Synastry House Overlays (Houses in Astrological Compatibility)

Transposed houses or house overlays reveal important details about a relationship. Newcomers to astrology compatibility — known as synastry — will find them quite helpful once they understand what overlays are and how they are found. House overlays or transposed houses are where one individual’s planets would be if placed in another chart. For instance, if your sun is in 4 degrees Virgo and that degree of Virgo is in your partner’s second house, then your sun falls in that house in his or her chart. House overlays are quite insightful in synastry, as you will discover.

Meanings of Houses Overlays

Transposed houses have a similar effect to planetary transits through one’s natal houses. In synastry analysis, you look at the transposed houses to see the partners’ overall impact on each other.

Below is a partial overview of the houses and their meanings when planets are transposed there. Please keep in mind these are only brief notes.

  • First house overlay: Boosts self-esteem and self-confidence, improves outward image, more initiative; lack of self-confidence, oppression, uneasiness, loss of identity
  • Second house overlay: Boosts value system, improved financial savvy, increased resourcefulness; value conflicts, financial problems, worry over money, materialism, loss
  • Third house overlay: Mental stimulation, greater interaction with the world, open-mindedness; arguments, confusion, lack of focus
  • Fourth house overlay: Close bonding, establishing a home together, happy private life; domestic trouble, unhappiness
  • Fifth house overlay: Playfulness increased, a more cheerful outlook on life, romantic pleasure, love of children, boost in creativity; childishness, self-indulgence, trouble with children.
  • Sixth house overlay: Mutual helpfulness, confidence in one’s skills, healthier lifestyle; increased burdens, unwanted responsibility
  • Seventh house overlay: Commitment to each other, mutual respect and attraction, improved relationships in general; over-idealism of partner, over-dependence on partner, loss of identity, difficulty with other people
  • Eighth house overlay: Potential for self-transformation and transcendence through partner, material or spiritual gain through partner, intense sex life; traumatic changes, loss, control, obsessiveness, instability, fear of death
  • Ninth house overlay: Widened horizons, intellectual and spiritual stimulation, travel and adventure, open-mindedness; fanaticism, conflict of views, dogmatism, difficulty in travel
  • Tenth house overlay: Professional success, popularity, fulfilling public life, enhanced reputation, social prestige; fall from grace, trouble in public, lack of direction or ambition
  • Eleventh house overlay: Clear sense of purpose, planning and strategy, improved social life, influential friends through partner; lack of purpose, aimlessness, bad company
  • Twelfth house overlay: Facing hidden issues in oneself, letting go of attachments, learning to sacrifice; self-undoing, deception, unconscious behavior, lack of certainty

Books on Synastry Houses

A couple of books discuss house overlays. Rod Suskin recommends you first analyze the overlays in synastry before looking at the interaspects between the two charts.  Suskin gives many valuable insights in his book Synastry: Understanding the Astrology of Relationships.

Another book is Skymates: Love, Sex and Evolutionary Astrology by Steven and Jodie Forrest. It is a good book on synastry, even if you don’t buy into the Forrests’ theory of “evolutionary astrology.”  Once you get past the strangeness, you’ll see a lot of valuable information in it. It discusses the meanings of the signs and planets, planetary inter-aspects, house transposition and synastry synthesis. There is also a section on what the authors call “the arc of intimacy” — houses four to eight.

Another good read is Volume 5 of the Only Way to Learn Astrology series. The Only Way to Learn About Relationships by Marion D. March and Joan McEvers. Concise but packed with details, you will need a lot of time to digest everything it offers.  Also, it assumes you’ve read the previous books in the series.

See a list of recommended astrology books.

Points to Remember on House Overlays

Just like in natal charts, planets in angular houses have greater strength than the rest. The closer they are to the angles – that is, the degrees of the ascendant, midheaven, immum coeli and descendant – the stronger they are.

Planets in houses that are emphasized in the house partner’s chart are also significant, e.g. if that house has a stellium in it. These have the effect of modifying the influences of those natal planets, either weakening them, balancing them or making them stronger.

But on the other hand, if one partner fills in empty houses in the other person’s chart, that is also meaningful. If you are the house person, you may feel that your partner makes you focus on areas of life you have neglected, or taken for granted. Suskin likens this to a house transit.

Sun Transposed in Partner’s Horoscope

The sun represents your vitality, your life force. It is also the most essential part of your ego. In relationships, the sun is the energy you give to it. Your sun’s house position in your partner’s chart reveals where you “light up” their life. It is also where you two agree intellectually if there are favorable aspects, and the opposite if there are unfavorable aspects.

For example, say your sun is in your partner’s fifth house. You encourage your partner to loosen up and be playful. The manner in which this is done depends on the sun sign (which is also the sign in your partner’s fifth house). If the sun is in Aries, its influence is quite different from say, sun in Virgo. If your partner has a difficult planet in the fifth house, say, Saturn or Pluto, your sun’s presence there may have a “liberating” effect on the, but also conflict.

This works the other way around too. Because your partner sees you as someone who can make them more open and self-expressive, they are more playful with you as well. You identify with this role strongly.

See also: sun synastry house overlays.

Moon Transposed in Partner’s Horoscope

The moon governs our emotional life. It is highly important in personal relationships where feelings are paramount. Your moon’s house position in your partner’s chart reveals a part of their life that you are most attached to. It is difficult to be objective about the affairs of that house, although this depends on the aspects also.

