Thursday, January 13, 2011

Introduction to Synastry

Synastry is a branch of Astrology; it is the pseudo-science of assessing and determining the compatibility levels of any two people based on their birth dates, times, and locations. As is the case in any science of pseudo-science, there are rival schools of thought within this discipline. Each school of thought revolves around a particular methodology which they consider to be the most accurate approach to assessing the compatibility levels of two people.

General vs. Specific Synastry

Broadly speaking, all schools of thought can be lumped into one of two categories. The first is general compatibility theory, which is less quantitative and less specific. The second is specific synastry, which is far more quantitative, and attempts to numerically assess all relations and aspects between two charts using one of several different scoring systems.

First specific synastry. Specific synastry uses the computer to exhaustively compare two natal charts, forming a table of angular relations between all planets and signs. Certain angular relationships between planets and signs have always been considered positive by astrologers in the realms of romance, business, and friendship. Other angular relationships have long been considered negative for romance, business and friendship. Still others will generate characteristic types of conflict between partners.

Specific synastry methods assign a standard integer value to each specific angular relationship. A high positive value will be assigned for a very positive aspect. A high negative value is assigned to a bad aspect. This table of values becomes the basis for an indexed scoring system.

After all angular relationships between two charts have been exhaustively calculated, a sum total of scores are generated. A high integer value in the romance category predicts that two people will be magnetically drawn to one another, and they will have excellent romantic chemistry. A low score between two people indicates that they will not be attracted to each other, and they may have little or no romantic chemistry.

The composite romance score is very similar to the Passing Rating system of the NFL. A high score is good, a low score is bad., but you need to see how the QB played the game to know the real story. You would also want to see the break out of those numbers to get an idea where the passer scored hi points. Inside the football world, the NFL Passer rating has it's skeptics and detractors, but most find it a useful index that tells an important part of the story. Dido with a Synastry score.

Those who stick to the general school of thought tend to be skeptical of specific synastry systems. They tend to believe it is impossible to formulate such a specific, quantitative, predictive, mathematical synastry system. They believe the current quantitative methods predict many matches that are in erroneous. When you put the numbers to the test, no match occurs. They also fail to correctly assess "working relationships" general astrologers would easily identify as solid.

Generalist look at series of basic relationships between the personal planets of two charts. If the basic relationships look positive, the Generalist will declare the two a good match. The end. This is done with charts and without the use of a quantitative scoring system.

What is the methodology? General synastry divides the entire collection of 12 zodiac signs into one of two categories: male and female. There are six masculine signs, and there are six feminine signs. Fire and Air signs are masculine. Earth and Water signs are feminine. Rarely the twain shall meet.

In general, female signs go with female signs. Earth goes with Earth and Water. Water goes with Water and Earth. Male signs go with Male signs. Fire goes with Fire and Air. Air goes with Air and Fire. Generally speaking, Fire mixes poorly with Earth and Water. Air mixes poorly with Earth and Water. This is what some critics mock as the "homosexual" theory of the zodiac.

A few signs may or may not be considered exceptions to the rule. Some believe the Gemini (air) will mix well with Virgo (earth) as they are both ruled by Mercury. Others deny that. Some believe that Libra (air) will mix with Taurus (earth) because they are both ruled by Venus. others deny this claim.

Who is right?

Most specific synastry systems are extremely logical. The quantitative values they assign to positive and negative aspects seem reasonable. The system stands up to logical evaluation, given the assumptions of the system. Unfortunately, for the mathematical theorist, life is often a theory ruined by an ugly fact. Is that the case here?

I have information, both pro and con, to present in this case.

When I have tested individuals in my circle of family and friends, I have frequently been surprised at how low some of their scores have been. Many Astrologers report similar findings regarding "working relationships".

Balancing this fact is the truth that several of my family and friends have been married and divorced multiple times. Low synastry scores in a divorce case is positive finding for the system. The 50-60% rate of divorce in this country seems to indicate that most people do a poor job of picking their mates. Reports from couple's therapy circles confirm that many people who "stick it out" are unhappy with their chosen mate in numerous ways. Marriage research seems to indicate that most people "settle" for a mate they can get, rather that obtaining the mate they really want.

