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Studying your Solar Return chart can make for another way to look at predicting what’s coming up for the year ahead. If you know how to read a birth chart, the Solar Return chart is a quick and easy way to see what parts of your life will be emphasised in the coming 12 months.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with this prediction technique: the Solar Return is the exact moment that the sun returns to the exact natal degree it was in at your first gasp of air. It’s normally on your actual birthday but it can happen the day before or after depending on the Sun’s progress.

As the Sun is the measure for all the other planets, you’ll find that each year they will form new aspects to the Sun and each other, meaning that the colour and flow of every year will continually change. A nice Jupiter/Sun aspect one year versus a dreadfully afflicted Venus/Pluto in the next, well, you get the idea that it’s not all happy campers from each year to the next.

I’ve been studying my solar return since 2006, this was a huge year for me – I moved from Australia to the UK – and one thing I have noticed in the last 3 and a bit years is that you can feel the shift of the new solar year coming…

That’s not my Pisces mercury talking either, many astrologers believe that about 3 months before your new birthday you’ll notice that the key themes will turnover and begin to look more like the upcoming chart. I do believe there’s something in this theory.

This year’s Solar Return is on April 7, I have the Sun in the 3rd house and I’m already noticing that communication, travel, my siblings are going to be a much bigger focus than they have previously. The Sun’s sign will always be your natal sign but the house position is going to change in cycles – the best book I have discovered for ready Solar Return charts is Mary Fortier Shea’s Planets in Solar Returns (http://www.maryshea.com). It tells you in great depth the planets positions and what it all means.

The signs, houses and aspects of the planets in Solar Return indicate the good, bad and ugly events coming to a life near you. You study this chart just like a natal one; What sign is rising? Where is the ruling planet? What are the major aspects to the Sun and Moon?

Think of the Solar Return as a new play that begins anew each year, with the story and stages changes based on the planets’ positions and aspects to the Sun.

Important to note: you’ll not be playing a different character in the Solar Return (it doesn’t replace your birth chart) but it will mean the stage, lights, makeup, production and a new supporting cast of characters;  some lovely, some you want to push off the highest seat in the gallery!

Reading the Solar Return chart will tell you key things about the play you’ve joined and give you a heads up on the major acts that are yet to happen. I find them really fascinating and have found they made more sense to look at the past few and see how/where they indicate the events that took place. My 2008 was a train-wrecked melodrama (oh, the agony) due to a debilitating grand cross involving the Moon.

Once you’ve really got the hang of it, you can incorporate timing when the events predicted in the Solar Return will likely happen. I haven’t got as far as that but that’s what’s lovely about astrology – there’s always a new level of complexity to discover!

You can find the book I mentioned on Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Planets-Solar-Returns-Yearly-Transformation/dp/0962662682/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1269621212&sr=1-4

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I’ve been a fan of Astrology for more years than I have fingers but it wasn’t until I moved countries, changed careers and met a lovely guy – who later turned out to be more Kermit than Prince Darling – that I got the bug good and proper. But I also have to confess that it was my relationship with J that first had me reading astrology texts looking for signs that we were meant to be…looking particularly at my chart for signs romance, his chart for signs of fate and passion and, finally, our charts meshed together for the cosmic indicators that it was all destiny….

Mwah!

Sigh. I now realise that this was short-sighted and after J went Kermit on me, I was surprised that I was still interested in Relationship Astrology but I’ve always been a die-hard romantic (Libra on 5th house cusp) so I continued to read and learn more and more about love indicators in the birth chart. That was only a few years ago so I’m not an expert but I would like to share what I have discovered through reading good texts on the subject of Synastry and Composite charts and through talking to friends and looking at their charts.

It’s easiest of me if I use my own chart to explain so here goes…

 

Romance & Romantic Partners

  1. To find out how you like to give and experience romance, you must look to the sign on the 5th house cusp. (Libra)
  2. Are there any planets (or asteroids) in this house? (Pluto and Juno)
  3. Who is the ruler of the 5th house and where are they in the chart? (Venus in the 10th house)

So I like my romances (and romantic partners) to be attractive, intelligent, socially graceful with charm by the bucket load (Libra) but it cannot be only superficial, it must have passionate intensity and emotional connection (Pluto). Finally, I will likely meet a lot of my romantic partners through my career or reputation (Venus in the 10th)

More details can be added if you look closely at the major aspects that any of the planets connected to any of the ‘love’ houses. This will generally add context and more descriptive details about the people you’ll be attracted to, where you’ll meet and how you approach the relationship.  

