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Create a birthday chart for the year ahead

Each year, as your birthday approaches, you may begin to feel excited, especially if you are planning a celebration with family and friends. You may look forward to some special gifts, lots of “happy birthday!” greetings and a few “many happy returns of the day” wishes.

The thought of your upcoming birthday may also trigger a little sadness as it reminds you another year has passed, with its share of good and challenging times. Any sadness may be tempered with anticipation for what the coming year may bring. All this anticipation and build-up means your birthday is an excellent time to reassess where you have been and where you are going.

The cycle of the Sun

A solar return is a chart created for the annual return of the Sun to its original position in your natal or birth chart. It’s then used to explore what might be in store for you in the coming year. Solar returns are cyclical in nature but, for now, let’s look at your current birthday chart on its own.

Your solar return or birthday chart is like a snapshot of the year ahead.

The use of solar return charts is a traditional predictive method. Your annual chart contains a wealth of information that can be used to understand the broad conditions of your year ahead, as well as how you might best manage any possible challenges.

In each solar return chart, the Sun, Moon, other planets and significant points, like the Ascendant or Midheaven (MC), will have moved from their position in the previous year’s chart, sometimes quite dramatically. This creates new symbolism and insight. Your solar return or birthday chart is like a snapshot of the year ahead.

If you have moved away from where you were born, your solar return chart can be cast using your new location. Some people Travel to a specific location for their birthday in order to create a more auspicious chart but, unless you will spend considerable time in that location in the coming year, it may not turn out as well as expected.

The Sun returns to its birth or natal position each year, typically within a day or so of your calendar birthday. For example, if you were born when the Sun was at 22° Cancer, the Sun will also be at 22° Cancer in your solar return chart (see example charts). What does change from year to year is the house in which the Sun is situated.

Houses: fields of experience

The houses symbolise the various areas of your life. The house of your solar return Sun may indicate a highlighted area or topic of life for that year, or show where you are most likely to “shine”. When the Sun in a solar return chart is in the same house as it is in your natal chart, you may feel more “at Home” as that is an area of life you know well.

The table below indicates how the Sun’s position could play out in your birthday chart, house by house.

The Sun’s position What this might signify
1st House This is a year about you. Keep an eye out for new and exciting opportunities to help you assess the direction of life.
2nd House This is a year about what you value. It may come with the opportunity to get your finances in order, or highlight challenges that show what is interfering with positive feelings of self-worth.
3rd House This is a year about communication. There will be increased opportunities for writing and connecting with all kinds of new people. You may spend more time with your siblings or in your local community.
4th House This is a year about where you are, your family heritage and roots. Your family may play a larger part in your life or the year could involve issues to do with real estate.
5th House Explore new ways to express yourself. There may be opportunities for creative activity. Children may also play a larger role in your life.
6th House Think about your health and your daily routines. It might be a good year to reassess your diet or start a daily exercise program.
7th House This is a year about close relationships, particularly domestic and business partnerships. You may reflect on how you work with others or as part of a team.
8th House Look deeper into things. You may experience psychological growth through challenging issues, possibly but not necessarily related to the death of someone close.
9th House This is a year for studying, travelling and delving into philosophical or ethical issues.
10th House Your career may be in the spotlight. It might be a good year to enhance your reputation at work or in the community.
11th House Spend more time with friends and associates, and reassess your goals and plans for the future.
12th House This is a year of introspection, meditation and spending more time alone. It could also involve a hospital stay or involvement with some other type of institution.


Changing houses

Solar returns are part of a larger cycle which flows from year to year. The movement of the Sun through this fascinating cycle is influenced by the leap year, which means the time of your birthday chart changes about six hours each year.

In your solar return chart the Sun will move roughly three houses in an anti-clockwise direction each year. It spends a series of years moving through houses with similar themes, then it will move on to another group of houses, depending on where it originated. For example, if the Sun began its cycle in the 1st House (an angular house) it will move into the 10th House next, then the 7th and then the 4th, which are all angular houses too.

Over time, the Sun gradually shifts into the 2nd House, where it will start a new cycle through the succedent houses (the 11th, 8th and 5th). It will then shift again into a cycle through the cadent houses (3rd, 12th, 9th and 6th). This movement will depend on where your Sun is in your natal chart, your age and your location on your birthday.

When the Sun is in the angular houses in your birthday chart, your year may have an emphasis on growth through all kinds of relationships. When the Sun is in the succedent houses, your year may involve understanding the role of various types of transitions. When the Sun is in the cadent houses, your year may involve communication and learning opportunities.


Angular 1, 4, 7, 10 Action, energy, change, progress
Succedent 2, 5, 8, 11 Values, resources, matters relating to money and wealth
Cadent 3, 6, 9, 12 Learning, communication, self-discovery


The Ascendant in your birthday chart

Each year the Ascendant will be in a different sign in your solar return chart than where it is in your natal chart. In any chart, the Ascendant sign is important as it colours the way you interact with your immediate environment. It also symbolises characteristics you present to the world, and, in your solar return, can indicate your overall attitude and approach to the year ahead.

Here is a quick guide to the Ascendant in your birthday chart and what it might signify.

