demi returns

Solar and Planetary Returns

Sun-Moon Eclipse
Sun-Moon Eclipse
GVA Member Post

Hi Everyone,

I wanted to look at Solar Returns in particular right now. This is the birthday chart, the perfect horoscope to read on or near your birthday. You can also to a demi-return at the halfway mark. Today we have an example for both the annual solar return and the demi return.

If you want to take our GVA Exploring Planetary Return Course, check it out here. In it is a rundown on Solar Returns.

For everyone, below is a quick review. Skip straight to the examples if you are current and ready to rip.

6 Minute Audio-Video tutorial on Planetary Returns


What are Solar Return Charts?

There are many astrological techniques that take the horoscope beyond its basic natal form. We can do progressions, transits, synastry, draconic, harmonics, composites, directions and more. And, we can do RETURN CHARTS!

A return is a chart drawn for the moment in time a natal planet returns to its exact birth position after completing a full orbit through the zodiac.

The MOON returns about every 28.5 days giving 13 LUNAR RETURNS a year. These charts portray inner and outer events from the perspective of feelings, emotions, security and survival.

Ever wonder why people say “Many happy returns” on your birthday? This is the return of the SUN to its exact birth position! Every 365 days, we have a Solar Return, occurring the day before, of, or after the birth date.

Solar and Planetary Returns

Solar returns portray inner and outer events based on individuation, the art of becoming who we are meant to be! It is like a preview of coming attractions for the new solar year.

MERCURY (mental and communicative) and VENUS (socially significant relationships and values) also return once a year within a month or so of the birthday.

MARS returns every 2 years. These charts generally reflect work, healthy aggression and basic energy.

The ASTEROIDS(between Venus and Jupiter) vary between 1 year to close to 12 years in their orbits. 433 Eros returns every 1.76 years, and describes experiences of erotic transformation. 16 Psyche returns every 5 years, and is about attuning to another through extrasensory abilities. 4450 Pan, returning every 3 years, is about raw creative energy, carnal drives and “panic” that leads to change. 4 Vesta, returning every 3.63 years, is about devotion, ritual, dedication to beliefs and sex as spiritual transformation.

JUPITER returns every 12 years, and has to do with our search for meaning and purpose, confidence and creative will.

SATURN returns every 28-29 and can reflect our sense of responsibility, maturity and power to build material foundations.

CHIRON and the other Centaurs return about every 51 years or more (for Kuiper Belt objects). Chiron returns are about healing, teaching and the preparation of the hero. How will we be heroic in this later stage of life?

URANUS returns every 84 and connects us with out sense of freedom, audacity and willingness to step outside of boundaries. Neptune and Pluto return every 164 years and 248 respectively. These outer planets do not return in the known span of a human life.

Sedna returns ever 11,000 years or so; clearly not applicable for this technique!Solar, Lunar, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn return charts are the most frequently used, though any return (or demi-return, or phase return) can be valuable. The major planet returns give the broad strokes, the asteroid returns add subtle and fine details.

Creating a Planetary Return without an astro program

screen-shot-2016-11-27-at-10-22-44-pmHow do we read return charts?

As in all techniques, practice and experience brings a natural flow and familiarity. Here are some guidelines:

Return charts “last” from the moment of the return (or a bit before) until the following one. If you are doing a Venus return and the planet goes retrograde across the birth position a month later, a new return chart is created. When it goes direct across the birth point, another return is drawn.

Any return chart is read against the backdrop of the natal chart, not in isolation.

Location may be set for the birth place or the current residence. I use the birth place though other astrologers prefer re-location. Experiment for yourself on this.

Consider the orientation of the planet you are returning. A Venus return isn’t going to tell you a lot about meaning, purpose, knowledge and wisdom, but it can indicate social interactions, partnerships and changing values.

Lunar returns are great for feelings, but not so much about responsibilities in the pragmatic world.

Pay special attention to the returns of your chart ruler—the planet that rules the sign on your Ascendant. (I use traditional rulerships for this—Scorpio-Mars, Aquarius-Saturn, Pisces-Jupiter).

Suggested Steps

1. Look at the overall pattern of the return chart. Is it a splash, indicating diverse interests and activities? Is it a bundle pattern, suggesting a focus of interest in the occupied houses? Check the hemispheric emphasis. How does this correlate to the natal patterns? If the person has a natal sew-saw pattern and has a return chart bowl pattern, how comfortable will they be with it?

2. Look at the orientation of the signs emphasized. What is the strongest modality? Element? Polarity? What’s missing? How does that related back to the natal chart? Someone who has a natal emphasis in Cardinal Fire may have a lot to learn about practicality if the return chart emphasizes Fixed Earth. Take the declinations into consideration too! (And the Dwads)

3. What sign is on the Return Ascendant? That will bring the corresponding natal sign/house to the foreground, giving it first house importance. What houses are occupied? Stelliums? Where does the Natal Ascendant degree fall in the Return chart?

4. Look at the signs on the cusps. They indicate needs and drives and offerings. Aries in the return chart is where we want to start something new. Taurus is where we ground things practically. Gemini is where we get curious and want to learn. Think of each house as an area of life and the sign on the cusp as a symbol of the orientation, needs and wants in relationship to that area of life.

5. Check the aspects in the return chart. A lot of oppositions could indicate the need for objectivity and choices. Trines could coincide with ease or even lack of drive. Squares are struggles that get things moving. Look back at the natal chart to see how the solar return aspects compare. How will a natal Venus/Mars conjunction handle a solar return Venus/Mars opposition?

6. Place the return planets in the natal chart and read as a transit chart, then put them back in the return chart to interpret as the outcome of those transits.

7. Check the Lunar nodes, the house placement of the return planet in both return and natal charts (Sun in solar returns, Moon in Lunar returns etc.), interceptions, the house placement of the ruler of the return chart, both natal and return, any planets rising in the return chart (natal or return) and aspects between the return and natal planets and points. You can also look at the vertex, some Arabic parts, midpoints, asteroids and fixed stars. Keep orbs tights!

Example Solar Return

First let's look at Janette's Solar Return. What are the first few things that suggest a fabulous new solar year? To start with, what house comes to the foreground? What chart tone? Chart pattern? Rising planets? Me us in the comments to unravel the mystery.

Click to Enlarge

Example Demi Solar Return


Kim's Natal Chart


Solar Return Declination Table