This started off as a post about “6 Ways Astrology confirms why I can’t stand Mitt Romney.” I will still write that post, but I’ve allowed this post to become something else. It’s a little essay on synastry. I guess I had to get some things off my chest about synastry before I do a biting piece on my synastry with Mitt Romney’s chart. That piece is going to be a strange piece because most times people look at why they like someone or explore whether that person also likes them. My piece on Mitt will be an example of how synastry attests to human connection, whether that’s eternal love or antipathy.
Synastry is the branch of astrology that examines how charts and people mix together. It’s also my least favorite branch of astrology. There are various levels of reasons for this. One major reason is that the general population isn’t taught enough about how astrology works in relationships. So many will come to an astrologer with something like this, “I’m a Scorpio and she’s an Aries. Will we get along?” Here’s what an astrologer hears by translation,”I’m a Brit and she’s a Croatian. Will we get along?” Yes, that question is so immensely vague, vacuous and useless as that’s almost a literal translation. It’s one thing to talk about how signs get along; but if you want a nitty-gritty answer for how two people will get along, then an astrologer will most likely need to work with some charts, based on birth date, time and place.
The other problem with synastry is a little more complicated. I believe synastry can only tell you so much and often people want to know more than what two charts blended together can yield. I do believe that an experienced astrologer can look at two charts (visual representations of real people) and discuss how those two people could get along. But I don’t think that dictates the relationship wholly or the nature of the relationship. It does depend on the biography and actual life experiences and inclinations of each person. For instance, Mitt Romney and I will most likely never be lovers. There’s not only an astrological reason for this. There’s a real-life reason for this: I’m not into men. This means that a parallel notion is also true: even if two charts could sing “The Body Electric” together in complete harmony for all time, it does depend on whether the two would be inclined to connect in person despite or because of other factors–orientation, class backgrounds, culture, geography, etc. Compatible charts does not automatically mean compatible people in any kind of relationship. Context matters. Many astrologers seem to forget this.
Synastry most often can’t dictate what will happen in the relationship itself. I could tell you that you’re compatible with your lover, but if she walks out, for whatever reason, you most likely want to know whether she’s gone for good or coming back. Compatibility won’t tell you that. In fact, I might argue that you won’t get enough info on that from yours or your lover’s natal chart either. Or her transits and progressions. Or yours. Or the transit and progressions of your combined charts. For that, it’s best to look to another form of astrology called horary. Horary astrology is when you ask an astrologer a question about a meaningful and usually personal issue and she casts a chart for when she understands the question. The chart, then, allows the astrologer to divine whether the heavens has a poetic and fitting answer.
One last reason why I cast side-eye toward synastry is that as a branch of astrology it’s on the shakiest ground historically. Although there are loads of books on it now, ranging from Linda Goodman’s ever popular “Love Signs” to Steve & Jodie Forrest’s “Skymates”, it’s really the newest form of Western astrology. There’s more history in Indian/Vedic astrology. But if you want to torture yourself or any seasoned astrologer, ask her/him to document or discuss synastry in the West before 1900. There’s not much there, so a lot of our current techniques and thoughts about synastry are pretty new. It’s not that new is bad necessarily, but it’s certainly not tested enough. It’s also not necessarily thought out as well. We get more into celebrating the novelty of synastry than the actual full utility of it. Of course, I’m not saying synastry isn’t useful. I’m saying it’s useful in a context that may be a little more limited than we’d like to admit. It’s a better tool for understanding than expecting or determining what’s to happen in a relationship. In fact, that’s why I discourage my clients from getting synastry readings when they just meet someone. It’s better to let the relationship have legs on its own merits than use astrology to determine whether you’re “meant” to be together with someone. Ain’t that too much pressure? Ugh. I’d rather know how to better be with someone after I’ve gotten to know him or her (depending on the relationship) rather than set up a determinism.
I know I can’t get with Mitt as my President or anything else in my life. His chart testifies that he might not like me either. But we haven’t met. However, so far, our astrology does help me explore why I feel such antipathy. Stay tuned for that.