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Introduction to Relationship Astrology - 1 - written by Philip Graves Jan 29 2003 What is relationship astrology?

In relationship astrology, we consider the astrological factors influencing human relationships and all forms of human interaction. There are several distinct types of factors that are influential, and when these are combined they give a complex picture as to the probable characteristics of the relations between any two individuals. In this first part of the article, we are going to consider factors within the birth chart, in isolation from any linkages between the birth charts of two particular people. 1. Compatibilities and incompatibilities between the relationship needs and behavior of the two individuals as indicated in their respective birth charts. The birth chart of each individual yields a great quantity of information of significance to that individual's needs and behavior in relationships generally, independently of the impact of his or her astrological connections to any other particular person. Anything and everything in the birth chart may be significant, since the personality is a composite of all factors therein, and relationship needs and behavior ultimately stem from the overall personality, rather than small fragments of it. However, there are certain factors that are especially important specifically to relationship needs and behavior, as follows: (a) The Moon sign and house, and aspects to the Moon. The Moon is a keystone of the emotional nature, which of course impacts crucially upon personal relationships. It also highlights instinctual responses, the mother-image, and needs for being cared for and for security. In a man's chart, it is often projected onto women more than consciously integrated into his personality, and therefore indicates by its sign placement and aspects characteristics of women to whom he is attracted. (b) The Venus sign and house, and aspects to Venus. Venus strongly conditions the individual's needs, behaviour, experiences and outward projections connected with feelings of love, as well as with beauty and aesthetic sensibilities. In a man's chart, it can describe his ideal of female beauty, and complements the placement of the Moon to show characteristics of his ideal female partner. (c) The Mars sign and house, and aspects to Mars. Mars affects the energies and impetus to action and activity of the individual - their level, timing, the form that they take (physical, mental, impulsive, reserved, etc.), and the areas of life in which they are manifested. It influences the manner in which the individual will make approaches to others, and the individual's physical behavior in a relationship. In a woman's chart, considered together with the condition of that other great male archetype the Sun (her father-image), it can describe the kind of male energies, and therefore of man, to which she is attracted. (d) The Neptune sign and house, and aspects to Neptune. The condition of Neptune influences the individual's romantic sensibilities, areas of enhanced sensitivity, and potential for dreaming and self-delusion. (e) The sign on the cusp of the 5th house, planets tenanting the 5th house, and aspects to these planets. These affect the attitude towards and behavior in relation to giving love and experiencing fun. (f) The sign on the cusp of the 7th house, planets tenanting the 7th house, and aspects to these planets. These affect the attitude towards partnership and needs from a potential or actual partner. They can describe characteristics of the type of partner to whom one is attracted and whom one attracts, regardless of whether or not these characteristics are at a conscious level one's reasons for being attracted to him or her. Very often people are attracted to others whose Sun, Moon or Ascendant shares the sign on the cusp of their own 7th house. (g) The sign on the cusp of the 8th house, planets tenanting the 8th house, and aspects to these planets. These affect the quality of the individual's more passionate and sexual feelings, and the individual's needs and behavior in this area of experience. Whenever considering the sign on the cusp of a house as an indicator, it is recommended also, by those who believe in the traditional rulership connections between signs and planets, to consider the placement of the house's dispositor in the chart. A house's dispositor is the ruling planet of the sign on its cusp. For instance, if Gemini is on the cusp of the 5th house, look to the sign and house placement of and aspects to Mercury in the birth chart, as an additional indication of the individual's needs and habits in connection with love and fun - matters influenced by the fifth house. Once you have obtained a picture from the assessment of all these factors of the relationship needs and behavior patterns of each individual whose relationship you are considering, then compare the two people's pictures, and look for areas where an indication in one is clearly compatible or incompatible, on a practical level of relating and understanding, with an indication in the other. You will thus be able to pinpoint likely sources of problems and, conversely, of harmony, that arise

