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Pemo Theodore - Unravelling the Mysteries of Love through the Composite Chart

I have been doing composite charts for 26 years and find them always reliable in determining the dynamics within a relationship, the problem areas, the strengths, the learning that the couple can do whilst together and where they are compelled by fate. However in these times, with all the complexity of our lives and therefore our relationships, I have found it helpful to have more detail when investigating relating dynamics within the composite chart. It seems that Love has become more complex and varied and even more mysterious, if that is possible, than in the past. In an attempt to identify and explain the unexplainable mystery of love and relationship, both for myself and my clients, I include nine asteroids and Black Moon Lilith.

The Composite Houses are very important to look at, as the best relating ones are the 1st/7th; 5th/11th; 4th/10th; 2nd/ 8th. The 3rd/9th are good as communication is one of the most important tools for a successful relationship, however these houses do not necessarily imply stability as they require a lot of movement and stimulation. The houses that I never relish in composite charts are the 6th/12th houses as they imply inequality and lack of boundaries. However, there are particular types of relationships that can use these houses constructively, i.e., guru/student; one partner caring for an ill or incapacitated partner or employer/employee. Even with these types of relationships, it is important that the partners look outside the relationship to have all their needs taken care of, as one will surely not receive those within a relationship with this type of house emphasis.

The Composite Sun and Moon represent the essence of a relationship, how they achieve and receive, (in Jungian terms the masculine and feminine expression). These of course are the most important planets in the composite chart and need to be placed in strong and positive relating houses in the composite chart. I have found that the partner that would identify with being the more active partner (masculine in Jungian terminology) usually tends to identify with the composite sun and the partner that would identify with being the more receptive partner (feminine in Jungian terminology) usually identifies with the composite moon.

The Composite Venus and Mars are important in identifying the love, lust, enjoyment and desire that exists within the relationship. It is always important to remember that a composite chart is not like an individual chart where, whatever difficult aspects exist can be transformed and worked with, to attain more consciousness. It is harder to find couples in mutual agreement about maintaining effort and consciousness towards transforming the more challenging aspects within their composite chart. Therefore it is important that there is a high balance of enjoyable, easy and regenerating aspects that can allow the relationship to keep flowing and growing during more difficult or stressful times. These planets really are the glue of love, desire and sex that keep a couple together, and so extremely important.

The Composite Angles Asc/Desc and MC/IC of the composite chart are the crucial foundation and structure of the relationship. The Ascendant axis represents the outer expression of the relationship where the couple meets each other and together meets others. The Midheaven axis is the very core and integrity of the relationship, where the couple will build a structure together in the world, whether home, family or business. These axes then become the ‘bones’ of the relationship and then the other planets help to flesh it out. Any planetary aspect to these angles figure largely and significantly in the life of the partnership. The more and better aspects to these angles the more significant the partnership.

As regards Composite Mercury, from my experience as an astrologer, therapist and coach I find that communication difficulties are the main cause that let down a relationship. Too many challenging aspects to Mercury or the 3rd/9th house can be the weakest link in the composite chart. In these cases the couple must be prepared to learn listening and communicating skills or suffer the breakdown of the relationship when the stress & pressure of challenging transits or progressions hit the composite chart.

Composite Saturn can bring longevity and commitment to go the distance, when in easy aspect. Also in difficult aspect it can bring these as well, whilst the individuals within the relationship try to resolve the issues that are in focus. However, strong Saturn aspects in a composite chart tend to manifest in oppression, control, repression and alongside the Moon or Venus even depression. Unfortunately within a relationship, these problems are then projected on each other, and the relationship can become a cold and lonely war. It is hard to gain unanimity around equal responsibility and shouldering the burdens and so not as easy to enjoy life within a relationship and therefore within the composite chart. 

Composite true North Node shows the destiny or new learning of the relationship. The composite South Node would imply in what capacity the couple has come together before and what they bring to the relationship this time around. I am a Tibetan Buddhist and therefore easily incorporate the idea of reincarnation in my philosophy. However I would suggest to clients that they not be limited by my terminology but incorporate this into their own philosophical model in the terms that feel comfortable for them.

