Have you ever wondered why you get along easily with some people, but struggle to find a rapport with others?
In astrology, the study of relationship compatibility is called synastry, or chart comparison. For the second in an occasional series of articles on synastry, here’s a look at Sun connections between charts.
The Sun in our chart represents our source of energy and how we use it. By sign, house position and aspect, the Sun suggests where best we should channel our energy in order to grow and fulfill our life’s purpose. It also hints at the challenges and lessons we might expect to meet along the way. As such, it represents our own personal hero’s journey – our vitality, willpower, ego identity and the creative urge. Expressing our Sun is a mission, something we need to learn to do, to aspire to.
Whenever we meet another person whose aims, goals, mission and energetic expression are similar to or compatible to our own we ‘get them’. We tend to feel a rapport with them, or at least we can understand where they’re coming from. On the other hand, when we meet someone whose expression is very different from our own we can have difficulty understanding where they’re coming from. While we may feel intrigued and attracted to the different energy, getting along together presents us both with a challenge.
When judging Sun compatibility between charts, we really need to look at the whole picture – the Sun’s sign, aspects and house - but simply looking at the basic Sun to Sun aspects in isolation is the best place to start and we can build from there.
Of course, when comparing charts the two Suns might not form an aspect. If this is the case, look to the general compatibility by sign and element. The following will still apply, but it will be a less intense connection.
Sun conjunct Sun (or Sun in the same sign):
If your Suns are conjunct, think of all those joint birthday parties you can enjoy! For two Virgoans or Capricorns, that might be a great thing (think of the money you will save by throwing a shared bash), but if you’re two Leos, do you really want to share the occasion with another limelight hogger? This sounds a bit flippant, but the point is that this connection can very much depend on the sign the Sun is in. However, generally speaking, you have similar ways of expressing your energy and ego and your life’s lessons, missions and purpose are compatible. While you may be at very different stages in your journey, you are traveling in the same direction. You can really identify with the person who shares your Sun sign and this can be an easy, supportive relationship. The danger of being so alike is that you can too easily become aware each other’s weaknesses. If this happens, take note, because there is a lesson in it for you both. Rather than actively disliking the other person, remember that they are most probably highlighting something you don’t like about yourself, or something you are in denial about and need to work on.
Sun opposition Sun (or Sun in opposite signs):
Opposites attract! This aspect is very commonly found between friends and lovers. Opposites might well attract, but they can also repel and often can attract-repel at the same time, which makes this aspect very interesting. At best, you will complement each other nicely and find the relationship stimulating and mutually supportive with a nice balance of egos. This is because despite the differences between opposing signs, they also share common concerns (click to read more). At worst, there can be no real relationship because you are constantly pulling apart, moving in completely opposite directions. It can even be both at the same time…Yes, the classic love-hate relationship is a possibility here.
Sun square Sun (or Sun in the same mode):
Click to Enlarge
Square aspects are challenging and dynamic. They call for action, often in response to conflict, but dealing with conflict successfully can lead to valuable growth for both individuals involved. Planets square other planets in the same mode as themselves, so planets in cardinal signs square planets in other cardinal signs and so on. The graphic to the right explains all. In relationships where your Suns square each other, you tend to tackle the obstacles and problems you meet on your life journey in a similar style, but because your overall temperament and life goals differ, this can sometimes lead to a frustrating relationship dynamic. Attraction can feel strong between you but just as easily so can dislike! Relationships between cardinal signs can become blighted by over-competitiveness, fixed relationships can feel possessive and stuck and mutable relationships can have a tendency to drift. Ultimately though, Sun square Sun in synastry, if expressed healthily and with conciousness, is a contact which can lead to growth and personal development for both concerned. If you can work out your differences you can achieve a lot together.
Sun Trine Sun (or Sun in the same element):
When your Sun trines somebody else’s Sun, it suggests an easy, supportive, harmonious relationship. You tend to ‘get’ each other, feel comfortable holding hands along life’s journey together and feel nicely energized by each other’s company. However, if you want dynamism, growth and a little exciting tension in your relationship, you might need to find that in other aspects between your charts. Planets trine other planets in the same element as them, illustrated in the graphics below (click on each graphic to enlarge).
