Articles on solar returns are among the most popular on this website, so I’ve refreshed this article to provide you with my most up to date analysis on this subject. My own solar return chart for this year (2023-2024) revealed Uranus in my solar return third house – and so far it’s working well. The solar return third house is a place of communications and Uranus represents technology. This year, I’ve decided to revamp this website and many of the articles in it. I’m going to begin by offering you a reminder: solar returns may be literal in their interpretation.
Solar Return Planets: Introduction
Solar Returns are one of the best tools of predictive astrology, as they are always remarkably accurate. But what exactly is a solar return chart? A solar return chart is a temporary astrological chart, prepared for the moment the Sun returns to the same degree it occupied at the moment of your birth. It’s a birthday chart and it sets out the themes and concerns that will dominate your life for the year ahead. It lasts for one year, and the way it’s interpreted is rather different from the way you interpret a natal chart.
The planets in the solar return chart houses show where your energy is going to be focused during the year, but before you analyse your solar return chart, it’s good to put some basic astrological knowledge in place. Solar return chart interpretation is not the same as natal chart interpretation – and the simple ‘rule of thumb’ is as follows:The planets in your solar return chart show you ‘what’ is going to happen, their sign placements show you ‘how’ and the house placements show you ‘where’,
This post focuses on the meanings of the planets in your solar return chart. The planets represent all of the different parts of your life as you know, but in a solar return chart they also manifest in your life in a very real and tangible sense – like my Uranus (technology) in the solar return third house (communications) placement. That’s just one example – and there are many – but it’s important to note that your solar return planets do not replace your natal chart inclinations or abilities.
Let me explain. I’m interested in tech and communications because Mercury, Gemini and Aquarius are big in my natal chart. A different person could find this placement mentally stressful – and that would also align with the meaning of Uranus in the solar return third house. So, it’s useful to read about the planets with your own natal chart in mind – though solar return charts may be read as stand alone charts if you prefer.
This is the second of two articles I wrote on this subject a few years ago. The first post focused on the meaning of the houses in your solar return chart, so it’s useful to read both articles for their insights into interpreting your own solar return chart placements. I would advise you to have 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 descriptions in this post are based on my book on solar returns, ‘Solar Returns: An Introduction’ which is available from Amazon.com in kindle and print editions . The book goes into more detail than I’ll be providing you with here – but both this and the ‘houses’ post referred to above will provide you with a useful short guide to interpreting your solar return chart. I’ve also added some extra information and re-edited the post to include further reading on this subject. So, prepare to enjoy your tour of the solar return planets.
Solar Returns: The Sun
The Sun’s house in your solar return chart will be the focus of your solar return year. The sun shines its light on the activities associated with the house in which it is located and the affairs of the house will be prioritised during the year. It shines its light on things you cannot avoid; the Sun represents your conscious awareness and, in a solar return chart, issues of your personal authority, decision making, competence and personal power come into play. The affairs of the Sun’s house will demand a creative response – and that may be empowering .
The Sun is an indicator of men/masculinity and in your solar return chart it may shine a light on the 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. It is associated with your father, so issues concerning your father may be prominent during the year – and if you have children (of any age I may add) issues of ‘fathering’ may be prominent during the year. The affairs of the Sun’s house may impact on your confidence – becoming self-assured may be your challenge this solar return year.
Sun Keywords: Authority, Consciousness, Confidence, Creativity, Dignity, Ego,Fidelity, Father, Gold, The Heart, Individuality, Kings, Life Force, Male Role Model, Masculine Identity, Men, Important People, Nobility,Personal Identity, Power, Potential, Rulers, Royalty, Self-assurance,Self-expression, Self-importance, Sense of Self, Vitality, Will, Willpower
Solar Returns: The Moon
The solar return Moon, like the natal Moon, concerns your emotional responses. The solar return Moon, however, indicates where you will feel most comfortable – or uncomfortable in your world for the year, depending on the nature of your solar return chart..Your (dis)comfort zone be a physical location that has some emotional resonance or a historical connection, as the Moon also the home, family, deep emotional security and the past – including your family history. Such matters often span the emotional spectrum and may be difficult for to deal with.
