Despite the fact that Valentine’s Day is almost exactly 6 months away, I thought it might be interesting to give a few thoughts on how astrology deals with that most interesting of topics – relationships.

Most books on relationships – or love astrology, as it’s often described – begin and end with Sun signs, but that’s not really the best place to start. While the Sun sign can say something about a person, consider the other six planets strictly in terms of relationships:

Moon: emotion

Mercury: communication

Venus: relation

Mars: action

Jupiter: expansion

Saturn: structure

If we only take those basic words and apply them to our partners, it’s immediately clear that there is plenty of opportunity for friction and miscommunication.  A person who feels strong, passionate emotions (Moon in Aries, for instance) may get frustrated in combination with someone whose need or tendency is to be analytic (Moon or Mercury in Virgo, as an example) in regards to emotions. When you consider all the possible combinations of the planets in the twelve signs, it’s no wonder problems arise.

But planets are not the only way astrology approaches relationships. It appears, and even psychologists are giving a lot more attention to this, that temperament has a lot to do with our interaction with the world and others. The easiest way to begin grasping temperament is to think of it as  our inherent nature. In other words, we’re born with it;  it is the cloth from which we’re cut.

Looking at the elements in astrology can give us a clue to temperament. In the list below, the words in paranthesis refer to the older Greek descriptions:

Fire (choleric) – strong willed, impatient, reactive

Earth (melancholic) – deliberate, analytic, patient, reserved

Air (sanguine) – cheerful, extroverted, even-tempered

Water (phlegmatic) – receptive, resistant, self-contented

Looking at the above list (which is by no means exhaustive), we can see that a person who is primarily choleric may have inherent communication problems with someone who is melancholic. When impatience meets deliberation somebody is bound to become frustrated.

Fortunately, we don’t often meet pure temperament types in the world; most people have a primary temperament and a secondary temperament. This is less confusing than it sounds. We all know people who seem to have limitless patience but then suddenly explode in anger: melancholic/choleric.

Back to astrology, the idea of temperament can play a strong role in relationships. Very often, people seek a partner who complements or balances them. Someone who is chronically impatient may very well need to be with a person who is more deliberate in their nature. To understand how these dynamics work, we look at the charts. At the end of the day, the fact is that we are all complicated individuals – why would our relationships not be complicated as well?