Cyclic Astrology: What Is It? Why Should You Care?

Cyclic Astrology:
What Is it? Why Should You Care?

■ The ‘standard model’ of charting
■ The Cyclic Model for Astrology
■ The several types of Cyclic Returns
■ Cyclic charts provide an enriched interpretive model
■ Why should you care about Cyclic Astrology?
■ Picking the right cyclic chart
■ Other cyclic charts
■ How can you explore cyclic astrology?

Dave Monroe, June 8, 2014 ©


One standard charting model for Astrologers Natal-plus-other chartis the natal chart with an auxiliary chart; Primary and/or Secondary progressions, Solar Arc Directions, Transits and/or another natal chart are typically combined with the natal chart for the purposes of exploring personal development, the nature of one’s personality, trends in one’s life or the dynamics of a relationship. For many, these charts comprise their range of basic chart tools along with the use of Parts, Degrees, Midpoints, Asteroids or other embellishments. In one sense, this is a lot of material. In another sense, it is a way of dealing with two charts.

One problem with ‘progressions’ is that the Sun and inner planets may move only a degree or less for any one year, the outer planets shift position very Little. Only the Moon changes dramatically from ‘year to year’ in a progressed chart. When one considers the scale of movement against twelve months of time, it is difficult to answer the ‘when’ of the question. With so little changing in terms of aspects among the planets, except for the Moon, it is also hard to answer the ‘what’ of the question. With the Moon’s contacts to other planets, one may be able to only address the emotional ‘why’ of the question.

The standard model is not the best tool for prediction.Text about prediction


The Cyclic Model for Astrology

The starry sky, our planet, the solar system are all
involved in multiple cyclic interactions. The natal chart captures a static model of our astrological surroundings which implies, but does not define, the many cycles in motion about us. This static model, our birth chart, represents an imprint that remains with us over a life time. Yet, this imprint cannot, and does not, include the ongoing influences of our existence within a dynamic world and local universe.

The basic cycles we live within are shaped by the Earth’s daily rotation, exposing us to a rising display of stars and planets, and the annual-seasonal cycle defined by our orbit about the Sun. We also have the daily rising and monthly cycle of the Moon and, less obviously, the movement of the planets in their individual cycles about the Sun. From these astronomical, observable phenomena we can astrologically chart these cycles relative to our natal chart —- thereby combining the ‘imprint’ of the natal chart with the influences of the many cycles available for our exploration.

Each cycle lasts for a definitive period before yielding to another cycle. Our cha
nging life also moves through ‘themes’; we reach a level of competency in a job, we seek a new challenge or more rewards, we move into another career field, our interests in life shifts and leads us to a new home or location and new friends. The intertwining cycles flow into other cycles.

There are several types of Cyclic or Return Charts.

The Solar Return chart may be the first form of cyclic chart that comes to mind, but there are many types, each having common and distinctive characteristics. It is useful to enter a discussion of cyclic charts by using a simple example.

The Diurnal chart, as an example, is calculated for any Diurnal cycleday of the year by utilizing the birth time and birth location, changing only the date (such as today’s date) and retaining the birth time. This technique advances the Ascendant and the MC by a value approaching a degree for each day that is added past the birth day/month. Used with a natal chart (as shown in a double-wheel chart), one can assess the moving angles and transits relative to the relationship with current events in one’s life.

The Diurnal chart is your personal, seasonal chart — a version of the Earth’s seasonal chart. As the Ascendant moves through the natal houses, each house’s expression reflects that month’s life-focus along with the specific experiences and situations indicated by the rising and culminating sign and degree, and any natal or transiting planets found there. While this form of cyclic chart is useful and used by many astrologers, its cyclic characteristics are not the same as found in other cyclic charts.

The structure of many cyclic charts offer an enriched interpretive model

Consider the popular Lunar Return as an example: Cyclic chart diagram
The transiting Moon returns to its natal sign and degree on a regular basis, every 27-plus days. The cycle is not perfectly regular in the sense that the ‘return’ does not occur at the same time of day on the last day. This
results in a chart for that moment in which the Ascendant and MC angles (and the house structure) are seemingly randomly placed relative to the natal chart. An example is shown at the left.

