Day 1: The Planets Return (Part A)
Planetary chart returns describe the planet’s evolutionary growth which symbolically refers to the human life cycle as a spiral that can be traced out using the illustration of a planets journey—that is the time when a planet returns back to its same position at birth each time after so many years. In each cycle we pass through stages of maturity each time getting a little older. Each planets different meaning describes certain qualities of human nature during each stage from the beginning of a period until its return, whereupon a new round in the life cycle begins again, with each time the round completed the experiences are integrated and summed up so to speak in order for the next new phase of maturity to begin on a higher turn of the spiral.
Planetary returns are very handy to use to assess long term yearly or longer future trends and to plan during each phase. They are waypoints on the road of life and clearly demonstrate their value through the pattern they form in complementing the years of growth in the human lifespan. It’s as if the design of each planet and what it represents was purposely made, metaphorically speaking, to balance and keep the whole of a human life from being lop-sided and instead given the right ingredient at the right time to keep the years in check and the life going like clockwork in a smooth working order.
The planets in astrological terms at heart are in reality as we know electromagnetic forces that we use for describing our human nature. So they are a way to really explore and find out and map more of who we are and that so happens to take a lifetime and historically never stops. One way to gauge this time long cycle is by the planetary returns which help put a lifetime of experiences into perspective.
The aim of this module is to gain a good awareness of each planet’s return cycle in its return chart both over a year and longer and gain a good understanding of the type of energies which present themselves in the areas where the planets start off from in the natal chart and also as they go around the chart on their journey in order to get some idea on the future trends of the planet as a result of the aspect pattern they make over the time of its cycle.
As you shall see, it’s interesting how each planetary return contributes and happens at precisely the right time and combination to make the perfect sequence in experience and display of our lives in fitting in with the bio-dynamics and rhythms of nature. In this week’s module we’re going to go through each planet’s return cycle in order to get a good understanding of the particular types of energies each one presents.
The Planets Return (Part A)
The Sun is the life force that instils life with its vitality and also symbolically represents the solar system that illumines us with its vital spark from within. When someone asks what star sign we are what they really mean technically speaking, is what degree of what constellation was the sun in at the time and day of your birth. Looking at this picture we see that throughout the course of the year our sense of self and vitality goes through a set pattern of aspects as defined by the 12 constellations like a series of phases for that year.
The name of the astrological chart used to measure a standard sun cycle of one year is commonly referred to as a “solar return chart” and in a bit deeper sense it refers to the understanding of how we can use our vitality to gauge the things we do for example over the year, in terms of maybe our goals, or relationships and each constellation and area of life as the Sun passes through it. So in reality even though you have predominantly the makeup of the sign the sun was in at your birth, you also have each of the other 11 signs as well as shown by your unique natal charts Dna.
During the years cycle like it does with each sign the Sun crosses over into a new house so when it’s one degree either side and on the cusp at zero degrees of a new house it points to change described by the energies and things that come under its ruling and the same thing when it crosses the angles, and also when it makes aspects to the other planets.
The sun’s one-year cycle goes on for a whole lifetime as we know. So what’s the bigger picture then, in relation to the Sun’s return cycle over a life time? In the natal chart note the house the sun is in. This represents as each planets does, the underlying blueprint of where your sense of self, life and vitality meaning has the most notable drives and expressions throughout your life—however we change and move forward in life growing up and maturing and those experiences of our sense of self take on new dimensions and meaning which is denoted by the sun in your progressed chart. Most notable when the sun returns back to your birthday time its symbolizes a new beginning for that year, while astrologically speaking its longer life period is defined by its progression which is worked out at 1 day = 1° for every year. As such it means it will change into a new sign 2 or 3 times depending how long you live.
These are rare times of change to ones sense of self when you may decide on letting go of things and taking on a new direction perhaps and things denoted by the new sign and its planetary ruler in the chart as they slowly become integrated into your being over the period of adjustment which usually is indicated by the build up at the 29° mark a year before, then the year of change when at the 00° mark followed by the 1° degree mark, when in that year the adjustment has been finalized and integrated.
It will be extra significant if it happens to occur in conjunction with entering a new house, it depends on the degrees on the cusp and if it coincides with 00° of the sign, however its especially so when the two incidents take place together, which is more or less a conjunction aspect of—sun to house cusp and the new signs planetary ruler wherever it is in the chart will come into the picture as well. This can very much indicate a change of direction in life when the energies related to the new sign and the area of life will begin to take shape and form and a new sense of yourself will begin to emerge.
Notwithstanding the natal sun is always in the background as the main energy in a return however the progressed sun indicates your changing sense of self and with it in a new sign virtually over the years shows the type of interests which take the forefront of your life in terms of your sense of self with the natal sun giving way to serve more as a back drop and security base for your progressed sense of self.
As mentioned this only occurs 3 times at the most in a lifetime so they are good points on the chart where you can plant the seeds so to speak, by looking ahead and getting some idea about the type of things worthwhile cultivating one or two years before the actual sun change into a new sign or house takes place.
