Moon-to-Sun Returns: Introduction and Interpretive Model

Introducing Moon-to-Sun Return charting and Interpretation

Edited Jan. 2, 2017 to add and clarify information given.

Lunar Returns.  Many are familiar with Lunar Returns; these being an astrological chart that is timed to reflect the moment when the transiting Moon returns to its natal chart Moon position.  These Lunar Returns emphasize the Moon.

  • The natal Moon represents our inherent and cultivated emotional needs, types of response when upset by events or circumstances, anxieties, our ability to empathize and be supportive of others and our basic way of responding to others, our habits and our recall of the past.
  • The transiting Moon has to represent the changes that seem to be introduced into our life now, shifts in our external environment, intrusions that might cause emotional upset or an immediate response by oneself.

Of course, either the natal or transiting Moon can carry forth all of the traditional symbolism such as the women in our life, our habit patterns, causes of nervousness and fears, restlessness due to any number of factors, or a wish to indulge in some form of change.

From the above definitions of the natal and the transiting Moon meanings we can derive the use and focus of a Lunar Return.  Lunar Returns define our current emotional state and comfort level as well as the likely upsets and changes that will affect or emotional being.

Lunar Returns are often found to be unsatisfactory for consistent prediction sought by both early studies students and accomplished astrologers alike.  Why?  Probably this is partly due to our desire to find meaning and logic in what causes change in our life and how that change needs to be managed.  A chart focusing just on the Moon-to-Moon relationship does not adequately address the role of the Sun and other components of our chart, or to fully portray the context of our current life.  There are times and situations when a different chart should be sought out.

Moon-to-Sun Returns.   The return of the transiting Moon to the natal Sun’s position, or opposing the natal Sun’s position, brings together the two most powerful symbols in our astrological chart; the Moon and the Sun.  Let us consider these two astrological bodies:

  • The natal Sun in a Return or Cyclic chart, cast for a time far in the future from one’s birth, no longer represents the ‘birth potential’ but does represent our settled sense of purpose, life direction, self-interests, attitude and confidence, and current life-style.  The ‘adult’ Sun is no longer our potential, it is our life.
  • The transiting Moon has to represent the changes that seem to be introduced into our life now, shifts in our external environment, intrusions that might cause emotional upset or an immediate response by oneself.

The mix of the natal Sun and transiting Moon immediately creates a new chart concept for us to consider.  Moon-to-Sun Returns depict the direction and intention of our life style (Sun) and the seemingly external changes that can unbalance our life and change its direction.  The chart can also show us how to rebalance our life on a logical, intent and emotional, feeling basis.

The t/Moon-n/Sun Return is more reflective of our whole nature, the mixture of our logical and our emotional sides.  It is reflective of our spiritual experience in a physical world.  How much more practical is it to study and use a Moon-Sun Return than a Lunar Return?

The nature of the Moon-to-Sun Cycle.  Experience with this form of charting has shown that this relationship of the Moon and Sun works better as a “dual cycle” which is defined by the transiting Moon conjoining the natal Sun (the New Moon) and by the transiting Moon opposing the natal Sun (the Full Moon).  Our cultural and astrological lore has long established strong resonances between the new moon and its association with growth and self-discovery, and the full moon and its association with gaining clarity and providing a sense of purpose and direction outwardly to the community about us.

Each half of this dual cycle is approximately two weeks in length.

Transiting Moon to the natal Sun initiates a half cycle where in the Moon, as ‘change and flow”  introduces variable in one’s life experience and a new set of issues that might have to be faced and integrated.  The Return chart’s “house” position for the natal Sun and conjoining Moon defines the nature of those changes that are likely to be faced.  Events and experiences, and the manner in which you address them, will unfold.  You will be expending energy outward, toward others to find and apply your solutions or plans represented by the hidden Sun, all of this emphasizing your self-interests.  This cyclic ‘imprint’ will carry forward through the whole two-week half-cycle until the full moon relative to the natal sun occurs.

