by Marilyn Muir, LPMAFA
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Recently I explored relationships from the standpoint of the individuals involved, which is astrologically termed synastry. Each of the two people in a relationship is viewed individually for their personal relating potential. Once each is individually described, a comparison between the two describes the more intimate details of their story. However, there is more than one way to look at relationships. At the moment any pairing occurs, a new dynamic is produced which is termed a relationship. Relationships occur on so many levels: parent and child, marriage, boss and worker, teacher and student, siblings, in-laws, law and criminal, doctor and patient, stalker and victim, clergy and parishioner, to name just a few.
Regardless of how many people we meet and the circumstances under which we meet them, in a split second of time a unique relationship is formed, one that did not exist prior to that moment and will cease to exist if the two people involved choose not to pursue it. Some of these meetings are brief, such as a waitress handing you a cup of coffee. Some last a lifetime, such as family members or marriage partners.
The bond that occurs between a mother and a child at the moment of birth is unique. After many years of refusing to allow the father to be present at the birth, the medical establishment currently encourages the father’s participation. The split-second bonding that the mother has always experienced is now available to the father. Yes! Nothing can equal that incredible moment, and nothing can capture it once it has passed without the father’s participation. The mother really does not have a choice at childbirth – her participation is mandatory. Many years ago, I took a workshop by Joseph Chilton Pearce in which this birth moment bonding process was explored. I immediately went home and told my son and his pregnant wife to be sure they were both part of the birthing process if it were at all possible. Many grandkids later, my whole family encourages this experience because of the bonding that occurs at the instant of birth.
Suppose I have ten friends. Each pairing provides a unique friendship. This takes nothing away from my other nine friends and enlarges each of our lives because of those friendships. I am bettered and my friend is bettered by our friendship. If I am a better person because of that friendship, I will be a better person to all my other friends, family, co-workers, etc. Whatever adds to my personal dimension in a positive fashion affects everything I do and everyone I touch with my more positive self. Conversely, if I am in a relationship that is negative, that negativity also affects all other relationships in which I participate if I am in any way diminished or compromised in the experience of that one relationship. I have been lessened, and therefore I am less than what I could be with all with whom I come in contact.
To me, there seem to be parts or stages to relationships in general. There is an initial introductory part… the beginning. Next comes the process, duration and nature of the relationship. A third stage might have to do with endings or finality. This would translate loosely to a beginning, a middle and an end. I am sure there are other divisions or stages to explore. Each stage has myriad possibilities for experience as each relationship is unique. Astrologically, we can easily look at the potential of any relationship (the beginning) and we can also look at the reality of the relationship (the middle and possibly the end). At times, the potential and the reality of a relationship work harmoniously. What we see is what we get. At other times a relationship does not live up to its potential. What we see is not what we get. It would be helpful to compare both possibility and reality to determine which relationships have a better chance of success in real life terms. In this article we will examine the potential of the relationship using the composite wheel. The reality of a relationship will be covered in a companion article.
The method by which you construct a composite wheel is to start with the natal (birth) wheels of each of the two individuals involved. Briefly, there are thirteen major points that are traditional when reading astrologically: the Sun, Moon, and the eight planets, the ascendant, midheaven and lunar nodes. Thirteen points are primary out of a possible 360-degree circle for each person. You construct these points by adding together the two Suns, the two Moons, the two ascendants, etc. separately. Once you have obtained those totals, you divide each of them by two and that gives you the new figures for the composite wheel. Example: Sun #1 plus Sun #2 divided by two equals the composite Sun. The new wheel is drawn by traditional rules and is called a composite. In our modern era, computer-generated wheels do all the work for you. You have a wheel.
At this point you must do a very unusual thing with your mind. You must stop thinking of the individuals involved and keep your focus on the relationship as an entity. This wheel is not about the individuals, no matter how much one individual wants to slant it in their own direction. This map is about the potential of the relationship that is formed and not the individual people involved. I am repeating the word potential for a reason. Because of the mathematics involved, this artificial wheel assumes that the two people involved will meet each other half way on all issues, 50/50, and that is not remotely possible (or probable) in any society. There must be give and take between the two people involved in any relationship, but equalization on all issues is a fantasy. The composite allows you to see the idealized potential, but may not fit the actuality of the experience over time. Why?
