and relationships are high on the list of concerns for most human beings.
There are some solitary souls who are quite content to live without a
primary partner, but most of us choose to pursue intimate relationships
for many different reasons. A loving partner helps keep away the cold,
not only warming the bed, but by supporting your dreams and listening
to your fears. Close companionship is the way of the world for the majority,
but modern society has made it an extremely complex process.
to a Modern Relationship
traditional cultures, when the roles of men and women were more neatly
(if unequally) defined, there was community and family support for couples.
But in todayís world many of us have moved far from our families of origin.
And, even if they are close by, extended families are rare and community
support for couples is virtually non-existent. A modern couple expects
more from a relationship than did couples living in pre-industrial societies.
They are not just lovers and sometimes parents, they are also business
partners and best friends. Itís no longer enough to love your partner
and to do the daily work of maintaining your household, you must understand
one another, crossing the divide of male and female as new roles for both
sexes continue to emerge. Same sex couples have their issues as well,
individuality being stronger then gender.
is not enough. To live together in an intimate relationship there are
other criteria that must be met. Love, in fact, is very different to different
people. Fiery love means that I feel great when I think of you. It is
a Leo-like projection of the ego, basking in the glory of romantic love.
My love for you comes from my heart. You may trigger it, but itís my creation.
Listening doesnít necessarily enter the picture. Watery love is more Lunar,
it is about responding to the other personís needs, even the unstated
ones. The fiery lover may be surprised to discover that the other is unsatisfied.
"But, I love you honey," I might say, meaning that my heart opens at the
thought of you. Energy flows from me to you. Yet the other needs to be
heard, to be felt, to be receivedÖto be loved like the Moon.
- the Planet of Love
generally consider Venus to be the planet of love. This, however, is somewhat
misleading. Venus describes the form in which an individual can recognize
love or approval. The sign, house and aspects involving the natal Venus
can describe the ways in which the person gained appreciation within the
family structure. So someone with Venus in Capricorn might be appreciated
for her sense of discipline, while someone else with Venus in Cancer was
approved for her sensitive and caring nature. Venus, then, is a highly
socialized planet, one whose expression doesnít necessarily correspond
with our deepest needs, but is a learned value.
is a step towards intimacy, it is the sweet attraction that pulls us towards
another person (or him/her towards us). Magnetism, though, is not intimacy,
itís not even love. But it is important, vital in fact, if a meaningful
relationship is going to develop. However, relationships primarily built
on Venus contacts may not last long or go very deep. Venus is a "horizontal"
planet. It has to do with how we reach out to another person or object
that attracts us. It does not, however, necessarily reflect our deepest
needs. These needs, this pathway to intimacy, falls in the domain of the
Moon as the Key to Intimacy
Moon is the primary feminine archetype in astrology. The relationship
with mother is the basis for all future relationships. It was one of total
dependency, the only physically necessary relationship in life. We can
not exist without motherís presence (at least until birth). Fathers are
vital for conception, after that theyíre optional, albeit desirable. Closeness,
then, comes through the Moon. It comes through connecting with our deepest
needs, recognizing them and taking the risk to share them with the person
we love. This vulnerability is a key element
of intimacy. If we donít let our partner in we live parallel lives, rather
than lives of true intimacy. Now we donít all have the same needs here.
Someone with the Moon in Cancer is likely to have a very different notion
of closeness than someone with the Moon in Aquarius. Each has lunar needs,
needs to be fed and to be heard, but the forms can be very different.
The Moon in Cancer needs, above all, to belong, to have that watery connection
of feeling that you are both in the same circle. The Aquarius Moon, though,
needs space and freedom, and can find security within a less tightly bound
relationship. In any case, though, the Moon is what allows us to join
at a deep emotional level.
we stay at the level of Venus, however, the need to be liked dominates
the need to be heard. Closeness requires a willingness to move past the
approval level and touch the soul. When we share our deepest feelings,
fears and secrets we can open ourselves. Letting the other in is a challenge,
particularly for men or women with strong fire in their charts. Receiving
is as much of an art as giving. Working with the Moon means allowing for
changes, for inconsistencies. Weíre not talking about a fixed model of
ideal partnership, weíre seeking a living relationship between growing
and changing human beings.
