They say it’s your birthday
It’s my birthday too, yeah
They say it’s your birthday
We’re gonna have a good time
I’m glad it’s your birthday
Happy birthday to you
The Beatles; The White Album; November 1968; (Lennon/McCartney)
Turning 57 today and reaching his third Metonic Solar Return, your correspondent is happy to be alive. Having been given a terminal prognosis in December 2009, with the oncologist stating that there were only ten months left to live, this retired astrologer has spent the past year spiritually preparing for death, while practicing gratitude for each day that he is still alive and able to appreciate life.
At the ages of 19, 38, 57 and 76, one finds that he has completed a Metonic Cycle (1) and that his Solar Return will have both Luminaries in the same Zodiacal degree area as at birth. This cycle is significant in that it indicates a conclusion of a 19-year chapter of life, with a new opportunity to realign the soul with the original spiritual purpose of one’s life. At 57, what one has accomplished since the age of 38 will now feel like a distant past receding into one’s memory, as the soul takes on a new mission in life.
For this astrologer, having founded Earthwalk School of Astrology in February 1992 at the age of 38, his retirement from private practice and teaching due to his health problems feels like a major life cycle has concluded. The path to peace of mind can now be found through the willingness to accept a simple fact of life – all things must pass.
Similar to the 18.6-year precessional cycle of the Nodal axis through the Zodiac, in which the third Lunar Node return occurs just prior to the 56th birthday, astrologers know that the years between the second progressed Moon return at age 54 1/2 and the second Saturn return at age 59 are highly significant. Ideally, at that time, a transition in life takes place away from one’s career goals and the soul now moves toward the development of a philosophical understanding of the meaning of one’s life.
In his Solar Return today, your correspondent is delighted to find a 9th house accidentally dignified Jupiter (also in dignity in Pisces), stationary direct, and in close trine to the Sun. This most fortunate aspect with the greater benefic should bring the necessary contemplative reflection over the next year in order to perceive the meaning of his life; as well as also serving to preserve the health (ruler of the 6th house) while bestowing hope, the enjoyment of good friends, and having a positive outlook on life.
For an independent individual with nine planets Eastern in his nativity, it will be a year of appreciation for the relationships in his life with nine Solar Return planets in the Western hemisphere. A joyous 5th house Sun is exactly the ticket for a weary soul who has endured a lot of physical pain, and the retrograde Venus (ruling the 11th) in dignity in the 4th has already begun to show her stuff through the recent visits of old friends from high school coming to our house for delicious meals, a glass of French red wine, much laughter, lots of love, and fond remembrances of our youthful escapades and follies.
Lest he forget during lighter moments the Sword of Damocles that hangs over his head, in which further tumor recurrence and additional metastasis of the cancer could occur at any time, the exact conjunction of Pluto and the North Node in the 6th house of health should keep this astrologer unwavering in his appreciation for the gift of life, and help him stay focused through daily prayer about the possible nearness of his death at a time known only by his Creator.
The Solar Return is calculated for the exact time that the transit Sun conjoins the natal Sun each year. These charts, in order to be precise, must be calculated to the nearest degree, minute and second of solar Zodiacal longitude, as the Sun moves one minute of arc in about 24 minutes of time. A forecast for the year between birthdays can be found in these horoscopes, and they reflect the transits that are in place at the time of the birthday. These transits hold their influence for a full year.
The seriousness of your correspondent’s medical condition could be seen in the exact Saturn-Pluto square forming at his last birthday, with the greater malefic in the 6th house. Perhaps it was the Mutual Reception between the Sun and Mars that helped to strengthen the will to live. The chart ruler, Venus, in detriment and in an angular square to Mars, brought on a plethora of physical misery during the last twelve months; with Mars-ruled infections, rashes, inflammation, and acute physical pain being the crosses to bear. The closest aspect to the Sun is always crucial in the Solar Return, and the exact trine to Uranus provided the necessary metaphysical understanding about one’s preparation for death and dying.
At age 56, Uranus arrives at the waning trine to its natal position. This marks the 2/3 point in the 84-year Uranus cycle. Both Dane Rudhyar and Alexander Ruperti wrote (2) about the significance of this aspect and how it symbolized a possibility for a Third Birth, one in which the soul could ideally begin to “radiate through the personality that spiritual essence which was its destiny to manifest.” This would only be possible, however, if the individual had “assimilated into his conscious ego some of the contents of the collective unconscious” (since a Second Birth at the waxing trine of Uranus to its natal place at age 28).
