Tales from the peregrine Moon: Sylvia Plath

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In the pursuit of perfection in poetry there can be few luminaries as bright as Sylvia Plath, and it was her profound struggle with depression and grief which underpinned most achingly her gift, which, in pursuit of the sublime aim of describing the indescribable can have few equals; Plath was noted especially for her uncanny use of metaphor.

The mundane facts of her life are bleak. She was born to Otto Plath, a German professor of zoology and Aurelia Schober, a first generation American of Austrian descent near Boston, Massachusetts. Her early childhood was fundamentally idyllic and until her father died when she was 8 years old, she wrote of it thus:

And this is how it stiffens, my vision of that seaside childhood. My father died, we moved inland. Whereupon those nine first years of my life sealed themselves off like a ship in a bottle — beautiful, inaccessible, obsolete, a fine, white flying myth.

She was winning awards for her exquisite poetry by the time she was 18 years, she won a scholarship to Smith College. During her junior year, she spent the summer in New York as a guest editor for Mademoiselle, a fashion magazine. While still a student at Smith, she had a nervous breakdown, attempted suicide by swallowing sleeping pills and was given shock treatments. Despite such upheaval, she graduated in 1955 and went to Cambridge, England on a Fulbright scholarship.

One night at a party in Cambridge, February 25, 1956, she met Ted Hughes, and their romance began in a blaze of passion. She wrote, “He kissed me bang smash on the mouth, And when he kissed my neck, I bit him long and hard on the cheek and, when we came out of the room, Blood was running down his face.” The handsome gifted pair married four months later, on June 16, 1956.

The couple had two children, Frieda in 1961 and Nicholas in 1962. During their time together, the brilliant and tortured Plath mined her own anguish, writing obsessively of her depression, her jealousy, her marriage and her father, the strict, formal professor who had abandoned her by his premature death.

Daddy. Published 1965 (Excerpt)

You stand at the blackboard, daddy,
In the picture I have of you,
A cleft in your chin instead of your foot
But no less a devil for that, no not
Any less the black man who

Bit my pretty red heart in two.
I was ten when they buried you.
At twenty I tried to die
And get back, back, back to you.
I thought even the bones would do.

But they pulled me out of the sack,
And they stuck me together with glue.
And then I knew what to do.
I made a model of you,
A man in black with a Meinkampf look

And a love of the rack and the screw.
And I said I do, I do.
So daddy, I’m finally through.
The black telephone’s off at the root,
The voices just can’t worm through.

If I’ve killed one man, I’ve killed two—
The vampire who said he was you
And drank my blood for a year,
Seven years, if you want to know.
Daddy, you can lie back now.

There’s a stake in your fat black heart
And the villagers never liked you.
They are dancing and stamping on you.
They always knew it was you.
Daddy, daddy, you bastard, I’m through.

Her first book, “The Colossus” was released in 1960. “The Bell Jar” achieved critical acclaim in 1963 for its moving portrayal of a young woman’s life including her emotional breakdown, suicide attempts, psychological treatment and relationships.

During the course of her marriage, Plath’s behavior became increasingly more erratic and obsessive. Beset by worry over money, insecurity over her worth as a writer, jealousy over her husband’s friendships with other women, she wrote furiously in her torment. Their relationship suffered tremendously from her fragility and his inability to deal with her roller-coaster emotions. Suspecting her husband of an affair, she gathered all of his papers she could find and burned them in the garden. In 1962, he left her for another woman, Assia Wevill. Just one month after the publication of “The Bell Jar,” on a frigid wintry day in England, she tucked her two small children safely away in their room, set out milk and cookies for them, and put her head in their London flat’s gas oven, ending her life on February 11, 1963. She was just 30 years old. Her last-written poems appeared two years later in “Ariel.” In a twist of irony, the poems established Plath as a fiercely original poet who exceeded her husband as an icon in the world of literature.

