"Will I find happiness with this person?" is one of the questions most often asked of a student of astrology. The concrete problem may refer more precisely to marriage or to any other kind of personal relationship; but, in any case, the issue deals basically with the longing for happiness which every human being harbors in his or her heart. We know instinctively that this longing can be satisfied only by some kind of relationship. However, there can be many types of relationship; and the desire for relationship — and for happiness — can operate at several levels.
He who succeeds in fulfilling his desire normally reaches happiness in this fulfillment; yet in many cases, one finds within one's nature conflicting desires. As we seeks happiness or personal fulfillment, we may be pulled in several directions, often in two opposite directions; and after one desire is satisfied, we may find a peculiar sense of emptiness and frustration in our heart because in the process of fulfillment, other, perhaps equally strong, desires have been blighted or crushed.
The problem of how to find happiness is, therefore, essentially the problem of realizing clearly what one desires most vitally, most intensely; then of placing an adequate value on any seemingly important relationship which life brings, according to whether or not it might satisfy this essential desire — our "heart's desire." In many cases, however, human beings do not really stop to ask themselves such questions concerning the character of their most basic desire. They live, we might say, at the "generic" level of human development; they are swayed almost entirely by biological or collective-social urges. These urges actually compel them to seek personal fulfillment in relationships which operate almost entirely at a "natural" vitalistic level, according to social, cultural, religious patterns of normality.
There are many persons, on the other hand, who have succeeded in "individualizing" to a greater or lesser extent their reactions to life and their attitudes toward the problem of fulfillment of desire. They experience, no doubt, the basic urges inherent in human nature, particularly the "mating urge" and the yearning for happiness and self-expression. But they have forced these desires into mental frameworks; they demand of life that these desires be fulfilled in a particular, individual way, their own way, if they are to be fulfilled at all.
Often these natural urges are repressed and perhaps altogether denied, and another kind of psychological and mental (or so-called "spiritual") desire occupies the main focus of the individual's attention; the attainment of happiness depends then upon the satisfaction of these desires. Perhaps happiness eludes these individuals altogether, for the conflict of opposite desires within the total personality introduces as well conflicts and serious problems in the evaluation of human relationships. A certain relationship may fulfill the basic urge at the biological-sexual level, while another may satisfy those supposedly "higher" desires which are developed at the intellectual, cultural or spiritual level. A great deal of confusion may then be the result.
Discrimination as to what any one particular relationship might bring to the individual is indeed often most difficult, for the relationships between complex personalities — which often means personalities filled with "complexes" — are always filled with uncertainties and obscurities. How, then, can the over-all basic question, "Would I be happy with this person?" be answered with any degree of assurance?
If the astrologer is to give a satisfactory answer, the first thing he or she must do is to try to evaluate the relative strengths of the two or three basic levels of desire of the individual who asks the question. How far is that person "individualized" in his reactions and responses to the basic urges of human nature? How deeply have such basic urges been affected by difficulties, shocks or crippling psychological (and physiological) pressures in childhood and adolescence — and this means mainly how natural and wholesome was the early relationship of the person to his parents, to his brothers and sisters?
If the questioner reveals strong complexes in his psychological make-up and an individualized attitude toward life and society, coupled with a strong intellectual development, then the problem of possible happiness in this or that relationship has to be judged primarily — but not exclusively, of course — at the psychological level. Yet a relationship which might start tumultuously with clashing "complexes" may harmonize itself and change the main level of operation of the two personalities being related, if a powerful biological-sexual rapport develops between them.
In any event, the question of happiness in a relationship just beginning is always most difficult to answer, and any quick and glib judgment based on the relationship between the zodiacal sun-signs of the two persons is without much validity and may do great harm.
What I am seeking to point out here is that many more complex factors have to be taken into consideration whenever birth-charts are being compared for the purpose of answering the question above stated. Indeed, in my opinion, the usual procedures are at best most superficial and in many ways psychologically unsound, inasmuch as they fail to grasp the true operation of the basic psychological mechanisms at work in human relationship — particularly in intimate love relationships.
Levels of Desire
First, we must consider what the levels of operation of man's essential desires are in terms of astrological factors.
The primary level is the biological-instinctual-vital level represented by the Sun and Moon. The second level is the more or less individualized personal-emotional level, affected by cultural influences and psychological complexes, represented by Mars and Venus. Then there is a social or religious level, represented by Jupiter and Saturn, which can, in some cases, frame and control the personal drive toward happiness in relationship.