can understand Venus as describing what we like, sort of what tastes good
to us. But like sweet sugar in the mouth, the pleasure it gives is nice,
but might not be very fulfilling. The Moon describes what feeds us. Therefore,
it is important that we understand the relationship between Venus and
the Moon in our natal charts. If the two are in conflict, extra attention
may need to be paid to make sure that pleasure feeds us, rather than leaving
us undernourished. Someone with Venus in Cancer, for example, might appreciate
the cozy and caring aspects of a love affair. But if the Moon is in Aries,
space for spontaneity must also be included. This person can be very responsive
to the partner much of the time (all other chart factors being equal),
but suddenly pull away to reclaim her/his individual space. This can lead
to confusion for both partners. Itís really about addressing two very
different needs. The difficulty is that Venus and the Moon are close enough
in their natures to mislead us into reading one for the other. Liking
and needing are not the same thing. The form of love (Venus) and the substance
of emotion (the Moon) may or may not be similar for a given individual.
in the horoscope, as with conflicts in life, are not about choosing one
over the other. If we place the intimacy needs of the Moon over the pleasure
needs of Venus we can have unpleasant closeness, like a couple locked
together in a grim dance of survival. If the more superficial aspects
of Venus dominate we can dine at the table of pleasure yet still feel
empty inside. The key is to acknowledge and accept our conflicting needs.
Knowing which one is appropriate at a given moment is helpful. That means
dragging out your Scorpio Moon need for intensity in a public place might
not go over very well. Or that your Venus in Aries taste for independence
showing up when your partner is in emotional crisis may be ill-timed.
Everything has its time and place and overcoming much of astrological
conflict is about putting the right foot forward at the right time.
take on the conflict, letsí say between Venus in Aries and the Moon in
Scorpio, is that there are many steps between their seemingly contrasting
positions. We often find ourselves stuck between two choices. However,
we are whole, the universe is whole and there are connections between
any two elements in existence. Learning the many
subtle steps between conflicting points means building bridges between
the disparate parts of ourselves.
Astrology does a good job of dicing and slicing us up into so many planets,
signs and houses. But, we need to remember that no piece is isolated from
the rest. Even a seemingly isolated planet, one without aspects, for example,
lives within the same solar system and within the same person as the rest
of the chart. The lack of connections is apparent, not real. You can take
the isolated planet and imagine conversations with the other planets.
What are their common points of interest? If you canít find any you need
to expand your astrological vocabulary, because underlying the obvious
differences between the planets and the signs is a unifying pattern that
connects every part with every other part. In fact, learning how to merge
and then separate is essential to attaining intimacy.
the rewards of intimacy are considerable, the fears of intimacy are equally
strong for most people. This is because intimacy, coming closer to another,
merging fields and feelings, threatens oneís identity. As much as we want
the closeness, there is a natural resistance to it. If I include you in
the center of my being where am I? Where is my old familiar self? The
unconscious works powerfully to maintain the status quo, even an unhappy
one. Fear of losing oneself is a powerful motivation to avoid too much
closeness. However, this too can be included as part of the dance of love.
in a living form, is not constant. We donít feel the same way about one
another every day, because we donít feel the same way about ourselves.
Now Iím not talking about wild mood swings here, just the natural ebb
and flow of attraction that is part of the human condition. Venusí attraction
is balanced by Marsí struggle to maintain individuality. This is why couples
need to fight, to push one another away to regain their individuality.
When this is conscious it can be included in the dance, a normal process
that neither has to be ashamed of.
Iíve often found that after my wife and I have moved yet another step
closer to one another, when weíve push aside another veil of separateness,
we react soon after by creating distance between us. We need to assimilate
this deepening of our partnership. I need to be sure that Jeff is there
in the middle of the expanding intimacy with my wife. When this is allowed
no feelings are hurt, we donít have to dramatize our individual needs
and can stay in a flow that will bring us closer again the next time around.
