Saturday, August 15, 2009

Solar Return: “Ambition, Obligation, Healing”

When the earth makes one revolution around the sun we call that a ‘year’. From the perspective of the earth, the sun appears to be revolving around the earth. Even though we know this is not actually true, ancient people realized that knowing where the sun appeared to be in the heavens allowed for predictability of seasons and therefore reliable crop production and sustenance.

In astrology, we also recognize the solar cycle as it relates to people and events. When you were born, the sun was somewhere on the 360° circle of the ecliptic around the earth. When the sun returns to that same spot in the heavens, this is considered the ‘Solar Return’ for that person or event. Though most ancient ‘rites of passage’ celebrations have long been abandoned, most cultures have maintained at least one of them…the Solar Return.

The Solar Return is celebrated by us still today only now we refer to it as our ‘Birthday’ celebration.

As you would expect, the sun returns to the same spot in the heavens around the birthdays of individuals and events because…well, it’s the sun cycle itself on which our only calendar is based. Ancient cultures, such as the Mayans, had many calendars for many purposes. The solar calendar was their calendar for ‘commerce’ (i.e. crops & trade) purposes. But today we have only decided to retain the commerce calendar and to reject the calendars based on other cycles…as if commerce is our only purpose! No wonder our culture finds it hard to find significance and meaning outside of our ability to work and produce. However, that is another discussion altogether.

Astrologically, the Solar Return is an annual event usually occurring within 36 hours of our actual birth date and time and it represents a new round of growth, opportunity, and challenge on our continued journey through this life. The reason that the actual time varies each year and sometimes lands a day before or a day after the actual birth date is the same reason that we have a leap year every four years. It is because our calendar is relatively inaccurate…especially when compared to some ancient calendars. In any case, a chart is cast for the moment when the sun returns to its place in the heavens that it held at the time of the birth of the entity. This chart is then interpreted on its own which reveals themes for growth and challenge throughout the coming year. The Solar Return chart is also viewed relative to the Natal chart in terms of opportunities relative to the overall life path.

Below is a brief analysis of a Solar Return chart for a female who turned 27 back in March 2009. I am looking at both her Solar Return chart and her Natal chart to assess the potentials for this year which is almost halfway over as of now. Analyzing this chart at this point in time allows us to gain some verification for the previous 5 months and a conscious reorientation for the remaining 7 months of the year.

Natal chart (click to enlarge)

Solar Return chart (click to enlarge)

General Personality Tendencies for the Year (Taurus Ascendant/Leo Moon)

As someone with a natal Pisces Sun and Libra rising, you would expect her to be flexible and accommodating for the most part. And while this is probably true generally speaking, this year she can expect to experience herself as more stubborn and self-focused rather than her typical agreeable self. The affects of this year’s tendencies are relative to her natural style so that she will experience herself as more self-oriented and less compromising than usual but this does not necessarily suggest that she will turn into a tyrant, for example. For someone with a natal predisposition toward these characteristics, a year like this could very well bring out the inner tyrant. But for someone with a natal predisposition for compromising and bending to others’ wishes, like with this example, a year like this can allow her to experience a stronger push for self-expression that she may not experience in typical years. She may stand up for herself more and claim her place in the world rather than fitting into a space that allows her in it.

Getting Out There

There is a strong theme in this Solar Return chart toward focusing her thoughts and efforts on expanding her influence in the outer world. Mercury, Mars, Neptune, Jupiter, Chiron, and the north node of the Moon are all crowded at the top of the chart in the 10th house of career, public opinion, reputation and ambition. Also the Sun and Uranus are conjunct in the 11th house of individuality within groups and goals for the future. Her focus seems to rest primarily on her desire to head in the right direction, meet the right people and do the things she needs to do to realize her ideal ambitions. This does not mean that she will get there during a year like this, but only that this is where she is focused and the synthesis of all of her little decisions throughout the year will show a pattern relative to these themes.

This year, she is ready to separate from the crowd and the ‘rules’ and re-define her own self against her own desires and wishes and morality instead of weighing them against those of others. With Uranus conjunct the Sun in the 11th house, there may even be some moments of explosiveness and impulsiveness when she feels hemmed in by the same old friends’ expectations and same old rules by which she has lived the last 27 years. She may appear more ‘selfish’ in the eyes of others but really she is just finally expressing her true self, which she may have hidden until now. With Mars in the 10th house her overly ambitious energy could also rub employers the wrong way. She will want to work on things her own way. Complicating things further, Neptune in the 10th house may indicate that even though she feels a strong urge to be her own person and to do her own thing…she may not even know exactly where to direct that energy! This vagueness and lack of direction and purpose can lead to frustration at times this year as her will seems blocked by circumstances…maybe by her own indecision!