Transiting Moon opposite natal Sun, as a half cycle, represents the Earth aligned between the Moon and the natal Sun position.  The natal Sun, representing one’s accumulated and developed sense of self, can better assess the nature of life’s seemingly external changes and circumstances.  Solutions will be assessed and striven for.  A clarity can be achieved. Doing so will affect and involve others, hopefully in a positive and supporting manner.  “Change” will be managed to the best of one’s abilities.  The opposing houses occupied by the transiting Moon and natal Sun will define the tension areas involved in how the changes in one’s life will be seen and how the responses and decisions will likely affect others.  This can also be seen as the product of the waxing and waning interpretive model for the Moon.

The dual cycle of conjunction and opposition, through the houses involved, define a ‘theme’ for each half cycle.  In each of these two half cycles, the Moon and Sun house positions define the “theme” for the following two weeks.  The manner in which any daily chart following the Return chart is interpreted will be found to fit within this cyclic theme.  Twenty four brief explanations or general interpretations will result from the careful study of the house positions of the Moon and Sun.  Each of these ‘themes’ is fully defined and illustrated by a chart in my book, “Personal Moon-to-Sun Returns 2.”

Experience with these Moon-to-Sun and Moon-opposing-Sun Return charts has shown that each of these 24 themes are strongly evident in the nature of the cycle’s expression.  The word-crafting of these themes, as of 2016, are still being refined and studied.

Each Moon-to-Sun Return chart can be advanced on a day-by-day basis for any date in the following two weeks.  As these individual charts are evaluated, the theme will be found to remain consistent as if the Return chart represents an “imprint” of some form.

Advancing the Moon-Sun Return chart.  One of the most vexing issues for astrologers using Lunar Returns is that of how the chart can be used to evaluate what and when might happen during the following month.  Some merely use transits to the lunar return chart. Others advance the chart a degree per day.  

As part of the whole concept of a t/Moon-to-n/Sun Return, we are dealing with a continuing cycle which repeats itself, although not in a completely predictable manner. Due to the irregularities in the Earth-Moon-Sun relationship and the length of the lunar cycle relative to the Earth’s daily rotational rate, the following t/Moon-n/Sun Return may be located in almost any house of the chart.  We have to consider the following:

  • If there is a jump between one house being emphasized and the next cycle bringing an emphasis to another house, how does the relationship of the natal chart houses function in this transition of houses?

As an example, let us assume that a t/Moon-to-n/Sun Return occurred in the second house of the return chart.  This might indicate a theme relating to self-esteem and a dependence upon one’s resources as a basis for that self-esteem.  Let us further assume that the natal tenth house is coincidental with the return chart’s second house.  This tells us all kinds of things such as a concern over one’s career, seeking a raise, trying to build up one’s public image, etc.

Now, let us assume the the next cycle, a t/Moon-opposite-n/Sun Return with the Sun in the third house, the Moon in the ninth house.  In this case the natal tenth house may be located in the sixth house.  One may find a need to reach out to others for advice or to find a way to quickly learn about new concepts that will help one adjust (6th house) their work and services to others.  All of a sudden the emphasis goes from what can I do to make my life’s path better and more prestigious to how can I adjust to changing my approach to life such that I can better help others.

This is so much richer and helpful than playing with a lunar return chart.  These new-to-us t/Moon-to-n/Sun Returns can move our understanding of ourselves and our ability to help clients, family and friends to new levels. 

Advancing the Moon-to-Sun Return is done using the ‘diurnal’ technique.  For some of us, the use of diurnal charts may have been prompted by Marcia Mason, an astrologer who advocated their use.  Each Moon-Sun Return chart can be advanced on a day-by-day basis by casting a chart for one day later while keeping the same “time” for the Return chart’s conjoining of the transiting Moon to the natal Sun position.  This will result in the next-day’s chart having an MC of about 1 degree further along in the zodiac reference circle following the previous day’s MC position and that day’s transiting planet positions reflecting their daily movement relative to the previous day’s positions.  Any of the fourteen days following the Return chart date can have an “advanced” chart by adding the requisite interval-in-days to the calculations of the Return chart, using the same “time” as the Return chart.  The key to using this chart to determine the nature of the events to follow is dependent upon the “interpretive model” that has been developed following much research relating to this methodology.