As to Mercury and the three planets beyond Saturn, they should best be considered, I believe, as factors which modify or tend to transform and revolutionize, liberate or disintegrate the attitudes a man and a woman have held toward love and relationship under the pressure of physiological, parental, religious or social factors during the first 20 years.
The next point to stress, astrologically speaking, is that the fact that two charts have one or more close planetary points of contact (and they should be quite close to be really significant!) does not necessarily indicate that the two persons will have much to do together. I have seen many cases of strong relationship between the charts of two persons who, after a few brief meetings in which they felt rather attracted to each other, went their separate ways without anything of significance or importance having occurred in terms of this superficial relationship. Planetary contacts between two charts indicate merely that if a significant and more or less lasting relationship is established, the basic meaning of this relationship can be interpreted and understood in terms of such planetary contacts.
If, however, one of the two persons, or both, wants to know whether the contacts between their birth-charts indicate a good possibility of happiness, this already shows that the potentiality of relationship is at work and seeking confusedly to actualize itself. The problem is, therefore, to try to discern the lines of least resistance in their temperaments or egos along which the urge to relationship will flow, particularly to seek basic clues concerning the level at which the relationship can most satisfactorily bring happiness; and, of course, there can be more than one such level affected at the same time.
The contact between the Sun in one chart and the Moon in another usually reveals quite definitely a fundamental potentiality of relationship operating at the generic level of vital forces. The Sun and Moon represent, indeed, the two polarities of the universal life force; but at the psychological level, they do represent these polarities in terms of basic "images" of what will bring to a person what he or she lacks in order to be complete in power and vitality. In other words, the zodiacal position of the Moon in a man's chart pictures the type of "ideal woman" who will bring to him the inner kind of vital energy he lacks or possesses only in a latent undeveloped state. The Sun in a woman's chart represents her ideal of "the man," the ideal lover.
As every lack attracts what can complete it, it follows that normally (i.e., according to the unobstructed, natural process of relationship) a man will attract to him women who can polarize and illumine his natal Moon. Thus, if the man has his Moon in mid-Taurus, he will tend to draw to him women born with their Sun around mid-Taurus. The actual women will, thus, answer the call of the potential "Woman-Image" projected by the man — which means, in another sense, the call of his own latent, unexpressed femininity. If a contact is established, the mutual attraction should be strong, provided there are not too many disturbances or blockages operating at the more strictly psychological-intellectual ego level.
Such a Sun-Moon contact operates both ways: the man finds in the woman that which fills with light and power his "Woman Image" (i.e., his special need for a feminine counterpart who will externalize what he cannot objectify by himself alone); and the woman finds her "Man Image" (her natal Sun) reflected in the psychic mirror or the desire of the man and, thus, becomes conscious of her own unexpressed masculine selfhood. As a result, both partners become more complete, more totally "realized" through each other.
This is the psychological process which operates in an essentially "human" (and not merely animal) conjunction of the male and female polarities. But, of course, one may also claim that the reverse type of contact is equally or more valid: that is, the Sun of the man conjunct the Moon of the woman. In this case, what we see is a symbol of sheer sexual and instinctual polarization under the compulsive power of life.
In the first case, at the psychological level, we have the solution of the personal needs of the man's mind-spirit and of the woman's soul for their psychic counterpart. It is potentially, and it can become actually a conscious and fulfilling love process — a union which can make two truly human beings united through and beyond the body. In the second case, at the biological level, we simply witness the meeting of two polarized energies for the non-personal purpose of life's perpetuation which can be wonderful enough if allowed to operate in natural perfection of rhythm. Yet this Sun-Moon contact of itself deals primarily with natural energies, not with human consciousness. (There may be, of course, other planetary contacts, adding other facets to the relationship.)
By, contrast, in the union of the man's natal Moon and the woman's natal Sun two "images," two ideals are blended. If there is marriage, it is then a marriage of "images" — that is, of psychic realities. The physiological-sexual happenings become mainly symbolic rituals exteriorizing the psychological communion which is, to the joied individuals, the basic factor. The union has a creative, rather than a "procreative, purpose and meaning in the life of the participants. What is essential in it, even if there are children, is the creative or recreative potentiality implied in the relationship. Each participant, by projecting himself in the other, fulfills the hidden side of that other's nature. Thus, two greater beings are created.
