Solar Return Planets: Introduction

Solar Return Charts are one of the best tools of Predictive Astrology we have at our disposal. However, because the chart is temporary – only lasting for one year – interpreting the Solar Return Chart House positions of your Solar Return Sun (and the other planets) will be different from the meanings you will be familiar with from your Natal Chart.

So, understanding how the planets function in your Solar Return Chart is useful when you’re interpreting your Solar Return Chart for the year. A short while ago I posted an article analysing the Solar Return Houses and this post is the follow up to that.

The planets in your Solar Return Chart show you ‘what’ is going to happen and the house placements show you ‘where’, so it’s very useful to read both articles for insights into interpreting your own Solar Return Chart. I would advise having a note of your House Keywords available when you make your analysis – and you will find those in Solar Returns: How To Interpret The Houses link here and at the end of this post.

The short descriptions in this post are taken from my book on Solar Returns, ‘Solar Returns: An Introduction’ which is now available from in kindle and paperback editions . Here’s hoping my Solar Return Sun in the Ninth House is working well!

Solar Returns: The Sun

Wherever the Sun falls your Solar Return Chart, you will find yourself putting out a lot of energy and be drawn towards activities associated with that house for that will be where your priorities are. So, the Sun shows your main focus for the year but also shows you the part of your life where you really need to focus on yourself. It shines a light on things you need to be ‘doing’ and you may feel compelled to express whatever it is your Sun placement is highlighting in your chart.

The Sun can also be an indicator of men/masculinity in general and it has been argued that this is particularly so in a woman’s chart. I don’t hold with the view that the Universe has a gender bias, however it may be that the Sun in your chart shines a light on men in your life (regardless of your own gender) or lights up a sector of your life where you need to visibly demonstrate your personal authority in some way.

Solar Returns: The Moon

The Solar Return Moon, like the Natal Moon, is all about emotional responses. The Solar Return Moon, however, indicates where you will feel most comfortable in your world for the year. That may be a physical location which you associate with an emotional issue for the Moon also rules the home, family and your deep emotional security. Such matters often require us to deal with issues that span the emotional spectrum and may be difficult for us to deal with.

The Moon’s house position may therefore show you areas of your life where you need to learn to ‘handle’ stuff better. The Solar Return Moon draws you unconsciously towards areas that need ‘looking after’ or where you feel looked after – both sides of an interpretation are possible and most likely probable in your Solar Return Chart for the Moon is reliable in its unreliability. As it waxes and wanes it may also indicate areas of your life in a state of transition. Wherever the Moon is found, your feelings will be in play.

Solar Returns: Mercury

In the Solar Return Chart, Mercury is about ideas and their dissemination. Where Mercury’s wings settle you will be thinking about the activities associated with that house for most, if not all, of that Solar Return year.  The odds are, you’ll also be writing and talking about them too. Mercury also tells you about your state of mind and shows how your perceptions are being influenced. Exactly how your mental state, thoughts and ideas relate to other parts of your life and connect with your actions and emotions will depend on the links Mercury makes to other planets, for Mercury is, after all, the planet of connection and communication.

The concept of Mercury as the ‘middle man’ is very important as Mercury relies on its connections to fully integrate your thought processes into a complete information package. This enables you to plan, make decisions and take actions that affect your life during the year and possibly beyond. So, ideas, speech, written communications, short journeys, mediation will be part of the bag. Why? Debate, discussion, contacts and communications are what Mercury is about. Mercury is a dynamic planet so keep on moving, Mercury will keep you busy wherever he is.

Solar Returns: Venus

Ah, Venus, everybody’s favourite planet – why wouldn’t she be? She is the planet of love and attraction after all. In your Solar Return Chart, Venus can symbolise several things and it’s not all about love. There’s also money as this planet is a  material girl. In your Solar Return Chart, Venus signifies parts of your life you may wish to improve in some way, either aesthetically or in terms of your own value system.

Venus is  also where you find pleasure and enjoy life and yes, that does often involve spending money.However, Venus may also show where you are likely to face financial pressures through over spending and though Venus may attract resources to you you’re just as likely to give into Venusian desires and overdo the good things in life.