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Sylvia Plath, Poet. 27 Oct 1932 14:10 (EST +5:00) Boston, MA, USA

Here are my various delineations:

  1. There is an enormous 7th house emphasis on so very many levels. Notwithstanding the stellium in precision (and actually fidelity) fixated Virgo, Moon is peregrine in Libra – thus the reigning need is for marital security – Jupiter and Neptune both are peregrine in Virgo, making for an extremely uncomfortable impetus. Trying to analyse the divine and count the manner of one’s faith in life, neither can be remotely easy and Venus seems to offer some genuine hope, but even beautifully aspected as it is and accidentally dignified it will still struggle in Virgo. Any contact of Venus with Saturn is an act of renunciation; the grand earth trine creates a practical self-sufficiency – thus someone who can attend to their studies even in the very depth of a depression – but the Saturn contact creates an ease with sacrificing love out of a sense of duty. There is a curious mix of easy difficulty here.
  2. I am not entirely convinced by the Ascendant. A degree or more into Pisces would suit me better making Mercury the ruler of the 7th. At 29Le26 however there is certainly a case for looking to both Sun and Mercury as indicative of the marriage partner. Certainly Mercury in Scorpio in the 9th suggests a man who is a powerful, sharp and incisive communicator and a connection with university too, Hughes was a fellow student at Cambridge when they met and they were quickly married. Other qualities sympathetic to the placement are to be found in the opposition to Chiron – much of her anguish and intellectual inferiority issues were experienced through him (Chiron in the third) and the square to Mars in Leo in the 6th further suggests an almost daily habit to argument and disputatious communication. The union cannot have been easy. Hughes himself hinted at the possibility of her rising sign being a little off: ““that day’s Sun in the Fish conjunct your Ascendant exactly opposite my Neptune,” with his Neptune at 3 Virgo. This of course places Neptune on his descendant and clearly resonates with their match.
  3. Her father is easily identified, Sun square Saturn certainly identifies his cold and rather unloving demeanour. In Scorpio and the 8th? The early death or loss of her father is clearly marked out thus. At age 8 Saturn squared Uranus by Solar Arc (something sudden relating to the father) and the Sun applied hard by Solar Arc to a quindecile of Chiron marking the genesis of the pain of the loss of her father which was to form such an impetus for her later work and ongoing anguish, in keeping with the nature of the aspect itself of course it became something of an obsession.
  4. Peregrine Moon always tells a story and intimates something of a dissociation complex. These people disconnect according to the nature of sign and house. In Plath’s case a romantic reverie is implied, and she may have dreamt long and often about the perfection of her great love. In Libra too there is an overwhelming need to be considered attractive, fair (in all senses) and interesting, which gels not at all well with the reality of her marriage to Hughes who was often considered to be something of a brute (his subsequent wife whom he left Plath for also committed suicide incidentally, and many consider it no coincidence that he is a common denominator in the relationships.) Peregrine Moon too often tells of a feeling of emptiness and isolation which seems to permeate her poetry too: “Empty, I echo to the least footfall,/ Museum without statues, grand with pillars, porticoes, rotundas./ In my courtyard a fountain leaps and sinks back into itself,/ Nun-hearted and blind to the world.” (From “Barren Woman”) And her mother too! What impact must it have had on the young Sylvia to see her mother so alone and widowed, even if she considered her father to be rigid and incompassionate? Children love and miss even bad fathers of course.
  5. And what of poetry? Clearly, with Ve/Ju/Ne in Virgo and the 7th there is a prising out of harmonious economy in all matters of love, faith and spirituality. Of course Neptune is key to poetry but also to that yearning sense of wanting to transcend the difficulty of life because of a sense of disappointment with things. So much of her anguish in her poetry has this at its root, a sense that she has been let down and disappointed, most especially by men. No surprise that Plath has in more recent times become such an icon for the feminist movement, although I cannot imagine that she would have been anything short of horrified by such an association considering her astrology if nothing else. But consider the idea of a harmonious economy and what do you have? Metaphor! Consider “bright as a Nazi lampshade” from Lady Lazarus (an autobiographical account of her first suicide attempt): what could be more shockingly bright? Or using a feverish delirium as a metaphor for love gone awry: Darling, all night / I have been flickering, off, on, off, on. / The sheets grow heavy as a lecher’s kiss. This she wrote during her final days after Hughes had left her.
  6. More intriguingly than this even is the most cursory examination of halfsums. With Uranus at the crucially profound Sun/Moon midpoint there is a clear impetus to the separation (Ur) of husband (Su) and wife (Mo) (father and mother too), but essentially separations and upsets are in store. Then consider Pl=Me/Ve. Power (or powerlessness) is realised through communicating or writing about love, or creating an art from writing. The great Ebertin marks this halfsum as “tremendous creative power” and the “recognition of art as a mission.” Quite wonderful. Then we have Ju=Ve/Ne! I wrote an entire article on this single midpoint (called: “The elusive astrology of yearning and the Venus Neptune halfsum“) and in Plath’s case there is no question that it would expand her ability to access the numinous and find an intimation of transcendent love. Ve=Mo/Ne also suggests a disappointment in love but a possibility of accessing a more divine form of contentment.
  7. Of course, there is an even more pertinent observation. Sappho, the asteroid is so named for the ancient Greek lyric poet: later Greeks included her on the canonical list of nine lyric poets; her reputation survives intact even though much of her work does not (fragments attest to her ability however), and it is to be found in Plath’s nativity at the exact midpoint of Venus and Jupiter (3°49′ from each.) A Venus Jupiter conjunction (which does not in this instance detract from the reality of peregrination) is a horn of plenty aspect, and the “joy of love” by Ebertin, so any influence at the convergence of these powers is going to be powerfully exalted. Jupiter too (and peregrine) rules the Midheaven, and conjunct Sappho her vocation as a poet becomes ever clearer.

