Synastry Q & A: Planets in Houses

Question:  Do you use the synastry method of putting one person’s planets into another person’s houses?

Cindy, California

I do and I don’t.  Simply putting one person’s planets into another person’s houses isn’t going to tell you much.  The reason is that planets don’t carry equal weight.

For example, if someone’s Uranus falls in my third house, the method tells me that I could expect that person to shake up my immediate environment in some way, or to stimulate my thinking or communication style, or to convince my brother to get a sex change.  But if the third house isn’t emphasized in my chart, and I have no planets there, or if the partner’s Uranus doesn’t make any important contacts with my personal planets, then that Uranus falling in the third will have very little meaning.  It won’t have no meaning, but it will have very little actual impact on the relationship.  (Of course, it will matter a bit more if that Uranus is dominant in the other person’s chart –conjunct the Ascendant, or square the Sun, for example).  I have a slightly different method.

Angle rulers to angles are the most important contacts between charts, followed by planets to angles.  I look for those first.  I also look for conjunctions to the nodes and the nodal rulers.  The houses the Sun and the Moon fall in should also be noted;  the person may cause me to see things in those houses I never saw before.  (They aren’t called The Lights for nothing.)

Mainly, I look to angular houses. If someone’s planets are in my angular houses, they will make an impact on my life, even without exact contact with the angle.  I will experience them directly.  Also, if someone’s planet contacts an angle from the other side, it’s just as significant as a contact in the angular house. If someone’s planet is in my sixth, ninth, twelfth or third house, but is within close orb (note I say close orb, five degrees tops) of the angle, then that contact is significant.  I also check to see what’s happening with the fifth and eighth houses, as these are both sexual houses. (A relationship graduates to the seventh house only when an element of commitment is involved.)  The twelfth house can matter if there is significant contact, because the person whose 12th house it is might deify the person with the planets, or feel that something is owed or needs to be resolved in the relationship.

What I have found significant and helpful is to take any hard aspects to the relationship planets in one chart and place them in the houses of another.  For example, if my partner has a Venus/Pluto opposition and it falls on my Asc/Desc angle, his troubles with jealousy, insecurity and ownership will directly affect my identity and how I relate to other people.  If it falls in my fifth and 11th houses, there may be power struggles that affect my self-expression; at worst, he may try to isolate me from my community.  Say that his Sun/Uranus square falls in my seventh and 10th houses.  My partner’s struggle to express his Uranian nature may likely affect the stability of both my relationship and my career.

It’s interesting when houses get emphasized by element.  If someone’s planets fall in my fire houses (houses 1, 5, and 9) that person will just make me zing; I’ll feel inspired and alive when he’s around.  Water houses emphasized (4, 8, and 12) will make me feel emotional and in the mood to merge.  I may let down my defenses more easily with this person.  Air houses will fire my synapses and help me make connections I never could before (3, 7, 11).  Earth houses (2, 6, 10) will bring out the practicality in me;  the person will inspire me to get my act together, to accomplish things and become more grounded.  This happens no matter what sign is on the cusp of the house, because the houses are a sequenced process, a working wheel in my life.  Another’s planets there can flick the ‘on’ switch of that particular area.

I haven’t found sign emphasis to be that significant unless there is an imbalance in one of the charts.  If I have no water and you have a lot, I may look to you to carry the emotional weight of the relationship.  If I’m full of fire and you are all earth and water, you may dampen my enthusiasm for life once the initial attraction has cooled.  But again, aspects outweigh element.  We do the ‘planet in house’ thing to see what areas of life one person will stimulate in another, but without actual significant contacts between planets and points, placement won’t matter much.


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