Sun Sextile Sun (or Sun in a compatible element):
Sextiles, like trines, suggest an easy, harmonious relationship. It’s generally a supportive relationship which benefits both parties, because the element your Sun is in, is compatible with the element the other person’s Sun falls in. However, the sextile does need a little more work than a trine to make the most out of it. At best, sextiles between your Sun and another person’s Sun present an opportunity for you to help and encourage each other to achieve your life goals.
Sun Quincunx Sun (or Sun in natural quincunx by sign):
Planets in quincunx just don’t get each other at all. Unlike the square aspect they do not share the same mode and neither do they share compatible elements. When our Suns are in quincunx by aspect or merely by sign, our energy, vitality, life path and goals – and how we achieve our goals – are so different, it’s hard to see a common meeting point. The key word for the quincunx is awkward and the best way to work with a quincunx in synastry is for both parties to accept that constant adjustments and allowances will need to be made within the relationship. However, surprisingly, close relationships and marriages between people whose Suns are in quincunx (by aspect or merely by sign) are pretty common. Maybe this aspect between Suns keeps things fresh and alive and constantly interesting? At best, living with someone whose Sun quincunxes your Sun teaches you great tolerance. While you may never completely get where the other person is coming from, to learn to lovingly honor and respect the differences between you is a great thing. With a quincunx between your Suns, you would hope for some more compatible aspects between other planets in your synastry. For example, my Capricorn Sun and my husband’s Leo Sun fall into a natural quincunx. However, his Capricorn Moon complements my Sun and my Aquarius Moon complements his Sun and vice versa. Harmonious Venus and Mars connections also help keep things nice on the romantic front!
Sun Semisextile Sun (or Suns in neighboring signs):
Planets in semisextile are 30 degrees away from each other, in neighboring signs. While our neighbors might not be our most natural bedfellows, with a bit of work on both sides, we can find a way to live harmoniously alongside them. Fortunately, in synastry, semisextile aspects between Suns tend to be easier than semisextiles between planets that are not so naturally harmonious, such as Saturn and Mars. When your Suns are in semisextile, it offers a great learning experience for both of you. For example, an Aquarius Sun can help a Capricorn Sun shake itself out of its boring old routine to try something new, whilst Capricorn lends a bit of stability and structure to Aquarius’ goals and ideals. Scorpio Sun can help Sagittarius Sun to be more controlled and patient and Sagittarius can help Scorpio to be less suspicious and more optimistic about life’s gifts. And so on… As you think about all the Sun signs it becomes fairly easy to see how the sign before or after it can act as a healthy antidote to its more negative qualities. It’s not necessarily instant sunshine and roses with the semisextile though, this aspect in synastry will probably require work and awareness to feel the benefits.
Here’s a real life example of how these aspects can work, which also brings in the outer planet dimension to demonstrate how these can color the Sun to Sun synastry aspects:
Uranus in the mix
A few years back, Andrea* started an affair with Karl, whose Cancer Sun was exactly opposite her Capricorn Sun. Andrea says she felt strongly attracted to this man very shortly after meeting him, but weirdly felt repelled by him at the same time. This seems pretty typical of Sun opposite Sun connections, if a little extreme. However, Karl had natal Sun square Uranus (forming a t-square with Andrea’s Sun) and at the time the affair began, Andrea had transiting Uranus squaring her Ascendant-Descendant (the relationship axis). The presence of Uranus served to underscore and intensify the Sun connection between them and Andrea talks of the affair as exciting, stressful and sudden. But Uranus also seemed to catalyze the break up (the pulling apart which is common with Sun opposite Sun) which Andrea says was just as sudden. She simply woke up one day and the repulsion had overtaken the attraction and so she cut off the relationship just like that (very Uranian). This left Karl – a sensitive Cancerian – rather hurt and bewildered. Remarkably, however, he wrote to Andrea a few weeks later with total acceptance that the relationship was over (remember, this sensitive Cancer was also very Uranian), expressing his thanks for the valuable lesson she had taught him about relationships.
