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The Outer Planets and Relationships

The Outer Planets and Relationships

Episode 67 of the podcast features an interview with astrologer Kay Taylor on how the outer planets manifest their significations within the context of relationships.

The discussion primarily centers around the spectrum of different experiences that accompany aspects between the inner planet Venus and the outer planets Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto in a birth chart, although it can also be used as an access point for understanding the meaning of the outer planets in other contexts as well.

You can find out more information about Kay on her website at KayTaylor.com.

Below you will find the show notes, followed by links to download or stream the recording:


  • Met Kay at the OPA retreat last October.
  • There she gave an excellent talk titled Sex, Love & Crazy, talking about different manifestations of the outer planets in relationships.
  • I thought that this would be a good discussion to have as a followup to the episode from earlier this week on the significations of the visible planets.
  • Our focus is on aspects between Venus and the outer planets, especially hard aspects, although many of the interpretations can also be applied to other instances when the outer planets are connected with relationship sectors in the chart.
  • We start with Pluto, and then move on to Neptune and Uranus aspects.
  • Some of the keywords our wrote down as was talked:
  • Venus-Pluto aspects
    • Challenging: compulsion, obsession, control, manipulation, money issues, manipulation and control around money,
    • Constructive: passionate, dramatic, intensity, depth, transformation,
  • Venus-Neptune aspects
    • Challenging: illusions, disillusionment, fall in love with people who are unavailable, isn’t really there, aren’t what they seem, one-sided relationships, lacking substance, feelings of sacrifice, lack of practicality or grounding.
    • Constructive: transcendent experiences, attunement to or feelings of connection with the souls of other people, kindness, compassionate, charitable, conscious spiritual relationship, unconditional love, philanthropy.
  • Venus-Uranus aspects
    • Challenging: disrupting, abandonment, instability, dissociation, detachment, erratic behavior, erratic relationships, abrupt beginnings and endings, leaving partner before being left, subconscious sudden shifts and then abrupt preemptive endings, feelings of being unsettled or variability
    • Constructive: freedom, spontaneity, open relationships, polyamory, vehicle for awakening, outside of attachment without disassociating, weird relationships or unique relationships, against societal norms.


A full transcript of this episode is available here: Episode 67 transcript

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  • Bravo for pointing out the constructive end of the spectrum, otherwise what is the point? The client already knows how miserable they are. Confirming the problem without offering a way out is of no use but for momentary affirmation. It seems Pluto ended up a bit short on the integration/constructive use end of the spectrum. The sad fact is this may very well be true with hard Venus Pluto aspects – which is why, I believe, many with these aspects simply avoid relationships altogether. The Mars lower octave of this brings out a great deal of anger. Passion is one thing, control and rage is quite another.. Venus better hope she is the superior end of the square and even then, how much chance does she have? From my experience there are very few people who can meet you in the depths of integrity and meaning – that is the heartbreak It is a hefty requirement after all. Having both the Pluto/ Neptune Venus themes in my chart I can say that the real heartbreak is that there truly is with Venus a desire to be loved as well as to love. While steadfastly loyal, especially in Taurus , she also gives to get, while Neptune/Pisces love completely selfless, the classic co-dependence. Here I will add that oddly missing from the commentary is that Neptune reigns over musicians who are also quite often substance abusers as observed from my many years of living with one and knowing many. Neptunian types in the arts are often not only idealized by their mates but everyone around them and that just adds to the problem. There is a certain magic and glamour there in its more positive expression. But in the case of the 7th H Neptunian partner it it like grabbing for an ephemeral being – there is nothing to hold onto, to grasp. To confirm, the failing of a Piscean relationships is the inability to separate the soul level from the earthly personality who may be falling very short of acceptable, especially for Venus square. Good for those who can rise above all of this, but is making Art really a substitute for human Love? Self love first is the only way out and where is that in the chart?