By ‘advancing’ the Return chart, a simple click of the mouse is required in many software applications, one can follow the flow of a subject’s life.

The Moon-to-Sun Return interpretive Model.  There are several components found in the Interpretive Model.  We need to consider several elements before putting the whole interpretive model together.

  • Context of the subject’s life.  Modern life, for many of us, is very complex.  We have a limited number of chart components to represent that complexity.  Some may try to include Arabian Parts, Asteroids, Trans-neptunian, eclipses or other factors into their chart work.  I can only point out that complexity breeds confusion and simplicity breeds clarity.  I’d rather say less and be correct than say more and be very wrong.  In any case, we have to understand the context of the subject’s life before we can successfully apply a planet’s meaning to an interpretation.  For someone we can meet with face to face it means dialog and sharing.  For a public figure it means lots of research.  We have to know the person so that we can fit the chart to them.
  • The chart’s angles and any planets, natal or transiting, found there will be the primary factors that shape the chart’s meaning for us as astrologers.  The angles are associated with ‘power of expression.’  This applies also to the houses defined by these angles.
  • The house location of the t/Moon and n/Sun define a theme for that following cycle.
  • The Part of Fortune (PoF) is not some obscure factor but represents the relationship between the Moon-to-the-Sun as it is applied to the Ascendant of the chart.  Moon is change.  The Ascendant is action taken within one’s environment.  The PoF shows where that action can be focused to cause change or where we have to react to deal with change.  The PoF can be characterized by “chance and change” as keywords.
  • The transiting Sun in an Advanced-to-a-date chart will portray any primary decisions and viewpoints that can be advanced through any aspects to the planets.
  • The transiting Moon in an Advanced-to-a-date chart will portray where we can be upset or have to deal with changes.
  • Contact by the advancing angles to a natal planet or a transiting planet, or contact by a fast-moving transiting planet to an angle is always significant.  Events will occur at this time.
  • Realignment of natal angles to the chart’s angles always signifies an inflection point in one’s life.  Big changes can result.
  • Alignment of one natal chart angle with another angle in a Return or Advanced chart will often involve a blending event relative to the two angles involved.
  • Doubled up planets.  When a natal and a transiting version of a planet are both angular, or when one is angular and the other is strongly aspected by an angular planet, we say that they are ‘doubled up.’  These planets will often be found to define an interpretive focus for that chart.  Great emphasis should be placed on their meaning.

These are the key elements to consider when interpreting a Moon-to-Sun Return chart. The whole process can be more complex, but not necessarily so.  I have found that the use of simple key words can be a good basis for interpretive statements.  For those who are concerned about the meanings of planetary pairs, two resources are available.

  • Ebertin’s book, the Combination of Stellar Influences, is a study of midpoints. The book can also be used to provide solid event-related interpretations.
  • My book, Personal Moon-to-Sun Returns 2, (2nd edition) offers planetary pairing interpretations for Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Chiron, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, N.Node, Ascendant and MC.

The way we portray the meanings of the houses and the planets in interpretation is very important to the effectiveness of these Moon-to-Sun and Moon-opposing-Sun Return charts and their derived Advanced charts.  The chart houses have to be viewed in terms of the “every day” life which we typically encounter.  Issues with family members, concerns over our resources and careers, how we relate to others, how we deal with illness.  The same is true of the planets.  For example, Mars can merely represent our “presence” that we maintain and enhance within the household, in our job, or in how we present ourselves to others.  Mars will not always, or even often, represent anger, hurt, danger to ourselves, blood and surgery.  Agitation or expressing ourselves sexually will likely be a more common experience.


Dave Monroe, January, 2017





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