Beyond The Sun: Lesser Known Factors In Compatibility

imagesCA0NI3AAI’ve always been intrigued by which Sun signs are considered to be compatible with one another, as well as which ones don’t quite mesh. As a teenager, whenever I had the hots for a guy, the first thing I would do after finding out when his birthday was, was to dig through my books on astrology. Daydreaming about eventually marrying and bearing the children of whomever happened to be my current object of affection, I whiled away many an hour reading chapters on “Aries and Virgo” (yikes), “Aries and Libra” (pass), “Aries and Sagittarius” (yay!)…and the list goes on and on. (If internet had been available in the mid-1980s, I’d have been an unstoppable force!)

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But first, before diving in to this regularly scheduled post, how ’bout a game? It’s time to play…What’s My Sign? ! *insert thunderous applause & enthusiastic roars from the reading audience here*

In What’s My Sign?, we’ll observe two different couples interacting in…oh, I don’t know…let’s say the grocery store. Based on their conversations, using your knowledge of the general personality traits of each Sun sign (i.e., indecisive Libra, anything-goes Aquarius, me-me-me Leo, etc.), you’ll get to guess which Sun sign best fits each person!

So…are you ready to demonstrate your astrological skills (or lack thereof) and play What’s My Sign? Of course you are! Let’s get started!

SCENARIO #1:
Woman: Oooh! Look, honey: Brand Name paper towels are 3 for $5.00! (grabs 3 packages and throws in shopping cart)

Man: (visually searching other shelves) But the Store Brand paper towels over here are 3 for $3.00; let’s get them instead. Two dollars is a pretty big savings. (puts back Brand Name paper towels, replaces with Store Brand)

Woman: Well, right; but Brand Name has more paper towels per roll than Store Brand, plus they’re more absorbent so we use fewer sheets at a time. Brand Name is clearly a better deal. (puts Store Brand back on shelf; replaces with Brand Name)

Man: (exasperated sigh) You know what, this right here is why we’re broke…you’re always buying bullshit we don’t even need and you don’t care how much it costs! 

Woman: No, I’m not; you’re just a tight-ass! Brand Name is a better deal! We’ll use less because it’s better quality; if we buy Store Brand, we’ll just blow right through ‘em cuz we hafta use more of it!

Man: You know what; whatever, I don’t even care, do what you want. You don’t care about me or what I think…

Woman: Oh my God, seriously? Goddamn, you are such a baby; grow the fuck up! (briefly pauses) Wait; you know what; fuck it! (puts Brand Name back on shelf, replaces with Store Brand) There! Happy?

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SCENARIO #2:

Woman: Oooh! Look, honey: Brand Name paper towels are 3 for $5.00! (grabs 3 packages off shelf and throws in shopping cart)

Man: (visually searching other shelves) Hmmm…wait, Store Brand is 3 for $3.00; we should get those. Two bucks is a pretty big difference. (unloads & puts back Brand Name paper towels, replaces with Store Brand)

Woman: Well yeah, but Brand Name has more paper towels per roll, plus they’re more absorbent so we use less…Store Brand is…well, you get what you pay for.

Man: (ponders this) Hmmm…I never thought of it like that. Okay, well how about this: let’s buy one Brand Name; at least that way we don’t spend the full $5.00 buying all three. We don’t need three anyway.

Woman: Okay, works for me. (puts two Brand Name back on shelf)imagesCA0GTPGY

Any guesses yet? Anyone? *crickets chirping*

Okay then, for those of you who think you’ve nailed the Sun signs of the folks in these two couples, stand by for a moment while the rest of the class dissects the interactions we just read about and see at which conclusions we can arrive.

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So, grasshoppers: let’s start by looking for some basic personality traits we see in each of these couples. For example, when we consider the woman’s statements and actions in scenario #1, we see someone who is impulsive in her actions (quick decision on what to purchase) as well as impulsive in her words, in addition to being fairly blunt and stubborn, yet she is also somewhat of a martyr (in the end, she lets the man “win” although he never explicitly states she can’t buy the Brand Name) The man in scenario #1 appears to be overly sensitive and less stubborn than the woman, also exhibiting some martyrdom tendencies (he never actually tells the woman “no” in regard to her product preference) and bluntness.

