Teachings in Metaphysical Astrology

January 2004

Assessing Compatibility Between Charts: Part One

After November's huge number of posted articles, I'm going to write a shorter piece for this column's issue.

I recently met a woman who touched my heart. (Unfortunately, the dance with her only lasted a month, when she decided to return to an incomplete past relationship.) That is what has inspired me to write about astrological compatibility this time.

1. The Elemental Approach

One of the most common methods of chart comparison is to see if people are of compatible signs, by element. This means that Air signs are compatible with other Air signs and Fire signs, Fire signs with Fire and Air, Water signs with Water and Earth, and Earth signs with Earth and Water.

People using this approach often compare one person's Sun sign to the other's Sun sign, and may go on to compare Moon to Moon, etc.

The major weakness in this technique, from my experience, is to be understood by the following story:

A couple came to me for a chart comparison. Even at first glance, they seemed very similar in temperament and nature. When I looked at their charts, indeed, they had the same proportion of the four elements, and just going by sign, looked completely compatible.

But the reason that they showed up for a session was that they were preparing to divorce. The general compatible feeling was admittedly enough to get them to marry, but there was a hidden "fatal flaw" in their astrological inter-connection.

Their "compatible" signs never meshed by degree. For those just learning about astrology, we look at the distance in degrees of an aspect between any two points, which is called the orb of the aspect, to see if the aspect is within orb, i.e. close enough to count.

For example, if my Sun is at 5 degrees of Cancer, and my Mars is at 6 degrees of Libra, the orb of the square aspect between them is one degree, which makes this a strong square.

In comparing charts, it is important (since one is comparing ten planets to ten planets) to use orbs no larger than 5 degrees, paying more emphasis to aspects within 3 degree orb, at least.

So if my Sun at 5 degrees of Cancer meets someone who's Sun is at 15 degrees of Cancer, the orb of 10 degrees is far too wide to make for a strong connection between us.

Another story:

A well-known astrologer visited me in the early 80's to see my "microcomputer" (as PCs were called at that time) and my astrology software. We decided to look at his comparison (inter-aspects) with his girlfriend. Much to his surprise, almost no aspects showed up between them.

He had used wider orbs than the software, and was shocked to see how few of the mutual aspects were at all strong. In fact, I heard that within a year they had broken up.

Back to the first story. Almost all of the planets in the couple's charts didn't form aspects to the other's planets within orb. So I asked them, "Do you ever feel like passing ships in the night?" And their response was, "All of the time."

They did divorce, but due to similar temperaments, stayed good friends.

I place great emphasis on elemental compatibility in my chart comparisons, but I always use tight orbs (5 degrees or less), and don't count compatibility just by sign.

2. The Lack of Connections.

Another method of great value is to examine which planets in each person's chart have no connection, or only a difficult connection (square, quincunx, semisquare, sesquare), to the planets in the other person's chart.

(Note: because of the "magnetic" energy of the opposition, and the successful relationships that I've seen with couples with Sun opposite Sun, for example, I do not include the opposition in the difficult connection category.)

What this shows is how many parts of a person are "left out" in interacting with the other person.

If more than 30% of the planets (and I also examine the Ascendant and MC) are left out, the relationship is less likely to flourish.

The procedure is to look at the aspects (within orb) that each planet in the first person's chart makes to the other person's chart. And make a list of the connections and highlight the ones where no compatible connection exists. And then to switch and see all of the aspects that each of the second person's planets make to the first person's chart. (You can get very different results each way.)

It is particularly crucial that each person's Sun, Moon, and Ascendant form a connection to the other person's chart. If two or more of these points (in one person's chart) have no connection to the other person's chart, success in relating is much more challenged.

The more mature the person, the more they can cope with absences such as these. But in a young couple, such differences are likely to be very problematic.

Note: I would rather see a difficult connection than no connection between major points, in general.

3. Focal Planets .

Those who have read many of my articles already know how to assess whether a planet is focal -- i.e. emphasized and strong in the chart. A review of my ideas on focality can be read by clicking here.

I extend my concept of focality for this purpose to include strong positive aspects (conjunct, trine, sextile) to the Sun, Moon, or Ascendant by a planet.

When a person has the same focal planet as another, there is an inherent compatiblity between them.

It is as if "they came from the same planet."

For example, my mother and eldest sister both have Sun conjunct Jupiter, I have Sun trine Jupiter, and two of my closest friends have Jupiter rising, and my new girlfriend has Jupiter trine her Ascendant.

We all have a deep and implicit connection based upon this planet's strength in our charts.

All of the qualities that we associate with Jupiter are mirrored in each other, and this creates both rapport and comfort.

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