By Margaret Gray MSW. D. Psych. Astrology
As Valentines’ day approaches, our attention is inevitably drawn to the subject of love relationships. Regardless of the inherent commercialism, February 14th illuminates the universal truth as sung by John Lennon and Paul McCartney: ‘I want somebody to love’!
Living in Dublin, Ireland where some of the relics of St. Valentine are buried in Whitefriars Street Chapel, I was curious to know where this feast day derives from! Apparently under the Roman Emperor Claudius, young people were forbidden to marry as he believed that soldiers fought better if they were unmarried. However, the Christian priest Valentine secretly married them in the Church. Eventually he was caught, tortured and killed by Claudius. Before his death however, he healed the daughter of one of his judges and left her a note signed ‘from your Valentine’. Since then Father Valentine, who became St. Valentine, is known as the patron saint of lovers.
More recently, the importance of love, relationships and marriage was highlighted with the passing in 2015 of Marriage Equality here in Ireland, as well as throughout the USA. The mass public support for these changes, indicates a world that is paying increasing importance to the right to legal and social recognition to live a life with the person we love.
However, as we all know well, whilst ‘falling in love’ is relatively easy, creating a loving mutual relationship requires willingness, commitment, self-knowledge, communication skills, compassion, empathy, patience, humor and a lot more!
So how can astrology help us to understand our relationship needs, recognize a compatible love partner, find ways to work through relationship challenges and nurture and maintain a loving relationship?
1. Understanding our Relationship Needs
Relationships grow and expand to the degree that both individuals know themselves. Without an individual commitment to self-knowledge and self-development relationships are at risk of being built on co-dependency, rather than respect, mutuality and love. Seeking to heal dysfunctional family patterns through adult love relationships without some level of personal awareness is, as we all know, rarely conducive to happiness!
The Astrological Natal Chart offers an immediate symbolic map of the inner resources, strengths, gifts, values, desires, emotional expression, sense of meaning and ideals of both individuals. It also describes how each best communicates – for example if one person’s Mercury is in a Water sign (Cancer, Scorpio or Pisces) in their Birth chart, they are likely to struggle to find words when they feel emotional. Communication at this time may be easier through writing.
The birth chart also highlights if intimate relationships are a core arena of soul learning for an individual in this lifetime. This is likely to be indicated by having one or more planets in either the 7th house of relationships and/or the 5th house of dating and/or the 8th house of sexual intimacy. Although relationships are important for all of us, as we mostly learn about ourselves through intimacy with a significant other, with planets in those parts of the chart, intimate relationships acquire more importance and hence need more attention.
Although Venus and Mars are commonly described as the planets to do with relationship, the Moon and Mercury are in fact key ingredients. The position of the Moon by sign in a birth chart is particularly important as it describes the emotional needs of the individual and how they can best meet them within themselves. It also describes their basic comfort needs. As humans we all have similar core needs, however their importance and ways of getting them met are individual to each of us. Understanding one’s own Moon sign helps in acknowledging individual needs as well as finding constructive conscious ways of meeting them within, rather than depending on a significant other to do so on a regular basis. For example for someone with the Moon in Taurus, a lovely meal, a nice home and a calm and stable environment are likely to be very soothing. To someone with the Moon in Sagittarius, learning, travel and adventure are likely to be a lot more nurturing. The more we learn to self soothe and nurture ourselves, the easier it also becomes to offer nurturing to a loved one in the manner that feels soothing to them rather than how we want it for ourselves!
The placement of the planet Mercury in the birth chart is equally important in relationships as it describes how we communicate with others. Understanding how Mercury operates for each individual facilitates connection with each other. For example individuals with Mercury in Air (Gemini, Libra and Aquarius) and Fire (Aries, Leo and Sagittarius) tend to communicate fast and easily with words. Their attention to detail is less likely than someone who has Mercury in Earth (Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn) who is likely to communicate more carefully and cautiously. Individuals with Mercury in Water (Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces) tend to read between the lines, as their skill is to tune into the feelings behind the words. Whereas the Air and Fire Mercury individuals are unlikely to recall everything they said, a Mercury in Earth person is very likely to remember every single word and the Mercury in Water person will retain a sense of the feelings that were expressed and not expressed. Knowing the Moon and Mercury sign for oneself and others reminds us that we are all different. The more each person is able to communicate who they are to the other and to hear who the other truly is, the greater the potential for the relationship.
Part 2 will look at Compatibility as well as Challenges in Relationships!
(This blog was originally posted by Margaret Gray in Astrology Hub in February 2016!)