The Moon’s house position shows you areas of your life where you need to learn to ‘handle’ things better than you have been doing up to this point. The solar return Moon represents habits and unconscious behaviour and it draws you towards activities – and people – that need ‘looking after’, especially children or family members. You may be the person who needs to be looked after – both sides of an interpretation are possible, as 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. Domestic and family matters may be an issue in the Moon’s house.
Moon Keywords: Ancestry, Sense of Belonging, Comfort Zone, Comfort Eating, Cooking, Emotional Wellbeing, Emotional Responses, Family, Feelings, Females, Feminine, Food, Digestion, Gut Feelings, Habits, Heritage, Home, Instincts, Memories, Mirrors, Moods, Mother, Nourishment, Nurture, Nurses, Passivity, Past, Receptivity. Reflectivity, Reflections, Roots, Safety, Security, Silver, Stomach, Digestive System, Womb.
Solar Returns: Mercury
Solar return Mercury is concerned with ideas and their dissemination. Wherever 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. You’ll may be writing and talking about those activities too. Mercury signifies your state of mind and defines how you perceive events during the year. 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. Mercury is, after all, the planet of connection and communication.
The concept of Mercury as the ‘middle man’ is important, as the Mercury function integrates your thought processes into a complete information package. This enables you to plan, make decisions and take actions that will affect your life during the year and possibly beyond. Ideas, speech, written communications, short journeys, mediation and negotiation will be part of the Mercury experience. Discussion, debate, contacts, movement, siblings and keeping busy are also Mercury themes. Contacts with Gemini/Virgo types may occur in Mercury’s house during the year.
Mercury Keywords: Agility, Brains, Commercial Interests, Connections, Comedy, Coordination, Dexterity, Eloquence, Gossip, Information, Internet, Intellectual Pursuits, Journalists, Journalism, Knowledge, Lies, Messages, Mental Faculties, Mental Stimulation, Nervous System, Presenters, Reason, Respiration, Salesmen, Siblings, Speech, Thought, Travel (Short Distance), Wit, Wits End, Writing, Youth.
Solar Returns: Venus
Venus is everybody’s favourite planet In your Solar Return Chart, Venus can symbolise several things as well as love and Venus’s other major concern – money. 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 by house shows where you find pleasure and enjoy life and that does often involve spending money. Venus also shows where you are likely to face financial pressure through over-indulgence, though Venus may also attract money and resources to you.
The good things in life are often social and relational – solid Venus themes – 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 or party. Through Libra, Venus may be associated with contractual matters. These may be financial or transactional in nature – and legal issues may also feature in the house of solar return Venus.
Keywords: Aesthetics, Affections, Attractiveness, The Arts, Beauty, Charm, Compromises, Desires, The Emotional Nature, Enjoyment, Eroticism, Females, Femininity, Finances, Glamour, Happiness, Harmony,Hedonism, Love, Money, Pleasure, Relations, Relationships, Rivals, Seductiveness, Self-esteem, Self-worth, Sensuality, Sexuality, Sociability, Throat, Hair, Values, Vanity, Voluptuousness.
Solar Returns: Mars
Solar Return Mars is a signifier of action; in the house where Mars is found, you will be fired from the starting blocks and have to run. If you don’t become a serious competitor, you will become frustrated and/or angry in record time. Mars, quite simply, demands you become proactive and take action. The ‘action’ may be sexual, physical, mental or even spiritual – whatever it is you need to do it’s the act of ‘doing’ that’s important to Mars. The solar return Mars house shows where your actions are also likely to be impulsive or rushed. It’s also where arguments take place, so beware of anyone spoiling for a fight.
