Synastry Q & A: Spiritual Adulthood; Sun squares

Question:  You mentioned the third Jupiter return and the way women relate more to their Sun after it occurs.  I don’t think of Jupiter as a relationship planet.  Why does this happen?

Also, why would the Uranus opposition change a man’s feelings about his Moon?

Frances, London

According to esoteric tradition, the third Jupiter return marks the year of our awakening into our spiritual adulthood.  At this time we become more responsible to our individual spiritual growth and less a product of our past.

The significance of the third Jupiter return can be illustrated through number (as can all astrology, but that’s a discussion for another day).

Jupiter is the ruler of the 9th sign, Sag. The number nine equals 3 plus 3 plus 3.  Nine, according to Pythagorean numbers theory, is the number of completion.  (After nine, we return to 1 and 0.)  Three complete cycles of Jupiter equals one epic Jupiter cycle.  If you look at it in chart terms, it’s 12 houses plus 12 plus 12.  This gives us 36=3 + 6=9.

Jupiter is about our wisdom.  The mutable houses relate to the sequence of three. Their signs, aspects and placements tell the story of how we process information (Gemini) into knowledge (Virgo) into wisdom (Sag) into universal understanding (Pisces).  (Jupiter is a co-ruler of Pisces here.  Double Mercury, double Jupiter.)  Jupiter represents our highest knowledge, and our most profound wisdom of Self.

After the third Jupiter return, both men and women have greater access to their solar energy.  But for women it’s a more profound shift, due to their ongoing relationship with their Moon signature and the changes that ensue after the Progressed Lunar Return at age 28.  I call the years between the Progressed Lunar Return and the first Saturn square after the Saturn return “the lunar crisis years.”  This is a time when women sort out what is and is not working in their lunar orientation. Men sometimes completely disengage from their lunar inclinations at this time.  This is a complicated topic, and I’m glad you brought it up.  It’s part of the class I teach on the cardinal signs and relationships, and I’ll be discussing it a bit further in our next synastry session.

As for Uranus:  During the “lunar crisis years,” men can jettison their relationship to their Moon and project it on to their partners and girlfriends.  The Saturn return sometimes results in men abandoning the Moon (to the extent that any of us can abandon the Moon) and focusing entirely on building (Saturn) something in the world (Saturn) using their creative energy (Sun/Mars).  Having missed the balance boat on the 3rd Jupiter return (being too busy doing stuff), the short sharp shock for men often comes with the Uranus opposition to itself.  (On the whole men who retain their Moon and embrace the paternal archetype of Saturn have a better time of it during the third Jupiter return, and subsequently a better time during the Uranus opposition, depending on aspects.)

The Uranus opposition is, in fact, representative of the mid-life crisis.  Uranus is a neutral planet, neither masculine nor feminine.  When the Uranus opposition comes around, it levels the sexual playing field, often suddenly.  Women often experience a surge of purely sexual desire.  It’s as if they’ve been living a dimmed version of their own sexuality, and someone has just flicked the lights on.  They also find themselves expressive in other areas–it is easier for them to speak out, to act on their own, to make demands, to make their way in the world.  They are more in touch with their desires, and more inclined to ask for what they want.  Men, on the other hand, often feel a lessening of desire and a deep disenchantment with the workings of the outside world (remember that Uranus breaks through our habitual Saturn crusts).  It’s not unusual for a man to just go ‘off’ sex during the Uranus opposition.  (I’ve known many male clients to take a break from dating during this time.) This lessening of direct desire can cause a panic in some, resulting in affairs, abandoned careers and that archetypal bright red Ferrari in the driveway.  In others, it drives them back to explore the abandoned parts of themselves they tossed away when they abandoned their relationship to the Moon all those years ago.  It does not happen in all cases, but men often become more nurturing after the Uranus opposition.  They become less “I” oriented and more willing to share.  They find they need communication with their partners, and find themselves longing for the kind of intimate sharing that can only occur with commitment.  Much depends on the aspects to the Moon. Relationships can become much more equal and less dependent on sexual role playing.  It may take many years for a man to find his way back to his lunar Self, but he will be more inclined to explore the wrong turns at this point.  Uranus being what it is, it may bring insights of a sudden and startling nature that change the course of his relationships forever.

