We rely on celestial and biological cycles in our everyday life: we go to sleep in the evening and wake up for a day full of activities every morning. Although we have limited ability predicting the weather for the next winter or summer, we are certain that the winter will be coming and have an idea about the timing of the next winter’s arrival. Our bodies go through cycles, our lives go through cycles, and finances and economics experience cycles too. Cycles are the reality of our life as a society and as individuals.
Although we do recognize the cycles and are able to understand and predict their patterns, we also know that no two cycles are alike: our winters and summers are different from the winters and summers in past years, every day and night are unique, and we have to adjust to the changes on a daily basis.
Astrology works with cycles: the circular orbits of the planets regularly bring them in the same position relative to the Sun or to the Earth, and Earth itself repeats the revolutions around the Sun every year. For everyone on Earth this means that they became a year older. For astrologers it also means that we are starting a new repeating cycle that will be different from any previous yearly cycle and will bring unique challenges and achievements. A technique that deals with yearly Solar cycles and evaluates the upcoming year is called “the Solar Return”.
To evaluate the next year of our life, astrologers cast a horoscope for the moment when the Sun takes a precise position identical to its position in the Zodiac at the moments of a person’s birth. This rarely happens on the official birthday, the timing is usually 1-2 days off due to the discrepancies between our calendar and actual movement of the Earth around the Sun relative to the Zodiac. Although the Sun at the moment of the Solar Return is exactly at the same position where it was at the moment of a person’s birth, other planets are not. Each of then has its own cycle based on the position relative to the Sun or relative to the Earth, and the configuration of planetary position that was observed in the sky at anyone’s birth moment will never repeat again. When the Sun comes to the exact position where it was at the time of birth, other planets will be in very different positions in the Zodiac, signifying beginning of a new, unique yearly cycle.
Astrologers believe that a person’s year ahead can be evaluated based on the positions of the planets at the time of the Solar Return. In the chart of a Solar Return, a position of the Sun signifies the person’s health, vitality, and overall wellbeing as well as the focus of the year. The position of the Moon indicates the areas of life to experience most changes, and the relationships between other planets provide additional information about a person’s life during the next yearly cycle.
The most attractive part of the Solar Return for a client is the belief of many astrologers that you can change the energy of the upcoming year by changing your location at the moment of your Solar Return. Although the positions of planets in the Zodiac or their relationships to each other cannot be changed by relocating, their positions in a chart can be manipulated by traveling to a distant location, because the Ascendant and the Zodiac positions of the houses representing different areas of the life are very sensitive to a location. Thus, if you live in New York and don’t like to see the Sun in your house of loss or your house of sickness, you can change the Solar Return chart by traveling to Europe or to the West Coast, which may bring the Sun in the chart to the house of career. Doing so, you may change the focus of the upcoming year from your health to your career. Or, if you don’t like to see the Moon in your house of career, where you don’t want any changes, you can shift it to the house of relationships, where you do need some changes, by taking a vacation and traveling to a distant location for your birthday.
Although many astrologers do believe that such remediation of the Solar return chart is possible and advise their clients on birthday locations to attract desired outcomes, others disagree with such position and believe that the energy of each year is predetermined and cannot be changed. These astrologers will cast the Solar Return chart only for the place of birth or the place of the client’s permanent residence and will not advise to travel. The difference between two positions is in understanding of fate, free choice, and our ability to perform magic and change our circumstances by being pro-active. If an astrologer believes that our lives are completely planned ahead and we cannot introduce new energies, which are not promised by the birth horoscope, into our life, then any manipulations with locations, astrological talismans made to invoke the power of specific planets, and our attempts to remediate any “flaws” of our birth horoscopes are useless. However, if one believes that the Universe can be effected by our thoughts and actions and that we can bring desired energies into our lives by performing rituals or specific actions, then relocating to improve your Solar Return makes a perfect sense. After all, astrology happens at a time and in a location – two measures determining the planets positions in the Zodiac (time) and in a specific chart (location).
They say (and I experienced this in my life) that you start feeling the energy of the new yearly Solar cycle a little before the new cycle actually begins, up to two-three months before your next birthday. Non-believers in relocation use this very real fact as an argument against remediation and relocation. However, even when you start experiencing the signs of an upcoming cycle, there is still time to change the outcome, and this can be done by choosing a good location for the moment of your Solar Return.