What is an opposite zodiac sign pair and how are they connected?
First, a bit of background on what defines an opposite zodiac pair: because there are 12 signs of the zodiac, there are six pairs of opposite zodiac signs. If you think about the zodiac as a wheel, "each sign is opposite, or 180 degrees from another sign," explains Stephanie Gailing, astrologer and author of Astrology: An In Focus Workbook: A Guide to Understanding Yourself Through the Sun, Moon, and Stars. Because these signs sit opposite from each other on the astrological axis, they share certain commonalities and traits that mean they align well, even if they are different in other ways. "On some level these opposite signs experience the same things differently," she explains. Think about Taurus and Scorpio, one pair of astrological opposites: both signs place a high value on security in general, but Taurus sees this more as amassing material security while Scorpio views it more through the lens of emotional safety. It's these similarities that spark that attraction between opposite sign pairings and lend themselves to tight bonds, but the differences in approach and temperament can cause friction.
- Rachel Lang, astrologer, psychic medium, and author of Modern Day Magic: 8 Simple Rules to Realize Your Power and Shape Your Life and As Above, So Below
- Stephanie Gailing, astrologer, wellness consultant, dream interpreter, and author of The Complete Guide to Astrological Self-Care and The Complete Book of Dreams
Key factors that explain why opposite zodiac sign pairs attract
Quadruplicity and elements
One reason these zodiac sign opposites share a connection, says Gailing, is because each of these pairs share a quadruplicity (one of the key zodiac terms to learn), which describes generally how each sign moves through the world and expresses itself; for example, cardinal signs are self-starters who initiate actions, while mutable signs are flexible. It makes sense then that Capricorn and Cancer, which are six signs away from each other and are therefore astrological opposites, are both cardinal signs, as are Libra and Aries. Additionally, opposite zodiac signs have elements that "are simpatico with each other," explains Gailing; earth and water signs are known to mesh well, while air and fire are seen as good pairings—this is why Virgo (earth) and Pisces (water), plus Leo (fire) and Aquarius (air) all share a kinship.
Ascendant and descendant sign pairs
One key metric to look for that explains why astrological opposites attract is the relationship between the ascendant and descendant signs. The ascendant sign, or rising sign, is a key part of your birth chart that represents your self-identity and how others see you, says Gailing; it's opposite a point called the descendant, which is the relationship point. These two are always opposite zodiac signs—for example, someone who is a Sagittarius rising always has a Gemini descendant, while a Libra ascendant will always have an Aries descendant. In terms of the houses in astrology, the descendant is associated with the 7th astrological house, which represents attraction and alliances. We're naturally drawn to whatever sign is opposite ours for this reason. "It's thought that we are pulled to the qualities of others who represent the descendant sign because those qualities are parts of ourselves that we need to integrate, or that we may have covered up, or those parts often described as our shadow," explains Gailing. "They show up in other people as they are just a mirror of qualities that are within us, but which we need a reflection of to see."
Can opposites be compatible?
Yes, at least astrologically, opposites do in fact attract both platonically and romantically, according to the astrologers. "How I look at it is almost like two sides of the same coin," says Gailing. Because they share the same astrological axis, these opposite sign pairs "understand more where the other person is coming from," says Gailing, but their distance from each other on that same plane highlights their differences, too. In romantic partnerships, this can translate to one sign possessing a quality their partner lacks, while in friendships "the opposite sign can teach you about something that is inherent to you, but that you may not necessarily understand or appreciate on the surface," says Gailing.
With all that said, it's tough to say exactly which signs will be compatible because many factors affect it—zodiac sign compatibility isn't just a matter of matching sun signs. “Astrologers often say that the remedy for any sign’s neurosis is the enlightened qualities of the opposite sign,” astrologer Juliana McCarthy previously told Well+Good, caveating that opposite sun signs only work well together if other parts of your zodiac chart flow. This is exactly why it's impossible to use just this metric alone to consider whether opposite zodiac signs are soulmates—there are just too many other factors to consider to answer that question. However, opposite sign pairings do have some traits in common and motivations, so that's why these opposites make more sense together than signs that are much more different and therefore less compatible. For example, even though Cancer and Capricorn are opposites they do in fact have a lot in common, while Gemini and Capricorn have very little in common and not many overlapping and harmonious traits that would make them a congruous pair.
Astrologically speaking, there are so many personalized nuances of a natal chart factor into whether you're a good romantic match for someone, let alone their astrological soulmate, so there's value in running both of your charts (using an online generator or app, or via a reading from an astrologer) to check out all the components for a clearer idea of who is most compatible with you specifically.
That said, knowing your opposite zodiac sign may explain certain surface-level dynamics that are worth exploring and probing further. Below, Gailing and astrologer Rachel Lang break down the dynamics between opposite zodiac signs, what they can learn from each other, and suggest how each pairing can get along harmoniously.
