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Io Solar – Interpreter – Sample

INTRODUCTION to SOLAR RETURNS

A solar return chart is a chart erected for the time that the transiting Sun returns to the position of the natal Sun. Approximately once every year the transiting Sun goes through the entire zodiac, every degree, minute, and second of each sign. When you are born, the Sun in your natal chart has a specific position in the zodiac. This position can be measured exactly. At some point in time during each subsequent year, the transiting Sun returns to this natal position, conjuncting your natal Sun. The date and time when the conjunction occurs down to the exact second of arc is the time of the solar return chart. A chart is then calculated for that date, using the time (of the transiting Sun’s return to your natal Sun’s position), and your location (longitude and latitude) at the time of the conjunction.

SOLAR RETURN LOCATION

The solar return chart is generally calculated for your location at the time of the Sun’s return. This may occur on your birthday, or the day before or after. During leap years, it sometimes occurs two days before your birthday. If you are going to be away or traveling near your birthday, calculate the time of the Sun’s return before you leave so you can note your position the exact moment of the solar return.

You can also calculate the chart for your natal birth location even if you no longer live there. The natal location solar return chart is not as definitive as the relocation solar return, but it can give you good information. The natal location solar return is like a progressed or solar arc chart; you are born with it. Therefore, a natal solar return cannot and will not reflect any free will choices you might have made regarding where you live or where you are when the sun returns. It is a good chart, but it does not mirror the whole picture, especially if you have moved a great distance.

Some individuals prefer the chart calculated for their place of residence regardless of where they are located at the time of the Sun’s return. This chart can be useful also, but again, it tends to be secondary to the chart of your actual location at the time of the Sun’s return to its natal zodiacal position.

Some individuals relocate for a short period of time, usually about 24 hours, to adjust the house placements of the planets in the solar return. Those who calculate the chart for where they are at the time of the transiting Sun’s conjunction to the natal position sometimes travel to other locations to change the yearly interpretation. The relocation adjusts the angles and cusps, orienting the planets into different houses. The zodiacal degrees and aspects of the planets remain the same, but because of the different planetary placements different areas of life are emphasized. The free will choice to make this adjustment seems to bring this chart closest to the truth.

PERIOD OF THE SOLAR RETURN’S SIGNIFICANCE

The significance of the solar return runs birthday to birthday with a three month overlap at the beginning and end of each year. The symbolism of the new solar return can be felt as much as three months before the birthday by very intuitive people. Usually, at this time, one becomes aware of new directions, opportunities, and problems. Many times there is even an event exactly three months before the birthday which triggers awareness and signals the beginning of the new solar return. This event is usually very much related to the new solar return and very much out of context with the old one. If you have plans to travel overseas during the three months before your birthday, do not look for the event in the old solar return even if you have been planning to take the trip all year. The old solar return will probably indicate the planning stage, but the new solar return will indicate the trip. The trip itself illustrates change, and since it occurs in the three months before your birthday, it will most likely be indicative of the new solar return chart.

On the other hand, the significance of the old solar return may not feel passé until three months after your birthday. The old themes and issues which you have worked with for the year should begin to lose their importance just as the new solar return starts to manifest itself. As your attention naturally shifts to new themes and issues, previous concerns are phased out. This is especially true if you experience a sense of completion relevant to the old tasks. However, there are times when the old solar return drags on. If you are working on a major project for the year, it may be impossible to complete it within the one year time span. If you normally procrastinate and avoid making decisions, tasks associated with the old solar return can easily last past your birthday and into the first three months of the new solar return year. Unresolved issues carried over from year to year become stumbling blocks to further advancement and development. Individuals who consistently avoid facing the real issues in their lives accumulate major problems which are very difficult to handle.

The important thing to remember about solar returns, and life experiences in general, is that they are part of a cumulative process. The more attentive and productive you are this year, the greater your options next year. The less you accomplish now, the more limited you will feel as time goes by. Unlike transits which can seem disconnected and singular, solar returns are closely aligned and can easily be viewed as building blocks, one upon the other, year after year. For this reason, each year becomes important and each task has a history and a future. The rhythmic pattern of the solar return helps us to see this.

The main transitional month for the change from the old solar return to the new solar return is the month directly preceding the birthday. Issues related to the old solar return are resolved at this time unless they drag on (as explained above), or they are part of the new solar return as well. Issues related to the new solar return become more pressing during this transitional month and are certainly full blown by the birthdate. Sometimes the new solar return simply gains strength during the three months before your birthday and sometimes it comes in with a bang on or near your birthday. Rarely does it happen that a solar return chart starts to change manifestation later in the year. Themes in the chart usually persist for the entire year, but once in a great while one new theme will appear later than expected. In every case, the new theme can be seen in the solar return chart, yet it lay there inactive for some unknown reason. An external event is the triggering mechanism used to activate this inert awareness, and the event generally occurs within the three months following the birthday. It can be hypothesized that unconscious factors help to avoid full involvement with this new issue until such time as it is associated with an external event of importance and thereafter becomes very obvious.

Planets conjunct a house cusp within a few degrees may be read in both houses. It is especially important to read outer planets in both houses since they eventually transit or retrograde into the other house, indicating dual or shifting concerns during the year. The more planets that are in a solar return house, the more emphasized that area of life will be during the coming year, especially if the Sun is one of the planets present. Four or more planets in any one house indicate a strong need to be involved with those themes and issues. But the individual may become so focused on this one area of life that perception is distorted and these themes are overemphasized. He or she may not want to think about anything else or accomplish tasks in other areas. The overloaded house becomes a symbol for obsessive preoccupation or emotional overload.

FIVE or more CARDINAL PLANETS

This can show a year with a tremendous amount of activity (which usually amounts to too much activity). You may expend your energy in several different directions by working on a number of projects. Each of these projects will be well-defined and equated with a personal need; however, you will feel torn among all the things you want or need to do. You are trying to do too much. If you overload yourself with too many activities, you will begin to procrastinate, miss deadlines and be forced into crisis management. Your nervous system will be taxed and you will begin to make impulsive decisions with little forethought. You need to be better organized. Perhaps you should finish one project before starting another, or you should seek assistance. If you must juggle a busy schedule, learn to streamline your routine and optimize your use of time and energy.

ZERO or ONE MUTABLE PLANET

The lack of mutable planets implies that you are less willing to adapt to other people or situations. You have a strong desire to be yourself and refuse to modify your personality or change your plans for others. Instead, you may expect others to adapt to your needs and idiosyncrasies. If there are conflicts, you feel others should be the ones to compromise or take corrective action. This is probably not realistic or fair to all involved. More positively, you will be able to focus on a goal or task with a single- mindedness that will help you see things to completion.

ZERO or ONE WATER PLANET

People with a lack of water in their solar return charts may find it difficult to express emotions or respond to emotional situations in a natural way. It could be more difficult for these people to make a complete emotional circuit, one in which they are nurtured, and in turn, are able to nurture others. Some of these individuals are victims of the strong-woman or strong-man syndrome. They pride themselves on being emotionally self-sufficient and self-contained, but may be experiencing a new depth of emotion which they need time to learn how to express more openly. There is a tendency not to do so.

The third alternative is that the emotional side of life is just not a major consideration this year. This can be a time of intellectual or practical pursuits. A more rational orientation might be warranted. The danger is that the lack of emotional expression might be associated with sadness, loneliness or psychological stress, but this need not be the case. Other facets of the personality can take precedence.

CANCER RISING

When the solar return Ascendant is in Cancer, what you feel is more important than what you think. Sensitivity and intuition increase, and so to your involvement in emotional situations. The driving force is to feel connected to family, friends, and a home base. Interactions with women are important and enlightening. Problems you encounter result from being too sensitive and emotional. Co-dependent situations can drain you while worry leads to mood swings. Under these conditions, decisions will not be rational or effective.

INTRODUCTION to the SUN

The Sun is the most significant planet in the solar return chart. Its position by house shows the most emphasized area of life during the coming year, how and where you expend the greatest amount of energy. The house placement of the Sun is reflected in the interpretation of the other planets, and may be the motivating force behind their symbolism.

SUN in the 2ND HOUSE
In general, the Sun in the 2nd house is not a sign of monetary gain; in fact, it is more likely that you will

feel underpaid. This is the year to reassess your worth as an employee or business owner and decide how much you should be earning. You may find that your work is not fully appreciated and it is really worth more than you are presently being paid. This is a time to map out a plan to earn more money; however, your salary will probably not increase much this year. Usually, individuals with 2nd house Suns do not get a pay raise until the following year when their Suns move into the 11th house, the 2nd (money house) of the 10th (career).

If you are running a business or a household, learn to budget your money or work with an accounting program. You need to pay attention to the way money is handled and spent; it may be slipping away wastefully. Financial practices that you incorporate this year can lead to money saved for future major purchases and projects. Lack of fiscal responsibility can lead to financial problems and limitations.

Reassessing your sense of self-worth will also involve analyzing how you are being treated by others. You may find that you do not command enough respect. If you have very little self-esteem you may be involved in physically or verbally abusive relationships, but it is more common to have established a pattern of devaluing your own needs and abilities in comparison to the needs and abilities of others. If others come first in your life and you always come last, it is time to make adjustments. Although you have probably helped to establish this negative pattern, others have helped to reinforce it and now everyone needs to change consciously. Now is the time to stand up for yourself. Expect equal consideration; if you must, demand it.

Learning to value yourself is just one side of this issue. All values need to be prioritized. What you once thought was desirable is now no longer attractive. You may grow more materialistic; or conversely, you may stress inner qualities rather than money. But in either case you will need to make decisions and set priorities during the year. A moral or ethical conflict is common. Usually there is a shift toward more traditional codes of behavior.

Some individuals make a definitive moral or ethical statement. They feel compromised by their jobs, situations or relationships, and feel compelled to stand up for what they believe in, ignoring the physical, emotional or financial consequences their stand will bring. This is the placement of the whistle-blower.

The 2nd house is also concerned with overindulgence, such as overeating, smoking, drinking, impulse spending and promiscuity. You are more apt to be aware of excessive behavior during the year, and consequently seek to control it.

SUN CONJUNCT VENUS
The Sun conjunct Venus indicates personal reward in the form of money, self-esteem, values, or relationships is intimately tied up with the goals reflected in the Sun’s house position. These two planets in the same solar return house can show an area of great comfort and confidence. The more you express yourself, the more likely you are to succeed. On the other hand, laziness can also be associated with this aspect. You can decide to sit back and reap whatever comes your way, but you reap greater benefits from a personal best effort.

SUN SQUARE or OPPOSITE JUPITER
The major task associated with the Sun square or opposite Jupiter in the solar return chart is expansion of the personality into new areas of experience and expertise. This expansion should be consistent with the individual’s philosophical beliefs, spiritual goals, and career aspirations, but this is not always the case. The main danger noted with the Sun square or opposite Jupiter is a tendency toward excessive behavior and a refusal to curb personal needs and desires in consideration of others. Excessive behavior can be associated with workaholic tendencies, spending practices, diet, health habits, or any other activity. A refusal to curb personal needs overwhelms partners and family members who have their own preferences. It is important to maintain a sense of balance with these aspects. Beneficial opportunities are associated with Jupiter aspects; however, there is no guarantee of a positive return. You may have to create your own opportunities, augment the possibilities through enthusiasm, or take a risk to manifest the best results.

