Solar Arc Directions are extremely useful tools for the practicing astrologer. They are viable alternatives to other methods of symbolic movement of the natal chart, such as secondary progressions. Ease and effectiveness of use are two key reasons that I use Solar Arc Directions as my main means of forecasting, along with triggers from transiting planets.
To put it simply, a Solar Arc is the angular distance between the natal Sun and the secondary progressed Sun. The secondary progressed Sun is simply taking the position of the Sun at birth and symbolically counting forward one day in the ephemeris for each year of life, then taking the new position of the Sun for the desired year as the progressed Sun.
In Solar Arc Directions, the Sun is first progressed as in a secondary progression, then the position of the natal Sun is subtracted from it. This number or arc is then added to all of the bodies and sensitive points of the natal chart, and the arced placements are compared to the natal placements and exact aspects are noted.
With Solar Arc Directions, the movement of all the planets and points is approximately 1 degree per year, with slight variations depending on the season of the year in which the subject is born. This is what makes them so easy to use.
If you want to see where a particular point is arcing to in your natal chart, you can just take your age, add that number of degrees to the natal placement, and that is where, approximately, the point has arced to. For example, if you have Mars at 0 degrees Aries in your natal chart at age 25, Mars would be, by Solar Arc Direction, at 25 degrees Aries.
Using this method, you can also look at a chart quickly and see what years were important in a client's life. To do this, simply look for planets in the 12th, 3rd, 6th, and 9th houses, count how many degrees those planets are from the next angle, and that is an important age.
As a personal example, I have Jupiter in the 12th house in 27 degrees of Sagittarius and my ascendant is at 13 Capricorn. Subtract the difference between the two and you come up with 16. With Jupiter arcing to the ascendant at that age, I would expect a change for the better in personal appearance, a measure of success, and since it is a Capricorn Ascendant with Saturn conjunct it, an increase in public visibility with Jupiter making the Saturnian Ascendant more sociable.
At age 16, I began my career as an actor, began seriously studying astrology, grew 8" in height, and greatly expanded my social circle. At the end of that year, as Jupiter hit my Saturn, my mother passed away and I became much more independent. If you don't use Solar Arc Directions already, take a look you own charts or those of your friends, family, or clients to find the same kind of correlations. You should then be convinced of the efficacy of Solar Arc Directions.
Again, the easy way to check for important Solar Arc Directions is to look for any planets in the 12th, 3rd, 6th, or 9th house, subtract the number of degrees they are from the angle, and take that number as your age, giving a six-month orb on either side. Take the nature of that planet and the angle it will contact at that age and see if the description fits. If you have no planets in those houses, check planets in the 1st, 4th, 7th, and 10th and arc the previous angle to them. If you still have nothing to direct (highly unlikely), take two planets that have 15-30 degrees of separation between them and use them to find a good arc example.
After you have looked at the simple method for determining important Solar Arc Directions, it's time to delve a bit deeper. Although the degree-for-a-year method I showed you above can be very easy to do right from the natal chart, for older subjects it becomes impractical. This is not only because it is harder to see the arcs as the subject gets older, but because the Sun varies in speed due to season and does not move exactly 1 degree per day. By the age of 45 or so, the variance can be as much as 3 degrees/years, so we do need to be more accurate with older subjects. You can do the calculations by hand, which is tedious, or you can do as I do and have a computer calculate the directions for you.
I use Matrix's Win*Star to calculate the Solar Arc Directions and assemble them on a "hit list," which gives me the directed and receiving point, as well as the aspect formed and the date/time. Most other high-quality astrology calculation programs will be capable of this also. The date is important, but the time can be disregarded because we will take the date and use a six-month orb on either side of the given date on the hit list.
In most charts, there will only be a few Solar Arc Directions between planets and other major points in the chart for each year. So, how do we form a full picture using only 2 or 3 aspects? Well, there are a few ways.
Though the Solar Arc Directions to the planets and angles are very important and should be looked at first, one can also add in transits of the slower-moving planets. Another method that I use in addition to the transits is the Solar Arc Directions to midpoints of significant chart factors. The discussion of midpoints is outside the scope of this article. If you would like more information on midpoints I suggest Working with Astrology by Charles Harvey and Michael Harding or The Combination of Stellar Influences by Reinhold Ebertin.
The aspects that I use when looking at Solar Arc Directions are the hard aspects (aspects that are multiples of 45 degrees). These aspects are the conjunction (0deg), Semi-square (45deg), Square (90deg), Sesquiquadrate (135deg), and the Opposition (180deg). I use these aspects because I feel that they deal mostly with manifestation, while the other aspects are more inwardly directed. You may use whatever aspects you choose, but I suggest you try using only the hard aspects as an experiment. You might be impressed by how they show actual manifestation rather than more internal processes. I try to make my astrology very practical, so when doing forecasts I use the methods that will give the best results to my clients, and the hard aspects seem to be more "concrete" for me.
