Relationship Astrology: Introduction
February brings Valentines Day and every year, relationship astrology becomes a keen interest for many of us. What do the stars say about the two of us as a couple? Am I with the right person? Are they ‘the one’? Will I ever meet the right person and, if do, how will I know? Human relationships are complex and relationship astrology can be complex too.
There is so much in our natal charts that affects how we relate to each other. Our emotional needs (Moon), what we find attractive (Venus), our sexual preferences (Mars), the condition of our seventh house (relationships) – and many more. Then, of course, there are the relationship astrology techniques we astrologers use to analyse your chances of finding romantic success. Synastry, composite charts – there is enough out there to write several books on the subject – let alone a blog post.
So, in this article, I’m going to focus on the Sun. As I’ve written many times, the Sun represents your basic character and, where relationships are concerned, if someone doesn’t get who you are – or like who you are – then no amount of favourable lunar connections or Venus and Mars action is going to alter that situation. I’m sure many of you reading this will be familiar with such tropes as ‘Gemini should never date Scorpio’ (should any one date a Scorpio? Discuss) or you may have been advised to avoid dating someone whose Sun sign is in a square aspect to your own.
The problem is, unless you’re some kind of astrological stalker, Your partner’s Sun sign is usually all you have to go on in terms of relationship astrology. You’re unlikely to have had a full astrological appraisal of your romantic situation done before your first date – or even your wedding day. Some of you may also be in relationships that ‘shouldn’t work’ – but they do.
How does that happen? As I said before, it’s complex – but it’s also surprisingly simple – because it’s down to the basic things all Sun signs have in common – aspect, element, polarity and mode of expression. When it comes to relationship astrology it’s the basics that count and the basics mean looking at how Sun signs connect – and what happens to our relationships when they do.
Opposites attract. It’s not just a law of physics but an astrological one too. The opposition aspect is an aspect of relationship – two halves that make a whole – yet, at a fundamental level, how does the connection between two Sun signs that are at opposite sides of the zodiac actually work? The answer lies in what they have in common – rather than the things that set them apart.
Sun signs in opposition – Aries & Libra, Taurus & Scorpio, Gemini & Sagittarius, Cancer & Capricorn, Leo & Aquarius and Virgo & Pisces – share the same polarity. The pairs will be either ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’ and this means they will share basic qualities of introversion or extroversion, being reactive or pro-active or reflective or expressive.
So, what you have, are opposites connected by a fundamental similarity in their nature. Forceful Aries and diplomatic Libra or sensitive Cancer and pragmatic Capricorn may be very different, but each pair has a bond because their basic motivation comes from the same place. However, that’s not the only connection that exists for Sun signs in opposition to each other.
Opposing signs also share a mode of expression. This is important in relationship astrology because it means that you express yourself in a way that’s compatible with your opposing sign. I’m not going to give a lecture on the nature of the modes here, but, basically, the energetic cardinal signs (Aries/Libra, Cancer/ Capricorn) form two opposing pairs – as do the stable fixed signs (Taurus/Scorpio, Leo/Aquarius) and the flexible mutable signs (Gemini/Sagittarius, Virgo/Pisces).
This is important because sharing the same mode of expression can enable you to go after the fundamental things you want in life in the same way – if you can agree on what they are. Having your Sun signs in opposition is no guarantee of relationship success (any more than any other combination of signs), however, you have the potential to be a real ‘ying and yang’ couple.
Even allowing for your differences of character and approaches to life, you may discover you’re able to put those differences to one side as there is that invisible thread that always seems to pull you together. You’re also likely to be aware of how one partner has the qualities the other one lacks – and this can make you feel a sense of being ‘complete’ as a pair. However, there will be times you may feel a sense of pulling apart.
This may happen simply because your Sun signs – and so your basic characters – are the complete opposite of one another and it’s understandable that, at times, you need to be yourself. There will be moments you feel that difference, but there is always that thread pulling you back together. You understand the differences between you, but, more than that, you truly appreciate the things your partner brings to the relationship.
The Dynamic Duo
If this aspect between your signs was to be featured on the TV show “Snog, Marry or Avoid”, the likely advice would be to avoid. Yet, so many relationships between people with their Sun signs in square aspect are strong, stable, happy and long lasting. How does that work? Again, relationship astrology is useful in identifying the underlying connections between signs that are squared and supposedly at odds with each other.
Signs that are squared (three signs apart) are connected by their mode of expression. This is the key to understanding how signs that are in a square aspect to each other can – and do – get along. Cardinal squares (Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn) share a basic desire for an active partnership, fixed squares (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius) share a basic desire to have a stable and loyal partnership and mutable squares (Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, Pisces) need a mentally stimulating relationship with lots of variety.
The rules that govern relationship astrology are similar to the astrological rules you may already be familiar with. There is no doubt that there will be tension in relationships where your Sun signs are squared. However, that’s not always a bad thing. Squares are also dynamic and, more positively, your relationship is likely to reflect that as together you will feel the need to be active. This is not a relationship where either of you will slump on the sofa. Incidentally, if that does happen it’s likely to result in the relationship feeling out of kilter to one of you – with inevitable results.
