Synastry vs. Davison: A Relationship Astrology Technique Comparison

Synastry vs. Davison: A Relationship Astrology Technique Comparison

Description of Techniques

Synastry is the comparison of two or more natal charts, and how placements between two people manifest in their interactions and lives. The biwheel drawing makes it easy to see aspects formed between charts, and whether or not you use synastry, the concept of chart overlays is a foundation of all astrology. Synastry is a great next step to study after natal astrology, as other people’s placements can act as permanent transits to your chart, provoking or exciting you, and often both! 

Composite charts are another form of comparing natal charts. The Composite chart was created by John Townley, who popularized the method in his 1973 book The Composite Chart. The idea is that you calculate the midpoints of each person’s placements to generate a hypothetical chart that characterizes the relationship. More attention is paid to the ascendant, the sign placement of the chart ruler. and stelliums in houses and or signs to describe the themes of relationships. However, you cannot over-interpret the chart since it is largely based on midpoints. Transits can be applied to this chart to assess how the astroweather is affecting a relationship.

In the early 1970s, Ronald Davison developed and outlined a different form of composite chart that would become known as the Davison Relationship Chart. Unlike the midpoint composite popularized by John Townley, the birth date, birth time, and birthplace are averaged to generate a chart that exists in time and space. Many of the same principles for interpreting midpoint composite charts apply, but it can be read like a natal chart. Experimentation suggests that timing techniques beyond transits can actually be applied to this chart, describing the seasons of a particular relationship.

Mo’s Preference: Davison

I am a big composite fan, and more specifically a fan of the Davison Relationship Chart. People understand their connections to other people through their experience of the relationship, and I think both forms of composite charts are helpful for achieving these goals. A big selling point for me with Davison charts is that you can identify the midpoint of a relationship in the ephemeris. Since the chart generated is not just the midpoint of individual placements, you can have retrogrades show up in the chart. If you are connected to someone born in a different part of a key planetary cycle, you may find that a retrograde planet or a cazimi plays a central part of your relationship. You may also find repetitions of that planetary cycle (eclipse, retrograde, cazimi, etc.) are transits that strongly impact the relationship! Overlays are key, and despite having an averaged date/time/location, sometimes the energy of one person dominates more in these charts, rather than being a perfect average. This provides valuable interpretive nuance, regardless of the nature of the relationship!

Anna’s Preference: Synastry

Synastry always gets a bad reputation as a sort of lesser form of astrology for a few reasons. Relationship astrology is sensitive and extremely complex, as well as personal. It’s easy to think you’ve got it wrong because there are so many astrological and emotional variables. I honed my astrological skills through dissecting my own relationships and those of others, vascilating between the roles of observer and participant. As I study and read astrological texts from both the ancient and modern world, I’m always pleased to see synastry woven into descriptions of nativities and other delineations. While I also use Composite and Davison charts for relationship readings, because they were crafted in the 20th century, there isn’t as much of a richness of historical analysis, and much of that analysis comes from synastry as well.

As astrologers understand more about the ways that the stars manifest in overarching societal experiences, mapping out the sparks in your romantic connections may seem petty in comparison. But amidst all of the turmoil and crisis of humanity, it matters who you come home to, and a synastry biwheel can show that so simply and poetically. I think there is something to be said for the basic and vital aspects such as Venus trine Moon, which expresses such care and understanding between individuals.

Finally, synastry is not just for romance! Rivalries, friendships, families, career, social media accounts, and pets are all relationships that can be examined through synastry.

About the Authors:

Anna DunLany is a traditionally influenced modern astrologer who specializes in natal and relationship readings. She started studying astrology in her teens, reading every book and internet forum she could find, then formally studied with Samuel Reynolds, and opened her professional practice in 2022. With her background in non-profit fundraising and volunteer management, Anna is focused on how AYA can best support astrologers educationally and financially, while connecting with one another in meaningful ways.

A deep love of history, creative writing, and her Gemini MC led Anna to combine her academic and esoteric interests and write her newsletter, Overly Personal Astrology, where she writes personal essays and astrological analysis of herself and historical figures.  She lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

Mo is an American astrologer currently based in Toronto, Canada. She has been a practicing astrologer since 2018. She specializes in Hellenistic and Medieval astrology, focusing heavily on Solar Revolutions, Profections, and related timing techniques. She is passionate about teaching people about the various applications of the smaller subdivisions of the zodiac.

November Forecast

Astrologically, the end of October was a rollercoaster. Since the sun entered Scorpio, planets have turned on their heels, ingressed, regressed, and eclipsed one another in one of the more tense and intense astrological periods of the entire year. If you’re reeling, you’re not alone.

Scorpio season is a strange time for such change. Though Scorpio is associated with transformation in some schools of astrology, it is also fixed in nature. Though the impulses to transform and to remain fixed seem contradictory, transforming is far different from adapting. Though not all transformation is permanent, it requires a certain decisiveness to occur, a commitment to going from one thing to another. Scorpionic energy is embodied in the courage it takes to reject a fixed status quo in favor of the unknown.

The midpoints of all fixed signs mark the midpoints of each of the four seasons, the moments halfway between equinoxes and solstices. At these moments, the character of a given season is typically holding fairly steady. In Scorpio season, the days have notably shifted in length, but not so much so that they feel extreme. The weather, typically, holds steady. At these midpoints, we still vividly remember what has just passed, but we also begin to sense what’s coming in the air. This year, the moment takes on special significance as the final eclipse of this season, a total lunar eclipse in Taurus with a tight conjunction to Uranus for good measure.

