One of the most interesting uses of astrology is the delineation of family relationships. When people ask for compatibility charts, they rarely pertain to parents or siblings. Yet, such charts can be instructive, in part for the realization that family members are, on some level, simply other people.  By saying that, I’m not diminishing the ties of family but simply pointing out that there can be essential and painful differences between people who share the same blood. “Is it wrong not to like my sister?” a client once asked.  “If it helps,” I told her, “she probably doesn’t like you either. There’s simply no compatibility between your charts. Stop worrying about it.”

In some astrological circles, it’s believed that people choose their families on some mystical/psychic/soul level. I’m not much a believer in that idea and certainly over the years my clients seem to absolutely hate it. “Trust me, of all the parents on earth, I wouldn’t have chosen those two,” is how a woman put it to me once.

That said, family dynamics are interesting even on a wider basis than comparing the charts of two family members. Without a doubt, astrological themes seem to run through some families. This often centers around particular signs that appear regularly over generations. By saying this I don’t mean that the individual charts are similar; what I mean is that a certain sign or placement gets emphasised. Where it becomes interesting is when you see the chart of an individual who does not share any of the family themes. For instance, in a family full of Cancer themes, suddenly a child with no Cancer but a powerful Aries shows up. In conversation, this usually comes out as “I’m the black sheep in my family” and they are.

In astrological practice, here’s what it looks like. The first chart is the daughter, followed by the chart of the mother and then the two charts together. What jumps out pretty quickly in the daughter’s chart is Aries, with Sun and Moon both in Aries, close to the ascendant. This is a powerful placement, a me-first position. To her credit, the daughter has admitted “I was a tigress as a kid”. In contrast, her mother has a lot of water in her chart. Moon in Pisces, Mercury and Venus in Scorpio.

When you look at the two charts together, there are oppositions and squares (conflict) everywhere


Daughter’s Sun & Moon opposite Mother’s Sun

Daughter’s Sun & Moon square Mother’s Mars & Saturn

There is relief between the two charts, with the Daughter’s Moon in Pisces conjunct the Mother’s Venus in Pisces, but that’s about as good as it gets. The temperamental mismatch was and continues to be hard on both.

So, what can we take away from this. There’s an inherent temperamental difference between the client and her mother. This DOES NOT MEAN THEY DON’T LOVE EACH OTHER. What it does mean is that their tendencies and patterns of behavior are at odds. They’re not TRYING to cause friction, but they do because they are who they are. In this case, for this client, that realization was liberating to a certain extent. For her, seeing their differences made the conflict less personal. On a certain level, she saw them as distinct, separate individuals from herself. Not an easy thing to do nor to remember. Relationships – whether they’re parents, siblings, spouse, business partners, friends or the guy behind the counter at the coffee shop – are complicated. And they cannot be otherwise.