Over the past few months, the question I’ve been most consistently asked is: what will happen with Donald Trump. It’s an interesting question and since it turns out there’s quite a bit of agitation taking place right now in the Donald’s chart, I’m willing to give it a shot. I’ll preface my thoughts by saying that given the degree of emotion behind these requests; nobody – pro or anti Trump – is going to be walking away from this feeling satisfied. Reader beware!

First things first: if you haven’t already, please read my brief analysis of Trump’s chart from several years ago. If nothing else, it will give you an idea of my thinking around his horoscope. In addition, let me quickly explain what you’re looking at. The accompanying image shows two charts. The inner one is Trump’s natal chart, the chart for the moment of his birth. The outer chart is what’s called the “solar return” for the current year. Basically, we bring the 2017 Sun back to exact conjunction with Trump’s natal chart and cast it as a stand-alone chart. So we’re essentially looking at how the chart for 2017 reflects, amplifies or inhibits his birth chart.

Trump Natal_Solar Return.jpg

With that out of the way, here’s what I see. If I were Trumps astrologer, my biggest concern would be Saturn (with the red square around it) at the bottom of the chart. Saturn, which is often called “the great malefic”, tends to bring severity, difficulty and challenges when it lands on another planet. And does this Saturn ever land! It is almost exactly conjunct the Moon and opposite the Sun in Trump’s chart (red line extending from Saturn). For obvious reasons, the Sun and Moon are key players in a chart; they are the “royal couple” so to speak, male and female, the apparent and the hidden, etc. Saturn lands on both and, by transit, will remain stationed there for almost two months. No need to beat around the bush: extreme hardship. And, given the fact that Saturn rules Trump’s 6th house (health, servants) and 7th house (open enemies), we can expect these hardships to either involve enemies – of which he seems to have legion – or his health.

Adding to Trump’s difficulties is the placement of Trump’s “part of despair” at 17 degrees of Capricorn (this is marked by the other red line in the chart). His part of despair is almost exactly conjunct Pluto – a nasty, disruptive influence – and his midheaven, or in plain terms, his job. What does this boil down to: lots and lots of stress on Trump over the next few months, with a possible consequence to his job and/or his health.

The Saturn influence continues through what is called the “part of captivity” conjunct the fixed star, Vindemiatrix., a thoroughly nasty placement that is described in the literature as giving falsity, disgrace, stealing and wanton folly. (This is actually through the antiscia of the part of Saturn for you astrology buffs.)

All that said: do I think he’ll quit or get impeached? Astrologically, I don’t see that clearly evident. I do think there’s a LOT of pressure on him But I would also point out that Trump has a great deal of good luck. It’s in his natal chart and it’s in his solar return chart, with fortunate Jupiter right on his ascendant.

On the other hand, keep in mind, that while the Saturn transit will be in place for a couple of months, the Saturn of the solar return chart is in operation for the entire year. So it’s not like it’s all over by October. What’s going to happen? Like the blind man said: we shall see.


A client recently asked if there was any relationship between astrology and religion. The short answer is, surprisingly: Yes. The relationship between astrology and religion – and I’m speaking here of the Western religions– is that they are based on a similar idea: there is no god, but God, the Unique, the One, the Source from which everything in the universe comes forth.

In ancient astrology, the universe was conceived to be a hierarchy. If we look at the famous hermetic illustration of Robert Fludd, we see God at the top and then a ring of concentric circles ending with Earth. Symbolically, the chart suggests a series of correspondences, of relationships, of gradations and refinements of Being. This isn’t as abstract as it sounds. Consider, for instance, the Catholic Church: it is headed by the Pope and underneath is a hierarchy: Cardinals, Archbishops, Bishops, Priests, Deacons and Laity. (The analogy breaks down, of course, as the Pope is considered infallible but that’s sheer sophistry and arrogance: only God is perfect.)

From the point of view of Fludd’s diagram, salvation, or grace, is accomplished through ascent: we must rise back to our common Source, God. To fall from our current position in the universe is dangerous: in one sense, we are already far away from God; to fall further is to flirt with non-existence.

Despite some similarity of conception, enormous differences exist between astrology and religion regarding the path back to God. Religion, at least as it’s currently practiced, requires believing and doing certain things for which the believer is rewarded. In contrast, the astrological approach requires that you Know Yourself. The chart, through the distribution and relationship of the planets, gives or should give insight into the basic nature of the individual. By knowing your nature, you have a perspective of your strengths and weaknesses, a perspective which can be used as a compass, so to speak, to guide you. To quote Fludd:

“As for man, there is such a wonderful treasure hidden in him that wise men have esteemed that the perfect wisdom of this world consisteth in knowledge of a man’s Self, namely to find out that secret mystery which doth lurk within him. For man is said to be the centre of every creature and for that cause he is called Microcosmos, centrum et miraculum mundi, containing in himself the properties of all creatures, as well celestial as terrestrial.”

