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.

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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.


The Astrologer’s Degrees, a Study of the Evidence.

Today I wish to look in some detail at a specific phenomena that is of great interest to the astrologer, the provocatively named “Astrologer’s Degree.”

Provocative, not least because in binary thinking (which is ultimately commonplace even among astrologers!) it suggests an on-off state, it provokes the deterministic view that an ability for astrology can be realised through placements to a specific degree in the nativity. Of course, this is utter nonsense, it cannot, nor should be so, however, it most certainly is not unreasonable to posit placements upon any supposed degree to incline toward an astrological acumen, an acumen that need never be realised in the life unless other predisposing factors support the same view. Imagine it is like a pushbike. If you have two wheels, a frame, handlebars, brakes and a saddle then you can put them all together and actually ride off into the sunset. If you only have one wheel, then you are at something of a loss, and are going nowhere. An astrologer’s degree placement then is perhaps like a single wheel, useful only if you happen to have the other parts.

So let us discover the nature of those other parts first, before we examine the degrees themselves. Binary thinkers have run various algorithms through databases of nativities in an attempt to discover a golden astrologer’s bullet without any particular success. One such study came out with the following results:

  • 38% had the Sun in Scorpio, Sagittarius or Capricorn and these placements were found in the astrologers charts twice as often as they were found in the control group.
  • Sun, Moon or Mercury was found in a fixed house for 70% of astrologers and Venus, Mars, Jupiter or Saturn were placed in an air house for 71%.
  • Sixty-three percent of the astrologers had the ruler of the eleventh house direct.
  • None of the astrologers tested had a mutual reception between Sun and Uranus.
  • Pluto, Chiron or the North Node was placed in one of the Gauquelin power zones in 66%.
  • Uranus was found aspecting the vertex in the control group more often than it was found aspecting the vertex in the astrologers’ horoscopes.
  • Nothing was found in 100% of the astrologers’ charts.


This is not really useful particularly, because it is trying to measure a grey area (human potential); we might as well say that forty percent of vehicles are red, seventy percent have at least two wheels, but only five percent were bicycles! I only include this rather vile pandering to statistical scientism as a reminder of the pointlessness of measuring the immeasurable. What, then, pertinently, would I look for in the astrologer, apart from placements to an astrologer’s degree?

Urania, muse of astrology and astronomyFirstly I would look to the position of Uranus and to a lesser extent Saturn. Uranus configured to the angles seems to be prevalent, as does a strong Saturn. Uranus gives flashes of insight as well as mathematically themed abilities while Saturn provides rigour and an ability to structure. Traditional astrologers point to the importance of Mercury in the consideration of astrological ability. Some people say that the asteroid Urania -muse of astrology and astronomy both – ought to be meaningfully placed. Noel Tyl posits the view in his books that 18 degrees of mutable signs is significant in the study of astrology. Similarly, James Braha asserts that it is common for the greatest Hindu astrologers to have been born with a powerfully disposed Moon (memory) and 2nd house (knowledge).

All of this technical discussion though fails to address one key consideration, since the premise of the study – in my view at least – requires clarification. In my experience, astrology is as much – if not more – about counselling as it is about any technical ability to understand the patterns of energy in the nativity. An abstract grasp of rhyme and metre after all, does not a Dryden make. To pattern recognition, mythic-insight and meditative application you must then add an ability to talk to people, or at least to be able to convey sensitively in writing an appreciation of their struggles; some measure then of humanity and compassionate mettle forged through trial and adversity cannot be lacking otherwise the science of astrology becomes a brittle, artless parlour-trick with no practical application.

So to this list I would add a requirement of sensitivity, which might be supported by the configuration of Neptune with either of the luminaries, a strong Piscean influence, 12th house significators, Virgo too, through the polarity of Pisces and the service-oriented axis and any strongly Lunar characteristics. To the ideal for counselling I would suggest that a study of the descendant may be pertinent, since it is the Aries polarity point of Libra and thus it is concerned entirely with the other fellow.

