Introduction to Synastry Astrology
What is Synastry?
Synastry is the system of comparing the astrological charts of two (or sometimes more) people to determine how well they will get along in the different areas of their lives.
But, before you can compare one person's chart with another's, you need to know a bit about basic astrological principles.
There are twelve signs in the zodiac. Each takes up 30 degrees of the full astrological chart, which is represented as a circle of 360 degrees total. Everyone has all the ten planets in his or her chart -- Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto -- and each planet is in one of the twelve signs as well as one of the twelve houses; placement depends on when and where the person was born. Even though you may be a Libra, or a Sagittarius, or a Gemini, that sign only describes where your Sun is. Your other planets can be -- and often are -- in completely different signs.
The twelve signs, twelve houses and ten planets are the basic components of every chart . Your synastry report compares the relative positions of the planets and the houses between your chart and the chart of someone else.
By looking at one person's chart, and measuring the distance in degrees from that person's planets to the planets in another person's chart, we can make certain predictions about where the strengths and weaknesses of the relationship are: whether it has staying power; in what ways the people involved are compatible or incompatible; which of the partners will take the lead in certain situations; and what problems these people may have to overcome in the course of their involvement with each other.
The measurements we use to make these determinations are called aspects. The main aspects employed in synastry analysis are the conjunction, sextile, square, trine and opposition. When two planets are in conjunction, they are "within orb" (the closer the better) of being in the same degree of the same sign. When sextile, the planets are within orb of 60 degrees (two signs) apart; when square, 90 degrees (three signs) apart; trine, 120 degrees (four signs) apart; and opposition, 180 degrees (six signs) apart. Generally speaking, sextiles and trines are considered easy aspects. Squares and oppositions are usually more dynamic or tension producing aspects. Conjunctions can be either easy or difficult to handle, depending on the planets involved.
For instance, if John's Moon (his feelings, domestic life and moods) is trine Jessica's Venus (her asthetic sense and romantic urges) the planetary energies combine quite nicely and we would expect these two to relate easily and to be sensitive to one another's feelings. But if John's Mars (his aggressive, competitive urges) is also square Jessica's Mercury (her mental processes, communications and ideas) these planetary energies clash, and we can expect them to have some heated arguments because his aggressive urges are stirred up by her words and ideas.
So, does this mean they will or will not get along?
It means that, like almost all couples, there will be areas of life where things hum along nicely with virtually no problems, and there will be other areas of life that are occasionally challenging.
Often, when people look at their chart comparison for the first time they will notice some negative aspects between their charts and become worried. But this is not necessarily cause for concern. Even the most idyllic match usually shows some areas of discord. Every relationship needs some dynamic tension if the individuals involved are to grow. A bit of challenge also brings excitement into the relationship. Without sexual tension, for instance, you can have a lovely friendship, but it may not go beyond that. What's important is that the comparison in general shows compatibility.
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Comparative House Placements
In addition to looking at the aspects between the planets in the two charts, we observe where the planets of one person's chart fall in the houses of the other.
No matter what your sign is, all the other signs -- Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces -- are represented in your chart as well. Your chart will show your rising sign or Ascendant on the first house cusp, and the other eleven signs on the cusps of the other eleven houses. (Please note: many people have what are called "interceptions" in their charts. If you have an interception, there will be two signs, exactly opposite one another, that do not rule any house. Instead, the signs either directly before or directly after the intercepted signs will rule two houses each. Interceptions are quite common and have no bearing on relationships that we know of. Ask your astrologer if you have an interception in your chart. ) Assuming for the moment that you have Aries rising, your second house will then be Taurus, your third house will be Gemini, your fourth will be Cancer, your fifth, Leo, and so on, throughout your chart. But, if you have Gemini rising, your second house will be Cancer, your third, Leo, your fourth, Virgo, and so on, throughout the signs.
So, if you are a Taurus (or, in other words, if you have Sun in Taurus) but your rising sign (also known as the Ascendant or First House cusp) is in Aries, your Sun will fall in your second house. Because the second house represents values, both tangible and intangible, your life force (Sun) will be focused to a great extent on what you value. If your rising sign is Scorpio, your Taurus Sun will fall in your seventh house (the house of marriage and important partnerships) and your life force will be strongly focused on meaningful relationship. If your rising sign is Capricorn, your Taurus Sun will fall in your fifth house, the house of romance, partying and children, and your life force will be focused on these issues.
Just as your planets fall in different houses -- and affect you in different ways, depending on the houses they are in -- so the planets of the people in your life will fall in different houses of your chart . And the energies of these people will affect you in different ways, depending on which of your houses the planets fall into.
So, getting back to John and Jessica again, if his Venus (asthetic sense, romance) falls in her seventh house (marriage and other important partnerships) he is likely to impress her as a exactly what she's looking for in a marriage partner. But, if his Saturn (limits, responsibilities, hard lessons) falls in her eleventh house (friends, hopes, associations) she may have to adjust her social life or aspirations somewhat in order to make a go of her marriage to him, and there may be occasional clashes between friendships and marital responsibilities.
What To Look For In A Synastry Comparison
The most important considerations in a synastry comparison are aspects to, and comparative house positions of the Venus, Chiron, Neptune, Jupiter, Mars, Saturn, and the Ascendant/Descendant(first and seventh house cusps). Typically, Mars and Venus show attraction. Chiron shows a marriage, Jupiter shows a successful union, and Neptune shows staying power, a long-lasting love. Sun, Moon, Descendant and Saturn show emotional/ego satisfaction and commitment potential. The moon's nodes and the tenth house/fourth house are considered next in importance. Mercury and Uranus can play supporting roles and when well-aspected, can add to the quality of a friendship/relationship; but in and of themselves they will not determine any major impact on the people involved, unless it's a purely business relationship or neighborhood acquaintance.
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