With Mercury in the 10th house, her mind will certainly be focused primarily on her own status, reputation, and ambitions which will be of the idealistic variety. Frustration over not being able to find a path or direction relative to these ideals may also cause issues throughout the year. But with Jupiter in the 10th house as well, there may be new opportunities in the career realm or for providing her ambitions with an appropriate outlet. It is unlikely that she would actually experience any real sense of advancement until the end of the Solar Return year, if at all this year. This is a year of preparation and re-orientation toward new ambitions and the accomplishment of idealistic goals.

With Saturn in the 5th house (self-expression, creativity, romance, and children) opposing the Uranus/Sun conjunction in the 11th house, this new self-expression may feel squashed. It may seem to her that outside forces are preventing her self-expression but really she is coming to terms with her own creative blocks. She may want to express herself but fears about her own perceived creative lacking may prevent her from doing so. She may also focus more seriously on her creative outlets and put work hard toward accomplishing a big project. Also, since the 5th house rules our children (I am aware that she recently had her first child), it may be the overwhelming responsibilities of motherhood that seemingly prevent her from taking off in new directions and doing the things she actually wants to do with her life.

The real essence represented by this opposition in the chart is an opportunity this year to find a balance between those responsibilities and the desires of the true self. This is done by coming to terms with the perceived imbalance in her life relative to these realms. Only in learning how to actively balance this in her life can she truly express her true self without neglecting her responsibilities and vice versa.

Healing Deep Within

As a compliment to the very ambitious energy mentioned previously, there is also a strong theme of very inwardly focused energy. The 24th degree of Taurus serves as the Ascendant this year and brings her natal 8th house (growth, transformation, release, and sharing) into focus. In addition, the ruling planet, Venus, is in the 12th house, the Moon is on the 4th house cusp, Pluto is in the 8th house, and her natal Venus in the 4th house is brought to the Solar Return Midheaven (top of the chart). This seems like a jumbled mess but my point is that the 4th, 8th, and 12th houses are all strongly represented here. These three houses are the emotional houses which generally involve transformation, healing and extra-sensory perception.

The general sense is that she is digging down deep and finding the source for her unconscious emotional reactions and tendencies. This year, she is letting go of a lot of things that no longer serve her and coming to terms with what she must accept. She is laying a new foundation for herself on an emotional level which may translate to changing arrangements in the physical home as well ( a move perhaps). She is allowing things that have been buried deep to come up for resolution and true healing.

With her natal Venus in the 4th house being brought to the Midheaven of the Solar Return chart, she may be made aware of her strong need for her mother’s approval in her life’s decisions and direction. This year may put her in situations where she feels unsupported my her mother figure and her only way out is to learn how to accept her own choices without her mother’s approval and to heal her wounds related to these needs once and for all. For example, she may be taking action towards her future career in a way that her mother perceives as irresponsible in light of her daughter having a child to care for. But, in this example, it would be up to my client to claim her place in the world and balance it with her responsibilities on her own terms and not on anyone else’s terms.


Solar Returns are great for providing themes for the upcoming year but when it comes to timing, these charts usually fall short. However, there is one piece of the Solar Return chart that can be used for timing: the progressed Moon. I won’t get into an explanation of progressed planets but just note that the Moon moves through this chart from its starting point at a rate of approximately 1° per month. Here the Moon starts at about 2.5° Leo and will move to approximately 15° Leo by the end of her personal year.

Along the way it will make different aspects to planets in the chart. These aspects made by the progressed Moon signify important time periods for the themes involved. The effects of these aspects are relatively weak compared to transits to the Natal chart from the other planets, however.

In any case, here are some significant time periods and the themes involved (the general time period is (+/-) 1 month from the date stated):

Progressed Moon Quincux (150°) Pluto in the 8th house (exact March 24) signifies a period of quick release and letting go. Possibly a heated discussion ending/straining a friendship or other relationship.