At the beginning of any meaningful relationship, the people involved really have high hopes for the relationship and are on their best behavior to ensure that the relationship continues. This is an unnatural behavior because none of us can be on our best behavior forever. Sooner or later we will relax into normalcy (for us) and that produces change in the relationship. It is not faking or intentional, it is natural. Most of us will do whatever we must to cement a relationship and then we relax. Over time, the potential that enticed us may not turn out to be our actual experience. This can be disillusioning and disappointing but it may not be deliberate. Eventually we each will be true to our own selves as the “ideal” gives way to “reality.” If we have made the mistake of putting one another on pedestals, this could be devastating as one or both fall off those pedestals. The repercussions from such falls can get very nasty.
“Composite” is the technique that has been easily available to astrologers for many years both as hand-cast wheels and computer printouts. It is an excellent tool for exploring the potential of the relationship and has been the most popular choice of astrologers worldwide. The alternative is called the relationship wheel and is based in reality, but was extremely difficult to calculate by hand. With the advent of computer printouts, this wheel has become increasingly available. The body of information and experience to support this alternative technique is growing, but far more information is currently available for the composite technique.
How to Read A relationship in its initial stages can be such a delight. Our imagination and our wishes for a good life are in full bloom as we explore the possibilities. The question is, will the ongoing relationship live up to our expectations? It is not individuals who disappoint us. It is our unrealistic expectations that cause failure and frustration. A person on a pedestal has only one direction to go and that is off. We might discover that our knight in shining armor is rusty with a nasty disposition or that any female involved may not be the virtuous Maid Marion.
- The composite Sun describes the inherent nature and identity of the couple’s relationship potential by sign and the arena of strongest influence by house.
- The composite Moon describes the nesting urge and the emotional makeup of the couple’s relationship potential by sign and the arena where those issues will play out by house.
- Composite Mercury describes the communication and decision-making function of the couple’s relationship potential by sign and the arena where that will play out by house.
- Composite Venus describes the relating ability and social and financial values of the couple’s relationship potential by sign and the arena where that will play out by house.
- Composite Mars describes the active, assertive and aggressive functions of the couple’s relationship potential by sign and the arena where that will play out by house.
- Composite Jupiter describes the expansive, philosophical and worldview of the couple’s relationship potential by sign and the arena where that will play out by house.
- Composite Saturn describes the traditional, responsible, organizing function of the couple’s relationship potential by sign and the arena where that will play out by house.
- Composite Uranus describes the forward-seeking, non-traditional, unusual facets of the couple’s relationship potential by sign and the arena where that will play out by house. Can you say “chemistry”?
- Composite Neptune describes the imagination, inspiration or the delusional function of the couple’s relationship potential by sign and the arena where that will play out by house.
- Composite Pluto describes the power, manipulation or obsessive/compulsive function of the couple’s relationship potential by sign and the arena where that will play out by house.
- The composite ascendant shows the couple’s projection, coping skills, and response to the environment of the couple’s relationship potential by sign. (The ascendant is the 1st house cusp.) This is how the relationship itself is viewed by others.
- The composite midheaven shows the couple’s drive to goals, stature and potential for success as the couple’s team relationship potential by sign. (The midheaven is the 10th house cusp.) This is what expresses the couple’s need to achieve or accomplish.
- The composite north lunar node shows the group interaction and collective influence of outsiders to the couple’s relationship potential by sign and the arena where that will play out by house.
The traditional use of aspects will illustrate the inter-relationship between the composite planets and points. I do reduce the orb of effect to five degrees because the composite is a construct (a midpoint chart) and not a real time and space wheel.
Always remember that the composite and the reading is about a couple and not the individuals. Include the word “potential” in your readings because the composite represents what the relationship is and how it will work if the couple meets each other 50% of the way on all issues.
Composites are quite valuable in the initial stage of the relationship because that is what the people involved are seeing and experiencing. If you have concerns about what you see in the composite as an astrologer, it is not easy to get the participants to see your concerns clearly. They see the relationship through the filter of wants, needs and expectations. They want it to succeed, so it is difficult to accept that problems may be lurking. Sometimes you have to rain on someone’s parade to point out all the facets you see and not just the positives. The reality check occurs in the companion relationship wheel that is based on real-time calculations. Stay tuned.
“Relationships – An Astrological Look at Possibilities”
“Relationships – Synastry – Who are You? Who am I? How Do We Affect One Another?”
“Relationship Chart – What You See is What You Get”
Published on EZine online May, 2010, republished with slight editing.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.