We are thrilled to introduce our newest Happiness Series contributor, Marlena Applebaum. She will be writing for us about compatibility in relationships, matters of the heart, spirituality, astrology, and how to find happiness through greater understanding and empathy for who you are. As you know, at Happiness Series, we love acceptance. Start with acceptance and move from there… Marlena has quite an impressive background in counseling and in astrology, including an M.A. in Counseling Psychology, and she is available for in person or on the phone or skype sessions. Check out her website for more information.
“A mystic will seek to penetrate the veils through constant and arduous meditation practice, whilst the lover, through his feelings for the beloved, will arrive there in his heart. In this sense, human relationship is spiritual practice, with benefits of equal value.”~Robert P. Blaschke
Astrological relationship analysis is one of my favorite areas of study. While astrological knowledge certainly can’t give any guarantees about whether a relationship will be “successful” or not, it can provide insights into the everyday dynamics of a relationship as well as give some clues about the underlying spiritual journey two people have together. Below is a compilation of gems I have gleaned from my studies as well as observations taken from client experiences and personal experience.
The three main ways I investigate relationships:
- Synastry: This is the comparison of two individual’s natal charts to understand how they affect one another, including aspects between the charts (for example: A’s Sun is conjunct B’s Moon) and house overlays (for example: A’s Sun falls into B’s 11th house, B’s Moon falls into A’s 7th house).
- The Composite chart (the midpoints of A’s & B’s respective planets and angles): This is an illustration of the relationship itself, i.e., the third entity that is created when the two come together (interpreted like a birth chart, but representing the couple as a unit).
- Birth chart analysis — to determine individual propensities in relationship.
Some of the key elements I look at when considering attraction, harmony, and endurability:
- 7th house overlays (the 7th house represents the partner, as well as how the native relates within partnerships): for example, what part of A’s chart falls into B’s 7th house and vice versa; and noting what other houses are overlaid by the other person’s planets and angles — showing main areas of focus in the relationship (such as home, career, finances, or spirituality).
- Ascendant contacts — represent strong attraction indicators and show love & affection.
- Descendant contacts — represent the marriage bond and partnership needs.
- Aspects between personal planets, especially the Sun & Moon, and Venus & Mars —show yin/yang complementarity, attraction, and compatibility.
- The ratio of harmonious to disharmonious aspects between the two individuals and within the composite chart — harmonious aspects give the feeling of being loved effortlessly, whereas disharmonious aspects require growth and change. It is said that a two-to-one ratio of harmony to disharmony is desired to make the relationship sustainable, yet too much harmony can lead to stagnation and lack of personal and spiritual growth. The challenge is working out how to tally this ratio. I am still experimenting with different methods.
- Whether the chart rulers are in aspect and if so, what type of aspect is it, as this represents a key dynamic between the two individuals.
- Whether the chart ruler of one is conjunct the horizon of the other — represents a strong compatibility indicator.
- Sun conjunct Venus in the composite chart — indicates a foundation of love in the relationship.
- The aspects that the composite chart makes to the two individuals charts — shows how each individual experiences the relationship.
- Planets in the 7th house of the composite chart, or the lack thereof.
- Nodal & vertex contacts — to consider past life links, karma, and “fate”
- Saturn trines between the two show longevity; the Saturn placement in the other’s chart or the composite shows where there is responsibility, seriousness, and duty towards the other, but can also represent limitations or heaviness in the relationship.
- Transits and progressions for the individuals as well as to the composite to consider timing and ripeness/receptivity towards love and relationship.
- The Sabian symbol for the degree of the composite chart ascendant — illustrates a subtle, symbolic flavor of the relationship.
- Aspect configurations between the charts and in the composite — reveals special features about the relationship.
These points might seem like exacting requirements, but it is amazing how often couples do indeed exhibit many of them (of course not all are seen in every relationship)!
Opportune times for love (some examples):
- Transiting Jupiter through the 5th house (romance), 7th house (partnership), and 8th house (emotional and physical intimacy/bonding) — correlates with opportunity and abundance in these areas.