Partnerships & Marriage

  1. For marriage or any long-term relationship look to the sign on the cusp of the 7th house (Sagittarius)
  2. Any planets/asteroids in the 7th house? (Neptune and Vertex)
  3. Where is the ruler of the 7th positioned in the chart? (Jupiter in the 4th house)

So…in a long-term relationship I’m after freedom, adventure and independence and I would be highly likely to marry someone who is teacher, foreign or a big traveller/explorer type (Sagittarius – Indiana Jones, please stand up!) but I’m also looking for a spiritual connection and unconditional love (Neptune). He’ll also most likely be musical, creative or gifted (or flakey) in some way with Neptune in the 7th. He will be very generous, successful and will have a lot of support and encouragement from his family to share and I will benefit from him through our marriage…or, at least, that’s the plan!  (Jupiter in the 4th)

As mentioned above, once you’ve got these factors you can then look to the aspects for more details to add to your descriptions…for instance with Jupiter in the 7th this can sometimes mean luck, good fortune and many marriages but with Saturn very closely conjunct in the 4th, I have a more considered and cautious approach which means I take the responsible and pragmatic approach to committment….

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Often called the Lord of Karma for his fearsome ability to keep the timing of our lives and levels maturity with his pivitol transits over our chart, Saturn is often painted in a terribly negative light. But does he really deserve all the bad press or is it a case of don’t believe the hype?

My diplomatic side wants to say that Saturn is good. He brings structure and learnings that everything worth doing does not come without hard work, effort and sheer will but that would be being less than honest and far too superficial for the real meanings of when Saturn touches important points in the natal chart whether by transit, natal or progression.

When dealing with Saturn I always go back to the idea that my parents taught me: if it’s worth having you’re going to have to work for it  or, more succintly voiced so beautifully by Mick Jagger translates to You Can’t Always Get What You Want. That sentiment, in all it’s frustrating, unfair and sad-making glory is the true essence of what Saturn shows you.

This is the major reason he is often referred to as the ‘Greater Malefic’ or the planet of LIMITATION. And going back to the idea that Saturn brings structure, limitation is the word you have to remember because it is not neccessarily bad.  But it is just restrictive and you are going to have to work very, very hard to get beyond the limitation that Saturn is trying to show you without learning a few *cringe* life lessons. I’ve yet to see or hear of anyone who did not change after a Saturn transit.

Uranus and Saturn are similiar in that they bring changes but Saturn brings changes that are like building blocks. One challenge here and another lesson learnt there; Saturn makes you change in small steps but often you will want to fight him at every step because it often uncomfortable, the things he’s asking of you are uninteresting, unimportant or unrecognisable. But it’s okay because he can bide his time.

His transit of one house in the chart will normally last between 2 and 2.5 years, depending on the size of the house and how healthy it was to start with. If you have a house that you are very comfortable operating in then a Saturn transit can be an added value of extra effort, more determination or being happy to get down to work at it. But for those houses where you are less confident or trying to hide from the issues springing from this area of the chart I’m sorry to tell you that Saturn will arrive and you will have no choice but to shut up and take notice, to face the music and cough up to those parts of yourself or the areas of your life that have been neglected.

Because Saturn will not take no for an answer…

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Make the Moon’s transits work for you. Here’s a quick how to guide on using The Moon’s monthly transits to your own chart to schedule the best events for each day and even predict what themes will be important to you at different days during the month coming up. The best bit – you can maximise your month and choose the best days for each of your favourite activities.

I hope you all should know your Moon Sign and what it means by its position in your birthchart? As I mentioned in the earlier post, when the Moon conjuncts that same position each month is when you will feel the most content, the most centred and the most thoughtful. Unless your Moon is badly afflicted and you may want to focus on the time that the Moon conjuncts a happier planet like Sun, Venus or Jupiter.

