In The Loop March 2015

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Welcome to the March issue of The Astrological Association's (AA) new monthly newsletter, In The Loop. Please feel free to forward this on to friends, peers, students and anyone else you think might want to read this information or subscribe to the e-letter.

This issue the AA are giving an article from the AA Journal archives free. The late John Addey talks about Shakespeare and his reference and views on astrology and Sheila Geddes writes on synastry, and we have an interview with Gary Christen who will be giving a workshop this September at the AA Conference. In addition, we've found a science article on the thorny question of whether or not Ceres and Pluto should be redefined as planets; with NASA spacecraft visiting and exploring both objects this year, many readers will find it interesting.

I hope you enjoy In The Loop and if you have any feedback you would like to give, please email In The Loop

Wendy Stacey, Chair

This issue of In The Loop is sponsored by Lorreine Archer

Headscarf with astrological print Lorreine Archer sells beautiful astrological scarves - this scarf is a depiction of the heavens. It is 34 inch square, printed on silk twill and hemmed by hand in the UK. For more information email Lorreine here

This month's articles

Gary Christen educates us on Symmetrical Astrology Wendy Stacey interviews Gary Christen who will be giving a full day workshop at the AA Conference this September. Read More

The Practice of Synastry by Sheila Geddes. Published in the Winter 1970-71 Astrological Journal. Read it here

Shakespeare's Attitude to Astrology by John M Addey. Published in the Autumn 1963 Astrological Journal. Read it here

Sponsoring an issue of In The Loop will have your organisation/business seen by every AA member and their friends; your link will also be on the Astrological Association website. Email In The Loop for information.

This month's free audio download

Emulations and Envy: Exploring the Astrological Eris by Dr Mark Williams, speaking at the 2011 AA conference

Shakespeare's Attitude to Astrology

by John M. Addey.

"We are all confronted with it at some stage in our last year or two at school: The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars / But in ourselves, that we are underlings". (Julius Caesar, Act 1, Sc. ii)

These two lines, probably Shakespeare's best-known allusion to the subject, have helped to give the general impression, true up to a point, that this dramatist has put into the mouths of his characters every shade of opinion on the subject of stellar 'influence'. This in turn has caused most people to conclude that Shakespeare was, so to speak, a "neutral" on this issue. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In fact, Shakespeare constantly makes use of his astrological allusions to distinguish two sets of characters: those who acknowledge in their lives the Universal Order and Harmony, the rule of Justice, the dominion of Providence in human affairs, and those who believe that Man is the sole arbiter of his destiny and that every man has unrestricted freedom to do as he will and a duty to further his own interests as best he can or remain forever a fool in his own eyes.

The first of these two positions presupposes a concept of divinely established order, relationships, precedents, running throughout the cosmos, subordinating things below to those above and those above to God. The great passage which expounds this viewpoint occurs in "Troilus and Cressida" (Act l, Sc.iii., line 85) and it is worth quoting at some length because it gives so clearly the key to this aspect of Shakespeare's thought:

"The heavens themselves, the planets and this centre, 
Observe degree, priority and place,
Insisture, course, proportion, season, form,
Office and custom, in all line of order:
And therefore is the glorious planet Sol
In noble eminence enthroned and sphered
Amidst the other; whose medicinable eye
Corrects the ill aspects of planets evil,
And posts like the commandment of a king,
Sans check, to good and bad: but when the planets
In evil mixture to disorder wander,
What plagues and what portents, what mutiny,
What raging of the sea, shaking of earth,
Commotion in the winds, frights, changes, horrors,
Divert and crack, rend and deracinate
The unity and married calm of states
Quite from their fixture! O, when degree is shaked,
Which is the ladder to all high designs,
The enterprise is sick! How could communities,
Degrees in schools and brotherhoods in cities,
Peaceful commerce from dividable shores,
The primogenitive and due of birth,
Prerogative of age, crowns, sceptres, laurels,
But by degree, stand in authentic place?
Take but degree away, untune that string,
And, hark, what discord follows . . "

Note that Shakespeare here (and in the rest of the passage) views the order of the heavens as but one aspect of that same order which runs, or should run, through all life, including the activities of man, and he implies that it is the acknowledgment of this order which alone makes life dignified and civilized in the true sense.