SUN SEXTILE or TRINE SATURN
When the Sun is sextile or trine Saturn in the solar return chart, it implies a sense of structure. Whether this structure becomes supportive or restrictive depends on the situation and the individual’s ability to handle Saturnian issues in a positive manner. Saturn rules hard work. The productive characteristics associated with Saturn include persistence, patience, organization, stability, practicality, and realistic expectations. When the individual’s behavior is consistent with these beneficial traits, progress and self- mastery result. When the individual shirks responsibility and does not put forth the effort, little if any progress is made. When the Sun is sextile or trine Saturn, nothing is given and everything is earned. .

Beyond those circumstances which one can control, restrictions, frustrations, and delays can plague the native. You must accept responsibility for your own life situation and work with limitations should they arise. There is a lesson to be learned this year.

The Sun conjunct Saturn is not meant to reflect a depressing time, but it does reflect stark realism. Accurate perceptions of existing situations are essential to either accept or alter future expectations. You must be both realistic and patient in assessing your options. Progress can occur, but it tends to occur slowly and involve careful planning, hard work, and discipline, so put in the effort. It is common to be involved with a major project or task during the year that requires your full attention. Focus on finding solutions to problems. Use your skills and talents in a productive manner or develop the expertise you need to succeed.

INTRODUCTION to the MOON

The solar return Moon seems to have two consistent themes throughout all of the houses. First and most simply, the Moon is associated with change and fluctuation according to its house position. Secondly, and probably more importantly, the Moon reflects the individual’s emotional nature during the solar return year.

THE MOON AS AN EMOTIONAL INDICATOR

While we speak of the Moon as simply an indication of one’s emotional nature, the actual interpretation of the Moon is more complex than simple. The Moon is not just an indicator of feelings; one’s emotional nature is a multidimensional conglomeration of feelings, temperament, needs, and unconscious responses. We cannot look at the Moon as one-sided; we must study its interpretation from a number of perspectives.

The Moon represents the individual’s feelings regardless of whether or not they are expressed openly. The type of feelings you have during the year can be demonstrated by the Moon’s sign, position, and aspects. The Moon’s sign can be important even though the Moon has essentially only nineteen placements, because it is indicative of what the individual feels during the year and how he or she is most likely to exhibit those feelings.

The major difference between an individual’s feelings and basic temperament is that feelings tend to make up one’s basic temperament. The word temperament implies one’s overall pattern of emotional response; it is an emotional factor that remains constant regardless of the circumstances. On the other hand, feelings imply a specific emotion in response to a particular event or situation. For example, moody people have emotional swings. Their feelings change depending whether or not they are experiencing happy or sad events; however, their proclivity toward emotional highs and lows remains constant regardless of their particular mood at any point in time. Despite feelings of joy or depression, they still have a moody disposition. The solar return Moon’s sign is generally very descriptive of your emotional temperament. It can suggest an array of emotional characteristics including moodiness, sensitivity, coldness, or enthusiasm.

Emotional needs play a crucial role in the Moon’s cycle of change and emotional maturation. As explained above, the Moon moves in an understandable pattern through the solar return. During each year, the individual knows certain emotional needs must be met in order to feel secure and fulfilled. These needs, which fluctuate from year to year, cause the individual to create the variety of situations necessary for emotional maturity.

CONSCIOUS or UNCONSCIOUS EMPHASIS

The Moon also signifies the unconscious experience. While Mercury’s placement will suggest what the person is consciously thinking, the Moon’s placement will suggest what the individual is experiencing on an unconscious level. Together, the Moon and Mercury (and sometimes also the Sun) symbolize the balance between conscious and the unconscious processes. We like to think that our decisions are based on the integration of rational and emotional information, but during any given solar return year, one process more than the other can influence our decisions, perceptions, and motivations. The focus of attention shifts to accommodate fluctuations in individual patterns of growth. There will be years when you lean more heavily on your emotional responses, tending to trust your instincts and follow your intuition. But there will be other years when you depend more on a logical assessment of your situation.

The emphasis on the unconscious usually indicates a year in which the native will be interested in fostering emotional connections and unconscious insights. Logic and factual information may not be meaningful within the context of present situations, which will tend to be emotional. Example situations include (but are not limited to): involvement in counseling, therapy or self-help discussion groups; intense family situations (related to birth, child-rearing, sickness or death); and very nurturing social situations (e.g., communal living, helping the disabled, underprivileged or homeless). Emotional interactions and perceptions will naturally be more important if they are more likely to provide vital information needed to handle experiences during the coming year. An emphasis on the unconscious nature is conducive to emotional growth.

All forms of mental activity are associated with an emphasis on the conscious mind, including educational and informational activities. Teaching, learning, lecturing, and writing are several examples. An emphasis on the conscious mind is conducive to intellectual growth.

MOON in the 5TH HOUSE
The start of a new romantic relationship is the most common event associated with the Moon in this house. This new relationship can be viewed as a “first” in one way or another. If you are very young, it may be your very first relationship or first meaningful relationship. If you are a little older, it can indicate the year you begin having sex, especially if you are emotionally involved with one particular person. It might be the first time you live with someone or begin dating the person you are going to marry. If you are older and more established in these areas, it may be the first time in a long time that you are emotionally involved with a new person. Regardless of your marital situation, this can be a year when you feel an emotional connection to a new person, and usually this connection is very compelling.

Unlike the Sun in the 5th house, the Moon is not necessarily associated with sexual attraction. The Sun seems to be more suggestive of a sexual affair. In fact, with the Sun in the 5th, the relationship may simply be a sexual fling with limited emotional contact. But the Moon is more closely associated with emotional needs in a relationship, and therefore the contact may or may not be sexual, though many times sexual involvement occurs. It is the desire for emotional sharing and expression that seems to be the main focus and motivation for the relationship. Then, as the relationship deepens and intimacy increases, sexual involvement develops. The need for emotional expression is probably the key to understanding the interpretation of the Moon in this house and romance is a wonderful means for expression. Though the give and take of a relationship is just one way to handle feelings, it is a way many people seem to choose.

If you are involved in a relationship such as this, your feelings will be very intense. You are more apt to express yourself emotionally, and consequently it will be more difficult to hide what you are feeling. This may not be a good time to keep a clandestine relationship secret. You will be subject to emotional swings. At times you will be elated, while at other times you might feel depressed. Your feelings may depend on how well the relationship is going and whether or not you can see each other. An element of “need” is many times associated with these relationships and dependency is a problem. The individual you are involved with could need your help in one way or another. The situation need not be crucial, but you will have the opportunity to express nurturing and protective feelings. If you respond in a mothering or overprotective way, the relationship may involve dependency issues. On the other hand, you may be the one who becomes dependent.

Your feelings are not necessarily stronger and deeper this year, but you are more apt to express them in an obvious way. This may include openly stating what you need or want. Being direct is probably the best way to express your feelings, but it is also common to seek secondary or alternative ways. Finding satisfying means for emotional self-expression is one of the tasks associated with this placement and may contribute to the romantic nature of the year. You may choose an artistic or dramatic means for emotional expression. You could, however, choose creative endeavors such as painting, writing, or acting. Or you might want to participate in intense situations which exemplify the drama of human life, such as being an emergency room nurse, or soup kitchen volunteer.

Your strong need for emotional expression can lead you to intense personal situations. You may have a baby instead of a love affair. If you are aware of your emotional needs, you can consciously choose an outlet for this energy. There is no limit to the manifestations you can pick so long as the situation allows for emotional involvement and expression. If you are frustrated by your present circumstances and the people around you are unable to satisfy your emotional need for expression, look elsewhere. You need situations which allow for some external display of emotions. For a few, this may involve living life on the edge of an emotional crisis.

One final avenue for emotional expression can be intense involvement with children. You may be especially concerned with their emotional well-being or creative abilities. If you have children of your own, this can be a good time to reach out to them. Focus on understanding their needs. Your children may be more emotional this year, especially if your relationship with them is changing or changes are occurring in the home environment. They may require extra love and attention if this is the case. The difficulty with the Moon in the 5th is that a parent might view his or her children as an extension of his or her own personality. As a parent you can have certain needs that you assume only your children can fill, and this places unnecessary pressure on them.

MOON SEXTILE or TRINE MERCURY
The Moon sextile or trine Mercury in the solar return indicates the integration of unconscious feelings with conscious thoughts. When these two avenues for information and analysis are working together, they form a great combination; the integrated psyche is a powerful tool for intellectual and creative endeavors. You will be able to understand the total picture from your rational assessment supported by your emotions and combined with intuitive insights. When the conscious and unconscious are working together, you are more likely to make good decisions which satisfy your physical, emotional, and mental criteria. In this way, the conscious mind can be used to direct unconscious feelings into creative projects. Channeling higher awareness can be therapeutic and productive.

You can actively seek out more information about your feelings and conscious motivations through discussions with others. The key to using this aspect positively is to balance and integrate conscious and unconscious input and work toward a complete unified sense of self.

MOON SEXTILE or TRINE MARS
When the Moon is sextile or trine Mars in the solar return chart, you have the option of acting on your emotions in a meaningful and fulfilling way. You are able to express your feelings clearly through the things you do and the causes you support. Actions are associated with the solar return house placement of Mars, while the feelings motivating action are related to the house placement of the Moon.

The Moon sextile or trine Mars combination is not necessarily difficult, nor must it involve your personal life. It can refer to professional endeavors. Ambition reflects the energy of this combination. Use this year to empower your career goals. On the other hand, this aspect might be a call to action. You can be motivated to respond when affected emotionally by what you see. If you are upset by conditions in a poor section of town, you might volunteer your services at a local soup kitchen. The unpleasantness you feel compels you to look at your surroundings more closely and work to correct or improve conditions.

Though Moon-Mars aspects tend to indicate situations which are a mixed blessing, you are more likely to integrate feelings and actions with the sextile and trine aspects. In this case, ambivalence is less likely to arise. You are more apt to solve problems, create alternatives, and pursue opportunities.

MOON SEXTILE or TRINE NEPTUNE
Moon sextile or trine to Neptune in the solar return chart can show increased sensitivity to life’s subtleties. While Moon-Pluto aspects show a greater insight into psychological influences, manipulative games, and a need for self-control, Moon sextile or trine to Neptune indicates a greater sensitivity to feelings and needs that are not expressed openly yet bind us all. There is a spiritual, intuitive dynamic associated with Moon-Neptune aspects that can be inspirational and guiding during the year.

Moon sextile or trine Neptune aspects symbolize intuitive insights, spiritual ideals, and one’s greater sensitivity to the commonalities we share. We all suffer from human frailty; Neptune symbolizes our ability to identify with others, view their missteps with forgiveness, and see their failings as well as our own. True understanding supersedes any judgmental attitudes and paves the way for a meaningful exchange. As compassion grows, spiritual development occurs.

Moon sextile or trine Neptune implies connections; connections to each other and to the Universe. We can foster and improve these connections by understanding, accepting, and helping each other to progress as a whole toward a better existence. This is a good time to accept people as they are, weaknesses and all. You will probably be involved in situations which give you the opportunity to increase your understanding or insight into others. As long as you do not make demands or have unrealistic expectations, you should be able to retain honest emotional contacts with those around you.

You may actually care for someone who is ill or disabled, or you could simply care for another person more than you care for yourself and your own welfare. Moon-Neptune aspects are a sign of self-sacrifice. It is common to see this aspect in the charts of new mothers. The demands of caring for an infant involve a certain amount of self-sacrifice. If you work full-time to put your spouse through school, you might also have this aspect.

Self-sacrifice does not necessarily mean martyrdom. Moon-Neptune aspects in the solar return indicate that you are able to help others because you truly understand their situation. You are also able to handle emotional uncertainty. You accept relationships which are not clearly defined, and you are able to give without a guarantee of return. Going with the flow means accepting insecurity as a natural by-product of your situation. With Moon-Neptune aspects in your solar return chart, you need to be able to function during times of uncertainty and handle the insecurities that go with them. You need to trust that in the end, everything will be for the best.

