Obviously, it is the nature of the planet itself -and the sign or element it is in, plus a certain amount of free will or maturity on the part of the native(s) involved.
Fire and air planets will naturally gravitate towards one another as will earth and water. But what if that fire or air planet is in an earth or water sign?
A good knowledge of planetary rulerships(dignities) and sign/planet harmony(synastry) is needed to tackle this subject.
Basically, masculine planets and signs(Fire and Air) get along well with one another as do feminine(Earth or Water) planets and signs. This differentiation between masculine and feminine(or positive and negative/extrovert and introvert/etc.) is the most BASIC and IMPORTANT divisor and indicator of compatiblity or affinity in astrology. Everything else is an extensiion of it. Next in importance are the elements, modes, and polarities, and the individual signs or planets themselves. The chart below illustrates this.
Mars or Aries, for example, gets along best with itself, followed by the other two fire principles, and lastly the Air element. Of the air element, Earth/Libra is the most intimate because of the similarity of mode(both are cardinal). Fire does not get along with either the Earth element(which it finds too strong) or the water element(which it finds too weak).
Air is equal or complementary to fire but is superior or dominating to Earth and inferior or subordinate to Water. Earth and Water are equal or complementary to each other but incompatible to either fire or air.
Both the masculine and femininie genders are conflicting towards one another but equal in strength and this must be so in order to preserve balance in the universe.
Planets in their own signs(dignity) are strongest and purest and seek one another out as kings seek kings or presidents seek presidents. There are twelve such positions and are found in the charts of highly gifted or powerful individuals. They are:
Sun in Leo, Moon in Cancer, Mercury in Gemini, Venus in Taurus, Mars in Aries, Jupiter in Sagittarius, Saturn in Capricorn, Uranus in Aquarius, Neptune in Pisces, Pluto in Scorpio, Earth/Ascendant in Libra, and an as yet undetermined body or planet in Virgo.
Next in power are planets in their opposite signs, trine signs, square, sextile, and inconjunct or semi-sextile, and they too will primarily seek one another out within their own group or level.
Sun in Aquarius, for example, is an opposition placement(the planet and sign are opposing in quality) and will primarily seek out other opposition placements, such as Mars in Libra, Venus in Scorpio, Uranus in Leo(mutual reception), and so on.
In this way every one of the 144 planetary placements in astrology(12 planets x 12 signs) will have eleven other placements that are of primary importance to them. These placements can be grouped as follows...(select any planetary placement within any group below and see which other placements are most closely associated with it).
Example: the most important or significant placements for a Sun in Leo are Moon in Cancer, Mercury in Gemini, etc. For a Pluto in Scorpio they will be of the same group(Sun in Leo, Moon in Cancer, etc.)
All planets(except for those in their home sign) are dispositing planets; that is, they are reliant or dependant on other planets in the chart(including other people's charts) for self-completion or fulfillment. Disposition works through rulership. Sun in Aries, for example is disposited through Mars, which may in turn be disposited through another planet. It is possible to have a chain of dispositing planets such as the following:
Sun in Aries/Mars in Gemini/Mercury in Taurus/Venus in Aquarius/Uranus in Sagittarius/Jupiter in Leo/Sun in Aries. In such a case, all of these planets work together in some way.
A planet in its own sign stands alone and can freely give or refuse to give of itself to the rest of the chart. Even the transits and progressions of other planets to it don't have much effect. A planet in it's own sign is a MASTER planet and needs no one or nothing(except other master planets). Dispositing planets, on the other hand, reflect all of our needs and interdependencies.
Two planets in mutual reception are the next best thing to a planet in its home sign, especially if they are of the same element or polarity. Two planets are in mutual reception when they disposit each other.
example 1: Sun in Aries and Mars in Leo
Each planet is in the sign the other rules so that there is a cross-link or interdependancy. Both planets complete or fulfill each other, and in a positive way, since both are trine aspect(by sign).
example 2: Venus in Aquarius and Uranus in Taurus
These two planets wil also fulfill or complete each other but it won't be easy as the two are in square(by sign).
Mutual reception can also work by transit or between planets in two people's charts. If you are a Sun in Aries, for example, you will be especially sensitive to the transit of Mars in Leo, or to someone's Mars in Leo.
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