Some of the most popular posts on this site are those about solar returns. This article is the most popular one on of all, so I’ve decided to re-edit and refresh to give you an updated perspective on this subject. This post was the first of two posts that, together, give you a simple guide to interpreting your solar return chart. The focus in this post is on the activities associated with each solar return house. The houses that are emphasised in your solar return chart will be the focus of your attention during the solar return year.
Solar Return Houses: Introduction
Solar Returns are one of the best tools of Predictive Astrology. However, because solar returns generate a temporary chart – only lasting for one year – interpreting the house positions of your planets in Solar Returns will be different from the meanings you associate with the houses in your Natal Chart. Chart interpretation in the context of your ‘birthday chart’ is much more event driven; solar returns are a guide to the major themes that play out in your life over the course of the year – and how you respond to those events will be the thing that matters most.
In this post, I’m going to give you an outline of what each house in your solar return chart means, together with the keywords for each solar return house. Planets in your solar return chart are interpreted in the context of house in which they are located. So, I want to remind you of the basics – the Planets in your Solar Return Chart tell you ‘what’ will happen and the solar return houses tell you ‘where’. Keep that in mind and analysing your chart becomes a lot easier.
Solar Returns: First House
The first house in your birth chart has been described as representing the face you show to the world. In the world of solar returns, that remains true. However, the ‘face’ you present to the world is for the duration of one year only. You are showing yourself to the world in a particular way because of what is happening in your life during that year. Your personality (as described by your rising sign) has a temporary overlay due to the way you need to approach life during the solar return year. Changes in appearance, or the start of something new, often accompany solar return first house placements.
The notion of ‘self’ is a key concept. You may feel the need to present your best self, or you feel self-conscious, self centred, self-important or self-controlled. The solar return first house is where you make an conscious effort to present yourself in the moment. Planets in the solar return first house indicate how you feel you need to appear; you may start afresh in connection with those matters signified by a planet in this house. The meaning of a planet in the solar return first house is always up front and personal because the planet is on display. It’s the first thing that you see as your birthday dawns.
First House Keywords: The Self, Identity, Independence, Self image, Self Awareness, Self Assertion, Focus, New Beginnings, A New Approach, Enthusiasm, Seeking Attention, Paying Attention.
Solar Returns: Second House
The solar return second house is concerned with your personal finances and the resources you have at your disposal during the year. Resources, financial or otherwise, enable your needs to be met. This solar return house contains your income and events may include changes you in your finances that occur during the year. However, this house is concerned with your attitudes towards your resources. It’s where you save, squander, find new ways to boost your earnings or find big bills heading your way. It’s also where you managing what you have and learn to budget or prioritise.
You find your material resources and also learn the skills of resourcefulness. Your decisions will be value driven. Placements here speak of your values and your self esteem. In other words, how you value yourself. How you deal with your resources – and this is not simply your wage slip but also your own talents – has a direct correlation with the price you put on your own head. The trick is to get the price right – not too much and not too little. Start counting those fingers if you don’t believe me.
Second House Keywords: Personal Finances, Personal Resources, Earnings, Talents, Income, Budgets, Bills, Spending, Values, Self Esteem, Self Worth, Stability, Security, Confidence.
Solar Returns: Third House
The solar return third house is where you think, talk, read, write, walk, text, email, exchange gossip, exchange numbers and change your mind. This house is where you connect – and you’ll find public transport, cars, phones, your laptop, your contacts and a lot of gossip keeping you busy this year. It is also the first house where you engage with the outside world – usually your immediate environment or neighbourhood. You may be involved in local issues this year. You may make new contacts and this may be for external, social reasons or as a result of internalised mental pressure.
This house is often characterised by restlessness. You may feel the need to be in several places at once or do more than one thing at a time. Short journeys – those carried out in your own country rather than overseas – are likely to be a feature this year. The solar return third house often indicates mobility and mental flexibility. Planetary placements here will give an indication of your state of mind, as well as the nature of the issues that are demanding your attention. You may be kept busy by your placements in the solar return third house. And boy, will you let everyone know about it…
Third House Keywords: Contacts, Communications, Exchanges, Language, Meetings, Email, Communications Devices, Cars, Public Transport, Mental State, Mental Flexibility, Ideas, Busy, Restlessness.
Solar Returns: Fourth House
The solar return fourth house is where you feel at home. In any solar return year, a tenanted fourth house highlights issues concerning home, family, belonging and your sense of stability. You will find your parents in this house (some astrologers place your parents in the 4th and 10th houses, I find the 4th house is more representative of them both). You will leave your home or find a new homes in the solar return fourth house as it contains everything that relates to your living and domestic situation – and that includes people living in your home and its state of repair or decoration.