INTRODUCTION to MERCURY

Mercury has two basic interpretations in the solar return chart: it symbolizes what you are thinking about and your mental condition during the coming year.

What you are actually thinking about is shown by the solar return house placement of Mercury. The important thing to remember about Mercury’s placement is that it is indicative of a mental exercise only. Alone in a house, Mercury can show mental preoccupation without psychological pain or physical consequences. It suggests the ability to make decisions only, and may not be a clear indication of action in any particular area. Mercury’s aspects to the other planets indicate how information is gathered, assimilated and integrated into attitudes that persist for most of the year. How easily this is accomplished, and in what manner, is suggested by the aspects themselves.

Conditioning is noted by solar return aspects to Mercury. Squares and oppositions to Mercury indicate possible sources of tension and conflict. If Mercury is in an air sign, (Gemini, Libra, or Aquarius), rational thought processes are emphasized. If Mercury is in a water sign, (Cancer, Scorpio, or Pisces), strong emotional factors influence thinking. If Mercury is in an earth sign, (Taurus, Virgo, or Capricorn), the tendency is to be practical. If Mercury is in a fire sign, (Aries, Leo, or Sagittarius), the individual is motivated by self-interest, passion, philosophy, or spirituality. When assessing the conditioning of Mercury, it is also important to note the sign and conditioning for the Moon and whether the Moon is in an air or water sign. This will help you determine if the thinking process or emotions are dominant during the year and if integration is possible.

MERCURY in the 3RD HOUSE
Mercury in the 3rd house suggests a strong inquisitive mind with a thirst for knowledge. You could spend a lot of time reading, writing, studying, or communicating. You want an influx of new ideas. Information that you gather during this year may relate to a project or particular field of interest. But it is also possible that your interests are scattered and the information is superficial. If you are attending school, learning may tend to be tedious and involve the memorization of numerous details. Interpreting Mercury’s aspects and assessing the mental conditioning reflected in the chart can give you a better idea about what type of information is important and its purpose during the coming year.

All types of information can be important. Significance is not limited to educational material. This can be a time for major disclosures and realizations. Some individuals remember childhood sexual abuse while having Mercury in the 3rd house. Realizations and resurfacing memories can have major ramifications. It is possible that the information you receive at this time or have received in the past is false. You may be misinformed or even lied to. Mercury in the 3rd does not guarantee that the information you gather will be correct. There may be inconsistencies between what you are told and what you intuitively feel. It will be your task to assess what is truth and what is fiction.

Mercury in the 3rd house can suggest that the rational thinking processes are stronger than feelings. This is most likely to be so if the Moon is not particularly strong by house, sign, or aspect, and the chart is not watery. If the greater emphasis is on Mercury, decisions will be based on rational considerations rather than emotional needs. But if the Moon is very prominent in the chart, rational thoughts may be overwhelmed by emotional considerations. Emotions and rational thoughts may seem to contradict one another. You may be torn between what you know or hear and what you feel in your heart or sense intuitively. If you are very stressed, unconscious needs may surface. Negative feelings, obsessions, compulsions, phobias, and extreme anger may defy rational control.

Your mental attitude during the year is very important. You need to think clearly in order to function at an optimal level. Influences that either hinder or promote logical thinking. Among the more detrimental influences are abusive substances such as alcohol and drugs. Mental illnesses (especially depression and anxiety) are also negative influences which can affect one’s ability to think clearly. These very negative manifestations correspond more closely to an individual’s negative behavioral pattern than to any one specific astrological pattern in the solar return chart. Although stress may be suggested by the solar return chart, disease is not. Those who are intimately and enthusiastically involved in life experience few problems. For them, great excitement rather than stress fuels their thinking processes.

MERCURY RETROGRADE
Mercury is usually retrograde in the solar return chart every six years. When Mercury is retrograde, it is time to be introspective, especially about those things related to Mercury’s house placement. You should be doing a lot of your own thinking and learning rather than depending on others. Integrate previously acquired information into your own individualized mind-set. Think of your mind as an overloaded cabinet or closet seriously in need of filing and organization. It is time to process. You probably already know everything you need to know to handle a certain life situation. If you continue to depend on others for advice, you will find conversations meaningless within the context of your own intellectual needs and experience. Be aware that your mental processes are not very receptive to new information at this time. Your mind is like a cup that is filled to the brim. Any additional knowledge spills over and is lost. Work toward integrating what you already know.

You can experience this retrogradation as a certainty that you know you are right and only you can make the best decisions concerning your own future. What others tell you might clash with what you already know and you could tend to disregard their comments. You may be right, but the danger is that you may be wrong. You can be so in tune with your own thoughts that you are totally on the mark; then again, you might be totally off the beam. Take the time to reorganize information by focusing inward. You might find that your own opinions, thoughts, and decisions truly work best for you. But be aware of the feedback others give you, which may be particularly valuable if you have missed the mark.

Secretiveness is also associated with Mercury retrograde. There is a tendency to withhold information and sometimes lie. Generally, there are two major reasons for doing this: one is that you really do have secrets which need to be kept; the other is that expressing your opinions or thoughts openly causes tension in your relationships. Retrograde Mercury is associated with biting your tongue and swallowing your own words in order to keep peace. Your true opinions may not emerge until the start of the next solar return.

This time is excellent for putting your thoughts down on paper and writing original material. You will be able to see things differently when your thoughts are written down and this is a good way to get organized. Old opinions and beliefs may be outdated so you need to reassess your thinking, reformulate ideas, and shed new light on a subject area.

MERCURY SEXTILE or TRINE MARS
Mercury sextile or trine Mars suggests an active thought process. This can be a time when great mental energy in expended in a search for knowledge. Your mind should be quick and alert, though not necessarily highly retentive. Learning can be very exciting and self-perpetuating even if you study alone.

What is great for the learning process may not be so advantageous when making decisions. The speed normally associated with Mars might indicate that you are impulsive and quick to jump to conclusions. Weighing your options carefully and researching situations thoroughly can help you make considered responses.

Mercury sextile or trine Mars implies the ability to be assertive when necessary. You are not angry or aggressive, but you do hold your ground. You know what you want and you are able to go after it. Thoughts are channeled into concrete actions. You are motivated to accomplish what you say you intend to do.

MERCURY SQUARE or OPPOSITE NEPTUNE

Mercury square of opposite Neptune in the solar return chart can indicate that important factual information you receive during the year may be partial, inaccurate, or vague. Sometimes secrecy and deception play a role. Your normal points of reference for evaluating information may be changing. Without adequate facts, you may be left hanging for most of the year. It may be impossible for you to make a decision at this time or to evaluate your circumstances. You may be easily confused or misled, especially if the information you receive is inconsistent or incomplete. In older individuals, confusion may actually be senility. Neptune’s most negative interpretation is a loss of mental capabilities through drug and alcohol use or abuse. This tends to be an uncommon manifestation that is more closely associated with an individual pattern of consistent negative behavior. Most people will not fall into this trap.

This is not the time for detailed, factual information and left-brain processes. You may be more in touch with compassion, creativity, and spirituality than rational thought. Your sensitivity to subtlety increases and you acquire information through intuitive insights. Dealing with subtle experiences can lead to uncertainty and confusion. Increased intuitive awareness can precede the ability to weigh this information for its accuracy. It is sometimes difficult to discriminate between what is really intuitive or psychic and what is more closely akin to worry, fear, or false hope. Seeking practical applications for idealistic concepts and inspirations common with this combination can also cause stress.

Put your trust in the Universe during times of uncertainty. Focus on compassion rather than a search for mundane truth. Inconsistencies and confusion may not be resolved this year. Understand that in the end, all will be known. Be gentle with yourself when you are not as focused and detail-oriented as you used to be. Focus instead on right-brain, creative, artistic, intuitive, and spiritual processes.

MERCURY SEXTILE or TRINE PLUTO
Mercury sextile or trine Pluto in the solar return chart can indicate that your conscious mind is very aware of unconscious material and psychological complexes. This awareness may originate from naturally occurring insights into human behavior or educational pursuits. You are better able to perceive what is unspoken or hidden. Motivations will be clearer to you even when they are not stated. The body language of others can be very revealing. Attempts at manipulation and psychological games will also be more obvious. Most likely this awareness will not be one-sided. You will be as aware of your own unconscious nature as you are of psychological complexes in others. Your close attention to detail, subtleties, and nuances is empowering. You become a better negotiator, manager, and teacher. You are able to address distortions related to ideology, prejudice, or intolerance. The implication here is that knowledge is power, and specifically in this case, it is knowledge about the unconscious mind which conveys power to those who are aware of it and able to gain insights from it. This information is as valuable as intellectual facts gained from school. The more you understand about the unconscious, emotions, and complexes, the more you are able to control your own impulses or resist the manipulative behavior of others.

INTRODUCTION to VENUS

Venus is the key to understanding your relationships and financial situation for the solar return year. Many times these two areas go hand in hand; financial security tends to be coupled with secure relationships while financial difficulties are more likely to occur when close relationships are strained. Although this correlation is common, it is not the rule, and interpretations for finances and relationships should always be viewed separately. When assessing Venus in the chart, evaluate Venus twice, first with respect to the other relationship factors in the solar return and then with respect to the other monetary indicators. In this way, you can develop a clear picture of each area of concern.

Venus also indicates a need for comfort and it is informative to note what has preceded Venus in its present house position. If, during this year, Venus resides in a house which last year represented an area of conflict, Venus would imply an improvement in the conditions associated with that house and may indicate a healing process. Benefits commonly follow after much hard work. A Venus placement in the solar return chart following a more difficult placement during the previous year can indicate great reward. Your awareness of this possibility may encourage you to work harder in more problematic areas since you can see the rewards in the following year.

RELATIONSHIPS

Venus, by house, shows what relationships will be important during the coming year. For example, Venus in the 3rd house might indicate that relationships with neighbors or community involvement will be emphasized. With Venus in the 6th house, pleasant office conditions, and good co-worker relationships will be important. But the interpretation of relationships as they appear in the solar return chart involves more than an understanding of Venus’ house placement. Look at the 5th and the 7th houses, especially if you are interested in a love relationship. The more planets in these houses, particularly the 7th house, the greater the need to relate on a one-to-one basis. Generally, the 5th house shows sexual affairs, while the 7th house indicates a greater commitment (though not necessarily marriage). Clandestine affairs or secret relationships are more likely to occur when Venus and/or the Moon appear in the 12th house.

One fact about marriage and the solar return chart is surprising. The solar return is not necessarily a good indicator of a marriage during the year. The beginning of a relationship might be easily seen, but the marriage itself is more likely to be reflected in other techniques. On the other hand, postponement of a marriage or the refusal to make a commitment can be easily seen with Saturn, Uranus or Neptune in the 7th house.

FINANCES

Venus also relates to money and finances, and can be used to evaluate these circumstances for the coming solar return year. The house placement for Venus may indicate how you are most likely to generate income. This is sometimes true, but not always. Venus in the 9th implies a teaching salary, but if you don’t teach, the emphasis will be on your beliefs concerning relationships. Don’t stretch your economic interpretation of Venus’ house placement. If the house position applies, the situation will be obvious. If the house position does not seem to apply to finances in particular, Venus will be more consistent with relationship situations during the year.