Now let's move on to a few practical examples. The conventions here will be that the arcing planet or point will be prefixed by "d" for Solar Arc Direction and the receiving planet will have no prefix. The arcing planet or point will be first in order, followed by the planet or point receiving the aspect. The "=" sign will signify that some hard aspect is formed by the arcing point to the receiving point. I usually will not specify which aspect, but will occasionally point out when it is a conjunction (CNJ) for emphasis.
The other abbreviations I will use follow: SU=Sun, MO=Moon, ME=Mercury, VE=Venus, MA=Mars, JU=Jupiter, SA=Saturn, UR=Uranus, NE=Neptune, PL=Pluto, NN=North Node of the Moon, A=Ascendant, M=Midheaven, PF=Part of Fortune. The first example chart I'd like to look at is that of O. J. Simpson. In the Summer of 1994, O. J. reached his "Solar Arc Mid-Life Crisis." This is when the Solar Arc equals 45 degrees, making all his planets in hard aspect to their natal position. This happens to everyone around ages 45-48 or so. In addition to all his natal planets = their own position, O .J. also had dUR=SA in 1994/95. UR=SA is the breakdown of old structures, suddenly and with great surprise. Conflicts with authority and power structures are also indicated. In late 1995, O. J. has dJU=M, dVE=JU and in early 1996, O. J. has dNE=A, dNN=SU, dSA=MO, and dMO=PL.
We can see from these directions that O. J. went through, and is still going through, a powerful time in his life. The abundance of fortunate aspects at the time of his acquittal is telling, but now that the criminal trial is over, O. J. still has powerful issues to resolve with himself and the public. NE, NN, SA, and PL aspecting his personal points will prove to be a huge test for O. J., as seen in the civil trial.
Another person whose chart shows significant events around the "Solar Arc Middle Age" is President Bill Clinton. He had his 45deg arc in November of 1992. Sound like an important time for him? At that same time, he also had dA=MO, dVE=SU, dSU=VE, and dMO=A. This was an all around fortunate time for him, pointing to the great success he had with his election to the Presidency.
Going "across the pond" we can look at Margaret Thatcher, who was unexpectedly driven form the office of Prime Minister of Great Britain in November of 1990. At that time dME=SA, dSA=M, and dSA=SU were all active, showing a quick fall from power.
Yet another "Solar Arc Midlife Crisis" is the state of Israel, which had its 45 degree arc in 1995. This was accompanied by dME=M, dJU=PL, dPL=JU, and dM=ME. Here we can see the peace talks process and the fundamental changes in the state of Israel, as well as the assassination of its leader. A key year to watch in Israel's future is 2005, when dMA=A(CNJ). This configuration shows physical danger to the body and can signify a war.
The last example I would like to give on Solar Arc Directions is a short look at some of the major players of the Gulf War of 1990/1991. At the time of the invasion from Iraq, Kuwait was undergoing its Saturn Return. The main solar arcs at were: dMO=SU, dMO=A, dSA=MO, and dJU=PL. These arcs show a restriction of the population by force.
Iraq's Arcs include dA=MA, dSA=M, dMA=NN, and SU=JU. After successful war and occupation of Kuwait (dA=MA) Iraq was driven out of Kuwait by superior forces (dSA=M, dMA=NN). But for all the talk about the coalition's great victory, Saddam Hussein was able to retain his power and quash two rebellions against his rule immediately after the war (dSU=JU). (Hussein himself had dNE=SU early in the war and dMA=PL and dMA=JU after the cease fire, allowing him to stop the rebellions and retain power.)
Saudi Arabia was at that time going though its 90 arc, meaning that everything in the Natal chart was being squared by its own arcing position. Other arcs include dMA=NN, dUR=M, dPL=ME, dME=PL, and dMO=MA, clearly showing their involvement in the war.
The USA at the time had both dSU=A and dSU=NE, showing the great victory in Kuwait and the confusion and frustration in not being able to topple Saddam Hussein. George Bush was riding high in approval ratings (as high as 98%) during and shortly after the Gulf War (dPL=JU, dMO=SU, dVE=SU). However, Bush eventually dropped drastically in the polls and lost his re-election bid (dJU=NE, dUR=MA, dUR=PL, dNE=A). Neptune = the Ascendant was the factor that showed not only the disillusionment of the American people with Bush, but his own disillusionment with the way that his campaign was run and the performance of his closest aides.
I hope you can begin to make some sense of Solar Arc Directions now and that you will find them as easy to use and as accurate as I have in my practice. Remember to start using Solar Arc Directions, just start counting the number of degrees from one chart factor to another.
If you have a chart printed out, you don't even have to have an ephemeris to get started.
Enjoy experimenting with Solar Arc Directions!
Copyright: Frank Piechowski