Composite Saturn, Pluto and the true North Node can bring a compulsive or obsessed quality to the relationship. There are also lessons that are implied within the partnership for the individuals. Again human nature being as it is, it is not guaranteed that both individuals will come to the party and contribute their share of this karmic burden. So I would always warn people of what they have on their plate as can be seen from the composite chart and make sure that they have the opportunity to learn skills to support them in those learning processes. I would also encourage them to use the easier and more enjoyable aspects of their relationship (composite chart) to soften the edges of the more challenging issues.

The Handmaidens of Venus

I use nine asteroids which I have nicknamed ‘The Handmaidens of Venus’. I have identified the essence of these asteroids from their discovery charts. When located in the composite chart I am interested to see first what aspects they are making to Venus, and then to the other planets.

Ceres, I feel represents the nurturing quality of love which responds empathically to your partner and so denies its own needs. It therefore challenges Venus desire which aims to get its individual love needs met, but it sits comfortably with Moon in caring for each other’s vulnerabilities. It is very sensual and practical in bestowing abundance on your love partner but experiences conflict with boundaries and limits. It is different than Moon-caring as it implies consciousness around loss and change. If Ceres is prominent in a composite chart, the opposite experience of the giving nature can be experienced, when there is risk of loss to either partner, with a total experience of devastation.

For example: In Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles’s relationship (chart is below) the composite asteroid Ceres sits on the composite Uranus (11th house) which opposes the composite Vertex (5th house) and squares the composite Sun (3rd house). In 1992 portions of the “Camillagate” tapes of intimate conversations between the Prince and Camilla were released exposing the unusual caring and nurture that this relationship embodied. They have shared a long term friendship and independent paths during their lives until their marriage last year. Note that Ceres is sextile the Venus/Saturn conjunction (2nd house) which squares the composite North Node in Taurus (10th house).

Juno represents a contract or bond of marriage or business where there are clearly defined roles within a relationship. Strict rules and limits can deny spontaneous feeling and action and displays of human vulnerability. This can of course trigger wounds from past relationships around commitment and loyalty. However this asteroid promotes and supports the desire nature of Venus and the caring of the Moon and tends to identify itself with being a caring, nurturing role within the relationship. It can promote healing of boundary issues by bringing them to the surface to be acknowledged and healed.

Example: In Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s relationship (see chart below) the asteroid Juno is conjunct by 2 degrees the composite Moon (11th/12th house cusp) inconjunct Pluto (5th house) and Neptune (6th house). This marriage was clearly defined as to the roles that were expected of them but the finger of fate indicates that some creative evolvement would be required. Princess Diana was quoted as saying ‘There were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded.’ BBC TV Panorama interview, November 1995, referring to Camilla Parker Bowles. True Black Moon Lilith sits on the composite Ascendant but opposes Saturn – its antagonistic, and certainly Princess Diana’s individual style and radical ways of handling the challenges of the marriage were diametrically opposed not just to Princes Charles’s more conservative and established patterns, but also the whole royal family’s patterns. Note that Juno is trine Venus/Vesta (4th house) square Ascendant/ Black Moon Lilith and Eros/Amor which is a fixed t-square. The destiny of marriage carried some dark emotional challenges (Black Moon Lilith on the composite ascendant) and responsibilities including bulimia, a love triangle, divorce and Princess Diana’s untimely death.

Vesta represents spiritual and ritualistic service and work is expressed through this quality of fated love. This can bring a sense of comrades in arms in love and sexual expression. There are creative challenges to individual desire and communication is important in this, as there is definitely a sacrifice of individual desire and ideas in the spiritual fire of this connection. 

Example: In the relationship between Aristotle Onassis and Maria Callas (chart below) the composite Vesta (Sappho) conjuncts Mercury/Saturn (11th house) conjunct Sun opposition Pluto (5th house) and is the focus of a Finger of Fate with Neptune (6th house) and the IC. Callas met Aristotle Onassis in 1959, which was the beginning of the demise of her marriage. They began an affair and Callas became pregnant. She concealed her pregnancy and delivered a boy by C-section prematurely; the child lived for two hours. She and Onassis continued their liaison and discussed the possibility of marriage in 1966. In 1968 she lost him to Jacqueline Kennedy, but a short time later they resumed their alliance, which continued until his death in Paris, in 1975. Note that composite Vesta is by implication connected to the conjunctions of Mercury, Saturn, Sun, Mars and finally composite Venus (12th house). Their relationship commenced with Aristotle supporting Maria at the commencement of her marriage breakdown and they continued to be there for each other over the years.

Psyche represents a soul connection where the couple finds meaning and understanding of themselves as individuals through the alchemical projection within the relationship. Usually there is a psychic link between partners and a commitment towards personal development through the love that is shared. Also there is inner freedom through the structure of the relationship and the personal work done together.

Example: In the relationship between Spencer and Katherine Hepburn (chart on next page) we find Psyche conjunct Pluto on the Composite Descendant close to the composite Moon. ‘The grand enigma is the general public sympathy Hepburn elicited – even among Catholics – for her scandalous 25- year up-and-down relationship with Spencer Tracy. Hepburn always said she respected Mrs. Tracy, and so she and Spencer did not appear in public, although the whole world knew about her affair. It was a strange kind of respect. Ironically, she called herself and Tracy the “perfect American couple” (from the July 14, 2003 issue of People Magazine). Note that composite Venus (5th house) is in a wide semi-sextile aspect to Psyche by implication to the Moon (conjunct Descendant and Pluto/Psyche). This definitely brings a stronger focus on the Moon aspect in the relating, and Katherine did spend a lot of her time and energy caring for Tracy. 

Sappho represents a sense of comradeship shared together, along with similar values in beauty and the arts. There is a need to refine sexual and deeper unconscious feelings through the arts and ideas. This promotes acceptance and therefore healing to these aspects of the relationship. Romantic and even poetic communication can occur as regards the partnership. There is a fateful need to expand horizons through individual and creative love and desire. This is a challenge to transform through the wisdom of love. Example: Ike and Tina Turner’s relationship (chart on top of next page) where at the age of 16 Tina was called up on stage with Ike and his band. When he heard her sing he signed her up to sing with the band. They were together for 20 years and Tina had to have reconstructive surgery on her nose from the frequent beatings that she received from Ike. However Tina used these challenges to springboard her own career and her spiritual development with Buddhism. In their composite chart Sappho sits 2 degrees from the IC along with Amor (in the 3rd house) which squares Uranus in the 12th house. This certainly evokes the creative musical output that the two produced whilst together but Uranus in the 12th certainly speaks about instability and an unconscious self-centeredness that could damage the boundaries between the two. Note that composite Venus (7th house) which is part of mutable cross opposing Jupiter and squaring Saturn and Neptune, is trine Sappho and Descendant.

Eros represents a Great Love where both partners will be touched and transformed deeply. There is a strong erotic connection and love which conflicts with the nurture principle and the deeper more soulful unconscious feelings. The couple’s ideas and communications can be extremely erotic and sexual and profoundly intimate.

Example: In John Kennedy and Marilyn Munroe’s relationship (chart on bottom of next page) we find the asteroid Eros on the IC in the 4th square the Ascendant, it is part of a grand trine in fire with Mars (8th house) and Neptune/Black Moon Lilith (11th house). The erotic expression that came across on the televised gathering for Jack Kennedy when Marilyn sang ‘Happy Birthday Mr. President’ was obvious. It appears that Marilyn loved him very much but was not sure how he felt about her. ‘According to Peter Lawford, Marilyn’s unrealistic notions about becoming First Lady caused her to embarrass herself with both Kennedy brothers. Her letters and telephone calls to them had become both tiresome and very risky. It was one thing to cavort with anonymous girls, but quite another to be involved with a celebrity sex symbol like Marilyn Monroe. There was every good reason for JFK to break off the relationship with Marilyn permanently” (from Note that composite Venus which also conjuncts Amor and Vesta (9th house) inconjunct Eros created a very public domain where love and desire needed to be handled creatively.

Cupido is the look of love, how attractive the couple appears to each other and to others together. The attraction comes from the deep instinctual soul level and draws us out of our separation in our search for our inner beauty as it appears in another. This is what turns us on sexually and excites us emotionally about the other.

Example: In the composite chart of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton (chart shown below) the asteroid Cupido is conjunct by 3 degrees Jupiter (8th house) which is ruler of the Midheaven. Composite Saturn (9th house) also sits a few degrees away from the Midheaven, implying that it was difficult for either of them to run away and this would explain marrying each other twice. Richard Burton was quote as saying on Elizabeth Taylor: “I might run from her for a thousand years and she is still my baby child. Our love is so furious that we burn each other out.” In 1969, Richard Burton bought her one of the world’s largest and most beautiful diamonds from the jeweler Cartier. It was called the “Burton-Cartier Diamond,” to the then-”world’s most famous couple” ( Note that composite Venus (12th house) is trine Jupiter/Cupido by implication through its trine with Ceres at 29 Libra.

Amor represents a destined, perfected love, which may be difficult to experience in reality. The partners can creatively incorporate more hidden unconscious dimensions of desire and attraction in this relationship. Both can identify the boundaries between each other and honor and love each other as a result. There is a need to be creative with the idealism of this love. Example: In the composite chart of Madonna and Guy Ritchie (chart on top of next page) we find the asteroid Amor exactly conjunct the composite Moon close to Mars (9th house) which rules the composite Midheaven sextile Sun/Venus/Uranus conjunction (11th house). The Moon/Mars conjunction squares Jupiter (12th house) conjunct Juno. Madonna sums up “I got married for all the wrong reasons...My husband did not turn out to be everything I had imagined him to be. I just wanted to end everything...there’s no such thing as the perfect soulmate...Your soul-mate is the person that pushes all your buttons-p****s you off on a regular basis....It’s not easy having a good marriage but I don’t want easy. I thank God every day that I married a man who made me think. That’s my definition of true love” (from Note that composite Venus/Sun (11th house) is sextile Amor/Moon/Mars.

Aphrodite represents a ‘bolt out of the blue’ fated relationship. The couple will be challenged to be creative in developing this relationship in its own mold and to benefit from the depth and profundity that it offers. There is a clear sense of the roles within this partnership, albeit unusual or individual by ordinary standards. It depicts conflict with romantic and erotic dimensions to the relationship and the need to be creative within relationship to feel nurtured.

Example: Hitler and Eva Braun’s relationship (see chart on top of next page) where apparently their attraction was immediate, and over the objection of her parents, she became his mistress. For the next sixteen years, she lived in luxury as millions suffered and died at the hands of her ‘Wulf’. One night at the Berghof, Hitler was heard to say, as Eva sat next to him at the table, that a highly intelligent man should always choose a primitive and stupid woman (from Gitta Sereny’s book Albert Speer: His Battle With Truth). Aphrodite sits on their composite Midheaven, with the Sun conjunct true Black Moon Lilith (composite 5th house) the focus of a mutable t-square with Jupiter (2nd house) opposing a Neptune/Saturn conjunction (9th house). Note Aphrodite inconjunct Venus/ Mercury (5th house) which is part of a mutable t-square and squares Uranus (2nd house) and Pluto (8th house).

Soulful relationships

I have found that the composite true Black Moon Lilith is one of the most potent points in the composite chart to indicate real soul in the relationship. In my experience I find the true Black Moon Lilith, compared to the mean Black Moon Lilith, to be the more accurate position as regards interpretations in both individual and composite charts. True Black Moon Lilith is the apogee of the Moon’s orbit, or that point in its orbit farthest from the Earth. The glyph is a dark moon and it faces the opposite direction to the regular moon glyph. It indicates the shadow, more instinctual side of the moon and needs to be looked at as regards the moon, i.e. what aspects or not it makes to the moon in an individual’s chart. Within the composite chart, however it is very soulful, deeply sexual and, if in good aspect, can bring a depth of feeling to the relationship that sustains through more superficial trials and tribulations.

An example is Cher’s and Sonny Bono’s composite chart (chart is at the top of the next page) where the composite Sun/North Node/Mercury oppose composite Black Moon Lilith. ‘Cher claims in her current biography “The First Time”, that Sonny Bono was the ultimate love of her life and that the two remained amicable in personal struggles and hardships’ (from Obviously if composite Black Moon Lilith is afflicted in the composite chart there will be challenges, particularly by Saturn which evokes the patriarchal structures with which Black Moon Lilith does not easily coexist. Black Moon Lilith semi-square to the composite Moon which indicates a conflict with feeling totally comfortable together, which is obviously why the couple were not able to continue to live together, despite the soulful connection they shared.

A more difficult and very tragic example is in the relationship of OJ Simpson and Nicole Brown Simpson (see the chart at the top of the next page) where we see true Black Moon Lilith on the composite Midheaven. It squares Venus/Mars (12th house) and Moon (6th house), composite Mars in the 12th, of course being its ruler. Also we see the ruler of the composite Moon is Saturn (Black Moon Lilith’s antagonist) and to add fuel to the difficulties here we find composite Uranus on Ascendant and squaring Neptune/Saturn (4th house) forming a Cardinal Tsquare. Here Black Moon Lilith is squaring both Venus/Mars (12th house) and the Moon (6th house) – both the most difficult houses in the composite chart, indicating an

unequal partnership. Mars is involved too, which would indicate that passion, anger and aggression can be triggered by the darker, more unconscious feelings that emerged when the couple was together.

Another significant point that I find holds further information about the relationship is Composite Chiron. I have always looked at Chiron in both individual and composite charts as the vulnerability that exists in being human. Obviously it is through our bodies and therefore our sexuality that this shows up within relationships. Chiron is challenged with Venus’s innate desire and attraction that wants satisfaction and so within relationships creative resolution is required. Chiron supports acceptance and healing as regards emotional wounds and betrayals from the past that may be triggered in the relationship, and therefore the composite chart. Loyalty and commitment provide the container of structure and safety for these aspects to be brought to relationships and integrated. Therefore difficult aspects to composite Chiron need to be noted.

We find with the Clinton composite chart (see chart at the top of the next page) that the planet Chiron conjunct Venus in the 3rd house, which semi-sextiles the composite Sun/Mercury. It also opposes the composite Moon in the 9th house. Obviously the marriage goal or purpose has opportunity for renewal through the vulnerabilities of each partner and need for stimulation and variety of expression of love/lust. Venus is the glue of relationships, therefore composite charts so the variety and drama supplies a need for both partners, note that the Sun and the Moon are involved in this dynamic. Possibly it gets them talking to each other about how they feel and who they really are on a very human level.

The composite chart for Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky (see chart at the bottom of the next page) has the composite Chiron conjunct Saturn/Mars and Sappho. The vulnerability of their humanity shines through from under the yoke of their roles and responsibilities (Saturn). Due to Sappho’s involvement I’m sure that there was some real sexual poetry exchanged in the oval room between the couple and some new exchange for Bill to take back to his own marriage. There is also a delightful grand trine with the very secretive composite Venus (12th house), the composite Moon (8th house) and composite Black Moon Lilith/IC – it is easy for the lovers to express their physical, sensate and soul needs to each other in a very physical way.

Charts: All charts are derived ascendant composite chart calculation with Koch house system. All chart data obtained from the Astrotheme website.

Acknowledgment: I would like to acknowledge Roderick Kidston for exciting my interest in the asteroids, which he has spent many years researching.


Pemo Theodore has been an Australian practising astrologer for 26 years in Australia, Canada, Ireland and the US. Pemo’s gift and greatest love, both as an astrologer, Jungian therapist and coach, has been investigating the mystery of relationships. She was the relationship coach and astrologer in an Irish radio promotion ‘2 Strangers and a Wedding’ where two people who had never met before were successfully married. She continues to coach them and other couples in relationship. She recently completed the ‘Star*Mate composite report’for Kepler software which was launched at the FAA’s Conference in Melbourne in January 2006. Pemo may be contacted at: pemo@star-