Question:  My boyfriend of a year has his sun in Sag which squares my natal Sun/Moon conjunction in Virgo very tightly. We get on like a house on fire due to many Jupiter/Moon/Venus connections (and other factors too), Mercury’s in trine and Venus trine Mars. I have read several interpretations for these squares and all are negative, some even saying the longer we will be together the more we will irritate each other. Personally I find these aspects stimulating rather than annoying (most of the time). Can you enlighten me anymore on the dynamics involved in sun/sun and sun/moon squares?  Thanks.


Too much is made of Sun sign compatibility.  I think I’ve seen every possible combination in synastry–the sign really is not as important as other factors (angle contacts, for one).  It shouldn’t cause a problem, as long as both of you remain aware that you have very different ways of processing experience.  In fact, Suns in square have a connection because they share a modality:  both Virgo and Sag are mutable signs.  You may do things differently, but ultimately you have a similar approach to life experience.  Mutable signs are about communication, movement, and the gathering and processing of information.  Mutable Suns take a very flexible attitude towards life.  This makes things easier than, say, a square between fixed signs, who tend to dig in their heels a bit.  It’s important that your Mercuries are in trine, and that you have good Jupiter connections.  Mercury and Jupiter are vitally important to your mutable Suns (see the answer above on Spiritual Adulthood). The fact that your square is a tight one also matters; it indicates that you’ll have challenges to work out between you because of your different ways of approaching life, but those challenges don’t necessarily translate into problems.  It can be, as you’ve said, very stimulating.  You will probably learn a lot from one another as time goes on, as long as you remember to accept one another and refuse to censor one another.   Problems can arise not from the Suns in square, but from other issues.  When things get stressful it’s harder to remember to keep an open mind about the other one’s way of doing things.   Suns in square that share modality have different tasks on the same journey.  The Virgo Sun will always be sorting out the chaff from the grain; the Sag Sun is forever heading for new experiences.  If you can accept that, you won’t have a problem.  Sag needs Virgo’s knowledge to map the journey and Virgo needs Sag’s pioneering spirit to move ahead.  You may need to watch out for nervous irritation and withdrawal, which is how mutable signs process stress.  When this happens you’ll need to be extra generous to one another.

Without data, I can’t tell if your Moon is a New Moon or Balsamic, but if it’s a New Moon (Moon has conjuncted the Sun and moved past it) that’s also in your favour, as New Moon types like to see and do everything for themselves and are more adventurous and keen on experience.  It would make you less reticent than the usual Virgo and more in tune with the Sag spirit.  On the whole, Moon/Sun squares are not much of a problem, either (I see lots of them in long term relationships), but they can be more irritating than Sun/Sun.  The Sun operates in a relatively under the radar manner:  it’s presence is so all-pervading that we don’t really notice it until something points it out.  The Moon, however, is something that we’re noticing all the time, and has a lot to do with our conscious and unconscious feelings of security, our comfort, and how we feel nurtured.   We need to satisfy the hungers of the Moon, whereas the Sun has no hunger.  The Sun person, unconsciously, may not naturally relate to the other’s Moon.  When Sun/Moon has easy aspects, or even if they’re only connected through traditionally compatible signs ( same element, or earth with water, fire with air), one person naturally fulfills the other’s needs.  They don’t have to work at it.  With the square, some work will be involved, and unless other contacts are made with your Moon you may have to make a point of articulating your feelings and needs from time to time.  You won’t be able to assume that he’ll understand what’s going on with you emotionally.

Difficulties can arise if either Sun has hard aspects to Saturn or the outer planets.  You really have to look at the entire ‘solar picture’ to get an idea of the dynamics involved.  But on the whole a Sun/Sun or Moon/Sun square is relatively innocent.

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