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.
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 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.