 

This is also the time of your Lunar Return each month and in the exact minute that it is conjunct the same birth degree you will have a predictive snapshot of the month ahead. Very good predictive tool but to be used only alongside the Solar Return, Progressions and Transits. But I’ll do a separate post on this topic at some other time.

Starting from the day/hour/minute (if you want to be really picky) the transiting Moon hits your natal Moon, you can then follow the rest of it’s transit through the rest of the signs and have a good idea of when you’ll feel like; spending money or saving it, seeing loads of friends or having some quality ‘me’ time, going out for a long run or just mooching on the sofa with giant bars of chocolate! I use this all the time and have found it really helpful in planning my month a little bit more wisely. I hope it’s helpful for you too…here goes…

So, here’s the way to do it. First, find out which house your natal Moon sits. The Moon spends roughly 2.5 days in each sign and because of uneven houses in the natal chart, you might have the Moon in one house for longer if it’s a lot bigger than the others or if you have intercepted signs. When the moon moves through your own houses, you will notice slight shifts in your feelings over those days…

Moon in First House: you will want to be noticed! Good hair days and looking and feeling good about your appearance. You will want a new outfit or wear something that stands out!  Think Aries (traditional ruler of 1st house) and Me, Me, Me! You’ll not wnt to be a couch potato, you’ll want to be running, rushing and dazzling everyone nearby. You will likely feel more assertive, energetic and confident than usual in your emotional matters.

Moon in Second House: you will want to have lots of your things around you. You will want to save, hang on and cling to your possessions, trophies and loved ones. You will want to collect, gather and get more things. Strangely, this influence often makes you want to go shopping but only for valuable or collectible items. It makes you inclined to want to save your pennies so you’ll be looking for bargains. Emotionally, you may be more sentimental, sensual or pragmatic that the norm.

Moon in the Third House: you will want to talk, msg, call and chat to nearly everyone you know (or even complete strangers). You will want to communicate and talk about your feelings to almost anyone. You will feel like moving about constantly. Jiggling about on spot if you have to because sitting still will frustrate you no end! You might take or plan short trips. Your emotions will be thought over and discussed more than at any other time.  You may be more curious, flirty or talkative on these days in your month.

Moon in the Fourth House: you will want to stay close to home during this time of the month. You’ll want to spend time with your family or loved ones. It’s all about having those cosy comforts that make you feel safe are the main focus for the next two days. You will be more sensitive and probably having stronger feelings about everything that matters to you. Think of the crab (Cancer/Fourth House symbol) with his home on his back ready to scuttle away and retreat from the world at any moment.

Moon in the Fifth House: it’s time to Partay! You’ll want to be the biggest, loudest, funnest social butterfly – you’ll be planning social outings, romantic evenings or flirty girls/boys’ nights out. There’s no doubt, you’ll want to indulge your latest hobbies and be out and about on the social scene.  This is the best time in your month to go on a date, have a night out with friends, go play your favourite sports or make a new creative masterpiece. You’ll feel more alive, creative and romantic, so use it!

(more…)

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Boxing glove dont match the dress so lets loose the arms, k?

Boxing glove don't match the dress so let's loose the arms, k?

So far, Venus retrograde has been good to me. I had a lovely moment a few weeks ago when a dear childhood friend who I lost returned (gotta love facebook) and we are very happily back in touch. But coming up it looks as though she has some pretty heavy stuff to show me and I wonder if I can take it? As many astrologers will warn you:

When archaeologists discover the missing arms of Venus de Milo, they will find she was wearing boxing gloves. ~ John Barrymore

 

As someone who’s chart ruler is Mercury and at the highest point of my chart (conjunct the mid-heaven) I have come to respect, prepare and appreciate Mercury’s regular do-over periods and have learnt a lot about the value of slowing down, taking notes and paying more attention to my inner landscape during this period. And waiting for practically everything in my life to stall and start over differently each time….