6 opposite zodiac sign pairings, and how they are similar and different
1. Aries (March 21 to April 19) and Libra (September 23 to October 22)
As the most incendiary of the fire signs (and one of the luckiest zodiac signs this year), Aries acts on impulse, is headstrong, and is known to jump into action with intensity. Meanwhile, Libra benefits from taking time to ponder, considering both sides of the story, and seeking balance. When these opposite zodiac signs meet, the spark is instantaneous in both love and friendship.
"Aries presents as being very confident, and Libra finds that attractive," says Lang. "This is the axis line of independence versus interdependence—the line between the self and other. While Libra is the sign of relationships, they lean toward being a little codependent. But their sign is all about balance, so they often do their own thing, as well."
In terms of friendship between Aries and Libra, they make a well-balanced pair. According to Gailing, Aries can teach the more airy and passive Libra to put their desire for balance aside when it's necessary by being more assertive and putting themselves first more often. In turn, Libra can teach Aries how to not be so one-track minded, and to take more time to consider all sides before acting rather than jumping right in. "There's a really beautiful synthesis that can come out of [this pair] where both of them can learn to have relationships that are of great value, but where they don't get lost in those relationships," says Gailing.
For Aries and Libra to be a successful match: They need to figure out how to love each other and give space, respect, and affection. "With an Aries, Libra needs to assert themselves and learn from their partner how to prioritize their needs and desires," says Lang. "With a Libra, Aries needs to show adoration."
2. Taurus (April 20 to May 20) and Scorpio (October 23 to November 21)
Passion underscores the Taurus and Scorpio dynamic. Since sensuality is paramount to both, they can’t keep their hands off each other, and their fixed-sign energy forms an almost mystical (and often sexual) bond. "For Taurus, it’s in pure physical pleasure: good food, soft linens, and sex," says Lang. "For Scorpio, physical pleasure is a transcendent experience, especially sex. They feel intensely, even if they don’t always show their partner what they’re feeling."
In terms of friendship, because these strong-willed and tenacious signs both share a desire for success and achievement, says Gailing, which can cement their bond. Their shared sensuality means they like the finer things in life, and can translate to these two getting up to all sorts of fun and deep experiences together even if they're just friends and not lovers. "I can imagine them going on a weekend trip together out to some sort of incredibly transformative retreat, or some event where there's delicious food for the Taurus but also some really deep experience for the Scorpio," she adds.
For Taurus and Scorpio to be a successful match: The potential problem at play is that Scorpio refuses to reveal what’s happening behind the curtain, and neither brutally stubborn sign is keen to compromise. To make the dynamic work, though, Taurus needs to learn how to read between the lines, and Scorpio can appeal to the Taurus appreciation for beautiful things and emotional security. "This can be a true power couple, too, as Taurus and Scorpio both need to have a sense of material success," says Lang.
3. Gemini (May 21 to June 20) and Sagittarius (November 22 to December 21)
These opposite zodiac signs share a love of exploration: Curious Gemini explores intellectually, socially, and sexually, while Sagittarius energy is a more relaxed and agreeable type of adventurousness that runs on wanderlust. As such, this pair's biggest challenge is often commitment issues. "Even happily married Gemini-Sagittarius couples need individual space," says Lang. "Both signs crave freedom and can become bored if they feel stagnant. It’s important for them to find ways to maintain mutual interests." While conversation between these opposite zodiac signs is sharp and free-flowing, Sagittarius tends to think bigger-picture, while Gemini is much more meticulous and concerned about details.
These signs are tied together by their desire for freedom and discovery. "They both love learning and having the freedom to move about in the world collecting insights, information and experience," says Gailing. "It's fun, it's active, and it's exploratory—they'll broaden each others' worlds, and they both want to have different experiences so they enrich their lives so they have a greater capacity for understanding the meaning of life."
In terms of what they can learn from each other? Gemini can be hyper-focused on details, says Gailing, so Sagittarius can help them see beyond what's directly in front of them and consider the broader picture. Deep thinkers, Sagittarius approaches knowledge acquisition by wanting to go deep—another trait they can impart to Gemini, which is more about learning a surface level amount about lots of different things.
In turn, Gemini can teach Sagittarius not to get lost in the big picture and to pause and consider the small details before going for it. "For Sagittarius' who are quick to develop and stand firmly in what they believe and what they think is true based upon their inspiration, Geminis can help point them towards accessing the information from others that helps them fortify their vision and construct meanings in a more objective way," says Gailing.
For Gemini and Sagittarius to be a successful match: This dynamic can be both a blessing and a curse, depending on other variables at play. "Sagittarius may feel bogged down by the details, and Gemini may feel like the administrative assistant in the relationship if Sagittarius doesn’t care about those details—such as schedules, social calendars, and who’s cleaning the bathrooms this week," says Lang. So, as long as Gemini and Sagittarius can recognize how important to them freedom is, they may be able to make it work well.