There are four distinctions relative to this and most other cyclic charts compared to a natal/transit double chart:

The Return chart’s angles determine the house structure for interpretive purposes.

The Natal chart’s planets are temporarily given altered house-influences to deal with. They do maintain their natal house imprint but they are also pressured to meet a new temporary house (life experience) orientation.

The Transiting planets are placed within a given house expressional mode.

The cyclic chart interpretation is influenced by the basic astrological cycle that is used to define the chart — in this example, the Moon and Lunar cycle — feelings, dealing with change, reacting to others will be the focus of reading the chart.

The natal Moon represents our basic anxieties, needs, sense of empathy, family-bonding and type of response mechanisms in our nature. Transiting Moon represents our changing environment and how we tend to see conflicts between our habit patterns of response and seemingly external form of change that we encounter.

To summarize; cyclic charts are extraordinary. They reflect different experiences that we will encounter during each cycle–just like in everyday life. The established expressions of natal planets encounter currently stimulating challenges–just like in everyday life. Transiting planets are overlaid with personal areas of expression (houses). The nature of the cyclic chart determines the viewing-interpretive focus–we get to choose a chart that suits our questions and inquiry.

The Lunar Return as a Cyclic Chart

The Lunar Return chart, marked by the transiting Moon’s Lunar Return diagramreturn to its natal position, has long been a favorite of astrologers. Since the Moon’s cycle is not coincidental with the Earth’s daily revolution the actual timing (by hour and minute) of the personal Lunar Return can result in any sign and degree being on the Ascendant and MC angles.

If using a bi-wheel chart, the astrologer may elect to place the Return chart’s Ascendant on the east/rising side of the chart — or may choose to retain the natal chart orientation and rotate the Lunar Return within the natal chart structure. The former seems more popular.

The house position of the Moon, on any given day in the month-long cycle is used to guide the day’s interpretation along with any aspects made to the natal and transiting planets. The interpretation of a Lunar Return is biased in terms of the emotional and changeable nature of the Moon’s position and aspects to other planets. A Moon-to-Mars aspect, for example, might make one more jumpy and reactive in terms of how Mars would express itself through its current sign and house position. A Moon-to-Mercury aspect might indicate a change in plans or opinion within the context of the subject’s life that day.

There are methods for advancing a Lunar Return. One of the most thoughtful methods was proposed by Robert Nicewander. a method which is included in RIYAL for Windows software, a freeware offering by Juan Revilla of Costa Rica. This method, as provided by RIYAL divides the time and distance between successive Lunar Returns and notes the MC and Ascendant angles in two hour increments. This permits the astrologer to cast a chart for any in-between period or date/hour/minute during the lunation cycle.

Some astrologers advance the MC by some amount each day, typically one degree. Others keep the Lunar Return chart’s time and advance the date, essentially treating the advancing Lunar Return as a diurnal chart.

The Lunar Return
Cycle: Synodic
Focus: Moon
Nature: Slightly irregular
Chart Orient’n: Earth’s rotational orientation at ‘return’ date and time

The Solar Return as a Cyclic Chart

The Solar Return is more complex than just MC-Solar Cycle diagram
the concept of the Sun returning to its natal position. When one looks at two or more successive Solar Return charts it is immediately apparent that the MC, by sign and degree, advances each year by approximately 90 degree. This causes the Sun’s house position to advance some three signs. Two cycles exist; the annual Sun cycle (twelve months long), and the MC cycle (ninth months, two weeks in length). In twelve months, the MC cycle advances 450 degrees (360 plus 90 degrees).

Like all Return charts, the Solar Return defines a theme (singular or complex) which colors its entire cycle (12 months). This chart can be ‘progressed’ in order to provide daily charts in which the angles follow the cycles that are indicated in the above/left diagram.

When we cast these daily charts, the Solar Return’s MC advances some 1.25 degrees per day. As the daily chart’s angles advance, both natal and transiting planets will be contacted. Only these ‘angular’ planets are interpretively used. With an orb of one degree of contact, the timing (date) of events symbolized by the angular planets can be easily calculated.

The Solar Return and progressed daily charts provide an excellent tool for tracking and prediction. This form of Solar Return charting involves the whole of one’s life-style, intentions, decision-making, emotional balance and how one deals with life’s many situations.

