A Point Of No Return ? – Can A Solar Chart Indicate Death ?

As a Sun, Moon, Ascendant Capricorn, my approach to astrology is very simple. I only use astrological techniques that have been completely proved to me.

And believe me, my requirements for proof are much higher than the vast majority of people who engage with this subject. I am almost as hard to convince as Richard Dawkins.

I am not as dismissive that idiot though. If a method does not reach the adequate level to convince me, I don’t dismiss it out of hand. I like to keep an open mind and continue to test and research it, because there may be some circumstances in which it does work.

So I like to say ” the jury is still out on that one “

One widely used method that for me falls into this category is that of Solar Returns, the idea that a chart constructed for the moment each year when the Sun returns to its exact position in the natal chart will indicate a flavour for that whole year.

But I am always open to looking into it further.

Recently one of my readers showed me an article written by astrologer Archie Dunlop https://www.archiedunlop.com/2021/04/11/solar-returns-a-horoscope-for-each-year/ which questions whether a Solar Return should be constructed for the place where a person is living at the time or for their birthplace.

The example used in this article is that of Robert Kennedy.

Robert Kennedy was assassinated just his brother.

JFK had a 5 planet stellium in the 8th house including a Mars / Mercury / Jupiter conjunction which was square to Uranus.

Saturn was square to this conjunction and Uranus was square to his Sun that fateful day in November 1963 when he was assassinated.

For more details see The Assassination Of JFK – Conspiracy Or Fate

Robert has only one planet in the 8th, Mercury in square to Uranus.

The trigger for his murder was transit Pluto being square to his Mercury which was exact on June 6th 1968.

Does his solar return indicate this event or even add to our understanding of it ?

My feeling is not really.

You could perhaps point to the ruler Venus in opposition to Saturn and T Square the apex Moon, but this is very much a separating aspect with quite wide orbs and they are hardly the harshest of planet sign / house / combinations.

The writer of the article no doubt felt the same because he gave the return for Kennedy’s birthplace rather than where he was when the assassination took place.

This chart places Mars near the 7th cusp, recreating the natal placing of the planet, which the writer felt was a better indication of Kennedy’s death.

I can’t see that this helps us in terms of coming to understand this event.

But I’m always keen to look at more examples than one to test whether a method works.

We already know that Uranus square to JFK’s Sun was the main transit that killed him.

His Solar Return for that year does seem to be amplifying that fact as the Moon’s placing at 5 Virgo is bringing Uranus and Pluto together to square Kennedy’s Sun.

The other transit was Saturn being square to his natal Mars / Mercury conjunction.

This transit is also powerfully picked out by this return with a Mars / Saturn apex Mercury T Square.

My feeling is this version of the return set for Dallas fits the bill even more because it pitches the Sun in the 8th house and the Moon / Uranus / Pluto conjunction in the 10th house.

This could well be describing someone who was the President when he was killed.

Either way, we would have to say JFK’s Solar Return for 1963 works.



Abe Lincoln had Mars and Uranus in the 8th house and Saturn and Neptune conjunct on the Midheaven, all indications that his career might also be cut short by sudden death.

This could be backed up by the square between Neptune / the MC and Mercury / Pluto in the 1st house.

There were two transits in operation when he was assassinated on April 14 1865 – Saturn conjunct his Mars and Neptune conjunct his Venus.

Lincoln’s Solar Return does seem to be hinting at this as Venus is also conjunct Neptune on his natal Venus.

Saturn is exactly square Mercury.

There is also a very close Moon / Mars square that makes a Grand Cross with Lincoln’s Neptune / MC / Mercury / Pluto.

Lincoln was killed in the Ford Theatre in Washington DC

Setting the solar return for DC does not make massive changes, but my feeling is that by placing Mars in the 8th it is perhaps a bit more descriptive of the event.

Lincoln’s assassination started a spate of them.

Garfield has the Sun in Scorpio opposite the Moon in the 8th house. Which could well indicate someone whose death would get in the way of his own ambition.

This certainly was the case as he was elected President with transit Pluto opposite his Sun in March 1881 and assassinated 6 months later with the same planet opposite his Mercury.

Garfield’s Solar Return does seem to focus on this event not least because it places the Sun / Pluto opposition near the MC / IC axis.

There is also a T Square apex Uranus which falls exactly on his 12th house Saturn. This includes the Moon.

There isn’t much difference between this chart and a return chart for his birthplace but the above T Square to the apex Ascendant is 3 degrees closer when it’s set in Washington.

The other President to be assassinated was William McKinley

Mckinley was born with a Sun / Moon / Jupiter conjunction which despite it being in the 4th house would enable him to reach the top of his profession.

Unfortunately it was also an eclipse, so he wouldn’t stay there.

There is no 8th house thing here but there is one very interesting aspect.

Mars in Scorpio in the 1st house is quincunx Pluto in the 6th.

The 150 degree aspect is often associated with health and / or death due to it representing the distance from the Ascendant to the 6th and 8th houses.

And when McKinley was assassinated on September 14th 1901, the transit Pluto had moved to 18 Gemini, recreating the quincunx with his natal Mars and forming a Finger Of God aspect pattern.

This is another Solar return that neatly picks out a Presidential assassination.

The Moon joins Pluto in the 8th house as part of a difficult T Square opposite Uranus and focusing on an apex Mars.

In this case there is only a few degrees separating McKinleys birthplace SR from the Washington one and the former seems to be a slightly better guide.

So what can we deduce form this research ?

Looking at the four Presidents to be assassinated while still in office we can see that transits quite clearly point to their unexpected demise.

We can also see that their Solar Returns for that year do help flag these events up and add to our understanding of them.

Naturally we would expect the Sun in the Return chart to pick out major transits to its natal placement because it is the same.

But a fascinating factor revealed by these charts is that each one places the Moon in an important trigger position for those same transits. The odds of this happening in all 4 charts by chance has to be less than 1 in 20.

There is a slight tendency to favour the return being cast for the place of their death rather than their birth, if there is a considerable difference between the two places.

Such a small sample size obviously cannot be presented as proof of an effect, but this is enough for further consideration and will prompt me to do more research into the contribution of Solar Returns to the understanding of specific events in someone’s life.

While completing this article I thought I would look at my own Solar return for the year to see if it had anything to say about this.

My main transit for 2022 ( and 2023 ) is Pluto conjunct my Ascendant.

My Solar Return gives an exact ( 3 minutes of arc ) conjunction between Venus and Pluto ( in Capricorn naturally ) in the 3rd house conjunct Mercury trine Moon in Virgo.

So more work for me then…

Every article I write opens up many more avenues for consideration.

But when you have the Sun and Moon in Capricorn in the 12th house, there’s always loads more research to do.

Posted on April 20th 2022

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