Observing the woman in scenario #2,  we once again see some impulsive tendencies, less concern for overall cost than product quality, and definitely some tendency to be stubborn, yet she is also willing to compromise. Looking at the man in the same scenario, we can see that he is cost-conscious and perhaps a bit stubborn, but when the woman points out her reasoning for buying the more expensive product, he is flexible and open-minded enough to reconsider his decision when presented with new information.

With which Sun sign(s) are each of their personality traits more associated. Ready for the answers? Let’s see how you fared:

Scenario #1: our woman is an Aries, and our man is a Cancer.
Scenario #2: our woman is an Aries, and our man is a Cancer.

Generally speaking, fire and water Sun signs aren't compatible. This doesn't mean it's guaranteed to be doomed, though; we must consider the Moon & Ascendant.

Generally speaking, fire and water Sun signs aren’t compatible. This doesn’t mean it’s guaranteed to be doomed, though; we must also consider the Moon & Ascendant.

You heard me. No, that’s not a typo, nor did I get a bit too enthusiastic with the copy & paste.

Not only are the two women in these scenarios Rams and the men Crabs, but the two women aren’t even “two women” at all. They’re the same woman: me. The man in scenario #1 is based on my late Cancer ex-husband, and the man in scenario #2 is based on my current Cancer man. I created the scenarios like this to demonstrate a point: the usual Sun sign compatibility descriptions you’re probably familiar with are frequently about as generic and useless as the daily horoscopes you find in the local newspaper. This is because compatibility assessments often only consider the Sun sign of each partner – and nothing more. And in the same way your daily horoscope will be much more specific and accurate if you obtain a personalized one, so too will your compatibility descriptions. What this means is that — although generally speaking — Aries and Cancer aren’t a compatible couple, it’s not a virtual certainty that they’re destined for divorce court. Another way to look at this is to consider that Aries and Leo are traditionally considered to be pretty compatible. However, by the same token, this couple isn’t necessarily guaranteed to live happily ever after. There are many more aspects that must be taken into account…and this is where the above scenarios come into play.

imagesCAEFXAAGThings in common
Just ain’t a one…
But when we get together
We have nothin’ but fun. ~ Paula Abdul, “Opposites Attract”

Let’s take another look at our analysis of scenario #1, shall we? The traits we observe in their interaction, such as the woman’s Arien impulsivity and bluntness, as well as the man’s Cancerian hypersensitivity and moodiness, are all textbook qualities of their respective signs. But what about the martyrdom tendencies we observe in both partners? Martyrdom is a very common Aquarian trait, not something usually seen in a Ram or a Crab. However, my late ex-husband and I both have Moons in Aquarius. Furthermore, we both have Pisces Ascendants. Therefore, when considering compatibility in a couple (or potential couple), we must look beyond the Sun sign and also factor in the Ascendant and Moon sign. (NOTE: Other factors in compatibility that come into play include the aspects, which are the angles of the planets in one partner’s natal chart in relation to the angles of the planets formed in the other partner’s chart…but this is a bit more advanced, so it’s something we’ll delve into later on. In the meantime, if you’d like some information on how that works, you can read about it here.)

For instance — again, generally speaking — it is true that fire Sun signs and water Sun signs (such as in the case of Aries and Cancer) don’t mix. However, for a more accurate and complete compatibility assessment, each partner’s Ascendant and Moon should also be taken into consideration, as they always modify the Sun sign in some way. As I mentioned above, my late Cancer ex-husband and I both have Moons in Aquarius and Pisces Ascendants. In our relationship, the influence of an easy-breezy Aquarius Moon on his home-loving Cancer Sun modified the usual strong Cancerian desire for stability, which made him more open to enjoying new adventures, travel, and spontaneity, and easier to adapt to change than the more-typical change-resistant Crab. Likewise, the effect of my own easy-breezy Aquarius Moon on my self-centered Aries Sun modified the usual Arien “me first” tendency, which means I’m more likely to elevate the needs of others above my own than the typical it’s-all-about-me Ram would. A Pisces Ascendant lends a sentimental quality to the personality which, in the case of my Cancer ex-husband, made him even more sentimental and with an even stronger draw to the past than the already-quite sentimental Crab; where for me, it softens and adds sentimentality to the usual — nauseated by all things mushy-gushy — Aries Sun.

