Last week, I wrote about synastry, “bringing the stars together”, or - more simply - comparing two people’s charts to see where opportunities and challenges may be found. Today, I want to briefly outline another technique we use in relationship astrology, the composite chart.
There a couple of different variations on the composite chart, but in our work Margaret and I tend to use what’s known as the midpoint composite chart. It is formed by averaging the points and planets in each person’s chart. For example, if your Sun is in Aries and the other person’s Sun is in Gemini, the composite Sun will be somewhere in the middle, in the sign of Taurus. When we do a composite chart, we average Sun, Moon, the major planets, the ascendant, midheaven, and whatever other points we want to use.
While synastry gives a picture of the interaction between two people that is immediately felt, the composite chart describes the dynamics of the relationship as a thing in itself. For that reason, it seems to have the most application when people are already in a relationship that is fairly well established (John Townley, who developed the composite chart, disagrees, and believes it’s felt immediately).
Does the composite chart tell the same story as synastry?
Usually. There’s often quite a bit in common between the two methods, as we would expect. It would seem strange if one technique showed great sexual passion and the other showed a cooler, more cerebral relationship, for example. Yet that sort of thing does happen sometimes. Two people may be quite fiery in their personal interactions, but they can have a partnership that is focused on work or some kind of group project.
The composite chart was developed in the 1970s, a time when relationships were a focus in our society (Uranus and Pluto were going through the very relationship-oriented sign of Libra at the time).
At that time, we began to make relationships into a separate entity: instead of “you need to change,” we could say, “our relationship needs work”. This helped us to step back and view our partnerships apart from our partners. It was a giant leap in our understanding of our interactions.
The composite chart reflects exactly that kind of understanding, which is why it was developed at the same time. It’s a valuable tool in relationship astrology, and offers a powerful lens for viewing the dynamics of our partnerships.