Friday, April 6, 2012

Experiment on Solar Returns

[The Mercury Hour was a place where people wrote their views in letter form, and it was published quarterly for probably over 25 years--- up until the editor, Edith Custer's, death. Now we have the same thing in forums online, but this is how we did it before the internet. There were many gems in it, and this was one that I took to heart and used, and still do, in my professional practise. I ran across this recently while cleaning and feel it is worthy of another viewing. The late T. Patrick Davis (the T. stands for Thelma) was first and foremost a researcher, and we all still have great respect for all the hard unpaid work she did for the love of Astrology and accuracy.]

From “The Mercury Hour”
By T. Patrick Davis October 1996

Trying to rid my home office of black holes swallowing up stuff, never to be seen again, I came across an experiment I conducted years ago on SOLAR RETURNS. You published the result on p. 36 of the October 1979, 23rd edition of Mercury Hour. A copy is enclosed.
The original account does not dwell on it, but the experiment was carefully conducted. I was a neutral observer whose primary interest was merely in learning what methods worked best. The astrologer was experienced and volunteered out of personal curiosity. Methods were being tested, not the astrologer.

So many new astrology students have entered the scene since then that I was wondering what you would think about reprinting it? The astrological “system” set up to educate students demands the student waste so much time “reinventing the wheel.” Perhaps this will be of some aid along the way.

Reprint from 10/79

The lure of my new computer’s keys promising quickly calculated solar and lunar returns finally generated an interest in this facet of astrology. But the contradictory advice found on whether to use the longitude and latitude of the birthplace or the location of the person at the time of the return was confusing. As a result, I set up an experiment to see if the problem could be resolved according to the advice given me by someone who has specialized in this field. At the present time, this advisor wishes to remain anonymous.

A number of people were selected who had moved a considerable distance from their birthplace so that the solar returns would be quite different in appearance. Solar return charts were then constructed for the place of birth and then the location at the time of the return. Each chart had full details written on it of the significant events for that year—but the information on whether it was for the birthplace or the new location was left off.

The specialist in solar returns, who had been taught to use the new location and had never tested using the birthplace, then studied and compared each set of charts. The chart felt to reflect the circumstances of that year was chosen. IN EVERY CASE, the chart for the birthplace was selected over the new location! The specialist was dumbfounded and quite perturbed at the discovery. My only interest was in trying to discover which one to use to begin my study of solar returns. With the convenience of computers now in so many more people’s possession, perhaps others can replicate this study, report their results, and clear this matter up once and for all.


  1. thanks for sharing this Carol, I used to have all the Mercury Hours but no longer do and this is significant info for people using Solar returns.

    Marcia Starck

  2. How thoughtful of you to post this. And how cool to read the results of the experiment.

  3. I am struggling with the same issue. Thanks for sharing I now know what to do.

  4. Interesting. I shall look at my returns for the past 10 years and see if England versus Virginia works better. Thanks for sharing!