Degree Significance in Relationships

by Marilyn Muir, LPMAFA

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How many ways can we look at a relationship astrologically? Usually we look at planets…in signs…in houses…in aspects…to determine the nature of the individual elements of the people involved, the relationship between them and the possible effects on one another. That specific technique is called synastry. More relating information can be harvested from composite and relationship charts. The pairing is shown as potential in the composite (what could be) and as reality in the relationship chart (what you see is what you get!).  Those techniques: synastry, composites and relationship are the three primary astrological tools for reading any relationship. Do the possibilities stop there or are there more techniques that can add to our understanding and not just repeat the same information? Can they provide us with truly significant insights? It depends on how much work you are willing to do. There are several other techniques to reveal more elements of relating such as karmic patterns and connections, or why two people are brought together to learn a shared lesson.

We know that each individual is revealed primarily through their personal chart which generates further elaboration through their progressions…who I am and what I came here to do and be (natal) and who I am at this point in my becoming (progressed). The comparisons (synastry) can be repeated with the additional information provided by the progressions. An adult is not a new-born infant trying to relate to another new-born infant. The individuals have grown and become and it is important to include those emerging characteristics and their effect on the existing relationship.

We could also look at the relationship through its karmic perspective, but that is an area of specialty with few practitioners. I know of only three astrologers who practice that technique. I am sure there are more but in my 38 years of practice I have not personally encountered them. I will leave karma for a separate article.

Any natal chart can be progressed, whether that is a person, an animal, a corporation, a city, etc. That also means the composite chart and the relationship charts may be progressed and read. Again, that will take too much space to explain so I will leave progressions for a future article. For this article we will look at the significance of single degrees and what they mean to a pairing and the relationship itself.

Degrees It is important to realize that any significant relationship should have close degree connections because such positions are necessary for simultaneous activation in the lives of the individuals. The aspects themselves may be varied, but the timing or triggering of natal degree positions must be tight if much impact is to be felt by more than one person. Looking at a single degree is not difficult to understand (tight orbs 1˚ + or –). What do I mean by varying aspects?

If someone has a natal position at 15 fixed, their partner may have a natal position at 15 cardinal or mutable. Both can receive triggering from a single transit or other activation, but due to the aspect itself, the effect will be different for each individual. Perhaps one has an accident and the other becomes caretaker. Both are affected but in completely different ways.  In order for important events to occur in any grouping there should be some connection by degree. In addition to the individual charts connecting by degree, a significant event such as a contractual partnership or marriage, which unites the pair as a single unit, should also have those same degree connections.

Any event experiences a birth with a natal chart at the moment the event takes place. Those natal placements also should connect to the degree ties that affect the individuals involved. An example would be a wedding ceremony that becomes legal at the moment the official declares “I now pronounce you man and wife.” This new chart provides a snapshot of the marriage itself and that non-physical but living entity will be illustrated through its own progressions. The marriage chart is the map of a living, experiencing relationship, a non-physical entity. Such a chart is not read for the separate individuals but for the marriage itself. It represents the uniting moment (and two shall become one) and has a life of its own, whether or not it is deemed successful. This can be an additional tool for understanding the relationship and experience.

People who live together such as families or other major relationships or have major business ties must have strong connections to one another whether that relationship is functional or dysfunctional. The aspects involved between the charts will describe the interaction between the pairing. One point… do not assume that hard aspects make trouble and soft aspects sweeten the pot in all instances. Hard aspects stretch us, challenge us and make us grow through the challenges they present. Soft aspects do create ease or flow and are welcomed in a chart. However, our relationships and our selves do not always live up to expectations if we are not pushed or challenged in some way.

A few illustrations are in order. A female with 3 Pisces on the midheaven has a child with Pluto at 2 Virgo, on the opposition point or 4th house cusp. Another child of this parent has Jupiter at 3 Pisces and another child has Pluto at 4 Virgo. A single activation can trigger these four members of the family but the aspects themselves may vary from chart to chart. There may be other members of the family with no close degree positions and they can be relatively unaffected by one particular event. Not everyone in a family is affected by every event; some are, some are not.

A study on marriages and couples within the British monarchy serves as a good example for this article. See “Revisiting History:  British Monarchy”. Note: More than usual is expected of the uniting of a royal couple because of the effect on the country and the populace.

 “The wedding of George V and Mary of Tech was ruled by Venus/Leo/10th, with Saturn in Libra (exalted) on the ascendant in the 1st. While there is a Moon/Saturn opposition across the ascendant/descendant axis, this opposition has trines and sextiles to five planets in the 9th and 10th houses. The Moon is trine Venus/Mars/Mercury in Leo, sextile Neptune/Pluto in Gemini. The Saturn end of the opposition is trine the Gemini positions and sextile the Leo positions. The rulers of the ascendant/descendant axis are conjunct, which is excellent for the couple depicted in this marriage.” The degrees involved in this major pattern are early cardinal and very tight. Other non-cardinal placements from the charts also join in with various aspects. Another example…

Extensive research on the USA chart and the first 43 presidents show the importance of close degree connections. In addition, the planet or points involved can describe the overall effect on the individuals and their inauguration and service. For example, the USA natal Moon is 22.5 Aquarius, which is also President Lincoln’s Ascendant, President Grant’s North Node, and President Kennedy’s Uranus to name a few. The USA Uranus is conjunct the midheaven at 9 Aquarius as is President Jackson’s North Node, President Taylor’s Pluto, President McKinley’s Sun, President Garfield’s Uranus, and President Hoover’s Saturn, all within 1˚. These people were pivotal to the country they served as leaders. The tight degree connections reflect their involvement with the country as well as the country’s involvement with them. 

First published on All Things Healing website Jan 2011, republished with slight editing.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.