Solar returns are also called birthday charts. In fact, it’s from the solar return that we get the expression "many happy returns" which we say when wishing someone a happy birthday.
Your solar return is calculated for the exact date and time when the Sun returns to the place it was in when you were born. This means that your true birthday may fall on the same date you were born, or it may fall the day before or after, depending on when the Sun reaches the correct degree. For example, if you were born on September 28, 1950, when the Sun was at 05ELIB 00', your solar return would have fallen on September 27th in the years 2004, 2005, and 2006.
Many reputable astrologers believe you can affect the outcome of your solar return by being in a place other than your birthplace or your place of residence at the time of the return. Some people will go to extraordinary lengths to visit another town or country for their solar return. This is because calculating a solar return for a different location can cause certain desirable planetary aspects to appear, and certain undesirable planetary aspects to disappear, or a planet or planets can change houses if the chart is erected for a different place. However, while the ancients believed in erecting a solar return for the location in which a person is at the time of the return, people back then did not travel much, and they could not have anticipated our highly mobile lifestyles.
The solar return takes the single day of the return and uses the 24 hours that follow the return to predict the future events for that year. But, we can argue that, like progressions, we need to recalculate the solar return for the place where the person lives once they return home.
Why is the solar return any different than a progression in that respect? After all, if I went to New York in June, I wouldn’t erect my progressions there and then return to the West Coast and rely on those New York calculations. When I progress the planets in my solar returns to predict events, it has always been the solar return chart erected for my residence that has been reliable.
Each sign of the Zodiac is represented by a planet. Here are the Planets and some of what they mean:
Sun: The Sun is associated with a sense of power. The house that the Sun occupies will be strongly emphasized. The activities of that house will be of great importance to the subject throughout her life. The characteristics of the sign associated with the Sun are usually intensified. The positive aspect of the Sun is creativity, affection and generosity. The negative trait of the Sun is arrogance.
Moon: The Moon conveys the sense of instinct and cyclic changes. The Moon is the second most important planet aside from the Sun. The characteristics of the Moon sign usually reflects the personality of the subject. Habits, emotions, motherhood, family and social response are the associations of the moon. Positiveness of the Moon is imaginativeness, business shrewdness, maternal instinct and patience. Negative traits include stubbornness, unreliability and irrational behavior.
Mercury: Mercury is communication. Mercury is associated with computers, intellect, science and mental perception. The positive characteristics of Mercury are good memory, logical, communicative and clever. The negative traits are mental constipation, argumentative, nervous and sarcastic.
Venus: The keywords of Venus are love and harmony. Venus is associated with feelings, love, beauty, arts, and fashion. The positiveness of Venus is friendly, well mannered, artistic and lovable. The negative traits are selfish, and unrealistically romantic.
Mars: Fire and energy come to mind with Mars. In ancient times, Mars was regarded as the bringer of wars. It has been perceived as the most powerful planet. Aggression, quickness in action, war and weapons and masculinity are always associated with Mars. The negative traits are boisterous, war-like and quarrelsome.
Jupiter: The keyword of Jupiter is expansion. Jupiter is sometimes known as the good planet. The House in which Jupiter is found usually is associated with very favorable outcomes in that department of life. The expanding quality of the planet can also be associated with the physical size of Jupiter...the largest planet in the solar system. Positive traits are compassionate, optimistic, and sportive. Negative traits are extravagance, irresponsible, indulgent, over-optimistic, and care-free.
Saturn: Limitation and hardship are the main attributes of Saturn. A subject always encounters limitations on the activities in life that are characteristics of the House where Saturn is. Saturn is always associated with slow moving, difficulty, and tension. Because Saturn is a planet that tests the success or tenacity of a subject's action, Saturn is positively associated with perseverance and fortitude. As well, Saturn sometimes is associated with ill health. The positive traits are trustworthiness, tenacity, and discipline. The negative traits are self-pitying, depressive, and difficult.
Uranus: Sudden changes best represent Uranus. Uranus is associated with modern science, medicine, sex and tele-communication radio systems. The positive traits are inventive and original. The negative traits are sexually perverted, abnormal and impulsive.
Neptune: The keyword of Neptune is unknown. Neptune may reflect the hidden potential capability of a person. The positive traits are subtle, artistic and sensitive. The negative traits are indecisive, careless, and unworldly.
Pluto: Due to its recent discovery (1930), astrologers have not been certain of what Pluto is best to associate with a subject's characteristics. The best to associate with Pluto is the marking of a new beginning (the end of a cycle) of a life event. Pluto very often is symbolically associated with business, the hidden and unconscious power. The positive traits are financial astuteness, able to start new in unfavorable circumstances. The negative traits are underworld association, and seediness.