Many of us, myself included, tend to attract the same types of people over and over again as friends or lovers. This pattern of people whom we adore is often reflected by the astrological sign on our descendant, or the house and sign opposite our rising. While the rising sign colors our life tendencies and the midheaven directs to an ideal career path, the descendent gives us a picture of our relationship desires.
Ruled by Libra and the planet Venus of relationality, many astrologers turn to the descendant to study compatibility. I find it interesting Libra is the only sign with a symbol of an inanimate object (the scales), as if somehow our desire for harmony and balance makes it stand out from the others. Libra speaks to our primal need for a primary relationship. Though Taurus is also ruled by Venus it tends to emphasize the whole of relating and community, whereas Libra focuses on one-to-one partnership.
Unlike the rising that creates the horizon of our birth and an entry point into ourselves, the descendant shows in the shadows as possible unknown or unconscious parts of ourselves. In psychology the shadow or unconscious is often what we project onto others (particularly in romantic relationships) and don’t tend to identify with. In my case with a Cancer rising, I have Capricorn on my descendent and most of my best friends and boyfriends have had a sun or moon in Capricorn. For most of my life, I have felt very comfortable in typical Cancer roles caregiver and nurturer, but haven’t identified at all with the qualities associated with Saturn and Capricorn such as discipline, structure, and stability.
Beyond the sign, the planets in the 7th house also create an idea of the type of relationship we want. My Capricorn descendant does best with more traditional monogamy, though it is on the cusp of wild card Aquarius, which can sometimes throw even me off. The qualities associated with our descendant are evoked through relationship or being with someone.
Here are some other examples of how the projection or type of relationship may reveal itself: • Mercury or Gemini/Virgo descendant: Project intelligence or communication onto partner or crave relationship based on common ideas • Mars or Aries descendant: Want a go-getter type partner or action-oriented and active partnership • Uranus or Aquarius descendant: Desire a quirky, free-spirited partner or a non-traditional or polyamorous way of relating • Venus or Taurus/Libra descendant: Project beauty and kindness onto partner or most comfortable in a loyal, very loving partnership • Moon or Cancer descendant: Crave nurturing and emotionally supportive partner or desire for partnership based on building a home • Sun or Leo descendant: Tend to project sense of self onto another person or relationship is one full of romance and building a kingdom together • Pluto or Scorpio descendant: Drawn to those perceived to have more depth or most want a relationship filled with transformational intimacy • Neptune or Pisces descendant: Projection of divine onto partner or build a partnership based on spiritual connection • Jupiter or Sagittarius descendant: Want partner who is larger than life or partnership filled with exploration and expansion • Saturn or Capricorn descendant: Desire partner with financial or business stability or a more traditional partnership of marriage
With the full moon eclipse on March 23 in Libra we have an ideal time to look at the descendent and what we project onto others while in relationship. Recently I’ve done my best to stop projecting my descendant and own my business-sense and stability and have watched my life change. When we identify strongly with only one part of our charts and disassociate from another, often the descendant, we perpetuate the idea of being incomplete. Wholeness depends on us understanding and acknowledging our complexities and the descendant helps us integrate qualities we may not otherwise identify with.
Without doing this we may always feel incomplete without a significant other. Our charts include every planet, just like our psyche, and when we are unwilling to express part of ourselves we become dependent on someone else to do it for us. In this way, the descendant becomes an opportunity to reclaim our wholeness and claim back our projections making us even more balanced and ready for the partnerships the Libra in all of us desires.