Over the Moon

An Astrological Guide to Relationships
Words by Christina Shepherd McGuire + PHOTOGRAPHY BY Neil Simmons

When you live in the mountains, much of your life is dictated by nature. It’s nature that we turn to when the world around us becomes too noisy to bear. The subtle nuances of the forests, the sky, and the animals teach us what comes next in the scheme of life. Everything has a season, including love. In fact, the intricate science of astrology—the study of the relationship between the planets and how they correlate to the natural world—can be used as a relationship guide. It’s an ancient art that’s gaining popularity, as we long to uncover the secrets of how to better get along with one another. 

Erin Aylmer, a certified counseling astrologer based out of Victor, Idaho, likens relationship astrology to a trail map. 

“If you’re going to hike a mountain, wouldn’t you want to have a map that showed you the optimal way to the top?” says Aylmer. “That’s not to say you won’t have to cross rivers or encounter steep sections. You’ll still have to navigate the ups and downs, but you’ll have a guide.”

The Day You Were Born

One of the first tools Aylmer looks at when she counsels a couple is their individual birth charts and the relationship between the two. A birth chart is a snapshot of the solar system at the exact time and place you were born from the perspective of earth. It shows where the planets were in the sky on the day and time you were born, as well as the geometrical angles they formed with each other. It’s these angles of the planets that reveal their connection to the human experience. 

Your birth chart—let’s call it your personalized instruction manual—reveals your individual strengths and weakness, your personality traits, and can indicate the best timing for important life events (like getting married, for instance). Aylmer uses this information in her counseling to show couples how to better work with one another. She explains that it’s important not only to look at the traits of your partner, but to also look at your own traits in relation to his or hers.

“This helps a person see how they are inherently showing up in life, and how this might be difficult for their partner,” says Aylmer. “It also helps couples understand each other with less judgment.”

Aylmer explains that astrological traits have a lot to do with the seasons and the amount of light there is when we are born. For instance, Aries is the first sign of the zodiac, and it’s associated with spring. “It’s the warrior energy that gets a little sprout to come up through the earth and become a plant,” Aylmer says. Hence, Aries tend to be motivated and brave, optimistic and competitive. But like other fire signs, an Aries can also be impulsive and lack patience.

The Sun vs. the Moon 

When we ask someone, “What’s your sign?” we are technically asking about the person’s “sun sign,” or their sign on the zodiac dictated by their day and month of birth. 

“Our sun sign is our predominant sign; it’s our identification,” says Aylmer, noting that a sun sign’s energy is more masculine in nature.

However, the moon, which moves quickly around the zodiac staying in each sign only for a two-day period every month, influences your inner mood and emotions (your feminine energy). If you take the day and month you are born, and then add in the place and time, you come up with your “moon sign,” which Aylmer emphasizes is the underlying sign for relationship compatibility. 

The most compatible sun signs are those with traits that are complementary opposites, whereas compatible moon signs identify with the shared elements of fire, air, earth, and water. Water signs like Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces may not pair well with fire signs like Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius. 

“Fire and water don’t go well together because fire evaporates water and water puts out fire,” Aylmer explains. “People that feel safe with fire will feel safe with earth. But, if you take a fish out of water and put them in the air, they’re not going to feel at home.”

So what if your sun or your moon signs aren’t compatible? 

Aylmer notes that all relationships are challenging, regardless of astrological compatibility, but giving yourself an opportunity to learn about your partner’s signs expands your perspective of him or her. She equates it to looking at someone through a telescope with a narrow vision, as opposed to taking the blinders off to see more. 

“It can be really good to look at all these gifts you have, as well as the roadblocks,” she says. “Knowing the roadblocks helps you navigate them with awareness—and this completely changes the game.”

Photo by Lauren Odderstol

Wedding Planning and the Moon

When you align your wedding with the moon, it better connects you to each other and  nature. It’s a fitting gesture for anyone looking to create a union with the majestic Teton backdrop as their witness. 

In folklore, a new moon symbolized the start of a new cycle. Farmers used this fertile time to sow seeds and plant new crops. (We still see this today in biodynamic farming.) A full moon, on the other hand, indicates the culmination of a cycle, a need for celebration. Historically, parties were held during full moons because there was more evening light.

The mood of your wedding can be dictated by the moon’s cycle, too. If you want to emphasize the start of a new life together, choose a time in your wedding season that aligns with the new moon. Or, if you want to celebrate all the things that came together to make your special day happen—including falling in love, nurturing a relationship, and planning a wedding—choose a date that aligns with the full moon. 

If all this moon talk seems hokey to you, take some time to study nature, read historical texts, or reflect on what it really means to be wed, and you may just change your mind. Astrology is a holistic science that closely relates to human nature. Just think—you’re putting a lot of effort into getting married in a remote setting among the mountains (and you’re doing it for a reason). An equal effort can also be given to understanding how the cosmos have influenced your ways. 

“When you align with the energies of nature, nature is more supportive of you,” says Aylmer.  

Compatible Sun Signs (complementary opposites):

Aries and Libra
Gemini and Sagittarius
Leo and Aquarius
Taurus and Scorpio
Cancer and Capricorn
Virgo and Pisces 

Compatible Moon Signs(shared elements):

Fire: Aries, Leo, Sagittarius
Earth: Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn
Air: Gemini, Libra, Aquarius
Water: Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces

Erin’s 2021 Guide to Aligning Your Wedding with the Moon

Intention: Budding light
Ritual: Plant a seed and set an intention for your marriage. Over time, the plant, tree, or flower seed—together with your intention—will grow.

Intention: The consecration of a new union 
Ritual: Practice yoga, meditate, or simply just sit together before your wedding to cultivate balance in mind, body, and spirit for your ceremony.

Intention: Blossoming light and maturing relationship
Ritual: Charge a rose quartz crystal (stone of love) under the full moon the night of your wedding to capture the love that will feed your relationship. Place the stone in a special spot at home and recharge it on special occasions.

Intention: A celebration of inner light
Ritual: Light a candle on your wedding day that represents the flame of your love. Place it in a special spot in your home so that you can relight it on special occasions. 

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