If you’ve ever found out your crush’s birthday and immediately looked up your astrological compatibility, you might have felt defeated when you learned that no, Capricorn and Aries are not compatible — in fact, they’re one of the worst matches out there. Astrologer Annabel Gat is different. In her first book, The Astrology of Love & Sex, she takes a new approach to compatibility: one in which there are no “bad” matches.
Instead of telling you whether you and your crush are a “good” or “bad” match, Gat highlights each pairing’s unique strengths and challenges. After practicing astrology for over a decade, including writing horoscopes for the app AstroGuide, she’s very familiar with each sign. “What makes sense for me is to take these two archetypes and play an imaginary game about how they might get along: highlight the good and the bad, and figure out how you can make it work for the best,” Gat tells Refinery29. “There’s no such thing as a ‘bad match.’”
Gat also throws out the gendered way in which many compatibility books presents each match in favor of a presentation that’s inclusive of all sexualities, genders, and relationship styles. Instead of “Capricorn Man and Aries Woman,” it’s simply “Capricorn and Aries.” “Gender and sexuality are an extremely important part of our identities, but when it comes to the archetypes of the zodiac, an Aries is an Aries is an Aries,” Gat explains. The result is an inclusive approach to compatibility that will still have you looking up your crush’s sign. We talked to Gat about her approach to compatibility and what she thinks of astrology’s recent skyrocketing popularity.
Why did you decide to focus on compatibility for your first book?
For anyone who starts studying astrology, when you go to the astrology section of the bookstore, you immediately go to the compatibility books. Those books were so fun for me, and I always wanted to put my own spin on it.
Has astrological compatibility ever influenced how you date or who you date?
I think anyone who’s into astrology can relate — if you have a super crush on someone, you really don’t care what any compatibility website says. Sure, I was always intrigued at seeing how things would play out with certain signs. But if you have a crush on someone and you’re into them, you don’t care what sign they are.
When I meet someone, I really try to see them for who they are. I don’t even ask people what their signs are because I want to let the relationship bloom on its own. I’m in a relationship now, but when I was single, if I met someone, I wasn’t asking for their birth time. I wanted them to know I’m into you because of you, not because of what’s happening in our charts.
Tell me about how you came to this approach, where there are no “bad matches.”
It’s the most logical way to go. I almost can’t believe that people come up with “good matches” or “bad matches,” because that’s just bogus. First of all, you need to be able to look at an entire birth chart. Just because two sun signs might not share the same element doesn’t mean the rest of the chart isn’t working in harmony. And if you back up from that, looking at birth charts and doing synastry is all a just a tool for examining things. What really matters is the two people.
We have to remember that astrology is a tool for self-knowledge, but humans are interpreting it and writing these books — you can’t let someone you’ve never met before tell you whether or not you and your partner won’t work. They don’t know you. A smart astrology book, which is what mine is, is going to look at the archetypes, examine the archetypes, and give advice that will help you instead of being another obstacle.
I’m a single Scorpio, and recently someone asked what signs I’d dated. I was like, “Well, there have been a lot of Aquarians.” And they said, “Oh, no wonder it’s not working out, you should be dating a Taurus.”
That doesn’t fit my approach. Maybe you have your moon in Aquarius, and that’s exactly who you should be dating. And Aquarius and Scorpio are a really interesting combination: both of you were the people in high school who knew how to code a MySpace so it was really pretty, and both of you were also the ones who knew all the tea and gossip about other people. You’re both the detectives of the zodiac — very similar signs that go about things in completely different ways.
Compatibility is often based on the geometric relationship between the planets and those signs, and that’s called a planetary aspect. The aspect between Scorpio and Aquarius is a square, and squares are thought of as being hard aspects because they force things into action. We can perceive that as being difficult, but some of the hottest sex I’ve had in my life, and that clients have told me they have in their lives, are with people who have that square. That’s why these “bad” aspects are sometimes the sexiest ones. I’m not saying that drama or difficulty is sexy, but a little bit of friction in a birth chart can manifest as passion and creativity.
I’m still pretty new to astrology, and I’ve recently learned that some astrologers will only do compatibility readings for cis straight couples. I love that your book is inclusive of all genders and sexualities.
I don’t think I did anything that revolutionary or phenomenal, I just stopped doing what they used to do, which is, “Aries Man, Pisces Woman.” All I’m doing is saying is, let’s not gender things. Let’s keep it open for anyone to pick up the book and not be confronted with sexist, dated views on relationships.
I wanted to write a book that spoke to the relationships that people are having. When I give consultations to my clients, I’m talking to them about their real lives. In people’s real sex lives, it’s not all long walks on the beach, it’s “we’re trying an open relationship ” or “we’re trying some kink.” That was my whole approach to this book: “what do people actually talk about?”
When I’m reading about my sign in general, I’m like, “That’s me, that’s me, that’s not me.” When you were writing about your own sign, Aries, were you like, “It’s all me?” How personal is it for you?
I have been studying astrology for so long that I see myself in all the signs, because I know where all the signs fall in the chart. I try to keep myself in check when it comes to putting my own experiences in my work, because first and foremost, I want the work I create to be something that’s for everyone. I’m not writing about myself, but I am writing about the things that have been helpful for people to hear in all the client work I’ve done in the past decade and a half.
Astrology has become more and more popular in the past couple years. Do you think this is definitely a good thing, or do you have any concerns about how people are approaching it?
I love it. It’s like anything: If you’re going to a movie, if you’re going to a restaurant, or if you’re going to get a consultation from an astrologer, read the reviews first, learn about the process, talk to your friends. I think what’s really exciting about astrology’s moment today is that people are learning how to read their own charts. If we all have this knowledge for ourselves, we’ll be able to use it in this amazing way.
Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?