Also at age 56, a multiple of eight years, a seventh Sun-Venus recurring synodic cycle commences and this is reflected in the Solar Return for that birthday by the Sun and Venus having both returned to the same Zodiacal degree area as at birth. An eight-year relationship cycle draws to a close, and a new karmic chapter begins. (3) At his last birthday, this astrologer had a 7th house Venus, within four degrees of his natal Venus, along with an angular Moon conjunct the Descendant, exact to 03′ of arc.
The happiest event of this past year has been the return from South Africa to the U.S. in April of my fiancée, Carol. Without her love, companionship and daily help with my disabled condition, I would have been unable to survive and weather the onslaught of the physical pain brought on by a severe and nearly lethal infection in September. Along with my 30-year old daughter, these two splendid women (who have a synastric Moon-Venus conjunction between their two horoscopes) have been the Light and Love of my life. (4) That Venus-Mars square, of course, produced some spectacular arguments; however, the affection and good feelings would always return soon afterwards! I have to say that with the 8th house Mercury, the thought of dying was on my mind constantly ever since I received the terminal prognosis.
Alan Leo, writing in The Progressed Horoscope, (5) spoke of one’s Progressed Birthday each year, when the transit Sun would conjoin the secondary progressed Sun. This event takes place as many days after your birthday as your age. He wrote that “in the case of highly strung and sensitive people, after the age of thirty these natives would perhaps live more through the progressed rather than their radical horoscopes.” Following this, Leo also stated that “it was not until the transit Sun had conjoined their progressed Sun each year that a renewed impulse of vitality and energy would be experienced.”
The above tri-wheel chart shows this astrologer’s nativity in the inner wheel, secondary progressions calculated for 56 days after his 56th birthday (15 November to 10 January = 56) in the middle wheel, and his Progressed Solar Return for January 10, 2010, when the transit Sun precisely conjoined his secondary progressed Sun, in the outer wheel. The two tables below the chart show that the calculation of the Progressed Birthday was made to the degree, minute and second of longitude for the transiting Sun. (6)
The Progressed Solar Return is every bit as relevant each year as the standard Solar Return. In fact, for sensitive souls, after the age of thirty, this Progressed Birthday horoscope may even be more accurate than the chart calculated at the birthday. In the case of your correspondent, the rising degree was exactly conjunct his Pluto during a year with death knocking on his door; the Moon was exactly conjunct his natal Sun, and a Sun-Venus superior conjunction occurred in a year when his fiancée returns; and retirement is clearly seen in this chart with a 12th house Mars. An angular Neptune is on the Descendant, rather fitting for Carol and the sacrifices she has made to love a guy in my condition.
Looking ahead, 57 days after my birthday today brings us to January 11, 2011. On that day, the transit Sun will conjoin my secondary progressed Sun, a day later than last year because I am one year older. The ruler of the Progressed Solar Return, an exalted Mars exactly conjunct my natal North Node, looks promising and with a Sun-Mars conjunction in the PSR 3rd house, Volume VI will perhaps get written.
(1) The Astrologer’s Astronomical Handbook; Jeff Mayo; L.N. Fowler & Co. Ltd.; 1965. After a period of 19 years, New and Full Moons recur on the same days of the year. The Metonic Cycle is 235 synodic lunar months, or 6939.69 days in length; exactly 19 years.
(2) Cycles of Becoming; 2nd Edition; Alexander Ruperti; Earthwalk School of Astrology; 2005.
(3) See the author’s Astrology: A Language of Life; Volume IV – Relationship Analysis for a more detailed analysis of this 8-year cycle.
(4) With a Fallen Moon and a Venus in detriment, both in Scorpio, the fiancée and the daughter were concerned with his possible death.
(5) The Progressed Horoscope; Alan Leo; L.N. Fowler & Co. Ltd.; London; 1906.
(6) Some astrology software programs will calculate transit-to-progressed aspects; but only to the day and do not include the time. One has to manually calculate exactly when the transit Sun and the secondary progressed Sun both arrive at the same second of arc.
© 2010 Robert P. Blaschke
Mr Blaschke is author of the Astrology: A Language of Life series in five books: Progressions; Sabian Aspect Orbs; A Handbook for the Self-Employed Astrologer; Relationship Analysis; and Holographic Transits. His books and class, lecture and workshop CDs can be found at: Earthwalk Astrology.