Sylvia Plath’s final days were a true tale of peregrinated Moon in Libra cast down. Her isolation was complete, the reigning need of her life, to be loved, to be the wife, to be exalted by her union of love was broken and the distress of her lost father and her intellectual self-doubt crowded in on her. She died just as Saturn (husband and father) applied by Solar Arc to her Ascendant whilst simultaneously squaring Chiron. The pain of the men in her life and the great weight of disappointment seems somehow to be born at that point, brought into the light for all the world to see as Saturn crossed ponderously into the first while Venus also squared Pluto by Solar Arc at this exact juncture, love and death configured in with the burden of isolation; loss and loneliness. Or in the words of her final poem:

Edge

The woman is perfected.
Her dead
Body wears the smile of accomplishment,
The illusion of a Greek necessity
Flows in the scrolls of her toga,
Her bare
Feet seem to be saying:
We have come so far, it is over.
Each dead child coiled, a white serpent,
One at each little
Pitcher of milk, now empty.
She has folded
Them back into her body as petals
Of a rose close when the garden
Stiffens and odors bleed
From the sweet, deep throats of the night flower.
The moon has nothing to be sad about,
Staring from her hood of bone.
She is used to this sort of thing.
Her blacks crackle and drag.

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The Astrology of Marital Breakdown…

Outer transits to the descendant can play havoc with the happily ever after...

Outer planet transits to the descendant can play havoc with the happily ever after...

It is unfortunate that love, perhaps more in keeping with Artemis than Aphrodite both waxes and wanes and there is no doubt whatever where the one is wondrous and fair, the other may often be laced with venom. I have advised a considerable number of clients in this particular regard and I have enough theoretical and practical experience of the astrology of marital breakdown to be able predict with some accuracy the likely course of such difficulties. In the event, knowing that it may all be for the best does not stop the vitriol and judgement of vaguely interested third parties, nor does it assuage the anguish of those more intimately configured, but if this life is to stand for anything at all – other than an empty and vainglorious accumulation of accolades and possessions – then sometimes a small measure of acceptance is the only compassionate path through such difficulty.

In reality, the astrology can provide a considerable insight into the conditions of the marriage, and further, the conditions at the end of a marriage; today I wish to look at various aspects of the psychology and the astrology of marriage breakdown and try to place the often narrow focus of the Saturnine detractor in a broader human context, one that the great Joseph Campbell determined thus: “Where the moralist would be filled with indignation and the tragic poet with pity and terror, [mythology (astrology)] breaks the whole of life into a vast, horrendous Divine Comedy. Its Olympian laugh is not escapist in the least, but hard, with the hardness of life itself – which, we may take it, is the hardness of God, the Creator.  [This] makes the tragic attitude seem somewhat hysterical, and the merely moral judgement shortsighted. Yet the hardness is balanced by an assurance that all that we see is but the reflex of a power that endures, untouched by the pain.” (Joseph Campbell, “The Hero with a Thousand Faces: The Monomyth” pp 45-46 – Princeton University Press 1949).