For finances, it is perhaps more important to look at the planetary placements in the 2nd, 6th, 10th, and 11th houses, especially if you are interested in the amount of money you will be able to earn by employment. The 2nd house is the primary money house, but it also gives indications of spending practices. Any planets in the 2nd can reflect your salary and/or your spending practices (regardless of how much money you earn); it is always possible to spend more than you make or make more than you spend.

VENUS in the 2ND HOUSE
One might think that Venus in the 2nd house of the solar return would be associated with increased

money and materialism. Certainly you pay more attention to finances with this placement. But rather than increased money, Venus in the 2nd house is more likely to indicate easy money, the kind that requires no extra work on your part. The epitome of this interpretation is money that comes to you through welfare or unemployment checks. This is a possibility, although usually not the case. The most common manifestation is that money comes more easily because you cut back on your hours at work or refuse overtime. You may earn a little less, but the quality of your life seems more important than the extra income.

Venus in the 2nd normally indicates you are comfortable with the money you have or earn, so it is most likely that you anticipated this cutback in salary and either paid off your debts or made adjustments in your budget so the financial loss would not be noticeable.

Another common manifestation for this Venus placement is an increase in salary or funds available. As a rule, pay raises will not involve a great increase in time or effort on your part. If you work as a salesperson, you may land a huge account, thereby raising your commission without increasing your work load. If you are employed at a steady salary, you may be given a raise or bonus.

Another alternative is changing jobs and getting paid more for doing the same work. Your salary may remain the same, but funds become available through other means. Suppose you sell your home at a great profit and decide not to buy another home, or purchase one at a lower price. This leaves more money available without any extra work. Even if you do not get a raise, or do not work, small checks may come in the mail from unexpected sources (dividends, refunds, interest, etc.). Probably none of the checks will be large, but you will find them helpful. During the year, you should feel comfortable with the amount of money you have available to spend. You are unlikely to feel impoverished.

You are in the process of reassessing your value system. Priorities may be changed or even reversed. What may have been important before is no longer crucial; what you once took for granted is now cherished. Usually the shift is toward an appreciation of inner beauty and the quality of life, but some people experience Venus in the 2nd house as a surge in materialism. You may not want to do extra work to increase your cash flow, so you will try to think of less taxing ways to get more money.

You might also experience a moral or ethical conflict at this time, especially if Venus is heavily emphasized. Venus in the 2nd shows that moral issues will be reassessed, especially the issue of monogamy or loyalty to one person. Contrary to what one might think, traditional concepts are not always stressed. The interpretation of Venus in this house seems to be most closely related to proclivities shown in the natal chart and the rest of the solar return. Ethical issues focus on monetary practices such as accurate expense account reporting, appropriate fees for services rendered, and the disposition of funds. Several aspects to Venus in the 2nd can indicate mixed feelings with regard to these moral or ethical issues.

VENUS SQUARE or OPPOSITE JUPITER
When Venus is square or opposite Jupiter in the solar return chart, you can benefit, either directly or indirectly, through the influence or assistance of another. Relationships can be rewarding and you reap what you have sown. If you have been helpful and understanding to others in the past, you can expect the same treatment now. Your lover, business partner, or spouse should be actively supportive of your goals, either financially or emotionally. Indirect benefits can also come to you through your partner. For example, your spouse accepts a job transfer to Colorado and you always wanted to live in ski country.

Although you may benefit direct or indirectly through another, this does not necessarily mean you are a match made in heaven. When Venus is square or opposite Jupiter, there tends to be a philosophical difference between you and your partner. The two of you may not feel the same way about each other or the purpose of the relationship. Issues and conflicts regarding morals, ethics, and monogamy are possible and lead you to discuss whether your relationship is open or closed. The two of you may have different religious backgrounds and find it difficult to integrate beliefs. You might want children while your partner does not. Independent activities may limit time together as priorities can be different and conflict. One person’s needs might overwhelm the partner and dominate the relationship.

The same is true of spending practices. The tendency is to overextend the budget and spend more than you make or can afford. This can cause friction in any relationship. Gambling, risk taking, and addictions are possible, but less likely. The goal for the year either in regard to relationships or finances is one of balance and integration.

VENUS SEXTILE or TRINE SATURN
Venus sextile or trine Saturn in the solar return chart suggests stability in relationships and in finances. Healthy relationships can strengthen and show a renewed sense of commitment by both partners. The acceptance of more responsibility with or for each other is common. Marriage, raising children, and purchasing homes together are three common events that reflect this change. The relationship gains stability because of a new definition of purpose and intent. Partners are able to pull together, organize, and plan for the future.

Partners who love each other and are committed, but experience the need for change and adjustment, might do well to give each other space, understanding, and support. The distance can foster individual expression and achievement. For example, if you or your spouse wants to go back to school for a higher degree, time must be set aside for classes and study.

Financially, this is a good time to plan for the future and budget. You might be working with less cash during the year, but only because you choose to conserve money and build savings. Perhaps you wish to purchase a home or new car. You need to know how much money you have and where it all goes. Some may experience a decrease in funds. These are the people who quit their jobs, cut back on hours, become self-employed, or experience a dramatic change in their life-style which would naturally affect funds available.

VENUS SEXTILE or TRINE URANUS
When Venus is sextile or trine Uranus in the solar return chart, changes in relationships may occur. For some people, this can mean a sudden attraction and the excitement of a new love. Involvements may be very strong, very quick, and may or may not have staying power. New relationships might eventually lead to marriage, but probably not during this solar return year. Loose associations are common. Friends become lovers and some love relationships seem more like friendships. Occasionally, relationships and attractions are less than conventional.

A general mood of change and transition may permeate all partnerships, whether old or new, personal or professional. Difficult relationships may end amicably, but for those in a healthy relationship, changes will occur within the relationship itself and do not indicate a break in ties or a loss of commitment to one another. For some people, the changes involve a new and exciting experience, such as the birth of a child. New skills and patterns of behavior must emerge. Other common examples of change are relocation, retirement, travel, and changes in the number of people living in the home.

Financial changes are also likely to occur with Venus sextile or trine to Uranus. You may move in with a lover, spouse, or friend and begin to share expenses. You might receive a financial windfall or pay raise. You can be working on a commission or incentive basis, or be involved in a profit-sharing plan at work. Self-employment is also possible. Starting a new business from scratch is generally a major financial adjustment. For one reason or another, the amount of money available to you is likely to change or fluctuate.

This is a good time to be creative, both in the arts and with life. Discover hidden talents and take risks. When Venus is sextile or trine Uranus, you can be insightful and inspired. Make the best of changes and opportunities.

INTRODUCTION to MARS

The planet Mars represents an outward thrust of energy in a solar return chart. It is an active energy geared toward producing an external manifestation brought about through interchanges with the environment. The arrow on the symbol for Mars illustrates this outward thrust and movement. The interplay with the environment and the area of greatest energy expenditure are shown by the aspects to Mars and its house placement. There can be a number of ways in which the outward thrust of energy and activity manifests in the external environment. Positive manifestations implied by Mars include self- motivation, independent action, initiation of new projects, assertiveness, fulfilling sexual encounters, and original or pioneering creations. But anger, aggression, and sexual abuses represent negative and wasteful expenditures. Energy lost in negative exchanges cannot be used productively.

Mars, by its very nature, denotes the spark of initiation and self-motivation. Original pursuits, independent actions and new projects are fostered during the year and are typically associated with those areas of life denoted by the house placement of Mars. Because of the new endeavors and the enthusiasm generated, these areas then become the focus of energy use as the level of activity increases and you begin to feel driven to work, accomplish, and complete. Sometimes ambition and competitiveness augment the need to excel, but an energetic attitude can flow without these personality traits since self-motivation tends to spring naturally from an inner source.

 

During the year, activities may be specifically tied to your ability or inability to be assertive. In its most positive manifestation, the planet Mars denotes an active force. Except for a few of the more subtle interpretations for Mars, the implication is an external thrust which affects other people, places, things or circumstances. For example, if you install a home office, you make a change in your living situation. If you start your own business, you do, in effect, change the environment. If you insist on control over your own finances, you create a more independent relationship style. In each of these cases, you are the individual initiating the activity and asserting your own needs which are essential to the task at hand. The inability to be assertive can only lead to frustrated desires and anger. Your efforts will be thwarted until you make adjustments in your thinking. When extreme frustration occurs, more energy is expended toward being angry than working toward correcting the problem.

The house position of Mars and its aspects to the other solar return planets provide information about the circumstances which will trigger angry responses in you. Anger may arise from a number of different circumstances, including, but not limited to, frustration at the inability to fulfill your own needs, aggression from others, stressful surroundings or unconscious resentment that has not been resolved. Anger is a signal that your attitude and/or environment need to change. Energy lost to anger cannot be used creatively. Anger that stimulates creative action can be recouped. Your task for the year will be to learn to deal effectively with these anger-producing situations. Do not allow anger to be triggered when insight coupled with assertiveness, tact or corrective action would suit your purposes better. As you focus on negative situations and gain understanding, you can begin to funnel your energies into the most positive manifestations.

Aggression is a distortion of assertiveness. Assertion is the defense and maintenance of your own rights; aggression is the infringement or attack on the rights of others. Anger is most likely the motivation for the attack, although psychological idiosyncrasies may provide other motivations (of which fear is the main culprit). All acts of aggression, by their very nature, should produce anger in the person attacked, though some individuals, because of their own psychological nature, respond in other ways. Where you find Mars by house position indicates where you are most likely to meet the aggressor during the coming year. Either you will have to deal with a hostile person in the environment or you will be confronted with your own acts of aggression. If you are able to meet your own needs through assertion and you know your own rights while conscientiously defending them, you are less likely to be the aggressor or allow aggressive actions to arise in others. You should be able to strike a balance between your needs, and rights, and the needs and rights of others. In this way, you maintain your position relative to the environment. But regardless of how fair you are in your dealings with others, you may still have to defend your own rights.

Mars as an indicator of sexuality is not consistent with the interpretation for every house position. There is the possibility that sexual intrigue can apply to the situations denoted by any of the planet’s placements, but the connection is not always obvious. Themes of initiation, high energy output, anger, and aggression appear more consistently. For example, Mars in the 10th may mean a sexual attraction between you and your boss, but it is more likely for you to be extremely active in career endeavors. Your boss can be a prime motivator toward career success or he could actually be very offensive and thwart your efforts. Note the aspects between Mars and your other personal planets for further information. The sexual implications of Mars seem more obvious in the relational houses, but then individual differences apply. Sexual fulfillment is directly related to the appropriateness of sexual activity given the particular situation and any restraints or inhibitions involved.

MARS in the 12TH HOUSE
While Mars is in the 12th house you have the ability to work independently or behind the scenes. This is

a great time to focus on projects which require some degree of “aloneness.” You must provide your own sense of direction and motivation while working toward achievement, but what you ultimately accomplish can be very original and unique. Yearlong projects are associated with this placement since many people will not know what you are working on or have accomplished until late in the solar return year. The tendency with this placement is to prevent the left hand from knowing what the right hand is doing. It is even less likely that others will know what you are doing. This is your time to work in secret or “go undercover.” Suppose you wish to surprise your spouse or parents with some secret homemade project you assembled in the basement; now is the time.

