Love, Relationships and Compatibility
One of the best uses of astrology is in analyzing relationships. Astrology can help explain why we have the friends and partners we do, and how we get along with other people by noting areas of harmony and cooperation as well as possible stress and discord. Have you ever wondered why you are sexually attracted to someone? Chances are you have one of the sexual planets (Venus, Mars, Pluto) forming a close angle with one or more of their sexual planets. Do you ever wonder why you can't seem to get along with someone, despite your best efforts? You may have a personal planet such as the Sun or Moon forming a difficult angle to a malefic planet such as Mars or Saturn. In this way, relationship astrology, or "synastry", can be a useful tool to help us make the most of our relationships.
If you are single and are thinking about getting involved with someone, it is very worthwhile to get the birth data of a prospective partner. If nothing else, astrology is a labour-saving device that we can use to streamline our efforts and minimize emotional wear and tear. If there are positive contacts between the Ascendant, Sun, Moon and Venus, then you will feel at ease with the other person and you will be more likely develop a friendship. The same thing goes for entering into a business partnership. One way to see if the partnership will be successful is to look how the charts fit together. If there are a lot of bad aspects, problems will continously crop up. One partner may be consistently pushy and not listen to the concerns of the other. Or even if you do get along well, you may find it hard to make your business a success. Astrologically, this means we need to have complementary aspects between the money planets. If there are favourable aspects between Venus, Neptune, Jupiter, Pluto, then prosperity will come. When those good aspects are lacking between two charts, now matter how good your ideas, or how long your hours, ultimate success may prove elusive.
Astrology can also provide insights into ongoing relationships such as pointing out periods of particular tension or harmony. Stress and conflict will be more likely during malefic transits to planets associated with the 7th house. Similarly, some turbulence can be expected if current dasha lords are afflicted natally and are coming under affliction by transit. On the other hand, happiness and calm will prevail during times when 7th house significators are free from affliction either natally or by transit.
Using the Navamsha Chart in Vedic Astrology
There are several useful techniques we can use to compare horoscopes in Vedic astrology. As a neo-Vedic astrologer, I like to use the strengths of both Vedic and Western systems. In my view, Western astrology is correct to focus on close aspects between key planets. Its use of composite and Davison relationship charts is also helpful in creating a picture of compability both for assessing the dynamic between people and for timing the ups and downs of a relationship. The strength of Vedic astrology lies in its use of sidereal rulerships and the navamsha or D-9 chart for understanding marital questions. The navamsha is calculated the same way as the Western 9th harmonic chart. The navamsha chart acts as a kind of second birth chart and provides additional clues about the relative strength of planets in the natal chart. It is also said that the navamsha chart is a map that outlines the second half of a person’s life. The most common application of the navamsa chart, however, is in assessing marital happiness and love.
When we assess the navamsha chart, we are most interested in the 1st and 7th houses and their rulers. We also need to take special note of the Sun, Moon, Venus and Mars since they show how well we relate to other people. Generally speaking, we are looking for planets placed in the same or opposite sign between two charts. So a person with Sun and Jupiter in Scorpio in navamsa may find be able to communicate easily and effectively with a person who has Mercury and Venus in Taurus in their navamsha. In reading the navamsha chart, we are paying attention both to sign-to-sign and degree-wise aspects. Although traditional Jyotish uses only sign-based aspects it is also useful to take note of the closeness of those aspects since closer aspects are usually more powerful.
Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis
We can see how this works using the charts of actor Johnny Depp (June 9 1963 8.44 am CST Owensboro, KY) and his partner Vanessa Paradis (Dec 22 1972 5.20 am CET Saint Maur, France). Johnny is a famous American actor, star of the Pirates of the Caribbean films and well known for his independent spirit and often destructive behaviour in his younger days. He met French singer and actress Vanessa in 1998 and they have been living as common law partners ever since. They have two children, Lily-Rose and Jack. Although Vedic astrology does make use of the natal chart in compability, I want to avoid a proper natal chart assessment here and instead focus on how the navamsha chart can be used.
