Wouldn’t it be nice if relationships were mathematical equations? We might not always be able to come up with the right answer, but it would at least be comforting to know that there was a right answer.
The thing is, relationships kind of are mathematical equations. We think we fall in love by some happy accident engineered by the gods. But in fact, I think we mostly respond to someone who helps fill in what’s missing in us and balance out our equation.
That’s why the relationships of our youth can be so perilous: there are so many critical gaps in us to fill. We choose someone who helps us deal with our dad stuff, then someone else for the mom stuff; one who is as calm as we are volatile, another who leads us into confrontations with the world that we are otherwise loathe to take on.
At first, it feels like heaven, like a Jerry McGuire, “You complete me” moment. At last, and effortlessly, we seem to have solved the equation. But then the teacher demands, “Show your work. How did you come to this solution?” Why this person? What are they completing in you? And what happens when your co-star in this romantic drama forgets his lines or loses track of his motivation? Maybe we think we’ve fallen for a knight on a white horse, only to find that the reason he’s such a great antidote for our dad issues is that he is, for all intents and purposes, dad.
Unerringly, we do find what we’re looking for on some level, even if it’s not the thing that’s going to make us happy. And often, we encounter it in an exaggerated form, so we can’t overlook it. We are meek, and find ourselves attracted to someone who is constantly picking fights and brawling in the streets. We’re a little uptight, so we find wild unpredictability irresistible in others. We’re strong and successful, and maybe a little conflicted about it; we magnetize a series of someones who are determined to “put us in our place.”
Archetypal Libra – the sign that traditionally rules relationship – is cerebral, carefully weighing pluses and minuses, debits and credits, to ensure that everything stays in balance. But this Libra New Moon point is square Pluto, and Libra’s ruling planet, Venus, is retrograde in Scorpio (Oct. 5 – Nov. 16, 2018). This New Moon is as passionate as it gets. This is no romantic gondola ride through Venice; it’s a season for rolling up your pants legs and wading into the stinky, swampy waters of the canal. For going deep in current relationships and examining the ones that brought you to this point.
The Sabian Symbol for this New Moon degree, 16 Libra, is, After a storm, a boat landing stands in need of reconstruction. Ya think? After that long, hot summer of Uranus newly in ill-fitting Taurus, and Mars moving retrograde seemingly forever, and three – count ‘em, THREE – eclipses, that boat landing is looking a little tattered indeed. The New Moon degree is square Pluto at 19 Capricorn, symbolized by A child of about five carrying a huge shopping bag filled with groceries. Maybe the summer’s storm has left you realizing just how much of the emotional work you’ve been doing in your relationships. How much baggage you’re carrying. And how part of you feels safer “dining out” on that baggage than rewriting your relationship script.
Libra is the planet of relating, but Scorpio is where we grow intimate. You and your partner begin your journey together together with your big shopping bags in hand, trying hard to balance each other out—the peacemaker with the scrapper; one moody and emotional, the other steady and patient. But if you stay together long enough, things will eventually get real. Occasionally, they’ll even get ugly. And just when you think you’ve solved the equation, you’ll go through something together that changes the whole formula. Over time, your differences become more distinct, even as you grow more alike. You challenge, complement, and entertain each other. If you’re lucky, you feel you’re better versions of yourselves for having been in this relationship.
Through it all, you’re right down there in the Grand Canal together, treading mucky water and pulling a gondola behind you with a rope. Neither of you will look your best, and you’ll take turns complaining that you’re doing more than your share of the work. But hopefully, after awhile, you’ll no longer notice the mud or the heat or the weight of the boat; you’ll occupy your time enjoyably, pointing out the places of interest to each other, the palazzi that flank the canal, the fascinating people you see along the way. As you pass the portico of a fondaco, where ships were once unloaded, you’ll glance over your shoulders at two little bags, sitting in the back of the gondola. And you’ll laugh together, because you’d forgotten they were there at all. They are the least of the weight you carry, joyfully, together.