In the world of astrology — and, of course, in the world at large — the mystery of relationship is a constant and passionate pursuit. No matter how we research it, the reasons that one person is deeply attracted to another may still elude us. However, because astrologers are preoccupied with time and timing, sooner or later we contemplate the question: "What would we call the birthday of a relationship, and how would we find it?" One could argue that the beginning of a relationship might be defined as the time and the place of the individuals' first meeting. Or perhaps it is marked by the moment when a commitment was made.(1) Is there some way to create an astrological birth chart for any relationship at all?
Astrologers are familiar with several ways of creating relationship charts. Among these, the best known is the "Composite Chart." Essentially, a composite chart calculates the midpoint between the same two planets or points — the two Suns, the two Moons, etc., of each individual — to arrive at the combined Sun, Moon, and so on, for the relationship. When the composite chart was first introduced in astrological literature during the 1970s, it became an exciting new tool for astrologers to compare the charts of individuals in relationship. Using the composite chart is probably the most popular approach to analyzing a relationship. However, the composite chart, by its very nature, is an artificial construct and does not reflect a real date and place.
There is another technique for chart comparison called the "Davison Relationship Chart." This method is less well known and less used than the composite, although that may be changing. It was developed in England by Ronald Davison, also around the early '70s, and is detailed in Davison's book, Synastry and Human Relationships. This book took a while longer to reach the shores of the United States, though, and didn't become more widely known until the mid to late '80s.
The Davison chart is a way of combining two charts to obtain a third separate chart that describes a particular relationship dynamic — and this chart has an actual birth date and location. I have come to call the data calculated through the Davison technique the Birthday of the Relationship! So, how do we calculate the birthday of a relationship? Like the composite chart, the Davison chart is based on midpoints. However, the method of calculation for the two is quite different. The Davison chart calculates the midpoint in time between the two birth dates and times and the midpoint in space between the latitudes and longitudes of the two birthplaces. The end result is a complete birth chart describing the merger of two individuals. A Davison Relationship Chart has a date, time, and location — just like any natal chart. This represents a major advantage of the Davison chart over the composite. Exploring the Davison chart is well worth your time and effort. Most astrological computer programs on the market include calculations for the Davison chart as well as the composite chart.
A midpoint is a point exactly halfway between any two other points, thereby linking the two separate points. The midpoint offers a release of energy — or even a combined energy exchange, if you like. Midpoints are mathematical derivations, so those of you who are numerically inclined may have a better conception of what actually takes place. From a practical astrological perspective, it seems that energy is exchanged, and a recognition — or, as I prefer to say, a resonance — is established at the exact center between two other points. So, the midpoint refers back to each opposite point and also appears to reflect the merger of the two separate and distinct energies. The midpoint, then, speaks of a perfect balance of energies, a point where two different energies can mingle and blend — ideally, to find harmony.
The midpoints calculated in the Davison chart result in a moment in time and space. In fact, the Davison is often called the Time/Space chart. It provides an actual date that often proves to be significant in the lives of the two people involved. The Davison chart gives us a coordinate in that vast celestial mechanism of interlocking gears that we astrologers are used to working with: a date, a time, and a location for the birthday of a particular relationship. Thus, we have a complete chart that we can progress and calculate solar returns for, and we can use any other techniques that we wish. In short, we can apply the techniques to a Davison chart that can be used with any other natal chart. This is the essence and the beauty of the Davison Relationship Chart. It is not an abstract exercise in mathematics; it is much more organic, vital, and viable.
In real life, a relationship begins when two individuals first interact, either by physical proximity or perhaps by telephone, letter, or e-mail. With each subsequent contact, opinions are formed — obvious, subtle, or unconscious — about the other person. This chemistry between two individuals is described by the Davison Relationship Chart. However, the Davison chart can be calculated for any two individuals to show the dynamic that exists between them, whether those energies are ever activated or can be activated in real time. For instance, you may be interested to discover the magnetism or energetic pattern between you and your favorite writer, movie idol, philosopher, politician, etc. — living or dead!
Philosophy and theory aside, how does this chart actually work in the lives of two people in relationship?