purely and simply from objective incompatibilities and compatibilities (respectively) between the two birth charts as indicators of relationship requirements and habits. 2. Objective similarities and disparities between the key indicators of personality in the respective birth charts. Even when the factors that affect the relationship needs and habits of each individual have been considered, it is worth taking a broader look at the overall differences and similarities between the personalities of the two individuals. (a) Calculate the prevalence of shared signs among major chart factors. Make a list of the signs occupied by the Ascendant, Descendant, Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, North Node and South Node in each of the two birth charts. Then for each sign in the first person's list that you come to, see if it occurs anywhere on the second person's list; if so, cross them both off and count one matched pair. Keep doing this until only non-paired signs remain. If the number of pairs counted was considerably greater than the number of non-pairs, then on an objective level the two people have much in common. If there were as many non-pairs as pairs, or even more non-pairs than pairs, then the two people have little in common. The more signs in one chart that are not shared by a major factor in the other person's chart, the greater the risk of areas where understanding will be altogether lacking. Consider specifically which signs are not shared, and how the lack of each of these signs as a significant component of one person's personality will diminish mutual understanding. Where the opposite sign but not the same sign is present in the other person's list, this is significant compensation since opposite signs are inverse expressions of the same principle and usually understand each other fairly well. Then try this whole exercise again without the Descendant, Jupiter, Saturn or the nodes, to see how much the two people have in common at the most basic levels of personality. (b) Calculate the elemental and constitutional balances in each chart, and compare between the charts. Calculating the elemental balance means working out the relative prevalence of Fire, Air, Earth and Water. Calculating the constitutional balance means working out the relative prevalence of Cardinal, Fixed and Mutable. Conventionally there are rather crude methods for doing this, typically allocating an equal weighting to most planets' signs and ignoring their houses altogether; but a more refined and thorough one of my own devising which takes into account the relative significance of each factor in the chart is as follows: Factor: Sign weighting: House weighting: Ascendant 32 Descendant 16 M.C. 16 I.C. 8 Sun 64 32 Moon 64 32 North Node 16 8 South Node 8 4 Mercury 4 2 Venus 8 4 Mars 4 2 Jupiter 16 8 Saturn 8 4 Uranus 4 2 Neptune 4 2 Pluto Ceres 1 Vesta, Pallas (each) (each) Hygiea, Interamnia Europa, Eunomia Psyche, Bamberga (each) (each) Juno, Amphitrite (each) (each) Chiron, Pholus 0 0 (i) Elemental balance: For each of the above factors, allocate the values indicated to the element corresponding to its sign and house places, using this guide: Element: Signs: Houses: Fire: Aries, Leo, Sagittarius 1st, 5th, 9th Earth: Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn 2nd, 6th, 10th Air: Gemini, Libra, Aquarius 3rd, 7th, 11th Water: Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces 4th, 8th, 12th (ii) Constitutional balance: For each of the same set of factors, allocate the values indicated to the constitution corresponding to its sign and house places, using this guide:

Constitution: Signs: Houses: Cardinal: Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn 1st, 4th, 7th, 10th Fixed: Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius 2nd, 5th, 8th, 11th Mutable: Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, Pisces 3rd, 6th, 9th, 12th Once you have finished, you will have values showing the strength or prevalence of each element, and each constitution, in each person's chart. Assess how similar or different the elemental and constitutional balances are between the two charts. If in one chart one of the elements or constitutions is particularly deficient or accentuated compared with its status in the other chart, then there is a clear objective difference between the two people's personalities in respect of this element or constitution. While often this will result in the two people having to make adjustments to accommodate each other's personalities, such differences can also in some instances work well as a means whereby the strengths of one personality complement those of the other and counter-balance the weaknesses of the other. The two individuals can in this way feel more complete and effectual together than either does alone. Synastry In this second part of the article, we are going to consider the astrological factors connecting the birth charts of two particular people, which are known as synastric factors. These linking factors largely determine the potentialities for the quality, extent and areas of manifestation of the interactions between the two people concerned, independently of their objective natures and needs as individual people (covered in the first part). They are therefore often known as the subjective factors influencing the relationship. It is worth remembering that synastric factors are not evenly and mutually felt by the two people involved in the same way, since they consist of the factors belonging to one person's chart being conditioned and affected, for better or worse, by those in the other person's chart with which they are connected; and the other person in turn will feel the factors in his / her chart being conditioned by those in the first chart with which they are connected. It is precisely because for each person there is a different set of factors in the other person's chart acting as agents of altered behaviour and perception, that neither person experiences the interaction in the same light; and what may for one person be a very positive linkage may in the reverse direction feel like a burden, or go by almost unnoticed. 