Maya del Mar's Daykeeper Journal: Astrology, Consciousness and Transformation
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by Maya del Mar

Lunar Returns by John Townley. Llewellyn, St. Paul, MN. 2003. Paperback, $19.95.

The Moon takes about a month to go around the zodiac. This means that once each month the Moon returns to its birthplace in your chart. Just as the Sun returns once each year, and you celebrate your birthday, the Moon gives us a mini-birthday each month. The chart calculated for this rebirth of your personal month is called a Lunar Return.

I’ve been doing lunar returns for myself for at least 30 years, every month. Why have I done this? Because these returns help me to see the character and the setting of the month ahead of me. A lunar return shows the monthly rebirth of our lunar-emotional energy. If I take the time to follow the Moon’s transit around the chart, I can learn the days of particular types of events. It’s uncanny.

Since I’ve been publishing Daykeeper online, I’ve quit looking at my own lunar returns. However, this month—November—I was snapped into a new awareness of the importance of lunar returns.

After the Eclipse, my energy went way way down, even more than I thought I could expect from Saturn stationing in opposition to my Venus, plus that heavy lunar eclipse which aspected the middle degrees of my fixed signs. That Taurus Eclipse was devastating for me.

Suddenly, on November 18, my energy climbed out of its hole. This was not the usual gradual recovery. And it dawned on me, Hey, Moon’s in Virgo, like my natal moon, and this is my new lunar return. So I ran off my lunar returns for both months.

My lunar return for October 21 showed an essentially stationary Saturn on the Ascendant in almost exact opposition to Chiron on the Descendant (conjunct my natal Venus)! One feels and expresses the Ascendant energy strongly. Saturn is gravity. It can feel depressing, contracting, and heavy. I felt totally weighed down by gravity. I pictured that this was how it might feel to someone coming from Mars to Earth. (Perhaps this was thinking in terms of Chiron ‘s new dimensions. Chiron is inter-planetary.)

Furthermore, the November 8 Eclipse Moon was exactly opposed to the Venus in this return, giving Venus a double whammy. If I had used my Lunar Return, I could have predicted that on November 8 my feeling of wellbeing would be emphasized, and/or eclipsed.

(Actually I was having a wonderful time on that day. I was in Mexico with my daughter, Crystal, and her family on a very special excursion into the mountains. The awesome sight of the shadow-covered Moon greeted us as we came down out of the mystical fog towards the lights of the Valley of Puebla.)

What about November 18, and my sudden energy rise? It was about sunrise when it occurred to me to check the lunar returns. Lo and behold, that was the time of my current lunar return. Sun, which shows the location of vitality and life energy, sits smack on the Ascendant! Just those two differences, Saturn vs. Sun on the Ascendant, give the basic contrast between these two charts.

I can look at this chart, and follow the Moon as it transits around, to get an idea of the character of my next week. I will be traveling to Alaska to be with my son, Daniel, and his family for Thanksgiving. During that time, transiting Moon moves through the first quadrant of this chart, which means it will be a journey of personal expression and fulfillment. Moon transiting the third house in Aquarius on Thanksgiving shows that Thanksgiving will be a day of friendly relating and communication. Early on Monday morning, Moon in Pisces transits over Mars in the fourth house and opposes my natal Virgo moon in the tenth. I have to separate myself from the family then, to travel home, and it will be difficult.

This whole process is Chiron in action, for it brought me back to serious attention to lunar returns, which were, and now will be again, a healing part of my life. It also brought me to get healing help from my acupuncturist good friend, Joseph Odom.

Whereas solar returns happen about every 365 days, lunar returns kick in about once every 28 days.

Computer programs calculate lunar returns. But if you don’t have a computer, Astronumeric Services will calculate 13 returns for $19.00 (800-627-7464). These will take you through the year.

A lunar return is delineated like any other chart, but it does have some special features. I find it particularly useful to follow the Moon’s transits around the chart for each month. This is also a wonderful aid in learning about the ways different energies manifest. And it’s very current. The transit process shows you how these energies are manifesting for you—now, this month, today.

A fine way to get into using Lunar Returns is to start with renowned astrologer John Townley’s book, Lunar Returns. He explains lunar returns, tells the reader how to use them, with examples, and gives a bookful of sign-house-aspect delineations for the planets.

This is a very simple, easy-to-use book, with excellent astrology. In fact, it would be a creative, fun method for a beginning student to learn basic astrology. Get your returns from Astronumerics, and spend some time each day with the current one. You’ll be fascinated by the revelations which occur through your own unfolding experiences.

You also need to know the lunar positions. Celestial Guide and Llewellyn both publish daily ephemerises in a variety of forms which will give you the positions of the Moon. I’ve reviewed them both in past columns. Perhaps easiest to use is Celestial Guide’s Pocket Astrologer. Many bookstores carry it now at the turn of the year.

With John Townley’s Lunar Returns, your own lunar returns, and a moon guide for the year, you have a great kit to launch you into a year of exciting study of how the planets work for you.

John’s book fulfills a real need to make this wonderfully illuminating technique of using lunar returns accessible to everyone. And he does exactly that.