Hiding 2

Maybe the only thing that is as hard as understanding yourself, is understanding another person. Of course, that’s what make relationships both exciting and maddening: as we get to know a partner, we begin to see and learn about different sides of ourselves.

In my practice, I get a lot of relationship questions, most of them around the topic of “Do we fit?” The woman who purchased this particular reading, had a different question: why is he hiding from me? 


Look at the chart: she is represented by the planets circled on the left side of the chart, six of them in Aries. The boyfriend is symbolized by Venus in Pisces, which is circled. Unfortunately, the answer is very clear: he feels overwhelmed by her and simply cannot deal with her demands. Sun, Moon, Mercury, Mars and Jupiter in Aries represents an enormous amount of force and demand that his Venus in Pisces is not able to deal with. So he withdraws, he becomes distant, he disappears.

Has he always been like this, I asked, or has your behavior towards him changed of late?

She answered that she had always been the stronger one in the relationship, but currently she wanted him to make a decision about their future and that she had been very upfront about that. I wrote back that, at least from the look of the chart, she has been a little too upfront and that her behavior was either driving him away or scaring him. “But I’m impatient,” she replied.  Yes, with SIX planets in Aries she probably was impatient.

And here’s where things become interesting, at least from the point of astrology. Is she with him because she likes being in control? Will that make her happy in a long-term relationship? Or does she want him to be more forceful and take more control? But what if that’s not who he is or what he wants? Because at the end of the day, she – and all of us – have to know what our needs are and how they fit with our partners.



Alright, let’s have a little fun with astrology. As an astrologer, it’s often interesting to try guess a person’s Sun sign by their dress.  This can be complicated by the fact that the Moon sign and/or rising sign often run a close second as choices of dress. And then there’s the placement of Venus, of course, the planet symbolizing beauty and fashion. All that said, it can be remarkable how closely astrological types reveal themselves through color and accessories.  

All that said, it can be remarkable how closely astrological types reveal themselves through color and accessories. But, as I said above, not always because of how the planets fall in our individual charts. Here’s an exercise worth trying: if you’re an Aries who doesn’t like or wear red, try adding it to your wardrobe, either as a bracelet, a scarf, but in some small way. The idea is to use the colors to bring out other qualities in yourself, the ones that are hidden or that you’re having trouble expressing. Enjoy!

Aries: Red, of course, is a natural color for Aries and you’ll often see it turn up in an accessory.  As it rules the head, Aries sometimes inclines towards hats or scarves. Aries can be bold, even blunt if there’s a lot of Aries in the chart, or if there’s a strong Mars. If the chart is less fiery, the flair will be more understated, more of an accent.

Taurus: Much like the sign itself, Taureans like clothing that is comfortable. Earth colors often predominate here and the look is very put-together. Look for materials that have a strong tactile quality like wools or corduroy. As Taurus rules the throat, necklaces, chokers and so on can be prominent.

Gemini: There can be a lot of variety here and some great creative mismatching of styles. The closet is filled with a lot of different things, reflecting the Gemini impulse for versatility. Hands are ruled by this sign, so you might see a lot of rings or bracelets.

Cancer: Soft colors are often used by Cancerians, particularly white or silver.  There can be an ethereal quality to their dress, often through the use of vintage clothing. Nothing real harsh or suprising, unless the chart indicates it through something like a well-placed Venus in Aquarius. You’ll see very comfortable fabrics such as flannel or velour.

Leo: Look for some drama here, something that makes an impact. Closets may be filled as well the jewelry boxes. Leos like to stand out, so you’ll probably see some gold.  In the extreme cases, the hair is like a mane – you know, like lions.

Virgo: Like Taurus, the outfits are often very “put together,” with strong attention to detail. Nothing real flashy, rather the clothing will be more tailored, a bit conservative, often with an emphasis on the color blue. More classic, than faddish.

Libra: Strong fashion instincts here. Librans are aware of the latest trends and know how to use them in a way that is tasteful and stylish without screaming ‘I’m wearing the latest.’  Very tasteful with jewelry, knows how to accent almost anything.

Scorpio: There’s a lot of imagination here, but the range of colors is typically small.  Black is often used, but it’s not a depressive black, more of a mysterious, suggestive one that hints at sensuality, if you know what I mean. One Scorpion client wears nothing but black jeans, but is always changing the tops in interesting ways.