Say your moon is in your partner’s seventh house. This is a good sign of compatibility if the moon is free from too many hard aspects. Your partner seeks the type of person your moon embodies. When you show your true feelings, your partner sees their ideal mate. You build intimacy quickly and you are comfortable being committed to each other. The closer the moon is to the cusp of the seventh house, the more powerful this placement is.

Because your partner sees your moon as the ideal lover or spouse, you feel more romantic, committed and attached around them. You identify strongly with the role of husband or wife.

Mercury Transposed in Partner’s Horoscope

Tiny Mercury tends to get ignored in synastry in favor of other planets. But Mercury is important for good communication, which every relationship needs if it is to survive. This planet rules how you translate ideas into words, and then into action. Your Mercury in one of your partner’s natal houses shows where you can help them most with your mental and manual skills, your cleverness and resourcefulness. It is also where you show a lot of curiosity about what they do.

Say your Mercury is in your partner’s third house. You love to talk with each other. Your relationship may be more intellectual than average. It is likely you spend a lot of your energies writing, talking on the phone, chatting or texting. You encourage your partner to speak their mind and to go out and explore their surroundings more. You two may take frequent trips together.

Because they see you as someone to communicate with a lot, your mental and verbal skills are heightened around your partner.

Venus Transposed in Partner’s Horoscope

As the planet of love, Venus is extraordinarily important in synastry. The location of your Venus in your partner’s chart shows where you most immediately give of your charms, creative gifts and affection. The inter-aspects Venus makes with planets in your partner’s chart determine how easy or hard it is for you to express these qualities.

Example: Venus in your partner’s tenth house. You bring Venus’ many talents into your partner’s career and public life sector. It is ideal for public relations and work where it is important to win people over. With your charms you help endear your partner to those he or she works with. You seem to attract good fortune and prestige to your partner so far as their career goes.

Because your partner identifies you with their career, Venus in the tenth house brings out your love of public life.

Mars Transposed in Partner’s Horoscope

Every relationship needs energy to give it vigor and strength. Mars helps give that energy. Its position in synastry house overlays tells us where your aggressive side shows most in your partner’s life. You are apt to dominate that part of their life, or at least you want to. Mars’ influence can be hard to deal with depending on the aspects.

Example: Mars in your partner’s eighth house. Here there is a tendency to take control of your partner’s finances. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Your partner may trust your business and money savvy. But if the aspects are challenging and your Mars is in a sign not highly regarded for financial wisdom, restrain yourself.

As Mars is a malefic, its influence can be unfortunate depending on the aspects and dignity of Mars.

Jupiter Transposed in Partner’s Horoscope

Jupiter is a powerful influence, yet often it is not used to its full potential. Its house position in overlays shows where you can most immediately benefit your partner. It is where you share a lot of positive feelings and where you encourage each other to grow and seek new opportunities.

Example: Your Jupiter in your partner’s eleventh house. You are supportive of your partner’s hopes and dreams. You encourage him or her to widen her contacts and pursue quality friendships. Through you your partner’s social life will improve. You inspire each other to take positive action to benefit your community and the world around you.

Saturn Transposed in Partner’s Horoscope

No relationship can last without commitment. Saturn represents that willingness to commit yourself and assume your responsibilities. Its house position in synastry overlays shows where you can help your partner take life more seriously. You urge him or her to make that part of life as secure as possible.

Say, your Saturn is in your partner’s second house. You are dead serious when it comes to money in your relationship. You worry about not having enough so you want your partner to work hard to make yourselves financially and materially secure. Your partner can learn from you how to be more prudent with money and investments.

Uranus Transposed in Partner’s Horoscope

Uranus’ house overlay is significant if there is some age difference between the two of you. Otherwise you will probably have this planet in the same house, with little consequence. When influential, Uranus in overlays shows where you bring fresh knowledge, insight and change into your partner’s life. You make them see those matters in a totally new way.

Neptune Transposed in Partner’s Horoscope

People born in the same generation usually have Neptune in the same position. If this is not the case with you, it will have a more noticeable effect on your relationship. Neptune idealizes and romanticizes whatever it touches. You are apt to be very trusting (or perhaps confused) about the affairs of that house it overlays.  You may self-sacrifice in those areas. For example, if you have Neptune in your partner’s seventh house, they see you as their soul-mate, a romantic type of lover. You find yourself giving selflessly to your partner.

Pluto Transposed in Partner’s Horoscope

The same conditions for Uranus and Neptune apply to Pluto. In house overlays, you can take Pluto’s sweeping, all-powerful influence wherever it appears.  But this is if Pluto is strong for you natally and in synastry as well.

More on Synastry and Horoscope Compatibility

To learn how to use synastry, I recommend the book Synastry: Understanding the Astrology of Relationships by Rod Suskin. The author guides the reader step by step through the complicated process of chart comparison. He introduces one essential concept at a time before moving on to the next one. Until I read this book, I never thought synastry could be presented in a clear manner that would not overwhelm the beginner. Comes with numerous chart and case examples. It also discusses other marriage and relationship charts like the wedding chart. Highly recommended for both the novice and the experienced astrologer.

I also recommend Robert Hand’s Planets in Composite for those who wish to try the composite method.

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