We all know that Venus rules love and romance, but did you know that we all have unique relationship planets in our natal charts?
A natal chart is a portrait of an individual. Using the exact time and place of your birth, astrology paints a picture of the person you are, have been, and will become. While we’re used to talking about our Sun Sign and other planets on our chart, some of the most important information doesn’t come from celestial bodies at all. The Cardinal Points speak primarily to the development and perception of self: the Ascendant, the sign on the eastern horizon at the time of your birth, is the energy that you project to others; it’s how you’re perceived from an outside perspective. Your Ascendant can be seen instantly by others, regardless of how well they know you—it’s that first impression you leave on someone. But in astrology, everything has an opposing point. That means that for every Ascendant, there’s a Descendant, the sign that was on the western horizon during your birth. If your Ascendant is the qualities you instantly show others, your Descendant is what you hide. It’s the part of you that’s only seen by your most intimate partners, who you are behind closed doors. It’s also what we find attractive and what we gravitate to in relationships. If you feel like you end up dating the same person over and over or can’t open up to someone without specific qualities, that information is found in your Descendant. And depending on where that falls, certain planetary transits will affect your relationships more than others.
Venus goes retrograde once every year and a half, give or take, but some of my most intense relationship dramas occur during Neptune transits and retrogrades. Neptune can act like a higher octave of Venus, bringing optimism and artistic appreciation to whatever it touches, but in my case, Neptune rules my Descendant—Pisces. This means that in order to learn more about my relationships, we need to look at Neptune’s placement. Neptune can be found on the cusp of my 4th House, the sole Capricorn planet just outside a cluster of planets in Sagittarius. Ten degrees away in my 5th House sits Venus, and while it makes no traditional aspect, the fact that these two relationship rulers are close but not quite in the same place speaks volumes. Neptune is trine my Moon but also squares my Descendant, it’s own place of rulership, as well as Juno, an asteroid that indicates marriage and soulmate connections on any chart. YIKES. No wonder Neptune transits make the whole thing tenuous at best.
Not only can our Descendant tell us about the kind of person we are in relationships, the person we become around those we love most deeply, it can also warn us of destructive patterns and qualities we feel drawn to. Because this placement connects us to the traits we feel least inherent in ourselves we can miss red flags and warning signs.
An Aries Descendant thrusts Mars onto the frontlines of your relationships. Your most exciting partnerships feel more like competition and you prefer when the spark ignites quickly and burns hots. You’re attracted to people with a strongly developed sense of self who know what they want (or at least think they do). Your relationships involve a lot of impulse, both from you and your partner, and you pursue love like a child playing a new game—bright-eyed and eager, but totally unequipped to handle loss. Aries Descendants are rarely at risk of losing their identity in relationships, but they may prioritize sex over intimacy which, combined with natal Mars aspects and Martial transits could lead to problems with longterm stability. You may find yourself accidentally in relationships with tyrants and dictators, people with violent tempers and inflexible lifestyles. Take note of the sign and house in which Mars falls on your chart to learn more about your relationships.
A Taurus Descendant will amplify the importance of Venus in your chart which is appropriate because Taurus doesn’t really like change. There’s a comfort in relationships that doesn’t exist elsewhere and your partner becomes the rock you cling to in turbulent times—as long as they aren’t also the floor you walk on, as Taurus Descendants can get so attached to people and things that they begin to take them for granted. You look for people who will commit to you completely, who won’t complicate your life. This also means that sometimes, you date The Most Boring Person in the World. You’re also at risk of dating possessive, stubborn, or over-indulgent individuals who leave you no room to grow. Take note of the sign and house in which Venus falls on your chart to learn more about your relationships.
A Gemini Descendant adds quick-moving Mercury to your list of relationship indicators. To you, talk isn’t cheap: it’s the most important part of a relationship. You need to communicate on multiple levels. Your partner needs to be your best friend, your partner in crime, and making mischief is your favorite foreplay—whether it’s late-night role play at a hotel bar or hustling your friends’ game night. You need equality and partnership, someone on the same page at all times, but commitment just isn’t worth it unless there’s fun and flirtation. In fact, Gemini Descendants let a lot of good ones go in favor of people who turn out to be silver-tongued snakes. Take note of the sign and house in which Mercury falls on your chart to learn more about your relationships.
