Astrological Lunar Return
by John Townley
Astrology can provide many valuable panoramas as you move through this world, from a lifelong overview to the snapshot of the opportunities available in a single instant. The view you get depends upon how far back you pull from the subject and thus how much your eye, so to speak, can encompass. In the words of the Sesame Street song:
That's about the size,Where you put your eyes,That's about the size of it.
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It's all in how you frame your picture. The closer to the subject you get, the greater the detail - the farther away, the larger the scope. The natal horoscope with its transits and progressions can, for instance, give you a view of all the days of your life, painted with a broad brush. Or, the sweep of the heavens in the instant of the moment can portray where you're at right now. In the middle, the pictures of the coming month or the coming year are available to you in the form of lunar (monthly) and solar (yearly) returns.
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What Is A Lunar Return?
Your Lunar return is the monthly chart of the instant the Moon in the sky returns to the exact position it was at your birth. It's kind of a monthly birthday, and the arrangement of planets it displays reflects the patterns of your coming month. Each month, this re-birth-day works out its potential for you and then is renewed once again 27 1/2 days later with a new set of surprises and opportunities.
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How Does It Work?
Like your natal chart, or any other kind of horoscope, a Lunar return is a chart of a beginning - in this case, the monthly beginning of the lunar cycle that started at your birth, which is the cycle of your response to your environment, including your emotions, feelings, interactivity, social well-being, and generally how creatively you react to the challenges and opportunities of life. It works on the principle that when you begin something - anything - everything that flows from it is bound up in the initial conditions under which it started. The beginning is your foundation, and you build and rest upon it until you are finished. A Lunar return is the astrological depiction of the new beginning you make each month and what results from it until the next cycle begins.
Well Begun Is Half Done
"The beginning is half of everything," said the ancient Greeks, and so your monthly beginning is something to be taken seriously and honored, if you want your lunar month to have a good start. Thus, give yourself a little time and space to rest and meditate if you can in the few hours surrounding the time of your Lunar return each month. Take the time to think about what lies ahead, plan your strategies, and gather your resources so you can make the best of what's offered. Look over the aspects in your Lunar return chart and the days and times ahead where they individually kick in. Once you've got a calm picture of the challenges and openings to come, you can rise to seize the day, one moment at a time, and make the most of the month.
Changing The Picture
The planetary positions in a Lunar return are locked in at the moment the Moon returns to its natal place. Where these positions fall in relation to the local horizon, and thus the areas of life in which they work, is entirely dependent upon where you are at the time. Thus, if you see that your Lunar return is going to develop a picture you'd like to rearrange, that can be accomplished by placing yourself at the right spot on the globe to fine-tune the event. Many astrologers travel widely in order to adjust both Solar and Lunar returns - I have done so repeatedly over the last 35 years with apparent great success, so I recommend it when necessary. Moving about extensively every month is not easy for everyone, but being aware that it affects the Lunar return is a plus if you normally travel on business and have some say as to where.
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Pieces Of The Puzzle
The Lunar return is a large piece of the astrological picture of what happens with your life every month, but it is not the only one. Lunar transits, New and Full Moons, and other factors also weigh in, so they have been included in this report so you can have a more complete picture of what to expect and what you have to work with. You should remember, however, that factors whose timing is as short as a monthly cycle are more like the minute or second hands on your life's clock face. Don't forget to stand back every now and then and refresh yourself with the big picture of where you are and where you're going, which are described by long-term transit and progression cycles. After that, you can get back down to the day-to-day nitty-gritty which the Lunar return offers and know that your focus is tracking and every moment is enjoyed and utilized to its best advantage.
Your Personal Lunar Return
Your Lunar return can be read in a manner similar to many other types of horoscopes, except that in doing interpretations it must be kept in mind that it has an unusually short life. The chart is only in effect for 27 1/2 days until it is supplanted by the next Lunar return. Thus, where the middle and outer planets are concerned, there is little or no change of sign over literally dozens of Lunar returns. This makes the overall influence of signs more of a long-term, barely changing backdrop and thus negligible in effect. The house placements and the mutual aspects of the planets and Angles thus become where all the action is, fueled mostly by the faster-changing positions of the inner planets. That may be just as well, as trying to stuff too much interpretive information into a description of a single month leads to diminishing returns, and what is important gets lost in the shuffle.
So what is most important in a Lunar return? Certainly the house positions of the Sun and Moon, and the sign of the Ascendant, which represent the main areas of focus for the month, along with the house positions of the planets. After that comes the aspects of the Lights, Angles, and inner planets to each other and to the middle and outer planets, which describes the dynamics of the month. Last comes the aspects of the middle and outer planets to each other, which provide a background dynamic upon which the rest play out. These, taken together with featured elements of your natal chart highlighted by Lunar Return positions, give an overall picture of the coming month.
After a look at the overall picture for the month, daily influences are painted primarily by the transiting Moon as it passes through the natal and Lunar return houses and ticks off its conjunctions to planets in both the natal chart and the Lunar return chart. This accounts for 47 occurrences, each of which happens once, in varying orders, throughout each month. As the Moon transits the houses and planets of the natal chart, it triggers events that are both personal to the moment and yet connect with more long-term issues as well, since the natal chart abides permanently. As the Moon touches the houses and planets of the Lunar return, however, its effects are to highlight and spark off the trends depicted in that chart only, and thus apply only to very short-term developments. These Lunar transits thus give what amounts to inner and outer pictures, short-term and longer-term effects working together, both of which are described in the text.
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Personal Void-of-Course Moon
One final, and very useful, addition is the Personal Void-of-Course Moon. The period of time every 2 1/2 days when the transiting Moon has made its last aspect to another body in the sky before changing signs is described as a Void-of-Course Moon period. It can last from a few minutes to over a day, depending how late in signs the planets are at the time. Because the Moon at this time doesn't really have its "feet on the ground," is generally considered a period unfavorable for tangible decisions that require solid support, but an excellent time for insight, relaxation, and reaching outside of confining boundaries. Many astrological calendars include a monthly list of these times.
If you have natal planets late in one or more signs, however, an ordinarily Void-of- Course Moon may still be making aspects to your chart, allowing you a special exception from the rule and giving you a decision-making advantage at this time. Conversely, if your planets are mostly early in signs, then for you the Moon goes Void-of-Course sooner than for the rest of the world, allowing you to check out and party early, while others are still in a more mundane frame of mind. Thus, included here is a list of your own Personal Void-of-Course Moon times unique to you alone, in order to give you a very specific personal advantage. They each begin when the Moon makes its last aspect to your chart and end when the Moon enters the next sign.
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As in a natal chart, the first thing you look at is the position of the Sun, Moon, and Ascendant. Their positions and aspects form the fundamental dynamic for the month: whether it's coming on like a juggernaut, sneaking up like a cat, stumbling in like a bull in a china shop, or striding in like a hero. Since the Lunar Return Moon is the same as your natal Moon, any aspects to it are also transiting aspects to your natal horoscope, thus uniquely entwining both charts and making the Lunar aspects especially important. The house position of the Sun and Moon tell you where your main action will be all month, and the Ascendant sign show the overall style. Easy aspects of these to the rest of the chart will show a month whizzing by according to plan. Hard aspects will indicate tangles and challenges to overcome. The text relays how to make the most of the former and how to transform the latter to get best results from the month.
(This is the text from the supplement of terms and concepts included with the Lunar Return Report, created by the author, John Townley).