Progressed Moon crosses 4th house cusp (exact April 20) signifies a change from a mental focus to an emotional focus…can also indicate a physical move.

Progressed Moon conjunct the south node in the 4th house (exact August 16) signifies an awareness of an imbalance between work and home life with an urge to correct it.

Progressed Moon Opposite (180°) Jupiter in the 10th house (exact December 30) signifies a time of opportunity for the career or reputation that may need to be balanced by tending to responsibilities at home. It could be an opportunity that would take her away from home for longer periods, for example.

Progressed Moon Trine (120°) Venus in the 12th house (exact January 31) signifies a time of healing and pleasant interactions. Also, there is the potential for a brief sense of financial well-being.

Summary & Natal Implications

This is a year for her to re-orient her life direction. In order to do this, she must first lay down a new foundation by releasing what is no longer needed and becoming her own source of approval. From there, she can take off in the new directions that she has conjured up and begun to aim toward this year. With this she can better understand how to express her true self within a group and find a way to balance her ambition and goals with her responsibilities.

In her Natal chart she has the north node conjunct the 10th house cusp in Cancer. This suggests that there is some perceived guilt related to neglecting family obligations in her past life experiences. In this life she is challenged to find a balance between ambition and family and this year in particular brings up just this theme to be worked out. Because of her sense of guilt, she has likely found herself leaning toward family obligations rather than her own ambitions to this point in her life. This year challenges her to take the first real step toward achieving that balance.

This year is a foundational year that will pave the path for future ambitions. Transiting Saturn enters her natal 12th house in early September 2009 and stays there until early October 2011. This echoes the themes of digging deep and letting go shown in this year’s chart. Whatever ambitions are conjured up this year they are likely to remain in ‘the oven’ for the next couple of years until Saturn crosses her Ascendant in October 2011. At the tail end of that time period, Saturn will return to its natal position. This is known as the Saturn Return and it is the same concept as the Solar Return with the exception that one Saturn cycle is equal to almost 30 earth years. The first Saturn Return is a time a deep maturity and considered the threshold to true adulthood.

If she lays a solid emotional foundation for herself this year and at least mentally creates a framework for her future ambitions, the next couple of years will be a time for ‘cooking’ these ingredients together. Then in 2012 when her Saturn Return is complete and Saturn conjuncts her natal Pluto in her 1st house, she will be moving forward according to her own authority and power. Patience, preparation, and purging is the name of the game until then.

And so it is…

Readers, this was just a taste of what type of information a Solar Return reading can offer you. If you’re interested in a complete analysis for your next birthday or your current one, please contact me at!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Relationship Analysis: “Freedom, Tangibility, and Equality”

An astrological relationship analysis is a complex look at the internal dynamics of each individual in combination with the internal dynamics of the relationship itself as a third, independent entity. From an astrological perspective, there is no way to determine what the individuals will choose with regards to the relationship’s destiny. Instead, astrology allows us to gain insight in terms of each individual’s intention and life path as well as their attraction preferences. With this information, we can decipher what the individuals ‘see’ in each other and how aligned or unaligned the relationship itself may be with those individual’s intentions and life paths.

Below is a relatively brief analysis of a relationship between an unmarried male and female in their mid-twenties. Their names and personal information shall remain anonymous. I personally know nothing about either of their relationship histories or about their current relationship. This analysis is based purely on the astrological dynamics of their individual birth charts as well as the composite chart for the relationship itself.

Her Story (her natal chart) (click to enlarge)

She has had trouble in past lives balancing her own creativity within relationships that tend to eclipse her own needs. In this life, she struggles to maintain equality in relationships while being authentic in her own self expression. She tends to feel creatively stifled in relationships as if her partner is holding her back. In reality, she is choosing partners which will reflect her belief that she cannot express herself authentically and still be part of a relationship. Her unconscious concept of a relationship is that a relationship can only exist with self-sacrifice and/or self-neglect. She is learning in this life how she can maintain her authenticity within a relationship. She is also learning how to trust life and trust her own emotions rather than just do what she’s told to do to maintain her relationships.

She is very attracted to partners who can satisfy her emotional need to expand her awareness. She sees partners as a way of opening her up to new venues. Whether it is through books, travel or any other kind of learning, she looks to her partners to serve as her opening point. She is also very interested in depth and intensity in her relationships. She has no doubt had her share of intense interactions which have, by default, forced her to grow but perhaps not always in the way she is seeking. She tends to idealize her partners and her relationships in general, often sugar coating them or adjusting herself to the situation when she fears that an end may be near.

