Greater Understanding Through the Outer Planets
Aside from the fact that people are forming partnerships from a very wide age range these days, the outer planets are still playing their role of unmasking ourselves to ourselves. If I become intensely involved with someone whose Pluto is near mine, that Pluto contact is going to teach me lessons about myself that I could never understand on my own. That is doubly true if the outer planet hits one of my angles. I may be blind to my Neptune-Ascendant conjunction, or only be familiar with a part of it, until that certain Neptunian person comes into my life. It will either open the gates of my capacity to self-deceive, or it will bring me a partnership that allows me to tap into the highest part of myself.
If another person’s outer planet touches our angles, we will learn about that angle through the style, flavor, and energy of the outer planet. It will also reflect back on our own natal outer planet and resonate with the issues we have there, even if our own outer planet is not touched by the other person’s chart. The outer planets are always asking us how much we are willing to embrace change, in order to better understand the soul. They will not allow us to cling to the surface, but always require our awareness, strength, and trust. They will tear away anything that serves the ego at the expense of the soul. The outer planets in general, but in synastry in particular, force us to open up to greater and greater possibilities, and greater dimensions of our understanding.
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Who Feels the Outer Planet?
The possibilities of outer planet to angle expression are vast, depending on each person’s particular relationship to the outer planets, but there are some more common manifestations of contact between charts.
Outer Planets on the Ascendant
A partner’s outer planet on your Ascendant will cause you to question your identity. There will be a need to merge with the partnership, and often a subsequent pulling away as we struggle with questions of who we are both in and out of the relationship. With Uranus contacts to the Ascendant, there can be a sudden, extreme attraction that blows hot and cold, or the relationship has an exciting, electric, unstable tone right from square one. Personal freedom within the partnership will be an issue for both partners. With Neptune, there is an initial feeling of perfection that may not have a base in reality, leaving one or the other partner confused and uncertain. With Pluto, there is a threat of ‘delicious danger.’ The relationship may be secretive, taboo or hidden in some way. There can be a deep attachment and then a deep wrenching away, as power struggles dominate the partnership. Pluto can cause us to feel like we are fighting for our very survival.
Outer Planets on the Descendant
A partner’s outer planet on your Descendant will cause you to examine how you relate to others, and/or bring out the shadow side of your personality. Uranus on the Descendant often is a wake-up call out of our complacency. We find the Uranian unusual and fascinating, and are willing to go down any number of new roads, as long as the relationship remains interesting. Uranus to the Descendant may cause us to seek what we have never sought before, and, at its best, can awaken us to our own humanity. We feel alive and electric when this person is around, stimulated and free. The attraction may end as quickly as it began, however, and is an unstable energy on which to build a partnership. Abandonment can be sudden, unexpected, and devastating. Unusual circumstances and unusual interference from others may also plague the partnership.
Neptune there can have problems with boundaries, where the ‘urge to merge’ becomes a need to absorb or be absorbed by the other. Neptune can be confused with the very question of partnership itself, not understanding its demands or needs. Idealizing the partner beyond human capabilities is a function of Neptune there. It’s typical for Neptune on the Descendant to not acknowledge its tendency to escape commitment.
When Pluto conjuncts an angle, there is often an intense pull to the other. It may feel dangerously delicious, and there may be an almost Dracula-like, hypnotic, devouring quality to the relationship. There can often be initial repulsion followed by total surrender, and then a crushing abandonment that feels like death. Pluto to angle contacts can have the power to transform entire lives, as they often cause us to rebuild our relationship to that angle from the ground up. Pluto on the Descendant often deteriorates into power plays within the partnership that resemble tugs of war with no resolution. We may be confronted with the way people manipulate power in partnerships and forced to conjure up and wield power through our own resources.
Outer Planets on the Imum Coeli (IC)
A partner’s outer planet on your IC will pull the rug out from under you. Partnerships with outer planet contacts there can shake us to the core emotionally, and mess with our sense of security and belonging. The partner may take us away from the known and familiar into a new world that seems more true to our inner selves. They can also pull us away from the tribe and the family, to discover our soul’s independence, away from the influence of our roots. When they are difficult, they will tear away any sense of belonging that we had, and cause us to feel lost and abandoned. Away from our familiar surroundings (psychological and otherwise), we may not know who we are, and can flail away helplessly, drifting from relationship to relationship until we find an anchor. (I have seen a number of cases where the partner directly affected the living situation or the financial stability of the partnership.)
Uranus on the IC can be a very disruptive force, and our reaction to this contact may depend completely on our relationship to change. Uranus will shake us out of our false sense of security and charm us into letting go of whatever we were holding on to, inviting us to step into a maelstrom of his own making. If you enjoy security, comfort and quiet, say good-bye right now. The good side of this contact is that you might discover you never needed those things in the first place, and you’d rather live in Oz than on Main Street, anyway. As with any Uranian contact, some people will find it stimulating, and others will find it disruptive. Of all the outer planet contacts to angles, it isn’t conducive to a quiet life together. There will always be something new around the corner that displaces what you’ve just gotten comfy with.