  • PS I think it would be most interesting to hear an interpretation of one of the charts mentioned in the podcast from both the traditional and modern interpretation. I ran my chart both ways with the above themes in mind. It was a fascinating exercise. Neptune in Libra takes us to Venus as a generation and as a generation, there is an idealization of relationship. Take the Neptune square the generational Uranus in Cancer out of the picture and I still have Pisces on the DESC. The traditional ruler Jupiter conjoins Pluto so much of the story plays out the same as their ruler is in the 8th H. Take out the 12th H heavy hitter PLuto in Leo which is partile square to Venus and you have to wonder – is the generational deep anxiety surrounding issues of love and admiration the real problem here? I personally think it is not , that the story can be told in my case anyway ,without the outer planets but must include all personal planets to get the whole story. It seems to be a faster route and one with technicolor and more high drama once we add them in however. The outer planets seem to offer the understanding that we are not alone in some of our deepest inclinations and trauma- that our personal decisions/fate is very much influenced by and reflected in the collective and the time in which we are born but those influences don’t create our dilemma necessarily as many generations have had challenging relationships with different sign placements of these planets. I am left wondering, how personal are the outer planets if the story can be had without them?

  • Thanks Chris & Kay,
    That was an excellent podcast! Helpful to hear a traditional astrologer interview another good astrologer about outer planets. I resonate with traditional astrology and yet wish to hear more about the outer planets at times. There is no denying their huge effect when strongly configured in a chart. Maybe some day there could be Part 2, 3, etc. – Sun, Moon, Mercury, Mars. Maybe a little Chiron? I think your podcasts will be important and valued for many years / decades to come.

  • Hello to all of you, i wanted to add that Venus/Pluto is very much about loyality even more than Venus/Saturn if not Uranus and Neptune interfere and if Venus is in a fixed sign like Taurus or Scorpio

  • Thanks to you and Kay for another insightful episode, Chris!

    One of my favorite correlations to Venus-Pluto is the nature mystic. George Washington Carver (Venus conj. Pluto), a scientist who developed an uncommonly deep perception of the natural world, gave us a pithy formulation of the discovery that having a sincere, heart-felt yet respectful desire to “know” yields a kind of rapport with other-than-human organisms, like plants: “Anything will give up its secrets if you love it enough.”

    Luther Burbank (Venus conj. Pluto) was able to develop so many new food plant varieties because of his development of a similarly deep perception of the natural world. Burbank was able to look at a plant and “see” its ancestral antecedents, in whatever form that may have been. It was how he came to understand that heredity is little more than “stored environment.” Venus comes into this through the sheer necessity of having a deep (but respectful!) desire to connect with the organism, in order to develop such depth perception.

    The cosmologist Brian Swimme (Venus conj. Pluto) is another who comes to mind. While studying with him, I appreciated his deep, deep sentiment for the preciousness of other-than-human organisms and the greater-than-human of our planet, which he often expressed with an inspirational passion. I remember from his lectures a story of wrestling with feeling so deeply for an insect, and feeling so sad for it meeting its death drowning on the edge of a bathtub. He had wanted to rescue it! And he gave pause to reflect on our intimacy with destruction, as a fact of life, and the heartbreaking helplessness one can feel in cognizance of the vastness of it all. One of his book’s titles also expresses his Venus-Pluto well: “The Hidden Heart of the Cosmos.”

    A fourth example of the more generally transpersonal dimensions of a Venus-Pluto concept of love is from St. Teresa of Ávila (Venus sq. Pluto). Her experience of the divine was utterly devastating. She describes her experience of divine love as being pierced through the heart with a hot spear, and the more her spiritual path deepened, the more intensely torturous her experience became. Quoting from Chris Bache’s article, “A Reappraisal of Teresa of Avila’s Supposed Hysteria”:

    “[Teresa of Ávila] speaks of being wounded in the heart with an arrow dipped in a drug which causes self-hate, and on other occasions with a spear tipped with burning iron. She also describes being thrown as fuel on a fire. Though the agony is overwhelming, it is also paradoxically sweet: ‘No words will suffice to describe the way in which God wounds the soul and the sore distress which He causes it, so that it hardly knows what it is doing. Yet so delectable is this distress that life holds no delight which can give greater satisfaction.’ (18) Teresa never was able to understand how such distress and bliss could coexist in the soul.”

  • I just listened to this for the 2nd time. Fantastic discussion that went to the heart of human behavior. I forgot to mention that this same discussion related to the Nodes would also be super helpful. Thank you.

