I’ve recently started watching your show on A&E called Married At First Sight, where couples who have never met are matched up by experts and marry each other when they meet for the first time at the wedding ceremony. Even if you’ve never watched it, you can probably already see how this premise adds up to some pretty entertaining Reality TV, even if it doesn’t result in a lot of successful long-term partnerships. There are versions of this show in several countries around the world, but I can tell you that the American version has been on for three seasons, with three couples per season… and that the first two seasons resulted in five failed matches and one successful (so far) pairing.
Oh, you crazy kids in love…
Hey: lots of people watch NASCAR for the racing, but if the average race involved 2/3rds or more of the cars crashing? I’d be watching too. I love a happy ending as much as anyone, but let’s not forget that schadenfreude is the fuel that makes most Reality TV actually work.
So who are these “experts” who make these matches (and end up retroactively defending these matches that don’t usually work out)? We have a Professor of Sociology who coined the term “lesbian bed death” (look it up), a sex expert who wrote a book called “How To Get Your Wife To Have Sex With You,” a clinical psychologist and personal coach who wrote an e-book called “Life Explained In 100 Pages” which credits Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931) as a co-author (let’s all just pause here for a second and raise an eyebrow at that, shall we?), and a “spiritual adviser” who is a Humanist Rabbi who wrote a book about what Not Religious people believe in (SPOILER ALERT: it’s not religion!).
Now — can you tell me what all of those experts have in common (besides more appearances on The Rachel Ray Show and/or Dr. Oz than you or I have)? That’s right… none of them have as much hands-on experience with what makes for successful (or unsuccessful) relationships than the average full-time professional astrologer.
You want to hook up arranged marriages? Why not consult the people who have been doing that for centuries now?
Yes, the people who make the decisions about who should marry whom on this show may have the cultural imprimatur of public respectability because they have degrees from places you’ve mostly heard of, but just because they’re experts in their fields doesn’t make them experts in the alchemy it takes to forge a successful relationship from two individuals.
When you consider that even marriages that people get into slowly (and without a film crew watching) have something approaching a 50% failure rate, we shouldn’t reasonably expect a Reality Show that throws strangers together to perform much better. Cultures that are more accepting of arranged marriages tend to have different standards for these things that make them work, mostly, better than they would in typical modern Western society. Even so: watching “Married At First Sight” has convinced me that astrology understands at least something better about relationships than the modern Social Sciences do.
NEXT TIME: Some reasons relationships fail that you can’t blame on astrology… and a couple that you can (sort of).
What I practice and write about is referred to as “Western Astrology.” There are other forms of astrology, most notably Vedic Astrology… the form of astrology which comes India. Vedic Astrology is incredibly powerful and accurate and I look forward to many more years of studying it.
You have to be really, really, really careful when it comes to using Vedic techniques with a Western reading, or vice versa. They are two very different creatures, and even the apparent similarities can be deceptive. It’s like mixing English and Spanish: sometimes knowing one helps with the other, but often it can do more harm than good. Like if you say “yo soy embarazada” thinking it means “I am embarrassed”… whereas it actually means “I am pregnant” (which, come to think of it, would be a pretty embarrassing mistake to make).
One of the most useful concepts I’ve encountered in Vedic astrology that transplants surprisingly well into Western terms is the notion of planetary friends and enemies.
It figures that since each planet rules different things, that each planet could, in essence, have a “personality.” Personalities get along with other personalities with varying degrees of effectiveness, as anyone who has worked in a large office can tell you. You can read even more into a birth chart based on the aspects between planets: in other words, if you have Moon square Mercury in your chart, all else being equal, they don’t “get along with each other” as well as if it was Moon trine Mercury, for example.
In Vedic astrology, the planets have friends and enemies. Think of it this way: If person X likes person Y, then person X will get along better with Y in a stressful situation, whereas X might resent Z for having even been invited to the party in the first place.
Here’s a listing of friends and enemies for each planet. Make sure you use this to plan the seating arrangement at your next cosmic dinner party.
Friends: Moon, Mars, Jupiter
Enemies: Venus, Saturn
Friends: Sun, Mercury
Neutral: Mars, Jupiter
Friends: Sun Moon Jupiter
Neutral: Venus, Saturn
Friends: Sun, Venus
Neutral: Mars, Jupiter, Saturn
Enemies: Mercury, Mars
Friends: Sun Moon Mars
Enemies: Mercury Venus
Friends: Mercury Saturn
Neutral: Mars Jupiter
Enemies: Sun Moon
Friends: Mercury, Venus
Enemies: Sun Moon Mars
You may notice some quirks here, as there always are at a good dinner party… like, for example, The Moon is an enemy to Saturn, but Saturn isn’t an enemy to the Moon. In fact, the Moon is so welcome he has no enemies. Obviously, the Moon must have brought the wine to this soirée…
I know this looks unnecessarily complex and scary (welcome to Vedic astrology!). Don’t worry, you don’t have to memorize it. But next time you’re mulling over your birth chart or someone else’s, have a look at this table. I’ve found it can be of great value in interpreting the aspects in a Western chart. If a trine is so “good” then why is Fred’s Mercury-Mars trine giving him high blood pressure? Why does Mindy get so many dates, despite her Venus-Saturn square? And why do so many people with any Venus-Jupiter aspect (even the good ones) turn out to be diabetic?
I would never let the planetary friend/enemy concept completely overrule an obviously good or bad aspect in a chart. But I find that it adds some valuable flavor to an interpretation. In my case, I have a Moon-Mars opposition that’s never been as problematic as I’ve been told to expect. On the other hand, that Sun-Saturn square of mine… yeesh.
