We all know about Solar Return charts, that precise moment in time when the Sun returns to its natal position in our birth chart. Lots of us pull up this type of chart every year in one of the three variants: Solar Return chart for our natal place of birth, Solar Return chart for a different locality than that of birth – because we’ve located to another place or because we’ve decided to spend our birthday in a different location and then there is the Precessed Solar Return chart which takes into account the natural pregression of the equinoxes and the consequent difference in planetary degrees in the natal chart (approx. 1° every 72 years).
Return charts however can be erected for any planet as it returns to its natal position.
Moon or Lunar return occurs every lunar month and show us where our emotional energy will be employed during that particular month. Due to its short duration the Lunar return reveals minor phases of life experience.
Mercury return is approx. one year and never far away from the date of the annual Solar return and indicates where our intellectual energy, mainly our thinking and decision-making processes, will be at play over that period.
Venus return is also approx. one year and indicates where our romantic, social contacts and financial strengths will be.
Mars return happens approx. every two years and we can get an idea of where our energy based on our personal initiative will be prevalently concentrated during that time.
Jupiter return occurs every 12 years and is an excellent way to see in which area of our chart we can push ahead.
Saturn return (the buzz killer for most) and the one which few of us actually erect as a chart, preferring to guess at what might happen, thinking that it will be limited to the length of time of the actual transit over natal Saturn. This chart shows us where we have to discipline ourselves and organise our lives over the coming 28-29 years approx.
How to read a return chart (Basic rules)
Firstly we must look to the position of the return planet, especially its house placement (revealing the area where the energy will be most experienced together with the house or houses that particular planet rules) and the aspects if makes or receives. Then we should look to the angles to determine their modality (Cardinal – action oriented, Fixed – less inclined to change – Mutable – flexible). Also note if the degrees and signs of the angles mirror in any way the natal chart since that would indicate a very notable and important period for the duration of the return. Next, look to see if any planets are conjunct the angles and give them priority (together with any aspects they might make or receive). Taking into account the aforesaid factors then the chart should be interpreted as if it were a natal chart. Secondly confront the return chart with the natal chart, looking for any similarities, planetary degrees, house placements, planetary aspects that might be mirrored in the return chart – for example: a Moon-Saturn square in the natal chart showing up as a Moon-Saturn trine or sextile in the return chart indicates that the natal aspect will be “softened” in some way and more easy to manage, likewise an opposition might indicate that extra work needs to be done with these energies. The energies indicated by the return chart are however to be considered “less effective or forceful” than those in the natal since the return chart has a determined duration in time.
Using the ephemeris to time by date (progressing) the transiting return planet to the points (planets and angles) in the return chart will provide you with dates and give you an idea as to when to expect certain positive or adverse energies and from which sectors of life to expect them.
As well as pulling up the current return chart for any planet, you could also pull up the precedent one (except for Saturn unless you’ve already had your second Saturn return) so as to verify life events with the return charts.
If anyone would like to know more about return charts then please see the bibliography below for suggested reading.
Shea M. (1998), “Planets in Solar Returns”, Twin Stars Unlimited, Mary Fortier Shea, Clinton CT USA
Stubbs J. and Kirby B.  2001 “Interpreting Solar and Lunar Returns” Capall Bann Publishing, Chievely, Berks, UK
Teal C.  2009, “Identifying Planetary Triggers” Llewellyn Publications. Woodbury, Minnesota USA