Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Solar Return: our "new" birthday and Sun-oppose-Sun: the Challenge

Everyone looks forward to his or her birthday as a time of renewal, celebration, joy, and opportunity.  It is a moment when we are "reborn" on Earth.  We are also given a "new year" astrologically with a chart that is calibrated to show the events for the next 365 days:  the solar return.  When our Sun returns its position and sign at our birth date, it is called "Sun conjunct Sun."  This is one reason I strongly encourage a consultation with me on a 4x-per-year basis:  this is an excellent reason to evaluate what the "new birthday" has to offer.

The solar return actually begins to manifest six weeks prior to our actual birthday, and begins its potentials six weeks afterward.  It is like having a new talent, skill, or training program to enhance and develop as a birthday present from the Universe.  Robert Hand describes this in his excellent book Planets in Transit

Sun conjunct Sun

Today is your real birthday, even though it may be a day or two different from your calendar birthday.  However, this is the date when the Sun returns to the position it was in when you were born, as the Earth completes a full circuit around the ecliptic path of the Sun.

As would seem appropriate with this transit, today is a day of new beginnings.  A new year in your own persona calendar has begun, and the influences you feel today will affect the entire year to come.  This does not mean that the whole year will be disappointing if today doesn’t work out exactly as planned, but the planetary influences in effect today will have a great meaning for the year as a whole.  Many astrologers find that the chart cast for the exact minute and second that the Sun returns to its birth position (a Solar Return) provides a significant forecast for the year ahead.

The energies you feel today may not be very dynamic, but you do feel as though you ought to be the center of attention in some way.  This is a natural effect of a powerful Sun transit and is not just because this occurs on or near your birthday.  Nevertheless, despite the subtlety of the energy, this is a day when you should in fact make new beginnings.  You are receiving a new impulse from the energy center within you, as symbolized by the Sun.

Therefore, any new venture that you start at this time will ride the crest of this new energy and will very likely come to an acceptable conclusion.  Whatever you do or begin today will bear the stamp of your individuality more than anything else.  This is the day to assert yourself anew.  Plan to let the world know who you are, not arrogantly or smugly, but so that everyone knows you are here.  You have needs and wants like everyone else, as well as something to contribute to the world.
However, a similar-but-different phase takes place six months after our birthday when we reach the "Sun oppose Sun" phase.  This is often a time of low energy, vitality, and experience for many people.  But it does not need to be; instead, it can be considered a chance to reconsider and restructure plans ahead for the remaining six months before the solar return comes again.  In effect, it can be a chance to retool and plan again with decisions that rebuild us.  This is another time when I strongly recommend clients to meet for another consultation:  what have they learned and what has happened with the plans they made?  What are they planning to do about it?  I consider this a chance to appear before an inner "Cosmic Council" and offer a proposal of action.  Robert Hand addresses the circumstances of the Sun-oppose-Sun this way:

Sun oppose Sun

This transit occurs six months after your birthday and signifies a time when energies in your life are reaching a culmination.  Now is the time to try to bring your affairs to a climax, but do not expect to escape opposition from other people, for others have ambitions that may be in conflict with yours.  Be particularly careful with superiors and persons in authority.  If you are not careful, you may provoke their opposition, which would be difficult to withstand.

You may find it difficult to make everything work out right, but if you have prepared properly for this time, you will succeed.  You must avoid feeling smug, arrogant, and superior.  These attitudes just might undo all the progress you have made until this time.

Sometimes this can be a time of failure, when you realize that certain efforts have not worked out and that you must start over.  But failures at this time should not be the occasion for feeling defeated.  Instead, you should feel that a “life experiment” has not worked out.  With the information you have gained, you can launch a whole new enterprise that will avoid the flaws of the one that failed.  Very often the failure itself has occurred several months earlier, but the truth about it has just become clear to you now, so this is the time when you are most likely to become discouraged.  This may result in a period of low energy, although sometimes the “failure” may be manifested only as a state of tension leading to failure.

Psychologically speaking, events now take place in such a way as to make your individual life stand out in relief against your surroundings and other people.  Thus the transit can serve to heighten consciousness and self-awareness.  All kinds of personal interaction are extremely important now, and you will gain nothing by withdrawing from others.  You probably won’t even be able to.

Even with those aspects of your life that have been working out well and are now reaching a climax, you are not yet past the critical point.  To achieve is one thing, but to incorporate these achievements into your life and make them part of your personal growth is something else.  You have built structures and organized your life in various ways, and now you will experience the consequences of these structures as they begin to react and influence your life.  Yet you still have the creative power to determine how your own creations will recreate you.
I have also noted something about the Sun-oppose-Sun time in my life:  I am drawn to people whose birthdays are exactly opposite mine.  It is like meeting a bookend-half; a mirror image of myself.  Similarly, because astrology deals with the repeating cycles of life, death, and rebirth through reincarnation in order to learn lessons (also seen with the North and South Nodes), I have found something extraordinary about the date of my Sun-oppose-Sun because I am aware of two recent past lives that I experienced.  In both circumstances, a birth and death took place within 24 hours of this date for those lifetimes.

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