Generally speaking, Sun-Sun synastry aspects that also involve Uranus make for very exciting interactions. If both people are prepared to explore unconventional ways of relating it can work out just peachy, but very often it can result in a shaky relationship where one person demands more freedom than the other is willing to give. This is perhaps why these connections are often marked by periodic (or permanent) break ups, or at least times when one person needs to emotionally detach from the other. It's not that it won’t eventually lead to commitment, often it does, its just that the commitment might not be what most would call traditional. To work, these associations require that each partner allows the other enough space to be true to themselves and follow their life path authentically, even if this means that they ultimately end up going in totally different directions.
Imagine if the above example was colored by Saturn or Neptune or Pluto rather than Uranus and you get a very different set of potentials….
Pluto in the mix
When Pluto is involved in Sun to Sun synastry connections a powerful attraction is suggested. Unfortunately, these relationships can easily become a battle of wills, as one or both partners try to control the relationship, expecting the other to submit to their will, maybe even forcibly. There’s no doubt that these relationships are powerfully deep and strong and passionate, but both parties need to be able to keep things in perspective, nurture each other’s free will and self esteem and constantly ask themselves whether the relationship is a healthy one for both concerned. At best, this is an association that can be deeply transforming, if both parties can allow themselves and each other the space to healthily purge and explore their deepest, darkest urges together. There is often something clandestine about these types of relationships. When both are positively empowered by the relationship, this can be a coupling to be reckoned with!
Neptune in the mix
With Neptune involved in Sun to Sun synastry connections, the relationship takes on an otherworldly feeling. These connections can feel ‘meant to be’, part of some ‘divine plan’. The danger is that it’s too easy for the relationship to become an over-idealized one which ignores or simply doesn’t see the flaws and weaknesses within it. Escapism is a distinct possibility, with either or both parties expecting the relationship to keep them safe from the harsh reality of real life. While this can be cozy and in some ways positive, couples with these connections need to be careful they don’t slip into unhealthy escapist habits together such as drink, drugs or emotional interdependence. These connections often call for one or both to make sacrifices which can easily veer them off their life path and sap their vitality and free will. Quite simply, it’s easy to lose your individual identity such is the urge to merge here. These relationships are often marked by deception in some way, which can leave one or both disappointed, disillusioned or even abandoned once reality finally hits. At best, these couplings really can be of the ‘made for each variety’ and if both are able to truly support each other on their life journey they can reach new heights together romantically, spiritually and creatively.
Saturn in the mix
With Saturn involved in Sun to Sun synastry connections, the relationship takes on a serious dimension. Strong Saturn connections in synastry are very often found in committed, long term relationships. Yes, Saturn is a stayer! However, it’s not all wedding bells and 25th anniversaries with Saturn, because this harsh reality planet can just as easily suggest a relationship which struggles to get off the ground in the first place. Perhaps one or the other is wary of entering into a relationship or has doubts that the other person is right for them? Sometimes, this connection can suggest delays or obstacles in coming together, either emotional or circumstantial. Once the relationship is underway, at least one party will need the security and stability of a more traditional style of relationship. Whether this can work out will very much depend on whether that relationship style suits the other person’s temperament and life path. Also, this connection can suggest a relationship where one or the other feels constricted, or feels that their self confidence is being eroded by the other’s judgmental or pessimistic attitude to life. At best, couples in Sun-Saturn synastry relationships can grow together in mutual respect, love and esteem for each other. This can be the perfect connection for growing old together gracefully.
A note about working with synastry: I have found that the best way to work with synastry is to apply it to existing relationships, using it as a guide to understanding the issues, meeting points, tensions and lessons inherent in the relationship. If you apply synastry to someone you don’t know very well but kinda fancy, I doubt you will get a very useful picture. This is because human beings are strange creatures, with odd and surprising tastes and a weird thing called free will. So, comparing your chart with that of the cute boy you met on the bus the other night after you managed to sweet talk his date of birth out of him, really won’t tell you if he’s going to fancy you back! Oh and please, when comparing your chart with someone else’s, it's good ethics to ask their permission first (my Mercury in Sagittarius in the 7th talking).