Finally I would like to look at Chiron, since here is a new factor in astrology; indeed, Chiron was the first astrologer, so it is only fitting that he ought to figure in the craft very centrally. Chiromancy and chiropractics are both concerned with the hands, the healing power of the hands specifically and Chiron recognises, not a power centre in the nativity, but actually the astrologer, card reader, palmist him or herself, on one level at least.

So, these are the other factors, now what of the degrees themselves? I do not wish to discuss the etymology of the degrees as individual powers to promulgate fate and character, at this stage, let us just accept that for whatever reason, they have relevance. The sources are obscure, the interpretations many, but here are the astrologer’s degrees according to deVore:

From 22° – 28° Aquarius.
From 25° – 29° Leo.
With particular emphasis being given to the 27° Leo – Aquarius axis.

Furthermore, 11° Virgo is considered an astrologer’s degree, no doubt with a very tight orb, thus 10° – 12° of Virgo and there may be a polarity point at 11° Pisces, although this is by no means agreed upon uniformly in the various sources.

It is assumed then that any placement upon these degrees will give some propensity toward astrological ability. Let us look at a couple of cases to check the veracity of these degrees. Firstly, Alan Leo, the great Edwardian astrologer who very much revived the art in the early days of last century. From our list of correspondences then:

Uranus: in the 10th, so career configured, but not much otherwise.
Saturn: Rising, partile Ascendant at 27° Leo (the astrologer’s degree).
Mercury: nothing here particularly, Rx in the 12th, separating from Saturn rising.
Urania: Found at 5° Libra in the second, which is relevant according to James Braha.
Sensitivity: This does not appear to be a big theme in Leo’s chart, his Moon is in mania-susceptible Aries, and highly stressed as the focus of a t-square from Venus opposing Mars. Neptune is in its rulership though and at the 30th degree, thus it is especially fated.
Chiron: He falls conjunct the descendant, an ideal counselling position, especially for the astrologer Chiron and opposing the Saturn and Ascendant, he too falls in the astrologer’s degrees of Aquarius. Evidently it is this axis in particular which is of overwhelming import in creating an aptitude for astrology.
18° of Mutable signs: Nothing here either.

Beyond this, there are no other major asteroids on any of the astrologer’s degrees, although his Part of Plays falls exactly conjunct Chiron at 25° Aquarius.

Applying the same methodology to my own chart I get:

Uranus: Rising, thus prominent.
Saturn: Nothing here.
Mercury: Peregrine (unaspected) in the second.
Urania: At 11° Pisces, thus at a possible astrologer’s degree.
Sensitivity: Moon is probably peregrine (unaspected) but the closest major aspect at near 9° is a conjunction to Neptune. I am never sure whether to count this or not.
Chiron: conjunct the descendant in Pisces and partile to the Vertex.
18° of Mutable signs: Mars at 17°49′ Sagittarius.

Otherwise, I have Jupiter at 27° Leo exactly opposing Isis at 27° Aquarius, Pars Fortuna at 25° Leo and Pallas – pattern recognition – at 26° Leo, all astrologer’s degrees, with Venus in the 12th on the cusp of Virgo, just a degree or so off the range of Leo.

I know a fair few astrologers around the world, and I can comfortably say that those who appear to have the greatest blend of skill in applying the understanding of the science to the practical and compassionate art of counselling all appear to have some strong configurations around the aforementioned degrees, and usually several other indicators to boot.

I should add as a disclaimer, because I have read message boards on this subject before and those who do not have the configurations indicated seem to delight (I think for fairly understandable reasons) in debunking the theory, but again, I am not claiming that without these degrees configured there is no ability in the study of astrology. Far from it, I have known many people who are deeply skilled in astrological techniques who show none of these indicators; to which I say only that they source the individual cogs and gears of their bicycles from different suppliers and pedal along with just as much enthusiasm as myself or anyone else, and to them I wish safe journey, to the stars, the sunset, or wherever the great art might take you.