- Transiting Jupiter conjunct Venus — correlates with an opportunity for love
- Progressed Venus trine progressed Jupiter — same as above.
- Progressed Moon conjunct natal Venus — the heart is ready.
- Synastric timing: for example, progressed Sun of one conjunct natal Venus or natal Moon of the other or progressed Ascendant conjunct natal Ascendant of the other — shows a synchronization between the two, and often reveals the time of meeting.
Key elements to analyze in the birth chart:
- The sign on the 7th house cusp and planets in the 7th — signify the type of partner who will be a complement, and in general, the experience the individual has of partnership, as well as the way one is as a partner, oneself. Also, is the individual owning or projecting their 7th house of “other”?
- The ruler of the 7th house — provides further information of the above.
- The condition of Venus, who presides over love and attraction, gives ideas about inherent relationship dynamics for the individual.
- Traditionally the sign, placement, and aspects of the Sun and Mars in a woman’s chart give clues about the partner she will seek.
- Traditionally the sign, placement, and aspects of the Moon and Venus in a man’s chart give clues about the partner he will seek.
- The sign and placement of the asteroid, Juno (Hera), who presides over marriage, gives information about what is desired and needed in a marriage partner.
Some of the best information I have found about synastric comparison and the composite chart:
“No amount of love can continually offset lack of harmony in a relationship… It is highly recommended that a minimum ratio of two harmonious aspects to one disharmonious aspect be present when comparing the planets of two individuals involved…” and
“The composite chart is the ‘bottom line.’ If the composite chart is very harmonious, whereas the planetary comparison is not, there is a possibility the relationship can survive… It would also be wise to remember the two-to-one ratio in composites.” ~Nance McCullough
“The Sun, ascendant, or Moon of partner A in partner B’s 7th house makes B feel that A is his/her ideal for a mate; i.e. you are my epitome!” ~Nance McCullough
“Regarding angular love ties (Sun, Moon, Venus, Jupiter of one partner in the 1st and/or 7th house of the other partner) — these ties are felt immediately and are very strong from the beginning… Planetary conjunctions and close trines of the Sun, Moon, Venus, or Jupiter and trines to the ascendant have no impact at first, but every time these two individuals are together, the love between them grows more and more until ‘death due us part.’” ~Nance McCullough
“Sun-Moon conjunctions are the Cadillac of all synastry aspects for marriage, with the trine between the Luminaries, or a Sun-Ascendant conjunction, tying for second place.”~Robert P. Blaschke
“Sun, Moon, Venus, or Mars in one horoscope in the sign ascending or descending in the other horoscope is an astrological testimony of a strong attraction… Unless the Ascendant or Descendant of one horoscope combines with the planets of the other by sign, it is doubtful that the attraction would result in marriage.” ~Lois Haines Sargent
“Contacts with the Ascendant are rather physical and instinctive, and always instantaneous. Contacts with the luminaries are deep and virtually potent.” ~www.astrotheme.com
“The stronger the love tie, the more ecstatic the union. Once you have experienced a fantastic close Venus tie with someone’s Sun, Moon, ascendant, or Jupiter, you will never be satisfied with less.” ~Nance McCullough
“I always take an aspect between the ruling planets (i.e., the rulers of their Ascendants) as a testimony to the fact that the two people are likely to have a relationship of extraordinary intensity and importance… The close interaction of the ruling planets’ energies can be seen as indicative of a particularly specific symbol of how the two people interact with each other… in the vast majority of such cases, all of the other levels of interaction shown in a comparison will be secondary to the intense type of interchange symbolized by the aspect between the rulers.” ~Stephen Arroyo
“The composite chart describes the entity of the relationship itself. When you consider the aspects between the composite chart and the birthcharts, concentrate on the effect that the entity of the couple, symbolized by their composite chart, has on the individual birthcharts.” ~Steven and Jodie Forrest
“It appears that the aspects to the Sun are the heart and soul of any partnership, and, as a composite Sun goes, so goes a relationship.” ~Robert P. Blaschke
“According to many sources, lack of a 7th house composite planet precludes marriage.”~Nance McCullough
