Posted by: Donna Cunningham | July 6, 2010

10 Good Articles about Solar Returns

©7-6-2010 by Donna Cunningham, MSW

As a  followup to yesterday’s 10 Things You May Not Know about Solar Returns , I wanted to provide more information about solar returns for students, but more enticing writing projects are calling, so I searched the internet for good articles.  Here are links to 10 of the best.  


An Overview of Solar Returns:

 Solar Return lesson 1  Ron Bippus does an excellent job of introducing solar returns and interprets what each of the solar return houses and planets tells us about the year ahead. 

 Solar Return Frequently Asked Questions by Mary Fortier Shea, M.A.   A downloadable FAQ by one of astrology’s top electional astrologers.

 Llewellyn Worldwide – Articles: Interpreting the Solar Return Celeste Teal explains the basics, gives excellent detail on interpretation, and presents case histories.

 Sample Journeys Yearly Solar Return Report A sample of a computerized solar return interpretation available at  

Traveling to Get the Best Solar Return:

Where in the World, Why in the World?  John Townley is in his usual good form as he explains how traveling for a solar return works. 

 The Astro*Carto*Graphy Solar Return Map  An excerpt from David Meadows’, Where in the World With Astro*Carto*Graphy, Tempe, AZ: American Federation of Astrologers, 1998.

If you’re interested in using this technique, Continuum has a list of certified Astro*Carto*Graphy practitioners and a library of over 50 articles about relocation techniques here: Relocation Astrology Information and Practitioners.

 Other Applications of the Technique: 

 Making Yourself a Birthday Essence At the Solar Return  An article of my own at Vibration Magazine.  Not based on flowers, this technique would help you work with the planetary energies in a harmonious way. 

Andrea Argoli:On the good and bad health according the solar Return of the year For real scholars only, translation from a classical Greek text.

More articles to check out on Skywriter:

free astrology booklet by Donna CunninghamA wee birthday present for Skywriter subscribers who don’t have it already: Mothers, Daughters, and the Moon, a 50-page excerpt from The Moon in your Life. Read more about it here: New: Free Booklet For Skywriter Subscribers! 

 If you’re already a subscriber and want a copy, forward the most recent email post to me at To sign up for a subscription, go to the top right hand corner of the blog and click on “Subscribe.”  Then send me an email with your subscription confirmation or an email post with a request for the booklet in the subject line. 


  1. Thanks for this info Donna. Just in time for me to work on figuring out my solar return. I am in another location and it moves Saturn from my 1st house to the 12th putting 4 planets in the 12th.

    Some people say always use the birth place, don’t do the area you are in at the time. I never know.

    • Yes, that’s an enduring controversy–astrologers tend to be an opinionated lot! I’m on the side that uses the location where you spend your birthday. If you decide the reloacted return is the one you’ll use, then the series about the 12th house would apply to the solar return as well, but not to the extent that natal planets do. Donna

  2. I’m a bit off and on when it comes to Solar Returns but on a different subject, if I may:

    Happy Belated, Donna!

    Hey, the Universe sent me a synchronicity to celebrate your birthday. Yes, I discovered that your tradition of sharing good sense and helpful advice with others – with a Cancer Sun – is in the company of two greats: Dear Abby and Dear Ann, b. July 4, 1918.

    Cheers to your continuing light on our daily understanding!

    • Yes, I’ve always related to the twins, Abby and Ann. Not only are we all advice columnists, but we were born about 30 miles apart along the Missouri River in Iowa. Donna

  3. What about those solar return charts that are
    geocentric precessed? I know of one astrologer
    that uses this rather than the exact Sun degree
    from birth. I realize you have said that they both work.

    • I haven’t heard of geocentric precessed, just precessed. What I believe is that whatever the astrologer believes works, works. We’re really just tuning into the planetary energies and they’re talking to us. The piece of paper called an astrology chart is merely a sort of mandala that gets us there. Hmm. That’s a radical belief that I’ve just articulated for the first time. I think I’ll add that to the piece, so thanks, Mary. Donna

  4. hi Donna
    thank you for researching this info. i just went to Ron Bippus’ site to educate myself. i got my solar return from reference my current location.
    there is something here i don’t understand
    I quote the section of the article:
    The Solar Return is a horary chart, and can be interpreted without reference to the natal chart. Special attention must be paid to the aspects of the transiting Moon, since its last aspect before it changes signs determines the final outcome of all issues.

    a. If the Moon is void of course not much will change unless there are overwhelming indications for change by house and aspect.

    b. If a planet changes signs before the Moon does, then all efforts for change are wasted, nothing will come of them.

    c. If the final aspect is an opposition, then there will likely be a separation from lovers or employers.

    d. If the final aspect is a square, then challenges are met successfully, indicating a very good year.

    e. If the final aspect is a conjunction to a benefic, or a trine or sextile, then everything will turn out well.

    how do you determine the last aspect of the transiting moon? how do you tell in the chart when the moon changes signs?
    I have been doing alot of reading, thanks to your efforts at enlightening us all. I just don’t understand this sentence nor do i know how to find the final aspect of the transiting moon…if you could point me in the right direction, i would be forever grateful! I sooo love this blog!