But this Venus retrograde has me running scared. Mainly because I’m not as in touch with this planet as I’d like in my own chart (she’s squished between my sun and mars all in 16-17 degrees Aries and often vocally expresses her dislike of this placement like a stroppy beauty queen forced to clean the smelly men’s locker room after the big game) but she does rule my moon (Taurus)  so I like to think that she’s a little more empowered with this placement and will only take orders from Mars and the Sun for as long as it suits her.   

There’s a few reasons why I’m already disliking 2009’s retrograde phase. Firstly, Venus is in my natal sign (Venus in Aries) so I feel reasons to be nervous and expect that there will be some events coming to me during the phase, whether I like it or not. A lot of interesting things are being said about Venus retrograde through this sign, never forgetting to mention how Venus is so obviously uncomfortable in Aries. I think this is all a bit insensitive. Try having it natally and then come and talk to me about how Venus feels in Aries.  

Secondly, another gripe, with Venus in 17 degree Aries means her retrograde period is dragging out my Venus return no end which is like watching a pen rolling  back and forth on an uneven desk and you’re holding your breath waiting for it to roll fast and far enough just to fall off….and worse! in my Venus return chart she’s not a happy bunny. Sure, she’s making a nice conjunction to Mars (but as I have this aspect natally I’m hardly expecting it wil mean very much) in the 2nd house so I’m going to be loving my securities this year. Saturn’s in the 7th house and Aquarius is rising so the less said about that the better. But it is happening on May 23 and the almost the day of the stellar conjunction of Jupiter, Chiron and Neptune which are all rising in the chart so I figure it might not to time to throw it all in just yet. But I’m not breaking out the bunting yet either.

Third and most irritatingly, this means she is now going to be retrograde in my Solar return. Brilliant.  Oh, and did I mention Libra is this year’s SR ascendant so not only is she incapacitated, she’s also the chart ruler. Better and better. GAH. Interestingly though, SR ascendant is cover my natal fourth house so home, family, emotional issues seem to be the lay of the land this year.

To put it midly, I had a truly horrific time of it with love issues last year (SR Venus in the 9th on O degrees Aries square Pluto in the fifth) so I had high hopes that I would have earned some nice love karma (you can’t cry that much and not have the universe take pity on you, surely?), that I could look forward to a new romance or ten but nooooo she’s in the 6th house of my Solar Return so I’m going to be loving to serve others, or my work or my health. What. Ever. I’m seriously thinking of travelling far west of UK (like to Greenland) to see if I can heckle her into the fifth but I don’t think that’s part of the master plan. And then she’d be squashed into the same house as a frightening Uranus-Mars conjunction already occupying the SR fifth house (and I suspect ready to do their worst) 

Everything happens in cycles, right? Well, I’m superstistious enough to think if I try to dodge this one it could only be worse in the end so I’ll just have to live through another year of thinking all men are almost entirely crap….my thanks to Venus. Thanks for nothing.

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The ascendant is the place where everything in your chart begins.

It will define the nature of the first impression you give to others, the planet that rules your chart, aspects of your personality will be coloured by it and how you approach, react and live in the world on the most fundamental level. Through it, you are able to know a lot about a person, almost instantly, even if you have never met or know them only a little….

And because The Ascendant is considered the starting point of your chart, you should see it as the face you show most often to the outside world. The characteristics of this sign will be much more apparent to others than perhaps the deeper, more essential part of you represented by the Sun or the Moon. For example: whether you like small talk at parties, how you introduce yourself to others, are you shy or confident at job interviews, are you charming or abrasive with new acquaintances?  All of this is coloured largely by your Rising sign. Sometimes the Rising sign can easily explain why you feel that people’s first impression of you has nothing at all to do with who you feel you really are, and depending on the relationships (or aspects) that your Ascendant makes to other points, planets and significators in the chart will determine how you are seen by the rest of the world and how you know yourself.

The Rising sign is a brilliant thing to know for horoscope forecasts you will find they suddenly become much more meaningful and accurate when you read this sign instead of your Sun sign.  Try it the next time you read a horoscope and I promise you will be surprised.

