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A tribute to the Sun

The current lunation cycle began with the July 26th New Moon at 3°51′ Leo (with Jupiter at 2°20′). Mercury entered Leo on the 31st and conjoined Jupiter on August 2nd, also at 3°51′ Leo, beginning a new synodic cycle of that pair. Another synodic cycle begins with the Sun- Mercury superior conjunction on August 8 at 16°03′ Leo.

The current heat, fires, and drought on the west coast are bringing the Leo planets front and center. I’ve also been thinking about the astrological Sun.

I remember a simple technique that I learned from Robert Cole’s book, The Book of Houses (1980). It’s something I’ve used over the years (probably most often with Leo rising charts).

Cole spoke about one’s “four personal holidays” in the year: the days when the transiting Sun crosses each of the angles.

The Sun crossing the Ascendant is reminiscent of one’s birth. We are tender; I think he may have used the image of a newborn chick just hatching out of the egg. It certainly is the beginning of a new yearly cycle for the individual. I spoke with someone today who said she always feels the need to go to the beach and get the sun on her skin on the day the Sun crosses her natal Ascendant. (In this case, early Gemini is on the Ascendant; in the northern hemisphere it’s getting warm and a trip to the beach is possible).

The Sun crossing the nadir is the deepest, darkest, most personal few days. Cole wrote about honoring one’s ancestors, family, and foundations. Our interior private life is what is being charged with the life-giving sustenance of the Sun. I got a call from someone this week who has been sadly estranged from her son for many, many years. She called for emotional support as she felt deeply bereft about her son — it was his birthday and also the transit of the Sun at her nadir. We had never made the connection before, but she remembered that I had given her that day as a personal holiday to honor the family and the past. We both understood the depth of her dismay more clearly by recognizing that her son was born when the transiting Sun was at her nadir.

When the Sun gets to the Descendant, the doorway to the public at large, and to all significant others, opens. I think Cole wrote about compromise with others, i.e., listening to them, placing their needs and desires first (maybe only for one day!). I have used this often with clients in relationship matters. Observing this personal holiday in the year by being most receptive to others is a simple remedy that can cause magic to happen. I know someone with 4° Leo on the Descendant; it wasn’t hard to see ahead of time that last week’s New Moon (with Jupiter) might bring a promising invitation. Seemingly out of the blue, he got a very intriguing job offer from an old family friend who he hasn’t seen in 30 years.

The Sun crossing the Midheaven takes us to the top; we are at the peak of our year when we have a maximum view. We can see where we’ve come from and where we might go next. (Cole wrote about this as our “personal harvest day.”) All matters regarding reputation and career are in the forefront on this day as well.

If you haven’t noticed the ritual of watching the transiting Sun mark your personal turning points in the year, may it be a newfound delight.

Happy Solar Return to all Leos out there. We all bask in the radiance of the Sun!


  1. I’ve never heard of this technique before and I just applied it to my chart. It’s effective, especially the transit to the ascendenct. My Leo Sun conjunct my descendant is thrilled. Thank you.

    • Hi Angela,

      Glad you liked the blog…

      Thank you..

  2. So lovely – thanks, Mary. Realise I’ve been sort of doing this, but without seeing the ‘overview’ of all the Angles, which gives the process a whole other layer of meaning. Much appreciation for pointing this out.

    • hi Melanie,

      Thanks for reading…it’s such a simple cycle to observe…

      Here’s to the life force!!


  3. Hello Mary

    thank you so much for this lovely reminder of just how fundamentally important the Sun’s yearly cycle is to us all.

    And – as a Leo – thanks also for the birthday heads-up!

    • Hi Anne,

      Thank you for commenting..

      And yes, I love the Leo’s grand spark of life..


  4. hi, mary! thanks for the tip!

    I have noted parts of this in the past, without realizing what it stemmed from. I am always ‘down’ around imbolc, and figured it was just the midwinter blues, but my 11 aquarius IC is being activated around that time.

    the sun on my ll leo MC kind of plays off the 4 leo solar return a week earlier, and I have never distinguished between the two, but I will pay attention in future.

    the only point I have noted consciously is the sun across my ascendant, at 4 scorpio. it’s around Halloween, my favorite time of year, and with the ASC exactly 90 degrees/nine months ‘behind’ the natal sun, it roughly coincides with the sun on my conception date. I always get a little burst of energy then, and as a follower of a pagan path, that’s my ‘new year’, too.

    • Hi Alex,

      Thank you for the nice report from the pagan path..I’m happy to introduce something new to you, most observant one..


  5. Aloha Mary,

    Yes, yes, yes, to everything you wrote.

    I too love the technique taught in Robert Cole’s book, The Book of Houses (1980). I’ve been celebrating my “Holidays” and doing my monthly “Housework” since I first read it in 1984. It was key to finding my natural rhythm. Becoming familiar with my annual cycle and personal seasons was the precursor of my love affair with the eight phases of the lunation cycle.

    Thank you for sharing the love.

  6. Thanks Mary for such a beautifully written and insightful piece. I often forget the most obvious in astrology and you have elucidated it. Thank you

    • You helped me gather my thoughts dear Kate..

      Get thee to the beach when you can..


  7. I went back and checked my journal for June 27th when the Sun went over my Cancer Asc. I wrote “urge to go shopping, so I did. Enjoyed myself!” I remember that day and how good it felt to be out and about. I tend to stay cooped up in my house a lot. Thanks for this little tutorial on the warmth of the sun and its importance as the basis of who we are.

    • Hi Rebecca,

      Thank you…great story…I usually talk to people about doing just what you want, what makes you personally happy on that day…I love the way you trusted your Cancer instinct to get out and enjoy yourself..


  8. Hi Mary,

    Sun 3 degrees, 57 minutes Leo, Moon 3 degrees 18 minutes Pisces, 24 degrees Cancer rising.

    I usually feel confused this time of year because my Fire Sun and Water Moon conspire to make “steam”, which then fogs up my astrological “glasses.”

    This birthday was different, a combination of hard knocks early-on and then gradual release as the Pisces and Cancer lunar asects made themselves felt.

    I have not yet read Robert Cole’s Book of Houses (1980) and thank you very much for your heads-up about it. I will search out a copy of this valuable reference.

    Joelle Brink

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