Compatibility myths.

Astrologers frequently make general claims about how Fire Signs are most compatible with other Fire Signs and Air Signs, or that Water Signs are most compatible with other Water Signs or the Earth Signs. These recommendations are so general they are virtually useless since they are aimed at a general public that sees itself as one sign – their Sun Sign. But astrologers know that the Moon Sign and the Rising Signs are equally important determinants of personality and temperament. Also, the relationships between the planets, Sun and Moon also have a very critical impact on personality and the many aspects that are formed between the individual charts of the partners are also important determinants.

Many years experience doing charts of happy couples in long-lived relationships does not bear out these general compatibility maxims that categorize by elements or by the masculine and feminine signs. One is far more likely to find a person with whom they will have a long-lived and fulfilling marriage or love relationship with someone who was born in the Sun Sign just before or just after your own. This seems to be a function of the composite charts that are produced in these situations since people born in the months closest to your birth month are likely to have the Venus, Sun and Mercury relatively close to yours. This phenomenon then causes the composite positions of these planets in your relationship or composite chart to form conjunctions which are very compelling determinants of compatibility and feelings of simpatico. The Sun conjunct Venus or Mercury in the composite chart is an excellent aspect that contributes to harmony. The three together even more so. The stellium or conjunction of the Sun, Venus and Mercury is fairly common in really good marriages. It seems that this stellium creates a very strong feeling of simpatico and attraction.  Many of the celebrity couples who have had long standing marriages also boast this stellium often with a fourth planet included. Some of these couples are Kyra Sedgewick and Kevin Bacon, Johnny Cash and June Carter, Paul McCartney and Linda Eastman, Michael J. Fox and Tracy Pollan, Ellen Degeneres and Portia DiRossi, Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell, Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft just to name a few.

I have found two legendary love affairs that boasted the conjunction of Sun, Moon and Venus-only two among the hundreds of relationship charts I have cast. The first of these two great love affairs is that of Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. The second one is the life-long marriage of Annie Oakley and Frank Butler. Admittedly, the latter example is without exact birth times and Moon positions are indefinite, but the Moon generally is allowed a very large orb in chart analysis.

When looking at the Rising Signs of partners, compatibility by elements does seem to have some validity with the Air and Fire match and Earth and Water match appearing in the many charts of the happily wedded. However, there seems to be no such pattern with sun or moon signs.

One of the problems with the simplistic maxim of masculine and feminine signs being incompatible with each other, is that often opposites attract. Carl Jung, the great Swiss psychologist, postulated that we all posses an anima, a feminine component, and an animus, a masculine component, in our psyches. He also believed that the psyche seeks wholeness; therefore, if we are weak in a certain element we may unconsciously be very attracted to a partner who is strong in that element. This is quite common especially for individuals whose self-awareness is limited. The psyche seeks balance, and thus Earth signs are often compulsively attracted to Fire Signs and Air Signs compulsively attracted to Water Signs. These matches are frequently challenging, and we learn from these difficult situations. It just might be that it is part of one’s karma or spiritual journey to have an intimate relationship with someone whose way of relating to the world is quite different from our own. This can be a catalyst to becoming more “whole” if we accept the challenge and learn to see ourselves and the world through our partner’s eyes. It just might be that the person who is most “compatible” to us is not the person who would be best for us because there would be no catalyst for growth in such a relationship.

I have come to the firm conclusion that composite relationship charts are the single best astrological tool for assessing relationships. Synastry is helpful, but because each birth chart boast dozens of points and planets, and now asteroids as well, it becomes a daunting task to enumerate and rank the dozens and dozens of intra-aspects. This is a system that can easily collapse under the weight of its own complexity as each aspect is a fragment unto itself defying a coherent or meaningful synthesis.

As an artist I used to say that any two colors can look great together, it all depends on the shades of those colors and the amounts used. Likewise any two signs can create a very fulfilling relationship or a really horrid one – it all depends …

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