3. Synastric house overlays connecting the two people's birth charts. Draw up a vertical list for the first person of the zodiacal signs and degrees where each of his / her twelve natal house cusps are situated. Then look to the second person's luminaries, planets and lunar nodes at birth, and place them within the houses of the first person, according to which house they would fall into by their zodiacal sign and degree position if they were in the first person's birth chart. Remember that if they are within three degrees of the cusp of the next house after the one they are in, they may effectively be considered equally powerful in that house. Then draw up a like vertical list of the second person's house cusp signs and degrees, and fit the first person's luminaries, planets and lunar nodes within it. This combined information yields 24 synastric factors: twelve showing the houses of the first person's chart into which the second person's significant non-house-cusp factors (two luminaries, eight planets, two nodes) fall, and twelve showing the inverse. Just as in a birth chart, the house occupied synastrically by any chart factor in one person's chart will show the area of life in which it is inclined to be manifested when it is given expression in the interactions with the second person. E. W. Neville talks of planets being 'captured' in the other person's houses, as though the house concerned had somehow stolen them away and preset the nature of their expression in accordance with its particular filtering effect. In synastry, the house placements of the Moon and Venus are of particular importance to emotional and physical relationships, while that of the Sun influences the Sun person's sense of his / her own identity as reflected in interaction with the house person. Any planets in the other person's 1st house will also accent the qualities of the planet concerned in the behavior, manner and apparent sense of identity of the planetary person, when he / she interacts with the house person. The house placement of Mercury will naturally influence the scope of the Mercury person's verbal communication, and that of Mars the direction in which the Mars person's energies will be expressed. Any planets in the other person's 5th house will influence the planetary person's inclinations towards and perceptions of feelings of love and fun, according to the nature of the planet concerned. The Moon, Venus or Jupiter in the 5th are extremely favorable influences for the flow of positive emotion. Any planets in the other person's 7th house will influence the planetary person's inclinations towards treating the house person in a partnership context, and perceptions of this situation. The Sun, Moon, Venus or Jupiter in the 7th house favor marriage or a long-term partnership. Any planets in the other person's 8th house will connect the planetary principle concerned for the planetary person to the darker, more forbidden and powerful undercurrents of the house person's life-force, and are therefore strongly associated with sexual attraction, colored by the nature of the planet concerned. Luminaries, personal planets, and especially benefics in the 1st, 5th and 7th houses are generally very favorable indications for any relationship. Saturn will experience feelings of inhibition or restriction but also disciplined application in whatever area of life, in connection with the other person, is indicated by its

synastric house placement. Saturn in the more practical houses such as the 2nd, 4th, 6th and 10th is easier to handle than in the more emotional and personal houses, where a love relationship is concerned. 4. Synastric interplanetary aspects connecting the two people's birth charts. Draw up an X-Y aspect grid (similar to the one suggested for the birth chart in my 'Introduction to aspects' article), with vertical columns for the first person's Sun, Moon, planets, North Node, Ascendant and Midheaven (the latter two only if the birth time is known to be accurate) along the x-axis, and horizontal rows for the second person's equivalent factors along the y-axis. Be sure to include the sign and degree position (preferably to the nearest decimal point of one degree) of all factors when labelling the columns and rows. It is very helpful when drawing up aspect grids to be in the practice of drawing and instantly recognising glyphs (astrological symbols) as shorthand for the full wording of the planets and signs, since it saves a lot of space. You will now have a two-dimensional grid full of empty boxes that represent the connections between the sign and degree positions of the luminaries, planets, nodes, Ascendant and Midheaven in one chart with those of all the equivalent factors in the other. Use a calculator to determine the number of degrees and tenths of a degree separating every factor listed in the first chart with every factor listed (in turn) in the second, and fill in the number into the appropriate box in the grid in each case. Then determine which of these numbers of degrees of angular separation qualify as significant aspects, and for those which do write down the glyph for the aspect concerned (if known) in the same box, or alternatively simply write out in word form beneath the grid the full name of the aspect between Person A's factor concerned and Person B's factor concerned. It is important to keep a note of whose factor is which, since in synastry, as noted earlier, the experience is not equal for the two individuals. The recommended orbs of allowance for the major synastric aspects