Relocation, house repairs, remodelling and redecoration are found in the solar return fourth house. Family matters are found in the solar return fourth house and, as we know, there is nothing like family to stir up the emotions – which they will do in this house. You may need to look after other family members or you may discover you need to nurture yourself rather more than you have done in the past. The solar return fourth house is where we nurture (flowers, families, ourselves) and those matters may demand significant amounts of your time and energy if your solar return chart points that way.
Fourth House Keywords: Parents, Parenting, Families, Home, Houses, Land, Gardens, Nurture, Nature, Roots, Stability, Attachment, Food, Cooking, Kitchens, Lodgers, Tenants, Decorating, Repairs.
Solar Returns: Fifth House
The solar return fifth house is where you go to have fun, which is a relief after all those family issues. However, it’s more accurate to think of this house as a place to express yourself and develop your own interests- hence it’s association with creativity of all kinds. When many of us think about creativity, the tendency is to assume the concept refers only to artistic creativity. You will, find yourself being creative in ways that are relevant in your own life and you will feel a desire to develop your creativity to express who you are. Creating yourself is often a major project in this solar return house.
Creativity applies to almost every other field of human endeavour, so if you have a love of science, sewing, sport or sex, an emphasis on your solar return fifth House may prompt you to take a risk and try something new, engage more with the thing you love, have more fun doing it and boost your confidence at the same time. In this solar return house we create and also procreate. Our children are found in this house and they are our greatest creation of all. This is the house where the child in us comes to the fore. It’s where we play games – but beware, children and games can often be cruel.
Fifth House Keywords: Theatre, Plays, Players, Games, Sport, Recreation, Creation, Creativity, Self Expression, Pleasure, Me-time, Romance, Flirtation, Enjoyment, Entertainment.
Solar Returns: Sixth House
The solar return sixth house is where you work. After the fun of the fifth house, the sixth house brings you down to earth. This house acts as a reminder to get real about life and usually those matters which require us to be pragmatic are found here. Work is found here – together with your work/life balance and all matters relating to your lifestyle choices. Changes to the nature of your work will be shown here as will issues affecting your daily life over the course of the year. This house is a practical house. It’s where you get your house in order and become organised and efficient.
With sixth house placements prominent in your solar return chart, there may be issues in your life that could become a problem if you don’t pay attention to them. They may include health issues and lifestyle choices you should be paying attention to. However an emphasis on this house is not all doom and gloom; the primary message is simply this: you must not let things slip or pass you by, and if that means you have to work harder at resolving an issue or face up to a problem that you would rather not deal with then so be it. Work is, after all, the rent you pay for life.
Sixth House Keywords: Lifestyle Choices, Practical, Responsibilities, Organisation, Time-keeping, Health and Fitness, Diet, Routines, Pets, Work Life Balance.
Solar Returns: Seventh House
The solar return seventh house is where you buddy up. All significant ‘one on one’ relationships are found here. For that reason it is often thought of in a romantic context. During the year, there may be romantic partnership issues, but not all partnerships are romantic. Significant relationships will be lit up by the solar return seventh house, but they may be business relationships or professional or ‘contractual’ in some way. You may spend much of the year dealing with business contracts and negotiations or legal matters, for example, as they are often indicated by this house.
One thing I have noticed about the solar return seventh house is its immediacy – the relationship it points towards will be significant in your life even if temporarily so. Unlike natal chart partnerships, solar return placements are not describing your your capacity to relate. They are, however, descriptive of (literally so) a person you may meet, or a partnership you may enter into, or an issue in an existing partnership and that may manifest in an obvious way. The wider message of the solar return seventh house is this: it reminds you that you need other people to help you to succeed in negotiating your way through life.
Seventh House Keywords: Partnerships, Contracts, Relationships, Legal Matters, Business Relationships, Professional Relationships, Negotiations, Commitments.
Solar Returns: Eighth House
I think one of the best ways of describing the solar return eighth house is as follows: it is transactional. Transactions require compromise and acceptance and that’s not always easy, as some fairly heavy emotional responses come into play when you have to part with something – or someone – precious to you. Alternatively, you may want something that belongs to someone else. Their money. Their body. Hence this house’s traditional association with power, big money, crime, sex, birth and death. These are transformational issues that change things forever – there is no turning back.
The solar return eighth house is where you meet a turning point in your life. Negotiate it well and it will enable you to grow and move on in some way. You meet an obligation, you realise that life has its share of power games, you learn that relationships involve compromise, you have to give way to people or ‘legal entities’ who are more powerful than you. Placements in this house are feared because of their ‘death and taxes’ associations, but this house is not to be feared. It’s concerned with change and how you deal with it. So draw the line and move on. And pay your dues.
Eighth House Keywords: Major Changes, Major Decisions, Sexual Relationships, Death, Birth, Phases of Life, Insurance, Taxation, Loans, Investments, Inheritance, Crime, Violation, Power.
