Finding Other Planetary Ties

What if your sign and your beloved's aren't compatible? Should your next stop be Match.com? Not necessarily. Conjunctions or other close aspects between the Moon in one chart and the Sun in another — or between the two Moons — breed emotional understanding. Close aspects (up to and including oppositions) that link Venus in one chart with Mars in another kindle sexual attraction. Ascendants of agreeable signs make for personalities that mesh.

The more conjunctions, sextiles, and trines that you see between the planets of one chart and the planets of another, the better. Squares and oppositions, problematical though they can be, are still a tie, and they can provide the right amount of friction.

The only planetary aspects that scarcely matter are conjunctions of Saturn and Saturn, Uranus and Uranus, Neptune and Neptune, Pluto and Pluto. These planets orbit the Sun so sluggishly that they define generations, not individuals. The fact that your Neptune is conjunct your beloved's doesn't mean that you're karmically destined to be together. It means that you're about the same age — which isn't much of a tie. But it isn't nothing either, as anyone who has ever attended a high school reunion can attest.

Incompatible? You be the judge

The actors and civil rights activists Ruby Dee (Scorpio) and Ossie Davis (Sagittarius) were born under neighboring — and hence incompatible — signs. Fortunately, her Ascendant and Venus are in his Sun sign, Sagittarius; her Moon conjuncts his Venus; and they both were born with the Moon in Aquarius. Even though their Sun signs aren't an ideal pairing, the marriage, which was also a working partnership, lasted 57 years — until his death.

Or consider Gertrude Stein, the avant-garde Aquarian writer, and her companion, Alice B. Toklas, a Taurus. They met in 1907 in Paris, where Gertrude entertained everyone from Picasso to Hemingway in her famous salon, and they stayed together until Gertrude's death in 1946. Although the earthy Bull and the airy Water Bearer don't usually mix, the connection between them was immediate. As Gertrude wrote when she described their meeting in The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas (which she composed in Alice's voice, as if Alice herself had penned it), "I have met several great people but I have only known three first class geniuses and in each case on sight within me something rang."

I know what that something was. It was Alice's Mars, closely conjunct Gertrude's Venus and exactly opposite her Uranus. In the dominion of the heart, that bolt-from-the-blue connection — along with a series of harmonious trines linking the two charts — quickly prevailed over the warring Sun signs.

The other two geniuses that Alice met, by the way, were Pablo Picasso and the philosopher Alfred North Whitehead. Personally, I never doubted that Alice might have responded to Picasso, who clearly had a way with women. But Alfred North Whitehead? I wasn't so sure. So I tracked down his birthday, and guess what? Whitehead's Venus in Aquarius was conjunct Alice's Mars, and his Pluto in Taurus was exactly conjunct her Venus. I'm certain that when they met something within her rang.

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