are more limited than those for the birth chart, with the conjunction being capped at 6, the opposition at 5, the square at 4.5, the trine at 4, the sextile at 2.7, the semisquare and sesquiquadrate at 1.8, and the semisextile and quincunx at 1.5. It is questionable that any more minor aspects whose recommended orb is lower than 1 should be used at all. Typically, you will still find around 20-30 synastric aspects to interpret. There are many factors in relationship astrology; and when working out the aspects alone, with twice as many planets involved as in a single birth chart there is a potential for a very large number of factors, so it is essential to restrict analysis to those which will be likely to be felt as significant and omit from the equation those tiny influences sure to be drowned out by the greater smog of the rest and consideration of which would only obscure the greater overall picture. There are some interplanetary aspects that are particularly helpful to harmony and love, and to physical attraction, and others that can be particularly problematic. See below for a quick description from experience and observations of the more common suspects. Conjunctions and easy aspects (sextiles and trines) will feel quite different from the harsher interactions associated with squares, oppositions, semisquares, sesquiquadrates, semisextiles and quincunxes. It is worth referring to the quick guide to the effects of the different types of aspects in my 'Introduction to Aspects' article. Because human needs from relationships are complex, including the resolution of internal conflicts and complexes, indicated by the birth chart or caused by childhood experiences, it is not necessarily the case that people will be attracted to partners with whom they share a large number of easy synastric aspects. While trines, sextiles and benefic conjunctions may promote friendship and easy rapport, they may equally induce laziness, complacency, and a lack of interest in pursuing the relationship to a deeper level. The needs for different qualitative characteristics in a relationship will vary widely from one individual to another; and very often people are drawn to relationships wherein the potentials are complicated and difficult. Aspects from Sun or the Ascendant to Venus generate or condition feelings of love and harmony, and when the aspects are easy or conjunctions they are major positive infleunces upon any relationship. Aspects from Sun or the Ascendant to the Moon connect the ego identity and general life force (Sun) or socially projected countenance (Ascendant) of the first person with the emotional nature of the second, and are also very favorable bonding influences unless the type of aspect is a hard one. Aspects from the Sun to the Sun or Ascendant show basic qualities of harmony or disharmony in the interaction between the individuals' respective personalities. Aspects from the Moon to Venus create a sublimely emotional bond, linking the general emotional nature of one person with the love nature of the other. Aspects from Venus to Venus and from the Moon to the Moon also accentuate and condition the emotional interaction between the individuals, but with regard to like emotional principles. Hard aspects between these like principles may cause emotional tension and conflict. Aspects from the Sun or the Ascendant to Mars create a distinctly energetic interaction between the two people, usually manifest on a level of physical activity in some form, but in certain circumstances may cause arguments, the assertive energy or Mars clashing with the ego of the Sun. Aspects from Mars to Mars are even more energetic, with a greater risk of clashes where hard aspects are concerned. Aspects from the Moon to Mars are generally very favorable, connecting the emotional realms and instincts of the Moon person with the energetic self-assertion of the Mars person. Aspects from Venus to Mars are particularly associated with physical and sexual attraction, since they link the Venus principle of beauty and love with the Mars one of physical energy; and in this instance all types of aspects are favorable, including squares and oppositions, whose more conflicting inherent energies make for a magnetically appealing challenge to be grounded in this arena of life. Aspects from the Moon or Venus to Neptune are generally very pleasant

emotional influences, sensitising the interaction to the more subtle, romantic and otherwise unseen realms of feeling and awareness, though with the potential for self-delusion particularly applying to the Moon or Venus person in receipt of the Neptune contact to his / her emotional principle concerned. Aspects from the Moon or Venus to Pluto add a dark intensity and power to the emotional sphere influenced by whichever of the first two factors applies. Relationships with these contacts often are characterised by a compulsive quality. All aspects to Mercury impact upon communication, especially verbal communication. All contacts to Jupiter will promote optimism, bonhomie and humor in the areas affected by the factor aspected by Jupiter. All aspects to Saturn act as restrictive, dampening, but often stabilising and grounding influences upon the interaction. Sextiles and trines, and conjunctions to the benefics, are a lot easier to handle than the harsher aspects, and conjunctions to the malefics. The overall balance of Saturn contacts can make or break any relationship. A relationship with little in the way of synastric aspects to Saturn tends to feel deficient in stability and structure; it may be light and easy, but there can be too little to hold it together. An excess