This Is Why Your Luck Is Better Around Your Birthday

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Regardless of how you feel about birthdays, there’s something magical about its energy. Besides the freebies and thoughtful gifts, your birthday is a particularly auspicious time astrologically. Maybe you land a job or meet someone special during your birthday season. If it feels like the stars are aligned, it’s probably because, when it comes to your solar return, they pretty much are. Read ahead to learn more about the meaning of a solar return in astrology.

What is a solar return in astrology?

Chances are you’ve heard someone say, “happy solar return,” in lieu of “happy birthday.” That’s because your solar return happens when the sun returns to the exact (or extremely close) position it was in when you were born, says Kate Von Horn, intuitive tarot reader, psychic, healer, and author of The Inner Tarot. Not to be confused with your Saturn return, which is less jubilant (and way more traumatizing, BTW). Your solar return is like your spiritual homecoming, a time to reflect on the milestones of the past year as you look forward with optimism.

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What insights can I gain from my solar return?

Each year you get older, changes naturally follow. You’re shedding old parts of yourself, which is required to open yourself up to new opportunities. “This event marks the beginning of a new astrological year for you and is a wonderful time to set clear personal intentions, refocus, or prioritize yourself,” explains Von Horn, and because it’s a special day for your spiritual growth each year, “it’s a wonderful opportunity to manifest and look forward to your continued journey and path.”

Between the new shifts and hope for the new chapter ahead, I don’t blame you for wanting to know how to make the most of your solar return. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to focus on personal renewal, introspection, and setting intentions for the upcoming year,” says Von Horn. Plus, your solar return can give you an idea of the themes you’ll experience during your solar new year

What is a solar return chart?

Your solar return chart shows where the current planets are at the moment the sun returns to the precise position it was in when you were born—give or take a couple days, because of a thing called precession, or Earth’s wobbly tilt, that causes the precise degree of your solar return to be off by a day or two near your birthday.

Your solar return chart is cast based on where you currently are in the world (as opposed to where you were born, like in your natal chart), and is used by astrologers to predict themes and you may experience (some people even use solar return charts to plan their birthday trips). Each birthday is an opportunity to draw a new solar return chart to learn what the new year has in store for you.

Reading your solar return chart requires you to have some kind of an understanding of the planets’ energies and what aspects they’re making to other planets. For instance, if Pluto (the planet of control and transforamtion) makes a difficult square aspect to the sun, this might indicate power struggles as it relates to your self-esteem.

How can a solar return chart predict my upcoming year?

Because astrology is all about patterns and the movements of the planets, your solar return can predict the themes of your next era. Solar return charts are a predictive technique astrologers use to see what kind of year you’ll be having based on where the planets are currently.

Let’s say the sun is making a supportive trine aspect to Venus, the planet of love and aesthetics. This can predict a new relationship or a total wardrobe transformation in the year ahead. “Wherever the sun hits throughout your year, can tell you what the main topics, gifts, and challenges of your year will be,” says astrologer Karrie Myers.

Your solar return chart also shows what profection year you’re in, which refers to what astrological house the sun appears to be in. If you’re turning 26, for instance, you’ll be entering your third house profection year, which is all about lessons in communication.

While your solar return chart can give you a beter sense of your life direction, Von Horn says that this time is more about personal growth and setting intentions for the new year. For those whose solar return also lands on a full moon, when La Luna sits opposite of the sun, you can also expect emotional insight when calculating your solar return.

How do I calculate my solar return?

Besides getting an astrology reading by a professional astrologer, you can use free resources like Astro Seek to calculate your solar return chart. To get the full scope of your chart, you’ll need your date of birth, your birth time, and location.

The transformative moment your birthday brings each year is all about planting seeds for the year ahead. Here, astrologers share the ways you can really shine during your birthday.

How to spend your solar return, according to astrologers

1. Set your intentions

Your solar return is your annual reset button. It can be a great time to reflect on the year behind you as you make new plans for what’s to come. “This is a time to be centered in your individuality and gifts,” explains Von Horn. Write down your desires and goals that you want to see manifest in the new year, “focusing on personal development and spiritual evolution rather than others in your life,” Von Horn adds.

2. Create a solar return ritual

Birthday cake: check. Gifts: check. Von Horn suggests a solar return ritual to reflect on the lessons learned is a great way to ring in the new year.

“Make room for meditation, journaling, pulling tarot or oracle cards—or another practice that supports you,” explains Von Horn. “It’s a day to remember the clarity and confidence you felt, so you can carry those intentions into the new cycle with you.” Pro tip: dig up old journals or vision boards so you have a visual to remind you of all that you’ve accomplished.

3. Embrace your solar return chart

Cosmic shifts are par for the course on your birthday, and that involves letting go of your old self in order for your new era to take shape. Rather than resist the growing pangs, accept the flow of changes coming your way. Von Horn suggests learning the different placements of your personal planets, (aka your sun, moon, Venus, and Mercury) to cultivate certain themes for the year ahead.

Knowing the major players in your chart during your solar return can give you the bigger picture. “Wondering when it would be best to release ancestral wounds or have that challenging conversation or even something more practical? The solar return can help you find the ideal timing for making big decisions in the year ahead!” adds Myers.

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