Solar Return

Today I’m entering the orb of my next solar return. I’ve talked about solar returns before, and I’m going to do it again. I’ll use the fact that I’m getting an early birthday present next week as an excuse.

In astrology you have a natal chart, which is a snapshot of where the planets and signs were when you were born. Then there are progressions, which are the implied drift of those planets over your lifetime. And there are transits, which are the day-to-day movements of the planets in real time in relation to where they were “frozen” in that natal chart.

And then there’s the solar return, which is your astrological birthday. Basically, it’s the time each year when the Sun returns to the same place in the sky it was when you were born. It may or may not happen exactly on your birthday, but it will happen within a day or so of it. This year my solar return will occur on my actual birthday in December. (And I’ll simultaneously experience my Venus return at the same time, but that’s another story.)

So why am I talking about it now?

Well, astrological influences aren’t light switches. They don’t suddenly go on and off. They ebb and flow. And with solar returns, the tide of influence begins roughly three months before the actual return and can continue for three months after the new return. Sort of a bleed in/bleed out.

What difference does it make? Well, if you’re sensitive to it, it can make a great deal of difference! If your natal chart is a thumbprint for your life: lessons, karma, etc. then your solar return is a picture of the coming year (birthday to birthday; I’m just lucky in that my birthday is at the end of the year so it feels like a more natural break). And how this picture relates to your natal chart can be very interesting, too. For example, this year my solar return chart was the flip of my natal. So while my natal Ascendant is Aquarius, this year it was Leo. Never mind opposite day, it’s been opposite year!

But now I’m slowly shifting toward a new Ascendant for the coming year, which will be Libra. This means that, for the coming year I’ll be reading my Sun sign horoscope (Sagittarius), my natal Ascendant horoscope (Aquarius), and I’ll be reading Libra because that’s my solar Ascendant for the year. In fact, Aquarius and Libra horoscopes will likely be the most accurate for me because they will assume the correct Houses, while Sagittarius will not. (To be really, truly accurate you have to know where all your planets are and read for them, but that’s very time consuming and takes years of practice.)

Now, Leo isn’t finished with me yet. But as he fades out and Libra fades in, I’ll find myself mellowing. The dynamism and desire for the spotlight of Leo will wane and Libra’s desire for partnership and cooperation will grow stronger. Some of my harsh edges might blunt. I’m sure my writing critique group might like that!

Alas, I’ll probably also lose some momentum and motivation. Being a Leo this past year has seen me get a lot done. But there’s been a lot of internal conflict, too, due to Leo and Aquarius being opposite signs. Aquarius’ open-mindedness will likely jive better with Libra’s liking to take all points of view and consider all options. What may end up causing trouble, however, is an inability to make a decision!

I’ll miss being a Leo. I’ve enjoyed the energy (though not always the restlessness). But I have a lot of Libra friends, so I think I’ll enjoy joining them in a kind of offbeat way. Should make for an interesting year.

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