Throughout the plays Shakespeare's nobler and more sympathetic characters uphold this viewpoint and very many of them employ astrological terms to express their beliefs - or more often simply show that they accept the tenets of our science. Among these passages are some of the most beautiful in the plays. One could quote endlessly but that is not our purpose as present; there are said to be over a hundred astrological allusions in Shakespeare and at least three-quarters of them must belong to this category.

The men who would set themselves up against this cosmic harmony (among them the conspirator Cassius whose words we began by quoting) are Shakespeare's villains, and the more deliberate their defiance the deeper their villainy. Among the foremost examples of these is Edmund, Gloucester's illegitimate son in "King Lear", who is made to declare himself at the outset-(notice that all our quotations are from the first acts of the plays, where the characters are telling the audience what sort of people they are) - in a tirade against astrology calculated to get any present-day scientific humanist on his feet and cheering:

Edmund: "This is the excellent foppery of the world, that when we are sick in fortune - often the surfeit of our own behaviour - we make guilty of our disasters the sun, the moon and the stars: as if we were villains by necessity, fools by heavenly compulsion; knaves, thieves and treachers, by spherical predominance; drunkards, liars and adulterers, by an enforced obedience of planetary influence; and all that we are evil in, by a divine thrusting on: an admirable evasion of whoremaster man, to lay his goatish disposition to the charge of a star! My father compounded with my mother under the dragon's tail, and my nativity was under Ursa major; so that it follows I am rough and lecherous' Tut, I should have been that I am, had the maidenliest star in the firmament twinkled on my bastardizing". (King Lear, Act 1, Sc.ii)

"Here Edmund shows himself the accomplished villain", says Professor Tillyard of this passage, "the man who sins knowingly, the ape but not the servant of God." There is, he conjectures, a certain "dramatic irony in Edmund's denying the influence of the stars in words of wickedness that substantiate it in a sense quite other than he intended" (E.M.W. Tillyard: The Elizabethan World. This book is strongly recommended).

Of course we know that there is a truth in Edmund's words and indeed if one thought of the heavenly bodies as merely inert, material natures, which they are not, then what he says would be true. But this is not the meaning which Shakespeare with his universal outlook had in mind in putting these statements into the mouths of his villains.

The heart and core of their sense can be expressed thus: The movements of the Great Cosmos are real symbols of the Divine Order and Harmony; from time immemorial they have been seen by the wise as manifestations of the decrees of Heaven. These decrees in their inner and spiritual aspect are called Providence, and in their outward and manifest aspect, Fate. Therefore what Shakespeare's villains are saying is that the decrees of Providence and Fate, which are in truth the workings of the Divine Justice and which are written upon the face of the heavens, can be set ruthlessly aside by the man who aspires to make himself this or that.

The emergence of this attitude was a part - the worst part - of the new spirit which arose at the time of the so-called Renaissance, when a reaction took place against the excesses of rationalism to which the later Middle Ages had run, and in favour of a type of scientific outlook, - good and necessary up to a point - which decided to pursue truth in terms of efficient and material causes only, disregarding the operation of formal and final causes in the world. The snag was that in throwing away formal causes generally they must needs throw away the Great Formal Cause which is the Divine Order and Justice of Life. It was a sad day for western man when this happened; it marked the beginning of the movement which was to see the gradual "triumph of ruthless, non-moral utilitarianism over the old world of ethical law", it was the day when he set out for Buchenwald and Auschwitz, institutions run by the natural successors of Edmund and Iago. Iago himself, although he does not mention man's relationship with the heavens (so far as I recall), has the same outlook as Edmund:

Roderigo: "What should I do? I confess it is my shame to be so fond, but it is not in my virtue to amend it".

Iago: "Virtue! A fig! 'tis in ourselves that we are thus or thus". (Othello, Act 1, Sc.iii).

The word 'virtue' here is not used in its ordinary sense, but as indicating the inborn characteristics of a thing. We use the word in this sense when we say of a vegetable, for instance, that it has had all the virtue boiled out of it. Roderigo is saying that he was born that way; Iago says this is a lot of nonsense.