This is not your year to be openly aggressive or angry. You tend to check your temper and bite your tongue, ignoring even offensive remarks from others. Your reflexes are slow and therefore you miss your chance to respond. More than likely, you think of a good comeback hours later. Occasionally, you will realize the next day that you should have felt insulted the day before. You do not have adequate or timely defense tactics, and even anger itself can be delayed or vague. For these reasons, you are more likely to withdraw from confrontations, especially those with family members. You may still feel angry, but you are less likely to express your anger openly and will not be as argumentative as you have been in the past. If you do not correctly understand your responses and your situation, pent-up emotions could cause you to feel very stressed and irritable. As the tension builds, gut reactions will tend to take the place of informed responses. Distortions in reality perception can occur. Actions and words will be inappropriate for the immediate situation if you are responding now to something that happened yesterday. If you allow tension to build to this extent, suppressed anger can cause you to act in a way that is counterproductive to what you hope to accomplish. In very negative situations, anger is displaced, moving from the truly annoying person to a less threatening adversary or innocent victim.

Extreme anxiety during this year is ordinarily associated with the inability to express anger or defend oneself in difficult situations. The inability to understand what is happening psychologically contributes to the nervousness. Specific situations and people are most likely to trigger the undue stress. Normally, anger and a feeling of defenselessness underlie all anxiety.

In many cases, there will be logical reasons for your lack of aggressiveness. You may be dealing with a situation where the use of force or even assertiveness is useless. We all know people who are unreasonable and belligerent. Some of us are even related to a few of these individuals. Angry responses may not be appropriate in present circumstances. In delicate situations, humor or evasiveness can be the best way to handle difficult issues. Do not allow yourself to become a victim of your own anger or the recipient of another’s negative energy. With psychological insight and understanding, you can become immune to negativity. What is understandable becomes less threatening. Within this scenario, the lack of response becomes a conscious choice.

You will probably tire more easily this year. There are two possible reasons for this. If you are continually involved in frustrating situations, your energy will be drained by the conflicts. But if you are absorbed in a project of your own choosing, you may need more quiet time to contemplate your next move. If you are actively pursuing your dreams, creating your vision, you are likely to have plenty of energy.

MARS SEXTILE or TRINE NEPTUNE
While Mars-Pluto aspects imply actions that are unconsciously motivated, Mars-Neptune aspects indicate actions which have no obvious motivation at all, or which involve a great deal of uncertainty as to direction and goal. When Mars is sextile or trine to Neptune, running on faith and intuition is more likely to pay off despite the uncertainty, than when Mars is conjunct, square or opposed to Neptune. You can dream big and realize your dreams in some situations.

Humanitarian pursuits are sometimes associated with this combination since very spiritual endeavors emanate from a source which is not readily apparent. This is a good time to volunteer your time and efforts for a cause or charity. You can be more sensitive to the needs of others this year. You also want your actions to have meaning and purpose. Mundane considerations might seem unimportant in light of higher pursuits. A sense of fulfillment comes from unselfish actions.

Mars sextile or trine to Neptune indicates the ability to function despite a degree of uncertainty that colors your actions. There can be reasons for this. Perhaps results are unimportant and it is the thought that counts. Though the odds might be stacked against you, you still wish to proceed. The fact that you care and act has more meaning and impact than the results. Even if you were to fail, you feel your efforts will either inspire others to join your cause, to work on their own projects, or to succeed where you failed. Your job is to get the ball rolling. No matter what, some good will come from your efforts.

Mars sextile or trine to Neptune can also relate to everyday events. Careful planning is generally not feasible, but you can attract the resources and assistance you need. Follow your intuition and the string of opportunities as they arise. Though rumors abound at work and your job is uncertain, you will probably be alright. Matters will work out in your favor. Situations might be in limbo for a while, but can move forward. Uncertainty either works to your advantage or works out in the end. No harm; no foul. Still, be ready with alternate plans. Improvise your way to success if necessary.

If you need secrecy for your endeavors, this is a good time to prevent the left hand from knowing what the right hand is doing.

MARS SQUARE or OPPOSITE PLUTO
When Mars is in difficult aspect to Pluto, you are more likely to be involved in a conflict. The conflict might arise between two areas of your life or between you and another person. For example, you might wish to start an exercise routine for health reasons, but constant job-related travel makes this very difficult. Or, your needs and wants can conflict with those of another. Where you wish to take action, shown by the solar return house placement of Mars, is complicated or thwarted by situations or people associated with the solar return house placement of Pluto. Integration or compromise is possible, but not easily accomplished.

Psychological issues arise as actions are not truly conscious or planned out. There is an acute awareness of unconscious motivations in both yourself and others. Compulsions and obsessions, healthy or not, are common. In very negative situations, phobias can develop. Psychological complexes are indigenous to the scenarios you are involved in during the year and can color perceptions. The psychological influences affecting you can spring unsolicited from your own unconscious, but are more likely to arise from your encounters with another. Generally, you must deal with this person regularly, and he or she may or may not be totally rational. You may or may not be totally rational either. Reacting from the gut level can become the standard mode of operation for those who do not work toward a greater understanding of these forces. It takes a strong and insightful person to see clearly and deal directly with problems.

Control issues are likely during this time, and some individuals get locked into power struggles. In this type of situation, you are both able to manipulate others and you are subject to manipulation yourself. Surreptitious actions or underhanded maneuvers are possible. Empower yourself by staying on track and true to your principles. Do not let another’s tactics lower your sights. Rather than battling with someone else, you can instead (or also) be locked into a power struggle with yourself. One man was seriously hurt by a past relationship. He recognized the need to deal with unconscious anger and develop a philosophy for handling future anger-producing situations. During the year, he met and was compulsively drawn to a new relationship. The loss of control over the inhibitions to intimacy frightened

him. Consequently, the scene was set and the interplay between the unconscious obsession to resolve anger issues and the fear of being hurt again dominated the involvement for much of the year. Efforts to consciously control yourself will be thwarted until you gain insight into the problem at hand. The man was both irresistibly drawn and frightened by the attraction until he began to resolve issues from the original relationship and heal. This cleared the way for a more meaningful interchange.

Understanding psychological forces and learning to work with them rather than against them can lead to productive encounters and personal empowerment. Use insights into the unconscious to break bad habits and negative attitudes, or to resolve conflicts with others. The goal is not to compete or struggle, but to ascertain the best and most logical options. The ability to comprehend new knowledge fostered by the unconscious leads to new power over your own actions and the situations you are involved in. It is at this point that realistic advantageous change can begin.

INTRODUCTION to JUPITER

Jupiter has a number of possible interpretations in the solar return chart and any or all of the following meanings can manifest according to house position. First and foremost, Jupiter tends to imply a benefic event associated with its placement. How these benefits come about and the area of life affected are usually shown by the house position.

All opportunities will probably involve expansion into new areas of activity. The primary function of the Jupiter principle is to expand beyond the scope of previous experience. One is not to remain in a static condition; growth is not only implied, but expected. Jupiter’s slow and consistent movement through the zodiac implies the steady growth needed to advance.

One of the most common activities associated with growth and expansion is the pursuit of an education. The impetus to learn is closely associated with any push to grow and our definition of learning in this case is not limited to a structured environment (school), but can include self-teaching and life-experience training. Although education is not always a consideration for every Jupiter house placement, it can be considered to have an impact on any of the houses.

Areas of expansion can easily become areas of excess and this is a problem with Jupiter. Growth can be uncontrolled and purposeless, dwarfing any push for real attainment or benefit. For example, overeating may supplant a desire for nutritious food when Jupiter is in the 6th house. The weight gain takes the place of education. Already existing situations associated with any house placement of Jupiter may boil over if extreme limitations were previously the norm. This is especially true when emotions overwhelm the individual after a long period of emotional suppression. Any Jupiter placement can signal a false god. One or more activities associated with Jupiter’s house may be emphasized to such a degree that a distortion of perception results, creating the false god.

Perhaps excesses are directly and proportionately related to suppressed urges. We now zoom ahead where we previously lagged behind, making up for lost time. The overwhelming impetus enables us to grow and expand at a rapid pace. The task is to avoid restricting this growth, while staying in control. The best option is one of channeled and structured enthusiasm.

A question of ethics and morals is often associated with the house placement of Jupiter. Unlike Saturn, which is more representative of societal structures and expectations, Jupiter implies the need for a philosophical (or sometimes religious) consistency between what you are doing physically and what you believe you should be doing ethically or morally. The underlying belief is always at the center of any conflict, not the external expectation. Jupiter by house indicates a desire to review those beliefs commanding a strong influence over one’s philosophy of life and code of behavior. Current beliefs may be limiting future growth or freedom. Within this perspective, hypocrisy and moral dilemmas are more commonly a problem than the frustration associated with Saturnian external laws.

JUPITER in the 11TH HOUSE
The number one issue with Jupiter in the 11th house is the issue of freedom as it relates to one or more specific areas of life. Goals are being set early in the year, and most likely the goals are meant to directly benefit the individual. The goals may include educational pursuits which will enhance career potential, but this is not always the case. In order to fulfill the goals, the individual must fight for freedom in one or more specific areas of life. The specific areas are denoted by the houses with Sagittarius and Pisces on the cusps. The symbolism of either one or both houses will work. For example, one young man wanted to attend graduate school, but his work demanded that he put in much overtime. He needed to fight for freedom from the grueling hours before he could attain the educational goal he wished for. Sagittarius ruled the 6th house and Pisces ruled the 10th. He eventually quit his job and found part-time employment.

A young woman also wanted to go to school, but needed money from relatives. Deep underlying family complexes made it very difficult for her to address the issues clearly and acquire the much-needed financing. She eventually applied for scholarships and loans and entered the school of her choice. The issue of freedom is crucial to success. If one cannot master the tasks necessary for eliminating restrictions, one will not be free to accomplish the goal. Those who are frustrated may function erratically. Freedom in this case is a negative reaction to a restrictive condition, rather than a quest for wholeness.

Friends may be crucial to the goals you set during the year. They can directly assist you or help you to make the necessary connections. It might be more important who you know than what you do, and therefore networking is to your advantage. It’s possible that goals can only be accomplished through a combination of energies coming together from several different individuals. The pooling of resources enables all to succeed as a group while maintaining some measure of individual success. Group efforts and self-help programs are consistent with this placement.

INTRODUCTION to SATURN

Saturn rules reality and the reality of any given situation is that we are all ultimately responsible for creating our own lives. The responses and choices we make to any given situation, together with the fears we avoid, form the backbone for our pattern of living. Only when we accept the responsibility for creating our own fate can we be freed from the necessity of living it. Only when we face our fears can we live unafraid. Saturn is the key to this change in orientation. It is the ultimate reality, the ultimate fear, the karmic avenger, and ruler of the universal laws of nature. It is through Saturn’s house placement that we come face to face with ourselves, the structures, and limitations of reality, and the laws we must live by.

Growth is a complex process, occurring in a variety of ways. Saturnian growth begins by recognizing the existing structures we have incorporated into our lives, and possibly, the frustration or limitation caused by this edifice. It seems strange to talk about growth in terms of limitation, but astrologically Saturn rules structures which are at one point protective and at other times restrictive. Like the lobster or crab which sheds an outgrown, protective, hard shell in order to grow, individuals must periodically shed old structures grown restrictive with time. As with the crustaceans, the shedding process may be slow and laborious, followed by a period of extreme vulnerability until the new shell has formed and hardened into a protective structure. We often complacently mistake familiarity for security. We assume we’ll be safe as long as we stick with the same old routine and keep doing what we’ve been doing all along. But what was once protective and safe eventually ends up inhibiting our evolutionary cycle of growth. Sometimes, only our frustration with things as they are awakens us to the need for change.

The movement of Saturn through the solar return chart coincides with an awareness of structure. Sometimes this awareness is associated with frustration, and the accentuation of restrictions now blocking evolution. It is through this realization process and frustration that we first become aware of the need to grow beyond our present structures. Therefore, the first step in the Saturnian process toward growth is recognizing structures, frustrations, and limitations imposed by our present patterns of living, particularly in those areas of life signified by Saturn’s house placement in the solar return.

