Love in the Natal Chart - who, when, and how?

Clients most often seek astrologers’ insight on relationship issues: love, romance, and sex. Magazine headlines like “are YOU and your crush compatible?” were most of our first exposures to astrology, and the association has stuck throughout time. Though there is much more to it than comparing sun signs, there's no question of how helpful astrology is for romantic insight.

Venus - the first place to start

Whenever we talk about love and astrology, the discussion begins with Venus. Venus is the planet of values, enjoyment, and aesthetics; it tells us how we give affection and what we appreciate in a partner. If you’re looking to take compatibility analysis one step past the sun sign, start by comparing Venuses. Is your partner’s love nature compatible with your own? I put out a video earlier this year sharing a short description of each Venus sign. Check it out here! ➡️

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Don’t fixate on Venus, as there might be other planets which in your chart relate more to love and romance. If planets show us the subjects in question, signs show how each subject is expressed, and the houses where these subjects are most active and relevant. So, Venus themes in your chart will relate to the sign Venus occupies and the houses that it rules. If Venus sits in a love-oriented house, it is clearly relevant to romance, but sometimes that connection is tangential. For example, in the chart to the left, Venus sits up in the 11th house. This is someone who puts friendship and social networks above all else. Venus tells us more about this person as a friend and community member than as a significant other. We can make some deductions about their romantic nature - they likely have friendly, almost platonic relationships - but that's about it.

Houses and House rulers - elite level analysis

If Venus tells us only part of the story, we can learn more by looking at the houses most relevant to love themes. The 7th house relates to partnerships as a whole. The 7th house and its planetary ruler can tell you a good deal about an individual’s romantic nature and the type of partner they desire. The 5th house is where pure enjoyment shows up, so it can tell us about casual dating and romance, the expression of affection, and sexuality.

  1. Which planets do you have in the 5th and 7th houses? A lack of planets in these houses does not imply a lack of these themes - in fact an empty house is easier to deal with than Mars, Saturn or one of the outer planets.

  2. Which planets rule these houses? Look at the sign that’s on that house cusp (the cusp that’s furthest clockwise) and determine which planet rules this sign.

Remember that the planetary ruler of a house will not necessarily sit in that house! If we're looking at Virgo on the 7th cusp (meaning that Mercury is the 7th house ruler), Mercury is not actually in the 7th house unless it is in Virgo (or the first few degrees of Libra). If Mercury were in Taurus, this individual’s 3rd house, we would see 3rd house themes tie into the 7th house instead.

The placement of a house’s planetary ruler can tell you more about how that house's themes are expressed. Let’s say that an individual with Virgo on the cusp of the 7th house has Mercury conjunct Jupiter, giving them great luck in love. If instead, this same individual had Mercury conjunct Saturn, we would expect romantic challenges and mishaps.

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Here is an example of a chart with Virgo on the 7th house cusp and Cancer on the 5th house. Looking first to Mercury (7th house ruler), we find Mercury in Taurus, opposite Neptune and in a Grand Earth Trine with Saturn and Pluto. This person is loyal, steadfast, and dedicated in their relationships. Neptune and the North Node in the 7th house point to dreamy idealism; this person has a clear view of their ideal partner. At different points in their life, this person has either clung too long to bad relationships, or left without trying to compromise. In this lifetime, they are learning a powerful lesson about when to stay and when to go.

With the Moon (5th house ruler) in Leo and a busy 5th house, this person is dramatic and over the top when casually dating. While they are steadfast in a serious relationship, in casual settings they are flighty and volatile. This person’s priorities shift with their mood, where one minute they might be affectionate and outgoing and the next a wet blanket.

Transits - when?

As you track the movements of your 5th and 7th house rulers, you can learn to predict relationships beginning, ending, and so on. For example, a person with Mercury as the 7th house ruler will experience positive developments when Mercury transits a sign of its rulership (Gemini or Virgo), the individual’s 7th house, or their natal Venus. They will experience negative relationship developments when Mercury transits a sign of its detriment/fall (Sagittarius or Pisces), or a tough personal planet like Saturn or Uranus.

Compatibility - how?

You can also use these principles to learn more about compatibility. What if your Mercury (your 7th house ruler) sits at 5 degrees of Aries, squaring your partner’s Mars at 5 degrees Cancer? Arguments are inevitable, as your sharp words and impulsivity will work your partner’s sensitive nerves. But if your Mercury conjoins their Moon, you can expect easy communication and a feeling of security when you're together. ALL personal placements (not just Venus!) are important in compatibility analysis - though aspects involving the 7th house ruler are most relevant. Aspects involving the Sun, Moon, or rising sign touch on identity and how it relates to the partnership. Mercury highlights communication issues, Venus brings a sense of enjoyment and goodwill to the relationship, while Mars signals a charged, sexual nature. Jupiter, Saturn, and the outer planets show where there are lessons we can learn from each other, while the Nodes highlight fate and destiny.

Is there anything you can determine by following the transits of any of these planets in your chart? Or what about comparing your chart to a love interest’s? I’d love to hear your insights!

Elena Sakopoulos