Perhaps it is necessary after the last example, to emphasise that Shakespeare does not uphold the supine attitude of which Roderigo is no doubt partly guilty. Prospero is his ideal of the spiritual philosopher who acknowledges and is ready to seize the moment of beneficent stellar "influence" (The Tempest, Act 1, Sc.ii, 1.181-185) but believes that when ill aspects prevail for him the man of reason stands firm in the life of principle.

To sum up for us let us call upon J. B. Priestley, writing on Shakespeare in his "Literature and Western Man" (p.40):

"But if we consider (Shakespeare's) whole personality, which is displayed in the best of his work, he steps outside his age even while expressing so much of it. Thus it is his conscious villains, led by Iago, who are Renaissance men, believing themselves to possess boundless free will, to be the sole architects of their fate. And it is his heroes who are deeply conscious of the mysterious interventions of what they generally choose to call Fortune. In the narrower sense of the term, Shakespeare was not a religious man...but in the broader sense... we can justly call him religious. This is not simply because he has an illimitable charity of the imagination . . . , but because he recognises that life is a mystery, that man and Nature are symbolic representations, that we can feel if not think our way through a sense of beauty and goodness to a reality behind the appearances. . . "

Of course there may still be a few who would argue that we know nothing of Shakespeare's own views upon our beliefs, only what he conceived the views of others would be. We have shown, surely, that such a view is, by inference, untenable. But if further evidence is needed we refer the sceptics to the Sonnets where Shakespeare speaks repeatedly and unequivocally for himself. His use of the word "comment" in line 4 of Sonnet XV is beautifully attuned to the deepest philosophy of our science.

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Gary Christen educates us on Symmetrical Astrology

Interview by Wendy Stacey

WS: Can you tell us in simple terms what Symmetrical Astrology is and how it works?

GC: Symmetrical Astrology is a full system of astrological techniques. It stands on three legs: Incorporating major elements of the Uranian System as developed by Alfred Witte. Allowing for major additions as knowledge improves. This leg starts with the work of AH Blackwell. Symmetrical Astrology has a strong philosophical base centered around a series of articles entitled "Astrology as a Revolutionary Science", authored by Robert Hand, that represented the views of a core group of astrologers in response to the world-wide attacks on astrology from the mid 1970's forward.

In a nutshell, Symmetrical Astrology relies on many recognizable astrological techniques. The major feature is the hierarchy guiding the symmetrical arraignment of factors in the chart operating through resonance.

WS: What are the benefits of using Symmetrical Astrology?

GC: Ease of use, deep analysis and accuracy. For psychological oriented astrologers, the ability to find the deepest recesses of the psyche using tools not available in any other systems of astrology. For mundane astrologers, it provides the use of highly accurate tools that can discern any event in terms that relate to the modern world.

WS: How does this branch of Astrology compare with other branches?

GC: The work of Alfred Witte is a survey and reconceptualization of western astrology from Hellenistic Greece to the 20th Century. Symmetrical astrology represents Witte's work in a modern, conceptual form that allows for unlimited development. AH Blackwell's work brings in ideas from pre-Greek Middle Eastern sources including Babylonian concepts. The work underpinning the philosophy (discussed above) is unique and concerns astrology's current forms, its place in our culture and a possible future where astrology is once again accepted as an integral part of modern human culture.

Most forms of astrology are representative of the time and culture when they were developed and practiced. Symmetrical is appropriate for the current world culture and thinking. One of the most significant differences seems to be the use of symbolic connection in the horoscope. Symmetrical emphasizes resonance between factors in the chart, a hierarchy of where to look and what is important in the chart, relations to the Cardinal Axis and the importance of the local horizon. The use of these methods results in a deep psychological understanding of the native's inner view and outer world experience that is contained in every chart. Since this form has the ability to define external events with great accuracy, mundane researchers and financiers have prized many of the Uranian techniques Symmetrical Astrology possesses.

WS: How did you arrive at practicing this branch of Astrology?