The second step toward growth is reassessment of the situation. A review of the facts yields further information, options, and understanding. Only by defining the inhibitors to the evolutionary cycle can we move toward resolution and continued growth. Self-criticism and constructive feedback from others may be appropriate at this time.

It is during the reassessment process that the reality of our situation becomes more obvious, as well as the laws by which we are governed. To succeed, we must deal with life realistically. We cannot twist nature to our own liking, nor can we expect others to compensate for our deficiencies and fears by solving our problems. Saturn rules the naked truth devoid of magical thinking. We must live within the laws of nature to succeed and survive. If you hate your job, quit. Do not wait for an act of God to find a new job. If you want to complete a major project, work on it. It is the only way it will get done. If you want to lose weight, diet, and exercise. Hard work and facing the issues head on will get you where you want to go. Wishful thinking will not.

These issues are all totally within your range of control and you are free to act upon them, but other problems may not be yours to control. You cannot make your husband stop drinking; you can only change the way you handle the situation. You cannot change hypocrisy in others; you can only reassess your own beliefs. During the reassessment process, develop realistic options which could feasibly lead to a resolution of the problem or to a change in the way you handle the problem. Successful solutions are those which are practical and realistic -that is, they conform to the laws of nature.

Once you understand the problem and the options available, you must assume responsibility for the outcome. Each man or woman contributes to his or her own fate. As the partial creator of any problem, you also have some control over the solution. But assuming responsibility for your present situation can be more threatening than blaming others. Some prefer to buck the system (defy the laws of nature) and complain, rather than take action. Remember, familiarity breeds a false sense of security and many prefer to hang on to their restrictions rather than venture into the unknown. They learn to live with their frustration rather than grow beyond it. Consciously making a decision implies assuming responsibility for your success or failure.

Facing your fears concerning success or failure is ultimately what Saturn is all about. At this point, you are very aware of the reality of your situation, and you have a list of options for the future, not all of which may work. You understand your own contribution to the situation and what you must do in order to move toward a resolution. You have seen your own shortcomings and become aware of your darker side. You comprehend the laws of nature relative to your situation and know everything is earned in this case, nothing is given, and nothing is guaranteed by the Universe. You now realize that you must stick your nose out and take a calculated risk. In order to progress, you must face your fears, and move toward your nightmare rather than back away. It is only by passing through a period of vulnerability that one can break out of a protective, yet restrictive structure and progress into a more suitable environment. You give up the security of the familiar and step into the unknown.

The test of any solution is that it works. Even chronic problems need to be solved and not just cosmetically concealed. Success requires much hard work and the systematic testing of solutions until the correct combination is found. Consequently, success may not come easily. If the first solution does not work, you must go on to test another and another. Thus with each failure begins a new cycle of awareness and reassessment, ultimately leading to a well-deserved success. There is plenty of room for hard work, discipline, and perseverance in the area of life indicated by Saturn’s house placement. Eventually, every area of life will be touched by the need for reassessment and resolution. Chances are the time for reevaluation coincides with Saturn’s placement in a particular house of the solar return. In that area of life, you must go above and beyond what is normally expected.

Saturn in the 4th can be a sign of increasing commitment and responsibility within the home

environment. Usually this newfound sense of responsibility involves the physical home itself, though the manifestation is not limited to the physical structure alone since emotional responsibility is also an issue. The condition of your home, apartment or dwelling is such that you need to make repairs or improvements. If you have let your house go in the past, this is the year you will feel forced to take corrective action. Chronic and long-time problem areas will suddenly become especially annoying. Repairs can be major, though not always. If you are buying a home during the year, you may be drawn to older or rundown homes requiring much hard work and restoration. Physical discomfort in the home is common, especially before or during the repair and renovation process. If you have not neglected your house, time can be spent on routine maintenance or improvements geared toward making your house more comfortable.

External changes in your living environment tend to parallel inner emotional changes. This can be a year when you feel emotionally responsible for the well-being of certain family members, regardless of how well you get along with these people. The desire to accept responsibility for the physical state of your home is usually extended to a desire to assume responsibility for the emotional and physical state of others. If you feel you can help, you are likely to do so.

You may accept a family member into your home, or you may return to your parents’ home to live or visit and lend assistance. Those who are mentally incapable of making important decisions look to you and other family members for guidance, support and possibly shelter. It is common for the health of one family member (usually a parent) to deteriorate during the year. If this is the case, you can nurse this individual yourself or provide for his or her daily needs. Elderly parents may be placed in a minimal-care retirement community or nursing home. If you have a grown child in the midst of a divorce, separation or family crisis, he or she may return home with small children in tow. Your strong sense of familial responsibility compels you to take up the slack and help out where needed. You willingly give up some measure of physical and emotional comfort in the home to help those you love.

If you are a much younger individual, you may choose this time to become a parent yourself. In its most positive manifestation, Saturn in the 4th is a tendency to respond in a helpful manner to family crises, problems, and issues. Unfortunately the reverse is not always true. This may not be the best time to look for assistance and help for yourself. Even if you are in a difficult position, family members may be unable or unwilling to support you at this time. The tendency is for you to lend support rather than receive. Saturn in the 4th is not normally associated with the fulfillment of dependency needs. On the contrary, it is more closely akin to their denial. Pushing your own needs may be inappropriate under the present circumstances.

Some individuals lack the strong family ties necessary for such dedication to the needs of others. For them, no personal gratification, only frustration, can come from involvement in family issues and problems. During the year, events trigger memories of the past and old feelings of hurt and disappointment resurface. If this is your situation, you may wish to protect yourself by limiting family contacts or withdrawing completely. Saturn in the 4th can show a separation from family involvement, and if you have already exhausted all your options, including therapy, this might be in your best interest. Saturn indicates that you test your relationships and eliminate or restrict those ties which are unfulfilling while strengthening those which are meaningful.

The process of reassessing relationships for their emotional reward is not limited to family involvements. All close relationships are subject to scrutiny. Usually family relationships are the ones tested the most, but any intimate relationship can be suspect. You may find it more difficult to trust others during the year, so you look for conspicuous proof of your loved one’s affection and caring. If the relationship passes the intimacy test, commitment should follow, but if you are not satisfied or reassurances are not forthcoming, you can set emotional limits on those involvements which are unrewarding and no supporting. Saturn rules reality and this is a time for realistic appraisal of emotional situations. It no longer makes any difference what you are told or what you are led to believe. You know when you are unhappy and it makes sense to seek practical solutions to relationship problems. If you cannot work with your partner to make corrections, you will tend to live alone emotionally, if not physically.

It is common to have Saturn in the 4th when the native is trying to recover from, or deal with, an emotionally painful relationship and therefore feels the need to set emotional limits. Individuals can elect to withdraw from situations entirely or structure involvements in such a way as to protect themselves. Those who withdraw completely assume total responsibility for their own emotional well- being and refuse to be responsible for anyone else. They do not encourage nurturing attention from others and may shun all offers. Walls are built to allow a year’s worth of time for healing and recovery, but in the meantime they feel lonely, withdrawn and neglected.

In the most negative manifestation, those who build walls exhibit contradictory emotions. They expect or even demand to be taken care of. They see total dependency on others as proof of another’s love, but at the same time refuse to commit themselves emotionally to a relationship or accept any responsibility for the other person involved. The goal is a one-sided exchange, an improbable situation in which all their needs are fulfilled without any fear, risk, or effort. Those who are wise realize that this is a time to assess the mistakes of the past and set guidelines for future emotional involvements. Trust and mutual responsibility are needed for emotional security.

INTRODUCTION to URANUS

Uranus is commonly seen as an indicator of change, and this is true for the solar return placements also. Conditions associated with the house position of Uranus are likely to evolve significantly over the year. Major changes or incessant fluctuations emerge as the pattern of manifestation, depending on how the individual copes with his or her situation and needs. Transformations may occur quickly and require a long period of adjustment, or progress slowly, possibly occurring late in the year and only after a long period of anticipation or restlessness. As a rule, most changes are expected, predicted, and initiated by the native him or herself. Many are carefully planned and well executed, involving a minimum of tension and anxiety. When working positively with the Uranian principle, the key is in the restlessness.

Those who are very attuned to their own need for growth will feel the restlessness arising in outgrown situations and respond accordingly. They will welcome the opportunity for adjustment, and make all the necessary preparations for the coming change. They will not lock themselves into one particular situation or pattern of growth, but will allow changes and insights to develop and evolve naturally along the way.

Generally, it is only when the individual thwarts his or her own desires or tightly controls situations that tensions manifest in the form of anxiety and nervousness. This anxiety results from ambivalent feelings which develop in those who resist needed changes. These people get caught between their own fear of change and a strong desire for the very change being thwarted. An ambivalent mind-set takes over, one built on an approach to, and also an avoidance of, a set goal or change. Remember, Uranus is associated with conscious and unconscious choices for change. Its appearance somewhere in the native’s solar return chart implies the area of life in which the individual desires to progress through change. When one is unable to face or effect needed and desired changes, the mind splits between two mutually exclusive goals and anxiety results. Eventually, the mental ambivalence and erratic commitments to two very different paths are reflected in fluctuating external conditions. Long overdue, yet still avoided changes, tend to manifest in the environment as disruption caused by others, or by neglected areas of attention.

Adding to the anxiety is a perceived loss of control over external situations. Eventually, the restlessness and tension rise to a feverish pitch until one finally agrees to make changes, or can no longer prevent their occurrence. When conditions reach this intensity, individuals usually make reactive changes, without careful consideration or adequate preparation. Sudden upheavals occur rather than welcomed transitions. If we would truly be in control of our own destiny, we should listen to the need for change and respond to the earliest hints of restlessness. We should give ourselves the freedom to work toward a conscious transition before a crisis arises.

 

Consistent with the desire for change is the need for freedom. You cannot maneuver if you are locked into a restrictive environment. Sometimes the push for freedom is a prerequisite for change. At other times, the change itself becomes the motivating force behind the process. Occasionally, both mechanisms are operating. For example, you may have to convince your boss to give you the freedom to make needed changes in the daily office routine; at the same time, the changes you make could streamline procedures, creating more leeway in your work schedule.

Freedom allows the process of change to occur smoothly. When we are functioning at our best and working positively with the Uranian concept, we move easily through a series of attractions, detachments and independent actions. We learn and grow from each of these encounters. While in the process of attraction, we are drawn to certain situations, persons or concepts. It is important to observe what experiences we are drawn to because they indicate conscious or unconscious needs and patterns of growth. By accepting different situations, interacting with different individuals, or listening to new ideas, we take in new information and learn to value various facets of life. We see that no one person, place or idea is perfect. The same is true of our existing circumstances, which we hold onto so tightly.

With this insight begins the period of detachment from those situations, persons, or concepts which restrict our growth or no longer have anything to teach us. We are able to step back and intellectually reassess our involvement and commitment. We can either choose to separate physically from difficult situations, or take the corrective action needed to adjust present circumstances to our needs.

Uranus does not always imply a complete and total separation. We are capable of detaching from the

original attraction while still maintaining the experience, relationship, or train of thought. It is the independent action we ultimately take which defines the degree of separation.

We learn as much from separation as we do from attraction when we define what we don’t like as well as what we do like. The changing environment, the comparisons and contrasts, accentuate what is important and what is not. One should remember that this process of change through attachment, detachment and independent action is ongoing, occurring on many different levels simultaneously. The process can be either quick, occurring numerous times in one day, or drawn out, requiring a year’s time span. For example, suppose you are building a new home. This is a year-long project and during this time you will be drawn to many different construction plans, ideas, and subcontractors. But as you begin to work with the possibilities, you will accept, reject, or change options to suit your needs. This process takes place over months, but also simultaneously many times in one day.

