Compatibility with Elements and Modes

People use astrology to find direction in various aspects of life. And of course, one of the most important area is relationships. Romantic relationships, friendships, business relationships, relationship with parents and children. There is an amazing amount of rich insight that astrology can bring to any of these relationships. The word “compatibility” is used when people talk of relationships, especially romantic relationships.

How compatible are you with your partner? This is a very broad generalization, because there are so many dimensions of this compatibility: love, sex, friendship, beliefs, etc. Any long-term romantic/marriage relationship will include all of these dimensions, in varying degrees of importance at various stages of the relationship. You could sit down and do a thorough analysis of the individual horoscopes of each of the partners to get a solid understanding of where each of them is “coming from”.

In other words, what does each person brings to a partnership, and what they do want from it. And then you can compare the horoscopes to see how much each person brings of what the other person wants.

Such a thorough analysis of a horoscope must look at many factors. To start with, we can look at the big picture needs of each person by examining the distribution of the luminaries and the inner planets in the elements and modes. The luminaries and inner planets are the “personal” factors in a horoscope, the energies that a person is most aware of and lives out day in and day out. I want to take a few examples of well-known couples who have had a long term relationship to see how the personal factors of each mesh with the other’s.

The first couple that comes to mind is Bill and Hillary Clinton. Most people are familiar with their story, and the trials and tribulations their marriage has endured. My impression is that they have overcome the extreme stresses in their marriage, played out for the whole world to see, because above all they are just really good friends.

ElementsFireEarthAirWater
Hillary ClintonMarsSun, Moon, Mercury, Venus
Bill ClintonSun, MercuryMoonVenus, Mars

Fire is the only element in which both Hillary and Bill have planets. The interesting thing here is that the nature of the occupying planets Sun and Mars are both fiery, so there is much shared passion and excitement in the relationship.

ModesCardinalFixedMutable
Hillary ClintonSun, Mars, Mercury, VenusMoon
Bill ClintonVenus, MarsSun, Moon, Mercury

The fixed mode presents a striking picture, with each contributing 3 planets. Both of them have the Sun in a fixed sign, and Bill’s Moon is in a fixed sign as well. The luminaries are the most important bodies in a chart, so the fixed modality becomes extremely important here. Both Mercuries are also in fixed signs. The upshot is there is a huge degree of stability in the relationship, come what may, which explains how they stayed together through tribulations that would have sunk most marriages.

This next example is of Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick, married since 1988.

ElementsFireEarthAirWater
Kevin BaconMoon, Mercury, MarsVenusSun
Kyra SedgwickSun, MercuryMoon, VenusMars

Each of them has 2 planets in the fire element, and what’s even more important is that these include the Sun for Kyra and the Moon for Kevin. These guys simply get along! Venus (Kevin’s innate desire for what he wants his wife to be like) and Mars (Kyra’s notion of an ideal mate) are both in air signs, laying a solid foundation for their compatibility.

ModesCardinalFixedMutable
Kevin BaconSun, Moon, MarsMercuryVenus
Kyra SedgwickMarsSun, Moon, MercuryVenus

The picture of commonality of planets in the modes is striking–every mode has at least one planet from each of the horoscopes. This is a lot stronger than the modality picture for the Clintons, which although powerful, was restricted to commonality in only one mode. What is particularly significant here is that both Venuses are in the mutable mode, which suggests that they are both very flexible and understanding of each other’s needs and can always find ways to compromise and work out issues that might stress the relationship.

The last example is that of Kanye West and Kim Kardashian. They were married in 2014, and seven years later Kim filed for divorce (in 2021).

ElementsFireEarthAirWater
Kim KardashianMarsVenusSunMoon, Mercury
Kanye WestMercury, Venus, MarsSunMoon

There is at least one planet from both in each of the elements except fire. Interestingly, they both have their Sun in air, and Moon in water. And in every element, the common planet is the same – Venus in earth, Sun in air, and Moon in water. That is something.

ModesCardinalFixedMutable
Kim KardashianSunMercuryMoon, Venus, Mars
Kanye WestMercury, Venus, MarsSun, Moon

As with the elements where the fire element did not have contributions from both, here, the cardinal mode has no contribution from Kanye. The mutable mode has the most commonality.

These examples are not meant to predict whether a relationship will be good and lasting. A more detailed analysis of compatibility would include “inter-aspects” of one person’s planets and angles with the other person’s planets and angles, the analysis of the partners’ individual charts to know what they expect in a relationship, the areas of emphasis seen through the tenancy of planets in houses of the chart, and finally, the strength of the relationship to withstand particularly challenging periods in the life as seen via transits and solar arc hits to the individual charts.

The elements and modes commonality measure used here is particularly useful to counsel people in a relationship, to help them work through issues by being shining a light on the areas where they share common ground, and areas where they may not see eye to eye. For instance, if both people have a lot of fixity, it may either give an extra dose of stability to sustain them through tough times, or it might end up with each person digging in their heels and exacerbating the problem. However, if one of them has some mutability, they may be able to give some ground for sake of the relationship. On the other hand, a lot of mutability on both sides might result in them drifting apart and going their separate ways.

Likewise, a lot of commonality in the elements might be great for getting along, but it might also lead to boredom out of lack of variety and the absence of the kind of gentle push and pull that can keep the relationship interesting. If that is the case, it helps to look go a little farther afield and look across elements: fire and air get along well, so one person’s fire can play off the other person’s air, and vice versa. Similarly, water and earth can see eye to eye.

So if you ever wonder what kind of compatibility you may have with another person, you can draw up comparison tables for tenancy of planets in elements and modes, and get an invaluable feel for the touch points and areas of difference. Best of all, you don’t even need the birth time or place since we are not interested in the degree positions of the planets. All you need is the birth date, and a look at the daily ephemeris to get the sign positions of the planets. From this you can deduce the element and mode for each, and get cracking.