How Real Is Zodiac Compatibility? An Astrologist Weighs In
Love might just be the most confusing—but beautiful—sentiment we experience as humans. But one look at our social media feeds, and it seems as though astrology memes and Instagram horoscopes proclaiming which signs are the most compatible are sending us the message that our love lives are predetermined by the stars.
As an astrologer myself, the most frequently asked questions I receive from clients are about their relationships. People don't ask "Will I be successful?" or "What's in my future?" but instead: "Are we astrologically compatible?" Helping someone find an answer requires much more than just looking at both parties' Sun signs, however. It also calls for a deep dive within each person's astrological chart, which is made up of three elements.
First, there's your Sun Sign, which most people know as their main zodiac sign, the aspect of your chart that signifies your ego. Then, there's your Moon Sign, which shapes your emotional outlook. And finally, you have a rising sign, which is the face you show to the world. (If you want to figure out all three of your own signs, I recommend checking out Cafe Astrology's website.)
Fire signs (Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius) stereotypically tend to get along best with other Fire and Air signs: Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius.
Earth signs (Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn) often vibe best with other Earth and Water signs: Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces.
Air signs—Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius—match well with other Air and Fire signs: Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius.
Water signs—Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces—will often find a good match with Water and Earth signs: Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn.
But even with all of this information, the question remains: Can we really trust the zodiac to tell us which signs are meant for one another? On the one hand, it sounds unlikely the stars could be controlling us. On the other, when you consider that for years—centuries before dating apps had algorithms—matchmakers around the world used astrology to determine whether two people would make ideal partners, the zodiac does seem like a helpful tool. Perhaps the biggest misconception, though, is that just by knowing two peoples' sun signs, we can easily see who and what they should love. Instead, the reality is that though astrology provides us with a guide, in the end, we have complete control over who we choose to love.
Jessica Lanyadoo, host of Ghost of a Podcast and author of Astrology for Real Relationships emphasizes that sentiment. "Astrology doesn't rob you of your free will—it only helps you to make the best use of it—which is invaluable when it comes to relationships." Essentially, our astrological signs act as a subconscious matchmaker between all the other catalysts for connection in the material world, like timing, maturity, communication, and sexual chemistry. Annabel Gat, astrologer and author of The Astrology of Love & Sex: A Modern Compatibility Guide, adds that she believes zodiac compatibility is a great way "to explore yourself and your relationship—but the stars aren't the end all be all."
Of course, many couples whose signs are astrologically compatible do indeed find themselves subliminally drawn towards each other. Take, for instance, my friend Michael Cardenas—a Taurus who also happens to be a professional witch and owner of the magic website Olde Ways. He says he and his Libra partner, Jon, knew right away that they were a perfect match. "We learned that both of our sun signs are ruled by the planet Venus, and knowing that, we immediately saw our similarities." Their pairing is especially strong because both signs help each other evolve—and similarly, both were born under full moons, allowing for longevity and care in their partnership.
An opposite example of such synergy comes via Cosmopolitan editor Julia Pugachevsky and her boyfriend, who have compatible fire sun signs, but incompatible lunar signs, which can—at times—lead to emotional miscommunications. "Every time my boyfriend mistakes my excited Sagittarius Moon voice for a sarcastic voice, I get exasperated and say 'You are such a Cancer Moon.'" But Pugachevsky isn't deterred by their disagreements; in fact, she says she believes that astrology can "identify potential problem points in the relationship—as well as strengths," leading couples to a more compassionate and concrete appreciation of each other.
Astrologer and reiki healer Kesaine Walker affirms that "bad" connections between planets can actually have a positive effect; couples will often use "incompatible" astro signs as a motivational tool to work through their differences, which will only bring them closer together. This variance can help the couple evolve together through a deeper understanding of themselves as individuals and as partners, Walker says.
Emily Shippee, the managing editor at Teen Vogue, met her current partner before knowing that her Aries sun sign was a great match for her Aquarian beau. After dating for months, I gave them a couple's reading that helped them learn that they were ideal matches, based on their rising signs. The couple admits they were "skeptical at first," but after a deep dive into their charts, they both saw the "accuracy" and "legitimacy" that bound them as a couple. Shippee, especially, was in awe, finding that her partner fell into her seventh house of relationships (a factor that an astrologist can calculate through your birth chart). Shippee says: "Astrology helped us to properly define the terms of the temperament of our relationship."
Bri Luna, Owner and Creative Director of the esoteric lifestyle site The Hoodwitch, says she believes "compatibility is indeed legit. But there's a celestial twist. Looking to the cosmos can yield answers when it comes to the affairs of the heart; however, it's up to us to do the work." In other words, relationships require TLC, and astrology is just a marker of potential.
Taking a deeper look within your astrology chart can help identify relationship triggers, problems, and compatibility. Looking at the affinity between sun signs only allows us to scratch the surface of the deep connection both parties share. Timing, nurture, and nature are also key factors. After all, two people could have the perfect matching sun signs and make great lovers, but they may not be ready to commit, just like two people with disparate signs might love one another enough to make it work, no matter what.
Bottom line: Anyone can get along with anyone—no matter what sun sign you are. Relationships take dedication and devotion. Astrological compatibility can point out our romantic tendencies and desires, and we can all use our astrological charts as roadmaps to find our perfect match. But at the end of the day, as the astrologer Anne Ortelee famously put it: "If it's in our hearts, it's in our charts." The same rings true for love.
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