The Sun represents vitality, consciousness, the life of the entity, the basic character. It shows the main purpose, essence, or goal of the relationship, so we need to carefully examine the sign containing the Sun, its house position, and the major aspects it makes to other planets.
In our example Davison chart, dated December 21, 1945, the Sun is at 29° Sagittarius (see Chart 1). Taken by itself, the Sun is in a broadminded fire sign, implying philosophical overtones, expansion, travel, and a focus on beliefs or belief systems in some way. The Sun in this position requires a range of movement and breadth of vision; it is spirited and passionate. Seeking wisdom through experience is, perhaps, its optimum expression. The 29th degree is called an anaretic degree and, sometimes, a critical degree. I find that it is a release point in the zodiac, being more expulsive or expressive in some way. Some astrology books say it is an "unfortunate degree, implying impatience, a crisis and disappointment."(2) Another interpretation states:
Being at a cusp between two zodiacal segments is a pivotal, destabilizing influence. The significator on such a cusp is teeter-tottering between two realms of experience and must make a choice about which way to go.(3)
Also, remember that a planet at the 29th degree is often void of course — that is, it does not make any major aspects to any other planet in the chart before changing sign. At the very least, a planet at the 29th degree places a special emphasis on the quality of life and the goals of the relationship, so we should pay close attention to what it is saying.
Next, we need to assess the dispositor of the Sagittarius Sun: Jupiter in Libra, indicating abundance in relationships, opportunities for making connections with others, and ease and graciousness in accommodating a wide variety of social relationships. Jupiter in Libra is located in the 11th house; this couple is likely to have many friends — creative and unusual ones, at that — and to derive great pleasure, expansion, and satisfaction from those friendships. The Sun is also partile (in the same degree) conjunct the South Node. Based on interpretations of the South Node, I consider this contact to be a continuation of something begun previously, possibly in a past life (if that is your belief system) or at least something very familiar. Prevailing interpretations say that the South Node represents an area of life that we know well, one that comes naturally to us. The Sun–South Node conjunction also makes this relationship more compelling, since any conjunction is likely to increase the impact of the participating energies and thus raise the amplitude. My knowledge of this couple and their lives verifies what I call the magnetic compulsion to forge a relationship — or perhaps the destiny to resolve something already deeply known in the unconscious or the need to repeat a theme that was experienced before, as in a previous life.
The Moon represents the emotional center and the general "comfort zone" of the relationship. What emotions does the relationship typically generate? What does this relationship need, emotionally, in order to feel comfortable and secure? The Moon in its own sign of Cancer is strong and more sensitive than most Moon placements, concerned with caring, security, comfort, and belonging. The physical home will be important for this couple and will serve as a platform for their emotional life. As it happens, this couple enjoys opening their home to their friends and entertaining them with meals and conversation.
The Moon is conjunct Saturn in Cancer, which is in its detriment, but this increases the security needs, as well as the "need to be needed." Then again, with Saturn emphasizing this challenge, the couple could become too complacent or stuck in their respective roles and preoccupied with their security issues. Security needs may, in fact, even overshadow the Sun's needs for freedom to roam, travel, or simply take risks once in a while. What is exhibited so far between these two planets in the chart is a direct conflict between the needs of the Sun and the needs of Moon–Saturn. The couple's primary task seems to be to satisfy both contradictory demands. That the Moon is in its own sign of Cancer conjunct Saturn expresses longevity but also potential domestic problems, family disputes, and emotional struggles that concern issues of intimacy, as well as a tendency to shut down emotionally or to perceive a lack of nurturing.
The Antidote: Each Davison chart (and, in fact, any natal chart) has a compensation or antidote for a challenging area in the chart, and this is apparent here in the position of the Sun in Sagittarius in relation to Moon–Saturn in Cancer. These positions counterbalance each other. The couple needs to be made aware of this intrinsic struggle, and that is precisely the job of the astrological counselor who delineates the relationship chart. (Note: It is, however, not the job of the astrologer to tell a couple that they are unsuited for each other. That is a decision that each couple has the right to make for themselves.)
