An Introduction to Astrology Birth Chart Compatibility for Beginners

Astrological compatibility invites more questions than any other topic in astrology. People want to know which signs are compatible, how natal chart compatibility works and whether one can find one’s soul mate with astrology. Just what is compatibility and how is it determined?

Astrology and Compatibility

The astrological birth chart of an individual paints a detailed portrait of that individual’s personality. Using the symbols of planets, zodiac signs and other factors, we can learn about that person’s needs, motivations, desires and styles of relating to others.  Compatibility in the astrological sense is the study of these traits in the parties involved and how well they can work together--or not.

Compatibility is not as simple as matching two zodiac signs and saying they are “compatible or “incompatible.” When studying birth chart compatibility, one must take into account many other components of both persons’ charts, mainly the planets, signs, houses and aspects. You must look out for the basic ingredients of every normal relationship —  communication, love, commitment, values — as well as the unique needs of each individual, which of course is not the same for everyone.

How Compatibility Works

In synastry, you take two charts and compare their various features:

  • Your chart as a whole: Planets in signs, or how you express yourself and what you need; planets in houses, or where you express yourself and your needs; planets in aspect, or how well integrated you are as a person
  • Your planets in zodiac signs compared with your partner’s – How your personality and needs matches with your partner’s – or not
  • Your planets in your partner’s chart – Where your personality shines in your partner’s life
  • Your planets in aspect with your partner’s – How you two interact with each other

Astrological compatibility compares the planetary aspects, zodiac signs and house positions between two charts.

Kinds of Compatibility Charts

Besides synastry, astrologers resort to other types of charts to study human relationships.  Each kind of chart looks at the relationship from a different angle.

These are:

  • Natal chart compatibility
  • Composite chart
  • Marriage chart
  • Divination chart

Natal Chart Compatibility (Synastry)

The most important tool for relationship analysis is synastry, the comparison of two natal charts and also, progressed or “aged” charts.  Astrologers look for aspects between the two charts and transpose the planets from one chart to the other. Synastry shows us the effects that partners have on each other. While other compatibility charts (see below) analyze the marriage or relationship, it is synastry that actually compares the birth charts and therefore the personalities of those involved.  For a quick glance at synastry work, see how to read charts for compatibility with synastry.

Composite Chart

A composite chart is a blend of two charts.  It finds the midpoint or “middle ground” for each identical component in both charts and uses that midpoint in the composite. For instance, if Venus is in 0 Taurus in the first chart and 10 Taurus in the second chart, the midpoint Venus will be 5 Taurus– the same position for Venus in the composite chart.  A composite chart of two people’s charts is said to be a chart of their relationship with each other.

Marriage chart

The marriage chart or wedding chart is an event chart, a chart for the place and time that a wedding occurs.  This chart specifically describes the tone of a marriage, not just a relationship. Similar to the marriage chart is the first meeting chart, except that the latter shows the conditions when the lovers or partners first met. Ever wondered why things change after a couple gets married?  A marriage chart can show how.

Divination Chart

Besides the other charts, anyone can divine about a marriage or relationship through astrology. This is known as horary astrology. If you ask a horary astrologer a question, the astrologer can give you an answer based in the time and place of the question. While some questions are best answered by a chart of the event or birth of the matter or person in question, horary answers are often quite satisfactory and enlightening.  Horary is a traditional astrological technique that had its heyday in the Middle Ages.

What About Zodiac Sign Compatibility?

Also called “sun sign” or “star sign compatibility,” the pairing of two zodiac signs for romantic or sexual purposes is the most familiar to most people.  Yet compatibility by zodiac sign is only part of an entire system of study, and perhaps is not even the most important one.

The compatibility of zodiac signs is based on the elements, which the signs derive from. Signs can be grouped in four categories in terms of agreeableness: signs that are very compatible, sign that are compatible; signs that are compatible with effort, and signs that are incompatible.

