Interpreting solar returns
Predictive Astrology – Techniques for Predicting the Future
On this Page:
- The Solar Return Moon: its sign, house position, and aspects.
Solar Returns Feature: Page 6
On page 1 of our Solar Returns Feature, we offered our preferred techniques and key points to consider when interpreting Solar Returns, as well as an example Solar Return.
On page 2 of our Solar Returns Feature, we offered a second example of a Solar Return at work.
On page 3 of our Solar Returns Feature, we discuss more techniques for fine-tuning a Solar Return analysis.
On page 4 of our Solar Returns Feature, we offer interpretations of the Ascendant sign in the Solar Return chart, as well as the natal house brought to the Solar Ascendant.
On page 5 of our Solar Returns Feature, we offer interpretations of the Solar Return Sun in aspect to other Solar Return planets and points.
On page 7 of our Solar Returns Feature, we compare books and suggest resources for interpreting Solar Returns.
On this sixth page of our Solar Returns Feature, we feature the Solar Return Moon’s position by sign, house, and aspect.
The Solar Return Moon
Much information about the year ahead can be gleaned by studying the condition of the Moon in the Solar Return chart. This is because the Moon represents involuntary responses to the environment. Its position in the Solar Return chart shows the emotional condition of the native for the year. This emotional disposition is so vital because the manner in which we handle, manage, and perceive events in our lives goes a long way towards defining the year’s events.
Although the Moon is relatively passive in absolute terms, it represents how we react to the stimuli around us. These responses are extremely critical. For example, when the Moon is angular, also called the “foreground” (conjunct an angle and/or in the first, fourth, seventh, or tenth house), the native’s responses to the events of the year are rather naive, instinctual, and automatic. Because the native is very close to any situation he or she confronts, it is hard to get a good perspective. Impulsive and emotional reactions are most common. The native is left very open to outside influences.
On the other hand, if the Moon is in, for example, the second or eighth house, the emotional responses are more stable. The native is able to take a step back and examine any given situation without immediately magnifying issues out of proportion. This is true of the Moon’s placement in, or close to, any succedent house (second, fifth, eighth, or eleventh house). In these cases, the Moon is essentially in the “middleground” of the chart. It is not close to an angle (and remember that angles are points of great activity, outside influence, and subjectivity).
The emotional responses are considerably different when the Moon is in the “background” of the chart (behind the angles but not close enough to be considered conjunct an angle — in the third, sixth, ninth, and twelfth houses, or the cadent houses). This is a rather passive position of the Moon in the Solar Return chart in that the native does not feel an onslaught from the outside, although the native can nevertheless be very busy adapting to the environment and preparing for things to come.
The sign of the Solar Return Moon can be interpreted rather similarly in terms of the modalities. In general, cardinal signs suggest instinctive reactions to the environment and much activity. When found in fixed signs, the native possesses much emotional strength. Even if the rest of the chart suggests a difficult or crisis-oriented year, the native is able to keep some level of calm.
One of the most “favorable” Moon signs in the Solar Return chart is Leo. A cheerful and strong emotional state dominates the year. If other factors support it, it may be a time when the native attracts romance into the life. Because the emotional responses are very stable and positive, even if the Moon, for example, squares Pluto, indicating sweeping changes in the emotional life, the native tends to turn changing circumstances into something positive.
Even when the Moon is in Scorpio or the eighth house, the emotional responses can be intense yet rather controlled nevertheless. This is due to the inherent emotional strength of the native. This is especially obvious if the native is born under a more vacillating Moon sign, such as a mutable sign, simply because the emotional responses are notably different.
The position of the Moon by house, and to some extent, by sign, will show where your heart is, so to speak. If, for example, the Solar Return Moon is in Libra in the 5th house, it is likely that you will be emotionally tied up in, and concentrated on, love and relationship. A strong need for personal self-expression will be characteristic of the year, and emotional ups and downs are likely to occur in this area of life, simply because this is where your heart is—this is the area of life that you have the biggest emotional investment in—and you may not be completely rational and “in control” in this area. More than simple fluctuations will be in store in this area of life if, for example, the Moon is also forming a square to Pluto in the Solar Return chart. Profound changes are likely to occur here. Thus, factoring in the Moon’s aspects will help refine the reading.
