Unmasking Ourselves: The Power of the Outer Planets on Angles in Synastry

Synastry Studies by Dawn Bodrogi

Last month, we began examining the impact of the outer planets on the angles. The outer planets are often ignored in a synastry comparison because they move slowly and are in relatively the same position for a lot of folks who are born within a similar timeframe. If, for example, we are born within a year or so of one another, our outer planets will not have moved very much, and your Pluto will be near my Pluto. These Plutos used to be called ‘generational’ and it was assumed that they didn’t carry much impact in the relationship. We know better now.

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?

Ultimately, the question most asked is, “Who feels the outer planet more, the planet person or the angle person?” The answer is both, but in different ways. When an angle is touched, that touch changes how we experience and define our world. When a planet hits an angle, that planet’s power becomes magnified when the angle person is around. We feel the planet acutely, and it may have us in thrall. Everything depends on our relationship to that planet in the natal chart. If we are vulnerable to that energy, its influence may be life-changing, and lasting.

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.

Click here to view the McCartney-McCartney biwheel chart.

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.

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About Dawn Bodrogi

Dawn Bodrogi has studied astrology since the age of twelve, and has been a practicing astrologer for over twenty years with a special emphasis on synastry. Her studies in Jungian psychology, alchemy, and Buddhist philosophy inform her work. Her upcoming book, The Inner Wheel, takes a new look at interpreting secondary progressions. You can see more of Dawn’s work at her blog, The Inner Wheel: Living with Astrology.


  1. @Dawn Bodrogi

    Very insightful article. Would the Nodes affect the angles dramatically or are the outer planets THE heavy hitters?


  2. Thanks Dawn…this article was VERY informative! I was able to view some synastry aspects between me and past interactions with this information. I can definitely attest to the fact that I felt the way the article describes when certain guys’ outter planets hit my angles.

    Great read.

  3. This explains more about the volatile nature of my relationship with my mother than anything else I’ve ever read (astrologically speaking). My 12th house Pluto was conjunct her Ascendant (-1 from her natal 12th), and I was *very* angry with her, always wanting more and continually frustrated with, what seemed to me to be, her stubborn unwillingness to peel back the layers and genuinely work at healing our relationship. Basically, I wanted her to acknowledge wrongdoing and say sorry (and mean it). The harder I tried, the worse I made it.

    But I’m starting to have a better understanding of why she couldn’t or wouldn’t – with my natal square between Pluto and Mars, I eventually had to learn to let go and accept those things beyond my control. My mother’s mind and heart definitely fell in that category; she was more motivated by Neptune than she was by Pluto. I think she frequently felt under attack by me, whereas I felt alone and unprotected around her.

    Our relationship brought out the absolute worst, but also the very best in me. I stuck by her when things got tough and her other “easier” relationships faded away because people couldn’t deal with the unpleasantness. Really enlightening post, Dawn. Thanks. 🙂

  4. dear dawn and all ,

    hello , I am a new comer 🙂 , thanks a lots for the great article , I really appreciated all of ur informative article, your work makes me understand myself more better and of course ppl around me, so fortunately that I hv found ur blog 🙂 .
    I hv sun conj Neptune both in sag in 7 house, sum time it’s so vague , I am so confuse about myself. including what am going I do and love,

    for synastry , my Saturn sits in 7 house of my objective of affection , my Pluto sits in 7 house but at the 8 cusp . so it’s still in 7 house or 8 house , my Neptune exactly conj his 10 house cusp. what does he feel about me ?

    I always come to the innerwheel and ssatrology , nth to say except thank you guys ,

    sorry for my poor English , 🙂

  5. FYI, Dawn’s responses are in the Facebook widget below.

  6. dear jeff,

    thanks 🙂 I read your articles as well , u also make me know more about astrology , and how to work about it.

  7. @Jeffrey Kishner
    I have not understood how that facebook ‘widget’ worked. Thanks for pointing out or else I would not even have read it below.

  8. bombastic says:

    Well, thanks for this one, Dawn. I’ve been obsessively analyzing every scrap of synastry between me and another for about a year now (greatly heightened by my being entrenched in transiting Pluto conjuncting my Venus for almost a year now.). …I surely needed yet another bit of connection between us to obsess over. (lol). Though, your articles always give new ways of considering things. I had already noticed that my 9th house Pluto makes a tight square to her ASC/DEC (0 12’), but had conveniently put it out of my head, believed it to be strictly on the “con” side of the Pros and Cons list for the likelihood of a viable relationship….though I should know, from reading your work, that you have no such simplistic attitude toward so-called “challenging” aspects.

    If you allow an orb of 5 deg, then her Cap Saturn opposes my Cancer moon, which is in her 7th and is tightly square her tight Sun/Moon conjunction (within 0 30’), so it is also square her Sun/Moon midpoint. Her Sun/Moon conjunction is also conjunct her IC (so my Moon is also square her IC, 1 35’). It’s funny–I was first friends with her mother, and that is really the way we met, and the way we continue to interact—because I visit with her mother. I’m so terribly attracted to her, sexually and emotionally, it is difficult to interact directly with her. I’ve only had one other person in my life affect me similarly, years ago. At a point several months ago, I was seriously debating simply not interacting with them at all—I was just so overwhelmed by being around her, and pained at not being able to have something I so desired.