The exposure to various ideas, situations and people stimulates creative thought through sudden insight into changing situations. All planets represent a creative process. Venus is the planet of creativity experienced through beauty, while Uranus is the process experienced through change. Because of the changing panorama of people, ideas, and situations, one becomes accustomed to looking at life from different perspectives. The multifaceted approach encourages the mind to create still newer ideas. In this way the individual begins to participate in the process of attachment, detachment and independent action by creating his or her own original options, and change becomes a process of perception, integrated into the pattern of growth.

URANUS in the 10TH HOUSE

Uranus in the 10th house shows that professional changes are likely to occur. In most instances these

changes are major and involve a switch from one career to another or from company-oriented employment to self-employment. You will tend to be restless during the year. Professional freedom is usually an issue and you will not submit quietly to authority figures, especially if they are unpredictable or if the main emphasis seems to be on restriction of goals and frustration of success. If this is your situation, you will undoubtedly rock the boat.

You need to function as independently as possible for your creative urges to flow. If you are unhappy with your boss, transfer to another department or office location. If you are unhappy with your present job, find a new one. If you are unhappy with your present profession, jump careers entirely and start out in a totally new field, especially if Saturn is also in the 10th house. Consider becoming self-employed since you have the need and ability to function independently. Breaks in employment usually mark the period of transition. You may decide to stop work entirely or retire. There is an outside chance you may be fired unexpectedly from your present job if your performance is inadequate or if the company undergoes reorganization/merger.

Those who do not make major career changes might feel restless at work, and easily bored with repetitive tasks or distracted by disruptions. Use this time to integrate new ideas and systems into your daily procedures. You need a variety of tasks or a change of pace. There are many ways to incorporate change into the office routine and there is always room for improvement. You might become aware of numerous and continuing daily disruptions which prevent you from functioning at your best. Distractions can draw you away from your true purpose or job description. The entire office may need reorganization and management will usually welcome constructive criticism and enlightened input. Don’t be afraid to make suggestions meant to streamline office procedures for greater efficiency. Extenuating circumstances may make it difficult for you to plan out your day. The most common situation along this line is business relocation or renovation. If your office is preparing for a move, setting up shop in new quarters or rearranging old ones, it may be tough to adhere to a schedule and plan out your days in advance. Another possibility is an office agitator who regularly disrupts those trying to do their job.

If you are not working at this time, you can still make major changes, usually in your life direction. Decisions may not be made quickly and easily and the tendency is to be erratic. Major life-style changes may be considered including divorce, separation, or major relocations, possibly overseas. You may move away from your parents or they may relocate to a retirement community in the “Sun Belt.” If you are still living at home with your folks, you may disagree with their authority over you, especially if you are of age and need greater freedom. Demonstrating your maturity is the quickest road to independence.

INTRODUCTION to NEPTUNE

Neptune is many things on many levels, but first and foremost it is the aspiration for a higher manifestation as opposed to a lower one. The distinctions between higher and lower influences are not limited to the spiritual plane alone, but can occur on the emotional, mental and physical levels also. At all times, it is up to the individual to steer his or her consciousness toward the highest manifestation possible. For example, Neptune on the spiritual level is associated with Universal Oneness, Karmic Laws, Ideals, God, and higher beliefs which form the backbone of spirituality. A strong sense of trust in God and the Universe supports the growth process on the spiritual level, but has ramifications on the other levels as well. Each level of experience supports and triggers the others. It is all the insights on all of the levels which eventually help us toward a more rewarding and fulfilling life-style. The lower manifestation of Neptune on the spiritual level is disillusionment with higher principles. Here the individual falls off the true path and becomes entangled in fanatical beliefs or outright fantasy. Spiritual despair rather than enlightenment is the result, and the support needed for growth on all levels is thwarted.

The same dichotomy of higher and lower is present on the emotional, mental and physical planes also. At the emotional level, the individual is capable of great compassion and sensitivity to others. This is a time when empathic understanding strengthens the bonds between loved ones. The lower manifestation of Neptune is a susceptibility to anxiety and worry. The sensitivity which is meant to foster true understanding instead heightens a sense of vulnerability to life, others and the future. There is no trust in God emanating from the spiritual level to support decisions. In negative situations, true understanding of others does not develop because the individual is too involved with personal feelings and issues to focus on others.

At the mental level, creativity and inspiration help to expand the individual’s intellectual capacity. Neptune is more closely associated with the right brain than the left, and indicates the ability to let the mind float free to new and better insights. The lower manifestation is confusion and deception. What you are told is different from what you intuitively feel. Thoughts contradict insights and you are unable to comprehend the truth. There is no trust of the higher right brain inspirational or spiritual processes. Creativity is thwarted. Without an understanding of the big picture, mental energy is wasted through a lack of cohesiveness as one begins to focus on the insignificant, confusing details.

And finally, Neptune on the physical level is service to others. Principles which have filtered down from the various levels and have been understood in each of the higher manifestations begin to flow into daily practices on the mundane plane. There is a consistency; as above, so below. It is possible to physically manifest the spirituality to which you aspire. When only lower manifestations have filtered down to the physical level, confusion, disorganization and exhaustion are most apt to occur. You lack a total concept necessary to unify your actions and prioritize tasks according to their importance. Neptune at its highest level of manifestation on the physical plane is a direct reflection of the enlightened promise made at the spiritual level.

In all of the houses, either the higher or lower manifestations will be operating. The more the individual focuses on the higher energies, the more cohesive and insightful actions will become. The more the individual is sensitive to spiritual insight, the easier it will be to deal with issues on every plane. The unifying principles of the spiritual level and the higher manifestations combine to focus energy and understanding right on down the line.

NEPTUNE in the 9TH HOUSE
This is traditionally known as the house of religious and philosophical beliefs. For those who are

seeking to raise their consciousness through meditation, spiritual studies, prayer, or alternate realities, this can be a time of great enlightenment. A realization of God and the Christ-consciousness is possible. Mystical experiences occurring during the year could significantly change your understanding of yourself, the Universal Oneness and your purpose here on the earth plane. Strong realizations of this nature cannot be translated into words, and therefore may not be understood by others lacking the experience. This is a time when you move toward your own inner comprehension of God and the spirit of the law, while realizing that religion and the letter of the law are inferior attempts at definition and comprehension.

The danger with this placement is a tendency to be misguided. Because there is a movement from external standards (religion) to an internal realization (enlightenment), confusion and uncertainty may accompany the transition. You can be off track for a period of time and find it difficult to cope with philosophical and practical decisions. Mundane events and issues can test your new and old beliefs, pushing you toward further definition and understanding. Do not put your faith in a belief system which is totally unrealistic or impractical. Acute idealization is a problem, and unattainable expectations will inhibit your ability to function in the real world. If you push too hard for enlightenment, you will fall into the trap of focusing on the letter of the law while missing the spirit behind it; contradictions will arise. Others may be forcing you to pursue religious or philosophical systems which do not fit your needs or are inconsistent with your purpose. You are capable of being swayed by others.

The distinguishing criterion here seems to be one of understanding. If you can express a principle in words, but do not understand what you are saying, this principle is probably incorrect for you and your needs at this time. However, if you have captured the spirit of the principle within your understanding and know that it conforms to the Universal need for goodness, do not be alarmed by your inability to translate these insights into words. True understanding is, many times, beyond words. At the same time, principles and experiences which come through true enlightenment cannot be passed on to others who have not had the experience. Common ground for understanding will not exist. Grow to trust the inner process.

Others might be intolerant of your beliefs, or you of theirs. You must deal with your own misconceptions or with those of others. Occasionally you come in contact with fanatical beliefs, and in extreme cases victimization can occur. Harassment because of racial differences, sexual orientation, or ethnic and religious prejudice can occur. In extreme cases, the harassment leads to legal problems. Legal questions are likely to remain undecided for much of the year. If you are involved with foreigners, or if you are a foreigner in another land, cultural differences may lead to difficulties or intolerance. Misunderstandings are possible, especially if you do not understand each other’s customs.

You may be thinking of attending school. If so, your course of study might be undecided. Perhaps the exact curriculum you need does not exist as a standard major, so you mix and match. You may be attending school only on a trial or probationary basis since you lack a clear understanding of your motives and goals. Financing for your education might be uncertain, leaving your continuing attendance up in the air. Another alternative is that you do not matriculate at all, but only consider the possibility all year long. But this is a good time to study religion, philosophy, or holistic concepts. This field of study can be particularly helpful.

INTRODUCTION to PLUTO

In the solar return chart, the interpretation of Pluto includes an understanding of the issue of power and its various manifestations, which can be directed toward three different points of focus and through three different life processes. Complications are associated with all of these orientations and processes since each manifestation is multidimensional and complex, occurring not only on the physical level, but on the intellectual, emotional and spiritual levels as well. Within these complex situations, power can be focused on three different targets: the self, others, and/or circumstances. As a rule, the power to control oneself is mostly beneficial, the power to control others is mostly detrimental and the power to control situations varies according to the circumstances involved. By studying Pluto’s house placement in the solar return chart, you can assess in which areas of life these control issues are most likely to arise. The scope and effects of the power issues are seen through the connections to other solar return planets.

Power also manifests through three different processes. One may choose sameness, elimination or transformation. When you choose to keep things the way they are, it is implied that there is some force urging you to change and you are resisting this force. A possible power struggle might ensue. When you choose elimination, you relinquish control over some facet of your life or refuse to have further contact. When you choose change, you may be either yielding to an outside power or actively seeking transformation of that which already exists. Let us explore the power orientations and processes further.

THREE DIFFERENT POINTS of FOCUS

Generally, the focal point of self is beneficial. As long as you are using Plutonian insights and techniques to control yourself, to own your own power and to further your own growth, the process will be a positive learning experience, unless you overcontrol yourself, succumbing to hair-shirt asceticism, taking self-denial to absurd extremes. The greater your awareness of yourself and Universal principles, the more likely you are to make good decisions. You become the captain of your own destiny. Enlightenment leads to power and power leads to enlightenment as a rewarding cycle of manifestation is set in motion.

However, those who use psychological insights to control and block their own growth waste precious energy. They set up a negative pattern of stagnation wherein insights are not accepted as they are, but twisted to fit previously conceived notions about life and self. Rather than progressing through enlightenment, the individual uses insights as weapons against growth and understanding, opting for sameness despite new information. Contradictory realizations are not allowed to surface; instead they are either suppressed or misinterpreted. In very negative situations such as these, the power associated with increased Plutonian awareness and its creative potential is never realized.

The same thwarting of personal growth is evident when you shift your attention from self to the need to control others. By and large, this is not a good focal orientation. The symbolism of the planets exists in your consciousness so that you can grow and prosper from insight. Since growth begins at home, the main thrust of the focus should always be toward self, and it is generally unnecessary and also counterproductive to shift the emphasis to an external struggle. The most efficient use of power exists on the internal plane because it takes much less energy to control your own reactions than to seek power over someone else. Once power is removed from the inner self and used to control others, the effectiveness is reduced. Stalemated power struggles are particularly detrimental because they deplete resources. It is conceivable that there are life situations where it is essential to control another person. For example, children, disabled or elderly loved ones may not be able to make informed decisions. In these situations you might be asked or forced to wield power over another. You are meant to grow from all your experiences. Even in these instances, self-awareness and insight are crucial to the decisions you make. Start with yourself first, then work your way outward. Blaming others for your problems distorts the perception of self and the realization of your own personal involvement. Always be aware of the interactive process and the role you play in it. This internal perspective is of primary importance, much more so than the process of controlling someone else.