Johnny’s navamsha has Sagittarius rising with first lord Jupiter in Capricorn conjunct Mercury and Venus. Although this Jupiter is debilitated, the presence of two benefics helps it enormously. His partners will tend to be attractive and artistic. However, this very mixed picture reflects Johhny’s turbulent love life. He married very early (at age 20) and was soon divorced. He has had relationships with many women but has never married again. Significantly, he has not formally married Vanessa despite having two children with her. Seventh house Gemini is further disturbed by the presence of Mars (conflict), Uranus (freedom) and Rahu (craving). This is another source of his restlessness in relationships and is unwillingness to get tied down. All three planets are disruptive of stable marital life and their presence in the 7th aspecting the first house underlines this tendency. Finally Saturn is in Virgo so that casts its full strength 10th house square aspect to the 7th house and is particularly close to that Mars. This is a powerful affliction and makes for an extremely volatile and troubled navamsha indeed. Given these influences, it is unlikely that Johnny will ever marry or if he does, it won’t last.
Vanessa has Taurus rising in her navamsha. Chart ruler Venus is well placed in in its own sign of Libra with Jupiter Neptune and Rahu. Although Rahu is a destabilizing influence here, Jupiter is very helpful. 7th lord Mars is debilitated in Cancer with the Moon and Saturn. This is an unfortunate combination. Saturn’s influence will tend to delay marriage. Indeed, Vanessa has not yet formally married. A weak Mars can create strife and disputes with the partner. More problematic is that Mars is in a close t-square aspect with Venus and Pluto. This suggests a recurring problem of emnity and power struggles with partners, possibly over sexual matters. Although Vanessa’s chart is not as afflicted as Johnny’s, this does point to persistent difficulties in her relationships.
But we can see a number of good contacts between their navamsha charts. Johnny’s 3 planets in Capricorn including the Jupiter, the chart ruler and Venus, the significator for marriage and Mercury, the 7th lord are aspected by Vanessa’s 7th lord Mars, Moon and Saturn in Cancer. This is an opposition aspect which is not as negative as Western astrology might suggest. We might also consider the fact that two of Vanessa’s planets here are malefics. Certainly, it would be preferable if no malefics were involved, but this kind of density of aspects supports the relationship. The damaging effect of Mars, for example, is greatly reduced because Mars rules the 7th house governing relationships. Indeed, most 1st house-7th house contacts will be constructive no matter what the planets are.
Vanessa’s Saturn aspect to Johnny’s Venus solidifies their relationship gives it a foundation even if she may exhibit some controlling influence that Johnny may at times resent. And the orbs here are significantly small: Johnny’s 1st lord Jupiter (5 Capricorn) is almost exactly aspected by Vanessa’s 7th lord Mars (6 Cancer). The exactness of this aspect is no coincidence. It is one of the reasons why they got together and have made a go of it as a couple. We can also see another significant and close aspect that brought them together: Johnny’s Moon (4 Libra) is closely conjoined by Vanessa’s chart ruler Venus (6 Libra). The Moon is always important no matter what house it rules and its very close aspect here to Venus shows their mutual attraction and friendship.
So when comparing navamsha charts, here are a few basics to remember:
- the more aspects between charts, the more likely the relationship will be significant. Full-strength Jyotish aspects take precedent, although close Western aspects can be considered as a secondary influence.
- the closer the aspect, the more powerful the connection between the individuals for good or ill.
- pay extra attention to the lords of the 1st and 7th navamsha lords as well as Moon, Sun, Venus and Mars.
- benefics promote better relationships than malefics. The harmful quality of malefics can be mitigated through favourable house rulership, especially of the 1st or 7th houses. For example, Sun-Saturn or Moon-Saturn conjunctions will often cause problems but their effects can be redeemed if other more favourable contacts are there to couterbalance them.
- square aspects are most harmful and opposition aspects can go either way depending on rulership and the planets involved. Some planets go together better in opposition such as Moon-Sun or Moon-Venus. More malefic oppositions would be Sun-Mars or Sun-Saturn.
Using the Davison relationship chart
In addition to comparing charts for synastric connections, Western astrologers like to use combined charts to assess relationships. This can be done either by casting a 1) composite midpoint chart which is based on the midpoint of each planet’s position or 2) a Davison relationship chart which finds the hypothetical half way point in time and place for two people. So if person A was born in Jan 1 1966 and person B was born in Dec 30 1970, the relationship chart would be cast for Jun 15 1968. The spatial midpoint would also have to be calculated so that the hypothetical midpoint could be found. If person A was born at 40n00 and 80w00, while person B was born 30n00 and 70w00, their hypothetical relationship birthplace would be 35n00 and 75w00.