Her ideal relationship would be one that inspires her to be her own authentic self and one in which she feels loved with the depth and intensity she desires. It would offer her the freedom she needs to explore while offering her stability and encouragement for the tangible output of her copious creativity which she craves with regards to her life path.

His Story (his natal chart) (click to enlarge)

He comes from past lives where he was very unconventional and perhaps ahead of his time or a rebel of some kind. Either way, there was some neglect or guilt related to his personal day-to-day responsibilities and with his disregard for conventionality which either left himself unhealthy or which created instability for those around him. In this life, he is trying to take all of his progressive creative inclinations and put ‘pen to paper’ so to speak. He intends to take a path of deep learning, investigation, and exploration and to then make his findings and/or inspirations tangible in some form; perhaps through writing. He is also learning how to trust his own emotional inclinations rather than feeling guilty about taking a less than conventional path in life.

His image of the feminine is one of rigidity and practicality. Perhaps his mother figure was either so unpredictable that he had to create his own stability and neglect his creativity or she was a task-master type who instilled values of practicality and pragmatics over freedom of expression and fun. In either case, these themes are also present in the types of partners to which he is attracted. He may choose partners which he perceives to be stifling to his creative expression or who seem to be ripping him from the clouds down to an earthly reality that seems much more dismal than what he envisions. His relationships can feel intense at times since part of him loves the sense of stability that these types of partners bring while part of him feels locked in a cage. Nevertheless, he aims to please when it comes to his partnerships and in many ways it actually feels emotionally satisfying to know that things are being put into order in some way.

His ideal relationship would be one that allows him the freedom to go on his adventures, whether they are of the mind or actual travels. His ideal relationship would also need to provide him with a sense of stability that he needs to feel emotionally secure.

What She Sees in Him

From her perspective, he appears to be someone that could potentially raise her own status in life. He opens her mind to new information and possibilities while maintaining an intensity that she finds appealing. She sees him as someone that she can not only get close to emotionally but with whom she can potentially partner with from a business perspective. She also appreciates his intense approach toward her as she receives it very well. Though his need for order and stability can be a struggle for her, she knows deep down that by opening herself up to a higher degree of stability, she is growing in ways that will help her down the road on her own path.

What He Sees in Her

From his perspective, she seems to be able to tug at his heart strings. She finds ways to uncover some deep childhood conditioning and wounding in him which he can then heal and release if he chooses. This can be very intense at times as he learns new ways to get things done that are different from the way he was taught. Fortunately, she also stimulates his own sense of fun and creativity, inspiring him to pursue her romantically. He feels like she is a fun person and an inspiration for his own authentic creations. He appreciates the way that she receives and accepts his intense advances and overtures. Her need for freedom and exploration can sometimes leave him feeling insecure and trigger an intense reaction from him to maintain control. But he knows deep down that by opening himself up to trusting life and others in his life, that he is experiencing valuable growth.

The Relationship as an Independent Entity (composite chart) (click to enlarge)

This relationship probably started out very quickly and likely had the type of initial chemistry you read about in romance novels and see in the movies. But high intensity and emotional overload is coupled with the insecurity of actually expressing what was going on inside. While both individuals here could likely verify that the initial meeting was intense and full of chemistry, anyone else present at the time of the meeting might be surprised to hear that description and insist that they saw something more subtle. And since perception is our only true sense of reality, both would be right in this case. But in general, when it comes to feelings in this relationship, there is no superficiality. The great times seem phenomenal and the hard times seem catastrophic…maybe a little bipolar at times.

There are also high ideals and expectations associated with this relationship. Both individuals see the relationship as a source for their own growth and something that makes them better then they are on their own. In combination with the intensity of feelings that accompanies it, this relationship certainly feels to both individuals like it is in line with their ideals. Both may feel early on that they have ‘found the one’. While this may be true, there’s no way of knowing this until the veil lifts and the relationship experiences reality. They may also find that they feel that they have joined together for some ideal purpose like saving the polar bears or feeding the poor, for example. This would be the more useful expression of this energy rather than squandering it dreaming about how perfect they perceive the partner or the relationship to be.