The essential conflict between the Sun and Moon also represents the antidote; that is, the Sagittarius Sun's impetus for limitless risk and expansion is modified by the Cancer Moon–Saturn's impulse to conserve and be cautious. It is both the struggle and the antidote, or solution, and needs to be explained in this way to clients.
The Most Occupied Houses: Next, let's look at the most occupied houses of the Davison chart. This will alert us to which life environments this relationship will be most invested in or preoccupied with. In our example chart, the most occupied houses are the 1st and the 8th (containing a total of seven planets and the South Node) — a placement of energies that speaks to the development of the persona/personality and issues of deep personal transformation. These houses are also in an inconjunct or quincunx (150°) angle to each other, which tells us that many adjustments will be needed for this relationship to run smoothly. The Sun is in the 1st house, and the Moon is in the 8th. So, the basic inner/outer balance dynamic is represented by the strain and discomfort of the 150-degree angle.
This struggle involves Venus and Mars as well, because they have the same house positions (although they are not technically 150 degrees apart or inconjunct by aspect). There is a conflict between the passive and aggressive tendencies, possibly lending itself to unsatisfactory resolution through that psychological no-no: passive-aggressive behavior. This tendency is reinforced by Mars retrograde (Rx). There are many interpretations for Mars Rx: anger turned inward or, in this position (in Leo in the 8th house), strong psychological habit patterns that need to be addressed, but also staying power. The action of the relationship (Mars) is in the area of deep transformative heart/love processes that will change both individuals involved.
Exact Aspects: The aspects in the chart that are closest to exact always tell a large part of the story of the relationship. Our example has two exact (to the degree) aspects: a Jupiter–Saturn square and a Mercury–Neptune sextile, with Neptune being the most elevated planet in the chart.
Jupiter in Libra square Saturn in Cancer re-emphasizes the core conflict of the chart and repeats a theme we have already addressed: expansion versus contraction as seen in the position of the Sun in Sagittarius and the Moon–Saturn conjunction in Cancer. The Jupiter–Saturn square points to expansion/contraction issues — when to let go and when to hang on, when to be forthcoming and when to hold back — and a potential economic/financial struggle in the relationship. Part of the couple's story expresses this aspect well: The couple bucked prevailing convention, from the beginning, when the woman agreed to take charge of earning the income and maintaining the financial security of the relationship. In fact, it is largely due to the wife's thriftiness that this couple owns a home and is financially stable.
Mercury sextile Neptune brings idealism and possibly pertains to the artistic component that is so powerful in the relationship (the husband is an artist), as well as the spiritual factors that are a strong and vivid thread in the fabric of this couple's life together.
The Chart Ruler: The ruler of the Ascendant, often called the chart ruler, is Jupiter in Libra and is involved in one of two exact (partile) aspects in the chart, as detailed above. Jupiter in Libra accentuates the formation of partnership, offers benefits from partnership, and provides opportunities to understand the balance and fairness intrinsic in any good partnership. Graciousness, generosity, and fair play come easier to this position, and the couple will receive benefits from others.
Mercury in Sagittarius conjoins the Ascendant and emphasizes the importance of communication and having ample scope for philosophical and wide-ranging discussions. Others will come to know the couple as communicative, and it is important to both partners to be perceived as being aware, alert, curious, and witty. However, Mercury's trine to Pluto in the 8th house adds a strong emotional and psychological component to communication and, possibly, a tendency to hold onto hurts or grudges. Certainly, this couple prefers deeper and more meaningful conversation and often chooses to express opinions in compelling, forceful, or even controlling ways that could alienate others.
Elemental Void: Another very important point about this chart is that there are no planets in earth. One way to interpret a lack of earth is that financial and security matters are of great concern. (This supports the theme already identified elsewhere.) Another interpretation could be that this couple is working on levels beyond the material plane of existence — hence, the spiritual emphasis, which has been one of the strongest links between these two people from the beginning. More on that later.