Cancer Descendants shed light on their relationships through the Moon. In order to feel comfortable in a relationship, you need to feel safe opening up emotionally and baring the most vulnerable parts of yourself. That takes time and your relationships develop slowly as a result. Even if you’ve dated a lot, there are few in your history you’d honor with a label. It takes patience and nurturing to coax you out of your shell. Because this is a process you tend to look for potential: you’re looking for someone who feels like home. For a Cancer Descendant, there is no great aphrodisiac than compassion. You may feel that your history contains a lot of missed connections with people you never really let in, but you know intuitively things happen for a reason. It’s also likely you’ve dated plenty of moody, irrational people or fallen for your mother’s mirror image (regardless of your gender) on more than one occasion. Take note of the sign and house in which the Moon falls on your chart to learn more about your relationships.
A Leo Descendant shines a spotlight on the Sun as your own personal love planet. In order to fall in love, you need to feel seen. You need to know that your partner sees you for who you are—and completely worships you for it. You know that you contain multitudes, an abundance of qualities that would easily elevate someone’s life. You’re incredibly loyal, generous, and treat your friends and lovers like royalty. You may open up a little too quickly with potential partners and don’t understand why they won’t reciprocate right away. You want a co-creator in life, someone to be your regent. There’s nothing more attractive than the idea of being half of a power couple, even if that means an extreme makeover for your SO to match your level of charisma and glamour. This also means you’ve dated a lot of adult children and needy, demanding people. Take note of the sign and house in which the Sun falls on your chart to learn more about your relationships.
A Virgo Descendant casts Mercury in the role of love planet. You need someone to ground you, to keep you from floating off into space on your own. You tend to be a little nervous about opening up to others and even a little critical, but it’s no wonder—you’re looking for a perfect, symbiotic relationship. You work hard for your relationships and expect your partners to do the same. They should put you first because they come first in yours. You’re aware that everyone has their strengths and you know whether each party is pulling their weight even if that labor is invisible. Sometimes you fall for cold, unreachable people who are more than happy to take all the energy you’re willing to give without returning your investment, or people who are destructive to your nerves and manipulate your anxiety for their benefit. Take note of the sign and house in which Mercury falls on your chart to learn more about your relationships.
A Libra Descendant amplifies the energy of Venus in love and relationships. You want the whole package: love and commitment from someone you’re undeniably attracted to with all the charm and grace of a movie star. There are very few people in the world who even fit this role, and even fewer who could live up to your standards of etiquette and justice. In reality, you’re looking for a partner to elevate you or a muse through whom you might channel your divine purpose. Sometimes, the people you attract are incredibly surface—they’re beautiful, or talented, or socially connected, but they lack much of anything else. Sometimes, you end up chasing commitaphobes and flakes. Sometimes you get upset when you realize your SO is a shameless flirt or a materialistic snob, but most of the time, you just realize they’re not “perfect,” and that’s enough for you to move on. Take note of the sign and house in which Venus falls on your chart to learn more about your relationships.
A Scorpio Descendant places misunderstood Pluto in the position of love planet. You’re either all in or all out in relationships and when you meet a potential partner you immediately need to know what makes them tick. It can be difficult for you to open up to others until you know what you’re working with, peeling back one layer at a time while you test to see just how much of you they can handle. You’ve played your fair share of psychological chess with lovers to determine whether or not you can promote them to partner. However, you relinquish a lot of power to your significant others—it feels like a magnetic field between you and it influences you in ways you don’t understand. At their worst, your partners can be moody, secretive, jealous, and demanding. There’s more than a few destructive narcissists in your past, if not a couple of sociopaths. But you need to feel that your partner can accept you—all of you, including the dark, shadowy parts that could easily destroy you if you locked them up—and you’re not afraid to take on someone else’s shadow as a result. Take note of the sign and house in which Pluto falls on your chart to learn more about your relationships.
