Happy July 4th. Today is America's birthday which begins a new solar cycle for the country that lasts for the solar year. Many of us call our birthday our Solar Return.
Astrologically, the Solar Return is when the Sun returns to an exact degree placement in your birth chart. As we age, this can occur up to two days before or after your actual birth date. I believe, as do other astrologers, that the Solar Return gives us a pretty good idea of how our year will manifest. And I also believe, as do some other astrologers, that we can improve our upcoming year by traveling on our birthdays so the placement of the Sun by degree will fall in a different house in our Solar chart.
Eminent astrologer, Bob Marks, has been a big proponent of traveling for your Solar Return. His work is invaluable in understanding how it works. I have developed my own method of gauging returns. With enough time to consider traveling, run your birthday chart - day, month and the current year. Don't forget to precision correct for the eliptical movement of the earth which changes the degrees over the years. Then what I like to do is examine the chart wheel for the location of where you intend to be on your birthday. I look at angles to the top of the chart - especially Saturn which represents challenges. Good aspectgs by Saturn to the top of the chart indicate to me a resolution of problems and an ability to put your experience to work for you in beneficial ways. I also look at where the Vertex is which is a powerpoint and has lots of great energy. Same too forJulpiter (luck and expansion), Mars (energy) and the Sun (goals and missions).
If we see alot of hard aspects, we try running the chart in different locations until we see one that works the best for you. Then all you have to do is be in that location when your Sun hits that degree arounnd your birthday.
Here is another solar return technique - a very interesting article on Princess Diana's Solar Return chart and a full analysis of its implications.
If you want to know more about a Solar Return analysis, try this book - Transits And Solar Returns; A New System of Analysis for Two Ancient Methods