A Word about Relocation: The location of a Davison Relationship Chart is often very different from where the two people actually live. In the case of our couple, one partner was born in Europe and the other on the East Coast of the U.S., which gives us a Davison "birth" location somewhere in the North Atlantic. It is important to consider relocating the Davison chart to where the relationship is taking place; however, as with the relocation of natal charts, the natal chart for the Davison location is still the strongest and is, therefore, the one used for progressions. Until 1999, the couple resided in Los Angeles. However, for this delineation, I will speak only about their relocation to Waltham, Massachusetts, just west of Boston. In the Boston area, the powerful natal Davison Mars–Pluto conjunction in Leo moves to the Midheaven; and the Sagittarius stellium, to the 2nd house (chart not shown). The net result has been an increase in art sales and teaching opportunities for the husband, so he now brings in a greater share of the income. This also places the strong sexual/creative/transformative dynamic of that Mars–Pluto conjunction in higher focus.
Now, it's time to tell you the relationship story and how it is described by the Davison chart. This is a marriage that has just passed its 30th anniversary. Both people have a strong spiritual practice with the Vedanta community, both were previously in religious life (as a monk and a nun), and both left the celibate life before they became a couple. The man — we'll call him "Jim" — is an artist and painter; the woman, "Iris," is the primary breadwinner. They agreed early in the marriage that Jim would never be forced to give up his painting to take a job, and Iris agreed to hold down the principal outside jobs. They decided against having children. The couple traveled extensively (especially in the first ten years of the marriage), taking their first trip immediately after getting together. A year and a half after their wedding, they traveled continuously for 50 weeks to Europe, Pakistan, India, Tibet, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, and other parts of the Middle East. Subsequently, they went on annual camping trips to national parks in the United States and eventually to Japan, Sweden, and Germany.
The last several years have been particularly difficult. In August 2004, Jim fell in love with one of his art students, and although the relationship was never sexually consummated, there was a strong physical and emotional bond, including mutually exchanged love letters and poetry. Iris found out about the affair in the summer of 2005, when she stumbled across some e-mails between her husband and the student. Also, this was the second time that Jim had fallen in love with someone else during the course of the marriage. The first time was 20 years earlier. Iris was deeply stung by this second infidelity, and they were very close to divorce. However, their core religious beliefs, the strong theme of faith indicated in the Davison chart, and the consistent and primary values that they share have brought them through this difficult situation. This new crisis has allowed them to reopen dialogue and discuss issues that have been neglected and had been festering for years.
Jim and Iris became a couple on February 26, 1975. Let's examine their Davison solar return (SR) chart for December 1974 (see Chart 2, outer wheel). Once two people are in relationship, we can look back at the relevant Davison SR and progressed charts that energetically stimulated the relationship. In the 1974 Davison solar return, SR Mercury was partile conjunct the SR Sun, emphasizing the strong Mercury–Ascendant conjunction of the "natal" Davison and marking this as a year of greater mental awareness, restlessness, curiosity, connections, and communication. The SR Moon in Pisces was moving toward a square to the SR and natal Davison Sun.
The progressed chart for February 26, 1975 shows the progressed Moon in Leo approaching a trine to the Davison (and SR) Sun in Sagittarius (see Chart 2, middle wheel). The progressed Sun in Capricorn was in partile opposition to the natal Davison Moon in Cancer and also made a nearly exact semi-sextile (30°) to the Davison Sun. Progressed Venus in Capricorn was at the (far) midpoint of the natal Davison Saturn–Moon in Cancer, triggering the emotional engagement and subsequent commitment of marriage. In addition, the SR Moon in Pisces conjoined the natal Davison IC (the bottom and north angle of the chart). It was definitely a Moon moment! Iris clearly remembers sitting with Jim on a Full Moon night when the sparks of love were first ignited.
If we add transits to the mix, then it will not be surprising at all that transiting Mars was in late Capricorn in late February and early March 1975, opposing the Davison Saturn–Moon conjunction!
