So, this Thursday, May 20, at precisely 2:12 AM, I will turn 31. It feels like much less of a "big deal" than 30 ("Oh no, the end of youth!!"). Basically, I'm just excited to have an excuse to celebrate with family and friends. I'll be having four celebration meals in three days--a Thursday lunch with two close friends, a Thursday evening dinner with my in-laws, a Friday dinner with a large group of friends, and a Saturday dinner/evening spent with my family--so I feel pretty darn spoiled.
In addition, I've got some other special birthday things going on:
1. Tomorrow morning I'm getting an astrological "solar return" chart done ("What is that?" you ask--I'll come back to it, don't worry ;-));
2. Tomorrow evening I'll be attending a special reiki class (we'll be learning the distance symbol, which will allow us to do spiritual and hands-off healing, even when the client is not present); and
3. Friday afternoon I'll be getting a massage.
Sweet. This feels like a very special week, for more reasons, even, than just my birthday.
But back to this whole solar return thing. Since most of you out there (even, perhaps, all of you) are not astrology geeks such as myself, it bears some explanation. So, let me explain what a natal chart is, very briefly, and then what a solar return chart is (also, hopefully, briefly).
A natal chart is basically a snapshot of you at the moment in which you were born. It basically shows the blueprint of your personality--your strengths, weaknesses, the way you are emotionally/socially/intellectually, what you "came here" to learn in this lifetime-etc. Basically, since your natal chart is your personality blueprint, you carry it through your whole life. It doesn't mean you can't change and learn (you can and should!), it just show the core of who you are throughout your life. Here's a picture of my natal chart.
Now, in contrast to that, let me explain what a solar return chart is. A solar return chart is basically a chart that is made up for the exact time that the sun in sky returns to its natal position in your chart. This happens once a year, right around (but not at the exact same time as) your birthday. For example, the sun in my natal chart is at 28 degrees, 38 minutes of Taurus. Tomorrow, May 19th, at 1:52 pm, the sun in the sky--we astrogeeks call this the transiting sun--will return to this exact position. Happy astrological birthday to me!
Here's a picture of my solar return chart:
As you can see, even just at a glance, it doesn't look a bit like my natal chart. In contrast to the natal chart, the solar return chart is basically a picture of what you can expect in the year ahead. I am just learning to interpret solar return charts--I gave it a crack a few weeks ago, for a friend--but I'm far from being an expert. That's why I'm glad to be getting an interpretation done for me, tomorrow morning, just hours before my actual solar return!
Yesterday, I printed out my solar return chart for my last birthday--just out of curiosity. (I now have a nifty astrological program that does this. Last year at this time, I didn't even know what a solar return was!) Here's the chart for last year (May 19, 2009 to May 19, 2010):
It was really wacky for me, yesterday, to look at this chart, because there are some pretty strong and challenging energies here, and indeed, I had a pretty challenging year, in many ways. (But also a very eye-opening year.) I can see a lot of last year's challenges being displayed in this chart: Financial restrictions, job/career confusion, a real questioning of my approach to life (from a religious and personality frame), a budding interest in astrology and new study of reiki, a severe car accident, a new car, physical therapy, etc., etc. Phew! It is interesting to see this stuff spelled out in the chart, in retrospect. And perhaps, in a later entry (tomorrow?), I'll describe how that's so.
But for now, I'll sign out, looking forward to the fresh astrological year that starts for me tomorrow. :-)