Remember in the 'What is a Sun, Moon & Rising Sign?' post, I told you what a birth chart is? A snapshot of the sky at the moment you were born...
(Image 1: Sample Birth Chart created at Astro.com)
For example, in this sample Birth Chart that we used before, the Sun ⊙ was located in Libra ♎, the Moon ☾ was located in Taurus ♉ etc.
One thing to keep in mind is that every planet* has a Return. And what a Return is, is when a planet* RETURNS to the exact location it was in the moment you were born.
(Image 2: Solar Return Sample Chart created at Astro.com)
In regards to the Sun, another name for a Solar Return is... Birthday! For example, the Birth Chart in Image 1 is for a person born on October 8th, 1987. Now, take a look at the Solar Return chart in Image 2. Do you see how the Sun is in the exact same position as the Birth Chart in Image 1? Libra, 14 degrees and 34 seconds (1434).
What you will also notice is that all the other planetary positioning of the Solar Return Chart in Image 2 is different from that of the Birth Chart in Image 1. Because it shows where the planets are positioned at the moment of RETURN this year, 2016, not at the moment of Birth, 1987.
The benefits of Solar Return charts can be a nice predictor or horary resource. Just as a Birth Chart can tell you about the entire life, Solar Returns can narrow into a specific year in the life. Like the birthday, Solar Returns happen once a year, every year (give or take a day**).
Now, Saturn works in the same way. A Saturn Return is when Saturn returns to exact same location it was in the moment you were born. But, Saturn is a slower moving planet. So, it's Return doesn't happen every year, like the Sun's does. It takes between 27-30 years for Saturn to travel through all of the Zodiac signs. (While the Sun travels through all the Zodiac signs every 365/366 days and the Moon travels through all the Zodiac signs every 28-29 days!) So, it's effects can be pretty significant because it will be a LONG time before it visits your Natal positioning again.
In the Birth Chart in Image 1, look for this glyph ♄
This symbolizes Saturn.
If you look below it, you'll see this glyph ♐. This symbolizes Sagittarius. Just above the Saturn glyph, ♄, you'll see these numbers:
This means that Saturn was at 16 degrees and 29 seconds Sagittarius at the moment of this person's birth. And so, this person's Saturn Return will occur when Saturn returns to 16 degrees and 29 seconds of Sagittarius***.
Let me know if this was helpful and if there are any other questions you would like addressed!
(*For the purposes of this blog post I use "Planets" as a blanketed term. The Sun and the Moon are not planets, however. They would more appropriately be called Lights, as the Sun is a Star and the Moon is a satellite (or mirror), as it has no light of its own and only reflects the light of the Sun.)
(**In this case the person's birthday is on October 8th. The Solar Return for this person may occur on the 7th, 8th, or 9th. Because remember, we are talking about when the Sun will return to the exact degree at the time of birth, so, that may happen with some variation to our Gregorian calendar.)
(*** Image 2 only shows the Solar Return, not the Saturn Return for this person.)