Jim had his first affair in 1986, about ten years into their marriage. The highlights of the 1985 Davison SR (chart not shown) were a conjunction of Mars and Pluto in Scorpio mimicking the natal Davison Mars–Pluto conjunction. The SR Ascendant was 29° Gemini, with the Sun exactly conjunct the Descendant (the 7th-house cusp); Venus at 22° Sagittarius and Neptune at 3° Capricorn straddled the Sun, conjoining it. All of this indicated that partnership issues would be in high focus that year, combined with the need to face idealism, illusion, or deception. Jupiter in Aquarius, dispositor of the SR Sun, was strongly placed in the 9th house, which it rules naturally, producing a major disruptive condition that required truth-telling and the philosophical regrouping of the couple. The SR Moon in Aries (an emotional need for something new) was trine Venus conjunct the Sun in Sagittarius. Below, you will see that in the 2004 solar return, which was in effect when Iris discovered Jim's second affair, the SR Moon was also in Aries!
Fast forward to the Davison SR for 2003, the relevant chart for the time when Jim's second extramarital love affair and the recent marital crisis began: August 2004. Remember that a solar return chart is effective from birthday to birthday — in this case, from December 2003 to December 2004. In the 2003 Davison SR (see Chart 3), two planets were at 29° (Sagittarius Sun sextile Uranus in Aquarius), and two were at 0° (Sagittarius Moon sextile Venus in Aquarius). At the very least, this foretold an unusual year — alpha (0°) and omega (29°), beginnings and endings. Mercury retrograde, dispositing the elevated Jupiter in Virgo (dispositor of the Sun), symbolized that this issue (Jim's love affair and the need for better emotional communication) was being repeated. A retrograde planet in the solar return chart shows that something is unfinished. SR Venus at 0° Aquarius was opposite the natal Davison Mars at 1° Leo, a strong indicator of attraction. The SR Moon at 0° Sagittarius made a trine to that natal Davison Mars.
The 2004 SR continued the unfolding story in the lives of this couple (see Chart 4). In June 2005, Iris accidentally found out about Jim's romantic involvement with a student. The most important features of the 2004 Davison SR are the Moon in Aries square Saturn and partile trine Pluto; both the Moon and Pluto made sextiles (also partile) to the Ascendant at 22° Aquarius. The SR Moon–Saturn square reflected the Moon–Saturn conjunction in the natal relationship chart, thereby expressing that this SR year would include strong Moon–Saturn issues. Also, the SR Mars in Scorpio resonated with the Mars–Pluto conjunction in the natal relationship chart, repeating Mars–Pluto themes for that year. Jim and Iris had a Venus and a Mercury return to the same sign in the natal Davison chart as well, although this is not as unusual in a SR chart as it is with other placements. The SR Moon in Aries also made an inconjunct to Mars in Scorpio, mimicking the strong aspect of these two planets in the natal Davison chart; this reinforced the natal pattern and indicated a year when a major natal theme must be addressed. Neptune was powerful in its own house (the 12th), expressing the lies and the secrets. Another telling aspect was the square from Venus in Sagittarius in the 9th house to Uranus in Pisces in the 1st — denoting an unusual, unexpected, and potentially disruptive relationship situation. Mercury conjoining the MC spoke loudly in sextile to Neptune in Aquarius in the 12th house: Hidden situations (Jim's affair) were likely to be uncovered.
Although I haven't focused on transits, it is crucial to mention how the transits of 2005 (when Jim's affair came to light) played into the crisis in the marriage. In the early summer of 2005, Saturn was in late Cancer and conjoined Saturn and the Moon in the Davison chart of this couple. It was, in fact, the Saturn return of their relationship chart and, therefore, a major test of the durability of the relationship.
Each solar return chart has unique features and presents a particular mission for the year, expressed in a series of themes. The 2005 SR (Chart 5) gives us a prognosis of where this relationship is going. Is it heading for the rocks or will it continue to endure? The SR Ascendant sits at 29° Gemini opposite the natal Davison and the SR Sun, placing the SR Sun on the cusp of the 7th house. The solar principle, the mission of this year, must be expressed in active and critical dialogue (Gemini/Sagittarius) regarding the relationship itself. As mentioned earlier, the 29th degree is the omega point of a zodiacal sign (as 0° can be considered the alpha point) and seems to be a pivotal release point. Both the alpha and omega degrees have a quality of instability, and the 29th degree perhaps needs some resolution. SR Pluto is approaching the Sun but is still about 5 degrees away. We know that in the 2006 solar return chart, Pluto will be even closer to the SR Sun.