  • What, really, is the difference between Kay talking about aspects in themselves, and Sun Sign astrology? Sun Sign astrology is useful in the same way that a stopped clock is right twice a day – it’s accurate enough at those moments, but you wouldn’t want to build anything you wanted to be substantial on top of it. Treating aspects in and of themselves without considering the nature of the native who has those aspects is kind of pointless and does nothing to elevate astrology.

    • Isn’t that criticism kind of applicable to any area of astrology? Should we never make any general statements about placements?

      • When you discuss aspects in themselves, you have to qualify what you say since there are exceptions, or they are too general and if you are going to do justice to the native, you don’t want to superimpose some apparent meaning onto him or her. This happens when you begin with an aspect.
        If, on the other hand, you begin with the Ascendant and talk about the native, you can derive some facts about the life; then factor in the native’s value sense, service, karma, partnerships, hopes and aspirations, and so on, considering planets’ house position and the houses they rule, and so on, and only then consider aspects – and you know what you are dealing with.

        • I’m trying to understand your point here, but I’m still having trouble seeing how this criticism can’t be applied to making general statements about the principles underlying the interpretation of any other area of chart delineation. In a full chart interpretation everything has to be qualified, because there are mitigating factors to be taken into account in any placement — whether it pertains to the planets, signs, houses, or aspects. So, if you were to impose a ban on making general or unqualified statements about aspects, you would have to extend the same ban to making general or unqualified statements about the other areas as well.

          Just about every tradition of astrology has books with isolated delineations of what certain components mean in isolation: what the planets mean when they aspect each other, what the planets mean when they are in certain signs or houses, etc. To me this seems only natural, because without the ability to understand the individual components of a chart in isolation, how could you understand what they mean when combined and synthesized with other parts?

    • I disagree with John. We have to study “small chunks” of a chart to get the big picture. And that’s how we learn and teach just about everything (not just astrology) : studying the parts makes you understand the whole. Mercury is all about doing that.

  • I have the impression that John is more of a Tarot Expert than an Astrologer or maybe I have the wrong John? Anyway, what Chris says about individual components makes good sense. In an educational / sharing podcast you must be able to speak to components and it’s also helpful to talk about technique and how to synthesize a reading as John suggests.

    What I know is these podcasts have offered countless aha moments that help people better understand astrology, their own astrology practice and how to serve clients in healing ways. It’s a given that components are part of that learning process.

    • Wha???? Why? There is nothing in his comment that points to not understanding technique, in fact he points to the pitfall of simplifying technique. I took his comment as a caveat to over-valuing the isolated at the expense of the whole. My doubt is more with the emphasis on the outer planets in general, as if we really understand them, and as if they truly are not very slow moving planets of the collective. I think this was missing from the discussion, or just not part of it due to time limit?

  • Let’s say someone has an early degree of Pisces rising and Jupiter in the 3rd house in late degrees of Taurus. Someone else might have an early degree of Pisces rising, but with Jupiter in the 2nd in early degrees of Aries. These two people are not the same – one is more volatile than the other – and each will have a different perspective and understanding of life and also of Venus opposite Neptune for instance.
    Yet people in astrology will go straight to an aspect and use its supposed meaning as a starting point without incorporating or back-tracking to the nature of the individual. The aspect may have some truth in it along the lines that Kay would have us believe, but what when it doesn’t? Will the astrologer look elsewhere, or will he or she assume that the native is blind to some dynamic and not give the person credit for knowing his or her own self?
    I find the tendency is for the astrologer to think they’re right and that they know more than the native.
    What happens, in addition, with those who are new to the subject? I suspect that many listeners to the podcast and readers of books will feel the need to learn the apparent “meaning” and will become confused when the native doesn’t agree.
    Or we can start with the native as he or she is – from the Ascendant – and end up adding in the aspects. People spend a lot of time beginning with the end and the conclusion and then finding apparent proof in the natal chart that just confirms what they had already learned. They do not, however, consider the self of the native.

  • I think this discussion points to something very important – that there are a lot of “cook books” out there with little emphasis on integrating the chart as a whole. So one could have a very good program on how to read a chart as well as programs on isolated dynamics to balance this out; John makes a very good point – that no isolated part can be fully understood without looking at the whole. Of course we need to have discussion on interpretation of isolated factors but so often people, especially those new to astrology are learning the bits and pieces without understanding the art of interpretation and dialogue with the client and these leads to great frustration in learning and inaccuracy in reading. Having said all this, I would love to hear about the expression of planets in the beams of the Sun – especially Mercury combust – so I can add that understanding to the whole.

