Relocation and the Solar Return Chart

Sun Legend Arthurian Tarot

“We cannot underestimate the power of the mind in this process. The relocated solar return is like a vision, intention or affirmation.”
Mary Fortier Shea. Planets in Solar Returns. Twin Stars. 1998

I received a question by email yesterday which I thought I should discuss here on the site. The question was about whether it is beneficial to relocate for your solar return. Relocation and the solar return chart is a fascinating area of consideration.

The solar return chart is calculated for the moment the Sun returns to its natal position. It typically happens on or around your birthday which is why we wish people ‘Many Happy Returns’. This chart captures the transits that are occurring at the time and is a snapshot of the themes and concerns for the year ahead. It is interpreted much like a birth chart only the themes are valid for a year rather than for a life time. Also, the solar return chart can be compared to the natal (by putting the natal chart in a bi-wheel around the solar return) for further information.

There are three schools of thought when it comes to the place you use to calculate your solar return. These are : –

  • Your natal birth place.
  • The place where you generally reside.
  • The place where you are when the solar return occurs.

Personally I am with option three after my own personal research which then leads into the question of travelling with the purpose of changing the solar return chart as a different location will shift the planets into different houses. For example, if your solar return in your normal place of residence will put one of the malefics on an angle or emphasise a particular house, travelling away will alter this, therefore altering your experience during the following year.

Solar returns, rather like transits tend to ebb in and ebb out. Around three months before the new solar return, the Sun will form its final square to its natal position. It is the perfect time to start putting plans in place to support your life purpose and what you would like to do in your next solar year. Squares require action. It’s also the time when the new solar return chart may start to become active. The upcoming solar return can be activated by preceding transits – for example a planet moving across one of the angles of the future chart.

This begs the question, how can this new solar return be active if someone hasn’t yet travelled to the new location?

I think there is something here about setting the intention as Mary Shea says in the quote I have included at the beginning of this post. It’s about the commitment to act – to consciously engage in a dialogue with the archetypal forces and planetary energies at work.

This act of intention is perhaps the whole reason for the idea of relocating in the first place. It reflects the concept of free will – choosing to choose. But in discussion, I did say that I think it is important to choose with a view to what is beneficial rather than choosing with the objective of avoidance.

Because we cannot avoid the teachings of the transits and progressions. If these support a relocated chart, then this certainly can mean it is beneficial to relocate. However if the solar return of the normal place of residence reiterates the transits, then travelling may not make a great deal of difference – the lesson still needs to be learned. The solar return chart will not cancel out the other elements at work. I’ll give you an example :-

In April 2016, my solar return will have Pluto conjunct the Ascendant exactly if I stay in my normal place of residence. Yes, I could panic and relocate to push Pluto off the Ascendant but on the day of my solar return, Pluto will be square natal Saturn by transit and the transiting North Node will be conjunct my natal Pluto. The feeling from this then is something about ‘inevitability’. The North Node alerts me that I may need to experience this Plutonic energy for my own personal and spiritual growth. If I run away to get Pluto off the Ascendant, I’m perhaps just avoiding what it has to teach me. Not to mention the fact that natal Saturn is in my 9th house of long distance travel which doesn’t particularly sit well with a far away trip!

As I write, I’m thinking about what I normally say to people about lucid dreaming. The ability to direct your dreams is a fascinating development and one that can be put to very practical use. But there are times when it’s necessary to drop the reins and let the unconscious take over. In terms of astrology and spiritual development, sometimes we need to hear what the universe has to say rather than telling it what we want to hear.

But often charts are not quite so emphatic as my 2016 example! Sometimes, you may want to switch that zinging solar return Venus with glorious aspects to your 7th house or a well aspected Jupiter to your 10th house and with corresponding transits that support relationship or career developments, this would be perfect. Actively relocating to commit to this can be part of the ‘magic’ of manifestation.

Essentially then, deciding whether to relocate needs to take into consideration the transits and progressions at the time of the solar return and look at how you can perhaps enhance those aspects that are most helpful whilst mitigating those that are more problematic. But it’s also about being open to experiencing what needs to be experienced and remaining conscious of your choice in how you respond.

Regardless of whether you choose to relocate or you stay in the same place, you can set your intentions based on the upcoming solar return chart and ritualise this. If you are staying at home, there’s nothing to stop you making a small pilgrimage to a local sacred space or even quietly lighting a candle in your own back garden or on an altar.

Whichever you decide, this is about connecting with your inner light, thinking about your life purpose and celebrating the fact that you are here!

If you are planning on relocating for your solar return and already have destinations in mind, I offer a reading on my solar return page which explores your options and lays out which would be the best according to what you would like to manifest in the following year. You can check that out on this page.

 Image – ‘The Sun’ from the Legend Arthurian Tarot



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  1. My April 2016 solar return also has Pluto smack on the Ascendant to within minutes… and I’m thinking about relocating. I have tr. Pluto square natal Mars exactly right then though, and North Node opposing my moon.

  2. Leah, thanks for this post. It is helpful to me. My California relocated Solar return chart for this next year (officially active this Wednesday), has Mars and Saturn in my 6th with Saturn conjunct my Descendent. This concerned me since it suggests the likelihood of a year of hard work and potential health challenges.

    My natal Return based on my birthplace of the Bronx, NY has the Mars Satun in my 5th and Jupiter in the second. The contrast is startling. At the same time I do not have any transits suggesting work or health related difficulties.

    I know that I will not be traveling back to the Bronx for my birthday and I’m happy to fully embrace the lessons and opportunities for this coming year. I’m very strong in my intentions for the year I want to create and also able to see great upside potential.

    My relocated return has many other powerful aspects pointing to increased productivity, creativity and breakthroughs in marketing especially with JV partnerships and technology. So it will indeed be a great year ahead. Thanks again!

  3. So what happend with you guys who had solar pluto conj Asc? 🙂
    My friend’s solar is showing the same for this year. Please share your experience..


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