GC: This is a harder question since I am responsible for assembling and choosing the pieces that underwrite this material. While working at the NY Astrology Center from 1968 on and off till 1974, I was exposed to virtually every variation of astrology one can imagine and most of the astrologers that developed more modern forms. I gravitated towards Uranian and Cosmobiology after a strong run with Western Sidereal and all of my peers were conversant in these forms and more.

In the late 1970's, after the public attack on astrology in the NY Times, Steve Blake, Rob Hand, Patricia White and myself (later joined by AH Blackwell) formed AGS which later became Astrolabe and published astrology software. Early on, all of the partners felt the need to reform astrology - the basic premise of astrology was clearly verified by the work of Michel and Francoise Gauquelin. However, the observation of Johannes Kepler that astrology must be thoroughly cleaned up without destroying its essence remained first and foremost in our thoughts and actions.

It was clear that the primary work of Witte really did a good job of synthesizing the Western Astrological tradition into a new, modern and useful conceptual form. Blackwell became conversant with all that was emerging concerning the Babylonian astrological tradition. He developed a new application for a chart form that is centered on the horizon, somewhat off-ecliptic and accounts for most material in the sky called a Polar Azimuthal Equidistant Projection (or PA for short). The Blackwell (and to some extent, Jim Lewis) approach takes something rooted in a culture that had definite borders and found a worldwide application for it that only modern humans, with our ability to move about the face of the earth so quickly, can appreciate.

My personal work has always been centered on these methods and I began to grow them. The work of Alfred Witte is approaching 100 years old and showing its age at a time where technological advance is making profound changes in our culture and thinking. New pre-Greek research from indigenous cultures seems to be showing more fundamental threads to our subject that transcends our Western rooted cultural bias. Basic cultural shifts require an astrology that can grow and adapt like the craft it is. Astrology will always be dependent on and reflect the culture it evolves in, but it has to evolve. Like the craft of medicine, there will never be a purely scientific style of astrology. However, astrology must begin to get itself ready to grow in a similar way to the craft of medicine. Symmetrical is, hopefully, a step along that path.

WS: What is your background in Astrology?

GC: I talked a little about that in the last question. While working at the NY Astrology Center, I declared a student initiated major and was awarded a BA in Foundations of Astrology at Livingston College (a division of Rutgers University). I helped the early NCGR, founding a chapter, organized conferences and lectures and worked on their publications. I did readings, lectured and taught astrology and was around most of the organizations. I worked as a full time corporate astrologer for a few years (Red Rooster Steel) and I have taken lots of exams and helped create certification processes. I have always manufactured tools and aids for professional astrologers. My peers were incredible and too numerous to mention and most of them have made an indelible mark on this field. The impact of microcomputers on the astrology has been a very visible and cultural transformation in the way all modern astrologers approach their work and I am proud to have been part of the team of people that created and introduced all those groundbreaking software programs. All of the astrological techno workers had to re-invent and adapt astrology for the arrival of machines. Now I am developing Symmetrical Astrology for the arrival of new cultural shifts which may have more impact than the computer revolution.

Mostly, however, doing customer relations for the NY Astrology Center and later for Astrolabe gave me a view of the entire field that isn't available to everyone. I had to listen. Listening to the needs and wants of our colleagues, their problems and technical desires has given me a sense of everything that is happening with this field. I have had the good fortune to not only serve my friends and fellow practitioners but to participate in the creation of astrology's future.

Gary Christen is currently working on his book which outlines Symmetrical, to be called "Approach to Astrology".

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The Practice of Synastry

by Sheila Geddes. Pub Winter 1970-71 The Astrological Journal

Basic principles

I am defining the practice of synastry as an attempt to discover harmony in opposing or differing components of two natal charts. It is a very useful tool in astrology, and deserves to be more widely used. It can be applied to a partnership in marriage, business or hobbies, and even to people and inanimate objects - such as a ship and its crew.

So varied are the components of each natal chart that there will almost certainly be some grounds of harmony in any two charts. Just how much harmony can be found gives the clue to whether a partnership will work or not. The charts to be compared must first be studied fully in isolation. It is not good enough to list all aspects of the charts, compare them, and then pass judgement.