of Saturn contacts to the personal planets, conversely, makes for misery, taking the joy out of the interaction, and, where the Moon or Venus are involved, tending to deaden the emotional expression, though also providing a stable context for it. Saturn conjunctions and hard aspects to the Sun, Mars, Uranus or Pluto are generally very unwelcome, troubling influences. Conjunctions and hard aspects from the Sun or Mars to Pluto are potentially equally problematic, inducing disruptive or obsessive energies. Contacts between Uranus and the Sun, Ascendant, Mars or Jupiter introduce a certain unpredictability into the interaction, and a risk of sudden separation and other upsetting changes. Harsh contacts to Uranus, like those to Saturn, are among the most unwelcome synastric influences on a relationship, their ultimate tendency, beyond the introduction of a certain degree of welcome excitement, seeming to be to keep people apart from each other. Aspects from the Moon or Venus to Uranus introduce an element of excitement and unpredictability into an emotional relationship, which can be positive; but where the hard aspects are concerned can tend to cause emotional separations, or at least to be very unsettling. Aspects to the Moon's Nodes, especially conjunctions (and their concurrent oppositions to the opposite node) often create a feeling of strong karmic bonding between people, in accordance with the planets involved and the nature of the aspect. There can be a sense with North Node conjunctions of mutual assistance towards evolutionary development, while with South Node conjunctions one of a more comfortable, unchallenging, familiar and reassuring feel to the connection. It is worth remembering that the experiencing of any synastric linkage of a factor in one's own chart with one in the other person's, although to a certain extent operating by itself, will tie into the whole configuration of natal aspects to the factor concerned in one's own birth chart, and be experienced as a modifying deviation from one's experiences as an individual in isolation. It is not possible to completely separate the experience of a synastric aspect from the lens onto it of the person experiencing it, this lens being shaped by his or her innate nature. Composite Charts 5. Now we are going to consider the astrological factors in the chart for the two people merged together as though one, which is called their Composite Chart. These factors indicate qualities of the relationship itself that are experienced equally and evenly by both individuals, as though they were thinking, feeling and behaving as the single entity that is their relationship. These factors, like synastric factors, are entirely subjective, bearing no ostensible relation to the objective similarity or compatibility of the two individuals involved; but they differ from synastric factors in that where factors in the Composite Chart are concerned the subjectivity is equally shared by both partners and does not link into their respective birth charts at all. The composite chart is as though an autonomous entity into which the two individuals are subsumed on an experiential level. It is particularly active when close relationships are formed, often to the degree that the individuals' senses of their separate identity take second place to it; but it has influence upon all relationships of whatever nature, including business, family, friendship and even enmity. Think of every human individual as a complex biological and physical organism with its own unique astrological blueprint from birth that charges it up vibrationally in different areas of its nature (corresponding with the luminaries, planets, nodes and angles) in different ways (the signs and houses). Everyone shares the same characteristic set of charged astrological factors (the luminaries and planets), but each factor is subject to a variation on its typical pattern of charge in accordance with the influence of the zodiacal sign and degree it occupied at birth. When two people's astrologically conditioned outwardly radiated personal fields, on whatever physical or metaphysical planes may apply, meet, then a third field, the composite field, takes form on the basis of the averages or midpoints of the variant patterns of charge for each like pair of factors in the two individual personal fields. Thus, the composite field features the characteristic generic blueprints for the radiation or charge patterns of each of the luminaries, planets and Moon's Nodes; but the variations on these patterns for each such factor in the composite chart are determined by the nearer midpoint (the average by the closer of the two possible connecting routes around the zodiac) between its zodiacal positions in the two individual birthcharts. For example, if the first person has Venus at 19 Pisces and the second has Venus at 23 Cancer, the 19 Pisces variation on the characteristic Venus blueprint manifest in the first person's outwardly radiated field meets with the 23 Cancer variation in that of the second person; and the two variations average out in one corresponding with 21 Taurus, which is their nearer midpoint around the zodiac. The two people's composite field thus takes form with a variation in the characteristic Venus charge blueprint corresponding to the influence of the zodiacal position 21 Taurus. By the same logic, the composite field is characterised by its own variations of the charges for all the other planets, as well as for the Sun, Moon and Moon's Nodes. All this information can be represented in an astrological chart for the composite field resembling a birth chart, the composite chart.