The Solar Return
Cycle: Synodic
Focus: Sun, angles
Nature: Continuous advance of MC & Asc.
Chart Orient’n: Earth’s rotational orientation at ‘return’ date and time plus advancing daily angles
Moon-to-Sun Returns as a Cyclic Chart

Moon-to-Sun Returns seem to have been defined only Moon-to-Sun Return diagramin the past fifty years, and used by very few astrologers. I have conceptualized a dual-cycle scheme, transiting Moon to natal Sun as a two week cycle, followed by a transiting Moon opposing natal Sun as another two week cycle. Together, these two half cycles make one complete synodic 28 day cycle.

Like other Return charts, the date and time of the Return is set by the conjunction of two components, the orientation of the Return chart is set by the Earth’s rotational position at the time of the ‘return’ event.Moon-opp-Sun Return diagram

Moon-to-Sun Return charts can be ‘advanced’ on a day-by-day basis in the same manner as one advances a Diurnal chart—keep the Return ‘time’ and change the date. This process advances the MC the proper amount and presents the transiting planets in their proper positions.

A number of interpretive procedures have been developed to fit with the conceptual nature of this type of Return chart. The t/Moon represents the external changes that impinge upon our life, the n/Sun represents the established course of our life direction. These charts show how we seek to decide and act to rebalance our intended life as external issues emerge and bring changing conditions.

Moon-to-Sun Returns
Cycle: Synodic, 28 days
Focus: Moon, Part of Fortune & transits to angles
Nature: Continuous advance over two weeks.

Why Should You Care About Cyclic Astrology?

The natal imprint; revised!  From time to time a Return Chart or a derived daily chart will have the chart’s angles aligned with the natal angles. If the natal chart is seen as a critical on-going influence in our life then the re-presentation of those angles with altered (current) transiting planets interacting with natal planets also has to be significant.

In precession-corrected Tropical Solar Returns or Sidereal Solar Returns the natal angles realign with the Solar Return angles in the 39th year and 78th year of life. Very many public figures have died at age 39, some have had close calls, most have changed the direction of their life in some noticable manner.

Significant life-altering situations are also reflected in other cyclic charts when angles re-align. Perhaps a planet was benign in the natal chart and is now angular in a current cyclic chart! How will you express the newly infused energies of Mars or Venus?

Perhaps a natal trine between Mercury and Moon shows up at adjacent angles in a Solar Return, creating a square aspect. Will Mercury at the Ascendant reveal too much of your emotional fears and anxieties over your home life or need for security?

Our everyday life is not always one of routine and repetition, except for daily work and committed-to projects. The interaction with one’s partner, family, friends, work associates, and the public engender changes in our life of various magnitudes. Cyclic charts, applicable to the nature of what we look for, portray these changes so that we can better prepare for them.

What will we find in cyclic charts?

■ We will find the one or several types of cyclic charts which most reflect our daily
experiences. This improves our understanding of astrology, ourselves.

■ We can identify “power” days and challenging days ahead of time, assisting us to
take advantage of the first and to prepare for the second.

■ We will understand the general “theme” of an upcoming cycle period as well as be
able to follow the on-going flow of our daily life, deepening our understanding of how
the charts work for us.

■ We gain insights into how long-cycle life-trends are presenting opportunities to us,
enabling us to better plan for the future.

Picking The Right Cyclic Chart

Each type of cyclic chart has its own purpose.

Diurnal charts advance the Ascendant on a daily basis. The rising sign-degree contacts with natal, progressed or transiting planets, and the house that is involved becomes the interpretive focus along with t/Moon contacts. Daily experiences within our on-going life-flow are defined by this cyclic chart within the natal-house structure of experiences.

Lunar Returns present us with seemingly ‘random’ Asc.-MC angles. With the house position of the Moon, all aspects to planets provide an emotional, reactive picture of the changes we encounter in life during this cycle. The type of progression-or-advance of the angles (if we do this) can affect the insights and focus the Lunar Return offers us.

Solar Returns portray a yearly theme and provide daily extension charts of the solar cycle. Angular contact with planets during the yearly cycle are used to define situations and experiences of the day. These return & daily charts define the actions, intent and situations to be experienced on any given date.