Astrologically there is no surprise that the vast majority of marital breakdowns occur between the ages of 36 and 42; the dissonance between a third Jupiter return and the Uranus half-return creates a tense space in which the unexplored horizons of earlier life crash jarringly into the phenomenon identified by Jung as the mid-life crisis; a term much maligned by laymen ever since. Jung well understood, as a student of astrology himself the need to identify a sudden revolution in the personal apprehension of life’s meaning that the Uranus opposition instantiated, he termed it a crisis only in the sense that it was a necessary precipitation that would well-up and finally run-free into a more inclusive contact with the Universe; for without crisis there could not be growth. This then in Jung’s view was not a great conjuration, but rather an opportunity. Of course, where Uranus, God of the skies draws us out, Saturn, his castrator and nemesis holds us back and this is the choice we all face during these crucial years: to grow and evolve, or to heed Kronos’ dull and dire laments and begin the slow shuffle into spiritual decline and death. The ‘crisis’ then, whilst not being limited to the institution of marriage, invariably promulgates an upheaval in all areas where scrutiny is required in the scope of a human life, and marriage is inevitably thus configured.

Astrologically it is clear, as it ought to be in mere psychology; the marriage that is basically sound and fulfilling to both parties ought to have nothing to fear from the various returns, progressions and transits at mid-life or indeed at any other time. If there is serious lack, imbalance, incompatibility or suppression of self then it will eventually find its way out, as ever through the various etheric and physical vehicles, spirit or body, creating anxiety, nervous disorder, depression or illness. In such a case, the result is very often a breakdown either within the marriage, or of the marriage itself.

Much can be gleaned from the ruler of the descendant, applications to it or its ruler by transit or progression, and the interactions within the nativity itself. Any of the outer planets crossing the 7th house cusp will instantiate at the very least a serious re-examination of marital objectives and a fair degree of analysis of the conditions within the marriage. Uranus crossing the 7th will create the potential for a sudden break, Neptune a dissolving, often with a difficulty to grasp what exactly is wrong, Pluto a grinding down and an invariably painful insight into the deeper psychology of oneself. Pluto purges us of compulsions and unconscious dependence too, and in the house of marriage this can often shine a new light upon our union; Pluto does not unearth only the difficult however, he also exposes previously unimagined treasures, and the same can be said for all outer transits, providing we understand that we cannot simply stand firm and resist. Life is a journey, we cannot refuse to get on the train.

This is not to say that an outer transit to the 7th cusp or ruler will always signify a marital breakdown, far from it: a basically balanced and sound partnership that fulfils the needs and desires of both parties ought to have nothing to fear.

Then too, look to the sign on the cusp of the 8th and its ruler for an insight into the nature of the break-up itself, should it occur. The 8th of course is analogous to the 2nd of the 7th, thus it determines the manner of the division of shared property – and the 8th is the house of joint resources for precisely this reason. Furthermore, the 8th rules endings, so the ruler and its condition as well as any tenants herein will give a further clue to the manner of the split. If Aries, Scorpio or Mars is configured, do not expect an amicable settlement, Saturn or Capricorn will make the process slow and practical and take all the joy out of it too, Venus, Taurus or Libra should allow some measure of grace or at least politeness to infiltrate proceedings; and in every case this bears out.

Charlie Sheen and Denise Richards underwent a deeply acrimoious split

Charlie Sheen and Denise Richards underwent a deeply acrimoious split

As an example, the breakdown of Hollywood bad boy Charlie Sheen’s union with actress and glamour model Denise Richards  is worthy of study. After two daughters and only 4 years of marriage, Richards filed for divorce citing unreasonable behaviour. Currently Sheen and Richards are engaged in an acrimonious custody dispute over their two daughters, with Richards requesting a custody evaluation, no overnight visits for Sheen, and authority to make decisions regarding the care of the children. Richards alleges abusive behavior by Sheen toward her and staff, paranoid behavior regarding the care of the children, and that he continues to have gambling and drug addictions. Sheen denies these allegations and further alleges that Richards later requested sperm from him in order to have another child. In short the split has been neither smooth nor swift.