And…it will also decide for you which of the planets and its house rulerships has the most influence on you. Very handy stuff to know if you’d like to get a deeper understanding of why you are here on earth and what you’re most likely to do while you are here. The planet that rules your Rising sign will be ruling your chart too. This can show you a lot about what areas of your life will be most important to you. If Venus rules your chart (with a Taurus or Libra Ascendant) then beauty, harmony and balance will be key and depending on the sign and house that Venus is in, this will show you what part of your life must have beauty, harmony and balance the most! Or, if Pluto rules your chart (Scorpio Ascendant) then it will be all about power, regeneration and all things taboo.  To see more about the charateristics of your Rising sign, check out Cafe Astrology’s article.

Briefly, here are the planetary rulerships in Astrology (traditonal and modern) so you can see what planet rules your chart.

Aries – ruled by Mars, Taurus – ruled by Venus, Gemini – ruled by Mercury, Cancer – ruled by The Moon, Leo – ruled by The Sun, Virgo – ruled by Mercury, Libra – ruled by Venus, Scorpio – co-ruled by Pluto/Mars, Sagittarius – ruled by Jupiter, Capricorn – ruled by Saturn, Aquarius – ruled by Uranus, Pisces – co-ruled by Neptune/Jupiter.

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What can you say about Pluto that hasn’t been said before? The answer is not much. But there is much more to this planet than death, endings and all-out destruction which is often attributed to be caused by transits, progressions and aspects from this planet.

Thinking on Pluto and his influence is a bit like the debate of whether the cup is half-full or half-empty. For people who don’t enjoy change (i.e. the fixed signs) then I can see why the Pluto is the absolute worst, inspiring fear and agony in his wake. But for the more open-minded, flexible signs (i.e. everyone else) he is a necessary pain that periodically comes along to change your focus, switch direction and find things that are more meaningful in your life.  Pluto, as Lord of the Underworld, brings that which is hidden, in shadow or denied to light. Pluto cannot be doing with things being pushed under the carpet, he is adamant that everything must be faced at some point, nothing and no one is exempt.

Like a ruthless spring clean, Pluto comes along and asks you ‘Do you really need that?’ but even deeper than that he can show you things in your life that you didn’t even suspect were there. So, by making you cleaning out your closets, reveals an entire new section of your home that you never knew of and it contains long-lost parts of yourself that you had long forgotten or never even met.

Now, do not misunderstand me, nobody will ever really enjoy a Pluto visit because his method is to ask you a few times ‘Do you need that?’, ‘Don’t you need to change something?’, ‘Isn’t something missing?’ and if you’re unaware of what is to come, you do nothing still. But, sometimes weeks and months later, if you haven’t taken the time to look at what he means he will come along and burn your house down (metaphorically speaking). 

Then you can really see that you had no need of those things and, in fact, they have been holding you back from your true path all this time and its because you didn’t want your house burned down and it was your worst fear to lose everything that Pluto visits are almost transcendentally painful. It takes time before you can see clearly through the smoke to the phoenix rising from the ashes; stronger, faster, better. Your only choice is to rebuild what was destroyed and now because you have experienced his decimation first-hand, you build it differently with more support and a much, much stronger structure so it limits the amount that can be destroyed next time.

When Pluto is working positively, he removes the things that we couldn’t face leaving ourselves but after the shock has worn off we can appreciate that it had to happen. When working negatively or not very well integrated into the birth chart, he violently destroys something we thought was precious and forever without explanation or remorse. Its worse at these times because its only when things get taken out of hands and its all raging house fire infernos that can make us feel this is the end of us – that’s Pluto. Best to take a look at your own chart and see what areas of your life does he rule?

All of this said, I have to say that I have great respect for Pluto and having experience some of his more ruthless and soul-destroying transits I now appreciate that by forcing you to look closer and face facts he keeps things in perspective. Rebuilding yourself periodically only makes you realise that once you’ve lost everything some of the fear goes away and you can face anything! What does not kill you only makes you quicker to see the sniper in the tank next time….

Have any of you experienced Pluto recently? His move last year from Sagittarius into Capricorn has caused a lot of change around us and many may have found last year less than stellar as a result. If you do have something to share, please post a comment.

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