A Sagittarius Descendant brings Jupiter into your relationships. You firmly intend to taste a little of everything life has to offer, whether it’s the cute philosophy tutor you see at your favorite cafe every week or the trail guide you followed on your Amazonian discovery trip. But when you are persuaded to commit to something longterm, you have three important qualifications: complete honesty, an open mind, and a good sense of humor. You could never date a picky eater (who would you drag with you to try cheese tea or sushi burritos?) and what’s the point of life if you can’t laugh? Aside from exotic trips and spontaneous adventures, you’re most turned on by people who are willing learn and share experiences. You want a co-pilot, and you need to trust them completely. Lies are your ultimate dealbreaker. Sometimes, you get into relationships that are so overly indulgent that they end up becoming toxic or date megalomaniacs. Take note of the sign and house in which Jupiter falls on your chart to learn more about your relationships.
A Capricorn Descendant builds relationships with Saturn. You work hard for love and you expect your partner to do the same. You’re very goal-oriented and are likely to move towards relationship milestones as if those achievements grant you elevated status—but you don’t bask in the glow of accomplishment long. There’s always something else to work towards. You have a certain format in your mind of what relationships should look like, possibly a very traditional model of marriage, home, and family that you expect your partners to work mutually towards. Love is as much a business as anything else. You’re attracted to people who know what they want, show stability and are good at what they do. You push for your partners to work harder and achieve more because you expect them to do the same for you—sometimes, though, this backfires and you end up with controlling, rigid people who refuse to let you grow. Take note of the sign and house in which Saturn falls on your chart to learn more about your relationships.
An Aquarius Descendant makes electric Uranus your personal love planet. You have some unconventional ideas about relationships and you’ve dated a lot of people your friends aren’t quite sure fit into any particular “type.” In fact, the only thing they likely share is a very unique way of thinking, something strange and unusual that initially attracted you. They may dress strangely, hold an unusual job, have a genius IQ, or just live a totally different lifestyle. You need to be friends before you approach relationship territory and as a result you tend to send a lot of mixed signals and misread others when the time comes. You may find yourself attracted to emotionally unavailable people and find yourself shutting down your own emotions to cope with some of the erratic patterns in your relationships. There are times you feel like an alien, unsure of what exactly is happening or feeling like you speak a totally different language than your partner. At the end of the day, you want a bond unlike anything else, someone you know inside and out but still keeps you on your toes with new ideas and experiences. Take note of the sign and house in which Uranus falls on your chart to learn more about your relationships.
A Pisces Descendant raises Neptune to the position of relationship planet. To you, love is divinely inspired. It hits you like a bolt from the blue and leaves you drowning in new and confusing thoughts and emotions. Boundaries slip away: once you’re committed to someone, there is no “you” and “them,” and everything becomes “us.” Love is the source of your inspiration and you desire nothing more than to show your partner the same magic and wonderment you feel in their presence. You need a sense of togetherness, enmesh yourself completely. In fact there’s not a lot you wouldn’t do in order to achieve it—you fall easily into the role of martyr and sacrifice bits and pieces of your own identity in order to get what you ultimately want. It’s easy to fall in with people who take advantage of this, consciously manipulating your emotions to their gain or unconsciously using your lack of boundaries to enable destructive behavior. Take note of the sign and house in which Neptune falls on your chart to learn more about your relationships.
Your natal chart is less of a blueprint and more of a road map: depending on where you are in the journey of personal development, you may or may not identify with your descendent. There are so many indicators on a chart that often, it takes extensive study and exploration to separate what you’ve come from and where you’re going. Reading a chart can be like watching a ping-pong game, bouncing back and forth from planet to house to planet to… but each individual portion informs the larger whole. When you find out which planets rule portions of your chart, you can pay attention to your impulses and tendencies during transits of those planets and signs. Mark the daily transits next to entries in your journal or note planetary movements the next time you have a particularly unusual day. Awareness is the first step in evolution, and in the case of your personal love planets, the first step in finding the happiness you deserve.