Happy Birthday U.S.A.

The U.S. solar return is at 11:28 a.m. on July 5, 2011.

I’m going to look at the chart first from an astrological perspective, then suggest an idea from a metaphysical point of view.

The Ascendant of the solar return chart is 2°50’ Libra, which is closely conjunct the Sibly 10th-house cusp (1°03’ Libra).


This places this year’s very clear emphasis on actions of the government itself, and on the nation’s self-image and role, as well as responsibility and reputation, in the wider world.

The Midheaven of the solar return is 3°13’ Cancer, conjunct natal Venus at 3°06’ Cancer.

Venus has association with the arts, women, banking and money matters in a mundane horoscope, and, in Cancer, the ongoing destabilization in the housing and real estate markets (not to mention our basic feelings of security and happiness) will be much in the national picture this year.

The dynamic cardinal cross, a keynote of our time, is the prominent pattern in the U.S. solar return. The crucial planets are in the angular houses where they have strength and access to expression. The solar return Sun is in the 10th house of reputation; Saturn is in the 1st house of self-image and initiated activity; Pluto is in the 4th house of foundations and traditions (and the political party not in power), and Uranus is in the 7th house of foreign relations, treaties, and alliance. Suffice it to say that the U.S. plays a dramatic role in the collective myths that are unfolding in our times. We are privileged indeed to be partaking, ready or not, in this moment in history!

The solar return chart suggests that actions taken by the current government (and those in positions of power) place the U.S. front and center on the world stage. The national reputation and role in the world is in a visible and obvious time of clarification and adjustment. (The U.S. is in its Saturn return — exact for the last time in August — which is repeating the natal Sun square Saturn.)

The angularity (i.e., the power and ability to project) of the solar return chart is shown again by the degree of its Ascendant falling on the U.S. natal 10th-house cusp, and the solar return Midheaven is in the natal 7th house.

To be slightly poetic, the nation’s character (Sun) and its alliances — financial, strategic, and all other types of partnerships and resources (Venus) — are within the ever intensifying crucible of a compelling force to expose what has been hidden and be moved from the inside out (Pluto). Furthermore, there is a sobering force that holds awareness of the fatefulness of decisions made now (Saturn) and an urgency to integrate a what-hasn’t-been-seen-before idealism (Uranus).

The Moon in Virgo in the 12th house of the solar chart suggests that the public (that’s us) may be anxious about health and employment concerns, but that the Moon is applying to square Mars, so action is eminent. Although the Moon is part of an earth trine with Jupiter and Pluto, the stronger dynamic is shown by the square to Mars. Does this signify some impulse toward self-defense, perhaps, from the general public?

The earth trine in the solar return between Jupiter in Taurus (ruler of the natal Sagittarius Ascendant), Pluto in Capricorn, and the Moon in Virgo, suggests to me that those who already have assets will be holding firm and will continue to benefit.

Usually troublesome (i.e., war-like or aggressive) in a mundane chart is the prominence of Mars: in this case, solar return Mars at 10° Gemini is quite close to the natal 7th cusp of open enemies and foreign relations, and the solar return South Node is conjunct natal Mars. That does not bode well for a good outcome for any of our acts of aggression.

On a more imaginative note, solar return Juno is conjunct natal Neptune (square Mars) in Virgo. (1) This is the last of three conjunctions to the U.S. Neptune that began in December 2010. Juno is the asteroid of significant relationships and commitments. She is also associated with balanced power and sensitivity to those who are disempowered. Juno will move on to conjunct her natal position at 20° Libra in September. The Sibly chart has Juno conjunct exalted Saturn in Libra. Maybe we can see herein an omen of awakening out of a time of confusion (Neptune) about issues of power and powerlessness (e.g., maybe we’ve been feeling sorry for the wrong people?), and strengthening the innate national quality of a genuine recognition of fairness and justice for those who truly need to be upheld.

Even farther a field from a traditional approach to interpreting a solar return chart, I’d like to mention an idea that Norma Nakai Burton included in her Sunday sermon at Unity Church here in Ashland. In homage to the metaphysical view of the Founding Fathers, she spoke to how this country was founded in part as an act of war to protest the unfairness of taxation without representation. The country declared war as an act of separation. So, the notion of separation to uphold justice is in our national character. We are long trained to be independent; it is Independence Day, after all. However, the current findings in the field of physics are supporting the mystics’ long experience that inter-dependence is in fact a physical reality. (2) Inside the smallest particle, emptiness resides. There is no real truth to separation; we are indeed all deeply connected. Norma proposed a new view for July 4th — Interdependence Day. With the U.S. currently in the realignment of the Saturn return, here’s to awakening the experience of interdependence. In a personal way, she suggested that right at the moment when we feel the need to separate or pull away (or declare some version of war), we instead invite the awareness of the deeper, subtler truth that there is no separation. I think that’s an interesting exercise to practice as we head forth into a new solar year in the U.S.

Have a happy, safe, healthy holiday, everyone.


(1) I wrote recently about the Mars-Neptune square in the Sibly horoscope and the national predilection to experience disillusionment and have ill-defined enemies and objectives.

(2) Norma referred to Lynne McTaggart’s newest book, The Bond: Connecting Through the Space Between Us, for extensive evidence from science of our interconnection and essential desire for connection

Mary Plumb can be reached at mary@maryplumb.com

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