Astrology Secrets Revealed by ERIC FRANCIS

Solar Return -- Pluto Square Ascendant


July 9, 2004


Dear Eric:

I just purchased WINSTAR with solar return reports and am quite concerned about a solar return Pluto Square Ascendant (00'20) or at least how it is described. Is there any way I can purchase specific advice on this problem?


Thanks for any help you can provide.



Dear Mark,

I've cast your natal chart and solar return. For readers who may not be familiar with the concept of a solar return, it's the return of the Sun to the same degree and minute that it occupied at the moment of your birth; otherwise known as a birthday chart. Because the solar year is not exactly 365 days (hence, the need for leap year), the exact solar return can skate around from year to year and be a day before or after your birthday -- but it will always be pretty close. This exact moment is cast into a horoscope, usually created for where you are at the time of your birthday. This type of chart is used by lots of astrologers.


Now, I'm not specifically an expert on solar returns, which are definitely a field of specialty. I've worked with plenty of them, but people generally use them for predictive astrology, which takes a back seat in my practice to emotional, psychological and spiritually based work. But I have some ideas about reading charts, and I'll answer based on those and what I've learned about solar returns over the past few years.


In this chart, Pluto is an exact right angle to your ascendant (rising degree or 1st house cusp) and descendent (setting degree or 7th house cusp). Relative to the horizon, it is exactly straight up. I have to say, this is a pretty interesting image. I like exact aspects because they are the ones that are speaking with precision and which (as has worked quite well here for you) get our attention.


To me the message is one of balance between your relationships and your sense of personal identity. It is a little like the Sword of Damocles, dangling over this issue. This is the year to get a grip on the way you distribute your energy between yourself and close partners or your lover. Notice that any planet that makes a conjunction to your solar return's ascendant also squares Pluto; any planet that makes a conjunction to your solar return 7th house squares Pluto. It's like Pluto is standing as a mediator, making sure that everything that aspects your chart's main angles (another word for 1st and 7th houses) has to pass muster with Pluto.


This is one reason why aspects to the angles (ascendant, descendent, midheaven or nadir) are so crucial; what acts on the planet also acts on the angle.


However , everything in a chart must be looked at in larger context. One way to check the context here is to look at what the ascendant's planetary ruler (representing you) and your descendent ruler (representing someone close to you) are up to, as told by the chart. The chart has Pisces rising, so Jupiter, as the first ruler of Pisces, represents you. Mercury, the 1st ruler of Virgo (in the descendent) represents this 'other person'.


Mercury appears in the very last degree of Cancer. Jupiter appears in mid-Virgo. The two are in a semi-square, or a 45-degree angle. Is there some tension between you and someone close to you that hasn't come to the surface? I would say that your partner is feeling it and may be in quite a challenging emotional state. It appears this person is about to make a big change. The question is how you respond; do you keep your independence, or do you lose all sense of who you are? There are several suggestions in the chart that this is really about your struggle to be an independent, autonomous person. In this respect, Pluto should be quite helpful, but Pluto is always easier if we go along with the plan. And, appearing as it does in the 9th house, the reminder is don't assume you know everything, and to "think globally, act locally."