Once the sign and degree placements of these factors have been established, the aspects between them should be calculated. Interplanetary aspects in the composite chart have a critical bearing upon the energies of the relationship itself as determined by the two people's composite field. The composite chart sign placements are of considerably lesser importance, and were even considered by Robert Hand to be possibly a mere 'abstraction'. The composite field also has its own variant form of the plane of energies corresponding with the twelve house cusps and houses. According to John Townley, the pioneering and authoritative developer of the composite chart as an analytical technique in the past thirty years, the zodiacal signs and degrees occupied by the house cusps in the composite chart should be calculated in exactly the same way as those occupied by the luminaries, nodes and planets. That is to say, the nearer midpoints of the like pairs of cusps in the respective birth charts, starting with the Ascendant (1st house cusp) and continuing around in the usual anticlockwise direction through the zodiac, form the sign and degree placements of the house cusps in the composite chart. Since occasionally the nearer midpoint of one of the later house cusps may fall on the opposite side of the zodiac from where it would be required if to remain in ordered sequence with the rest of the nearer midpoints around the zodiac, Townley recommends that in such circumstances the further midpoint is taken for the stray cusp - which will automatically entail that the further midpoint is also taken for the cusp of its opposing house. Once all the composite house cusps have been determined, draw up a vertical list of their positions by zodiacal sign and degree, ideally to the nearest decimal point of a degree. Then fit alongside it the positions of the composite Sun, Moon, planets and Moon's Nodes that you calculated earlier, according to the houses in this framework into which each falls. This then gives you a further set of significant influences in the composite chart to interpret. Whereas the interplanetary aspects in the composite chart describe the energies of the relationship, the house placements in the composite chart describe the areas of manifestation in which each planetary principle will be expressed as a characteristic feature of the relationship. The guidelines listed for interpreting the synastric house placements and interplanetary aspects in Part 2 of this article can be similarly applied to identifying the influences introduced by the composite field of the two individuals, as described by the composite chart. The main difference is that the composite chart influences affect both individuals in the relationship equally, and operate autonomously as opposed to being tied into birth chart configurations for each individual. They describe the nature of the relationship as an entity in itself, whereas the synastric aspects and house placements describe the potentialities of the two individuals as distinct, separate people for experiencing and interacting with each other. A composite chart with personal and benefic planets in the 1st, 3rd, 5th or 7th houses, conjunctions and trines involving the benefics and luminaries, and positive Mars linkages to the Moon and / or Venus, if allowed to express itself, may produce a wonderfully positive and rewarding feel to a relationship. Composite personal planets and benefics in the more pratical houses (2nd, 4th, 6th and 10th) can be very helpful in building real-world compatibility, material sharing and domesticity into relationships. However, difficult synastric connections may at any time relegate the composite chart to the subconscious background, as the individuals find from the vantage points of their own separate identities obstacles impeding or dissuading their merging and togetherness. Conversely, strongly positive synastry may bring the composite chart into sharp and clear focus, but harsh aspects between or taking in the malefics (Mars, Saturn, Uranus, and Pluto) in the composite chart can spoil the experience of the relationship itself, prompting the individuals to withdraw from it again and return to admiring each other from a safe and respectful difference. Familiarity Considerations 6. People tend to be attracted and attractive to others who at an objective level are similar to those with whom they have had enduring associations before, including parents and siblings especially, and also ex-loves to whom they were close! It is as though one projects outwardly the memory of one's connections to everyone with whom one has close ties, and thus attracts and is attracted to similar people. The attractive power of a possible mate or even good friend is strongly potentiated by this person having major astrological sign placements in common with one's parents and siblings. Understanding will seem to be deeper, and love at some unconscious level may be automatic. Where the relationship with the family member sharing a major sign placement of the person met was not so good, whether because of the effects of the sign placement concerned or for disconnected reasons, there is a real danger that the learned patterns of relating to the family member will be projected onto the newly met person quite inappropriately, as though the person is serving as an outlet for the perpetuation of this family relating problem. Sometimes such an experience can however breed new understanding and tolerance of the family member for whom they were previously lacking. Transient Influences 7. Relationships, like individuals, are not constant, but subject to the ever-changing influences of passing astrological trends impacting upon them and upon each individual involved. Difficult transits (connections made by the planets in their current real-time positions in the zodiac) to the birth chart of either individual will often alter this individual's perceptions and outward projections, the transiting planets linking in to his or her birth chart and altering both how he or she comes across to other people and how he or she perceives any emotional situation and life in general. Conjunctions or hard aspects by transit of Saturn or Uranus to (or from) the Sun, Moon, Venus or Moon's Nodes, or to the 1st, 5th or 7th houses, can cause for example, depending on the malefic planet implicated, slumps in self-confidence, vitality and personal

