After years of reading your sun sign's horoscope and nothing else, having your birth chart read can be downright illuminating. Suddenly, you aren't just one solitary sign, but a complex being made up of many planetary signs and points. Your birth chart can reveal how your personality and behavior are reflected in the skies, but it won't answer your specific questions about the immediate future. That's where your solar return chart comes in.
As its name suggests, this chart is a snapshot of the skies as the sun returns to its natal placement, or where it was when you were born, in a given year. It's a great birthday gift to yourself, it can give you an idea of what lies ahead for the next year of your life, and, as far as decor is concerned, it can look pretty different from your birth chart.
In order to draw up your solar return chart accurately, an astrologer needs to know your birthdate and time, as they do for your birth chart. But, where they'd ask you for the location of birth for your birth chart, they'll ask you where you'll be on your next birthday when reading your solar return chart. From where you are on Earth, the planets will be positioned on the wheel of the Zodiac differently — meaning your planetary signs will be different.
Of course, your sun sign won't change, since it's returning to the sign it was in when you were born, but you'll probably have different moon and rising signs. Let's be clear: These are not replacements for the moon and rising signs in your birth chart. Rather, these are the signs that you'll express for the next year.
For example, the sign in which the moon is placed reflects the role your emotional self will play in this year of your life. A Cancer moon could suggest you'll be more sensitive this year, while Scorpio moon implies you'll process your emotions intensely but very privately. Being aware of your solar return moon sign, as you go about your year, can help you understand what's motivating your feelings and driving your innermost thoughts. Your inner life won't pivot entirely due to this sign, but it's bound to influence matters of the heart for the next 12 months.
We'd never rely on astrology alone when preparing for the years to come, but your solar return chart does more than give you a heads up about the next year's events. It reminds you that personal change is natural. You're probably going to behave a little differently from year to year — and the stars can help you understand why.