Your solar return Mars is an indicator of where you’re most likely to become easily triggered and you may ‘lose it’ regularly this year.Mars energy may be projected in thee solar return chart; you may attract Mars in this house and be subject to annoyance, or the target of other people’s irritation. People and activities will carry the Mars signature, and will appear with great immediacy in the house where Mars is situated for the solar return year. Physical action, sport, speed, sex, energy, arguments, violence, bravery, surgery, young men, initiative, and the colour red may become prominent this year.
Mars Keywords: Action, Aggression, Anger, Assertiveness, Bravery, Competence, Competition, Courage, Drive, Energy, Fire, Force, Goals, Heat, Initiative, Iron, Steel, Knives, Blades, Blood, Libido, Lust, Lust for Life, Masculine, Young Men, Tradesmen, Sportsmen, Military, Physical Energy, Rage, Red, Sexuality, Sex Drive, Strength, Survival Instinct, Temper, Vigour, Violence, Willpower.
Solar Returns: Jupiter
In your solar return chart, it would be normal for Jupiter to be welcomed with open arms, as Jupiter is regarded as the bringer of good fortune, opportunity, wealth (in all its forms) and, of course, the boundless optimism for which this planet is renowned. However, is such joviality justified? You can, as the saying goes, have too much of a good thing; Jupiter is also famed for excess in all forms. Over-optimism, entitlement, over-enthusiasm and cynical opportunism are as Jovian as the distant shores that (under a more positive Jupiter influence) you may be tempted to explore. Travel broadens the mind this year.
Wherever Jupiter lands in your solar return chart, it is expansive in both positive and less positive ways. The trick (if there is such a thing) is to listen to what Jupiter is telling you, identify opportunities and work hard to make them happen. Then, and only then, will you reap Jupiter’s greatest reward – freedom from worry and concern. Like Saturn, Jupiter demands hard work – though it’s not compulsory. Laziness is a Jovian trait, but it’s one that will get you nowhere. Jupiter’s objective – this solar return year – is to get you somewhere, to move you on and broaden your horizons – wherever they may be.
Jupiter Keywords: Abundance, Arrogance, Beliefs, Big, Chances, Conceit, Creative Visualisation, Dogma, Education (Further or Higher), Excess, Expansion, Extension, Extravagant, Fortune, Future, Gambling, Gambler, Generous, Greed, Growth, Hope, Inflation, Irresponsible, Lawless, Laws, Legal Issues, Luck, Magnanimity, Optimistic, Philosophical, Positive, Religious, Self-improvement, Study, Success, Travel, Truth, Trust, Waste, Wealth, Wisdom.
Solar Returns: Saturn
Saturn demands hard work wherever it’s located in your Solar Return Chart. Saturn’s function is to show you where you need a reality check. Saturn points the finger towards those parts of your life where you could be doing so much better – if you tried harder, were clear about your objectives and focused on achieving them. Saturn’s house is the place where you need to keep a cool head and develop a mature attitude. Saturn demands patience, a responsible attitude and a grounded approach. Events that occur in Saturn’s house 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. And that’s unfortunate, as Saturn also subjects you to frustration and delay. Saturn is slow; don’t expect a fast resolution to any event that occurs in solar return Saturn’s domain.
Saturn Keywords: Ambition, Authority, The Authorities, Boundaries, Career, Cold, Conservation, Consolidation, Control, Defence, Denial, Destiny, Discipline, Duty, Effort, Father, Fear, Hierarchy, Inhibition, Job, Karma, Law and Order, Lead, Limitation, Long Term Planning, Security, Negativity, Old Age, Organisations, Patient, Practical, Real Estate, Reality Check, Reliable, Responsible, Rules, Serious, Structure, Status, Test, Thrift, Time, Vocation, Work.
Solar Returns: Uranus
Wherever Uranus lands in your Solar Return chart, you can expect the unexpected. Uranus is concerned with radical and rapid change and, being a wholly impersonal planet, Uranus really doesn’t care what that change is – or what its consequences may be. 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 shows where you need to be blasted out of a rut – expect some surprising news or decisions in the Uranus house during the year.