Try it yourself next time you’re pondering your favorite natal chart. It works!
A couple meets. They find each other attractive. The conversation flows smoothly. They fall in love and get married and make 2.5 children and live in a big house with a white picket fence. Are they soul mates? Maybe.
A couple breaks up. Accusations and legal paperwork fly. They each try to make their children hate the other parent. Then one gets jealous over the other’s new Significant Other. Are they soul mates? Maybe.
Above and beyond all the individual astrological factors that explain how Person A and Person B relate to one another, there’s at least one definite indicator as to what you really need from a committed, lasting relationship: the sign placement of Jupiter in your birth chart. Beyond simply “attraction,” Jupiter is the philosophical glue that can hold a relationship together. It’s an indicator of how a good thing can be made better in the long run.
Your mileage may vary of course, as there’s a lot more to it than just Sign placements… the House(s) that Jupiter rules and the aspects to your Jupiter will also provide clues as to what makes commitment fulfilling to you. Having said that…
Aries: No matter how well your relationship is going, you need a sense of action. A solid relationship is certainly possible, but you need to know where it’s heading.
Taurus: Security –- both emotional and economic –- is of great importance to the long-term survival of your relationship. Face insecurities as promptly as you can.
Gemini: Although communication is important to any relationship, a free exchange of ideas is vital to you. Your partner must be an intellectual equal.
Cancer: Domestic harmony, even if you don’t live together, is crucial. You need to be with someone who can lower his or her defenses … and you need to feel free to do that as well.
Leo: Regardless of all the things you and your partner may have in common, can the two of you really have fun together? Shared recreation is paramount.
Virgo: This placement has a reputation for preciseness. You need to speak your mind clearly at all times, and so does your partner.
Libra: You excel at communication and compromise, but you need a partner with those same traits in equal measure. Don’t give more ground than you get in return.
Scorpio: It has to be intense, or forget it. Both sexual compatibility and a mutual willingness to “look under each other’s hoods” are mandatory.
Sagittarius: A shared philosophical approach to life in general will make a shared life possible. Optimism and humor are particularly important.
Capricorn: Either get the details right, or forget it. Regardless of the emotions involved, your relationship also needs to make sense on paper.
Aquarius: A close relationship doesn’t imply a lack of freedom -– in fact, having that solid emotional base can lead to more freedom for both of you. Work to establish that.
Pisces: Never let go of the romance. Both of you should remember that you’re the same people you fell for, no matter how long ago it was. Keep your heart open!
I’ve been a professional astrologer for over twenty years, but the story really begins back when I was six years old. I was handed a book — The Compleat Astrologer — by my mother. “There’s too much math for me,” she said. Besides, the book’s original owner (my then-twenty-year-old half-sister) had been hauled away by the cops for what everyone assumed would be the last time.
That’s one thing I’ve noticed over the years: astrologers usually come from screwy family backgrounds somehow. Also: the book is still available and still a classic.
Fast forward a couple of decades and I had gone through college to learn psychology and counseling, and I was dissatisfied. Helping people is what I wanted to do, but traditional techniques always seemed to result in scatter-shot results. For a while I secretly integrated astrology into more mainstream techniques, and I started to get results. It’s one thing to come to the conclusion that a client is having a bad time with their children, but it’s quite another to be able to tell that client that these problems (which started about ten months ago) are a result of Transit X, and should be wrapped up in another four months.
The more I did this, the more there was no looking back. I had become an astrologer, and could only bill myself as such. I had traded in prestige for results. Frankly, I am a HUGE fan of “results.” The more I understood astrology, the more I could see the actual mechanics of why this person gets along with that person, but trouble always flares up over scheduling or sexual mismatches or communication styles, or what have you.
If psychology is like decoding the plot of a movie you’re watching, then astrology is like decoding the plot of that movie with a copy of the script in hand, and an interview with the director and writer as to what their thoughts were during filming. It’s simply more comprehensive and easier to make sense of the movie with all that additional background material at hand.
Oh, and also: astrology can predict the future. How can you say no to something that both tells you why your mate is acting up AND how long it’s going to last? That’s why I’m an astrologer. I like helping people, and I like seeing how the individual parts add up to a Whole Person, and how those parts interact with other Whole Person’s parts, and with the world around them. And yeah… predicting the future accurately is pretty cool too.
Whether by choice or personal tastes, a lot of astrologers end up specializing in one way or another of doing their work, and what issues they deal with. Although astrology can be used to find answers to pretty much anything, I find myself drawn again and again to matters involving human relationships. Why does this one love that one? Why can’t those two work things out? What am I doing wrong when it comes to understanding you, and vice versa? Psychology is pretty good for that sort of thing, but in my experience only astrology seems to grasp a lot of the mechanics and timing of personal and interpersonal issues.
The timing of matters is particularly important. When do I start my business? Should I go on vacation now or next month? Astrology has answers for those things too. I often tell clients: “any psychic can tell you that ‘everything happens for a reason’… but it takes an astrologer to tell you that ‘nothing happens a damned minute before it’s supposed to.'”
So even though my goal is to help people the same way a regular counselor or therapist would, I get my results from a wide variety of of both natal and predictive techniques: transits and secondary progressions and eclipse charts and even a little Vedic Astrology where it fits. Basically, I go wherever the answers are.
Also: the idea that Your Life and The Universe are strangely yet deeply connected really, really rocks. If you’re looking for some answers of your own, send me an e-mail and I’ll tell you more!