When someone’s Neptune hits our IC, we may feel as if we’ve fallen under a spell, because we’ve known this person forever, through endless lifetimes. They seem to be in and of our blood, the product of our secret fantasies. While Neptune can help tremendously in healing old wounds of the early life, it’s possible for Neptune to create a fantasy world where everything is judged by its potential, and nothing is real. The Neptune person may encourage the angle person to build castles in the air, and try to live in them. Neptune on the IC can cause us to feel as if our security is eroding, but we don’t know how or why.
Someone’s Pluto on the IC can bring either intense integration of the personality (finally, I know who I am) or destruction of the foundations of our existence. There will be an intense desire to tear down anything that isn’t working, from that leaky wall in the kitchen to psychological crutches that are preventing growth. Pluto also brings intimacy, but not in the dreamy, romantic way Neptune does. Pluto’s intimacy can be raw and may strip us down in the places we feel most vulnerable and defensive. There may be a sense of feeling psychologically violated, and trust becomes an issue.
Outer Planets on the Medium Coeli (MC)
A partner’s outer planet on your MC will cause you to rethink your place in the world, as an individual and as a partner. With someone’s Uranus, Neptune, or Pluto on our MC, we may feel powerful, beautiful, and/or unusual for the first timee—and we want to show it to the world. We become woven in the spell of the glamour of the partnership, which can seem god-like and other-worldly.
Uranus on the MC is like lightning hitting a tower, with the electricity running down throughout the chart. Sudden change is the order of the day, and when Uranus hits our MC from another’s chart there can be surprising reversals and turns within the relationship. We may see our world for the first time and change our ideas about what we want to do and be. We may feel rebellious, or attracted to humanitarian causes. If we try to cling on to the status quo within the relationship, we will have no luck. It was meant to shift our views of our place in the world, and to shake us out of our conventionality and complacency.
I have seen cases, particularly with Neptune conjunct the MC, where the relationship took over a person’s individuality. The angle person could not think of themselves as separate from the partnership, and created an entire persona around the partnership—but this is usually the case where Neptune is closely connected via the natal chart to the MC or IC of the angle person. Most times it is not so extreme, and we merely have a case where a person becomes delusional about the partnership, and the partner’s intentions.
With another’s Pluto on our MC, we are attracted to the partner’s power, charisma, and intensity (even if they don’t feel it within themselves). We know this partnership will change our status in the world and we crave that change. Other people may notice the sexual charge between us, or we may be known as a ‘power couple’ within our circle. The relationship may stimulate us to use our inner gifts in the world, and we may feel we want to display our talents for the first time. Sometimes with Pluto on the MC, the partnership causes our known world to crumble down, only to rebuild it in a new light.
Outer Planets Example 1: Positive Neptune Contact
One example of the good of Neptune contact is Paul and Linda McCartney. Paul’s Neptune conjunct Ascendant is accompanied by Linda’s Neptune, and, from all accounts, this partnership opened their capacity for love and allowed them to enjoy a mostly idyllic and artistic partnership. This particular conjunction is strengthened by the fact that Neptune is the ruler of Paul’s Descendant. When the ruler of one end of an angle is conjunct the other end of the angle, it helps with growth and integration. Linda’s Neptune is conjunct her Sun and her North Node. Neptune, for both of these people, was a path for growth in the partnership.
Outer Angles Example 2: Neptune Lessons Learned
The flip side of this can be seen in the charts of Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner, with Frank’s angular and prominent Neptune conjunct Ava’s Ascendant, firing a fascination with the great beauty that would last a lifetime. The Sinatra/Gardner relationship was tempestuous, fueled by alcohol and drenched in Neptunian deceit, glamour, and obsession. The Neptune/Ascendant contact assured that Neptune lessons were being learned by both parties.
Click here to view the Sinatra-Gardner biwheel.
The difference between these two couples has to do with the individual souls making the choices behind the chart, and the relative ease or difficulty of the Neptune contacts within the natal charts. Ava’s Neptune is prominent in the first house and makes hard aspects to Sun, Moon, and Jupiter. Sinatra’s Neptune, aside from the dominant conjunction to the MC, has Neptune in hard aspect with the Sun and Mercury, and in a wide conjunction to the South Node.
Of course, there are other issues in both sets of charts. The Sinatras had a battling Moon/Mars/Uranus conjunction between them, while the McCartney charts are altogether softer, with Paul’s Juno falling directly on top of Linda’s Ascendant/Venus conjunction. But an outer planet to an angle, for better or worse, will set a ‘theme’ for the relationship. Whether or not we gain from our experiences of these other-worldly energies, is up to us.
Data, taken from Astrodatabank:
Paul McCartney: June 18, 1942 ; 2 pm, Liverpool, England
Linda McCartney: September 24, 1941; 10:10 am, New York, New York
Frank Sinatra: December 12, 1915; 3 AM, Hoboken, New Jersey
Ava Gardner: December 24, 1922; 7:10 PM, Boon Hill, North Carolina
How do you feel the outer planets? Let us know in comments below.