There will be arguments as both of you will be more than capable of fighting your own corner, but there is also a sense that you are driven to make this relationship work – if both of you are prepared to do so. That’s the thing with signs in square aspect. It may seem, on occasion, that one partner ‘carries’ the other in some way and it’s even possible to have a competitive situation where you work against each other. Compromise is often a basic requirement when your Sun signs are squared.
However, in the best cases – and there are many of them – compromise allows both partners to play to their strengths, but it’s important to state that this requires the square’s energy to be channelled in the right direction. It’s a relationship you will always need to work on – and one way or another you will be a hard working couple – but the hard work will be worth it in the end. Those who are prepared to make the effort will have a strong, exciting and compelling relationship.
Same Sign Relationships
When you are in a same sign relationship you’re starting from a position where, according to relationship astrology, you have so much in common. Almost too much in common, as this is a relationship that could become too intense – or simply tense. On the plus side, this is a partnership where you share polarity, mode of expression and element – so from day one you will find yourself in agreement about so many things. What could be better than that?
This kind of relationship can seem like a ‘two become’ one situation – the best outcome being you have a strong relationship that acknowledges the autonomy of the individuals involved. However, there may be occasions where it becomes difficult to keep your sense of self, so it’s a good idea for those in same sign relationships to maintain their own interests to remind themselves of who they are.
Are same sign relationships successful? I know very many that are, however there does seem to be a catch. It’s often down to the nature of the sign involved and the nature of your sign is governed by its element. The emotionally based water signs (Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces) seem to be able to be able to relate in same sign relationships with ease. The solid earth signs (Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn) also seem able to settle into common ground.
However, what of the cerebral air signs? Relationship astrology suggests that Gemini, Libra and Aquarius may enjoy a mental connection and a fascination with each other but may find a same sign relationship too superficial to survive – unless that’s exactly what they want out of a relationship. It does, as the saying goes, take all kinds of people. A Gemini pair may feel they have found their twin, a Libra pair may feel balanced and Aquarius may feel accepted – quirks and all.
What of the fire signs? I think this may be the element that’s most demanding when it comes to same sign relationships. Sharing a sign is not a soft option – in relationship astrology it’s a powerful and dynamic aspect. So, let’s imagine an Aries pair. Passionate yet competitive. Leo? You can’t both be the centre of attention – yet your relationship could be. Freedom loving Sagittarius? That could work well – as long as you give each other space.
So, in relationship astrology, same sign relationships can prove to be ideal – but also a challenge. Their success really does depend on the nature of the signs involved – but even more so on how well the individuals express their solar characteristics. We may share our Sun signs – but we’re not all the same. Tensions can arise, for example, when the individuals concerned express the less positive traits of their signs so care needs to be taken to ensure you cultivate self awareness at the same time as you nurture your relationship.
Taking Things Easy
Everyone loves a trine – especially in relationship astrology. When your Sun signs trine (four signs apart) you share both polarity and element and this means you feel so at ease with your partner it’s like putting on your comfortable old shoes. Everything’s a good fit. It’s a harmonious pairing and you are highly compatible – sharing polarity makes you temperamentally suited and your shared element makes your basic natures easy to blend.
This seems like a really cosy arrangement, however it does have its drawbacks. In relationship astrology we look at the aspects between signs to assess how much drive and passion there is in a relationship. The trine aspect is notoriously laid back. It doesn’t possess the intensity or action of the harder aspects and this is often visible in trine relationships in several ways.
First, it was probably easy to get together. There may not have been anything standing in the way of your relationship. Your relationship may have developed quickly – that may sound surprising as in relationship astrology we often assume that relationships between Suns signs with a trine aspect lack urgency. However, the issue is sometimes not a lack of urgency but lack of obstacles. It felt good so you did it. It’s a receptivity thing.
A trine doesn’t mean there is no passionate attraction – you’re just as into each other as anyone else. However, there may be issues with how the relationship plays out longer term – the main problem being it may be easy for the relationship to fall into a rut. I have to say that for some of you a predictable relationship may not be a problem. The earth signs (Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn) seem okay with that and the water signs (Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces) enjoy the trust and emotional intimacy they would find hard to replicate elsewhere.
The Fire and Air signs, however, love a spark – physical or mental – and while that spark is easy to ignite with both fire and earth Sun signs in a trine aspect, it may be more difficult to keep the flames burning. The flames may simply go out. Boredom can become the enemy of easy going relationships – especially for those of you have a short attention span or those of you who need a little edginess in your relationships to keep you interested.
Just Good Friends
Those friends who become couples – or couples who are best friends? They won’t all have their Sun signs ‘next door but one’ but the sextile aspect certainly has the potential to combine friendship with romance in an easy going, harmonious and communicative relationship. Relationship astrology (and astrology in general) can sometimes overlook this aspect. It is surprisingly powerful and associated with making connections – often of the romantic variety.