Uranus wants you to think about life – and experience life – in a different way. 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. You are as likely to experience Uranus one way – or the other – or both. That’s how Uranus is, predictably unpredictable – and contradictory. ‘U-turns’, reversals, left of field events, shocks and surprises are stressful. Uranus brings stress and excitement. Perhaps it’s what you need.
Uranus Keywords: Break, Breakdown, Breakthrough, Breaking the Rules, Sudden Change, Chaos, Creative Genius, Detachment, Deviant, Eccentric, Electric, Electricity, Excitement, Experiment, Extreme, Fellowship, Freedom, Future, Impatient, Independent, Individual, Inspired, Invention, Liberation, Nonconformist, Original, Outsider, Risk Taker, Rebel, Restless, Revolution, Science, Scientist, Social, Technology, Truth, Tolerance, Unexpected, Universal, Upheaval.
Solar Returns: Neptune
Of all the planets, Neptune is the one that functions best in the symbolic world. However, in your Solar Return Chart, Neptune’s mysterious, magical qualities may become part of your lived experience for the year. Looked at in this way, Neptune’s characteristic confusion becomes useful – it’s a reminder that you need to stop, take a deep breath and reflect on life rather more than you have been doing. However, there is more to Neptune than meditation. Neptune rules vision and this opens up a wide field of interpretative possibilities.
Neptune will show you where you are not seeing things clearly. You may experience misunderstandings. You need to be more grounded. You may misplaced your emotions or your house keys. Neptune also shows you where you can be more creative, find inspiration and inner peace. And Neptune’s symbolism may manifest at less spiritual levels. In your solar return chart, Neptune’s effects infect mundane and physical reality. There will be issues with water, oil and gas. Feet and eyes. Film and dance. Drugs, booze and deep, deep sleep. In Neptune’s solar return house, it’s easy to lose your way.
Neptune Keywords: Addiction, Alcohol, Boundary Issues, Blindness, Compassion, Confusion, Deception, Delay, Delusional, Dissolution, Dreams, Ecstasy, Escapist, Evasive, Eyes, Fantasy, Forgetfulness, Gas, Glamour, Guilt, Gilt, Idealism, Imagination, Inspired, Leaks, Madness, Martyr, Mist, Mystic, Nebulous, Porous, Psychic, Romantic, Sacrifice, Self-Sacrifice, Sensitive, Over-Sensitive, Subtle, Uncertain, Unknown, Vision, Visionary, Visions, Water.
Solar Returns: Pluto
Pluto in your Solar Return Chart shows where there is a need to leave something behind. This may be literal or metaphorical, as Pluto represents an irreversible process of transition from one state of being to another. Pluto tells you to relinquish things that are precious to you and create space for new things to take their place. You are being asked to transform your life by taking control of those places where you have previously felt unable to assert yourself. Pluto requires you to surrender to your greatest fears – whatever they may be – thus enabling you to grow and renew yourself in the process.
Pluto asks you to throw out the garbage – and we know what happens if you hoard rubbish. Pluto does not want your life to end up like 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 detritus 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. Believe me, nothing will be spared.
Pluto Keywords: Abuse of Power, Adapt or Die, Crime, Criminals, Cycle of Life, Dark Compulsions, Darkness, Death, Decay, Destruction, Elimination, Empowerment, The Beginning and End, Envy, Evolution, Explosive, Explosion, Fanatical, Fearless, Hidden Gifts, Inner Resources, Insurance, Intense, Intolerant, Jealous, Manipulative, Obsessive, Pollution, Power, Psychoanalysis, Radical Change, Rebirth, Renewal, Relentless, Repression, Sex, Subversion, Sustainability, Taboo, Transformation, Underworld, Violence, Volcanic, Wealth.
© Sara Shipman – updated 2023