A Solar Return chart is my favorite method in determining the essence and the intentions for the coming year for my self, friends and clients. As with the natal chart, if one is to delineate the chart with precision and accuracy, one follows certain steps to achieve the best results. The trouble with steps and procedures is that sometimes certain parts of the astrological chart is so intriguing and exciting, we throw caution to the wind and concentrate our attention in that area which caught our interest. This may cause a setback because we may have lost the subtleties that may only be deciphered by following the rules. My first teacher emphasized to me that she would rather calculate a chart by hand, because she was able to see aspects that she might have missed through a computer generated chart. This made sense to me in the same way as a famous writer expressed, “I write so that I may know what I think”. Unless we proceed in an organize manner our ability to delineate the chart will be hindered by not seeing all the possibilities.
The steps I am about to lay out are from my favorite author astrologer Jean-Baptiste Morin de Villefranche. The first rule would be to locate in which house the Sun is in the Solar Return chart, as this would indicate the central focus and major issues that will need to be worked on. See where the ruling planet of the sign the Sun is in, and how it aspects the Sun and the influence it may have, and how it may color any situation. Next we need to check to see the Solar Return Ascendant and the Natal house it is in, to determine the personal themes and the way the individual will deal with any circumstances. The modality of the sign will determine how much energy will be spent in getting something done, or will the individual continue as he has been, or will he seek other avenues of approach, and be open to chart new areas of investigations. Any planet conjunct or in aspect to an angle will give energy and importance to that planet. The solar Return Midheaven like the Natal Midheaven denotes worldly status, career and public involvement. Seeing what house the ruler of the Midheaven is in and how it aspects the other planets will determine the subtle influence that will affect the career during the coming year and how the individual sees himself through his peers.
The other important planet besides the ascendant, in understanding the individual is to locate the Solar Return Moon and its relationship and aspect to the Natal Moon as this will determine the emotional life in the coming year, and the ability of the individual to adapt to any situation that confronts it. How different are the two Moons and are they in beneficial aspects to one another, will determine how flexible and capable the individual will be able to deal with, what ever life’s problems are thrown in the way. Again one needs to see what house the ruler of the sign the Moon is in and how it aspects it, to determine what issues will color the emotional state of the individual for the coming year. The other important planet is Mercury and the sign it is in, and its’ relationship to the natal Mercury as it will indicate how well we will communicate with ourselves and others and our ability to learn new things and ideas in the coming year. The other planets are also important, but I feel these first steps are the most important as they deal with the personality of the person and the way the person will deal with each situation. As long as we understand the subtleties these planets and signs brings into our consciousness and work with them, and only then, can we benefit from their energy and wisdom. It is being open to their influence, that their energy can work their magic in our lives.