00) New York, NY USA

Charlie Sheen, actor. 3 Sep 1965 22:48 EST (+05:00) New York, NY USA

Sheen’s astrology evinces a number of fascinating conditions although I will confine the majority of my insights to those specific issues relating to the marriage and in particular its breakdown. It is interesting to note the great difficulties denoted by the 3 point stellium of Su/Ur/Pl in Virgo – thus control and self control problems – opposed by Sa/Ch in the 10th, which immediately tells you something about his public life and the legacy of his father too no doubt. Peregrine Venus in Libra and the 5th is really the runaway factor and entirely describes, particularly in a nativity fueled by Sun conjunct Pluto his self-destructive appetite for licentious gratification: Sheen is reckoned to have slept with as many as 5,000 women in his lifetime and his inability to curb his tendency to sexual excess has damaged his career and his personal relationships.

Most pertinently however, the ruler of the 7th, Jupiter is profoundly stressed in all too flighty Gemini. Gemini on the 7th, or the ruler of the 7th in Gemini always suggests a strong likelihood of 2 or more marriages, but with Jupiter here there is a tendency to really struggle to expand one’s horizons; watch anyone with Jupiter in Gemini trying to have a good time and it is often quite exhausting to behold, they make the taking of ease into such hard work. Here the Moon opposes Jupiter which usually denotes some marital differences, often through being rather wasteful, truculent and generally contrary in one’s manner. Moon in the 7th denotes fluctuating marital conditions and in Sagittarius there are no doubt some boundary issues, an instinctive need for freedom that is not entirely conducive to marital stability at the best of times.

The 8th house ruler however is the key factor in determining the nature of the marital split. With Capricorn configured Saturn is clearly in considerable difficulty even if accidentally dignified; the trines to Mars and Neptune notwithstanding. Saturn ruling the 8th of course determines that the divorce will be difficult, drawn-out and burdensome, and in the 10th: public. The conjunction to Chiron makes it painful and in Pisces, there is little surprise that his history of substance abuse has been cited in the proceedings. The oppositions to the Virgo stellium include Sa/Pl: thus hard labour in Virgo, and a great deal of public (10th) criticism (Virgo) is the result, while the emotional tension of Sa/Ur will have to be endured over a protracted period.

It ought to be noted that having Saturn as ruler of the 8th does not by itself determine that any divorce will be acrimonious: a harmoniously placed and aspected Saturn may indeed allow the process to be handled with dignity and a responsible attitude; in Sheen’s case however, the oppositions from Virgo, and most especially the opposing nature of Pluto will force a power struggle and as with any mundane opposition: themes will be played out through other people.

Their divorce was finalised just as Pluto moved into orb of Moon in Sagittarius and my own view would be that matters will not be completely finalised for Sheen and Richards until the latter part of 2011 when Pluto applies to his 8th house; which might also suggest an entirely unsatisfactory eventual outcome for Sheen in any case.

Of course, the ending of any committed relationship is difficult and painful for all parties, and there are never any winners, but understanding the astrology of these traumatic events at least creates the possibility of knowing the likely course that must be navigated before a more harmonious mode of existence can be enjoyed by all those affected by such traumatic trials.

The astrology of marriage

The King and Queen of Cups or worse?

The King and Queen of Cups or worse?

Today, I want to discuss, broadly and without being too definitive about it, the astrology of marriage. Almost immediately, there is a slight difficulty because semantics are involved, but in this instance I determine marriage to be any significant partnership with another human being in which you share affection, a duty of care and – no doubt – a bed, it really does not matter much beyond that what other criteria you want to bring in to play; I will hopefully be able to demonstrate that your astrology can pinpoint almost exactly the conditions, ambience and prospects of the marriage and the marriage partner both.

