View Full Version : Best beginner bks for reading Solar Returns?
Best beginner bks for reading Solar Returns?
Thanks for any info : )
There are a few books on the market but, of course, all assume that the reader has some familiarity with natal astrology.
I'm actually currently reading 'The Art of Forecasting Using Solar Returns' by Tony Louis which seems quite good and does explain some of the basic ideas. I'll report back on it in more detail, when I finish reading it but a couple of general points to make are that solar returns, like other forecasting methods only show when the natal promise is likely to be released. No matter how much your solar return seems to indicate that this is a good year for business, if your natal promise does not indicate that you will be highly successful at business, you're not going to make a fortune this year. The point is that you need to read a solar return chart in conjunction with the natal chart.
Secondly, you will also need to consult other forecasting charts, such as secondary progressions, transits, and lunar returns (and indeed other planetary returns) if you are going to get the most out of them.
A traditional Astrologer would use solar returns (which used to be called revolutions) and primary directions and possibly one or two other techniques in order to make a predction for the year.
Edited to add:
There's also a book by Janey Stubbs and Babs Kieby, which I think is still in print. It covers both Solar and Lunar Returns. It is quite useful but is rather weak on theory as compared to Louis, who is also more practical as well!
It's worth also pointing out that there is quite a debate about whether to use tropical returns or to adjust the returns for precession of the equinoxes. There have been some good threads on this aspect by Dave, (Dadsnook200). Louis acknowledges the debate but does not try to cover the issue in depth.
I'm about half way through Louis' book so \i thought I'd share some of my observations for those either thinking of buying it or simply intrerested in Solar Returns.
The book's strength is that it has a wealth of attributions to a wide range of authors and thus sets the material in context. There's a recognition that some readers might be beginners, so Louis does give brief notes on signs, houses and planets both in the natal chart and in return charts.
He also puts the Solar Return chart in the context of various other predictive and diagnostic charts, such as secondary progressions, Lunar Returns, Eclipse charts and primary directions.
However there are some significant drawbacks.
The first two are the side effects of the strengths. Firstly there are so many references to authors and techniques (many in passing) that it is very difficult to get a picture of the methods and systems used by Louis.
Secondly the possible number of charts involved is large; especially as Louis acknowleges both tropical and precessed solar returns. Adding eclipse charts, lunar returns and secondary progressions greatly increases the number of charts and Louis is quite prepared to progress the return charts! However, as the examples tend to draw on some charts from this batch but not the same charts each time it is not clear whether there's a method or whether Louis is simply trawling for 'hits'.
The third drawback is that Louis is so concerned to find supporting evidence of the events he's analysing that he doesn't know when to stop. To find three or four significators is sufficient, when he looks for increasingly arcane aspects and tries constructing grand crosses out of placements in several charts it becomes slightly comical and ends up detracting from the good points originally made. Astrobabble takes over from analysis.
Perhaps the most worrying drawback up to now is his fixation with death. From around pages 67-68 through to 140 virtually every example is death related. As one of the key examples early on is the funeral of his mother on his own eighth birthday one can see why. For budding psychological astrologers there's plenty here to ponder over, as Louis eventually became a psychiatrist by profession.
I suspect that both modern astrologers and traditional astrologers will have some problems with this book. Modern astrologers because many of Louis's authorities are either classical authors such as J B Morin or practicing traditional astrologers such as Rob Hand. Those who use traditional methods will bridle at Louis' use of the outer planets (as a psychiatrist he's ruled by Pluto) and modern approaches such as the use of mid ponts, aspect patterns and modern house and sign meanings.
My final observation so far is that Louis tends to be forensic in his approach - that is he is examining known past events and looking for evidence to explain them. Most readers of this book will be looking for a method for predicting future events. This might be coming in the second half of the book and I will complete my review when I have finished reading it.
PS, one positive that did come out of the book is to rekindle my interest in the work of Morin and I've purchased Morin's books on Revolutions (Return charts, not the political kind of revolution) and Directions. These too might be worth some future comment.
I'm suggesting "Solar Returns" by Mary Shea. It's easy to read and understand for a beginner.
Hey Minderwiz - good seeing you here!! Hope all is well in your life.
We're both aging disgracefully :)
I've not read the Shea book but Louis gives it a good mention, so it may well be something I'll get round to.
Have you read the Ray Merriman book?
I've now completed the Louis book and my comments above still stand.
The second half of the book does, however, contain three excellent chapters on Jean Baptiste Morin and these show a clear and organised system for the use of solar returns in forecasting. In principle this system could be used by a modern psychologically oriented astrologer, though some modifications would be needed - the replacement of Regiomontanus houses with Placidus ones and the substitution of secondary progressions or some form of modern directions for Morin's primary directions.
There's also some good material on other writers and views, though this tends to get in the way when Louis tries to draw things together because he tries to incorporate material from a number of sources. So there's a ready source of future reading for the enthusiast.
It would have been nice to see some of the individual approaches tested and compared but this is never really attempted, it's up to the reader to try this if they really want to see which approah suits them best.
Is this a book for beginners? Only if you are a beginner with return charts but have some knowledge of natal astrology and other means of forecasting. If you are a complete beginner then look elsewhere.
FULLY AGREE to aging disgracefully!!! Mind if I borrow that phrase?
Sorry to say I've not read the Merriman SR book, but have heard good reviews. He also has a solar return computer program for those who are interested although I believe it's quite costly. About two years ago I purchase a computer generated SR Merriman report from a webiste (cafeastrology) and was quite pleased. It costs less than $10. bucks.
Good "talking" to you Minderwiz. Take good care and continue the disgraceful aging!!
I am certain many good books have been written about or contain information about solar returns. BUT - it's very simple. You use software or have someone generate your chart at the exact moment and place you live - for a given year. I did mine in 2008 and it was really a good chart, not perfect of course, but so far I've had a good year and I'm sorry it will only be another eleven months.
For 2009 if my solar return chart doesn't look good for the city I live in I will find a location where it's better and travel there for my birthday - no kidding.