What are Aspects of Astrology mean
The horoscope is a 360° circle. The geometrical angles between two points on it are called Aspects of Astrology. These aspects of astrology are categorized in a variety of ways, but we will look at what they are and what they are called first.
Astrology Aspects Explained
Astrologers generally allow 2°- 12° of “leeway” for aspects. This “leeway” is called an orb. So two planets within this orb are considered to be in aspect.
Some astrologers allow bigger orbs and some naturally enough allow less. The closer to exact the aspect the stronger, when the orb is very wide the influence may be quite weak. Standard orbs are given for each aspect.
The modern theory of aspects espouses that by dividing the 360° circle by two gives us the opposition.
Division by three results in the trine aspect and division by four gives square astrology aspects explained. Division by five is the quintile aspect (a minor modern aspect) and division by six gives astrologers the sextile aspect. The conjunction is when two planets are next to each other.
Meaning of Aspects of Astrology
With aspects of astrology as with anything in astrology is that little written material from the distant past remains?
The web has become quite a wonderful source for obscure information. Whether there is a correct way of determining aspects I choose to leave to researchers.
I should also mention the newest theory on aspects by Robert Blaschke, which uses the Sabian Symbols (no not all astrologers are Roberts).
However, when ascertaining an aspect for yourself in your very own chart do consider whether those two planetary energies communicate with each other, i.e. whether one planetary energy influences the actions of a second planet. I consider aspects of a communication line.
Conjunction – orb 8° and 10° for luminaries (the glyph for a conjunction which looks like a little circle with a tail pointing up.)
(Note: that symbol for an occultation is the one with a darkened circle, which is considered more powerful than conjunction but is quite rare)
0°, when two planets or points on the circle are at the same degree. E.g. Sun at 12°Libra and Mars at 20°Libra are conjunct.
A stallion is three or more planets that meet these requirements.
Conjunctions and stallions occur in the same zodiacal sign or at the end of one and beginning of the next. So you could also see conjunction between a planet in Aries and a planet in Taurus for example.
Sextile orb 4° (varies from 2°-6°) (a glyph is an Asterix)
60°, when two planets or points are 60° apart, they are sextile each other.
E.g. Sun at 4°Taurus is sextile Mars at 4°Cancer and sextile Moon at 4°Pisces. Sextiles generally occur between two feminine or two masculine signs.
The odd-numbered zodiacal signs are considered masculine (Aries, Gemini, Leo, Libra, Sagittarius and Aquarius) and the even-numbered ones feminine (Taurus, Cancer, Virgo, Scorpio, Capricorn and Pisces).
Square orb 6° (varies from 4°-8°) (a glyph is a square shape)
90°, when two planets or points are at a straight angle to each other.
E.g. Moon at 19°Scorpio and Mars at 19°Aquarius are in square aspect. Squares occur between fixed, mutable or cardinal signs. That is between triplicities or modes.
The fixed signs are Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius. The Cardinal signs are Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn.
The mutable signs are Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces. Triplicity merely takes a third of the 12 astrological signs and assigns them a mode.
Trine orb 8° (varies from 6°-12°) (the glyph is a triangle)
120°, when two planets are four signs apart. These aspects occur between elements.
There are four elements water, air, earth, and fire). The water signs are the feminine signs of Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces.
The air signs are Gemini, Libra and Aquarius. The Fire signs are Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius.
The Earth signs are Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn. Saturn at 15° Aries is trine Moon at 15°Leo. sbj
Opposition orb 7° (varies from 5°-10°) (the glyph is two small circles joined by a short-line – like a compact canoe paddle)
The zodiacal constellations come in polarities. Aries-Libra, Taurus-Scorpio, Gemini-Sagittarius, Cancer-Capricorn, and Leo-Aquarius.
Oppositions generally occur in the opposite sign. 5°Cancer Sun is opposite 5°Capricorn Moon, but of course, the same Cancer Sun is also opposite Saturn at 28°Sagittarius.
There are more aspects than the ones stated above, but the conjunctions, sextiles, squares, trine aspect and oppositions are the major ones.
They are referred to as the Ptolemaic aspects. The ones listed above are the only ones used in medieval astrology.
Semi sextile orb 2° (a glyph is a small v on a horizontal short line _)
30°, occurs between adjacent signs, i.e. a sign apart.
Semi square orb 1-2° (a glyph is like the one in math showing smaller than)
45°, more difficult to eyeball, 1½ signs apart but could occur between signs like a sextile, i.e. Mercury at 29°Gemini is semi-square Uranus at 14°Leo.
Quintile Q orb 1-2°
72°, it takes the experience to find these aspects, which also come in the bi-quintile variety of 144°, which when a large orb is allowed to the quincunx (the 150° aspect) can appear blurred.
Sesquiquadrate orb 1-2° (the glyph is a square with an L shape tail)
135°, when a large orb is given to a trine aspect (120°) this one tends to blend in.
Quincunx orb 2° (up to 5° when involving more planets) (the glyph as in semi-sextile only upside down like a tool horse)
150°, this is not considered as a major aspect by all astrologers. A planet or point at the same degree five signs away is quincunx the other.
Moon at 23°Gemini is quincunx Mars at 23°Capricorn and Uranus at 23°Scorpio. (The two signs either side of the opposite point).
Spiritual Karmic Esoteric Aspects of Astrology
Even beyond the above list of the so-called modern minor aspects, there are more such as the decile 10°, 20°, etc. (10th), and these would overlap with the traditional aspects.
There is the septile family of aspects – septile 51°25′ & bi-septile 102°50′ and triseptile 154° these are obtained by dividing the circle by 7.