Sagittarius: Their independence often shows up in their dress, which is casual and may include a lot of jeans. You sometimes see purple here as well as orange or yellow. The emphasis is on comfort but the look is fresh.

Capricorn: Muted colors – tan, grey, dark blue – are often present and the clothing is pretty classic. There’s a certain formality to Capricorn’s dress even when the look is casual. Nothing funky or garish here.

Aquarius: Typically very original and fashion-conscious. Something stylish and unique in the way of dressing that is more cool than quirky. The true Aquarius has a gift for putting outfits together that nobody else would think of but look perfectly natural on them.

Pisces: On women, you’ll generally see more skirts than pants and you’ll notice that shoes play a key role. In their clothing and jewelry, the colors and hues of the ocean are often giveaways. Once again with a watery sign, there can be an ethereal quality to the fashion, delicate and romantic.


Super Moon

The first night of the New Year not only begins with a New Moon in Capricorn – but a Super Moon, meaning that it’s closest to the earth in its orbit. The chart below is set for Manila at the exact moment of the conjunction, the marriage, between the Sun & Moon. Let me make a few comments about the chart overall, and then a quick look at the signs.

With all those planets – Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus and Pluto – in the 6th house, we can expect a focus on day-to-day life: your habits, your health, the service you give to others. As the sign on cusp is Capricorn, an earth sign, the approach should be practical, “down-to-earth” and practical. The focus is on family and others, but there’s great tension here as well as all those planets are in conflict with Mars and Uranus. How do you find yourself if you’re giving too much to others. What about your own individual needs? How do you balance those needs?

New Moon Jan 2014

Very briefly, let’s look at the signs for the week:

Aries: Take your experiences and use them as a foundation. Suffering and joy won’t have meaning if you can’t transform them into a ladder for your growth.

Taurus: New experiences are good but don’t forget to embrace the routines that keep you and those around you stable and nurtured.

Gemini: Don’t judge your friends to harshly right now. Remember that you may not be seeing the whole picture of what they’re going through.

Cancer: Your intuition is both friend and foe. Too much caring may leave you feeling exhausted. Take time to renew yourself.

Leo: Remember when you were young and life felt like an adventure? Aim to recapture that spirit this week.

Virgo: Don’t get too caught up in your possessions. Of course you should take care of what you have but remember that your most valuable possession is your Self!

Libra: Since you can see many sides of situations, you have the ability to keep those around you in balance. But don’t forget your own needs!

Scorpio: Family secrets can be a burden if they’re buried too deeply. Be willing to look at how family life has shaped you, both good and bad.

Sagittarius: Don’t be afraid to develop your self-expression and that can mean both creatively and sexually. Life is an exploration of possibilities: be bold but be disciplined.

Capricorn: So many ideas and emotions right now, it’s hard to know how to go forward. Be very careful through this period as there is a lot of tension in your heart.

Aquarius: Others may have trouble understanding you and it’s because you have difficulty revealing yourself. But which Self are you willing to reveal?

Pisces: Be clear about what belongs to you and what belongs others. Pisces will sometimes give up too much for too little. Be generous, but take what you need.

In honor of the new year, I’m reducing the cost of answering a question, any question, to $35. Please contact me if you’re interested.

20120803Vallotton, Felix

“I’m an Aries. Would I get along with a Scorpio?” Such a question is common for any astrologer, and if he or she is wise, it should be answered in the manner of a lawyer: “It depends.”

What it depends on, of course, is the rest of the chart. If you transpose the question into other terms – “I’m Filipino, he’s American, will we get along?” – you’ll immediately see what I mean. Nothing is easy, because people are complicated!  So let me make a few observations about signs. Let’s start by taking a good look at the chart wheel.


In general, here’s the way it works. The key to compatibility, to some degree, relies on the elements: fire, earth, air & water. Combine fire and water and what do you get? Steam! Fire is hot & dry, while water is cold & wet: in other words, they are not compatible. However, fire and air are compatible – fire is fed by air. Or, if you will, take water and earth, where there is a relationship of nurturing, channeling, etc. Looking at the chart, start with your sign and any sign two houses a way will indicate some potential compatibilty. For instance, Aries (fire) has a connection with both Gemini and Aquarius (air signs).

So, let’s go back to our first example: fire and water. Does that mean that, say Leo (fire) & Cancer (water) could never get along? In this case, we’re now not talking about comptability anymore, but we’re looking at balance. A strongly Leo personality may need a relationship with someone with some water in their chart. It tempers (as in temperament) their fiery qualities.

In contrast, take Aries (fire) and Libra (air). Now I’ve said that fire and air have some compatibility, but when you look at the chart, you see that they’re opposed to each other. Once again, there’s potentially a balancing factor here: the self-assertion of the Aries is tempered by the Libra desire for balance.

And before we look at a few keywords for the signs, let me mention the relationships between signs of the same element. Potentially they’re good. For instance, Scorpio and Cancer – both water signs – should have a certain flow between them: they connect on an elemental level. However, that can be less true of two fire types, say Aries and Sagittarius. Here there’s a kinship through the elements, but the element itself – fire – can lead to conflict.

So, this all seems complicated. But keep in mind, that individuals are complicated. All of these elemental energies are in essence dancing inside of us, but they are also dancing between us. We’re all made of patterns and qualities that, even within ourselves, don’t necessarily fit. Which is why I’m going to provide a few words for each sign below. These relate most strongly to the Sun sign, but much depends on where the Sun is placed in your chart. So if you read these and don’t relate, remember that the individual chart is the blueprint.

Aries: I act, I do, I start

Taurus: I possess, I build, I produce

Gemini: I think, I connect, I question

Cancer: I feel, I establish, I protect

Leo: I will, I create, I express

Virgo: I analyze, I serve, I perfect

Libra: I balance, I relate, I harmonize

Scorpio: I desire, I probe, I reveal

Sagittarius: I understand, I explore, I aspire

Capricorn: I use, I achieve, I persevere

Aquarius: I know, I experiment, I objectify

Pisces: I intuit, I imagine, I escape

I offer a variety of readings: personal, relationship, questions answered, and so on. Please contact me at chris@blackhatastrology.com for more information.

astrology antique chart

If you look carefully at the image above, it will quickly be apparent that that the zodiac, the planets and their relationships form a mandala, which, by definition, is a symbolic or geometric figure representing the universe. Within the figure, we see that each of the original planets – Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter & Saturn – are used with two signs, while the Sun & Moon, placed in the 4th and 5th house, are used once. But look at their descriptions: the Moon is associated with security and the Sun with creativity.

We can all find reasons why that might be so, but to me the first explanation is that we need both: we need to be secure to be creative and vice-versa. Only here, I would alter or expand the meaning of the word creative. Creativity is not about doing a watercolor or learning a musical instrument; it is, rather, the growth, the creation of the Self. And for many of us – and I include myself – that is not an easy process. If you look at the mandala again, you can see that there are many potential layers to who we are. Walking through the figure, a narrative emerges: we need all these qualities: appearance (our bodies), acquisition (what surrounds us, both tangibly and non-tangibly, communication (how we interact), security (are we safe, do we feel safe) and so on.

Readers of this newsletter know that I’m always cautioning about the overuse of Sun signs, but they have their role. One is to use them as ideas for meditation – and in this case, I don’t necessarily mean sitting in a cross-legged in a dark room with candles. We can – and we do – meditate all the time: when we’re at work, on the bus, with our families, basically everywhere. Unfortunately, most of it is wasted on worry, anger, fear, indignation and a hundred other fleeting states of emotion. So instead of dwelling on negative states, try using some of the themes below to think about yourself, your life and what you want to do. Keep in mind, as well, that because your Sun sign is only a small factor of your chart, you may feel a great deal of kinship with the sign under which you’re born.

Aries – positive: self-assertion, enthusiasm, the direct approach; negative: hurried, inconsiderate, conceit

Taurus – positive: building and maintaining a secure structure; negative: greed, stubbornness, a ponderous approach to the world

Gemini – positive: flexibility, communication take center stage; negative: disorganization, emotionally restless 

Cancer – positive: nurturing, sensitive; negative: timid, tends to withdraw

Leo – positive: generous, optimistic, independent; negative: dislike of routine, overlooks the details

Virgo – positive: service, methodical, down-to-earth; negative: critical, inhibited, overly reliant on formalities

Libra – positive: diplomatic, able to creat harmonies; negative: indecisive, problems with self-assertion

Scorpio – positive: strong, determination, powerful insight; negative: dependent on recognition, secretive, manipulative

Sagittarius – positive: independent, generous, searching; negative: righteousness, superficiality

Capricorn – positive: practical, disciplined, patient; negative: mistrusting, joyless, cold

Aquarius – positive: original, imaginative, broad perspective; negative: overly detached, misses emotional clues

Pisces – positive: flexibility, adaptive, versatile; negative: boundaries, difficulty with self-assertion and goals

angelina-jolieHow we react, how we respond to the pressures of the world is, in many ways, a strong indicator of our quality of life. Why? Because it is through our reactions that we navigate and  negotiate with the world.  Are our reactions emotional or mental, rash or confused, thoughtful or inarticulate, hysterical or passive, generous or selfish?

