Returns since I wrote this article including the traditional. In the end I think the Solar Return chart should always be looked at alongside transits, solar arc and secondary progressions. The Solar Return should not be taken too seriously as a stand alone prediction, put as one piece of the puzzle.
To draw up a Sidereal Solar Return Chart on Astrodienst
If you haven’t got a software program like Solar Fire to automatically precess the Solar Return, use this method: Go to the Astrodienst extended chart selection. First do the Solar Return as a Fagan/Bradley sidereal chart using the location of your birthday for the year you are doing it for, NOT the natal location (unless it happens to be the same). Then redo the chart as a normal tropical natal chart using the time and date from the SR sidereal chart. This will be a precession-corrected Solar Return. You can then run it as a bi-wheel putting the natal chart on the outside. If natal planets falls on or near an angle in the solar return then this too is significant
Solar Return Interpretation
Bradley and Eshelman also dispense with looking at the signs and read the chart by aspects alone. Though Bradley sticks to the Ptolemeic aspects, regarding the conjunction, opposition and square being most important. He disregards the hard aspects as being stressful, saying that the nature of the planets involved are more important. However he wouldn’t include the quincunx either which I have found to be important when a Solar return chart produces a Yod.
The most important things to look at in all Solar Returns are the planets in conjunct with the AC/DC, MC/IC. You can give quite a wide orb. Up to 8 degrees. This is why precessing is so important. As this will be totally different on a precessed chart. The aspects between the planets will be exactly the same, but in different houses. A planet conjunct the angle will be hugely emphasised for that year. The tighter is is the more dramatic the year. It has been suggested using the methods above that a malefic, ie Mars, Saturn (or a difficult outer planet like Neptune and Pluto) on the angles, augurs a difficult year ahead. If they are partile it could even be quite a traumatic year.
The malefics on the angles theory is interesting. But what on earth do you say to a client who has Saturn on the AC!? The last two SR charts I did happened to have this, but I don’t think it helps to warn of impending doom. So I had a look at my own SR charts going back to test this theory. I looked at precessed compared to non-precessed using four big events.
Some Solar Return Charts 2004-2010
DEATH OF FATHER Non-precessed – Nothing angular. Precessed – Saturn conjunct DC, North Node conjunct IC. The souls evolution so tightly aligned to the parental axis and the deathly Saturn wins over the non-precessed hands down.
SEPARATED FROM HUSBAND Non-precessed – Pluto conjunct AC. Precessed – Lilith conjunct AC, Mars conjunct MC, Uranus conjunct DC in 7th house. This was a hard year for me but not devastating. I relished in my new found freedom. Uranus on the DC set me free. Lilith the forbidden fruit that tempted me out of my domestic situation.
DIVORCED & BECAME AN ASTROLOGER Non-precessed – Mars conjunct IC. Precessed – Lilith/Pluto conjunct DC, Neptune conjunct MC. Neptune dissolved the marriage and brought me Astrology. Pluto/Lilith an intense new sexual relationship which transformed my life.
SECOND MARRIAGE Non-precessed – Moon conjunct IC. Precessed – Jupiter conjunct DC. Self explanatory, lucky Jupiter conjunct my house of marriage gave me a wedding in a foreign country (Jupiter) and was far more descriptive of my year than the Moon on the IC even if it was closer.
Precessed works for me. Dads death the most convincing since that Saturn on my DC spelt death for my marriage also. It started going downhill from there. This happened two years before I finally left my husband.
I would regard Saturn on an angle as useful for business. I don’t think is necessarily always a bad thing though it does suggest depression. I had a great year financially the year I had Saturn on my DC. It was like my dear Dad was sending me cash from the grave. Giving me good old Saturn support.