The term I most frequently use to describe eclipses is “unpredictable.” There are some standard, typical significations (shout out to my friend who’s getting fitted for contacts during this eclipse season), but eclipses can be incredibly hard to predict. And arguably, confidence in the outcome of an eclipse is almost like a challenge to the fates to throw you for a loop. Though they are symbolically malefic in character, on a personal level, their manifestations can run the gamut from devastating to absolutely magical (of course, not always so extreme). And in the season of fixity and transformation, the potent energy of an eclipse has the potential to radically shift dynamics. Whether or not you want to make big moves, the current astro-weather may not leave you with much choice.

The lunar eclipse on November 8th marks itself as at or near the end of stories that have been playing out in a major way since around May of this year. Hopefully, this period offers some resolution to the problems that have plagued us since then. While the astrology right now may not feel comforting, astrology always offers a reminder that all cycles end, ebbing and flowing into one another in a natural exchange. Sometimes new problems replace the old ones, but at leat there’s change.

As Saturn and Mars both change direction, there’s a sense of tension almost vibrating in the air right now. With both malefics moving slowly for the entire month of November, the message is clear: you can’t give your all to everything. This month is about deciding what to grind through and what you need to shelve for the time being. And in some cases, it means dusting off old skills or stories, taking them down, and seeing whether some previously abandoned thought or skill might be just the solution needed.

After the heaviness of this eclipse season, the end of November has a scintillating energy that particularly lends itself to fresh perspective. Starting on the 12th, Mercury and Venus will be within 3º of one another and will continue traveling together through the rest of the month. They begin in Scorpio, passing over a square to Saturn. Saturn is holding a lot of weight right now, coming off of their last domicile retrograde period before shooting straight off into the mystical waters of Pisces. As Mercury and Venus overcome them, they offer an opportunity to talk it out and get deep. What’s the one thing you haven’t wanted to say out loud? When there’s nothing left to lose, you might as well just name it.

This heaviness quickly changes its character on this 16th when Venus enters Sagittarius and Mercury follows around 24 hours later. In Jupiter’s home, Mercury can feel a bit discombobulated, but that disorientation sometimes allows them to stumble on brilliant, unconventional ideas. With a recently domiciled, stationing Jupiter in Pisces in charge, the sheer volume of potential bright ideas is at an all-time high.

The end of November and the beginning of Sagittarius season are defined by this merging of Mercurial and Venusian energies seeking unifying theories and quick resolution. However, both planets will make an opposition to retrograde Mars in Gemini by the end of the month. While many exciting possibilities may be offered, all that glitters is not gold, and Mars represents a stumbling block in the way of satisfying resolution.

Whenever Mars and Venus make an opposition, Mars is either retrograde or stationary, giving Venus the upper hand. This opposition is less of a wrecking ball and more of a small but noteworthy red flag. With whatever comes up at the end of the month, pay attention to what doesn’t seem to be adding up. If something seems too good to be true, it may be. It’s certainly worth taking a second look.

If I had to distill the astrology of November to a single piece of advice it would be this: take care of what you can, no more and no less. You can spin out of control trying to align yourself with the flow of the universe or clear the path months and years down the road. Let November be about the here and now and what needs to happen in order to make life the most livable in the immediate present. And trust that you know best what that is.

About the Author

A picture of Adina in a denim shirt and a grey beanie sitting against a white wall with black symbols drawn on it. These include the Scorpio glyph, a daisy, a bone, a fish, and a ufo.

Adina (she/her) is a lesbian jewish astrologer currently based in Texas. She holds a BA in Folklore and Mythology and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and is currently earning an MA in clinical psychology with a focus on Spirituality, Mind, and Body. Adina’s astrological practice explores the relationship of the self to the personal, interpersonal, structural, and cosmic in a way that fosters self-compassion and deep exploration. Adina is an active consulting astrologer, and she has presented on astrology and fatness at the Emerging Astrologers Summit. When not astrologizing, Adina loves binge-watching television, drinking copious amounts of coffee, and crocheting.

You can find Adina online @adinarising and on her website.

Seminar Under the Stars with Mo Olufemi: Triplicity, A Crash Course

The Association for Young Astrologers is so excited to welcome Mo Olufemi (@australtaur) to offer us a comprehensive overview of astrological triplicity. While most of the focus later in the Western Astrological traditions has centered on looking at placements in their domicile, exaltation, fall, and detriment; there 3 other tiers of essential dignity that can add nuance to the expression of a planet and the consequences it has for the topics it rules. In this workshop, we will explore triplicity as a concept and its wide ranging uses in astrology! This is an abbreviated version of talks Mo has previously given on the subject.

Seminar Under the Stars is a continuation of AYA’s long-running lecture series, Dinner & Drinks. We’ll be delivering the same stellar talks and astrological wisdom across disciplines and traditions while extending a more welcoming hand to all who may be interested.

This event is free and open to the public. We will gather on September 22, 2022 for a live lecture and Q&A. In addition, AYA members will have lifetime access to the recording of this talk along with prior Dinner & Drinks lectures.

Join us here on Zoom: