Fall in the northern hemisphere is the season of relationships. It begins with the Sun in Libra, the sign of the Scales that symbolizes balance, partnership and meeting others halfway. Accommodation and compromise are its primary ways of creating harmonious duos. Scorpio, which follows, is about the next degree of intimacy where we meet at deeper emotional places that aren’t always tranquil. But we’ll set aside Scorpio now and revisit it at another time.
The Sun is in Libra right now, as it is for the first month of fall every year. It reflects a turn toward others as we move into the darker half of the year. Agreeable Libra’s need for peace is reflected in astrology’s basic premise about compatibility: like attracts like. Harmonious alignments among planets in two charts represent this kind of ease, which is the traditional astrological prescription for relationship success. This is also a basic belief outside astrology. If we don’t have similarities with someone, it's going to be difficult to find things to talk about. Still, there’s something missing from this formula.
Many people find intimacy difficult. It feels suffocating, confining and limiting to them, which is a high price to pay for sharing one’s life with another person. Limits on personal freedom come with every relationship. There are general rules of behavior and individual preferences in play with every connection we have. Some people are very comfortable with accommodating others. They know how to ride the currents of someone else's winds, which is very much what airy Libra is about. Others shrivel at the thought of giving up any authority to a partner. They are piloted from deep within themselves and do not readily adjust to external expectations.
The balance of Self and Other is the crux of relationship. It is the dance between I and Thou, Me and You, Me and Us. Individual natal charts done for the moment of a person’s birth are exceptional at describing how people do this dance. Some charts are largely accommodating and fit the profile of needing an easy relationship with someone similar to themselves. Other charts lean heavily toward independence and require much more space within their relationships. Differences in personality, background or philosophy open up spaces where they do not connect, which is what is wanted. Still, the majority of us desire both merging and maintaining our own identity. The astrologer-psychologist Zipporah Dobyns' called this internal conflict the "freedom–closeness dilemma." Natal charts show where these are and how they work.
While the Sun is in Libra, the fairytale sign of beautiful princes and princesses who will marry and live happily ever after, our challenge/opportunity is two-fold. Part one is to open our hearts to the romantic images of joyfully shared experience. It is a vision of liberating compromise that happens when what we give up of ourselves is multiplied in return by what we receive from another. Part two is recognizing that relationship is a process in which we move toward and away from each other, an ebb and flow of combining and separating that is completely natural. Accepting the variability of our emotions gives us the flexibility to find happiness within ourselves and when shared with others.