Often when someone discovers I’m into astrology, they want to know what I think of her or his relationship: He’s a Virgo and I’m an Aries — what d’ya think?

For me, attraction comes first, but I get right down to the important stuff quickly, baby: What’s your sign?

Two people’s birth charts can illuminate various points of compatibility or lack thereof. Your three primary signs: sun, rising, and moon; and your midheaven — the part of the sky that was directly overhead at the time of your birth, affecting the qualities you hold dear — tell an awful lot about you as a person and a partner. The ways in which these four main astrological components aspect — astro speak for points of connection direct, opposite, slight, or otherwise — with a potential partner’s can shed light on sources of harmony and tension.

Let’s start with sun and rising signs. Ever the practical bull — I’m a Taurus — I find the most calm, stable relationships tend to be between those who stay within their element — earth with earth, water with water — to the exclusion of fire. Larger than life fire signs — Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius — stand to benefit from the grounding, cooling influences offered by an earth or water sign. A fire on fire match sounds overly charged to this earthly stargazer, but such a fiery match could possibly be kept at bay with some mitigating qualities manifested elsewhere in their charts. A water on water match can be tricky, as all water signs tend to be on the fragile side, though if at least one partner has a strong, grounding influence as their rising sign — Capricorn, perhaps — then the match could be a good one, as the couple will enjoy a mutually understood sensitivity to the world around them as well as a firmer, more enduring influence from within.

Certain pairings, though of course not taboo, warrant caution. It’s difficult to see a Taurus match with a Scorpio working out. While known for their sensuous, magnetic qualities, Scorpios are also known for being compulsive with their decisions and their money. Money, dependability, and material well-being are held dear to the conservative Capricorns of the world, which makes it difficult for them to tolerate the whims of a Scorpion, who’ll be determined to entice them from their rigid ways. And money, we all know, can cause a rift in couples.

And just as there are certain matches that seem a lost cause, there are those who seem to be sensibly fated. A Leo, for example, loves to be lavished with the finer things in life — something that the Capricorn loves to provide. The Capricorn also stands to benefit from the Leo’s creative, passionate energy. Both are ambitious, so they relate on that level. Similarly, a Taurus and Libra also seem to be a solid pairing, as both are ruled by Venus. The Libra, an air sign, can stir up the dust around the earthly bull’s hooves, yet both will unite around the common goal of creating an aesthetically pleasing environment filled with plenty of sweet treats.

Astrologers have long held that there’s a certain magnetism that comes with polar aspects. Opposites attract, as they say. But can they last? For me, no. I dated two different Scorpios — my polar opposite as a Taurus — and found our matches too tumultuous. Ultimately, I fell in love with someone whose birthday is the day before mine. Unified by our love of food, our Taurean ways brought us together in a pizza place we worked at years ago. It certainly is easy and fun to be with someone who typically wants to do the same things you want to do.

My advice: If you’re single, think carefully about what you’re looking for in a partner. Draw from experience and make a list. Are you a fiery Sagittarius looking to quell your inner tumult with a more grounded partner, or would you prefer another Sagittarius who’ll argue back with you and who’ll join you in your love for adventures?•

Contact Amanda Drane at adrane@valleyadvocate.com