4. Cancer (June 21 to July 22) and Capricorn (December 22 to January 19)
Two initiating cardinal signs, Cancer and Capricorn matchup screams "power couple," because they're seemingly two halves of having it all—blending needs for domesticity and professional accomplishment. "Cancer wants to build a nest for their family and wants security—financially and emotionally," says Lang. "Capricorn needs to feel as if they’re reaching a goal. They have ambition, and they also appreciate providing a secure environment for themselves and their family. They are upwardly mobile, and they tend to reach their goals through diligent work." Both signs have a deep sense of duty and responsibility to provide for those they love and care about.
Both Capricorn and Cancer have a deep sense of duty and responsibility and are intensely loyal to those they love, although they go about doing this in different ways. "There's that responsibility and duty to home and to family, like protecting and feeding the family, whether the family is your biological family or your best friends," says Gailing. In terms of what these two signs can learn from each other, Gailing says Cancer can encourage Capricorn not to focus so much on external validation for their achievements and to turn inward and focus on how they're feeling and taking care of themselves, while Capricorn can bring Cancer out of their shell a bit more and help them go after what they want. "I think that's a really nice pairing," she adds.
For Cancer and Capricorn to be a successful match: The dilemma with a Capricorn and Cancer union is when the division of labor doesn't feel equitable. Cancer might feel as if they're doing all the work at home, for example, and that can breed resentment. "Capricorn in this relationship needs to watch that they don’t put all their focus on work and their own independent activities and take Cancer for granted," says Lang. "Cancer will need to assert themselves in this duo because Capricorn may not notice if Cancer’s in a bad mood or upset." For this dynamic to thrive for the long-term, Capricorns would be wise to be mindful of Cancer's sensitivities and to reassure that they are emotionally available to them.
5. Leo (July 23 to August 22) and Aquarius (January 20 to February 18)
Leo and Aquarius are fixed signs, which means they have plenty of staying power—a bond that, for better or for worse, is hard to break. "For Leo, passion is extremely important. For Aquarius, intellectual stimulation is important," says Lang. "Both signs tend to value their friendships and community, which is certainly where they can shine as a couple." One notable difference, though, is that Leo needs to be worshipped and adored, whereas Aquarius just needs to be accepted for their creative genius; Leo is more focused on themselves, whereas Aquarius is more concerned with the collective.
According to Gailing, despite their differences, "Aquarius and Leo make a really beautiful pairing" whether in love or friendship. Both signs can lend the other their strengths: Leo can teach Aquarius to generate creativity from themselves instead of always turning outward and to "not always be so in their head and to sort of warm up the buoyancy of their heart," while Aquarius can help Leo be more open to lending their own talents and skills to the world at large without isolating, while still respecting its need for independence (both signs greatly value their independence).
For Leo and Aquarius to be a successful match: Since both have a strong, independent sense of self and want the freedom to do their own thing, they need to set aside their ego and focus on keeping things fresh, fun, and light. "For Leo, remember that Aquarius needs to feel as if you have a strong basis of friendship," says Lang. "For Aquarius, remember that Leo needs to feel really seen. The pair works well when they play together."
6. Virgo (August 23 to September 22) and Pisces (February 19 to March 20)
Virgo and Pisces, both mutable zodiac signs, have wildly different worldviews, but the all-knowingness of Pisces is an asset to Virgos, who don't simply want to learn, but want to learn well. Their minds meld with a spark of passion, and they level each other off. "I’ve seen a number of happy Virgo-Pisces couples, because Virgo can be a real grounding presence for Pisces, and Pisces can help Virgo break the habit of overanalyzing," says Lang. "Pisces inspires Virgo’s creativity, and vice versa. One of Pisces' challenges is materializing dreams and goals. Virgo has the solution for this because they can offer practical suggestions and outline a detailed plan."
While on paper Virgo and Pisces may seem like true opposites, Gailing says both signs care deeply about "helping and healing, but from two different perspectives because Pisces is more idealistic and Virgo is more perfectionistic." This comes out in their actions: Virgo is great at assessing a grander scheme and has an excellent "ability to see pieces of the whole and how the pieces work together, and wants things to refine things to be better," while Pisces helps by lending its deep empathy and compassion to an issue. They can play off each others' strengths, and each have something to learn from the other: Virgo can teach Pisces to separate the larger picture into smaller pieces to avoid overwhelm and confusion, says Gailing, while Pisces can help Virgo be a little bit less perfectionist and more forgiving of flaws—both theirs and those of others.
For Virgo and Pisces to be a successful match: Of course, the rigidness of Virgo can leave them hung up on all the details and frustrated when Pisces changes their mind about plans. Virgos will go out of their way to meticulously plan an elaborate event, for example, while Pisces may be more apt to send a text an hour before this slate of events commences, saying, "I can't!!! It's a lunar eclipse!" In sum, Virgo, be patient with your Pisces partner or friend. And Pisces, be respectful of your Virgo partner's Google Calendar. If you can crack that dynamic, you're set for success.
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