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Moving on, now let’s shift focus to our analysis of scenario #2, where the man represents my current relationship with a Cancer. How is it that two Crabs can be so different? Here’s how, which in turn explains why the interaction on a more positive note. First of all, the Aries woman in scenario #2 was less stubborn and more flexible than the Aries woman in the first scenario. This is because Cancer man #2, for starters, is actually so close to the Gemini-Cancer cusp — just over four hours — that he exhibits a great deal of Geminian traits, some of which include adaptability, flexibility, and a slight emotional detachment…where Cancer man #1 — who is nowhere near a cusp — behaved more like…well, like a Cancer, than Cancer man #2. Additionally, Aries and Gemini are traditionally considered to be quite compatible. Cancer man #2 has a Taurus Moon, which precludes him to stubbornness more so than Cancer man #1’s Aquarius Moon, which instead instilled in him a streak of martyrdom. Finally, Cancer man #2 has a Leo Ascendant, which modifies his Cancer-cusp Sun away from the depressive moodiness of the common Crab.

So to summarize, your Sun sign is the essence of who you are; it’s what makes you you. Your Ascendant is your public persona; the mask you wear, if you will; it’s the way in which you are perceived by others. And your Moon sign is representative of how you tend to express yourself (or not, as the case may be) emotionally. And it’s those three factors that, when combined, will ultimately reveal just how compatible the two of you really are…or aren’t.

So if you’re a Cancer who has recently met the most awesome Aries in all the land (congratulations) and you came to my site to get the scoop on how well-suited you are to one another, but now you’re feeling a bit bummed that, for all intents and purposes, yours is a match made in Hades, fear not, sensitive Crab. Do some astrological sleuthing on your Ram; dig a little deeper. You might be pleasantly surprised.

Living On The Edge: Understanding the Cusp

“‘Cause you’re hot then you’re cold, you’re yes then you’re no
You’re in then you’re out, you’re up then you’re down
You’re wrong when it’s right, it’s black and it’s white
We fight, we break up, we kiss, we make up
You, you don’t really want to stay, no
You, but you don’t really want to go…” ~ Katy Perry, “Hot and Cold”

For eight years, I was in a live-in relationship with the love of my life: an amazing Gemini man. Actually, I considered myself pretty darn lucky: he was born on June 21st, on the cusp of Cancer. Every ephemeris I had ever consulted, which admittedly wasn’t a staggering number, reassured me that my better half was indeed a Gemini. Good thing: my fiery Aries Sun is quite compatible with airy Gemini, but not so much with its watery  Cancer successor. And boy howdy, we got along beautifully, particularly – I believe – because my own natal chart is weighted in air which, among other positive similarities, means we’re both communicative. In fact, my cusp often chuckled that if there was a talking event in the Olympics, the two of us would bring home the gold.

Upon further investigation several months relationship postmortem, I uncovered the cold hard truth: he is, in fact, a Cancer. Turns out, on June 21st in his birth year, the Sun entered Cancer exactly four hours and twenty minutes before my eventual love made his appearance in the world.

Shit. My whole life has been a lie.

But seriously folks, although my oft-referred to “Cancer cusp” man is technically a crab, I’m having a difficult time grasping that fact (so is he.) While it could simply be that I so desperately want him to be a Gemini, the proverbial shoe just doesn’t quite fit. A wise Aquarian tree hippie friend of mine likes to remind me that “the Sun always shines.”  And while he’s not wrong about that, I take exception to this particular case. While he does possess a handful of notable Cancerian traits (i.e., devotion to home and family, a need to be in a relationship, a fondness for cooking, etc), he has far more twin qualities: extremely communicative, freedom-loving, active, a tendency toward aloofness, just to name a few. He certainly isn’t as jealous and possessive as your run-of-the-mill crab, which I had always attributed to the fact that he wasn’t a Cancer in the first place, but a Gemini.  So… what now?  I wonder aloud, looking upward, arms outreached in desperation.