It is almost an unquestioned premise in the astrology to say that Venus and Mars are going to be profoundly insightful in this study, but actually, when we discuss marriage, we are not really talking about principles of attraction or sexual fulfilment, plenty of people after all manage to sustain perfectly viable marriages without an excess of primal or venal feeling; indeed, in this regard, it might be equally insightful to look at Saturn which is a formalising influence and is thus the avenue to contractualising relationships as much as anything else. It is then for this reason that I would look primarily at planets within the 7th house to describe the conditions and considerations of the marriage and very specifically at the condition of the 7th house ruler – the Lord of the Descendant – to describe the marriage partner. This view is perfectly sympathetic to the Jungian ideal of ‘Other’ and it describes most wonderfully the outsourced self-image; that which we are not and thus that which we seek to incorporate via relationship in order to make ourselves whole.

Immediately, you begin to understand through this insight, that it is rather straightforward to determine the conditions of the marriage, and to gain a fairly clear thumbnail portrait of the marriage partner. I have yet to find a case where this has not proven out, often spectacularly.

A couple of examples should help clarify the extant principles.

00) London

Charles, Prince of Wales: 14 Nov 1948 21:14 (+0:00) London

Looking at the nativity of Prince Charles we can see immediately that the ruler of his Descendant is Uranus (via Aquarius) itself in the anaretic degree of Gemini, riding the cusp of the 12th house, sextiled by Moon, opposed by Jupiter, with that opposition feeding considerable tension to Juno at the Aries Point in the 9th. Uranus (as the marriage partner) is also accidentally dignified, retrograde, and out of bounds, making, for erratic Uranus, an especial level of abruptness and instability. There is a fair amount of information therefore about the marriage partner. First of all, with Gemini placings for the ruler of the descendant, two marriages are entirely possible, and actually most definitely probable. Uranus too suggests a very sudden quality and with it going over to the sign of Cancer there is a suggestion of tipping over from one quality (or marriage) that is socially charming and delightful (Gemini) to another that is emotionally satisfying and nurturing (Cancer). The fact that Uranus sits on the cusp of the 12th suggests on the one hand the potential for sorrow in the marriage situation and an element of solitude even within the marriage. The Jupiter opposition to Uranus further posits the sense that there is tension within the marriage, that there is an innate love of freedom and independence that is directly opposed to the ideal of marriage and which plays out through the marriage partner in particular. The tee-square to Juno is also very intriguing because it creates a subjective template for Charles of a bold, courageous, solitary and combative figure, Aries is the eternal bachelor, so in some sense that self-promulgated image of his ideal marriageable self is most definitely at odds with the theme of marriage and with the eventual wife he chooses as well, he really needs an assertive, forthright and aggressive female to share his life with. The one good aspect to Uranus, a sextile to the Moon really suggests that the mother will provide an opportunity for him to realise a very high-status and favoured union, and the wedding to Diana certainly evinced that quality.

Diana, Princess of Wales, 1 Jul 1961, 19:45 (-01:00) Sandringham

Diana has Gemini ruling the descendant and Sun and Mercury in Cancer well-aspected in the 7th as well. The conditions of marriage then are tied up with the homeland, with tradition and a strong family ethic (that all seems perfectly clear right?) and the ruler of the descendant is also in the 7th; Mercury in Cancer, thus he is someone who is emotionally affective, his thinking is not necessarily entirely logical and the grand trine from both Chiron and Neptune suggests an astonishing interplay of sensitivities, a definite tendency to self-sufficiency and in water, an emotional self-sufficiency too. Charles then is most certainly a King of Cups! The fact that Gemini rules the Descendant also suggests an element of duality in the marriage partner, thus two marriages or an infidelity might well be characteristic of this union. On the whole the marriage does not appear to be doomed; but the grand trine is most intriguing because configured with Chiron and Neptune in water signs it creates an emotional roller-coaster with a real tendency to get swept away as a result. The square to Juno is intriguingly reflected in Charles’ astrology and here Diana sees herself as needing to be very gentle, compassionate, sensitive and a little bit of the victim within the marriage situation, almost the very opposite of what Charles’ Juno demands, even if they are loosely conjunct in the synastry.