I have found this to be an insightful technique that can be easily adapted for use according to the rules of Jyotish. Let’s see how these charts can work using Vedic parameters such as the sidereal zodiac, dasha periods, and Vedic planetary and house significations. Again turning to Johnny and Vanessa’s partnernship, we can see that the resulting relationship chart has Pisces rising with Sun, Saturn, Rahu, and Mars in the first house. Not exactly what one might expect for two people involved in a loving relationship. It’s important to note that this chart should reflect the inner dynamics of the couple (which may be ultimately unknowable to the public) as well as their outward manifestations to the world. We know, for example, that Johnny is very protective of his family’s privacy. He left the USA and moved to France in an attempt to have a more normal family life away from the intrusions of the media. Saturn in the first house represents some of this guardedness in the relationship, while Rahu’s presence can reflect the unconventional nature of their common law marriage. Sun in the first reflects the notoriety they have as a couple. Debilitated Mars in the first may symbolize some of the conflict that this relationship has engendered. Whatever may be occuring behind closed doors, we know that Johnny Depp has gotten involved in physical altercations with the media on more than one occasion due to overzealous photographers invading their privacy.
Next we look for the ruler of the chart, Jupiter, and see that it is aspected very closely by benefics Mercury and Venus. This configuration is actually incredibly powerful by virtue of house rulership. Jupiter rules the first, while Mercury rules the 7th. They are in close mutual aspect with each other along with Venus, the significator for love. This is more in keeping with what one would expect to see in a loving and prosperous relationship. Jupiter also exchanges signs with the Sun in the first house, and this is clue that this relationship is linked to celebrity. Moon tightly conjoins Ketu in the 7th house, which may signal that Johnny and Vanessa have many emotional strains and stresses.
The couple met and fell in love in the summer of 1998 while the relationship chart was running Jupiter-Mercury dasha. This is uncannily appropriate since Jupiter rules the 1st and Mercury rules the 7th. It is hard to conceive of a better astrological signal when this couple would encounter each other for the first time. At the time they met, transit Jupiter had also stationed in a tight one-degree conjunction with first house Sun while transit Ketu conjoined the natal Mercury-Venus conjunction. Although Ketu is considered a natural malefic, in this chart it is a strong significator of partnership since it is placed in the natal 7th house of marriage. By transit, Ketu is carrying that 7th house energy and in 1998, finallly expressed it during its conjunction with 7th lord Mercury and Venus.
Johnny and Vanessa had their first child, Lily-Rose on May 27, 1999. The relationship chart was still running Jupiter-Mercury. In addition to being 7th lord, Mercury is also the dispositor of 5th lord Moon, which rules children. At the time of the birth transit Ketu closely aspected 5th lord Moon and transit Jupiter conjoined Mars, the nakshatra dispositor of 5th lord Moon. Jupiter had also just completed aspecting 5th lord Moon in the previous month.
Their second child Jack was born Apr 9 2002 during Jupiter-Venus dasha. Venus conjoins Mercury, the dispositor of the 5th lord Moon and is aspected by Jupiter, the karaka of children. Transit Rahu in Taurus, the sign of Venus, closely aspected natal 5th lord Moon. Rahu is aspected by 5th lord Moon natally so some of this energy would be conducive to progeny through the transit. Additional impetus may have been provided by transit Uranus conjoining benefics Mercury and Venus.
Vedic astrology really can give special insights into relationship dynamics that would be missed by Western astrology. The navamsha chart provides a unique perspective on marital life. A heavily afflicted navamsha can show ongoing heartbreak and marriage delays. The condition of Venus is probably the single most important factor in the navamsha chart. If it is free from aspects from Mars, Saturn or the nodes, then marital life will usually be happy. Timing marriage and the start of new relationships is also possible using the navamsha as dasha periods of strong unafflicted planets in navamsha will produce romantic and marital happiness. Even an afflicted navamsha will have at least one or two strong planets that can be relied on to deliver good results during their dasha periods.
And as we have also seen, the relationship chart (or Davison chart named after its creator British astrologer Ronald Davison) provides information about the couple’s compability and can give useful clues about the timing of major life events. This is a signficant innovation in the understanding of marriage and relationships that can broaden our understanding of how relationships evolve. Further, the integration of the Hindu dasha periods to this Western technique can help us see the underlying forces in a relationship. The dasha periods of house rulers associated with the 1st and 7th houses will tend to bring about marriage. Similarly, we can look to the dasha period rulers of the other houses to produce results in keeping with their natal portfolios. In this way, the hypothetical relationship chart is also subject to the same laws of karma and planetary correspondence that governs all individuals.