We’ve done an awful lot of intense work lately, so in order to lighten the mood I’m starting a feature called, “Guess the Composite”. I’m not going to ask you to actually guess, of course. That would be impossible. But I’m going to take you through the basic steps of looking at a composite chart as I go through it myself.
This is a typical composite of any two people who would come to you to ask what sort of relationship they can expect to have. Of course, when we do this kind of astrological study, we are learning through hindsight, but that’s often the best way to learn. The charts of prominent people are often very clear and illustrative of archetypes in action.
I want to make a couple of points clear before we start. First, the composite chart is a chart about the interaction of energy. It isn’t a natal chart, it’s the chart of what happens when Force A meets Force B. This subtle difference must be kept in mind when interpreting a composite chart. A relationship is a thing in and of itself, but it isn’t a solid thing locked in time and space. Its energy is more volatile and changeable, and hard aspects versus soft need to be looked at in a less rigid way. That said, composite energy can be very potent. I’ve seen a number of synastry cases where you’d never believe that two people would come together at all, yet their composite chart is so strong that they just click as a couple. They like the feeling of being together. They may argue or repress their differences, but together they’re stronger than they are apart, and they may stay together long term because of that.
Also, I see a lot of people jumping to look at composite charts before any relationship has been established. If there is no real relationship established, the composite chart can give you nothing but potential–if there is no interaction of energy, the composite chart does not exist. You will never know, without two individuals actually interacting, whether one element in the composite chart will be stronger than another. What might look like an innocent Venus/Pluto sextile in composite might be very explosive due to the condition of Pluto in either or both natal charts. What you need to do when there is no relationship is compare each natal chart to the composite chart (I mean literally, with the natal chart on the outside of the composite)–that will give you more of a sense of how each person will react to the partnership. I’ve seen many cases of one-sided obsession when one person’s vital planets hit the composite angles, and the other chart made few important contacts.
First, in any composite, I look for the essence, the core of the relationship. Like any chart, this is found by looking at the condition of the Sun, the Moon, the Ascendant and its ruler, and the Nodes.
First, the composite rising sign. Here, nurturing Cancer is rising, but this also indicates that emotions are going to run high as a ‘colour’ in the relationship, and touchiness and moodiness might be an issue when these two are together. They feel like family to one another. It’s also a relationship where two people are going to want to do things together. Cancer doesn’t get enough credit for being a cardinal sign–it wants to get things going (though each may wait for the other to do something first). And where is the ruler of this chart, the Moon? In the creative and procreative fifth house. Lots of children? Possible. Though Vesta there puts the emphasis on going inwards, to find some inner expression of the lunar energy. Libra on the cusp is promising. The offspring of this partnership are in some way tied to the identity of the partnership–Venus, ruling the fifth house, is conjunct the Ascendant. The Scorpio Moon trining the Cancer Ascendant facilitates this fifth house placement. Whatever else happens, these two are going to want to create something together. This is the main thrust of the composite.
There are a lot of nice things here. For one, Venus is conjunct the Ascendant in the first house. Any planet conjunct the Ascendant of a composite will colour the entire relationship. As the Ascendant is the “I” of the relationship itself, this Venus in Cancer is about nurturing something, about the value of giving birth to something, of bringing it to life. All of the Venusian qualities are emphasized when these two are together. Venusian things dominate the relationship and impel its growth. People will perceive them as Venusians, pleasant and charming and disarming in all kinds of ways, very seductive. Venus is given double strength by also being an angle ruler. The IC of a composite chart is where its grounding force is, where its inner power is, and having the IC ruler conjunct the Ascendant is a very powerful force indeed. People feel the impact of this partnership. The Libra IC at 0 degrees cardinal puts the emphasis on partnership. The strength of this partnership is in partnership itself –they will derive strength from the Venusian/Libran thrust of their combined energies (more on this IC later). Again, Venus pleasures and pursuits provide the mutual grounding.
The Sun is the heart of the composite chart, where its vital energy lies. Where the Sun is found tells us what these two people must journey to discover together, something they could not do alone. Here the happy and creative Leo Sun, strong in its own sign, is in the second house and conjunct the North Node ruler, Mercury, which in itself is conjunct the MC ruler, Mars. The Sun in any chart is a guiding spiritual force. The closer the orb, the stronger it is, but anything too close to the Sun can lose perspective–the Sun can blind us to that planet’s function. The further away the Sun is via conjunction, the more perspective we have on the Sun’s relationship with that planet. I would consider this Leo Sun as having a strong conjunction with the Leo Mercury, and also having a minor ‘knock on’ affect with Mars, adding purpose to the Mercury/Mars conjunction. However, the journey of this partnership will be marred by some strife due to the Mars position–conjunctions are erratic, and Mars conjunct the NN ruler, inconjunct the MC it rules, can mean conflicts about where the relationship is going, and introduces the possibility of professional competition. Certainly this relationship will have a competitive edge, due to the Martian tension.
When composite planets are in the second house, these people, when they are together, have the urge to establish something, to develop something solid in a very Taurean way. These two, when together, not only talk (Mercury) but act (Mars). It helps that Mars is in Virgo, complimenting both the Ascendant and the Scorpio Moon. Virgo is the sign of the craftsman, and Mars as the MC ruler is very happy in the second house. It wouldn’t be surprising for these two to set up a business together, or to work together, because that second house Mars wants to do something public (MC).
When the Sun is conjunct the North Node ruler, we cannot turn away from our purpose. Another indication of not being able to turn away from the North Node is when the South Node ruler conjuncts the North Node. Having this double, strong emphasis on the North Node gives the relationship a feeling of intention and direction, almost of destiny. The Sun and Neptune are highly influential here. This partnership has a plan, a road to follow, a spiritual path. It is literally bringing whatever was reaped from the past between these two, both positive and negative, into the present for them to deal with, and circumstances will not let them avoid it, because whenever they are together, they are pushed towards this conjoined North Node. This is one way that composite Nodes are different from natal Nodes. As an individual consciousness, we can turn away from our development, but composite Nodes click into action whenever we interact with the other. We can either stay together and face the music, or decide to break up, but composite Nodes always act instinctively, in tandem.
The Sun is also strong here in supporting another angle ruler, Saturn, in a square. Squares do not automatically translate into ‘bad’ in a composite chart (I know, after the last piece, you probably don’t want to hear this, but it’s true.) Particularly where the Sun is concerned. You have to go back to the natals and see how the individual Saturns (in this case) are placed. Is it a problem or a gift in either or both of the charts? What this aspect will do is test the maturity of both parties in the relationship; the relationship will require an element of wisdom in order for it to be successful, and Saturn will certainly test the relationship during its times of important transits to the composite chart. (Composites need strong Saturn just the way synastry comparisons do.) This relationship is meant to help these people mature and take responsibility, possibly on a social or collective scale (Saturn in Taurus in the 11th).
Part Two, and the answer, here.