The house position of the Moon, then, can reveal some areas of life’s ups and downs in the year ahead. For example, if the Moon is in the eighth house of the Solar Return chart, joint finances may be an issue or a cause for concern. Changes with regards to a partner’s finances may affect the native seriously. As an aside, even if the native is divorced but is still tied up with the ex-spouse because of children or alimony issues, the eighth house still rules the ex-partner’s financial state. The eighth also rules taxes, debt, and insurance matters. Occasionally, there is concern about the health of a loved one and fear of death. Because the eighth house also rules sexual sharing, sex can become a large focus or a sensitive issue in some manner. Changes in the sex life are often evident.
Solar Return Moon in the Signs
Solar Return Moon in Aries
You have an emotional need to start something new this year—to make a fresh start somehow. Impulsive decisions characterize the period. This promises to be an active and energetic year in which you feel renewed self-confidence. You are more assertive and enthusiastic, and also more willing to let go of the past.
Solar Return Moon in Taurus
You have a greater than average need for security and for establishing roots this year. You focus on acquiring things, especially for the home, and stabilizing your domestic environment. If there are any difficulties this year, you have the emotional strength to face them without cracking under pressure.
Solar Return Moon in Gemini
This is a year of emotional adjustments. You may feel pulled in a number of directions, and you could find yourself very busy and perhaps in demand. If the Moon is afflicted, you may feel behind schedule and you may have difficulty keeping up with the pace of your life.
Solar Return Moon in Cancer
Your heart is with your family and your home this year. This position is sometimes associated with a birth. If the Moon forms mostly challenging aspects, there is a tendency to dwell on emotional hurts from the past.
Solar Return Moon in Leo
You project a more confident and warm manner during this period of your life, and could very well attract romance into your life. You feel more playful than ever, and you look for opportunities to “play”. This can be a highly creative year, and whatever you do is colored by at least a little bit of drama.
Solar Return Moon in Virgo
This is a busy period in your life when you might work behind the scenes. It will be easier than most years to stick to a diet or health regime. Keeping “on top” of things in terms of staying organized is likely a focus. More responsibilities than usual are likely.
Solar Return Moon in Libra
You are emotionally tied up in relationships, partnerships, and issues of cooperation and collaboration this year. Your power of attraction is stronger than usual. You may be more socially active or do some work with the public. If the Moon is mostly challenged, you may experience some problems in one-to-one relationships that you actively work on in order to restore harmony and balance.
Solar Return Moon in Scorpio
Your emotions are intense but controlled this year. You may feel somewhat like a warrior on an emotional level, able to handle problems perhaps better than ever. You are not as given to quick emotional reactions. Rather, you can sit back, watch, and wait. You are likely to be particularly perceptive when it comes to sizing up people and situations.
Solar Return Moon in Sagittarius
You are emotionally restless, looking for new experiences. You are more able to have fun, and you seek out new adventures. Restlessness is probable. You may feel somewhat unsettled this year, and travel is possible. Legal matters may need to be attended to. If the Moon is mostly challenged, you could be struggling with indecision about where your life is headed.
Solar Return Moon in Capricorn
Focus this year is mainly on work. You might withdraw on an emotional level within your family and home life, either to focus your energy on work or because of increased responsibilities with work or the family itself. Your desire for a certain level of solitude and your emotional reserve this year might be cause for concern for others around you, depending on your usual personality. The condition of the Moon by aspect can suggest whether your reputation changes for the better or for the worse.
Solar Return Moon in Aquarius
The need for emotional “space” this year is evident. You are emotionally curious and somewhat detached. Your emotional reactions this year may be quirky, but you are not ruled by your emotions as much as other years. New friendships or group activity, or changes in these areas, may be part of the picture.
Solar Return Moon in Pisces
This can be a year of endings of some sort, especially with regards to something that has become very much a part of everyday life. You are more sensitive to your environment than usual, and you may not feel quite as “equipped” emotionally to handle the ups and downs of life. You are more sensitive to others as well. If the Moon is mostly challenged, emotional chaos may be the theme of the year–feeling “put upon”, ignored, or deceived by others.
