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By John  Townley

Every birthday, you get a celestial present that you may not know about, unless you’re an astrologer. And even if you are, you may not take sufficient advantage of it. It’s called a solar return – a horoscope for the instant the Sun returns to the exact place it was at the precise time of your birth. It happens every year on or within a day of your birthday, so it’s a birthday present that both tells you a lot about the coming year and, if you handle it properly, gives you some extra control over how that year turns out.

So what’s the idea? Basically, it’s that when something as important as the Sun, your inner essential personality, comes back home by transit, the state of the rest of the sky at that moment depicts the next solar cycle, kind of a rebirth chart that happens once a year. Is it especially important, a yearly watershed change of gears, or just a sort of a check-up state-of-the-union address, a fleeting glance at the current sky in general, with an eye to the future?

Actually, it’s a bit of both. It is just the transits of that day, reflecting especially the year’s overall patterns of the slower planets, but it seems to sink in a bit deeper, and where the inner planets and the Moon are tell a story of the coming year, and the true secondary progressions (daily houses/angles) as they come along will mark particularly important days in the year ahead, so it’s worth keeping an eye on. There was even a time (back in the Renaissance) when the solar return chart was used as a virtual replacement for the natal, an overreaction the great English astrologer William Lilly took time to warn against.

You Can Decide

But what’s particularly interesting is the planetary house positions, which will tell you where all those effects will occur. And, they’re dependent entirely on where you are for your solar return, so you can actually choose them by picking the right place to be on your birthday. You can’t change the planets relationships to each other at that moment, but you can determine what houses they fall in, what’s angular and what’s not, just by being in the right place. To get a quick idea of where to go, do an astrocartography map for your solar return to see where in the world each of the planets are angular and then go there to get the benefic favored – or to tuck away the malefics where they will do the least damage.

I started travelling for an improved solar return long ago, and some of those locational changes certainly seem to have accurately depicted the following year. Sometimes they demonstrated themselves right away, in a more active and effective year, like the time I spent my birthday drinking Cuba Libres in Vera Cruz instead of slogging through the ceremonial mud at the 1969 Woodstock festival. Another one, however, a three-day birthday trip to St. John’s, Newfoundland, a place I’d really never heard of, took a generation to manifest itself. Twenty years later, I found myself leading a whole tall ship full of Polish sailors (start with July 23 entry) for a smashing good time there that crowned the entire voyage, simply because I happened to have been there on a solar return and knew it was the right place to stop on a trip across the Atlantic.

Fate and Free Will

But sometimes, there’s just nothing you can do, even when you see it coming. A recent solar return looked disastrous, with afflicted Lights in the twelfth and sixth houses, auguring the possibility of debilitating health problems and work setbacks in general. All I needed to do was get to New Orleans and all would be set right, with Sun rising and a full Moon right on the seventh, but it was not to be. With plane tickets and hotel ready to be booked through a great online deal, the weather closed in around the Big Easy, and I was stuck in New York in for a very hard year, indeed – a string of painful kidney stones descended, a long-time job evaporated as the recent Great Recession, all true to the chart. Well, you know those stones were in place ahead of time and the recession was unavoidable, so although I might have travelled for the solar return, fate was not about to permit it. It was all of a piece, no matter how much free will I was trying to put into the mix. So, you do what you can, and accept what you can’t avoid.

But regardless of its nature, or its outcome, your birthday chart is an almost ready-wrapped present you can expect every year, one you get to put the finishing touches on if necessary, and if you so desire. If you want to know more about your coming solar return and don’t have the astrology software to relocate it all over the place looking for the perfect destination, there’s a new computer report that not only tells you the year’s story for one place you choose, it also gives recommendations for dozens of cities around the world with ratings for the effects of going to each one, so you can make the wisest choice possible. It’s called The Birthday Report, the first such to add this useful feature, and worth a look…

Order Birthday Report here!


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