Your Monthly Lunar Return Functions Like a Cosmic ‘Reset’ Button—Here’s How To Find and Use Yours

Photo: Getty Images / Andrew Bret Wallis
Whenever the sun returns to where it was located when you were born, it’s your solar return, aka your birthday. By a similar token, when the moon returns to the sign where it was located at the time of your birth, it’s called a lunar return in astrology. Since the moon takes 27.3 days (29.5 to make a full revolution), your moon birthday happens every month, prompting emotional clarity and transformation.

In astrology, the moon symbolizes your emotions, senses, instincts, intuition, and unconscious self—all of which are key to understanding how your lunar return may affect you. “During a lunar return, there’s a strong feeling of returning to self. It’s a time we may feel our intuition is stronger or our sensitivity is higher as a result,” says astrologer Alex Caiola.

“During a lunar return, there’s a strong feeling of returning to self."—Alex Caiola, astrologer

The moon rules everything related to your inner world, so spiritually, you can think of your lunar return as the universe’s self-pushing reset button, says astrologer Monisha Holmes, MSW. When the moon cycles back to the place it was located when you were born, it’s a chance to shed emotional baggage and look ahead in a new light.

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Now that you know you have a lunar return, knowing how it’ll affect you is a must if you want to take advantage of the monthly moon magic. Keep reading to learn why your lunar return is important, how to track yours, and how it’ll affect you based on your moon sign (aka the sign in which the moon was located when you were born).

What is a lunar return in astrology?

A lunar return is the moment the moon comes back to the precise degree it was in the sky it was when you were born. It happens approximately every 28 days, heightening our emotional sensitivity and intuition. “The moon is yin energy in astrology,” says Erin River Sunday, astrologer and co-host of the Kiss My Astral podcast. “It relates to our emotions, how we nurture ourselves and others, and what makes us feel safe.”

“It relates to our emotions, how we nurture ourselves and others, and what makes us feel safe.”—Erin River Sunday, astrologer

Think of your lunar return as when the moon beams its light on your shadow side. You may reach a breaking point that it’ll be impossible to ignore—but once you purge the negative energy, you can make peace and move on.

In the same way the new and full moon cycles discern key moments for rest and emotional release respectively, your lunar return is important because it offers an opportunity to smooth out emotional grievances and focus on what we need to be secure in our emotions. Even though it isn’t a rare occurrence, when it comes to processing and communicating your feelings, your lunar return is a significant time for emotional growth and releasing hard feelings.

While you can generally feel emotional revelations bubble up during your lunar return, the themes present can depend on the other planets and their aspects, which you can learn by calculating your lunar return chart.

What does a lunar return chart tell you?

When you calculate your lunar return chart (which you can do approximately every 28 days), you’re viewing a blueprint of all the planets and the aspects they’re making during your lunar return, divided into 12 astrological houses.

The aspects, or the planetary alignments, are key players because they can tell you what aspects of your life are impacting the moon (aka your emotional disposition) over the next 28 days or so. “Your lunar return chart can show how you’re tapping into your emotions for the month ahead, the ways you’re reflecting, and what’s making you feel nourished and safe,” says Sunday.

Not only can tracking your monthly lunar return help bring suppressed feelings up to the surface but since the moon also rules our sense of security, “the lunar return chart can also speak to where we’ll find comfort in the month ahead,” Sunday says, depending on what astrological house the moon is in.

Say the moon was in Libra when you were born, for example, and your lunar return for this month says it’s also in the seventh house of relationships. This could point to an emotionally turbulent time between a close friend or partner, or that you’re in need of seeking comfort from in these partnerships. The moon is in the fourth house of domestic matters, on the other hand, might denote the need to recharge and find balance at home.

How do I calculate my lunar return?

To track when your monthly lunar return takes place, you’ll first need to know your moon sign. You can find this by inputting the date, time, and location of your birth into an astrology app or online birth chart generator.

Then, check which sign the moon is currently occupying. If the moon is currently in Scorpio, for example, you’d be experiencing your lunar return if your moon sign is also Scorpio (meaning, the moon was in Scorpio when you were born).

In this case, however, if your moon sign is one of the other 11 zodiac signs, Holmes suggests keeping an eye on the movements of the moon and being aware of when it moves into that sign. (It's worth reiterating that the moon moves signs every couple of days.)

Below, astrologer Erin River Sunday breaks down what you can expect from your monthly lunar return.

How your lunar return will affect you based on your moon sign

Moon in Aries 

Action-forward Aries is always on overdrive, which is on par with your lunar return. “Aries Moons should notice what they’re physically doing on the day of their lunar return,” says Sunday. That’s because Aries is ruled by Mars, the planet of physicality and passion. The physical decisions you make now set the tone for the rest of the month.

Moon in Taurus

You likely have romance on your mind during your lunar return. “Ruled by Venus, your most activated love language on this day will represent the lunar energies of the month ahead,” Sunday explains. Pay attention to how you indulge in your love life during your lunar return.

Moon in Gemini

You are logical rather than emotional, so be aware of how you express what’s on your heart. “Gemini Moons should notice the conversations they’re having,” says Sunday. These verbal interactions play a huge role in what the month has in store.

Moon in Cancer

Ruled by the moon, your lunar return may feel particularly comfortable, since you tend to be in tune with your emotions. Per Sunday, “Cancer moons should notice what they’re reflecting on during the day of their lunar return.” The feelings you stifle come up to the surface right now.

Moon in Leo

Your emotions will need extra attention during your lunar return, making this a great time for emotional reflection, specifically. “The way they’re expressing themselves and sharing their warmth on this day will represent the lunar energies of the month ahead,” says Sunday.

Moon in Virgo

You’re naturally altruistic, which takes shape during your lunar return. Sunday explains if your moon is in Virgo, communicating acts of service becomes an important lesson. “Virgo Moons should notice what or whom they’re supporting on the day of their lunar return,” she says.

Moon in Libra

Social by design, your feelings revolving around friends (and those with whom you spend time) take flight during your lunar return. Per Sunday, those in your social sphere and how you relate to others will shine during this time. “Libra Moons should notice the relationships surrounding them,” she adds.

Moon in Scorpio

Your emotions are a privilege, and you typically keep those private. “Scorpio Moons should notice what’s being revealed to them during their lunar return,” Sunday explains, adding that the secrets bubbling up to the surface will set the scene for the month ahead.

Moon in Sagittarius

You seek truth when it comes to your emotions, so you may find yourself being direct with how you feel during your lunar return. That said, “Sagittarius moons should notice the adventures they’re pursuing,” explains Sunday. This time is about your emotional expansion.

Moon in Capricorn

Your focus is on your personal aspirations, so your lunar return is tied to your emotional state in realizing said goals. “Capricorn moons should pay attention to the work they’re putting in,” Sunday says. Your commitments and long-term projects will set the stage for your lunar return, she adds.

Moon in Aquarius

You’re all about shock value. “Aquarius moons should be on the lookout for any surprising insights on the day of their lunar return,” says Sunday. These new surprises represent the energy for the month to come.

Moon in Pisces

You spend a great deal of time romanticizing your emotions, which can cloud your judgment. Sunday says you should focus on what you’re releasing during your lunar return, “and any whispers from your intuition, will represent the lunar energies of the month ahead,” she explains.

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