When you get a chart reading for the first time, you are getting a natal chart interpretation, unless you ask for a different chart. Natal chart readings are useful to get a good sense of your energetic life blueprint, including tendencies, karmas, evolutionary path, challenges, and areas of life that might be in the shadow and be sources of immense power when illuminated and worked with.
This alone is a great start!
But did you know that you can run different charts based on your own natal positions and get different views of your life?
These charts include:
Progression charts: Looking at the movement of planets relative to your natal chart over time and exploring the soul’s evolution through this lens as it encounters chances to “take on” new energies and draw experiences relative to these. “The progressed chart moves one symbolic day for one symbolic year of life. At age 30, the progressed chart reveals what is occuring 30 days after my birth. Why should this work? One symbolic turn of the earth (day) equals one symbolic cycle of the earth around the Sun (year). The outer is equal to the inner, the lesser to the greater. As above, so below.” ~ courtesy The Inner Wheel. Progression readings are a solid foundation for the following charts to make sense in terms of energetic impact, for to a good degree, our natal chart (mentioned above) positions will guide us in what is affected, but to as much of a degree, our progressed chart will give us a rich perspective on how we handle it now, as we are experienced and grown to a degree.
Geo-relocation charts: Exploring how the soul’s energy field shifts relative to the natal chart and where it relocates in the world. If you look at a natal chart wheel, a move even a few hours away from where one is born can be enough to knock their natal positions into different rising sign and emphasis in houses. Rather than seeing a travel experience as one that penetrates the person from the outside in, this considers that the individual is an energetic node shifting positions and experiencing a shift within that emphasizes different realms of life.
Transit charts: This is a look at the planets as they are in the sky currently and how they relate to the person’s natal chart. You can explore this like weather systems passing over the soul and encouraging growth in different ways—with Saturn transiting, for instance, the person may experience.
Synastry charts: Discovering your relationship dynamics at an increasingly conscious level. For relatives, lovers, friends, parent-child relationships. What you will often discover here is that if you find you need one of these, the person in question is a part of helping you realize a transit, and they yours. This illuminated perspective helps you work out the karma of the relationship and keep it in tact all the way through its duration.
Certainly there are more, but I have listed ones I am versed in to stay within my realm of being able to answer to any questions that could come up around this article.
Solar return charts: Empowering yourself with a conscious view of inner shifts reflected by the latest rotation of the Earth around the Sun. These “birthday” charts serve as empowering tools that one can consult each year as a type of forecast for the year to come. They are run in a way that reflects the Earth at the exact point it was relative to the Sun when you were born—so they actually do not reflect your exact birthday so much as the chart when you are at the exact time and angle and position to relative to the Sun. You can even (and are advised to if it is a place you will spend much of the year) plug in a new location if for the year if you find yourself someone on the days around your birthday. Whereas the transit readings for the year ahead may predict conditions around you, this kind of reading is coming from an angle that helps you navigate your year ahead from an empowered position based on the tendencies that may arise within you.
One can study the patterns of their solar returns and the significance of related charts in retrospect if they review their life and major events with an ephemeris in hand.
Incidentally: You start to feel this and all solar return energies two months before your birthday if you are tuned into it.
A good place to start with an interpretation is the Moon. For every year, you have a different lunar energy marking your solar return, and this is quite significant in its own right. The lunar solar return energy moves in and out of your life in cycles. The elements are represented in a specific order. If you enter the Earth element of lunar energy on your solar return, you will be in that element for three years, for each of the signs of that element.
For example, you can feel if you were just spending three years in fire moons, when your solar return Moon enters Earth signs. This happened to me this year in fact. Knowing this is super helpful, because you might otherwise think you sank into a depression. All the action of fire for three years and then BOOM, you are plunked down in a Taurus solar return Moon! It felt like a deep depression to me to enter this lunar outfit!
In fact, someone could easily interpret this shift as depression if they are not conscious of the contrast.
But now I am accustomed to it. I am comfortable with stillness, and also amazed at how much patience I have in the midst of chaos and delays.
Modalities, Elements and Houses
After the moon, I find it helpful to look at the modality of the signs of your solar return chart. Furthermore, you can see house focus as well as elements. Look at the chart as if it is your natal for the year, just for the sake of the reading. You can always consider your natal, progressed and other points of view later. But to nail down what is ahead of you, better to focus on the solar return individually. When you look at it, see if you can spot a trend of signs and their modes. Last year for me, for instance, I had 90 percent of my solar return energy in mutable signs (and the rest in cardinal with no fixed)! I also had some second house activity that indicated a focus on finances. Last year, in reality, I quit my job (two months before my birthday), packed up a life of seven years, giving most of my belongings away (second house of possessions and money), and started a trip around the world (constant change—mutable solar return chart). My moon sign was in Sagittarius for that solar return as well—the nomad, the yogi, the mystic, the wanderer. Mutable. Lots of fire last year as well with Mars in Aries.
This year, I have Mars in an Earth sign and the Moon in that same sign of Taurus. Holy cow, what a slam on the breaks!
So how does this help me?
If it isn’t obvious by now, this helps because it’s as if you have a weather system (transits) and you will be gifted with a wardrobe for the year (solar return energies) and you can draw from this consciously when moving through the year. You can prepare yourself for some difficult times and know that the wheel is always turning, that the next year can flip things in your favor, slow things down, find you in more stable pastures.
The power of perspective is underrated if you can’t see the value in a solar return chart after giving it a chance just once to cast light on your year ahead.