Relationships that have a high level of initial feelings and a sense of idealism often have a significant purpose in our lives that lies underneath this veil. The great feelings and idealism just act as a lour that draws us in just deep enough to get snagged by the real intent of the relationship. Despite all of the intense emotional experiences and idealism associated with this pairing, the ultimate reason for the formation of this particular relationship is the opportunity for each individual to release their expectations and to re-write their rules regarding relationships and what in means to be secure.

This partnership is like nothing these two have ever experienced. The deeper they go, the more opportunities they have to see how their initial expectations are not being met. This can either lead to a feeling of defeat or to opportunities to change the way each person thinks about certain situations. The verbal expression is such that issues do not tend to fester and pop up later. Instead issues are discussed as quickly as they come up which can help process the transformations taking place in the moment rather than allowing things to build up to a point and then be released all at once. This constant processing (i.e. arguing) can be tiring but it can also be invigorating if each individual sees the discussions as opportunities to see things differently and to change their expectations. The high sense of romance and idealism also creates a veil under which they feel it is worth it to do this processing even though it is these very ideals that are being put under a microscope for inspection in the first place.

The energies in this relationship work best if there is a way for the individuals to work together as a team in some way. Although, if one is stronger than the other, the weaker one may succumb to the demands and expectations of the stronger one, thereby sacrificing their equal input. Working together as equals is part of the challenge of this partnership.

Since part of what she sees in him is a business partner-type and someone that could ultimately raise her status professionally, she likely sees the potential of this partnership in terms of working together for some cause. Since she enjoys a partner that expands her awareness and with whom she can experience intensity, she may actually enjoy the eye-opening intense arguments that spring up along the way. But because she already has a tendency to sacrifice herself and her creativity for her partners, she may be tempted to become the person her partner desires her to be so that she can ‘tag along’ with him rather than express her authentic creativity within the relationship. Falling into an unequal situation is one of the more negative potentials of this relationship and she is personally susceptible to inequality regardless of who her partner is. But this relationship does offer her an opportunity to ensure that she is expressing herself authentically by introducing her to potential situations where she may be tempted to sacrifice herself in order to preserve the relationship.

Since part of what he sees in her is a very fun and creative influence and someone that stirs his heart, he is likely to experience the more idealistic and romantic components of the relationship. And since he may get a little lost in that wonderland of good feelings, he may be more heavily affected by being brought down to earth and having to see the relationship and his partner for what they actually are. It is in these times that he will begin to project his feminine image of the rigid task-master onto his partner. He may also get so wrapped up in his own creations sometimes that he may forget that his partner also needs freedom to be herself as well. This relationship challenges him to let go of his expectations of what a woman should be and to let go of his insecurities surrounding allowing her the same freedom that he demands for himself.


Relationships can last as long as we want them to last. It all depends on what we are willing to put into them and whether or not the relationship itself fosters our own personal development.

The best advice for a relationship like this is to first of all, enjoy the good feelings that it fosters. Not every relationship has this kind of ‘feel-good’ component to it. Enjoy it for what it’s worth but don’t allow over-idealistic expectations ruin things that may be wonderful in their own right. Maintaining equality is also a key component to keeping a relationship like this healthy. That means that both individuals need to be allowed to have their freedom of self expression even at the expense of insecurities that may arise. In fact, part of this relationship is burning away those insecurities that may have prevented expansion into new territory in the past. Finally, joining together for some kind of altruistic cause or for the accomplishment of some deeply held dream (as long as it’s mutual) would be the most positive expression of this energy in the long run. Just avoid the temptation to sacrifice one’s own dreams for the dreams of the other (especially in her case).

Also, if there is one thing this relationship lacks it is a sense of groundedness. On an individual level, both of them need a way for their creations to be implemented in a practical and tangible way for their life paths. While this pairing is full of ideals and dreams it ultimately would need a sensible and tangible application for it to survive. This type of couple may feel as though they should be working together but they may not really know exactly what they should be working on.

In conclusion, releasing expectations and finding a grounded sense of purpose for the direction of the relationship are the ultimate goals toward keeping this relationship alive in the long run. Whether the relationship lasts or not, the lessons learned include an expanded sense of possibility, more realistic expectations, and an awareness of equality versus sacrifice within partnerships.

And so it is…

Readers, this was just a taste of what type of information a relationship analysis can offer. If you're interested in a complete analysis, contact me on my website at!