In my early days of practising I once did this for a young couple who were about to be married. The charts showed no less than twenty 'good' aspects in common and I had no hesitation in predicting a lasting partnership. When it ended in divorce two years later, I was forced to rethink my whole attitude to synastry. I found the answer in the interpretation of each chart separately. I know the girl's home life had not been easy. Her birth chart revealed that she would have difficulty in making a close relationship, no matter how good the mutual aspects might be. The husband's chart showed he would be over-tolerant and would lack understanding of the situation. Clearly there is no short cut to doing synastry. It must be done very thoroughly.

The 'flavour of a chart'

It is important to ascertain the 'flavour' of each separate chart. I believe that everything which is whole or complete has a value over and above the sum of its parts. This extra quality, or 'flavour', is the key to the whole personality.

The questions to ask are: Is each of these personalities going in the same direction? What are their aims in life? Are they spiritually compatible? The questions vary in importance according to the relationship.

Let us suppose it is a business partnership. What is the aim of each partner? One might think the answer is 'to build a flourishing business'. But is might be that one partner wants to be 'his own boss', and that the other wants to do as little hard work as possible. Are these aims compatible? One must go below the surface in order to do synastry satisfactorily.

Balance between partners is very important. Do the characters complement each other, so that where one is weak the other is strong? For instance, one of them might be a poor judge of character, the other an exceptionally good one. If staff matters were left to the latter, and the former had plenty to offer in another field, this could be a suitable business relationship.

Other significators

The shaping of the natal chart is often an important key to the personality and where the shaping is similar there will be a shared outlook. This may be helpful or it may not. For instance, two people who have 'splash' shaping, showing many interests, will probably prove stimulating to each other. Charts showing a narrow outlook may mean the potential partners have nothing in common unless the planets are actually in the same houses.

Mid-points in common will be significant and should strengthen the assumption that the partnership will work well.

Anything which an astrologer uses in studying a natal chart should be compared in the charts of partners.

Interpreting the aspects

Do not overlook the fact that, even if planets are not in aspect, important ones in the same sign, or in complementary signs, will make for harmony. Important planets, of course, depend on the type of relationship you are considering. In the case of a ship and its crew, Neptune would qualify! Oppositions may provide balance and are not necessarily a cause of disharmony.

Easy aspects of Suns, Ascendants and Moons between two charts must always be considered beneficial. Moons in the same sign, not necessarily in aspect are particularly good for a lasting personal relationship. Suns in the same sign will also be good, providing that the partners do not both share the weakness of a sign - e.g. that two Pisceans do not both spend their lives daydreaming.

Of course, the planets will continue to work according to their own principles. For instance, one would consider Mercury in each chart to discover the mentality of each person. M.C. positions will be most relevant in a business partnership. It is difficult to generalize about the effects of individual aspects, because each chart, in its own right, will modify the aspects between the charts. I judge aspects between two charts as follows: -

Aspects to the Ascendant (2-degree orb only)

Partner's Sun in trine or sextile: A lasting partnership especially in marriage.

In conjunction: A nice balance, neither partner dominating.

Square or quincunx: Strain leading to struggle for domination by both partners. Opposition: Can be helpful, if the partners realise what each has to offer.

Partner's Moon in trine or sextile: Common interests and ways.

Conjunction: Empathy.

Square and quincunx: Basic lack of understanding

Opposition: Lack of deep understanding, but not so important in a business


Partner's Mercury in trine or sextile: Appreciation of the other's mentality. Square, quincunx and opposition: Lack of under' standing of the other's way of thinking.

Partner's Venus in trine or sextile or conjunction: Excellent for personal relationships. In other types of partnership, the conjunction and the opposition must be judged according to the sign tenanted.

Square the quincunx: Relationship will be unhappy according to the proportion of the Venusian influence as a whole, in both charts. These are certainly not aspects to be Iightly between marriage partners.

Partner's Mars in trine, sextile or conjunction: Excellent for business relations, as the couple will 'spark off' ideas from each other. Usually good for marriage, too, but one needs to consider where the other Mars falls.

Square and quincunx: Too much disagreement for a business partnership. This applies also to a marriage partnership except with a couple who thrive on rows!

