As I mentioned in Part II of my “Astrological Compatibility: The Astrology of Relationship” series, the planets in astrology represent basic forces or needs that we all seek to express in our lives. The relative ease or tension between planets in our own chart and planets in our partner’s chart determines how we will express these basic needs within the relationship. Using the technique of synastry we can learn where our energies flow the smoothest and where there will be challenges to the natural expression of our energies.
To illustrate how synastry works in a real life relationship I’ve included a diagram of Elise and Tom’s astrological charts. What we’ll do is go through each of the personal planets and see how the planetary energies work out in their relationship and consequently how well they are able to balance these energies to get their individual needs met.
Elise and Tom (not their real names, of course) have been living together for about 30 years. Their relationship is an interesting example because in many ways they are very different but yet they’ve accepted those differences and have made it work for the relationship.
The Sun in an astrological chart represents our basic expression of our individuality and in this case our couple is very different. Her Aries Sun is very outgoing and bubbly while his Capricorn Sun tends to be somewhat conservative and stodgy. She’s much more interested in late evenings out with friends and he’s much more interested in retiring to bed early. Either of these issues could be disastrous for many relationships but they work it out so both get what they need.
The Moon relates to our emotional conditioning and in a relationship has a lot to do with our routine and how we like things to be done. In Elise and Tom’s case both Moon signs (Libra and Taurus) are ruled by the planet Venus. This gives a basic compatibility between the two of them about how they like their environment to be. Since Venus is the planet of love and harmony they both like their home to be visually aesthetic and strive to “make peace” with each other.
When we speak of Mercury, the “winged messenger”, we think of communication and in this area our couple has greater challenges. Her Mercury in Pisces tends to be more emotionally oriented and comfortable in that realm while his Mercury in Sagittarius is more jovial (like the mythological trickster) and tends to want to keep things light and not “get heavy”. Obviously in a relationship communication is an area of prime importance and this issue certainly has been challenging for them.
Now Venus in their charts works pretty well! Both have Venus in fire signs so they have always been very “hot” for each other, so to speak. Another aspect that contributes to what I would call “animal magnetism” between the two of them is their Moon/Mars inter-aspects. Mars, of course represents the desire we have to assert ourselves and the Moon represents our need to be nurtured and to nurture others. As you can see from Tom and Elise’s charts, his Moon is in the same sign as her Mars and her Moon is in the same sign as his Mars. This cross-compatibility between these two planets speaks of an extremely strong need to be physically nurtured by a partner and they fit the bill for each other!
The Planet Jupiter represents our need to expand our sense of ourselves and our self-imposed limitations. In Elise and Tom’s charts they have particularly strong Jupiter aspects. In many charts even if couples have other stressful aspects, positive Jupiter aspect will more than make up for that. As you can see, Elise’s Sun in Aries is in the same sign as Tom’s Jupiter and Tom’s Sun in Capricorn is in the same element (earth) as Elise’s Jupiter. What this means is that above all else each of them supports the other in expanding their sense of who they can be.
This support also shows up in their Moon/Jupiter aspects. Although Elise’s Moon in Aries is opposite (180 degrees apart) from Tom’s Jupiter, Tom’s Moon is in the same sign as Elise’s Jupiter. What this means is that underlying the relationship is a deep commitment to supporting each other emotionally so that even though it may be harder for them to discuss emotions intellectually (Mercury) there is a deep and abiding love for each other’s emotional growth.
Of course this is just a brief look at the synastry or inter-relationship of Tom and Elise’s charts. Much more could be said, but I think the main point here is that there is so much we can learn about relationships through the lens of astrology, not only our relationships with a significant other but with co-workers, friends, partners, and even our own family members. For myself, understanding the “astrological dynamics” of my family and significant others has provided not only a lot of insight but also a lot of acceptance.