The Mathematics of Aspects: A Simple Hack

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I’m going to let you all in on a secret: I’m a total math nerd.  I almost majored in math in college, until I found out – while sitting in my Calculus 2 lecture – that my boyfriend was cheating on me.  I ran out of the class, missed two subsequent lectures on advanced integrals or vectors or some such topics, and couldn’t catch on after that.  Yes, it’s all Jon’s fault that I’m not working for NASA, making a six-figure salary and discovering new planets on the daily.  Isn’t it nice to have an ex to blame? 

No, it wasn’t Jon’s fault, although it did feel nice to hold him accountable for my first and last C+ as a student.  Years later, when I took the Harvard Implicit Bias Test for my master’s degree in Counseling, I learned that I sabotaged my own career in math due to a deeply ingrained belief that women were not meant to work in the STEM fields.  I wasn’t in college all that long ago, but since then, it seems that movements have sprung up left and right to recruit women into math, science, and engineering jobs.  Had I been exposed to those movements years ago, my life would be very different. But, then again, my life would be very different.  I don’t know if I would have found meaning through spirituality and astrology; I probably wouldn’t be writing this post.  Who’s to say which is better or worse (aside from my bank account)?

Anyway, while I’m not solving differential equations on the reg, I am able to put my 27º Capricorn sun to work by making simple mathematical associations using the zodiac.  The keyword there is “simple”.  Although I love calculus, this is certainly not that.  Just a simple association using basic math principles.  For the record, I’m not laying claim to a new theory of astrology…I’m really just having fun using math to understand compatibility between signs.

Here’s how it works.  Start at Aries, the first sign of the birth chart, and assign it the integer 1. Mark the second sign, Taurus, with the integer -1.  Continue numbering the rest of the birth chart alternating between 1 and -1.  When you’re done, you’ll have the following configuration:

Aries: 1  Taurus: -1  Gemini: 1  Cancer: -1  Leo: 1  Virgo: -1  
Libra: 1  Scorpio: -1  Sagittarius: 1  Capricorn: -1  Aquarius: 1  Pisces: -1  

So, what can this tell us about sign compatibility?

If you’re interested in seeing which signs can most easily harmonize with one another, multiply their assigned integers.  According to the laws of multiplication, a product can only be negative if a positive integer is multiplied by a negative integer (1 x -1).  Using this formula, signs that can most easily reconcile their differences will yield a 1.  Signs that have more trouble with this will yield a -1. 

Here’s an example: In the zodiac wheel, Taurus and Leo square each other.  This aspect yields tension; the bull does not look to the lion as her king, and the lion does not serve the bull.  With the mathematical formula we’re exploring, this combination results in a -1.  Using this method, all natural squares will be indicated by a -1.  The same goes for signs that naturally quincunx each other or are naturally semisquare or sesquihadrate.  These are aspects that indicate strain.  Harmonious aspects like trines and sextiles will always result in a 1, indicating more peaceful resolution of conflicts, like what we may see between Taurus and Virgo at work.

What about conjunctions and oppositions?  Both will result in a 1, even though these aspects (particularly the opposition) are mainly considered “hard” aspects.  This is my opportunity to clarify: this formula is not meant to indicate a relationship that is always roses and butterflies.  Rather, it is meant to determine the ability of two signs to compromise.  The conjunction gets a 1 because we’re just multiplying the same sign by itself.  No differences there.  Oppositions require a little more explanation.  Although oppositions can create difficulties in the lives of a native, they are really opportunities for balance rather than instigators of hard-to-resolve battles (like squares).  [For more of my perspective on oppositions, see my previous post, “Harmonizing Oppositions”].  After all, all opposites are really not so different…they are two sides of the same coin.  Here’s the math to prove it: although the equation -1 x -1 is opposite of the equation 1 x 1, they yield the same product: 1.

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