“[L. Edward Johndro] felt that the Vertex was the electrical, the Ascendant the magnetic and the MC the gravity axis in a natal chart.” ~Alice Portman
“The astrologer should look for any synastric aspect configurations… Just as marriage vows state that both parties take each other for better or for worse, so too, do shared configurations manifest in either a positive or negative fashion… If a Grand Cross, T-square, or Yod are formed by synastry, then the couple, just by being together, will encounter unexpected stress factors in the relationship… When a Grand Trine is produced by synastry, couple can appear to withdraw into a cocoon, a sort of private world… Couples with synastry Stelliums live as if they are one unified being, made whole by their love.” ~Robert P. Blaschke
Some of the best information I have found about past life links and karmic relationships:
“Ancestral and family karma is found in the 4th house, the karma of loss in the 8th house, and spiritual emancipation in the 12th house… The deepest karmic lessons are usually accompanied by pain and suffering. Can the astrologer see this type of karmic lesson between a couple? Yes, it would be found with an overlay Sun, Moon, or Saturn in the 8th house, with the planets also in synastric square or opposition.” ~Robert P. Blaschke
“When I see a synastric conjunction from one person’s Light or planet to the partner’s natal IC, I interpret it as a past life family connection… The 12th house symbolizes the most recent past life and a synastric conjunction with the 12th cusp is an indicator of two souls having been together in their most immediate past lives. However, the South Node represents the ongoing spiritual growth for as many as seven past incarnations. If the astrologer sees a synastric conjunction to the South Node, he knows that two souls have had a long history.” ~Robert P. Blaschke
“The South Node conjunct a planet is supposedly very karmic and implies that the South Node individual owes the planet individual a debt or service from a previous life.”~Nance McCullough
“One of the jokes that I told is how one, when seeing that another soul has planets on their South Node, instinctively reaches for their wallet and asks, ‘how much do I owe you?’” ~Robert P. Blaschke
“When astrologers see synastric or composite conjunctions to a North Node, they can view this as a karmic credit. In the case of synastry, however, the planet person will repay the Node person in some positive way. When found in the composite chart, couples will have positive karma… As a general rule, the astrologer can interpret synastry conjunctions to the South Node that are not also accompanied by a conjunction to the North Node, as the karma of conscious completion… If there is also a North Node conjunction, astrologers can view this as an ongoing soul connection, continuing into the next life together.” ~Robert P. Blaschke
The Vertex: “This sensitive degree in the horoscope has been associated with fated love, and appears to symbolize relationship brought into one’s life for karmic purposes, such as for the birth of a child, or a life-changing transformative journey together.” ~Robert P. Blaschke
Astrology A Launguage of Life: Volume IV – Relationship Analysis by Robert P. Blaschke
Skymates II: The Composite Chart by Steven Forrest and Jodie Forrest
Love Formulas~2 by Nance McCullough
How to Handle Your Human Relations by Lois Haines Sargent
Astrology Karma & Transformation: The Inner Dimensions of the Birth Chart by Stephen Arroyo
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About the Author: Marlena Applebaum, M.A. in Counseling Psychology, offers astrological counseling for psycho-spiritual exploration, understanding, and transformation. Astrology utilized in this way can be a missing key for deep inner work and can shed light on the path towards greater harmony with the natural rhythms and cycles of one's life journey. Marlena’s approach to astrology is to share the potentials and opportunities she sees while exploring how the symbols and archetypes are manifesting uniquely for each individual. Astrology is a wonderful tool for self-knowledge and a help in times of challenge or transition. It can facilitate tremendous insight and peace, as well as provide timelines for certain archetypal or energetic influences affecting our lives and inner states of being. Consultations, written reports, and gift certificates are available — for birth chart exploration, current influences, relationship analysis, and timing for important events — in person or over the phone or skype. For more information go to marlenaapplebaum.com.