Opposition: Decidedly nasty, and can cause breakdown in health to one partner through the cruelty of the other. In a business relationship, the partners will 'rub each other up the wrong way'.

Partner's Jupiter in trine, sextile or conjunction: Some of the best aspects for marriage partners. Aspirations in common, unselfishness towards each other, consideration of the other person's happiness first. Because of the nature of Jupiter, the so-called 'bad' aspects are not very disruptive and must be judged by the signs tenanted.

Partners Saturn in trine or sextile: Good, provided Saturn is not badly afflicted. A sense of responsibility, patience and endurance towards the partnership.

Conjunction: The partners will pull in opposite ways, unless there is a very good balance between the charts.

Square and quincunx: The same, but more so. These aspects will be less disruptive in a marriage relationship than a business one.

Opposition: this can work well in business, especially if hard work is called for. It sometimes indicates a childless marriage, or heavy marital responsibilities.

Partner's Uranus need not be considered too much in a business relationship. Being so slow-moving, it may be considered too general in influence unless it is important in a chart. However, it needs to be considered in personal relationships because of the quality of 'fatal fascination' which is such a feature of Uranus. Where it is making a close aspect to the Ascendant, this magnetism will be experienced in the relationship.

The tine, sextile and conjunction will work well, the Uranian partner being the leader - a situation which the other partner will welcome, with due regard to the birth chart, of course.

The opposition, square and quincunx indicates a life where both partners may continually squabble and jockey for leadership, but would sooner be unhappy together than apart. I have always thought the protagonists in Coward's Private Zives must have had one of these aspects in their charts !

Aspects to the Sun

I consider that the Ascendant aspects are more important in a business partnership and the Sun aspects are more relevant to personal relationships. I believe that the Sun has a basic, spiritual influence which is only revealed to intimates. The Ascendant aspects show in the face presented to the world.

Partner's Sun in opposition must have a paragraph to itself, for I feel it is my only original contribution the knowledge of synastry! I have observed many cases over the years, where Suns in opposite signs have been a very significant indicator two who were meant for each other. Very often there has been an immediate recognition of this by the two concerned. It seems to be more than the phenomenon known as 'love at first sight', and takes on the quality of the recognition of a soulmate. I am not suggesting that Suns in opposition always makes a happy marriage. But where there is much in the charts to indicate a good relationship, this is a very fine aspect indeed for a partnership. It will prove to be well above the level of a good, 'working 'bread and butter' marriage.

Partner's Sun in trine or sextile: Good aspect for lifelong friendships and close personal relations.

Square and quincunx: Needs careful judgment, depending on signs and house placement.

Partner's Moon: As in relationships to the Ascendant opposition brings difficulties, perhaps making it impossible for a couple to live together without a great deal of compromise. One or both may be unable to live the sort of life which they would prefer. This will not affect business relationships so much.

Partners other planets may be judged as in aspects to the Ascendant.

Aspects to the Moon

As Jung stated, Moons in the same sign are extremely good for life-long partnerships. The Moon's position indicates among other things, the sort of home life preferred.

Trine and sextile: Operate well.

Opposition and square: Can be good balancing factors, but need judgment with regard to signs and houses.

Quincunx: Great strain, even in business partnerships, in all matters which come under the Moon's influence.

Partner's Mercury in trine or sextile: Valuable, bringing common sense to matters affecting the emotions. Gives a stabilizing influence to a highly-strung partner.

Conjunction and opposition: Consider with regard to the placing of the other Mercury.

Square and quincunx: The Mercury partner's coldness may 'freeze out' the Moon partner's natural feelings. This may not matter so much in a business partnership, although there may be a tendency to 'pour cold water' on the other's schemes. This should be regarded seriously if the Moon represents a sensitive junior and Mercury a superior, for instance.

Partner's Venus in trine, sextile or conjunction: If both planets are strong in their own charts, partners will be of great help to each other as their mental outlook will be similar. In marriage, there will be normal sexual attraction.

Conjunction and opposition: May have similar effects, because of the gentleness of both planets.

