Contacts between the North and South Nodes of one person chart to any planet on the other’s chart strongly suggest that there has been a former past life connection, and you’ve come together again for a reason. Why? We don’t really know—it could be because of some unfinished business where there was great love or great hate, injury, or simply a need to complete a relationship that felt unfinished. Because this contact has meaningfulness to it, I’d give it a green light.
And what about sex? What are Venus and Mars doing in the two birth charts and in the comparison/synastry chart? If they are conjunct each other, or in any aspect, there will be strong sexual attraction. However when Venus is squaring Mars in either the birth charts or in comparison charts there are classic male/female problems which are particularly stubborn to change. There could be unconscious family influences that undermine or influence the relationship negatively. I tend to see Venus Squaring Mars as one of the red flags, although it often doesn’t show up immediately in a relationship.
What about the stability of a relationship? Can it weather the hard times? This is when Saturn or Jupiter contacts are good, and Uranus poses a threat. Uranus tends towards de-stabilization and likes change and freedom, so again, strong Uranus contacts to planets in either the birth or comparison chart are unsettling.
What about the major life transits such as the Saturn Returns at 29 and 59, and the Uranus Opposition around the age of 40? You guessed it—change wants to happen at these life portals, so many relationships either start or end at these major turning points. Divorces are common at these times because there was some reason why the relationship wasn’t for the couple’s highest good after a period of time. However, marriages at these times or slightly afterwards have a better track record because you’re marrying into who you’ve become, not who you were. Change is in the air at these times.
Here’s another scenario: a client is confused and unclear about their feelings in a relationship and can’t understand why. This is the hallmark of a Neptune in transit time. When you or your partner has Neptune strongly aspected in your chart, expect to be unclear. It is best not to make any decision about the relationship at this time, but rather to accept what is and to reflect on it. Wait. Classically, astrologers have always said “Never sign anything on the dotted line until a Neptune transit has passed.” The left brain is simply not working the usual way and misunderstandings abound. Go to psychotherapy or find other ways to inspire yourself with your Neptune aspects and transits.
All of these planetary aspects are particularly powerful if they are conjunctions, a little less so if they’re squares or oppositions. Sextiles don’t count so much in this. But it’s a good idea to do this: look at your chart and see what kind of a relationship partner you might make, and then look at your partner’s chart. Do you both have difficult relationship aspects in your birth charts? That’s a consideration. When you look at them together, do you have a balance between the grace and grit? Ask yourself what you’re really looking for in a partnership: is it stability, sexual excitement, or nurturance? Does the other person have the capacity to give it to you?
Let’s say you’re a person who wants stability and nurturance and can’t stand arguments. You might be wise to find someone with water and earth planets—especially some good Cancer and Moon aspects or 4th house conjunctions. Or let’s say you like passionate conversations (maybe someone would call that an argument but you call it a conversation) and you end up making love afterwards. You’ll be best with the air and fire signs, and maybe some 8th house activity, with Scorpio or Pluto undertones in the chart.
There are an equal number of gracious green flags to look for in relationships, but we tend to focus in on the difficult ones and the ones we can’t see. But in general, contacts between Venus, Jupiter and Neptune to another’s personal planets feel good, and can be idealistic. With Venus, Neptune and Jupiter well placed you can make an intention to make the relationship work—and it will—even when the grit is knee deep.
A well placed Venus helps too—like one person’s Venus contacting the other’s Moon. Once you know the basic nature of the planets and signs it becomes somewhat intuitive. However remember not to isolate one aspect and doom the relationship—you need to meditate on the charts and layer the information bringing in all the pro’s and con’s.
Making the intention to hang in there and work on a relationship is what marriage is about—it’s a 7th house characteristic. But anyone—no matter what the combinations of red flags or green flags you have—can still make a relationship work if you both have the intention to make it work and that includes looking at your own unconscious projections, expectations, and what falls beneath the radar. If you’ve got some strong addictions, then you are essentially married to your addiction first, and the partner comes second. It can work, but it’s not a marriage made in heaven and when a crisis comes, especially during a strong life transit such as a Uranus Opposition, it may break apart.
Our relationships reflect back to us our own character. We fall in love with ourselves through others…why? Because we are seeking to develop in a relationship to that which is incomplete in ourselves. And when you compare two relationship charts you see that what is blocked or difficult in one chart will be mirrored in the other. We attract what we need; even when and especially when, it’s unconscious. Alchemists would say that it’s a wonderful opportunity to grow and become oneself through the experience of another and we can do that—or we can place all the blame on the other person’s shoulders and be blind to our part.
And so it goes on. You’ll find your own observations of grace and grit in relationships as you work on couple’s charts. Put two charts side by side, or have your computer create a bi-wheel. Comparison of two people’s charts aren’t terribly easy because you really have three charts here; each person and what arises from their chemistry; the third. We can see that third in a composite relationship chart. I put more emphasis on the comparison and I’m sure there are other red and green flags that other astrologers look at, including the time of the commitment or wedding. But this is what I do; these are my priorities that I consider, and there are other worthwhile things to ponder. (Ask another astrologer; we each have our own priorities in looking at charts.) But perhaps the most important thing to remember is the phrase my husband, who is a potter, inscribes around many of his pottery bowls: “Love is the only ingredient that really matters.” www.elizabethspring.com