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Can you relate to these scenarios?  You meet a potential love interest and immediately begin counting the ways your charts interact. “Your Moon makes a trine to my Ascendant; my Moon conjoins your Venus.  And your Ascendant forms a sextile to my Midheaven.” You look forward to getting to know this person better.

Or perhaps it’s the other way around.  You meet someone and realize that your chart forms many squares and challenging aspects with the other’s chart.  Your Ascendants are not in aspect; your Venus is square to his moon; his Sun squares yours.  Uh-oh; you think this relationship will go nowhere and maybe it’s best to move on.

If you have experienced these situations, has either resulted in a positive and long-lived relationship?  Is it possible that the first meeting resulted in no more than a 15-minute conversation while the second meeting resulted in another get-together and then another?  Of course.  It’s equally possible that neither relationship took off or that both did or that both worked for a while and then fizzled.

You may wonder why comparing aspects doesn’t work more successfully.  In my opinion, it’s not because analyzing aspects isn’t helpful.  But we are neglecting the rest of the chart.   Perhaps we don’t fully comprehend all the permutations of any given symbol or aspect. And even more to the point, we’re neglecting the whole person by taking the chart out of context. To be sure, these aspects between charts are important—but they do not tell the whole story.

What if I show you six charts of people without telling you anything about the people behind the charts, except to say that two of the folks have been married to each other for a long and relatively happy time, and two have been married a long time but not on good terms.  The remaining two do not have a relationship to anyone else in the group. Could you pick out the happy couple, the miserable couple or the two who are unrelated by looking at the aspects between the charts? It’s not so easy, is it?

We know that looking at a chart on a piece of paper reveals little unless we can put it in some kind of context. Even if we are sure that the chart is that of a person, there are so many considerations: is the person male or female and how does gender make a difference in expectations and behaviors?  What is the person’s socio-economic group, education level, birth order?  What family, cultural and generational themes does the person echo or reject?  Does the person exhibit aberrant behavior?  These considerations have a bearing on our attitudes toward others, our relationship needs, our expectations of marriage/partnership but they may not be so evident in the chart.  In addition, the chart does not necessarily indicate the lessons the person has already learned or the kinds of conscious decisions the person makes that can counteract a challenging aspect or placement. Furthermore, the person’s world view colors their approach to relationships. For example, if you believe in karmic relationships, does your definition include the idea that you might need to stay in an unhappy relationship because of the lessons you think you need to learn in this lifetime?  If you believe in fate, do you wait for “the universe to provide”? Our beliefs and our heritage greatly influence our expectations and what we bring to the relationship.

Human beings are complicated, full of contradictory needs, complete with experience, beliefs, behaviors and memories. We carry those from our own lives as well as many that are passed to us through our immediate family, our ancestors and our peers.  We bring everything we are to our relationships.  And “everything we are” is not necessarily so clearly shown in our charts.

Some of the happiest couples I know have many challenging aspects between their charts.  And some of the most miserable have rather pleasant trines and sextiles in the inter-chart analysis.  To assess which relationships will take root, which will flourish and which will wither from a few aspects or from a few compatible astrological placements between charts is an iffy proposition.  In my view it is far better to use astrology to understand ourselves, our attitudes toward relationships and our partners.  Astrology can be very useful in helping us through rough patches in our relationships.  It can help us with our sense of timing both in readiness for a relationship and our ability to cope with the changes that come with the passing years.

“Well, this is all well and good,” some of you may be thinking.  “But I know I’ll never have a long and fulfilling relationship because I have Neptune in my 7th house and Venus conjunct Uranus.”   Let me assure you that if you want a relationship, difficult placements or aspects will not necessarily keep you from having one.

First, don’t overlook the fact that these symbols have many meanings. In addition or in place of a need for freedom, Venus-Uranus aspects can also suggest the need to keep things exciting, the penchant for unconventional relationships, or an ability to maintain freedom within the relationship….and more. Neptune in the 7th house can suggest, among other interpretations, idealization of the partner but surely this isn’t always such a bad thing!  There are over 600 people in AstroDatabank with AA-rated birth data (from birth certificate or birth record) who have Uranus, Neptune or Pluto in the 7th house. Queen Victoria of England, long-married to her beloved Prince Albert, had Uranus AND Neptune in her 7th house (in Koch and whole sign systems). Several people listed in AstroDatabank have Venus conjunct Uranus, considered a challenging aspect by many writers. Those with this aspect who have had long-term marriages include writer/humorist Erma Bombeck, actress/photographer Candice Bergen and skater Peggy Fleming.  Surely we all know people with these “difficult” aspects or positions who have had similarly long relationships.

Second, we can all change the way we cope with our challenges and expectations represented in those difficult aspects or positions. In August 2006, Rob Hand was interviewed on Pluto’s demotion as a planet on “All Things Considered,” an NPR broadcast. The interviewer commented that a friend had his chart done several years ago and was told that the position of Pluto in his chart indicated that he would never get married. Rob responded wisely:

“No planet is capable of indicating absolutely that a person can’t get married. All a planet can do is indicate what a person has to do in order to get married. Sometimes that requires so much work on behalf of the person that they’re not likely to do it. But it’s not the planet that preventing it; it’s the person’s own inclinations.”

So look around you at some of the long-lasting relationships you know.  Notice how many have challenging planetary relationships to their beloved’s chart.  Aquarians can and do marry Virgos; Capricorn moons and Aries Suns can have a long committed relationship and your Mercury in Gemini can have great conversations with your loved one’s Mercury in Pisces. People with Uranus or Neptune or Pluto in their 7th house can and do commit.  And just because your Jupiter is on the other person’s Sun and that person’s Jupiter is conjunct your Sun doesn’t guarantee that you’ll even like each other, never mind that you’ll begin a long and fulfilling relationship.

In the workshop on April 17th, we’ll talk more about relationships and relationship timing. Although our session is short and the subject matter quite complex, I hope to give you something to chew on as you meet potential partners or use astrology to gain better understanding of yourself and your significant other, both individually and in tandem.

Pat Taglilatelo holds NCGR-PAA Level IV and ISAR CAP certifications. She sees clients, teaches, and is Editor of AstroDatabank (see the collection online at http://www.astrodatabank.com). Active in the Boston Chapter for many years, she currently serves as Education Director; formerly she was Editor of the Chapter’s newsletter. You can reach her at pmtag@comcast.net or at 781-395-6509.