What exactly is a lunar return? Every month, the moon returns to the exact position it held in your natal chart at your time of birth. Factor in the location of your current place of residence, and you've got a lunar return.
What does a lunar return tell you about yourself? It describes the emotional impact the planets—or planetary energies, if you like—will have on you for the month to come. Can it show events taking place in your life, as opposed to the emotional effects of those events? Yes, of course it can—both go together in the reading.
Bear in mind, though, that lunar return shows how you can identify energies and how they will manifest. A lunar return is not—repeat not—a crystal ball, Tarot, or biorhythm reading. It is a snapshot of what you can expect to undergo during a single month as determined by the planets in your chart. Although some of the major transitions will last from month to month if they involve the outer planets making alliances to the inner planets, a lunar return is good for one month and one month only.
The inner (or personal) planets are the Sun, the Moon, Mercury, Venus, and Mars. The outer planets are Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. The Moon, of course, will always be in the same sign and position as at birth, but the aspects will change from month to month. The houses are of prime importance in a lunar return reading, as is the ascendant on the chart of the lunar return.
The first thing to examine in the lunar return chart is the ascendant. The ascendant will show how the individual undergoing the lunar return will show or manifest his or her personality in relation to his or her sun sign. That—along with the aspects and the angles of the chart—are where we start the reading.
To give you a feel for how a lunar return reading would go, I will describe a lunar return for Harry, Prince of Wales. This particular lunar return begins at the end of the month of December 2004 and is applicable until his next one at the end of January 2005.
First, we look at the chart for when the moon returned to its place in the heavens according to Prince Harry's birth on September 15, 1984, at 4:20 pm in the Paddington district of London, England. His lunar return for his moon, which is at 21 degrees of Taurus, took place on December 22, 2004 at 11:23 pm. He was in London at the time of the lunar return and stayed there for that month, so the reading is locationally accurate.
The first thing I see when I look at this chart is the ascendant, which is in Virgo, two degrees away from the natal Sun. Right away this tells me that, during this month, Harry would feel very caught up in who he is and in how he thinks of himself. He would have a strong sense of ego and confidence at this time. Perhaps too much so, especially if his thoughts or actions spilled over into arrogance (something a person with a strong Sun can be prone to do). His ascendant is in accord with the energies that make him tick, as it were. That's important, since an ascendant that is far removed from ourselves (for instance, a lunar return Piscean ascendant when we are natally an Aquarius Sun) would bring forth a more emotional kind of energy than we may be used to. We can and should work with that, and go where it takes us—but it is something to be aware of.
The ruler of Harry's ascendant in this lunar return is Mercury, the planet that rules commutation of all kinds. Mercury is placed in the third house of the lunar return, the house governing communications. A double-whammy, so to speak. Next, I look at the aspects made to the ruler of the chart (Mercury). I see that Uranus, the planet of surprise and quirky thinking and behavior, is square to Mercury. Uranus can cause erratic thinking and sometimes bizarre and unusual thought processes.
A square aspect is similar to an opposition aspect, which involves energies that are not flowing harmoniously together, but instead are at loggerheads to each other. The relationship of the lunar return ruler Mercury to Uranus is again echoed by the natal chart comparison. Natal chart Mercury is opposite Lunar return Uranus, and natal chart Uranus is conjunct lunar return Mercury.
Next I see Pluto. Pluto is right on the nadir of Harry's lunar return chart, conjunct its cusp. That means it is opposite the tenth house cusp and its energies extend to both houses and areas of life. The fourth house rules the family of one's origin, and the tenth rules our careers and our place in the world. Most importantly, the tenth house rules how others see us. To have Pluto on the fourth house cusp could mean Harry might be confronted with some unpleasant family skeletons in the closet and have to deal with them. Pluto opposite the tenth could mean his reputation might undergo some drastic or dark transformations. Pluto is the planet of the dark lord, the underworld's god, the ruler of Hades. He is our deepest darkest secrets made manifest.
To make predictions in our lives based on the astrological forces in play, we need to identify a theme echoed throughout the chart. If something is shown over and over, we can be sure we are looking at a trend. We look to see what house of the natal chart is bought to the cusp of the ascendant in the lunar return because that will determine what part of our life—cut up into 12 slices by the zodiac board of trustees—will be the focal point of our month. In this analysis of Prince Harry's lunar return, it comes to be the eighth house, the house of Scorpio, which is ruled by Pluto.
Here now we have our themes for the month. Thinking is erratic, unpredictable, and doesn't follow a linear path. Harry is undergoing some dark thoughts or exposure to dark elements right now, and how he deals with them is up to him. He is ultimately in control of what he does or does not do. Nothing and nobody can make decisions for him or about him. Every one of us must do that no matter what the theme of the month is.
So, in summary, we can say that anyone having the lunar return and comparison listed above would be very egocentric this month; not thinking straight; and prone to wanting to explore the dark side of life. Family secrets could be exposed publicly, and we may be viewed in a negative light by those around us. So, having the above aspects and transits would tell us to be sure to read the fine print before taking action, and to tread carefully in all things.
There will always be a new lunar return coming around the bend that will take what was learned in the prior month and expand upon it. So if we don't like the forecast for this month, we can always change what we don't like for the better next time around.