effectiveness (Saturn-Sun), dampenings of emotional connections (Saturn-Moon, Saturn-Venus or Saturn transiting the 5th house), and separations (Saturn or Uranus in aspect to the Moon or Venus; or Uranus transiting the 5th or 7th house). Hard transits to or from Mars may cause arguments. Neptune's involvement may cause unclear communication, false assurances and promises, and distorted perception leading to regrettable decisions to be made in connection with any relationship situation, including its seeking, entry, development, or even abandonment. Ordinary transits made by the Moon to the birth chart in everyday life have a very significant passing influence on people's moods and outward projections, which affect all their interactions at that time. Conversely, other transits can bring joy and harmony and greater confidence and effectiveness when it comes to communication and approaches made in relationships. Sometimes it is said that the transits to one's birth chart under which a relationship began will affect the entire course of the relationship. In addition to transits to the individuals' natal planets and houses, consider the temporary influences of aspects within their progressed charts, aspects between their progressed and natal planets, and transits to their progressed planets, using the dayfor-a-year substitution technique known as secondary progression. Calculate the progressed positions of the planets in each person's chart by moving them forward from their positions at birth to their positions one day later for every completed year of life (using the ephemeris). Beyond the effects of transient planetary influences to the birth chart of each individual, when the individuals become closer and their energies merge more, their composite field takes stronger form, and is more clearly subject to the influences of transits to it. In accordance with their particular nature, such transits can variously signify positive and happy times, and more awkward patches in the relationship. They may also coincide variously with times when the relationship forms or takes a step forward in its development with agreements and binding decisions made; and times of temporary separations and even the final dissolution of the association - again, according to the particular transits ongoing. 8. Consider also progressed synastry. Work out the aspects and house overlays between the progressed planets in one chart and the radical (natal) placements in the other, and vice versa, and take all these influences into account as an additional set of factors affecting the relationship at the current stage of these individuals' lives. Changes in progressed synastry can strengthen or weaken relationships over time. Conclusion There are so many factors in synastry and the composite chart combined that there will always be multiple difficult links. Whether or not the experiencing of the effects of any of these separately or all of them combined together is fatal to the desire of either or both individuals to pursue and develop the relationship ultimately depends upon the individuals concerned as assessors of what they want and perceive the relationship as providing, and what they are prepared to tolerate in order to have it. If the positive potentials of the interaction continue to allure them persuasively enough despite the negatives, they may learn to live with and work round the latter. There is little ultimately in synastry or the composite chart that definitively determines whether or not two individuals will inter-relate to differing degrees. There is plenty that will make it harder or easier, more off-putting and challenging, or more enticing, appealing and rewarding, if they do; but the decision rests with individual freedom of will. Relationship astrology is a very useful tool for describing and identifying causes of the characteristics of relationships and potential relationships, and all the subjective feelings associated with them. It has a valuable role to play in facilitating learning and understanding in anyone affected by all the conditions and qualities of his or her interaction with another person. But it does and should not dictate decisions to be made regarding relationship choices. Intuition is always a more subtle and complete assessment of personal truths, however subjective they may be, than any form of astrological analysis and exposure of their causes. If astrological analysis of relationship situations can help to resolve problems through understanding them and seeing how the subjective factors in synastry and the composite chart mould and distort perceptions, then it is to be thanked. But ultimately there is no substitute in relationship situations for listening to and responding to one's feelings, since however much it may be true that these feelings are caused by purely subjective factors, they are the feelings that one is going to have to live with if one pursues and maintains the relationship concerned. Conversely, in some circumstances it transpires that although the synastry and composite chart are very strong and positive in many or even most respects, when it comes to the individuals' objective compatibility (as assessed by their birth charts) there are serious limitations in real understanding, and on a practical level the relationship can therefore become very problematic and destructive, even while experientially it feels wonderful.