    Additionally, my 12th house Sag sun (conj my Jupiter/Asc) and mercury are all in her 12th house. My merc conj her ASC (4 deg). Her merc is in my 4th, conj my IC (2 14’), and conj my Chiron (which is conj. my IC). Her venus, sun and moon are also in my 4th. Hmm…my Cap venus also squares my IC and Chiron (and her Mercury). Oh boy—I just realized that T. Pluto is therefore currently squaring my Chiron, as well. (…Fascinating—I’ve had a significant, dramatic emotional interaction with my father and mother each, recently, contributing to resolving significant issues from the past.)

    In my experience, I am usually able to tune in to likely past-life dynamics with significant people in my life. Here, I sense a past when we were devout religious ascetics, peers on a similar Christian path; though I was an older male, a mentor to her as a female, which perhaps can be said to be yet reflected in my planets currently in her 12th. …There are also quincunx aspects between my Chiron and her Neptune, and in the heliocentric chart as well. …In the beginning of our interaction, we would often be in a heady, dreamy trance when looking at each other, so struck by each other, it seemed.

    I can also perhaps see the past reflected in our many Saturn interaspects; I am the Saturn person in the clear majority of aspects, including the other dimensions, of geo. declinations and in heliocentric. We have plenty of the Venus, Pluto, Mars sexual aspects. Also with Juno and in the other dimensions, if you use Magi techniques… Ah well, my obsession is showing.

    …I was just reading in one of your articles the idea that squares in synastry is about needing to get something specific done, and that perhaps only one person feels the compulsion and the other feels “avoidance and uneasiness,” which I assume you were referring to, in your recent FB reply to Haley below: “Squares to angles are just as intense, but in a different category altogether–there are time/length constraints…” Indeed, this feels apt here. …This woman I’m obsessed with had T. Chiron closely approaching exact conjunction to her N. Chiron when we met last year. And her Chiron is tightly opposed to her 8th house Pluto/N.Node conjunction. (As well, T. Chiron was quincunx my Pluto when we met.) I do indeed sense that perhaps I am here to shake up her own Pluto (and 8th house) issues, as you suggest here; to push her to a deeper level of some sort. Her Pluto is not connected to her luminaries or relationship planets, but is making quincunxes to Mercury and Jupiter. My Neptune-Saturn opposition makes a Grand Cross with her Pluto-Chiron opposition. She also has Uranus in 8th.

    She initially did throw me some flirtatious curve balls, over the course of a few months, that I almost couldn’t initially compute, as she is quite Saturnian in her normal expression (Cap ASC, Saturn in 1st, square Moon.). As well, she is a devoted, super capable mother to teenagers, and ALL about her home and kids (as her 4th house emphasis suggests), and taking care of her husband in the final stages of a ten-year affliction of MS; and is quite self-contained (Sun-Moon conj?). But on reflection I couldn’t interpret her intentions to be other than suggestive. Some hidden part of her eked out, for a window of a few months (Or maybe that was her lusty Venus Sq Mars, or adventurous Venus trine Uranus, or unconscious Mars semi-sextile Uranus talking?) Her moves felt very instinctual, much like Mars (her dispositor, and which sits in her 7th) expressing as a lower octave of Pluto that needs to evolve. As such, it wasn’t something I’d feel comfortable interacting with. It would serve little purpose.

    In my obsession, I could continue to go on (and on and on) about the synastry between us, However, I do think the greater purpose of our meeting is for deep transformative purposes. Part of her I sense is desperately in need of maturing. I do hope she answers the call, for her own good, whether that involves a physical relationship between us or not. I do feel impatient for her/us to progress. Interestingly, I just read on your site that inconjuncts—in a natal chart, and in synastry—demand patience; that you each will have different ways of seeing the world, and in fact may have to just accept that you won’t understand each other’s motives. Wow—this is so true. We have a lot of inconjuncts going on. Though I feel a great warmth between us, I feel we are from different worlds. Ugh—I just also realized I have Venus semi-sextile N. Node.

    I’m ten years younger than her, and currently in the midst of my Neptune Sq Neptune. Oh—and did I mention I’m female (lesbian) in this lifetime? Lol. Too much. ..In composing this long story, I went back to look at several of your articles at Inner Wheel and got many new insights, which I incorporated here; so, I apologize for making this twice as long as I intended, but there was one new insight after another, among your material. Thanks a heap, Dawn. More to fuel my obsessive research, and I haven’t even looked at progressions yet. Cool! Lol

  9. @bombastic

    I am currently going through Pluto conjunct Venus transit! I am finding it a bit more liberating to focus on me and how I love than any other person I could (and want) to obsess over. It fluctuates, but I think there is something to discover in those intense moments.

    Its good to hear from someone who has been going through this transit for a bit. When does it culminate for you? It sounds like you are definitely experiencing the effects of Pluto.

  10. Curious to know about all 4 angles of EACH partner conjuncting in a synastry chart…the AC of one with the MC of another, the MC with the DC, The DC with the IC and finally, the IC with the AC….I’ve never seen anything like it and am wondering what it may indicate? Thanks!

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