In my experience then, take the Lord of the Descendant as your primary indicator and consider first of all his sign and house and essential quality. Saturn as ruler of the 7th house cusp demands a very different style of marriage partner than that of Venus. The sign indicates something of the marriage partner’s outright ambience too. Scorpio is markedly more sexy than say Virgo, but Virgo will be sweeter, gentler and much more unassuming. Finally the house creates a sense of how the marriage will manifest out into the world. In the 5th, there will be an impression of fun and romance, in the 10th or configured to the midheaven matters of status will come into play. Then aspects will moderate all of these tendencies too, a benefic planet ruling the descendant which is well placed by sign and has good aspects too will augur well for the marriage. Here then are a few observations based upon this logic.

If the sign on the 7th house cusp is:

Aries: The partner will be bold, independent, somewhat selfish and will have a need to indulge some ‘alone time’ on occasion. Look to Mars and expect fireworks.
Taurus: Dependable, steady, stubborn and materialistic, also extremely possessive, but fundamentally loving with it, look to Venus.
Gemini: Two (or more) marriages are possible, one might say probable in fact, a sociable and charming partner too.
Cancer: Marriage for security primarily, men may marry the image of mother, women may try to mother their husbands as well.
Leo: A showbusiness union, lots of drama, warmth and looking good required! This is a good placing for the 7th on the whole, but the partner could be a show-off.
Virgo: A quiet, efficient and methodical partner is sought, cooking and hygiene will be factors, this makes a partner who will probably do the chores too.
Libra: Venus again, but here the emphasis is on competition and sociability rather than sensuality. This is the natural sign of the 7th house, so it makes unions with blessed potentials.
Scorpio: The partner may be somewhat controlling, but sexy and commanding too no doubt. Jealousy could become an issue and if there are problems in the bedroom, then problems in the marriage will quickly follow.
Sagittarius: Here fun makes an impact, but importantly the partner will value his or her freedoms and will not be tied down too closely, probable marriage to a foreigner.
Capricorn: A somewhat difficult if formal arrangement is the norm, marriage may be constricting, but there is a real possibility of improvement in the 2nd half of life.
Aquarius: Unusual conditions, erratic and odd partners are sought, sparks fly! Independence must be respected in this marriage, too much control will kill the union almost instantly.
Pisces: A very dreamy, artistic union, stay off the drink, feed the compassion! Neptune is particularly important, the partner may have to make sacrifices, or expect them out of a natural tendency to dissolution, so this reality should not be given short shrift, otherwise the marriage might just fade away.

Perhaps just as importantly, the 7th house cusp describes the nature  of outsourced needs. Your ideal marriage partner will be described thus because they are manifesting those qualities on your behalf. Look to the ruler of the 5th to find the qualities of that person which you find romantically intriguing, and the 5th house ruler to describe something about them in this exact same way.

Of course, you will see that there are always two key signs at play when describing the marriage partner. The first is the ruler of the descendant, and then too there is the sign that the ruler of the descendant is itself placed within to consider. For Princess Diana then it is a Gemini Cancer blend: easy but somewhat superficial sociability masking a deep need for emotional security and nurturance. For Charles conversely, an unusual, offbeat and erratic relationship underpinned by a flighty, witty and somewhat inconsistent sense of things.

Planets within the 7th will describe more pertinently the conditions of the marriage itself. Thus Neptune in Scorpio will describe a marriage situation that is Spartan, erotic and prone to difficulty through dissolution, possibly through drugs, alcohol or emotional decline. Pluto in the 7th promises a rigidly controlling marriage situation that requires considerable transformation. Moon in Aries creates a possibility of emotional isolation while Moon in Scorpio creates emotional controls and obsessive needs. These themes play out, moderated by aspect, in the conditions of the marriage and thus they describe something of the nature of the marriage partner, but more specifically the staging point between the native and that significant other, thus a distinction is made possible for the purposes of astrological counselling.

In any case, considerable insight can be gleaned from these few simple principles; it should therefore be quite clear that transits, arcs and progressions to the ruler of the descendant will have tangible effects on the marriage partner too, while transits of the 7th house and 7th house planets will affect the conditions of the marriage accordingly.