When one is born on a cusp (which is generally defined as a five-day period on either side of the beginning/end of a Sun sign), they are usually influenced by the signs on either side of the cusp, with an emphasis on the sign in which their Sun actually is (hence, “the Sun always shines.”) Perhaps any jealous or possessive streak is simply modified by the Gemini cusp influence. In any event, since my Cancer cusp and I began dating again nearly a month ago, I have realized for the first time that the distinct “twin” personalities with which I’ve been familiar for nearly twenty years of knowing him are actually a Gemini personality and a Cancer personality intermingled. Ah…veddy interesting, yes?

Allow me to provide an example. In our numerous in-person chats, texts, and lengthy phone conversations, my Cancer cusp will often make Gemini-esque comments along the lines of “we’re not back together,” “I don’t want the whole ‘relationship’ thing,” etc. However, in these very same chats, texts, and phone calls he frequently makes Cancerian statements such as “I would love to go to sleep next to you and wake up next to you,” “how do you feel about us becoming exclusive?”(I excitedly jumped on that with an emphatic “yes!”), and “I can’t wait to be with you again.”

Another example: we decided to book a hotel room for the weekend so we could have our own little getaway, a “staycation” as it were. We made sure it was in an area near some good restaurants or other places we might want to check out. I reserved two nights, Friday and Saturday, but then my Cancer cusp remembered he had plans to see his daughter, who lives with her mother about 75 miles north of the city, so I canceled the second night. No sweat. Well, as luck would have it, his daughter bailed on their plans, leaving him free on Saturday after all. Did he ask me to go ahead and reserve Saturday night again? Nope. He told me, “Well, that works out, I guess; this way, I can still do my weekend thing with the cousins.” See, there it is: the freedom-loving Gemini, pulling him to do his own thing.

So what is a hopelessly devoted, impatient Aries chick to do? Which is it?

“I keep your picture upon the wall
It hides a nasty stain that’s lying there
So don’t you ask me to give it back
I know you know it doesn’t mean that much to me
I’m not in love, no no, it’s because…
Ooh you’ll wait a long time for me
Ooh you’ll wait a long time…” ~ 10cc, “I’m Not In Love”

Elementary, my dear follower: it’s both. As I force myself to step back from the situation and view it with as unbiased an eye as I can muster, it’s evident what he’s doing (and in all likelihood isn’t even conscious of it). His sentimental Cancer Sun is drawing him toward me, reveling in that feeling of familiarity, security, and commitment. But the minute his Gemini influence catches wind of this, it struggles to reel him back over to its noncommittal side of the cusp. Because the Sun always shines, however, his Cancer Sun inevitably wins the battle in the ongoing war with his emotions. This is even more so because his Venus is also in Cancer which, in a man’s chart, indicates not only the type of romantic partner to whom he is attracted, but also dictates how he approaches love and relationships: like a commitment-loving Cancer.

Bearing this in mind, I have the ability to better understand the emotional tug-of-war going on inside his Cancer cusp head. It allows me to be less confused by his mixed signals and statements, instead being more patient (no easy feat for an Aries). And this gives me an edge that it’s a shame more people don’t take advantage of: the knowledge of what makes their partner tick. Skeptics and naysayers say what you will, but have you ever made an effort to try it for yourself? If not, don’t knock it until you do. An individual’s natal chart is an invaluable tool to have on hand when you are trying to gain clarity into someone’s motivations and inner workings. It serves as an owner’s manual of sorts, and it’s available at your disposal. Many would say I must be insane to say that with a straight face, let alone actually do it. But folks who could benefit immensely from studying a loved one’s natal chart, yet don’t? I think that’s crazy.

In the meantime, I am having the time of my life becoming reacquainted with my Cancer cusp. I cherish every minute I am fortunate enough to be able to spend with both of them.

“I never dreamed that I’d meet somebody like you
I never dreamed that I’d lose somebody like you
No, I don’t wanna fall in love
No, I don’t wanna fall in love …with you
What a wicked game to play, to make me feel this way
What a wicked thing to do, to let me dream of you
What a wicked thing to say, you never felt this way
What a wicked thing to do, to make me dream of you
And I wanna fall in love
No, I wanna fall in love…with you.” ~ Chris Isaak, “Wicked Game”