We must take into consideration that this relationship is now dealing with even stronger transformative forces that will change it permanently. The SR Moon in Leo trines the SR Sun, a positive indicator. The Moon forgives the Sun and comes back to the Sun and the goal of the relationship: wisdom, generosity, philosophy, and learning. A quote from Iris: "I have been thinking about the concept of parubdah karma — the arrow shot from the bow that must complete its trajectory. I try to see these incidents as such karma, something that wants to fulfill itself, and karma for me to learn something about letting go, about love, about my wants, needs, and boundaries." Longevity and faith have saved the marriage. In other words, both Jim and Iris have accepted the disruption caused by Jim's infidelities and have chosen to remain married.
One of the most interesting factors I've found, in studying Davison charts, is how the progressed Davison chart works in conjunction with the "natal." For instance, Jim and Iris first met in 1970, when they were both married to other people. In 1973, they both ended their previous marriages and (separately, but within one month of each other) entered a monastery and a convent. After they both left their respective religious orders, they then met again in 1975, when it was, according to Iris, "love at first sight." Remember that their Davison chart birth date is December 21, 1945, so by progression (charts not shown), their Davison Sun was at the end of Capricorn (in 1975), ready to enter 0° Aquarius — and Jim's most recent affair marks the progressed Sun at the end of a very powerful 30-year cycle, shortly to enter 0° Pisces!
I have also found that the progressed positions act as triggers to the Davison chart; the types of contacts made by the progressed chart give a sense of the areas in the Davison chart where the relationship energy "begins." When Iris discovered Jim's second affair, by accident, on June 16, 2005, the progressed Sun had reached 29° Aquarius, partile sextile the natal Davison Sun! Progressed Venus in Pisces was square the natal Davison Ascendant. The progressed Moon was at 0° Libra, nearing a conjunction with the progressed and natal Davison Neptune. The hidden factors or situations in the couple's lives were apparent in the Pisces Venus disposited by Neptune and in the Moon approaching Neptune, indicating that the next six months or so would bring a wide range of confusion and complicated emotions. The progressed positions reflected and triggered the strong Neptune in the 12th house sextile the Mercury–MC conjunction found in the 2004 Davison SR.
As of July 2006, Jim and Iris have determined that they still love each other, have a good foundation of many years together, and plan to stay married. Their Davison progressed Sun moved to 0° Pisces in late December 2005. However, Iris says that she will never again tolerate an affair or lies, or she will certainly leave the relationship. Since all the birth data are available, I leave it to your curiosity and interpretive skill to analyze the Davison solar return of this couple for 2006–2007.
Chart data and source:"Iris," November 11, 1950; 6:51 a.m. EST; Annapolis, MD, USA (38°N58'42", 76°W29'33"); AA: birth certificate.
References and Notes:
1. The techniques described in this article apply to many kinds of relationships, not just the romantic variety.
2. Anthony Louis, Horary Astrology: The History and Practice of Astro-Divination, Llewellyn Publications, 1991. Lewis is referring to horary degrees.
3. Ibid., page 287.
First published in: The Mountain Astrologer, Apr/May 2007
Dorothy Oja – MINDWORKS – career professional astrologer and certified ISAR C.A.P., studies spanning four decades. She offers consultations and specializes in Timing research (surgery, weddings, business openings, etc.), Relationship Charts, Children's Profiles, Teaching/Tutoring. An active writer, Dorothy's newsmagazine, PlanetWeather, published 17 years, includes social, cultural, and political commentary. Author of computer reports: Compatibility & Conflict for Romantic Relationships and Friendship and Business, (Cosmic Patterns Software). Her book, Planetary Resonance: Everything Leaves a Trace was released in May 2012. She is faculty for the International Academy of Astrology online. Dorothy serves as an ISAR Board Member and Chair of its Ethics Awareness Training and Mediation. Daily postings on www.facebook.com/PlanetWeatherNews -- www.planetweather.net; e-mail: DOja07@gmail.com.
© 2007 Dorothy Oja - first published by The Mountain Astrologer
24-May-2018, 12:18 UT/GMT
|Explanations of the symbols|
|Chart of the moment|