In looking at a chart, there is no single feature that gives us an idea of how a person might react in a situation, though there are candidates. The modes – cardinal, fixed and mutable – can be helpful if one of these is highlighted in a chart. The elements can also be helpful. Imagine you’re about to be attacked by a bear. If you’re of a fiery nature, you’ll probably counter-attack.  If you’re earthy you’ll stand your ground. If you’re airy, you’ll be trying to quickly figure a way out. If you’re watery, you’ll likely cry!

But all that aside, we typically look at the Moon to get a baseline measurement of  how we react. As the fastest moving planet, its very nature suggests change and thus gives us a clue to our reaction time. But looking only at the Moon’s sign can be misleading. The placement of the Moon in the chart, along with aspects to it can exaggerate or inhibit a person’s mode of reaction.

Before examining a chart, let me be clear why I think this topic has some importance. As I mentioned earlier, in my experience our reactions to the world constitute a high percentage of our quality of life. For most of us, this gets “fixed” in our personalities early on. But if the goal of astrology is to help you understand yourself, then seeing how you react is a very valuable tool in improving the quality of your existence.

The good news is that there’s plenty of opportunity, even without a reading, to understand how you react. All of us, every day, are in situations that demand reactions and responses. Spend a few minutes reviewing these before you go to sleep at night and you’ll start to form a clear picture of how you react. As to why you react in a certain manner, I think there is limited value in dwelling on that, at least at the beginning. Let’s be honest: we all think our reactions are appropriate all the time. And even when we admit they’re not, we can come up with some very good reasons. So, think less about why. More useful, probably, is to think about how could your reaction have been different. Do you have a range of reactions? Are you in control of them or do they control you?

Jolie Planets

As for a chart, let’s look at Angeline Jolie for some insight. Her Moon is in Aries – “forceful, positive, masterful, independent, self-reliant” – according to the first book I grabbed off my shelves. Consider her recent handling of her preventive double mastectomy. Whatever you think of her decision – and I can’t imagine the difficulty in facing such a choice – she used all the features of her Moon in Aries to do so. And with that Moon at the top of her chart, she did it publicly. And please note that not only is it at the top of the chart, but it’s conjunct both Jupiter and Mars. Her reactions are big (Jupiter) and aggressive (Mars).  According to her doctor, “she knew always that in her philanthropic core she couldn’t keep this a secret and be who she is.”

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I’m located in the Chicago area and give readings in-person and by Skype. For more information about readings, go to the front page of this website, or send me an email: chris@blackhatastrology.com.

Relationship Chart

Every relationship is a different reality. When two people come together, it’s almost as if a new universe is born. A relationship chart shows our connections and disconnections, where we fit and where we don’t, and gives perspective where there previously may have only been hurt, confusion or misunderstanding.

The chart shown below was requested  by a young woman in Singapore. If you look carefully, there are two charts: hers is on the inside and her boyfriend’s chart is on the outside.

With the Sun in Aries (in brackets) and the Moon, Mercury and Jupiter (also in brackets) in Pisces, her power is a little divided. While the Sun in Aries gives her some fire, she’s sensitive and intuitive underneath, largely due to all those planets in a water sign (Pisces).

On the other hand, he tends to run a little hot, with Sun, Moon and Venus (all circled) in fire signs. So to some extent they complement each other: he warms her up, she cools him down. But crucial to the relationship is the fact that both of their Suns are in fire signs: his in Leo and hers in Aries, and they are in a tight supportive relationship. Despite temperamental differences, there is a way where they get each other. This is again reinforced by the supporting aspect between his Moon and her Sun, both in fire signs.

But temperamental differences can also lead to conflict, or at the least misunderstanding. Saturn is problematic in both charts, as it falls on sensitive points. With his Saturn opposite her Venus, there is a danger of his becoming overly controlling or restrictive to her. This was a concern, as the young woman was an artist and she felt his restriction in the form of disapproval from him. In addition, his fiery temperament caused him to become impatient with her slower, more meditative way of doing things.

How big were these obstacles? Among other suggestions, I told her that she needed to talk to him about his impatience and his tendency to want to force her to do things how and when he wanted. For her part, she needed to take a stronger stand against his demands without becoming emotionally hurt through the interaction.  Last time I heard from her, she wrote “we’re still together, still growing, still working at it. But I feel like I understand him and myself a little better.”

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For more about readings, go to www.blackhatastrology.com  or email me at chris@blackhatastrology.com. Thank you!


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.