Big Changes: Solar Return Sun in the Eighth House (Applied Astrology Series)
Sitting in the cemetery at sunset, 8 months into a year with Solar Return Sun in the dreaded Eighth House; Photo copyright by Aislinn Bailey, AisPortraits, Niceville, Florida
My birthday’s coming up in just a few weeks, and you know what that means? I’m finishing up a year when my Solar Return Sun was in my Eighth House. Yeah….
I admit, I’d been really dreading this past year for a long time now. I have heard dire warnings from astrologers to consider traveling just to make certain that my Solar Return Sun was either in the Seventh House of relationships and partnerships or in the Ninth House of education and travel. Any place but in the Eighth House! The idea was that I might be at some other spot on the planet at that exact moment and by traveling on my Solar Return birthday to somewhere else, it would change the position of the houses within my Solar Return Chart. Lost yet?
A Solar Return Chart is a special chart for your birthday year based on where you are on the day that the Sun is in the exact place that it was on the day you were born. Though my birthday is March 3rd, my solar return usually takes place on March 2nd. A chart is cast for that day when the Sun matches its position on the day of my birth and it’s like a natal (birth) chart for the entire year–yep, with planets and houses and everything. The thing is, while the planets for that day are in the same conjunctions, oppositions, squares, etc, regardless of where you are in the world, the houses can change–a little bit, at least–if you travel, thereby putting a planet in a more favorable house. Some astrologers believe you can alter your chart for the year by making a birthday trip and others think that your chart reverts back to where you live most of the year and so a trip out of town just isn’t worth it. Most people can’t afford to fly to Europe for a better chart, anyway.
For me, it didn’t really matter that much. I would have had to travel out of the country to have made any difference with an Eighth House Sun, and it would have adversely affected a lovely stellium (a whole bunch) of planets in my Seventh House of relationships. I accepted that there was little chance of escaping an Eight House Sun and instead, made plans to enjoy a quiet day at home in my garden and try not to be too afraid.
What makes an Eighth House Solar Return Sun so terrifying?
When it comes to astrological charts and their twelve life sectors, called “houses,” the scariest piece of the pie is the Eighth House, followed closely by the mysterious Twelfth House. The Eighth House is about death, sex, regeneration, other people’s money, secrets. If your Sun is going to be shining a light on all those issues for you in a coming year, then yes, it can make you anxious.
I’d heard so many horrendous stories–though in hindsight, they were mostly from amateur astrologers who knew just enough to assume the worst and then blather about it. Even the best of astrology websites talked about a Solar Return Eighth House Sun bringing massive change and upheaval. And let’s face it: for most of us, the idea of change is frightening. We think of change as away from the security we know and love–and even sometimes hate–and rarely toward a good thing unless life has been really terrible recently.
Take heart, fearful ones, because here’s how it manifested for me.
Looking back over the past eleven months, I have to agree that it’s been an extremely important year where death, sex, secrets, other people’s money, and regeneration were all spotlighted for me. Most definitely a year of transformation but not in a bad way at all…and that’s after being at a nicely serene and happy place in my life the previous year. If you feel good about where you are in your life, then the idea of change is something you’re probably quite resistant to. But life can get even better.
Death — Death is probably the biggest concern when it comes to the Eighth House. I did in fact have to face mortality issues throughout the year. The second time happened half-way through the year when an X-ray technician failed to follow my doctor’s orders for a routine exam, resulting in a lot of un-necessary X-rays and ultrasounds–as well as a month of excruciating worry because the medical offices involved tried to cover-up their mistakes, leaving me to think they’d found “something really bad.” The first mortality issue occurred at the beginning of the Solar Return year. A medical problem cropped up that had some dire consequences but I found metaphysical ways to deal with it and over the course of the year, it went away. One of the big lessons for the year was in figuring out how to let go of emotional wounds that caused physical illness and injury. Overall, this year about the death of a lot of old ways of thinking that no longer served me. It was also about the death of a few key friendships, but to be honest, I don’t miss them and am surprised at that.
Other People’s Money — This wasn’t a particularly big area for me except that my debt increased somewhat. I was able to make changes in my retirement accounts before I lost major bucks in the stock market, so that part was good. Seeing everyone’s retirement accounts drop and how people who planned to retire soon had to change their plans, I rethought how I look at retirement and realized that I probably never will. Instead, I’ll take mini-retirements and have fun along the way instead of deferring life to when I’m oldest. That in itself was an eye-opener about how I want to design my future. I also borrowed money to make some long-overdue house repairs and updates, including repairs that weren’t finished after Hurricane Katrina. These reflect Second House possessions issues (on the opposite side of the chart) but were more about transforming my ideas on money.
Secrets — I’ve always been very good at keeping secrets (when asked) but this was the year I finally made the distinction of where other people’s secrets were hurtful because the secrecy made them my burden to carry and somehow not the responsibility of the person who’d instigated the secret. I hadn’t realized what anchors I’d attached my helium balloon out of loyalty to friends. Most of my dealings with secrets overlap into the other Eighth House issues I had. The paradox of it is that while I’ve been living my life “in the open” for several years now, people I was loyal to were not, and their secrecy and dishonesty had a negative effect on my health. What I learned from the Eighth House is that I will not be hidden by other people in my life, whether it’s my views, my existence, or my feelings.
Sex — I really don’t know what to say about this one. I think I went into the Solar Return year wondering if I was going to discover that I’m really a closet lesbian or get a sudden craving for a sex change. I didn’t feel that I’d partner up with anyone on a definitive long-term commitment basis, which made me wonder how the year would go. I’m leaving the year with some new perspectives on sexuality and much more relaxed than I’ve ever been. Overall, the sex was fantastic–best ever!
Regeneration — If the Eighth House is about death and rebirth, then yes, there was much regeneration for me this past year. Not just transformation, but regeneration. While a lot of my old ways of thinking died and were reborn or re-focused into something even more productive, this regeneration was never a bad thing. It always got me to a higher level of being and to increased vitality and happiness. I saw a physical regeneration that astonished me. To an outsider, these may seem small but they were huge changes to me. I’d ignored dermatologists for years but one visit and a prescription skin regimen and I was doing the very uncharacteristic thing of staring into a mirror for 30 minutes at a time. The changes made me look as I had maybe fifteen years ago, back when I had had no appreciation for my appearance because most of the people in my life spent their time pointing out my flaws. A new pair of contact lenses had big ramifications, too, not just for the sake of appearance but eased my aggravation with reading glasses. I discovered a few health products that helped me detox and feel better than ever. I felt more vital and aware of my body than I probably ever have.
So, yes, an Eighth House Solar Return Sun brought big changes–good changes–into my life. I’ll have another Eighth House Sun in a few years and I’ll keep in mind that they don’t have to spell disaster–they can mean better changes than I’ve ever known existed.