Seven and Eight
Venus and the Moon present one pair of issues around intimacy, the 7th
and 8th houses present another. The 7th is the traditional house of marriage
or primary partnership. The 8th, though, is the "body" of the relationship,
the place where the meeting begun in the 7th is consummated. If a partner
meets the symbolism of the 7th, but not the 8th house, itís likely that
the relationship will not deepen. The front may be fine, but the core
may stay unfulfilled. If the 8th house contact is good, but the 7th is
not, you might not even meet the other person.
Since there are often different signs on the cusps of the 7th and 8th
houses, signs that are adjacent to one another, not natural allies (i.e.
trine or sextile one another), the implication is that intimate relationships
require several different qualities to make them work. Connecting at a
deep level is not like putting a key into a lock and turning it. Itís
more like a combination lock in which a number of different pieces need
to fit into place before it opens.
houses 7 and 8 refer to "others" they are ripe for projection. This means
that rather than expressing ourselves in these areas of the chart we seek
partners to fulfill their qualities for us. If you have Mars in the 7th
you may seek out partners who are dynamic, independent self-starters.
While this is not inappropriate, the concern is that you will not be dynamic,
independent or a self-starter yourself. This is projection, giving away
parts of yourself to others. The 7th and 8th houses (as well as the rest
of the chart for that matter) are about you. They are about the qualities
you need to express in any partnership. Ideally, your partner will support
these qualities in you. If not, the relationship will not be a place of
growth. The 7th and 8th houses are about you. Donít give them away to
Nature of Compatibility
is compatibility? Astrological convention holds that harmonious aspects
between charts are the significant factors for a positive relationship.
Certainly, a degree of harmony (or similarity) is necessary for successful
partnership. However, it may be useful to have a blend of challenging
and easy aspects for best results. For example, Venus and Mars have a
great deal to do with sexual compatibility. Mutual trines and sextiles
can make for an easy flow of energy, yet that might become boring over
time. However, some harmony mixed with a challenging aspect, i.e. your
Venus is trine your partnerís Mars, your partnerís Venus is opposite yours,
can keep a level of dynamism that will continue to make sex an interesting
subject for you two.
tend to create their own little universe. If both agree on something then
it must be true. This can limit the development of the two individuals
when their charts, or parts of them, are too similar. Whatís called compatibility
may simply be shared neuroses. It is useful, then, that couples donít
have all their planets align harmoniously. A little tension not only makes
life interesting, but it helps keep perspective in the partnership. The
esoteric writer Dion Fortune believed that an ideal relationship showed
alternating similarity and dissimilarity between the seven chakras. This
pattern may deepen a relationship by bringing the right balance of the
old and new so that a relationship grows, rather than remain static.
also true that some people donít want or need traditional compatibility.
If Uranus is in your 7th or 8th house you likely need to experience differences
through relationship, to be awakened to new patterns. Gravitating to someone
who is very different than you doesnít have to be a disaster. With a few
key positive connections to hold the relationship together, it might be
just what you need. These key connections are most likely to involve the
Moon, Sun, 1st-7th axis or the Moonís Nodes. These are all critical points
that can provide the glue to help a couple work through their differences
and maintain a growing partnership. Sometimes youíll see a chart with
wonderful Venus and Mars aspects, but if none of these key points are
included itís not likely that the relationship will endure.
course, the length of a relationship is only one measure of its success
(or its partnersí stubbornness). We can have successful short-term relationships
if we are able to learn from them. Each of us has our own way of measuring
whether the investment of time, energy and emotion is worth the effort.
We can meet someone who will help us open one door within ourselves, making
the contact very important even if it fails on other levels.
I do compatibility analysis for a couple I donít start by comparing the
two natal charts. I begin by examining each chart individually. This provides
the foundation for understanding the couple because it recognizes the
individuality of each of the partners. The natal chart is the key to intimacy.
is very difficult to receive love from someone else when you are unable
to give it to yourself. The primary work in counseling couples is to help
each person become aware of his or her issues and needs.
When a person has a healthy respect for self and a willingness to be vulnerable,
the doors of intimacy open. The ground of a healthy relationship is two
healthy individuals. Health here is not about perfection, total clarity
or lack of ignorance. Health is the willingness to learn, to open ourselves,
to speak and to listen. When this kind of aliveness is present intimacy
arrives. And, with continued care and watering, it will flourish for a
long, long time.