If you read synastry articles, you’ve probably learned that it’s all about the aspects. In order for there to be a connection between two people, certain planets (or points) in one chart must have a conversation (symbolized by a conjunction, opposition, trine, sextile, square or inconjunct) with planets in the other chart. But did you know there’s another layer that involves no inter-aspects (aspects between two charts)? It’s not obvious, but it can add crucial information about a relationship.
Before I tell you more, let me reiterate that inter-aspects are still necessary for two people to become aware of each other. No aspects, no connection. They are the foundations of synastry. But once you get past the aspects, sometimes there’s more to the story. If Person A’s Venus (for example) is in a similar “condition” to Person B’s Venus, there will be a mutual understanding (even if there is no aspect between them). Sometimes, the shared understanding can be strong enough to create a major theme in the relationship.
Miranda’s Venus is conjunct Saturn. She struggles with low self-esteem; Saturn casts his shadow of doubt over how attractive/desirable she feels (Venus). But she yearns for a long-term relationship, and is capable of hanging in to the bitter end, once she gets involved. She meets Roger, who has a square between his Venus and Saturn. There’s inter-aspects between their charts, but none between her Venus/Saturn and his Venus/Saturn. We might be tempted to ignore the connection.
But Roger’s relationship issues are similar to Miranda’s; fear (Saturn) and love (Venus). As soon as he’s in a situation where he might express affection, he’s sure he’ll be rejected. Therefore, he budgets his expressions of love and looks for someone safe (to minimize the risk of getting hurt). Miranda is ultra dependable, and he likes that. She doesn’t receive a lot of affection from Roger, but that’s ok because this confirms what she feels (that she’s not worth it). They enable each other’s fears.
Not a happy connection, but it’s an important dynamic that might have been completely overlooked. Where they go from here depends on their inter-aspects, and the strength of their composite chart. It also depends on how aware they are of their own Venus/Saturn issues. If Miranda can stop settling for less, and Roger can let down his guard, they can spin this into a solid, mutual commitment. The upside of any natal Venus/Saturn aspect is the ability to take love very seriously.
Mike is a Taurus Sun with a Saturn/Neptune opposition. Saturn rules his Seventh House of relationships. Due to Neptune’s illusory energy, his ideal relationship is a hyper-idealized version of the truth. Neptune’s fantasies undermine Saturn’s realities, and he is often “helplessly” led into partnerships that dissolve into disappointment. For Mike, relationships equal sacrifice. He meets Virgo Beth, whose Mars is square Neptune. She is drawn to men whom she thinks she can save, but she also has unrealistic ideals about men in general. The artists, the addicts and the guys with so much potential always let her down in the end. Her Mars and Neptune make no aspects to Mike’s Seventh House cusp, natal Saturn or Neptune. Their Suns form a practical, earthy trine with each other.
Yet they both enter the relationship in a fit of romantic longing, rose-colored glasses firmly in place. Beth is drawn to Mike’s romantic ideals (and his helplessness). Mike sees in Beth someone who finally understands him. He reasons that she won’t hurt him, because she’s been hurt. Whether or not their relationship collapses depends on the strength of their synastry aspects (some grounding Saturn inter-aspects are a must). But if they are each prepared to confront their romantic illusions, they can have a partnership filled with gentle understanding that won’t buckle under the weight of reality.
These “hidden” synastry connections can also involve the Nodes. Ben’s South Node is in Second House Virgo. The Second House is about security, and Virgo excels at finding faults. His South Node habits consist of intense introspection that makes him to cling to ideas about why a relationship won’t work. His North Node in Pisces is in the Eighth House of intimacy, so he needs to move towards opening up and sharing with another on the deepest possible level—having faith (Pisces) that being with someone can work out.
He meets Jess, with her South Node in Second House Aries and North Node in Eighth House Libra. It’s easy for her to rely on her own resources, and be indepdent (Aries). She can be quite selfish. The challenge is to balance (Libra) her needs with another’s. Not just on a superficial level, but in areas that involve sharing her personal power (sexual and emotional). There are no planetary contacts between their Nodes, or their Nodal rulers. There’s even a passionate, flowing trine between her Venus and his Mars (with some uninhibited Uranus contacts mixed in).
But when they get together, one of their sticking points is learning to be intimate with each other. Sex, and any kind of sharing, feels awkward. Through their relationship, they can each develop their North Nodes (which represent unfamiliar territory). But first, they will have to get past the mutual challenge of backsliding into self-protective (Second House) behaviour.
There are many other examples of seemingly unconnected planets or points (between charts) that resonate with each other. Not all of them will create a major theme in the relationship. The strongest usually involve Nodes in the same natal houses, or a similar natal connection between a personal (Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars) and outer (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto) planet. These connections, which go beyond inter-aspects, can create a richer understanding of the relationship between two people.