Tropical vs Sidereal Solar Returns

Prediction 04: Tropical versus Sidereal Solar Returns

It might be safe to say that at least 95% of all Solar Return charts are cast using the Tropical Zodiac. At least by those who practice “western” astrology.  Why do so few utilize the Sidereal Zodiac?  The answer is that very few books, if any, are on bookstore shelves that present this most ancient of all zodiacs as the basis for their teachings.  All of the authors and lecturers seem to use the Tropical Zodiac.  One might conclude that the Tropical Zodiac is the only logical choice.

In my opinion the Siderealist’s have done something right and something wrong. The Irish Astrologer Cyril Fagan was a driven researcher who delved into ancient cultures and their writings and determined that the star-background, or Sidereal Zodiac, was the basis of measure and placement for the early forms of astrology.  Fagan also documented the findings of the Greeks and the discovery of precession (this phenomena had been known in earlier centuries by others), and the subsequent adoption of linking the zodiac signs to the Aries Point.  The introduction of careful and detailed mathematics also set a high standard for astrological research in this area.

What the Siderealists did not do so well was to define the Sidereal Zodiac and its basis of difference from/to the Tropical Zodiac.  Although the Sidereal Zodiac (SZ) was the original zodiac, it is incumbant on this newly re-introduced school of thought to sell itself to the reigning Tropicalists.  I haven’t seen this done, or done well.  So, how can those who practice astrology one way ever be convinced to practice it another way?

The one reason, above all others, to consider the Sidereal Zodiac or it’s convenient cousin, the precession-corrected Tropical Zodiac. “Timing” is the answer.  Let’s consider the following diagram:  sidereal-tropical differencesThe orbital path of the Earth is shown.  When the Sun reaches a point defined by its alignment with the Sun relative to the Zodiac Reference, as defined from the Aries Point, the Sun is said to have returned to its natal position.  Because the Aries point “precesses” or moves backwards along the ecliptic, the return of the Sun is accurate only in relationship to this moving zodiac.  This backward slide amounts to one degree every seventy two years. Note that the second Earth position, the Sidereal Return Position, places the Earth relative to the Sun and relative to the star background of the galaxy.  This reference basis does not slide backward or move.  The Precessional Difference, as shown in the diagram, requires that the Earth continue in its orbit for a longer period of time, often several hours.  Due to the added rotation of the Earth, a Solar Return chart cast in either the Sidereal Zodiac or in a precession-corrected Tropical Zodiac format will appear to be quite different from a “conventional” Tropical Solar Return.

The PROOF is in the pudding! In subsequent postings I will be constructing precession-corrected Tropical Solar Return charts, showing the details of how its done, and using the charts to demonstrate the dramatic differences due to the timing of the chart.  Now, I won’t be using Sidereal sign meanings.  In fact, I won’t be using any form of signs in my Solar Return charts, only in my natal charts to some degree.   On the whole, those who follow these posts will find that I use very simple methods and only the fundamental features of astrology such as Planets, Chart Angles, Aspects.  Other features which you won’t find include Signs, Houses (except in natal charts),  Rulerships, Dignities, Arabian Parts.  There will also be a few surprises here and there.

Posting Format To Be Used: I will be utilizing celebrety charts which are likely to be familiar to many readers.   These charts will be identified different than the “Prediction” category posts, being labeled as “Example:  name, number”.   This process will enable anyone to find specific posts made in prior months among other example charts that will be added over time.  Dave


About dadsnook

Dave has been exploring cyclic astrology since the mid-1970's. CYCLIC astrology utilizes both Return charts and planetary-pair cycles for short-term prediction. These practices and four years of archived material are available for study or reading at A new book, Personal Prediction ISBN 978-9-615-63033-5, has been published and the MC-Solar Cycle technique is now supported through a recognized software provider so that all students and practicing astrologers can apply these techniques for their own use. Recently, Dave has been exploring a new charting format:, transiting Moon to natal Sun Return charts. These moon-sun returns show how see seek to maintain or deal with change in our lives. A book is expected to be released in 2015. Contact Dave for details at Dave is a retired business systems analyst and automation systems engineer, enjoys woodcarving and tarot in addition to astrology.
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