    • HI, Meredith. What you would do is imagine that the Solar Return Moon continues to travel through the remaining degrees of that sign to the end. Think of the rest of the planets in that chart it would aspects. Let’s say that the Moon is at 20 Gemini, and as it would continue through Gemini, it would square Saturn at 28 Virgo and quincunx Neptune at 29 Aquarius. Then the quincunx would be its last aspect before leaving Gemini. Donna

  5. thank you Donna! My solar moon is in 29 degrees Aries. given that it is close to the end of the sign, would progressing it really change the aspects? Also how do i determine what the final aspect is? I am not looking for an interpretation of my chart as i know you don’t do that, but i am looking at the chart with its chart of the aspects and don’t know which would be the final one. also looking at the solar return transits to natal planets…thank you so much for the “teaching moment”

    • The term Progressed Moon is probably a misnomer here, and not to be confused with your real progressed Moon in your progressed natal chart. I can’t think what else he would have used, however.

      For this purpose or for a horary question, the aspect grid from AstroDienst or your own software is not going to give you the upcoming aspects, because software is set to only use a predetermined orb for each of the aspects. Unless the planets in later degrees of signs are still within range of those orbs, the grid will not track it for you.

      We’re very spoiled and lazy now because of all the convenient things astrology software does for us, but there are still places where we have to figure things out for ourselves manually, and this is one of them. Here’s my last bit of how-to on this question:

      1) Find the degree of the Moon in the solar return or horary chart.

      2) Let’s pretend it’s at 18 Aries. You’d be looking for planets elsewhere in the chart that are between 19 and 29 degrees of a sign. If it helps, write those planets down in numerical order on a piece of scrap paper.

      Ignore all the planets that are earlier than the 18 degree position for this Moon, because they do not figure into this technique or into horary charts.

      3) Pretend that the 18 Aries Moon has moved forward to form an aspect to the first planet on the list. Let’s say the Sun is at 20 Cancer, so in your mind, move the Moon to 20 Aries.

      4) Figure out what aspect is from 20 Aries to 20 Cancer. That would be 3 signs/90 degrees, which is a square. (If you don’t know the degrees for the aspects, then you need to take a course or read a book about aspects. I can’t do that for you in the comment section.)

      5) Move the Moon forward in your mind to the degree of the next planet on the list. Let’s say Venus is at 22 degrees Leo, so you move the Moon forward in your mind to 22 Aries.

      6) figure out the aspect between 22 Aries and 22 leo. That’s 4 signs or 120 degrees, so it’s a trine.

      7) Continue through the list until you reach the highest number, anything up through 29 degrees of a sign. The aspect between that planet and the mentally progressed Aries Moon is the last aspect the Solar return Moon will reach before leaving the sign. When a Moon is in 29 degrees, you probably won’t find any aspects between there and the end of the sign.


  6. Donna – I’ve been meaning to write a note about the enjoyment I had with my Solar Return which I worked out (using your links) would occur at 9.38 am on the day before my actual July birthday. My astrologer partner printed me out a Solar Return chart which I then had fun exploring with its different nuances compared to my natal chart. These turned out to be really fruitful as I am coming out of a long retreat and into a more active phase. The Solar Return shifted my rising sign from Leo to Virgo and put my Sun in the 11th house instead of 12th. I enjoyed comparing this new virgo-Pisces axis with the familiar Leo-Aquarius, and much more.

    Then I decided to make a special vibrational essence. Inspired by your lightening story in the link above, I took great liberties and placed my favorite birthday gift of Bombay Sapphire Gin (!) over the chart in the sunshine in my medicine wheel garden. The garden has various motifs from my natal chart in it among other symbols and so this new ritual fit beautifully. It got moved around all day as I contemplated the solar return chart. Finally, I had a celebratory G&T and used a little to make my essence.

    It could be an interesting year?!

    • Good fun, Sara, glad you celebrated in style. Donna

  7. just wanted to chime in again here and say that i absolutely loved this collection of articles on solar returns. I learned alot. Donna thanks for your guidance and taking the time to select these links. I check out alot of sites that are astrologically based, but this blog is the best. i look forward to the daily emails! Thank you so much!

  8. These are really informative articles. Thank you Donna.=-)

    It’s good to learn something new every day and I sure did today.

    My b-day is coming up and so finding these articles is good timing.

    My SR rising sign is Virgo, my SR sun is Scorpio in the 3rd house and my SR Moon is in Pisces in my 7th house.
    This should be an interesting year. (c:

    Thank you again,

    • You asked the other day how I put up with you. Well, I appreciate that you always appreciate what I share. Donna

  9. Hi Thanks for the great info on Solar Returns.
    I have just made an essence of my Solar Return. I was wondering what the dilution from stock to dosage bottle should be please?

    • Hi, Dominique. I made a solar return essence some time ago,and it worked fine with just going from stock to dosage bottle–it’s not like a homeopathic remedy. Maybe later in the year, if you’re still using it, I’d love to see what you notice—if it makes the challenges shown by the return chart more easily mastered, for instance. Donna

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