The good things in life  are often social and relational and the time we spend with loved ones and engage in our social  pleasures are signified by Venus. She can also be read as your significant other or symbolise other important relationships – both personal and professional as Venus is at home as much in the business world as she is in a beauty salon.

Solar Returns: Mars

Your Solar Return Mars is about action and where Mars is found you will be fired from the starting blocks and have to run. If you don’t get on with the race you will become frustrated and angry in record time. Mars, quite simply, demands you get on with whatever it’s house position is telling you to do. The action may be physical, mental or even spiritual – whatever it is you need to do it’s the act of ‘doing’ that’s important to Mars.

Your Solar Return Mars can, therefore, be an indicator of where you’re likely to get hot and bothered and lose it regularly this year but – and this is very important – this is only likely to happen if you don’t use your Mars energy to get things done in the area of your life that Mars is telling you needs urgent attention. Things associated with Mars will appear with great immediacy in the house where Mars is situated for the Solar Return year. So, physical action, sport, speed, sex, energy, arguments, violence, bravery, surgery, young men, initiative, being proactive, the colour red. Get the picture?

Solar Returns: Jupiter

In your Solar Return Chart, it would be quite usual for Jupiter to be welcomed with open arms into the house he occupies, as the bringer of good fortune, opportunity, wealth (in all its forms) and, of course, the boundless optimism that comes with all. However, is this joviality justified? You can, as the saying goes, have too much of a good thing and Jupiter is just as renowned for excess in all forms. Over optimism, feeling as though the world owes you, over enthusiasm and indulgence are as Jovian as the distant shores that, in a positive frame of mind, you may be tempted to explore.

Wherever Jupiter lands in your Solar Return Chart he is expansive in both positive and less positive ways and, the trick (if there is such a thing) is, once again, to listen to what Jupiter is saying to you, identify your opportunities and work hard to make them happen for then, and only then, will you reap the rewards of Jupiter. ‘Work?’ I hear you say, ‘ I thought that was Saturn’s domain?’. Well, so it is, but Jupiter asks you to work hard too – even if you don’t feel like it. Laziness is a very much a Jovian trait but, alas, will get you nowhere and Jupiter’s objective is to get you somewhere, to move you on and to broaden your horizons.

Solar Returns: Saturn

Saturn really does demand hard work in in that part of your Solar Return Chart where he takes up residence. Saturn’s job is to show you where you need to get realistic, where you could be doing so much better if only you tried a bit harder, where you need to keep a cool head, develop a more mature attitude, be patient, responsible and grounded. In fact, events indicated by Saturn’s presence will inevitably demand that kind of response from you.

Saturn is, in other words, the complement to Jupiter – the moment we look hard at ourselves and realise we need to step up to the plate. Ignore Saturn and you will live in fear – fear of change, fear of pushing yourself further, in fact fear of almost everything. Fear lies at the heart of Saturn’s bad press for it is fear that keeps you trapped in situations that are not good for you. Remember that and get over it – and Saturn will give you all the help you need.

Solar Returns: Uranus

Wherever Uranus lands in your Solar Return chart you can expect the unexpected for Uranus is all about change and, being a wholly impersonal planet, Uranus really doesn’t care what that change is as long as it’s change. And we’re not talking tweaking the edges here, outer planet changes are the real deal. That may sound crazy and scary – and sometimes it will be – but console yourself with this thought. In your Solar Return Chart, Uranus is about getting you out of whatever rut you are in as shown by Uranus’s house position.

Uranus wants you to think about things – but in a different way than you have previously. Uranus wants you to be receptive to the concept of ‘new’ and sometimes this will require a left of field moment to make you sit up and notice. It may be a ‘Eureka!’ moment in the dead of night or an unforeseen event in your outer life that stops you short. Or both. There is no way of knowing with Uranus as you are just as likely to experience one event or the other or both. That’s how Uranus is, predictably unpredictable.