Square and quincunx: Where the planets are strong, the result may be that no partnership is actually formed, even though both may desire it. If either planet has strong links with Uranus there will be a strong sexual link of the 'fatal fascination' kind which will prove disruptive. In spite of heartbreak, people caught up in this situation may try to stay together, or repeatedly part and come together again.

Partner's Mars in trine or sextile: An invigorating element, excellent for business or marriage. If the Mars is in the woman's map, the career man will be stimulated by her energy on his behalf.

Conjunction: Must be judged by the positions of the planets. If Mars is the stronger, there will be too much domination: Can be disastrous in the case of sensitive people. They will play on each other's nerves.

Square and quincunx: Similar, but not so violent. The crucial point is the position and strength of the other Mars.

Partner's Jupiter: The natures of Jupiter and the Moon tend to make all aspects benign. Tendency to too much laisser faire if the Moon is not strong. Spiritual compatibility is marked.

The opposition: A 'good' aspect in this case, providing balance.

Partner's Saturn in trine or sextile: Brings responsibility and dependence to the partnership. If both planets are strong, an excellent sign for marriage.

Opposition: Better than the conjunction.

Conjunction, square and quincunx: If Saturn is the stronger, depict the coldness and austerity of Saturn quenching the warmth of the moon. In practice, this may work out as heavy responsibility. For instance, partner's illness (sixth house afflicted), or lack of children (fifth house or quincunx).

Partner's Uranus: Moon and Uranus are unalike and the partners do not understand one another. For this reason, questions of partnership will not usually arise, unless there are other strong indications of harmony in the charts. All the aspects tend to work with the lack of understanding that the conventional shows for the unconventional. If the Moon is not strong, however, a business needing a new approach might benefit from such a partnership.

Aspects to Mercury

Consider if it is a 'cold' Mercury, an .intellectual', a 'nervy' one or a combination of these? Once established, the aspects may be judged.

Partner's Mercury: Two 'nervy' Mercurians will not deal well together, whatever the aspect which links them. The other Mercury types will have a lot in common. Watch the square particularly, as this causes friction due to one partner being hyper- critical of the other's mental powers.

Partner's Venus: Only the conjunction and sextile needs be considered.

Both suggest harmony of outlook, but the contact is slight unless both planets are strong. Venus will have a warming influence on a cold Mercury, and a soothing one on a highly strung partner.

Partner's Mars trine or sextile: Strengthens a partnership.

Conjunction: Not so good if Mars is stronger.

Opposition: Can be good with a strongly intellectual Mercury, without nervous difficulties.

Squares and quincunx: Devastating, if the Mercury subject is highly-strung. In business partnerships, the harmonious contacts are valuable, with healthy exchange of ideas and good, vigorous policies. The inharmonious aspects show wide divergence of interests leading to fundamental disagreements. Partnerships should not be entered into when both planets are strong.

Partner's Jupiter: One would expect all aspects to be favourable, but in many cases they seem to make little impact. I have come across very few of these links in the charts of actual partners -a fact which may be significant.

Partner's Uranus seems to have little effect. As Carter says, these planets are not dissimilar, and judgment must come back to the individual charts.

Partner's Neptune: Unless there is much difference in ages, partner's Neptune will make the same aspect as it does in the individual's birth chart, because of this planet's slow movement. Harmonious aspects may indicate nothing more than a lack of practicality.

Square and quincunx: Suggest one partner is liable to deception from the other.

Conjunction: May benefit a business relationship of an inspirational nature - e.g. a poet and his publisher.

Aspects to Venus

Partner's Venus conjunction, trine and sextile: Similarity of attitude. Better for firm friendships than for marriage. A Venus, though shared, tends to make a marriage where the couples are too wrapped-up in each other.

Opposition: Works happily in all types of partnerships.

Square and quincunx: Pressures seem to come from outside the partnership. Consider especially Sun to Venus aspects in this respect.

Partner's Mars in trine, sextile or conjunction: Stimulates the affections and represents normal sexual attraction. In business, will energise the partnership and make for success.

Opposition: If Venus is strong, there may be active dislike of the other person and no partnership takes place.

Square and quincunx: Blunts the edge of what each has to offer. Either the Venusian devours the Martian, or the Martian coarsens the Venusian.