  • Very compatible signs: signs of the same element, e.g. fire and fire, water and water
  • Compatible signs: fire and air, water and earth
  • Signs that are compatible with effort: fire and earth, water and air
  • Incompatible signs: earth and air, fire and water

Bear in mind that zodiac signs describe personality types, or rather ways of relating to the world, rather than actual individuals. When astrology says two signs are compatible or incompatible, it only talks about general modes of expression and basic values, nothing more.

Compatibility Tests, Criteria and Incompatibility

Astrological compatibility criteria are standards that you can measure charts against. Criteria include major compatibility indicators such as sun, moon and Venus aspects and compatible zodiac signs.  These form the basic parts of a successful relationship, such as:

  • Communication
  • Respect
  • Values
  • Responsibility
  • Empathy
  • Love and attraction
  • Commitment

The various planets, signs, houses and aspects in synastry each cast their influences on these matters according to their nature.  By weighing the strengths of these factors, an astrologer can see which qualities are predominant in the relationship and which are lacking. See how to do synastry, step by step.

Love Compatibility

Most questions about compatibility involve sexual relationships. The way such relationships are assessed is similar to other kinds, but of course with some differences.  Sexual attraction, attitude toward children and family life, and loyalty to one’s partner are important considerations.

Beyond these basic elements of compatibility, the astrologer must look into the individual’s own unique needs and preferences. To give an example: some people can accept an “open” relationship whereas for many, this is unthinkable.

On Incompatibility

Compatibility could also include some amount of what is normally thought of as “incompatibility” – that is, incompatible signs.  Every relationship needs some kind of tension to it, if it is not to become dull and stagnant. Compatibility in the narrow sense – zodiac signs in compatible elements – may help you get along with friends or acquaintances, but too much of it can actually make a close relationship suffer. Ever heard of couples who broke up because they were “too much alike”?  However, too many inharmonious elements without positive ones cause problems.

Requirements for Natal Chart Comparison

The basic requirement for the practice of synastry is an understanding of natal astrology and forecasting. Once you know how basic astrology works, it is not hard to make the adjustments necessary to interpret synastry charts. However if you plan to counsel people about their relationships, you will need experience and training in marriage counseling, etc. of course.  Above all, exercise care when giving advice about such matters. Beware of being too negative or dramatic since that can do more harm than good.

As for the data: you need the birth data of both partners, including date, place and (preferably) birth time.

Laws on Astrology and Relationship Consultation

If you intend to practice astrological counseling, or even if you just want to see an astrologer, please check the laws on astrology in your state or country.  Some areas may allow astrology, in others it may be illegal.  Still others may require the astrologer to have a degree in psychology or some other type of qualification.  Bear in mind that giving counsel to others is a serious matter, especially if it’s about marriage.  There could be serious legal implications to this, such as when the couple later divorce.  Be very careful of what you do and say.  Get in touch with a local astrological association and educate yourself as much as possible before you offer your services to anyone.

Compatibility Questions and Answers

Which sign am I compatible with?

There is no simple answer to this question. Your sign or sun sign is more compatible with those zodiac signs that have the same element or gender as itself, with the exception of opposite signs which are neither compatible nor incompatible. See zodiac sign compatibility guide. But this is certainly not enough to say if two people are a good match or not. Certainly, the sun sign or the zodiac sign position of the sun when you were born is not the only factor in astrological compatibility. You also have to consider the moon, the planets and other key areas in your birth chart. If you have a partner or potential mate, their birth chart needs to be analyzed too, of course.

Also, factors that suggest incompatibility is not always bad for a relationship. Often some inharmonious or negative influences help keep things balanced. Can you imagine life with someone who is completely like yourself?

What can astrology tell me about my relationships?

With astrology, you get an “inside look” at the interactions between you and people you know. Astrology is a complete language that describes the psychological makeup of a person. Using this language you can understand why people behave the way they do, why we differ and how we can work out together (or not).