Solar Return Moon in the Houses
Solar Return Moon in the 1st House
Your emotions tend to be on your sleeve in the year ahead. Some emotional restlessness is likely, and acting on sudden impulses can be a theme. You are more sensitive to your environment and the emotional atmosphere around you this year. As such, changeable moods are likely. You tend to enjoy making connections with others this year, but, particularly if the Moon is challenged in your Solar Return chart, you could take on more projects and interactions with others than you can manage. The key to success will be some emotional detachment–something that can be hard to achieve but is essential for an emotionally healthy year. Moon-related people, events, and activities feature prominently in the year ahead–women, family, nurturing, dealings with the public, and so forth. Your sensitivity to the expectations of others may dominate your emotional life this year.
Solar Return Moon in the 2nd House
Your emotions are strongly tied to what you have and don’t have this year–security derived from your income and possessions. Fear of lack can be behind many of your actions during this period. Fluctuations surrounding money may occur, but more likely you are more sensitive to them. Keeping things status quo is a tendency this year–too much change could frighten you now. In general, with the Moon in the “background” in your Solar Return chart, you tend to have a stronger hold on your emotions than usual.
Solar Return Moon in the 3rd House
An emphasis on communication, learning, and making contacts is indicated with this position. In terms of emotional orientation, this position can go one of two ways: you more easily give voice to your feelings or tend to rationalize your emotions to the point of not really knowing your heart’s desires. There are likely to be frequent short trips, errands, visits, phone calls, and communications in the year ahead. You are likely to be “on the go”.
Solar Return Moon in the 4th House
Solar Return Moon in the 5th House
Solar Return Moon in the 6th House
Solar Return Moon in the 7th House
Solar Return Moon in the 8th House
Your emotional state depends heavily on the condition of the Moon by aspect. If the Moon is mostly supported (for example, by trines and sextiles to other points), then you possess more emotional strength than ever this year. Your ability to step back and watch what is happening around you before reacting emotionally will benefit you, especially if you are usually a more emotionally reactive or impulsive person. You are more perceptive than ever, and better able to size up both people and situations you deal with. If the Moon is mostly challenged in its aspects to other planets and points, you may be dealing with very intense—even primal—emotions and will have a hard time sorting out your feelings.
Changing sexual relationships may occur this year. You may find that your levels of intimacy with another person or persons changes rather dramatically, and this is an area of focus or sensitivity for you on an emotional level. Either sexual relations become more intense and you discover new levels of intimacy, or you are affected by a decrease in this area. An example of this in my files is a woman who discovered that her husband was having an affair. The eighth house Moon squared Mercury on the Midheaven, and because the affair was known amongst her friends and colleagues, she had to deal with her personal life becoming “public”.
You are bound to encounter issues surrounding shared resources. If you depend on someone on a financial level, even in a small way, there may be cause for concern. Support from others in general is an issue that will concern you this year. The situation is likely to change, and you will need to work out strategies to deal with it. If you are married, or divorced but your resources are still tied up with those of your ex-spouse, your partner’s changing economic status is likely to affect you and concern you. For whatever reason, you may feel more dependent on support from others, or may need to take on debt. Examples of this position in my files include a person whose ex-spouse declared bankruptcy and some of his debts that were originally co-signed became her responsibility, a year when an injury forced a woman to be dependent on physical and some financial support from others, and a year when a person’s student loan came due and he faced debt repayment for the first time in his life.
Solar Return Moon in the 9th House
Solar Return Moon in the 10th House
Your heart is with your career and work goals this year–ups and downs in these areas are taken to heart, and are likely. There may be some pressure to “perform” this year as a result. You might find you are more involved with the public this year, and the extent of your popularity with same depends on the condition of the Moon. You would be wise to avoid letting emotions get in the way of your progress. This position of the Moon can go in one of two directions in terms of emotional orientation–you may adopt a business-like approach to your emotional life, or you might bring your emotions into your professional life. In some cases, people with this position of the Solar Return Moon take a more “motherly” approach to their work, or their work moves in the direction of nurturing or intuitive activities. Sensitivity to one’s reputation, or feelings of being “in demand”, can figure prominently this year. Sometimes this points to a change in marital status.
Solar Return Moon in the 11th House
This is a year in which you may plant one or more significant “seeds” in terms of projects that will be carried forth down the road. It is a period of dreams for the future–an excellent year in which to come up with progressive new ideas. Still, if the Moon is unfavorable, some of these dreams may be pipe dreams. You may also find that you put a lot of effort into generating income from a business. Connections with friends or groups figure prominently this year, or a longing to belong grabs hold of you. Your emotional orientation this year is likely to be somewhat conservative but also quite steady and objective. If you are normally an intensely emotional person, you could find that you are better able to detach yourself emotionally this year. An important new friendship with a female is possible.