In many contacts between the charts of individuals united by some kind of bond — whether it be a non-sexual friendship or a love affair or a marriage — the Sun or Moon of one person is in contact with a planet in the other chart. There are a great many possibilities of interplanetary contacts. But where the Sun or Moon is involved in the contact, one can always find a basic "image" at work or being stirred in the depths of the unconscious.
In the well-known love affair between the Polish composer
and the French woman writer who took the name of George Sand, the Moon of the man at 12° Libra was conjunct the very much emphasized Uranus of the woman. The delicate and sensitive composer had within him an "image" of a strong, transforming, unconventional woman; and he drew to himself the restless French lady, almost a prototype of the free, independent and creative modern woman. She also had her Moon in late Aries opposed to Chopin's Jupiter, and her own Jupiter at 26° Libra was opposed to his Jupiter at 23° Aries. Her seventh-house Saturn at 28° Virgo was within orb of an opposition to his seventh-house Mars at 2 1/2° Aries.
The Jupiter exchange is interesting, for contacts involving Jupiter and Saturn tend to show either social pressure or individual karma at work in the relationship. I remember a case in which the man's Jupiter was conjunct the woman's Sun-Saturn pair, her Jupiter conjunct his Moon. This indicated a strong soul contact leading to marriage — a marriage which, however, was dissolved some years later under very special social and karmic pressures. The woman remarried, this time a man whose birth-chart contacted hers only at one point: an exact conjunction of his Uranus to her fourth-house Moon (the latter had signified a rather unusual type of "mother complex"). The man's Uranus had intensely stimulated some phases of her feminine nature, and the result was a child born with Uranus rising! The contact was strengthened by the fact that the man had his Sun and several planets in her first house.
In another case which did not lead to marriage but to a very beautiful friendship, a man's Sun was on a woman's Venus. The woman was able to bring to the man's image of his own positive selfhood (Sun) a Venusian quality of love and higher significance. The Saturn of a woman on a man's Sun may bring pressure and karmic confrontations from some ancient past to the man; but it may also help to bring his true self to a more clearly defined and focused condition.
The important fact never to lose sight of, however, is that such contacts may "work" very strongly in some instances and perhaps not at all or indirectly in others. I recall a man whose Venus was conjunct a woman's Sun. They knew each other but slightly through a mutual acquaintance; yet in a moment of decision, some seemingly not too important advice given by the man to the woman changed her life, stopping what then seemed to be an unavoidable divorce and leading to the totally unexpected birth of a child.
It is indeed impossible for any person to fathom or foresee the consequences of a relationship with another person — and this applies as well to relationships between friends or associates of the same sex and involving no evident emotional interaction. The study of the points of contact between the charts of the persons being related cannot reveal, I repeat, whether or not an obviously important relationship will be worked out; it can only show the essential character of the potentiality of relationship between these two persons: i.e., the most fundamental reason for their connection if there is actually to be a concretely active linking of destinies.
The Mars-Venus Contact
When the Mars and Venus of two charts are aspected in one way or another, the potential contact between the two individuals tends to express itself in terms of very "personalized" psychological-emotional situations and needs. Here we deal no longer with the basic "natural" level of life polarities, but instead with the overtones of what the life energy has released and built up in the two personalities. A French horn and a violin may play the same note, but the two resulting sounds are extremely different. They differ in "quality" or "timbre." They differ because while the fundamentals of the two sounds are the same, the distribution of the vibratory energy in the sounds among the overtones of this fundamental differs immensely. One instrument concentrates this sound energy among the lower overtones, the other among the higher. Each instrument in an orchestra has its own pattern of overtones, which gives to this instrument its "individual coloration," musically speaking.
In a rather similar sense, every human being is basically "human" as a member of the species mankind; but each differs as an individual, according to the way he reacts to human experiences and to what special type of experiences he has had to meet, especially during his formative years. These personalized responses to life in time generate characteristic "emotional attitudes"; and it is to these that Mars and Venus refer most directly.
When the natal Mars of a person is very close to the natal Venus of another person, it is most likely that (at least insofar as this point of contact is concerned) they will meet on the basis of a search for someone whose emotional attitude will act as a complementing factor and with the ability to balance some important personal lack or undeveloped psychic area of the personality or to appease a psychic disturbance.
The need, I repeat, is a very personal one, often based on some insistent "complex" or at best on the fact that these two persons have developed emotionally along opposite lines — developed in such a way that a whole side of their potential nature was left immature or in the shadow realm of the unconscious.
