Can you talk a little more about angle contacts in relationships? I used to have a little book published by the AFA that explained which angle contacts were important, but it didn’t really say why.
Sure. Some years ago, it was generally acknowledged that a relationship needed an angle contact to survive the long haul. I’m not sure I would go that far, but they are important. When a planet from another person hits my angle, it becomes a part of my being and becoming. It might be easier to understand if you think of the angles as highly sensitive antennae reaching out towards experience. The rulers of those angles facilitate the experiences we need to grow. The Asc/Desc angle is the one we mostly think of regarding relationships, but MC/IC contacts can also be intense. (IC contacts evoke deep family issues and issues surrounding personal power; MC contacts concern our feelings about our place in the world and the use of that power.)
It’s important to remember that no angle contact guarantees a partnership or the length of a partnership. These contacts are intense, but occur with others on a regular basis, and may explain the fascination or compulsion or closeness that we sometimes feel with complete strangers.
Synastry Conjunctions to angles: Natal
When someone’s planet conjuncts our angle, we see this person as embodying the planetary archetype. We are highly sensitive to the energy and feel compelled to draw it in to our lives, come what may. I’ve been looking at a synastry recently that simply shouldn’t be, but it illustrates the power of angle rulers contacting angles (any planet conjuncting an angle is important, but angle ruler contacts are particularly intense). Her relationship planets are all in Aquarius, where he is all earth and water. She fits his ‘inner script’ for partnership somewhat (more on this another day), but he is not at all a reflection of hers. Neither the composite nor any of the other relationship charts reveal anything special. However, his Uranus (more powerful as it’s the ruler of his Descendant) conjuncts her Ascendant. She literally experiences him as Aquarian, fulfilling her ‘script’. To top it all, his Uranus also conjuncts her anti-Vertex, and her life has been radically changed by the relationship (see the recent post on Vertex contacts). Her Mars, the ruler of her Descendant, conjuncts his Descendant –he experiences her sexuality in a very powerful and direct way (no matter that it’s incompatible with his own in terms of aspects). Her Venus is near enough to his Descendant to matter, though beyond the orbs I usually use for synastry. The relationship is literally hanging on by the angles. It’s all excitement and energy, which is what happens when the angles are stimulated. Whether this will last past their current progressed Sun/Moon contacts is anyone’s guess. The core natal chart usually wins out in the end. It’s possible things will cool when she realizes that he isn’t as exciting (in a Uranian sense) as she thought he was, and he may wake up one day to find that all that detached air is not really satisfying his touchy-feely earth/water needs.
Conjunctions to natal angles between charts are immediately felt. Depending on the planet involved and the individual chart, it might be welcomed or rejected. Usually, the energy is welcomed. But issues arise depending on the planets involved. A logical, unsentimental person might not appreciate a Neptune conjunction to the Ascendant, which would eventually cloud his self-perception. He might not be comfortable opening to Neptune’s other-worldly lessons. A very romantic or freedom-loving individual may not appreciate Saturn, which will insist that the individual mature and take responsibility in partnership. (Saturn/angle can also be difficult with parental projections, and with the question of the angle person feeling that not enough time is spent together.) “Foolproof” strong contacts are Sun, Moon, Mercury and Venus. We feel alive with the Sun, emotionally contained with the Moon, understood with Mercury, and adored/adoring with Venus contacts. (Of course, this must be adjusted to the relative health of the planet involved in the partner’s chart. If someone has a lot of difficult aspects to his Venus and his Venus conjuncts my angle, those issues will eventually arise through the partnership.) Mars can be very sexual, but problematic in terms of independence issues. Jupiter can be a happy tie, but issues surrounding excess and commitment may arise. Uranus can bring fascination, but can feel very tentative, almost too exciting, and ready to blow at any minute. Pluto points to a deep, transformative, life-changing tie, but it may also cause us to feel as if we are dying to whatever we used to find comforting and familiar. Depending on the rest of the chart, some will be open to this change, and others may run away.
Synastry Conjunctions to angles: Progressed
Synastry conjunctions from natal charts to progressed angles between charts have to do with a person bringing that planetary energy into our lives for the time the conjunction is within orb, usually over a span of around three years. When the progressed angle moves on, often the relationship does as well. Whether or not the connection is long lasting depends on the rest of the chart action.
Often, we attract partners who embody a planetary energy when either side of the angle is in orb to a transiting planet. For example, if transiting Uranus is conjunct my progressed Descendant, a particularly Uranian or Aquarian partner may come into my life. (This also goes for transits to natal angles, but I’ve seen more of it when progressed angles are transited.)
Conjunctions from the progressed chart of one to the progressed angle of another are trickier. Natal planets embody what we are at core; progressed planets express what we are becoming. We are less sure of our ‘becoming’ energy, and contact between the faster moving progressed planets and progressed angles can be a bit fraught and uncertain. The progressed Sun and Moon are always important, because they are major significators of our life journey (though the Moon’s contact is fleeting). Someone’s progressed Sun touching anything in my progressed or natal chart will light up that area of my life (for good or bad). Progressed angle conjunctions to progressed outer planets are significant, particularly when the conjunction is close to exact (within a couple of minutes). The outer planets don’t move much by progression, but they absolutely come alive when exact contacts occur. (Much like sleeping giants poked awake.) These conjunctions can be very event-oriented. The progressed angles are highly sensitive antennae that are tuned to new experiences—if any of my progressed planets hit your angles, I will show you new ways for that planet to express itself, because I am wrestling with a new orientation to that planet myself. We will experience that planet together, and both learn its lessons.
Asc/Desc Rulers in Aspect:
The rulers of the respective angles, in aspect, are very powerful contacts. When the rulers of the angles are involved with one another, we feel a strong, immediate tie, and often feel compelled to partnership. When angle rulers are in aspect with one another, there is a sense that our paths are going in the same direction, that we are working towards the same developmental goals.
Ascendant rulers in aspect: This happens rarely, as Stephen Arroyo has pointed out. If both Ascendant rulers are conjunct, the road may be rocky as each person grows and changes, but at least they feel they’re headed down the same highway together. Ascendant rulers in aspect are helpful, no matter the aspect. (Even the inconjunct, that most curmudgeonly aspect, can work here.) They usually signify an influential relationship. One helps the other move forward in life.
Ascendant ruler of one chart in aspect to Descendant ruler of another: Conjunction: natural partnership. You are my natural ‘other.’ Descendant partner most likely will be the one to define and nurture the relationship, but may eventually balk at being the one who holds it together. The opposition works in the same way but may have an ‘attraction/repulsion’ element to it. Attraction is likely to win out in the end, because of the natural partnership role played in the opposition. Squares may suffer more agitation, with inconjuncts being the most difficult. These people may want to be together, but often just can’t make it work.
Descendant rulers in aspect: Fall naturally into partnership, particularly with the conjunction, but often the relationship is a hotbed of projection. The two may have difficulty learning relationship lessons and moving forward, because too much is assumed. The relationship depends on the level of self-knowledge and how comfortable each is in their own skin. Descendant ruler relationships may be easier for more mature couples, who have begun to fill in their own ‘blank spaces’ in partnership.
See “The Roving “I,” parts one and two