Have you ever noticed how humans are usually a little more complex than the textbook said they should be? That’s as true from an astrological perspective as it is from any other viewpoint. When you put two humans together in a relationship, the complexities don’t just add up… they multiply. This can lead to a lot of confusion when you’re learning astrology (as it can when you’re actually dating).

This is the first of a two-part entry on astrology and compatibility: specifically, why stuff that shouldn’t work sometimes does.


Early on in the course of becoming familiar with astrology, one usually comes across the notion that any given Sign is more compatible with some Signs than with others. Fire matches with Fire (or maybe Air), Earth matches with Earth (or maybe Water), Water matches with Water (or maybe Earth) and Air matches with Air (or maybe Fire). At some point you can expect to come across an astrologer making gags about Water putting Fire out, or Air blowing Earth into dust, or whatever.

There is an element of truth to this matching of Elements (edit: possible pun?), and yet actual observation tends to lead to the conclusion that human relationships aren’t really that straightforward. First of all, astrology itself isn’t that straightforward. A couple with numerous harmonious aspects to each other’s Moons, for example, can often overcome difficulties around their Sun placements.

Not only is it painfully simplistic to reduce any human to a mere Sun Sign, doing so ignores the fact that some combinations that (theoretically) “shouldn’t work” do often work quite well. Often, it seems to boil down to the less-than-obvious things about each of the Signs in question that they, nonetheless, have in common.

One of those astrological techniques that works (but doesn’t get a lot of press) is antiscia (an-TEE-see-a) (singular “antiscion”).

Think of the antiscia this way: picture the circle of the Zodiac. Draw a line that runs from between Gemini and Cancer, and stretches across to the point between Sagittarius and Capricorn. Since Cancer is the “mirror image” of Gemini, these two Signs are considered to be “antiscions” of each other… mirror images. Admittedly, at times it can seem more like a mirror of the “fun-house” variety… but aren’t a lot of the personalities you’ve had relationships with kind of fun-house mirrors of your own personality?

Continuing around the circle, next to Cancer is Leo, and next to Gemini is Taurus. Thus, these two Signs (even though they “square” each other) are antiscia. Then comes Virgo, antiscion to Taurus’ neighbor Aries. After that is Libra and Pisces, then Scorpio and Aquarius, and finally we’ve made our way to the other side of the Zodiac with Sagittarius and Capricorn. Here, maybe this will help:

beliefnet astrology matthew currie ANTISCIA

See? Some of those oddball friends of yours are starting to make sense now, aren’t they?

To summarize, the Sign that are antiscia to each other are:

  • Aries and Virgo
  • Taurus and Leo
  • Gemini and Cancer
  • Libra and Pisces
  • Scorpio and Aquarius
  • Sagittarius and Capricorn

Here are two examples of “incompatible signs” that (because they are antiscions to each other) defy the usual textbook definitions of “incompatible”:

You’ve got to admit that this combination sounds like nothing but trouble. The headstrong Ram has little to no patience for things like accounting and fine details, and these are the things Virgo seems to thrive on. But astrologers often see this Sun Sign combination work out anyway. The secret here may be that both signs are far more sensitive than they normally let on. One (Aries) tends to mask their sensitivity with bluster, and the other (Virgo) with quiet withdrawal. However, once these two catch on to each other’s Big Secret… it can be pure magic.

One just wants to talk around things, and one wants (mostly) to be left in peace. One can cover all the angles of any situation and the other one wants to fight for the One Truth (whatever that may be). What could they have in common? Both are very much products of their own minds. Gemini is ruled by Mercury, which is the planet in charge of “thinking about things.” But (as any decent Vedic astrologer will tell you), the Moon — which rules Cancer — is in charge of your “raw” or “unprocessed” mind. It’s more instinctual than analytical, but still rules basic mental processes. Gemini and Cancer may appear to be very different, but both are constantly waggling their antennae at the world around them. Keeping that in mind can make these two oddballs work well together.


Next time: More “incompatible” compatibility.

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