Mars is the masculine polarity of the conscious emotional life; Venus, the feminine. Venus represents, therefore, in a man his latent femininity; Mars in a woman is her latent, but nonetheless real and potentially arousable, masculinity. These planets represent this femininity and masculinity at the level of the personal soul, rather than in a biological sense.
If, thus, a man has overplayed his masculine role and ability to respond, perhaps because his natal Mars was strongly emphasized, the feminine side of his personality may be very undeveloped; and it may call (unconsciously to the man's ego, most likely) for someone to activate this feminine side. This call often takes the form of "projecting" a strong "Woman Image" of himself; this image seeks its complement in the "Man Image" of a woman who longs to see herself related to a man, giving her a chance to display her own more or less unconscious masculinity.
When, on the other hand, the Mars of a man is conjunct the Venus of a woman, one can expect a more direct and often less consciously personal flow of emotional vitality from the man to the woman. The relationship may feed on a simpler and more natural attraction based on masculine and feminine charm. It is based on the impact of the man's desire for emotional self-expression arousing a personal response in the woman. This can be a particularly significant relationship if either the man or woman (or both) has been somewhat afraid of human relationships and as a result living over-consciously in the mind — or has become enveloped in some intellectual-spiritual cloud of illusion. The man needs, therefore, to feel more masculine, the woman more feminine.
Planets and Angles
There are also many cases of significant relationships between two people which can be interpreted astrologically through the contacts between some planet or planets in one chart and one of the four angles — mainly, the ascendant in the other chart. In the aforementioned case of Chopin and George Sand, Chopin's Venus was conjunct his mistress' ascendant. She had been stimulated, no doubt, by his Venusian musical genius, as composer and pianist. The planet in one person's chart stimulates the psychological function to which this angle refers.
If we use Carl Jung's definition of the four basic functions in man's psyche, we can see how "intuition" refers to the ascendant, "feeling" to the nadir, "sensation" to the descendant and "thinking" to the midheaven or zenith. George Sand needed to have her "intuition" aroused.
Such contacts between planets and angles are usually very revealing. Another equally revealing contact is that between one planet in a chart and the Part of Fortune in another chart. I began this article by pointing out how many and varied ways there are for astrologers to answer the familiar question, "Will I find happiness with this person?" It is well, therefore, to close with a reference to the Part of Fortune, which, in a very real sense, is one of the main indicators of a person's capacity for happiness and of the particular nature of the person's happiness or lack of happiness.
The Part of Fortune, as I have often shown, is simply the moving index of the everyday state of relationship between the Moon and Sun. It indicates the "phase of the Moon" — which, more, accurately speaking, should be called the phase of the soli-lunar relationship (i.e., of the lunation cycle). The Part of Fortune, thus, symbolizes in every individual the connection between the Sun polarity (masculine) and Moon polarity (feminine) of his or her basic nature. It is an all-important connection; and when it is directly influenced by the position of a planet nearby, the character of the person is thereby revealed in some essential feature.
A person born with Saturn conjunct the Part of Fortune tends to be the pessimistic type or, at any rate, the man whose happiness depends on deeply rooted personal factors rather than on superficial circumstances or events. Jupiter conjunct the Part of Fortune is, on the contrary, an indication of innate optimism and faith, of social buoyancy and a "good-fellow" attitude.
If a person's natal Saturn is close to another person's Part of Fortune, the relationship may deepen and make more practical the second person's personal attitude; but it may also be at times heavy and depressing. The meaning of contacts involving other planets can easily be worked out by considering the typical characteristics of these planets.
In closing, I should not only make it clear that I have merely given here the broad outlines of a complex subject which, unfortunately, is but too often discussed on a very superficial and not too relevant basis of quick judgment, but I should also restate most emphatically that the fact the charts of two persons reveal some strong points of contact does not mean that these persons will or necessarily should become closely related. I stress this point because I have seen near tragedies produced by someone discovering that another person's chart was closely related to his or her own. Also, I have seen happy and lasting marriages between two persons whose birth-charts had only very slight points of contact.
Nevertheless, the fact remains that if a lasting, or a brief but highly meaningful, relationship is established between people, whatever points of contact there are between their birth-charts is almost certainly a remarkably revealing indication of the character and purpose of the relationship. It is this fact which makes a study such as this valid and necessary; it is "necessary," for astrological judgment in the matter of inter-chart relationship can only be valid if all the complex intricacies of the subject are carefully taken into consideration.