Splitting After 40 Years:The Synastry of Al and Tipper Gore

Al and Tipper Gore at the inaugural ceremonies in Washington on Jan. 20, 2009. Photo by Susan Walsh for The Associated Press.

Al Gore, former vice president of the United States, and his wife, Tipper, announced today that they are separating after 40 years of marriage. Why now?

First of all, we have to commend anyone who can make a marriage last for 40 years. That is a miracle in today’s disposable world, and there is no way we can call this marriage anything but successful. We can imagine that a lot of hard work and perseverance went into their relationship. Of course, they were preoccupied with a lot of external pressures, and that does tend to take the focus off the problems in a marriage.

According to media reports, the decision was mutual. The ostensible reason is that the couple “grew apart.” After looking at their synastry chart, I am taking their statement at face value.

Synastry, for those not familiar with the term, is the astrological technique of comparing the positions of the planets and houses in one person’s chart with those of the other person. The first thing I look for is a favorable aspect between Sun and Moon. Equally important, I look for evidence of a strong sexual connection. Although sex isn’t everything, especially as we advance in age, physical “chemistry” is a powerful bond and can act as a motivator to encourage couples to work through problems instead of calling it quits.

Traditionally, astrologers consider it best for the woman’s Moon to be favorably aspected to the man’s Sun, although nowadays the reverse is viewed positively as well, especially for power couples such as Al and Tipper. Her Moon at 21 degrees Aquarius makes a very wide sextile to his Sun at 10 degrees Aries, perhaps enough to cement a friendship. Al’s Moon at 3 degrees Capricorn makes a wide, out-of-sign trine with Tipper’s Sun at 26 degrees Leo. This is a little better. Still, I’d say that these two indicators are more of an easy friendship than anything else.

Al and Tipper never had the classic markers for sexual chemistry. The strongest link is an opposition between her Moon at 21 degrees Aquarius and his Mars at 18 degrees Leo. This suggests that sexual attraction may have been based on an emotional dependency. We might guess that an adult woman has worked through these issues and healed the underlying wound, which then dissolves the bond.

They do, however, have very strong aspects for longevity, primarily the tight trine between his Jupiter at 28 degrees Sagittarius and her Sun-Saturn conjunction at 26 degrees Leo. His early Cap Moon also plays into this connection. Their synastry suggests that the strongest glue in their relationship was working together toward mutual interests, which we can guess probably related to their (especially his) political and professional aspirations. There’s nothing wrong with this arrangement, in my book, as long as both parties agree to it … and they apparently did.

With all of that in mind, it’s logical that they would separate now that their “work” together apparently is complete. It is time for them to keep growing in other ways.

Looking at transits, the cardinal T-square with Pluto at the apex is making tight contact with Al’s natal Moon. Pluto conjunct the Moon often signifies the end of a committed relationship, and we can feel totally changed inside emotionally after this transit is done (see my Ask Real Astrologers post on this disturbing transit.) In short, he’s growing and transforming, and it’s no surprise that he’s moving in a different direction from his wife of 40 years, especially when you throw the Saturn-Uranus opposition into the mix.

Of no less importance, the current series of eclipses in Capricorn and Cancer is taking place in Tipper’s seventh house of committed relationships and first house of self. This is often when committed relationships begin or end.

Also, the cardinal T-square is occurring in a wide square to Tipper’s Ascendant and her natal Venus at 11 degrees Cancer. This suggests a change in a committed relationship. I’m guessing that she is going to feel liberated and will launch into a new professional venture from which she will gain not only material rewards but some public acclaim.

After looking at their charts, I think they’ve made a sound decision, and for that they should be commended as well. Even when you do everything “right,” sometimes a relationship has to end. When it has reached its logical conclusion and outlived its purpose, letting go is the best and wisest choice.

Aquarius, the sign of astrologyPat