Solar Returns: Ninth House
By the time you reach the solar return ninth House, you’ve learned a bit about life. You know who you are, and what you own, you’ve got opinions, you know where you’re from, what you like, how to look after yourself, how to relate and pay your way. Now it’s time for you to get out and see the world. Everything from long distance travel to intellectual growth is found here. In this house, those issues will be prominent. This house is where you feel optimistic. You want to expand your life and have new experiences -and you are prepared to do something outside of your usual experience in order to do so.
In a year where the solar return ninth house is prominent, long distance travel is a common occurrence. It may involve a journey to somewhere you consider alien, unfamiliar and more challenging to you than your more usual holiday destination. You will encounter things foreign to you – and that may include people and/or languages. You may expand your horizons by engaging with higher education if you decide to remain at home. The purpose of this house is to broaden your mind and alter your world view during the course of the year. That’s what travel and education do. Book your ticket and go.
Ninth House Keywords: Optimism, World View, Travel, Higher Education, University of Life, Intellectual Development, Understanding, Perspective, Long Distance, Foreigners.
Solar Returns: Tenth House
The tenth house begins at the apex of your solar return chart and it’s where your achievements become visible. The solar return tenth house is public, however, this does not mean you will make front page news during the year. Public, in the context of this house, is more concerned with social standing than social media. Social standing is your public identity and – however you define yourself – it’s found here. Your career, marital status – or any way in which you are classified by wider society – including by your reputation. If you are going to be brought to public attention, you will find it here.
In the solar return chart, placements in the tenth house give an indication of where our careers are headed. On occasion, however, placements in this house may be an indication of marriage. That’s because it’s concerned with public image, social responsibility and public or social commitments – all the big issues we have to live up to. In the solar return tenth house you succeed or fail and the course of your life (in terms of your career or public status) is adjusted as a result. Placements in this house are an opportunity to define yourself in the eyes of the world.
Tenth House Keywords: Career, Ambition, Life Direction, Status, Reputation, Important Matters, Responsibility, Executive, Decision Maker, Boss, Important Person, Marriage (indicator), Public Identity.
Solar Returns: Eleventh House
The eleventh house can seem a bit of a hotchpotch. Friends, the future, hopes and wishes, social contacts, social media, technology and invention, freedom, ideals and good fortune. Not to mention step-children, profits and personal aspirations. If I can attempt to shoehorn this house into a more succinct definition, it would run along the following lines. It’s where you feel a sense of belonging in a communal sense. It’s the house of society in both the broadest and most personal sense, as society means nothing without personal membership. The solar return eleventh house is not about ‘you and them’ because you are ‘one of them’.
A tenanted solar return eleventh house means your social relationships are highlighted. This can indicate issues with friendships, shifts in allegiances or alterations in your political outlook. We gain a sense of comfort from associating with like minded people, and a sense of freedom from aligning ourselves with those who are like ourselves – our tribe. This house is where you ‘come out’ or have your ‘me too’ moment, knowing there are others who will have your back, no questions asked. Looked at in this way, you can see how placements in the solar return eleventh house make you realise you’re not alone.
Eleventh House Keywords: Friendships, Group membership, Team Player, Social Life, Social Media, Technology, Social Conscience, Politics, Ideology, Political Activism, Idealism, Aspiration, Step Children, Profits – material and otherwise.
Solar Returns: Twelfth House
The solar return twelfth house is where you go to get away from it all. This house is filled with dream holidays on deserted beaches. The ashrams, temples and bars you visit on your quest for spiritual enlightenment are also found here. Addictions of all types fill this house. The twelfth house makes no distinction between meditation and marijuana. Will a heavily tenanted solar return twelfth house turn you into a substance abuser? Your previous history will be the most important factor in this, but this house is where you will have to face up to many of the things you would rather avoid.
Psychological issues you have ignored for years may surface here and demand to be heard. The ghosts of the past can be exorcised in this house as it’s the place you can let go. Drop your baggage – after all, thats why you came here. Try to get away from everything and be kind to yourself. Soothe yourself with music, art, a good book, the theatre or cinema – losing yourself does not have to be expensive or illegal. Alternatively, you may benefit by putting the needs of others first. Caring for others, visiting hospitals – or even jail time – all are found in this house. Getting away from it all is not necessarily a voluntary exercise.
Twelfth House Keywords: Hospitals, Drugs, Alcohol, Addiction, Shadows, Physical Therapy, Psychological Therapy, Dreams, Escapism, The Past, Dream Holidays, Beaches, The Sea, Sailing, Undercurrents, Cinema, Music, Dance, Trance, The Soul.
Solar Returns: An introduction is also available as a .pdf download from this website. Paypal payments only.
© Sara Shipman – updated 2023