Additionally, tracking MC, Asc., t/Sun aspects and house position associated with one’s significant life-events will enable one to establish how they are actualizing their “life’s potential”–a subject often written about but seldom explained in how it is done. My book, Personal Prediction, defines this process and provides an example.

Moon-to-Sun Returns offer a two week cycle view of external changes impacting our intended life-style. How we seek to re-balance our life and the richness of choices available are indicated by the angular planets, t/Moon and Part of Fortune.

Other forms of Return charts can be utilized. In the spring of 2014 my blog site, reviewed the disastrous roll-out of the Affordable Care Act’s Internet sign-up program. Due to the public response, the political sniping, public interest in having health care service, and the communications fiasco coupled with computer and database problems, charts for transiting Moon to signing Mercury (signing of the Health Care act) were utilized.  t/Moon and n/Mercury were appropriate symbols to use in order to better understand the dynamics of this several weeks long process of repairing and re-presenting the site for signing up for Health Care Insurance.

Whatever type of cyclic chart is utilized, the meanings of the core-cycle planets and the other planets have to be nuanced to fit the nature of the chart. One cannot interpret a Solar Return as if it were a natal chart. The natal chart is an ‘imprint’ chart covering a lifetime, the Solar Return is a cyclic chart covering a year.

Other cyclic charts, continued.

A number of other cyclic charts can be employed for specific purposes.  While the Sun and Move involve daily, monthly and an annual cycle, these other cycles are different.  We can take note of several cyclic charts that have been proposed and used by noted author, John Townley.

Mars Returns. Townley* calls this “The two-year Work-Energy Cycle.” This cycle is tracked relative to its natal position, not to a Return chart or to the Ascendant. The quadrature points and contacts to the natal chart mark the expenditure of energy.

Saturn-Jupiter Cycle. The “Business of Life” (my term) cycle can be tracked in two ways; first by the quadrature points and where they occur in the natal chart, second by where they are and interact within the natal chart. This pair shows the allotment of ones resources and the opportunities for social expansion that frame our interaction with the world.

Individual Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus Cycles are tracked relative to the natal chart and its angles. Jupiter brings enlargement and social opportunity. Saturn denotes the harboring of resources and need for planning and strategy. Uranus is our own alert-to-something-better alarm disguised as chaos and unexpected changes. One should be alert to coincidental interactions between these planets when they occur near a natal angle or another natal planet.

One can consider these as long-cycle impacts that influence trends at various points in our life as well as sudden developments to take advantage of.

How Can You Explore Cyclic Astrology?

The Ninth House blog-site addresses cyclic astrology. This site offers access to cyclic astrology charting and interpretation with both current postings and four-years of archived charts-comments concerning public figures and the events they were engaged in. The Ninth House is a teaching and sharing site. Comments and guest commentators are welcome.

Personal Prediction is a print-book addressing Solar Returns and their derived daily charts for tracking and predicting events in one’s life. This book is available through the AFA (American Federation of Astrologers), Dave Roel’s Astroamerica book store (online) and various on-line book resellers in the US, UK, Europe and Australia.

Moon-to-Sun Returns; the better Lunar Return © will be a print-book and an abridged e-book that is expected in 2015. This relatively recent methodology has been incompletely introduced previously. My planned book offers a rich tracking and interpretive solution for astrologers. Examples are already posted on the ninth house blog site.

Several e-books are being considered, each focusing upon one of the cyclic chart methodologies noted in this text.

The Ninth House on Facebook offers another channel of contact to the author.

Ninth House Blog:

Southborough Publishing is Dave Monroe’s publishing entity for his book, Personal Prediction, and expected future books.

David Monroe has studied and practiced astrology, especially cyclic astrology, for over 40 years. Dave freely shares his experience and works within small groups where teaching and sharing is highly effective. Dave may be contacted directly via e-mail at the following
Internet address:

Added Note: I hope to add specific essays on each type of Return or Cyclic charting method that I use and explore.  The purpose of this site is to explore, share, teach others about the excitingly different views (using cyclic charting) of life that are possible.  This is especially important to those who wish to have reliable predictive tools at hand.



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One Response to Cyclic Astrology: What Is It? Why Should You Care?

  1. Rohan Menon says:

    I hope you find the time to write about Jupiter-Saturn cycles. Something that has interested me for a while, but hard to find good information about.

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