A skeptic’s guide to astrological compatibility

Do you remember when the average person didn’t follow astrology?

Well, the tides have turned in favor of the stars, because today most people know at least one of their signs. 

If you look through someone’s phone apps, you’ll find Costar or The Pattern or any other astrology related apps. People that you wouldn’t consider a mystique or someone that delves into spirituality wax poetic at the most random moments, like rapper Gunna for instance who said in an interview that he looked to astrology for inspiration for his latest album Wunna that dropped this year.

But astrology in rap isn’t new. Does Outkast’s Aquemini make more sense to you now? It’s like Andre 3000 and Big Boi were meant to change the rap game together since “3 Stacks”, the Gemini, and Big Boi’s Aquarius signs are complementary air signs.

Typically, people look to astrology to see whom they’re most compatible with and which people to avoid, but what if non-complementary signs are unavoidable?

Look at it this way, you can choose your friends according to astrology, but you can’t pick your family, nor your work colleagues, teammates, neighbors and direct superiors. How should one go about understanding signs incompatible with their own, and how can one find common threads to bond over?

A brief look at how astrology works

First things first, there are different astrological systems, like Vedic, or Sidereal astrology that is more predictive. There’s Chinese astrology, numerology and tarot. That sign you associate yourself with is most likely under Western astrology, or Tropical astrology, which is the most common astrology used on the apps and analyzed on the websites. 

Your sign is decided by your birthday, and your natal chart is decided by your time and location of birth as well. You could be a different sign under different systems too, so check your natal chart under the Tropical and Vedic systems.

The twelve astrological signs are grouped into four elements—fire, earth, air and water—and the signs under each element tend to share characteristics. For instance, fire signs are considered to be energetic alphas and water signs are very emotionally in tune. Some signs are believed to get along easier than others, specifically fire signs with air signs, earth signs with water signs, and signs under the same element or two people that share a sign.

Of course, everything you need to know about someone is in their natal chart. A planet rules every sign, and every planet is in a house in your chart. Now, according to that placement, you communicate a certain way, you prioritize certain relationships like friends, parents, or children, are you work with others a certain way.

There are examples of astrology validating partnerships like Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones’ respective signs, Virgo and Pisces. Despite being polar opposites, they became a legendary duo that invented pop music. 

On the flip side, some relationships would be projected to fail because of conflicting signs but yet they flourish like Beyonce and Jay-Z’s Virgo and Sagittarius, Steph and Ayesha Curry’s Pisces and Aries signs, and Barack and Michelle Obama’s Leo and Capricorn.

There are also relationships expected to work because of the compatible signs but they are not so harmonious like Shaq and Kobe. Though the duo won three championships in a row for the Los Angeles Lakers, their tension was palatable and they would later establish a friendship after splitting up. Shaq and Kobe were also a Pisces and Virgo duo, but maybe something in their natal charts made their relationship rockier than Quincy and MJ?

Once again, the answers are in the chart, but asking for birth times and locations is, well, invasive and creepy. 

How to approach compatible and non-compatible signs

So when it comes to establishing a partnership with someone based on their astrological sign, sometimes the best thing to do is forget what you know in order to let your new acquaintance define themselves, and then take that new relationship as a learning experience for that sign.

For instance, if you’ve had a bad experience with an Aries in the past, you’ll have that experience in the back of your mind any time you meet someone under that sign, but forgetting what you know allows you to connect with an individual for who they are and not who you think they are.

One of the reasons people think that astrology and horoscopes are nonsensical is because descriptions of sun signs can be vague and indirect instead of very specific, but this makes sense when taking one’s natal chart into account. Sometimes two people with the same sign are vastly different, or people with very different signs can be almost identical.

For example, an Aquarius on paper is rebellious and a free spirit compared to Virgo’s level-headedness, so they should conflict, but their shared intelligence and dedication means that they may be much closer in personality than you think.

Also, don’t swear by stereotypes but keep it in mind. Taureans have a reputation for being stubborn, Leos have a reputation for wanting to be center of attention, Libras have been called two-faced, and Pisces have been called overly emotional. While every sign has a bad reputation for perceived personality traits, they also have a good reputation for things that make their sign special, unique and also beautiful. If Leos stereotypically want to be the star, give them the floor. Ask them about their day or their weekend and give them the space to share. Libras are very balanced, so try discussing topics that have two sides to get a well-rounded viewpoint. The quirks of one’s personality are a turn-off for some and a turn-on for others, so remove the negative connotations and accept them for who they are.

Some signs that, in theory, should get along very well are sometimes at odds with each other, and also signs that, in theory, shouldn’t get along, become the best of friends or lovers and live happily ever after. With that said, understand that you may click with someone immediately or a bond will take some time to be established.