Trying to control life situations can lead to power struggles, but at some point in your life it may be essential to make a stand for the good of your own growth or that of world consciousness. Ultimately, it is much better for you to control yourself, but this is not always possible. Someone can be seeking to control you, your family or your livelihood. Certain injustices must be corrected for everyone to progress, and sometimes the only viable option is to work for change. Always be aware of the struggle you take on. It is usually easier to correct a situation than to convince your opponent he or she is wrong. It is easier to get forgiveness than permission. Go for the simplest task that gets the job done. For example, your office routine might be very inefficient and next to impossible to accomplish in a day’s time. Perhaps you see where improvements can be made, but your immediate boss disagrees with you or thwarts your efforts. As long as you continue to try and convince your immediate boss of the need for change, you will get nowhere. If you can easily go over his or her head to a higher boss, this could be an effective way to handle the stalemate. Seek the quickest solution to a problem if one is available. Do not get locked into long, drawn-out struggles if they are not necessary.

Ultimately, power struggles can have either beneficial or detrimental results, depending on your perspective. In the external environment, you may or may not win, assuming there can be a victor. More than likely, victory, if it comes, involves compromise for all involved. But the inner process of awakening one’s own ability to effect a creative change in the environment is usually beneficial. You can make a difference. The creative potential associated with Pluto comes from a penetrating insight into the hidden worlds of the unconscious and an understanding of the Universal laws of Karma. Powerful insights should spring spontaneously from the situations associated with Pluto’s placement in the solar return chart. Suddenly you can become aware of new forces, subtle and previously unnoticed, which seem to influence personal decisions and situations you are involved in. Once you have the insight, what you do with the information becomes crucial to the creative process.

The primary goal of the Plutonian process should be growth through awareness. Therefore it is essential, no matter what your focal orientation, to use information and insight gleaned from experiences to foster a new understanding of self and Universal principles. The main growth process begins and ends with the self.

THREE DIFFERENT PLUTONIAN PROCESSES

Plutonian power is associated with three different processes: keeping things the way they are, usually by resisting an internal or external force; changing the form of what already exists, i.e., transformation; or eliminating what is no longer useful or essential, a form of death. Any of these powers can be either beneficial or detrimental to the user or others involved. It is the purpose and intent of the process that is important.

The power to keep things the way they are can sometimes be an awakening to personal power. Implied here is a resistance to a force seeking change, and sometimes the intent of change is negative. The pressure can come from an external or internal source, and the changes desired may be either external or internal also. For example, if you are a recovering alcoholic facing a difficult life situation, you might feel the pressure to start drinking again. The pressure could come from your own wish to avoid major decisions, or from a person you are associating with.

In actuality the internal and external sources are really one and the same, a reflection of each other since internal needs draw external situations. In the situation given above, the individual seeks to remain a recovering alcoholic despite internal and external pressure. This is a positive goal and if attained, implies personal power. It is also beneficial to remain the same when others seek to control your actions and thwart free will. Pluto represents the insight necessary to perceive manipulative efforts as they arise and avoid ploys whenever possible.

In some instances, the power to remain the same can be a negative manifestation, actually causing the stagnation of growth. If you resist all new internal and external insights which would enhance your growth or cause you to make changes, little progress will result. You will stall. When your purposes are not in keeping with Universal Good or personal benefit, you are more likely to be involved in a negative use of Plutonian power.

The process of elimination can be very cleansing, even though a symbolic death is involved. If you streamline your business or office procedures, letting go of compulsive and unnecessary activities, this is a death of sorts, but much to your benefit. So is a budgetary review which eliminates the fat from your spending practices and allows you to cut back on your work schedule. In more serious circumstances, perhaps all you can do is release a situation that is detrimental to your progress. Letting go can be a positive choice, but it might also be a negative one if you cut someone out of your life without resolving or releasing the conflict. If this is true in your case, avoiding persons or situations will consume your energy. Transformation is the process whereby a situation, thing or level of consciousness is changed into a new, and hopefully higher, manifestation. Careers, marriages and self-images can all be transformed for the better. Commonly, though, we think of the transformation process in terms of psychological insight and level of consciousness. Information from subtle sources or the unconscious is gradually or suddenly made available to either the rational mind or the Higher Self, and subsequently a change occurs on the mental, emotional or spiritual level. Information that was previously unavailable becomes understandable through the process of insight, and power is released through new awareness. This can be a very enlightening and beneficial transition, but naturally it is what you do with the information that is important. If intellectual, emotional and spiritual growth are triggered by the new awareness, the process continues to be positive; however, if instead you use your newfound insight to control others or block growth, you have used your knowledge in a negative way.

Misuse of the Plutonian process creates an inability to continue on the life path until issues are resolved and lessons are learned. Stagnation occurs as the individual fails to progress to the next level of comprehension or misinterprets the task at hand. Power struggles can be the cause of such stagnation, and should be taken on only after careful consideration of the issues and implications. Power struggles are expensive in terms of time and energy. Some are essential to growth, others are self-inflicted. Know the source. Ideally, if you avoid a conflict in Pluto’s solar return house placement, you should have more resources available for higher awareness. Conflicts consume energy and sap the strength necessary for the ascent. Without opposition, one can move quickly when concentrating on insight and awareness. Barriers can be torn down and the connections among all things become apparent.

But a world without struggle is the ideal, and not necessarily the reality. Your situation may require that growth be attained through struggle. The resistance may stimulate your awareness and creativity. Real progress might only occur after the resolution of conflict or during respites in the battle. However, within a long-lasting, stalemated struggle, one is more likely to get caught in a circular argument going nowhere. Nonproductive battles can be avoided by those who work toward increased awareness.

PLUTO in the 7TH HOUSE

While Pluto is in the 7th house, issues concerning relationships become complex interactions which

must be analyzed to be fully understood. Awareness is being raised to a new level of understanding and there is no book or course you can take which will give you the information you need for this passage. Knowledge springs from the inner reaches of the mind, and is fueled by the compulsions and frustrations realized in both intimate and non-intimate relationships.

We must make a distinction here between two different relationship processes, and three different levels at which you may choose to work. The two different processes are love and hate, and the three different levels of interaction include non-intimate partnerships, intimate relationships, and soul-level attractions. (All three will be defined and explained.) It makes a difference whether you choose to learn through lessons of love or hate. Certainly the information gleaned will be different; however, the compulsion to see remains the same. Those who choose to see through love excel despite despair, while those who choose to hate will despair despite their ability to excel. The issue of power is innate to this placement and cannot be taken lightly. One must acquire and maintain personal and relationship power through new insight and understanding. Power may be acquired through love as easily as through hate; the choice is yours, but generally those who seek to love gain power over self, while those who hate (control) seek to gain power over others.

Non-intimate relationships consist of everyday acquaintances and business partnerships. At this level, almost anyone can trigger the need to face the issue of power as it flows through relationships. Conflicts are either specific or diffuse; one person in particular may become the trigger to powerlessness, or a power deficit may exist in all relationships in general. For example, you may be locked into a business partnership in which each individual is trying to meet certain goals and needs. This type of struggle relates to a specific area of your life, and the intensity is mostly restricted to that area, though insight and tension may affect interactions with other people.

Generalized power struggles are caused by an inability to actualize personal power in any relationship. In this case we are not dealing with one particular situation, but with a diffuse problem which encompasses all interactions. The inability to be assertive is the most common manifestation of this nature. Both types of struggles, whether specific or generalized, cause external confrontations which force the individual to look at the unconscious need to maintain power while interacting. This need can be met through an increased understanding of the mechanisms which govern the power flow.

Psychological issues are crucial with this Pluto placement. It is at the Non-intimate level that one first begins to understand how psychological motivations and fears affect the way one communicates and relates. Blatant manipulation can be the primary form of expression, in which case much of the struggle will be nonverbal in nature. You may be the instigator or you may be the victim; it makes no difference since each position correlates with psychological complexes you must understand and conquer. There is never the one-sided attack; all struggles represent a mutual process whereby the aggressor either knowingly or unconsciously triggers reactions in another. In the most negative manifestation, power struggles are difficult hate battles that last most of the year. Legal confrontations are possible. Enemies

can arise and some attacks seem unwarranted. But those who master the psychological influences create new patterns of relating which represent power delicately balanced. Old partnerships, regenerated, become cooperative. Even those with generalized assertiveness problems can learn to express personal needs to others.

Intimate personal or family relationships lead the individual to make further distinctions in the understanding of psychological influences as they affect relating. External conflicts may be very apparent (similar to the Non-intimate level), but it is only in intimate relationships that daily exchanges can produce the subtle insights necessary for understanding psychological complexes at a deeper level. It is within this context that old psychological problems such as obsessions, compulsions, addictions, jealousies and control issues tend to surface full-blown and begin to play a much larger role. Personality traits and idiosyncrasies also affect the ability to relate in a meaningful manner. During the year, your relationship with another, usually a lover or spouse, will go through a period of transition. Both of you must look at the mechanisms by which you relate. The desire to control another is usually a central theme with manipulation and game-playing inherent in the process. You need to be aware of these ploys since they are impediments to greater intimacy and freedom. Complex power dynamics involving love and hate eliminate the possibility of freedom for one or both partners. Each must do as the other bids in order to suppress the unconscious fears motivating the need to control.

It is only through insight and an understanding of the underlying fears that one is able to dismantle the psychological complexes and begin to handle relationships clearly. The year can bring greater intimacy to those who are willing to work together to strengthen their commitment to one another while at the same time dismantling the control mechanism. Because of the placement in your solar return, you must make the transition, but it is up to others to decide whether or not to also make the necessary changes. If you are in need of a deeper, more intimate relationship than your loved one is capable of at this time, you may seek counseling, sever your present commitment, or seek other avenues for intimate exchanges. There are no easy solutions to the complex problems of relating.

If you are not already in a relationship, this can be a milestone year for you, one in which you are strongly attracted to someone new or someone you have been previously only acquainted with. Lost loves may return. Intimacy needs are increased at this time and you now need in-depth encounters. Intensity will be the norm and you do not care to waste time on superficial interactions. Even nonromantic relationships can have an overpowering effect on you. Your psyche is vulnerable to the insight of others. Even those you meet only briefly can have a tremendous effect on your life.

Soul-level manifestations involve new relationships which are karmic attractions that force the individual to seriously question all past and present relationships. The triggering mechanism is a desire for a new level of intimacy. The person you are drawn to may not be representative of someone you would choose for yourself on the conscious level. The implication here is that the unconscious chooses and there is no room for cliched romances. Only something very different will create the intensity necessary for the overwhelming growth pattern associated with this placement.

The issues that are dealt with this year involve a serious challenge to your ability to handle intimacy in a new way. The questions one should ask when faced with a relationship of this intensity are, “To what depths am I willing to go in order to acquire the insight necessary to understand my relationships as they exist now? Am I willing to face myself truthfully as one-half of and contributor to a complex interaction that affects both my capacity for soul growth and also the ability of others to excel? Am I willing to pay the price of vulnerability and honesty to acquire the highest level of intimacy to which I may aspire?” Intimacy at this level and intensity demands that one dismantle all defenses, and stop all ploys

for power. True power comes from shredding the persona to reveal the true self. By doing so, one gains power over self and encourages all others to let go of useless power ploys also. It is at this point that meaningful relating on a karmic level can begin.