Though it’s sometimes considered to be a weak version of the easy going trine, as far as relationship astrology is concerned, that is not so. Hooking up with someone whose Sun sign is two signs apart from your own is often stimulating because you are different enough to be interesting. You share polarity – the one thing you have in common and this is enough to give you a shared connection because you’re comfortable with someone who is as outgoing – or as reflective – as you are.
However, it’s your differences that make the relationship a potentially great one. This aspect between your Sun signs has the potential to create a loving and supportive relationship as you are highly complementary to each other and receptive to your partners qualities. There is unlikely to be any competition between you and, though this aspect is not as immediate or easy as the trine aspect, it is potentially as comfortable – but without the boredom factor.
One of the reasons for this is you are likely to share interests and develop a partnership based on true friendship. You don’t share elemental qualities or modes of expression but when put together you find common ground that enables you to put your relationship on a solid base. This often gives you a good working partnership with each partner feeling they can rely on their ‘other half’ in many ways – without incurring some of the dependency issues that you find in some relationships.
In a relationship based on a sextile aspect between Sun signs, both individuals find it easy to be their best selves. This will usually require some work to be done by both of you, but you give each other great encouragement and that’s not only great for your personal development but good for your relationship too. This type of relationship can be great for your confidence. You often have shared interests and a willingness to actively support your partnership in every way possible.
The Odd Couple
Relationship astrology wouldn’t be doing its job if it didn’t take a close look at the ‘odd couples’ of this world – and there’s a lot of you out there. Of course, none of you will consider yourselves ‘odd couples’ and you would be quite correct to do so. When we talk about odd couples in relationship astrology we’re usually talking about couples whose Sun signs have nothing in common. How do those relationships work?
Relationship astrology’s odd couples have two typed of Sun sign connection. The quincunx (five signs apart, e.g. Gemini/Scorpio) or the semi-sextile – adjacent sign relationships such as Virgo/Libra. Both of those situations have a distinctive ‘flavour’ to them so I’m going to begin by looking at the quincunx first as it is is many ways it’s the most challenging. That may seem a bold statement as there are many couples who have long and stable relationships with this aspect between their Sun signs – what’s the problem?
The problem is often that there are often significant barriers for such couples to overcome. On occasions those barriers may be external – maybe a culture clash or religious differences. However, it’s most likely that, despite the initial attraction, they simply have little in common. More than that, the partners may find it difficult to understand where the other is coming from. Their motivations may be mismatched and it’s all to easy for one partner to feel wholly misunderstood by the other.
There is also a more difficult issue for those in relationships with Sun signs in this aspect, and it’s one of adjustment. To live with the stresses this aspect implies requires adjustment – however the compromises made are not always equally shared. One partner may feel they are giving up more than the other. There may be power struggles and dependency issues. There may also be the underlying fear that the relationship could founder at any moment.
However, many of these relationships survive long term because the partners learn to accept that their difficulties are the price they pay for being together. This can lead to partners leading separate lives in some cases – or being co-dependent in others. It’s as if there is no easy or comfortable resolution that can overcome the differences between such partners – so they simply accept their imperfect relationship as the best there is.
Relationship astrology’s other ‘odd couple’ are those who have neighbouring Sun signs. Again, you have nothing in common except you live next door to each other. However, we’re talking about relationships not adjacent homes – though I suspect some couples with this aspect between their Sun signs may feel there is more than a wall between them. You may ask how they got together in the first place – and it’s a valid question. All I can say is, who hasn’t ever peeked over their neighbours fence out of curiosity?
And that’s the problem. Those of you with neighbouring Sun signs can be easily drawn together out of curiosity – it’s as if proximity gives you something in common. However, with a total absence of anything in common – and differences that are hard to overcome – relationships between adjacent Sun signs can be uncomfortable for both partners. You function differently, you have different tastes, different values – different everything. Yet, there is, in this potentially deeply negative relational situation – the spark of something more positive.
This kind of relationship can often be considered a learning curve – possibly for one partner more than the other. You can’t ignore or avoid each other – and there is the feeling that this person could be useful to you in some way. So you try your best to get on with each other despite your fundamental differences. To do this often takes a great deal of work on your own issues – often to do with your own attitudes and relationship needs.
You may even discover that your neighbour has something you like – and it’s not just the shade of paint they chose for their front door. It’s a relationship where both parties have the opportunity to learn from each other, but, more importantly, they have the opportunity to learn more about themselves. There is, of course, no more (or less) of a guarantee that the relationship will succeed or fail than there is with any other combination of Sun signs – that’s simply human nature.
However, relationship astrology would suggest that either your relationship with your neighbours becomes so intolerable that you decide to move house – and move on – or you decide that maybe they’re not so bad after all – as long as you maintain clear boundaries between you. Boundary issues can be a part of this type of relationship, so having a healthy attitude towards them may be the thing that saves the day.
@ Sara Shipman 2021