The Earth even though is not normally included in a chart it is used by a lot of astrologers as a vital point of awareness regarding the complimentary planet to the sun. The earth symbol varies but the most common one is a circle with the four cardinal directions or arms of the cross. Its calculation is simply 180 degrees from the sun. Its interpretation varies across the astrological board however the most favorable one which I’ve elected to describe here about what it represents is the one which denotes the Earth as the worldly path of a persons spiritual service to humanity. The Earth has its own interpretation individually however in terms of its cycle it is read in relation to the sun, which means the solar return every year on a smaller scale and on a larger scale, when the progressed sun enters a new sign especially it can also denote a major shift in your spiritual values and type of world service to humanity takes place.
The Moon return cycle around the Earth as we know happens once a month and takes up to roughly 28-29 days with 13 moon returns a year however it’s the progressed Moon we look for in its longer life return which takes around 27.5 years to do one round of the zodiac and return back to its natal position. The progressed Moon takes around 2.4 years to travel through one sign and therefore it becomes fairly easy to track it in relation to the things it represents when it enters into a new sign or house, or especially like the sun when it crosses an angle.
There is the time when the progressed Moon returns back to its natal position and further still there is also the time of the “progressed lunation cycle,” which is the return of the progressed Moon to its progressed position. Both signal new beginnings once again, especially in relation to the areas the Moon is in its natal position however when its passing through into a new sign or house along the way of it return, the changes are not as pronounced but nonetheless they do show and even more so if it makes an aspect at the same time to its natal position. So each new house it enters indicates the type of activities that are worth taking on and energies in terms of the house natural planetary ruler, sign on the cusp and its natural planetary ruler in the chart and the moons qualities.
On one level, the moon represents the soul, so house and angle changes can be an important time for the soul, indicating new birth and greater growth in maturity for its purpose and direction, which can manifest in various ways related to the Moon on each plane of consciousness. On the physical plane of reality certain events that come under the moons rulership can be very much noticed, especially when it’s nearing towards the end of its long journey around the whole zodiac.
Once again the Moon’s longer return only happens 3 times in a lifetime. So each time it becomes an important time to be conscious of the things that are happening in terms of what the moon symbolizes and its meaning in your chart regarding its natal and progressed position, as they can be planned once again for maximum benefit. Some of the things that come under the Moons rulership are day to day feelings, instinctual receptivity, counseling, caring of all types from nurses to day care, public matters, ancestral heritage and roots, and habitual behaviors, and nurturing, and security, home, real estate and all things to do with fourth house matters.
The key to the progressed Moon and its return cycle is to record the significant times when it crosses an angle, and when it’s makes aspects to the other planets, and especially the times when it aspects the natal moon and its nodal axis around the zodiac. That way you’ll get a very good idea of the way its energies manifest for you and how to utilize them.
Also it’s worth noting that the moon is related to nocturnal or subconscious feelings and sensitivities so its progression may not even be recognized a lot of the time because of the long duration of the cycle, as such it’s really only during the times when it make aspects, or enters a new house, or sign, its energies are more apparent and will be more noticeable, but when it’s nearing the return to its natal position and getting ready to close and start a new cyclic turn on its spiral again, they are the times to really take stock of the events that happen around that time because they will have significant meaning. Look at the house it’ posited in the natal chart, and the sign on the cusp, plus the signs natural planetary ruler, and also the sign of Cancer and the 4th house and its natural planetary ruler and sign. Also transits by the other planets to the moon at the time can trigger events and help more to understand what’s going on around that soul time.
Mercury most of all is a planet associated with the mind as it represents our thoughts and communication of all sorts, and it’s easy to see why as out of all the planets it’s the quickest taking about 88 days or close to 3 months to do a cycle around the sun. It’s so quick that its return is barely noticeable just like every day using our thoughts processes. For its return back to its natal position it does so once a year. Sometimes when it’s in retrograde it crosses the natal position 3 times) and as such it’s a time to take note and record the events, as it does register a time to act on utilizing its retrograde energies and change from its norm—also it can indicate a dissolution and new beginning of a sorts and a time when greater mind awareness is to the fore.
A mercury return is the time especially to make the most of everything in terms of all things that come under its ruling, such as constructive thinking, and receiving/transmitting, and communications of all sorts. On the physical plane some areas it represents are trading, and business activities, and media, and all types of commuting, and communicating on a daily basis. The mercury return chart signifies a time to take note of what you can focus on for the year ahead, and on new things related to it regarding its return house position, and it in relation to both its natal and progressed house and their sign positions, and for yielding further information those signs on the cusp and their natural planetary rulers of the house it’s in, plus the 6th and 3rd house, because of its being the natural ruler of those houses—as well the energies will support new mercurial beginnings that will empower.
Throughout its journey over the year track its path in the return chart and using that chart do an aspect plot for it in relation to its position in your natal chart—also especially if you see its going to form a connecting aspect with another one of the planets that happens to be close to its end return, or just starting off on a new one—as Mercury transits are well known for triggering events, and delivering news and messaging—with the main key to Mercury’s powers being the mental processes, and thought awareness, and mindfulness.