In view of all these things, I have to say that low synastry in "working relationships" is not necessarily a silver bullet (capable of killing the system outright) that it is often portrayed as being.

I myself have been daunted by how rarely quantitative systems predict a match between me (a Virgo) and a plethora of Taurus women. According to the Generalist, this should be a rock-solid match-up. I must balance that statement by confessing that I have never once dated a Taurus woman, nor even tried. To the best of my knowledge, I have never once been attracted to a known Taurus woman in my natural environment. I have only known a few; there have been some Taurians around. Has the system accurately predicted my behavior? I would have to admit, although my evidence is scanty, the low scores just might be justified.

More disturbing are the comparatively low scores the quantitative methods assign between me and host of Capricorn women. While the scores are moderately high, they are nowhere close to those of Pisces and Aquarius women. Pisces and Aquarians routinely double the scores of Capricorn women in my research.

Yet I can testify that Capricorn women are the ones who most consistently get my goat, if you will pardon the pun. There have been many occasions when I have been strongly attracted to ordinary Capricorn women in my everyday life. No Generalist would be surprised by a report of a Virgo boy attracted to a Capricorn Girl. This is typical behavior under general theory. Why does the specific scoring system show me to be moderate versus Capricorn? I would think it should be very high. This is a problem.

On the other hand, I must admit I have had limited success with Capricorn women. While they like me, up to a point, they seldom like me as much as I like them. If the composite score is determined by the least interested party, the less than stellar numbers could be valid.

Are the high scores versus Pisces and Aquarius justified?

I have had several Pisces girlfriends. The worst broken heart I ever suffered came at the hands of a Pisces girl who scored 413 in the romance category with me. We also had a zero (0) for communication. Both of those scores look reasonable to me, some 5 years later. I have also had numerous Pisces business partners, and close(r) relationships with family members who are Pisces. My favorite chef on the Food Network just happens to be a Pisces guy. In my religious days, my favorite preacher just happened to be a Pisces. In general, I would have to confess the Pisces scores seem in-line with the facts.

Certainly, no Generalist would be surprised by reports of close Virgo-Pisces relations, and especially not in my case. This is typical behavior under general theory. In this particular case, the two systems are in close accord.

To the best of my knowledge, I have only ever known one Aquarius guy in my everyday life. He is a fellow programmer here at work. We get along fine. I cannot identify a single woman I have ever known as an Aquarian. I am sure there must have been some, but I did not not know they were Aquarians. Consequently, I have never dated an Aquarian. There are no Aquarians in my family. I checked that fact very closely to make sure it was true.
The Aquarian predictions are the greatest single mystery of the system, from my point of view. I simply have nothing to go on at this point. Certainly, there are plenty of Aquarian women I have admired in the media, not the least of whom are late Farrah Faucett and the young Alice Eve. In my real daily life? Sorry, nothing to report. I can't present positive or negative evidence.

No generalist would predict a clear-cut match-up between a Virgo and an Aquarius. Indeed, the generalist would regard this as a mismatch. Virgo and Aquarius are often portrayed as conservative vs. liberal think-tank rivals of the Zodiac. [Just don't tell Ronald Regan and Roger Staubach they are supposed to be liberal.] Others would scoff at this being a relationship between an engineer and an expert organic chemist: All intellect, no heat. This is not what the numbers say.

When and if I chose to enter the dating game again, I will be very interested in finding Aquarian prospects. I should try to date some Aquarian girls. I would like to test the Aquarian predictions of Specific Synastry systems. The Aquarians should be up for it, as they are relentless experimenters and tireless researchers. This will shed much light on the general vs. specific synastry controversy.

The Specific quantitative systems says it should be a fantastic match. If true, that's a big merit badge for the specific systems and demerit for the Generalists. [ It would also be a great thing for me, and the woman in question.] If these encounters fail miserably, that's a big merit badge for the generalists, and big demerit for the Specific Quantitative systems.

I am keen to find out.