Introduction to Composite Astrology
The Composite Chart
Although most successful astrological techniques have long histories of usage which may go back as far as the ancient Greeks and Babylonians, the composite chart is by these standards brand-new. It probably has its origins in Germany in the 1920's, but it only came into use when John Townley introduced it in America in the early 1970's. Unlike the plethora of other new and often doubtful techniques which were being tried out during this period, the composite chart turned out to be so consistently and often brilliantly revealing that it was taken up by virtually every astrologer and a generation later has become a standard technique for analyzing personal relationships.
The concept is so simple it's a wonder no one thought of it earlier. A composite chart is simply a horoscope made up of the mutual midpoints between the natal charts of two different persons - the composite Sun is located at the midpoint between the two natal Suns, the composite Moon is at the midpoint between the two natal Moons, and so on. What results is a new, artificially-produced horoscope that literally describes the interface between the two personalities: the shoreline where one leaves off and the other begins. Like any coastline, it may be even and easygoing at one point and convoluted and forbidding at another. And, like any shore, it is subject to fair and stormy weather.
This astrological "weather" is the repeating transits of the planets and Lights which, as in the case of physical coastlines, have literally created the shape of the coastline to begin with. It is a mathematical phenomenon, described by the numbers themselves that are used to construct the composite chart to combine the two personalities. For instance, we know each person experiences regular daily, monthly, and yearly transits to his/her natal sun, giving that point a rising and falling rhythm. The composite sun is precisely that point where any of these rhythms shift over from one person to the other, shift from relative increase to decrease and vice-versa, one to another. It is really a critical, phase-shift, handshake point where one person (usually without knowing it) hands the ball to the other with a mutual shift of energy and responsibility. It is a point of mutual empowerment, the swing point where one gives over to the other at the most primal level. As the transits roll by, the individual solar rhythms continually recreate this transfer point establishing a separate, mutual rhythm unique to the relationship. This happens not only to the two individual's natal Suns, but to all their other natal bodies as well; and when you connect the points, you begin to describe this composite shoreline.
Like any natal chart, this physical/mathematical combo takes on a life of its own which may be quite different from that of the two individuals from which it has sprung. Two persons who both have easy aspects between the Lights may find they have a composite Sun/Moon square which may be quite difficult to deal with - difficult in ways with which the two are natally quite unfamiliar which makes them wonder just what is going on. Conversely, persons who may have quite a struggle by themselves in certain areas, may find that the relationship all by itself seems to magically free them to function better than either could alone. It is here that the relationship does indeed become revealed as more than the sum of its parts.
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Since the composite chart (and by extension the relationship itself) is created by the combination of repetitive individual cycles and their mutual exchange, the longer two people are together, the stronger the effect of the composite chart as it ingrains itself and achieves a momentum of its own. This makes good aspects more reliable and makes bad habits repeat themselves and very much contributes to the long-term strengths and weaknesses of a relationship. Since both strengths and problems in most relationships tend to sustain themselves at an unconscious level and are thus often difficult to control or change, the composite chart becomes a matchless tool for throwing light on the workings of the relationship and opening it to conscious development and growth. It is probably the first thing both partners should look at when establishing a relationship. They should continually refer to it as time goes by during which they will become much more in control of how the relationship develops and will be less likely to be carried away by circumstances outside of their understanding.
It may be said that some marriages or partnerships were meant to be and others not meant to be. Composite charts most certainly indicate this immediately, but using them to begin with gives both partners a kind of control they previously would not have had and enables them to fix to some extent that which should otherwise have been avoided and to maximize benefits that might otherwise have been taken for granted. It enables both partners, if they are willing to take the individual responsibility, not to be controlled by this strange third party, that a relationship itself becomes, but to step in and out of it to their mutual advantage. This is actually quite a modern, revolutionary idea, particularly where marriages are concerned. In the past, both partners have been considered to be slaves to the marriage which must by agreement dominate their lives, however well it is working out. The Reformation's message was: if it doesn't work out, divorce. This new view of relationships, in recognizing that any two persons are dealing with a powerful but manipulatable third party made up by the interaction of the two of them, allows both to slip out and become individuals when it is better to do so and to ride the power of the relationship when both will benefit. Just as the composite chart itself describes the subtleties of mutual empowerment, the use of the technique further empowers those involved and allows them further control over their lives which otherwise would have been unwittingly denied them. In astrology, as elsewhere, knowledge is power: blind fate is the child of ignorance, and destiny is an afterthought of what you should have considered (and acted upon) in the first place.
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