Solar Returns: Neptune

Of all the planets, Neptune is the one that functions best in the symbolic world and in your Solar Return Chart, the symbolism of Neptune comes to the fore. Looked at in this way, Neptune stops being a source of confusion and becomes  something rather more useful, a pointer to where you need to stop, take a deep breath and reflect on life more than you would normally. However, this is more than just a meditation exercise. Neptune rules vision and this opens up a wide field of interpretative possibilities.

Neptune will show you where you are not seeing things as clearly as you should, where you may experience misunderstandings, where you need to be more grounded, where you may experience things that are misplaced – from your emotions to your house keys. Neptune will also show you where you can be more creative, find inspiration and inner peace.

And never doubt Neptune’s capacity for expressing the literal meanings of its symbolism at a less than spiritual level. In your Solar Return Chart, as with the other planets, you will find Neptune works on many levels including the mundane and physical. There will be water, oil and gas. Feet and eyes. Film and dance. Drugs, booze and deep, deep sleep. Confused? You will be.

Solar Returns: Pluto

Where Pluto is found in your Solar Return Chart there is the need to leave something behind – literally or metaphorically – as Pluto represents an irreversible transition from one state of being to another. Pluto is telling you to relinquish something you thought was dear to you and allow something new to take it’s place. So, the house Pluto occupies in your Solar Return Chart is the place where you are being asked to transform your life in some way.

That transformation can happen by asking you to take control in an area where you have previously felt unable to assert yourself. Conversely, Pluto can also ask you to let down your defences and surrender yourself to your greatest fears – whatever they may be – thus enabling you to grow and renew yourself in the process.

Pluto is about throwing out the garbage in your life and we know what happens if you hoard rubbish… Pluto does not want your life to end up as one of those houses on a reality TV show, packed from floor to ceiling with stinking trash. The danger is, if you don’t have a clear out on a regular basis (metaphorically at least) you will accumulate far more rubbish than you can handle. The only way to deal with this, as you will have also seen on TV, is to employ some serious help to get you to clean up your act. Meet Pluto. The OCD cleaner from Hell.

Next: Solar Returns: How to Interpret The Houses

© Sara Shipman 2020

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7 thoughts on “Solar Returns: The Best Way To Interpret the Planets

  1. Wonderful timing! This was the year I decided to get to grips with my SR chart, rather than just getting a “guessed” overview as I’ve done for the last few years. Even working out which options to go for in selection was confusing, but you’ve started me off. 🙂
    Interesting about the choice of using birthplace, home location or place you are on the SR itself, as I hadn’t read any suggestion except using the place you are at the time, and that’s your least preferred. I’ve printed the other two charts (home and birthplace) and can now get down to poring over them. Thanks, Sara .!

    1. Hi Emma – thanks for your comment – much appreciated. Regarding SR location, I would always use the place you are in the world at the time of your solar return – and that may indeed be where you were born or where you’re living right now (I think most of us will have our home location on 2020’s SR chart!). To make it clear, the thing I disagree with is the suggestion people should travel somewhere where they think they’ll get a ‘better’ SR chart than the one they would otherwise have. It may seem like a good idea at the time – but the Universe will surely catch you out if you try and game the system! Have fun with your interpretations – best wishes, Sara.

  2. This is the best description I have read. (And I have read many long winded dry books on this subject.) I know life isn’t always all smiles and happiness but I don’t think there is any reason to be extra depressing when describing the “malefic” planets. I appreciate your approach to describing them and showing them not necessarily as grey clouds in but as areas of opportunity! I also like your balanced approach with the “benefic” planets and showing them as not necessarily giving the keys to the universe while under their influence. After years of reading many super positive things about certain planets I was disappointed when it manifested in my life as a big raise instead of the love of my life… LOL. (Unless money is the love of my life.. kidding) That being said, thank you so much! Have you considered teaching?

    1. Hello Andrea – thank you for your comments. Luck certainly comes in many forms and often it wears a heavy disguise. You may not have met the love of your life – but a raise may have given you a boost (and if it’s Venus we’re talking about – love and money are connected…) I haven’t considered teaching due to time pressures – my writing workload is always my priority, but in the light of your comments, I may reconsider! Meanwhile, I hope you keep reading, learning and enjoying astrology.

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