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Bad Company!

When doing comparisons and composite charts, there are some birthdays out there you should know to watch out for...

...Star-crossed combinations you 

probably can't avoid, but should...!

By John Townley

Personal chart comparisons (synastry and composites) are an important area in astrology, and the general rule to avoid trouble is to keep other people’s malefics (especially Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto) off sensitive points in your chart. And, in looking at composite charts, you don’t want to find those already troublesome planets tied up in additionally troublesome aspects. But avoiding those kind of contacts can be a bit like crackwalking – they’re everywhere and you never know when they’re going to pop up and spoil a relationship.

Well, they’re not quite everywhere – in fact, they come in predictable patterns that you can avoid ahead of time, turning your search into something more like planned hopscotch than random crackwalking. It may mean, however, learning to be wary of whole generations of people that may, often unintentionally, not have your best interests in mind.


In simple chart comparison, it’s important to keep someone’s malefic off you, hopefully entirely. That’s how simple jury-picking with astrology is done, such as the Joanne Little trial where an astrologically-picked jury got an unexpected acquittal, simply by keeping the jurors’ malefics off the defendant’s chart. Having done the same for civil trials, I can attest to the efficacy of the simple technique. It’s not that folks with malefics on your chart have anything against you personally, they just can’t help but move in ways that don’t do you any favors when they impact your chart. So depending where your most tender spots are – the Moon, the nodes, Venus, Ascendant, MC in particular – you’ll find that whole years  have malefics (especially for the outer planets) in those degrees and will be years you’re better off avoiding, or at least being wary of. It’s easy enough to make a list, which will give you three to avoid for the outers and two or three for Saturn – for each sensitive spot in your chart, maybe a couple of dozen red-flag spots in all. And, you can throw in Mars on a couple of them, too, as it’s not so nice on your South Node, maybe dicey on your Ascendant and Moon as well, though exciting on your Venus (which Saturn, say, very much is not).


Composites are a little more tricky, since exactly how two charts will combine can be a little flippy. For instance, you can never have a composite Ascendant more than 90 degrees from your own, and a trine and a sextile between the same two planets in two different charts counter-intuitively turns into a composite square, except when it doesn’t! But there is a generational rule that pretty broadly applies. That is: when a difficult sky aspect happens midway in time between your birth year and another’s birth year, that difficult aspect will be in your composite chart. Take, for instance, the Saturn-Pluto conjunction of 1947 – if you were born in 1945, two years earlier, that would be in your composite with people born in 1949, two years later. For boomers, the most pervasive of these is the Uranus-Neptune square culminating in 1956 but spread out over several years before and after that date. That means that early boomers tend to have that square in their composites with late boomers, born on the other side of it, making them a little uneasy with each other. And for everyone, it can mean that a single year or even half a generation can have built-in trouble waiting, so you may save yourself a lot of time by steering clear of close involvements there wherever convenient. It doesn't mean they're the enemy, just that they can trip you up without necessarily even meaning to, simply by ringing out of tune (increasingly so with prolonged contact) when involved with you, and vice versa.

Two charts just four years apart don't seem to have fundamental Saturn-Pluto problems, but...

...when the date between them has Saturn-Pluto conjunct (l.), so does their composite (r.), with Venus entangled, too!

And the problem is not so much the single aspect itself, but the fact that it often serves as the base for other planets attaching to it like a tree, making the composite yet the more difficult for it. Here’s a list of recent years to look out for:

1936 Saturn-Neptune opposition

1949 Saturn-Neptune square

1947 Saturn-Pluto conjunction

1956 Uranus-Neptune square

1953 Saturn-Neptune conjunction

1955 Saturn-Pluto square

1963 Saturn-Neptune square

1966 Uranus-Pluto conjunction, opposition Saturn

1972 Saturn-Nep opposition

1975 Saturn-Pluto square

1977 Saturn-Uranus square

1980 Saturn-Neptune square

1983 Saturn-Pluto conjunction

1989, thru 94 Uranus-Neptune-Saturn conjunction

1993 Saturn-Pluto square

2000 Saturn-Uranus square

2003 Saturn-Pluto opposition

2007 Saturn-Neptune opposition

2009-10 Saturn-Uranus opposition

2011 and ahead Uranus-Pluto square

If any of these dates is halfway between your birthday and someone else’s, you don’t even have to draw up a composite chart to know the difficult aspect will be there, and perhaps with add-ons that make it even more complicated. Of course, the same applies for benefic aspects as well, like the lengthy Uranus-Neptune sextile of the late twentieth century, but there’s just not room to list them all here. It’s easy enough to look them up for yourself, now that you’ve got the idea.

In sum, with all these sky-traps awaiting your possible composites, not to mention ordinary synastry crossovers to be wary of, it can be a challenge to find a totally affliction-free relationship – maybe that’s one reason why marriage is rarely a perpetual honeymoon. Still, there are plenty of nice corners in space and time that make for heavenly combos if you look long enough or just luck into them. And, every tool like this that makes it a bit easier -- and helps you get there sooner -- means more time to enjoy it once you’ve arrived…

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