  • I second Jen’s request. More on combust planets would be helpful. Mercury, Jupiter, Mars, Venus – combust or in the beams distinction is a component worth discussion .

    Based on what John & Jen have so intelligently said, it would be neat to have more discussions about how to synthesize a reading for a person. John said, “People spend a lot of time beginning with the end and the conclusion and then finding apparent proof in the natal chart that just confirms what they had already learned. They do not, however, consider the self of the native.” As I’ve learned astrology over recent years this has been true of me. 5 years in and always learning.

  • Sebastsien said: We have to study “small chunks” of a chart to get the big picture…. studying the parts makes you understand the whole.
    It depends what you mean by “chunks”.
    Kay talks about Tina Turner’s abusive relationship with her husband, Ike., and relates it to her Venus square Neptune. Ike was the legally married husband, so we are talking about Tina’s 7th house – with 17 Aquarius on the cusp, Saturn retrograde in Aries in the 9th, and Mercury, the ruler of the decanate retrograde in Sagittarius in the 4th. Tina also has Mars in Pisces in the 7th. These factors tell the story of Tina’s husband and the nature of her relationship with him.
    It is misleading to ignore this natal condition and instead to start with an aspect between two planets that have only a tenuous connection with Tina’s actual partnerships.
    I am arguing for a different method – one where you start with the actual chart and read it as it is. Nowadays, people start with what they know, or what they think they know about the person, and pick and choose circumstances or conditions that prove it. Except that it doesn’t.

    • Another example of the natal chart telling the story regardless of the collective trans personal planet placements. I am still wondering about the collective, generational zeitgeist influencing the personal – stamping an already personal dynamic in the chart.

      • I can agree with Jen, though we know where these outer planets are and were and so we ought to include them just to keep up to date and for astrology to be relevant. Otherwise, it’s a bit like using whole sign houses – that made sense in the past when there weren’t too many clocks and watches, so you might know it was mid-morning but you didn’t know if it was 10.05 or 10.55, so using a system that was approximate was ok, and really all you could use. With Uranus, Neptune and Pluto, though, we ought to consider what they mean in themselves, rather than try to fit them into a psychological method since that’s like trying to button a 16 inch neck in a 14 inch collar – you can make it kind of fit with a necktie, but it’s not much use.

  • wow, lively discussion. john, i think you must have a somewhat prominent uranian marker, though by no means does that mean that i think i know you in your entirety. 😉
    i think this was a wonderful exploration of how we are coming to understand the outer planets, through careful witness, and note that as time itself seems to being revealing more at an exponential rate, we can also grasp trends that carry these quality markers *and* feel comfortable with both releasing and adding various descriptors/experiences as the zeitgeist moves.
    thank you both.

  • Upon revisiting this epsiode, I found it very insightful. I have Neptune right on my Descendant and have definitely had to grow spiritually as a result of relationship woes.

    One thing I found lacking was the discussion of Uranus, which isn’t surprising due to it being defined by resisting definition. I felt like one side of an uncommon relationship was mentioned but there is another side to being in an interracial relationship in the sixties or a gay relationship during the AIDS crisis. I would argue that the simple act of those relationships existing is politically progressive and trailblazing. As a gay man I benefit from my forefathers acts of rebellion by simply loving who they loved. As was implied in the episode, Uranus is always much more concerned with the future than the present, and because of that, is always viewed more favorably in hindsight. In order to really appreciate and capture the beauty of Uranian energy is to appreciate the risk and danger a Southern interracial couple had to endure on a daily basis simply to honor their true feelings and unapolegetically follow their hearts. As well as appreciate the ways that society has benefitted because of the people that took those risks. I’m compelled to mention that when President Obama was conceived, interracial marriage was still illegal in most of the United States.

    An Aquarian Listener

  • I’d love a follow-on episode from this that covers the moon’s aspects with the outer (and other planets). Great podcasts (though I always prefer watching videos as I’m more of a visual person). Thanks