You should be aware that this type of approach is the modern approach to astrology. Modern astrology focuses on the “psychological” aspects of a person and their birth chart. It looks at the motivations, needs and characteristics of an individual.  Modern astrology tends to play down “fate” and “destiny.” Instead of predicting events, modern astrologers look at the evolving drama within the human psyche.

Traditional astrology is quite different. In ancient times, predictions (or “fortune-telling”) were a matter of routine in astrological practice. A traditional astrologer would read from your chart your marriage prospects for the future, how and when you will get rich (if at all), the circumstances of death, etc. Predicting the future was not taboo then as it is now among modern astrologers. If you consult a traditional astrologer about a birth chart or horary question, expect quite a different reading from modern interpretations.

Is astrology compatibility for lovers and married couples only?  What about friends, family and business partners?

Astrological compatibility is not just for lovers and spouses. It is also suitable for family members, friends, coworkers and so on. Some factors become more or less important depending on the type of relationship. For example, a Saturn-Moon square can be inhibiting in a close domestic relationship, but relatively harmless for colleagues who do not work very closely all the time. (This is only an example, and is not always true.)

How is astrology birth chart compatibility determined?

An astrologer compares the two partners’ birth charts using a technique known as synastry. The astrologer looks for horoscope compatibility between the sun, moon and planetary sign positions; aspects between planets, house positions of the planets and other factors.  In short, he or she weighs the positive, negative and neutral interactions between the two charts and gives a judgment.

When will I get married?

This question is best answered by a horary astrologer or traditional astrologer. Horary astrology is the art of answering questions based on the time and place of the question. A horary astrologer does not need your birth details although sometimes it is helpful. Basically, a horary chart is the birth chart of a question you ask the astrologer. Horary consultation fees vary. You can expect to pay around $50 to $70, not counting discounts for multiple questions. A traditional astrologer can also look at your birth chart and assess your chances of marriage.

Should I break up with my partner if an astrology reading says we are incompatible?

That is up to you. An astrology reading is not meant to decide the fate of your relationship for you. It only shows how you and your partner are getting along in terms of your qualities as shown in your birth charts. It can describe what your problems are (in a general way) and what you two can do about it. But whether you stay together or not depends on how far you two are willing to go to reconcile your differences, and whether you have good reasons to stay together. No astrologer in his or her right mind would ever tell you what to do.

What is an astrology compatibility report?

An astrology compatibility report is an interpretation of your birth chart and your partner’s in terms of how well you two get along in your relationship. Often the two charts are compared with each other using the synastry technique. Other times the charts are combined into a single composite chart. Or both synastry and composite techniques are used. If synastry compares two people, a composite chart shows the relationship itself.

A great many astrology compatibility reports out there are computer-generated. A computer-generated report analyzes each component of a chart (such as the sun sign, a planet-to-planet aspect, a planet in a house, rising sign, etc.) independently of other factors; it cannot look at the chart as a whole like a human being can. This is why this type of compatibility report is so often contradictory and superficial to the reader.

Prices of compatibility reports vary. Compare before you buy and ask other people for their recommendations.

How do I get a free astrology compatibility report?

In general, professional astrologers do not give free readings. Or if they do, these are mini-readings.

There are many astrology forums you can go to. However these forums and message boards are more for students of astrology to share ideas and insights. They might frown on members who come only to say “Do my chart!” and then leave after getting their reading. If you decide to join such a forum for the purpose of getting a free reading, make sure you abide by the forum rules. It would be beneficial for you to participate in discussions as well.

How do I order an astrology compatibility report?

Most astrology services let you pay online through their websites. You usually pay with credit card or PayPal. After payment, your reading may be delivered via email or some other way. Make sure you give your full birth data, and your partner’s. You can still order a compatibility report even if you do not know one or both partners’ birth times, though this means less information can be obtained.

How do I learn more about this?

See natal chart compatibility guide, horoscope matching step by step and the meanings of planets, signs, houses and aspects in synastry.

Also please refer to books on astrology for recommendations on synastry.

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