Solar Return Moon in the 12th House
Hard Aspects of the Solar Return Moon
The hard aspects of the Solar Return Moon (the conjunction, square, opposition, semi-square, and sesquiquadrature) point to active themes and challenges in the year ahead. Note that with all hard aspects of the Solar Return Moon, the characteristics and situations suggested in the interpretations below will be more pronounced if the Moon is in the foreground of the Solar Return chart.
Solar Return Moon hard aspects to the Sun have been discussed on the Solar Returns: Aspects of the Sun page. They point to major, memorable periods in the life cycle.
Hard aspects to Mercury point to a general “busy-ness”, expressiveness, and mental activity. Travel may be in order. Some form of publicity is likely. This can take the form of being called upon to express yourself. For example, in a year when a woman announced her separation from her husband, she was in the position to explain herself and her situation to those around her. Alternatively, there can be an increased need to express yourself and to discuss your personal life with others. You might find that you are less in touch with your emotions simply because you feel the need to, or are pressed to, define them! There can also be some tendency towards being nervous and restless. Most of the time, there is an outside interest in your activities during this period. More attention to schedules and deadlines is also in order.
Hard aspects to Venus are not explicitly problematic, although they have their issues. You feel a lot of desire this year. Your passions are aroused in all areas — sensuality, food, comfort, pleasure, material goods, and so forth. Sometimes, a desire to create a family is strong. This aspect shows up frequently in years when a woman becomes pregnant. Generally, there is more social activity, and your sensuality is strong this year. You look to satisfy your “sweet tooth” for pleasure. Your urge for affection may be temperamental, but insistent when active.
Hard aspects to Mars can bring with them confrontations and moments of emotional anger. This is largely because you are far from indifferent on an emotional level this year. Your passions are aroused and it is hard for you to step back and objectively review any given situation. You can be emotionally impulsive during this period of your life, and your hunger for new experiences can reveal itself in restlessness and/or impatience.
Hard aspects to Jupiter suggest a period of emotionalism, with big feelings and the urge to expand your circle. Of all of the Moon’s aspects, this one is the most frequently active in years when things come to individuals, such as money, gifts, and rewards. Besides potential windfalls, this aspect generally brings with it a positive and happy emotional outlook.
Hard aspects to Saturn point to a stronger need for emotional security and some possible hypersensitivity. Others may find you somewhat withdrawn emotionally. Obligations and responsibilities are magnified. With this aspect, you find it challenging to keep a positive frame of mind, and if not kept in check, you more easily attract negative circumstances as a result.
Hard aspects to Uranus have the effect of “speeding up” the emotional reactions. You are more willing to take risks this year. Surprises come your way, and you may do things or experience things that you never imagined. This is a year when you can expect the unexpected. You are seeking emotional excitement, whether this is a deliberate or subconscious thing.
Hard aspects to Neptune are tricky. This can be a year of vague feelings and distinct moodiness. You may be feeling sorry for yourself at times, or you may feel that you have been deceived or neglected. There can be some domestic confusion this year.
Hard aspects to Pluto suggest very intense emotions and a strong will. You may find yourself attempting to resist changes in your routines, or the complete opposite: you have a great need to make changes on the domestic front. Either way, this is a year of breaking of established routines. You may feel that others attempt to manipulate you. Your emotional state is one in which you may feel isolated on an emotional level, and it is a time when you need to gather strength. In some cases, some sort of crisis, separation, loss, or shock occurs, but this is not a given.
Remember that with all hard aspects of the Solar Return Moon, these characteristics and situations will be more pronounced if the Moon is in the foreground of the Solar Return chart.
Soft Aspects of the Solar Return Moon
The soft aspects of the Solar Return Moon (the sextile and trine) show supportive themes. For example, a trine to Saturn suggests a generally stable emotional attitude this year. A trine to Mars suggests emotional vitality and strength. A trine to Venus suggests some support from the partner or the social life this year. Soft aspects, while passive by nature, help to support, ground, and stabilize the individual during the birthday year.
References & suggested further reading:
Cycles of Destiny: Understanding Return Charts by Ronald C. Davison.
Interpreting Solar Returns by James A. Eshelman.
Planets in Solar Returns: Yearly Cycles of Transformation & Growth by Mary Fortier Shea.