When a client comes in for an astrology reading for what is current in their lives, one or more of three primary categories motivate them: health, money/career, and relationships. Oh there are lots more reasons for a reading, but those are the three biggies and accounted for probably 95% of the thousands of readings I did over my years as a professional astrologer. Now that I am retired, researching and writing, I get to examine the assumption in more detail and the concept holds true. In this article we will deal with relationships as we explore some of the various charts and techniques that are available to astrologers.

Before you can understand any person in a relationship, you must get a feel for that person as an individual. What does that person bring to any relationship (giving)? What are they looking for from the relationship (taking)? How will they participate in a relationship? The easiest way to determine these preliminary factors in relating is to lay out the two charts for the individuals side by side to try to get a quick fix on the individuals involved and their key issues. Once you have created a picture in your mind of these individual qualities then you begin to draw comparisons between the individuals by comparing their chart positions. Compare Sun to Sun and every other planet or point in your arsenal, Moon to Moon and every other planet or point, etc. This chart technique is not about the individuals as individuals, it is about the relationship between the individuals and how one affects (or infects) the other. This is called synastry and gives the nitty-gritty detail of a relationship.

Most of our computer programs do this automatically and you can print out a grid which details those connections for your reading convenience. For much of my astrological life, such conveniences were not available and I learned to do it by hand, tedious, but instructive. As any good cook making a pie crust will tell you, using the hands makes a more satisfying crust. True, just ask. I do this step twice, not because I am detail crazy, but because they produce two different results, both of which are useful to me. Construct this synastry chart as a double wheel, with person one on the inside and person two on the outside. Then, reverse the positions, person two on the inside and person one on the outside. This is the same information, but the layout and use is different.

How do you read these charts? The person in the center of the chart is primary, the person on the outside is secondary to that inside person. The person on the outside benefits, affects or infects the person on the inside. The person on the inside is a stand-alone about the person as an individual. The person on the outside brings something new to the table which may be a positive, a negative or absolute confusion. Read that chart thoroughly, being sure to keep the primary (I) and secondary (you) in correct relationship (there’s that word again.) Now put that chart aside and look at the reversed position chart. Same rules but now the story is about the other person. The number 2 person becomes “I” and the number 1 person becomes “you.” Read that thoroughly being sure to keep the primary and secondary in correct relationship. You have just generated a ton of information which can keep the two people busy for decades! But relationship reading does not stop there.

When a relationship occurs, a new entity called “the relationship” comes into being, i.e., Mr. and Mrs. Joe Smith as a couple. We are never truly quite the same with any other person we encounter. My relationship with each of my four children is unique and has a shape and texture of its own. Each pairing is a unique entity that must be read individually. These charts pertain only to the unique relationship. It must not be read as belonging to either individual involved because that is a false application. This is tricky to remember when you’re reading charts created for relationships. Birth charts are for the individual. Synastry charts are how individuals affect each other. Relationships charts are about the unique relationship itself, not the individuals. Of course, this can also be done two ways.

For the longest time composite charts were the name of the relationship chart game; it was the only mathematically viable choice. The basic premise of a composite chart is: what happens if two people in a relationship meet each other halfway on all issues (a pipe dream). The composite chart does that. It is a construct and not a real-time chart. It filled the bill quite nicely for generations of astrologers. All you had to do was be willing to ignore that it was not a real time chart and participants in a relationship rarely met each other half way on all issues!

Mathematically it was quite easy to add the two midheavens together, divide that sum in half to create a new position halfway between the two midheavens. Do the same procedure for the two ascendants. Planet-wise, same procedure: add the two Suns together, divide that sum in half to create a new position half way between the two Suns. You would then do the same with two Moons, two Mercurys, etc. You lay out the wheel according to the MC/Asc and their intermediary cusps from a table of houses, drop the new planet positions in where they belonged naturally, and then read the chart as a unique relationship entity. This process is so much easier with the advent of computers. Just push a button and out pops a unique relationship!

Many astrologers forgot it wasn’t a real chart and relied on it as the total expression of the relationship itself. You would then read the chart as a relationship and carefully correct your clients when they attempted to turn it to a personal statement about their chart and life. That just doesn’t work. It must be read as a unique relationship.

An accurate, real-time, trustworthy chart did exist, it was just such a bear to construct, that few astologers would attempt it. You had to find the midpoint in actual time and space between the two birth times, the time standards in effect, dates (365 ¼ days per year, that ¼ could bite you), longitudes and latitudes. When you got all done doing the math, it was a calculated guess because there was no way to proof it without doing it all over again. I was one who would attempt it, but it would take me hours of effort and was very frustrating. I taught it, my students looked at me like I was nuts and rarely tried it. With the advent of computers, accurate relationship charts could be spit out instantly. Eureka!

Sometimes we can be quite lazy. Why throw out what has been working so beautifully over the years to learn a new trick? Composites are still the most popular form of relationship charts. We now have one real chart and one not-so-real chart. The not-so-real has filled the bill for generations. The real chart has little to no history to study, but it is gaining in usage. Do you throw the baby out with the bathwater? I pondered on this for a while and my conclusion was that both charts had value, they simply showed different aspects of a relationship. The composite chart showed the potential of a relationship… what could occur if you met the other person halfway on all issues (not most people’s reality), that which lures us into a relationship because we can see the potential. The calculated relationship chart shows the actuality of the relationship, how it really works out in real life in real relationships.

My version of a famous saying is “What you sees is what you gets.” Again, this is not my personal experience. Sometimes we get what we see, more often we don’t. So how do we determine this in a relationship? The closer the two charts (composite and relationship) resemble each other, the better the chance that you are going to get (real time) what the potential (artificial time) shows you. The more distant or different those charts are, “what you gets is not what you sees!” I’ve read these charts this way for over 30 years. It works for me. The rest is for astrologers who are not faint of heart.

One other point… If you and I live together, we will be simultaneously stimulated by events, perhaps somewhat different in effect, but occurring at the same time. Therefore, there must be common degree points, with very little orb, to be triggered simultaneously. Orbs need to be tight, 5Ës or less, closer is better, exact (less than 1Ës) is what I’m always seeking. Tight orbs! I have had the good fortune as a researcher and bad fortune as a participant to have charts of entire families and have been able to watch these simultaneous activations. They do work, particularly with major events. Build yourself a family of charts and research important dates for activations.