The sign on the Ascendant What this might signify
Aries You may be assertive or have the courage to make changes and explore new experiences. You may be more physically active than usual.
Taurus You may be more practical and conservative than usual or have more patience when faced with challenges.
Gemini You may be more social and outgoing than usual or be interested in taking on a number of new projects.
Cancer You may be more sensitive than usual or be concerned with security, especially relating to family members.
Leo You may feel the urge to be more creative or to look for new ways to express yourself.
Virgo You may to want to organise your life, especially your finances. You may also address health matters.
Libra You may feel the need to work with others in a team to achieve goals. You may be more cooperative than usual or use negotiating skills.
Scorpio Buried emotions or issues from the past may resurface or need attending to.
Sagittarius You may be more restless than usual or want to break out of your routine. You may travel or seek new ideas through study.
Capricorn You may be more conscious of the responsibilities in your life and attend to them with focus and self-control.
Aquarius You may be more aware of your differences to others. Others may see you as a little quirky.
Pisces You may be more imaginative than usual or want to spend more time alone.


The Moon in your birthday chart

The house and sign of the Moon in your solar return chart shows an area where you will be sensitive. The Moon symbolises how you respond emotionally to external events and internal stirrings. If it is in close proximity to or aspects another planet or significant point, especially the Sun itself, it will accentuate your reactions to issues. On another level, the house of the Moon in your birthday chart can also signify an area in your life that may need nurturing.

Your year ahead

While the placements of the Sun, Moon and Ascendant in your solar return chart are important, remember any chart needs to be considered as an integrated whole.

Aspects between planets and the luminaries, planetary patterns and the dominance of any particular sign or house by a stellium or collection of planets need to be taken into account. These factors, along with the Sun, Moon and Ascendant placements, show how you might respond to external events or internal stirrings. For example, if there is a predominance of planets in the bottom half of the chart you are more likely to be involved with personal and family matters, or may be introspective. If the predominance is in the top half of the chart (apart from the 12th House), you may focus more on your career and matters in the wider world, or you may be extroverted.

The house of the Moon in your birthday chart can signify an area in your life that may need nurturing.

You might also consider the house in which Leo is placed, as the Sun rules Leo. This house can show an area of your chart that will be illuminated in the year in question. The house and sign that Mars occupies can also be significant. It symbolises the kind of energy you will bring to your new year and where you are most likely to focus that energy.

Looking into the past

While solar return charts are generally used to look forward into the coming year, you can also draw up a solar return for earlier years. These can be vital tools in evaluating any difficult or joyous events of the past. Doing so can be immensely rewarding.

Purpose and meaning

Due to the cyclical nature of solar returns, around the age of 33 and again about 30 years later the Sun will return to its natal house at the same time as the Ascendant lines up to its original sign. These years, 33 and approximately 62-64, are particularly important. They bring opportunities to reconnect with your true self and reconnect with the purpose and meaning of your life.

To demonstrate the significance of solar returns at these ages, let’s examine the charts of a woman called Lee, whose birth chart appears below.

Lee natal

Lee at age 33

As Lee is 33, you’ll see in the chart below that the Sun has returned to the 3rd House, where it is in her natal chart, and the Ascendant is once again in Taurus. Curiously, Mercury is again comfortably situated in the 4th House of Family and Heritage, an area of life where communication is important to her. Some other points of interest for Lee’s coming year include Mars conjunct the Sun, adding energy and vitality. The Moon is conjunct Venus in the 2nd House, creating a pleasant partnership in her self-worth and finance sector. Pluto is in Scorpio conjunct the Descendant, perhaps indicating deep issues coming to the surface in a relationship. Relationships could also be under pressure this year with Saturn in the 7th House. Lucky Jupiter is in the 10th House, bringing new opportunities for her career.

Lee’s 33rd year involved caring for her two young children. She also joined and became heavily involved with her local playgroup, and began writing articles for a parenting magazine. Over time, these became springboards to a career writing about children and child-rearing.

Lee 1985

Lee at age 62

Now that Lee is 62, in 2014, the Sun and Ascendant in her birthday chart have once again returned to their birth positions. In this chart, Jupiter is conjunct the Sun, helping Lee shine a little brighter through the coming year and promising opportunities to broaden her horizons. The Moon is in the 10th House, suggesting she will be in the public eye more than usual. Saturn is again in the 7th House, possibly repeating any partnership tensions she faced 29 years earlier.

Lee is now retired and, with more time on her hands, joined her local Residents’ Association. Her natural writing and communication skills rose to the fore again, as indicated by the Sun in the 3rd House, helping her set up a community newsletter.

Lee 2014

As you can see, your birthday charts have a lot to offer. If you use them wisely and intuitively, they can provide great insights into your intellectual, emotional and spiritual growth for your year ahead.

Jenny England

Jenny England

Jenny England has a Bachelor in Applied Social Science, a Certificate in Astrology and a lifetime interest in science, metaphysics, philosophy, mythology and spirituality. After 30 years working as a journalist and historian, Jenny is now retired and devoting more time to astrology — when she is not spending time with her grandchildren, illustrating children’s books or writing a community newsletter for her local neighbourhood in Sydney. You can contact Jenny on +61 2 9913 1235 or at

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