Sabian Symbols: Relationship Compatibility

sabian symbols compatibility

This article is written by James Burgess, a writer and teacher of astrology. You can read more on Sabian Symbols and his approach to astrology on his website, Sabian Mysteries.

Relationships and the question of compatibility, are much discussed in astrology. Popular astrology, which deals with daily horoscopes and ‘Sun-sign’ compatibility, has its own valid purposes.

For example, many of us came into astrology after reading something that authenticated our hopeful feelings or thoughts about how we might get along with someone whom we’ve met recently.

Yet the matter of relationships is far more complex than can be explained by Sun-sign astrology; a more profound analysis is necessary, which astrologers call synastry.

In this article, we consider the idea that the astrological indicators of immediate attraction and interesting, short-term interactions are not the same as the indicators of successful, long-term, committed involvement.

In the first blush of romance, there is a strong inclination to focus on the qualities associated with Mars, Venus, Neptune, and the Ascendant or Rising Sign.

These might well be the key factors in sexual attraction since they deal with the masculine drive, the feminine drive, fantasy-projection – and also physical appearance, and social personality.

Yet after the courtship period and after the honeymoon period, when screaming kids and unpaid bills need to be handled as a couple, what then?

Then we would be better off looking to the deeper elements of personality and interaction, things associated with Saturn and the Nodes, which speak to our sense of maturity and spiritual aspirations – and of course the Sun and Moon, which are indicators of our essential wants and needs and which inevitably dominate our characteristics in the long-term.

Compatibility Calculator

A simple calculator is available for this purpose, where you can check how well you and your partner might get along in the long haul.

This calculator offers feedback about the overall impact of the relationship, and also whether it is generally supportive of more relaxation and enjoyment, or of having the ability to face big life challenges together as a couple.

The calculator also identifies a specific planetary aspect that is perhaps the most important connection between these two lovers.

This special aspect holds the understanding of what is very possibly the key feature, that holds them together as a couple throughout the years.

After a first-level overview, we can then study this special aspect in more depth using Sabian Symbols, which give deeper explanations about the possible interpretations of the two interacting planets. From this, we can work out how to manage their connection.

This example might help –

Marigold and Fernando know they want to teach yoga and meditation together but just cannot work out how to do this without great tension and friction arising between them – none of their conversations on the topic last very long because they always end up arguing.

The matter is important to them both. From using the calculator, they see that the most important connection between them is their Mars and North Node.

If they were to only study the basic astrology of the chart, the couple may come to realise that his assertiveness can be the necessary thrust that stimulates her to a greater expression of her spiritual nature.


Although that offers some useful guidance, it is insufficiently deep and subtle; so they study the Sabian Symbols in order to get to the heart of their difficulties.

His Mars: Taurus 20, “Wind, clouds and haste”.

Her North Node: Aquarius 24, “Man turning back on passion and teaching from his experience”.

Whereas both symbols have to do with finding a way to express spirituality, the first suggests we need to look to guidance from ‘spirit beings’, whereas the second suggests we look to our own experience rather than accepted or received wisdom.

They decide that, instead of hiding their differences, they will feature them. So they set up a session within their workshops where she and he present the various philosophical arguments from both points of view – and leave the students to decide: should we trust our own factual life experiences,
or do we lean towards having faith in our ability to call up spirit guides and consult the intuitive guidance from inner sources?

We see that when they had no knowledge of the Sabian Symbols, they were unable to get close enough to understand the real issue. However, when they could see the two Sabian explanations, they could easily identify what was happening, and so deal with it in a creative way.

In brief terms, these descriptions give a sense of the relevance of each planet as it operates in the relationship, from our own perspective (rather than the partner’s):

  • Moon – Do I feel comfortable, relaxed, and safe?
  • Sun – Can I be true to myself and be seen as I really am?
  • Mercury – Can I communicate easily, clearly, and fully?
  • Venus – Do I feel that we are good friends who like the same kind of things?
  • Mars – Can I assert myself?
  • Jupiter – Through this relationship, am I growing and expanding horizons?
  • Saturn – Is there a serious, long term, workable reality to this relationship?

The outer planets also have considerable impact, although their meanings are more difficult to convey since we all have such very different ways to live out these more universal, less personal, archetypes.

Any relationship that strongly features Uranus, Neptune or Pluto, or the Nodes and Chiron, is likely to shift us through some profoundly life-defining experiences.

These might be glorious or terrible according to our spiritual attitude and our willingness to accept that which we cannot control.

Although romance novels and movies would have us believe that ‘love conquers all’ and we can hope to ‘live happily ever after’, it is rather more helpful and realistic to acknowledge that relationship is invariably challenging and never entirely harmonious.

The deepest feelings, of authenticity, trust, stability, sharing, and security, seldom arise between two people who are always in harmony. But when we overcome difficulties together repeatedly over the years, then we can develop the depth of communication and empathy that bind us into a special unit, a couple.

So, in summary, we will find that our relationships probably unfold better when we see them as having a challenging, and important, contribution to our personal and spiritual development, and that this can be understood in much more precise detail when we study the most appropriate Sabian Symbols.

You may find it interesting to look at other ways how to use Sabian Symbols, or to visit the website of Ruby Fumizki, the woman who created the code for this calculator and who has other astrology calculators on her lovely site, Sabian Calculator.com.

About the author

James Burgess

James is a writer living in Ireland with a background in Sufism and has been a teacher and counsellor in astrology since the 1980s. He is the originator of the 7 Words System, a universal cosmology with applications in all fields of life, and the founder of various camps in England, Germany, Baltic States and Russia, in particular the celebrated Unicorn Camps. He has published works on Sufism, Sabian Symbols and 7 Words and is currently working on a commentary about Dane Rudhyar’s contribution to Sabian Symbols.