Partner's Jupiter: All contacts depend on the strength of each planet. A strong Venus will possess the other, and then resent that the partner is so easy-going. A strong Jupiter may lead the Venusian into excess of all kinds. In an otherwise strong map, the combination may have little effect.

Partner's Saturn. No aspects work easily, but many partnerships succeed very well in the face of difficulties and responsibilities. A 'good' Saturn is willing to carry burdens and add strength to the partnership. A 'cold' Saturn may kill all affection.

Partners Uranus sextile and trine: Very good in a business partnership of a Venusian nature, bringing a dynamic and unconventional approach. Conjunction: Similar, but more often met in personal relationships where the element of fascination is strong. If Venus and Uranus are both important in the respective charts, the partnership will probably be formed and it will be useless to advise against it.

Opposition: Often has a similar effect. Good results only if commonsense is shown in both charts.

Square and quincunx: Strain accompanied by eccentricity, possibly of a sexual nature. The couple may lead an unusual life with any of these contacts.

Aspects to Mars

Partner's Mars trine or conjunction: Energies will be direction to similar aims.

Sextile: Weaker in this respect.

Opposition: Can work well, but consider signs and houses.

Square and quincunx: so much dissimilarity in the direction of energies that partnerships will be ill-advised where Mars is strong in both charts. Fundamental disagreements in temperament and possibly sexual difficulties in marriage.

Partner's Jupiter: The nature of the planets in the charts must be carefully considered. A strongly sex-orientated Mars combined with a sensual Jupiter will not work happily, whatever the aspect. A relaxed, easy-going Jupiter can calm down an aggressive or over-active Mars with most aspects. The exception is the opposition, where the laisser faire attitude will only exasperate the Martian.

Partner's Saturn trine or sextile: 'Caution' Gives a nice balance between and 'go'.

Conjunction: Can be disastrous where both planets are equally strong. Neither will see the other's point of view.

Opposition, square and quincunx: Frustration for one or both. This is modified if Mars is not strong.

Partner's Uranus. The planets are alike in some respects and will give 'drive'. The position and strength in the maps overrules the aspects. In business, the energy of Mars, combined with an, original, Uranian approach, will be very successful. A self-willed Mars and an equally dominant Uranus will cause head-on clashes.

Aspects to Jupiter

Partner's Saturn conjunct, sextile or trine: Good in personal relationships. The Saturnian will be a 'rock and resting place' for the Jupiter partner. In relation, Jupiter provides optimistic outlook. The opposition sometimes works like this as well.

Square and especially quincunx: Emphasizes the differing natures of the two. They will fail to appreciate or understand each other.

Partner's Uranus: If both planets are strong, the two may bring out the worst in each other's natures, whatever the aspect. Unless there is great disparity in age, the slow planets tend to echo the natal aspects. They are less significant unless important in the charts, e.g. as Sun-ruler.

Counselling the partners

If advice is to be given to prospective partners, one should beware of going to extremes. It is easy to emphasize only the beneficial points, or to be too pessimistic! Provided one is dealing with responsible adults, the potential partners should be given the whole picture. They will decide for themselves.

'Forewarned is forearmed' does prove true in astrology. Many astrologers have surely seen partnerships come through a really testing time, thanks to the knowledge that they would pull through; and to the self-knowledge which astrology gives. I have seen a couple enter marriage with full awareness that it would always be a compromise between her stay-at-home instincts, and his inclination to be on good terms with all the world. All her planets were in and around Cancer in the fourth. When his eventual success in work took him abroad, his wife was able to bring herself to abandon her home for some time, to accompany him. She had decided, before marriage, that she would do this if the need arose. Her decision was, in effect, already made. They are both thankful that the astrologer warned them of this difficulty instead of telling them only the 'good' things.

Filing the data

I have tried to give some pointers to the practice of synastry, because as far as I know, little has been written about it. Let no-one imagine I am setting myself up as an authority on the subject. Less than ten years is no qualification for such a claim.

No astrologer ever has enough data to support a theory, and I would like to interest others in practising, and building on, these beginnings, so that we may compare our findings. Then, someday, we may be able to draw definite conclusions as to the value of synastry.

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