Further, there is the novile family of aspects – division by 9 – novile 40°, binovile 80°, and thus the trinovile would be the same 120° as the trine aspect. These are typically considered spiritual, karmic or esoteric aspects.
I have also read about the 165° aspect – which is 15° short of opposition as being a challenging aspect – so now we have come a full circle – as if you allow the orbs to the planets rather than the aspects. This aspect would start looking like an opposition.
How to Blend Aspects of Astrology
Now that we have looked at what the aspects are let’s take a quick look at how to use them.
I look at astrology as a language. Very simplistically, planets describe WHAT by providing a verb (action), houses determine WHERE by giving a place, astrological signs define WHAT KIND of action (i.e. Aries – impulsive) and place (i.e. Third house – neighbourhood) and aspects show HOW by providing adverbs and adjectives (i.e. Trine with ease) and, in a manner of speaking, complete the sentence.
Let’s look at Mars = want, demand
In Taurus = steady, secure
In the 2nd house = money, appreciation
Sextile = without effort and with support
Venus = need, desire
In Cancer = emotional, sensitive
In the 4th house = home, mother, roots
These two planets communicate with ease and tend to get their needs met. I desire steady money and because I need this to feel secure and do have the support of my wife it seems effortless.
The Lines of Communication
The conjunction is a much-focused aspect. The planets involved in it are like best buddies. Whether the planets like each other or not is irrelevant because they need to learn to co-habitat and work together.
Give and take, share. In traditional astrology, this aspect is either benefic (good, beneficial) or malefic (bad, malevolent) depending on the planet involved.
Mars and Saturn are malefic, Mercury is neutral and Venus and Jupiter are benefices. Aspect is a line of communication, its quality depends on the expectations and behaviour or the user.
Simply – what you do with it is up to you – to the extent of your free will!
Let’s examine a couple of conjunctions. Sun conjunct Mars = what you are and what you do:
A) You may choose to be energetic, enthusiastic about who you are and what you are capable of doing
B) you may choose to be aggressive, hostile and vindictive toward the world
The aspect shows that the planets (energies) need to work together for better or for worse.
Venus conjunct Saturn = how you feel and what are your responsibilities
Venus on its own enjoys the fun. Saturn on its own loves to work. Venus conjunct Saturn individual should, therefore, choose a vocation, career, or job that they love. In so choosing, you will help avert a negative expression, such as that the World (Saturn) is denying (Saturn) all the fun (Venus) you could otherwise be having.
Saturn is structure, time, responsibility, limits, sustenance, and maturity
Saturn is serious, cautious, old, reliable, dependable, and limiting
Venus is love, fun, romance, values, personal assets, and self-worth
Venus is fun-loving, sensitive, caring, loving, appreciative, and supportive
The sextile is an aspect that provides opportunities. These opportunities require attention and effort.
People who appear to have been born to the good life and to whom “lucky breaks” come regularly and whose good fortune we wish we had, generally have several sextiles in their charts. A grand sextile is where six conjoining sextiles are formed.
This is a benefit (good) aspect according to traditional astrology. This does not necessarily always hold true. It is a line of communication, the must communicate is not as urgent as with conjunction.
I like to liken it to a telephone line, whereas the conjunction is definitely faced to face communication. The communication between planets in sextile aspect is reasonable, assuring conversation.
Saturn is likely to tell Venus: “If we work together and plan a strategy and work hard, we can get any job done. If you are willing to co-operate then I’ll co-operate with you on the weekend, and we’ll go to that party.”
Venus is likely to reply: “Let’s go with reasonable limits, I don’t mind working but I want to enjoy what I am doing. Happy to work for my rewards!”
Planets in sextile aspect treat each other like two sincere diplomats. So, with a Saturn sextile Venus, you are more likely to get opportunities to find employment that you enjoy or learn to love what you do.
A sextile aspect combines two elements (as a general rule) that are compatible. If Saturn is in a water sign (e.g. 20°Scorpio) then Venus would have to be 16°-24° Capricorn or Virgo (earth)! Water and Earth are feminine elements – earth provides and water nourishes.
The square is a malefic (bad, malevolent) aspect according to traditional astrology. The square is also a very strong, forceful aspect.
Planets in square aspect interact from a defensive pose. The line of most resistance. Friction, tension, blocking the intention of the other planet.
It is concentrated energy, which challenges you to act. It is a growth aspect. Let’s take Venus at 20°Virgo; for Saturn to be able to be in square aspect, it has to be in another mutable sign, i.e. either Sagittarius or Gemini (Pisces is the opposite).
Lines of communication with a square aspect
The lines of communication with a square aspect are more assertive, pushy, demanding and challenging. Here Saturn would not ask Venus to co-operate quite as diplomatically.
It would be more likely to demand and then cajole. There would have to be more give and take, and with a square aspect, it might be appropriate to determine which planet is stronger.
Another important issue to take into consideration after the basics are mastered is that each aspect comes in three varieties: applying, separating and particle.
The faster planet does the applying and separating, i.e. Venus at 14° Sagittarius would form an applying aspect to Saturn at 16° Pisces. If you Saturn was at an earlier degree of its sign than Venus, the aspect would be a separating one. Particle means exact.
Applying aspects these tend to be stronger and the applying planet more likely to be the stronger influence. Venus at a later degree than Saturn would form a separating aspect giving the upper hand to Saturn.
A square aspect is given a lot of bad “rap” in astrological text. There is no smoke without the fire, yes, very definitely, but once again this is a line of communication. This is similar to your parent telling you how to do things.
Some people perceive being told as bad, some consider it very natural – par for the course. Once again it bears repeating – it is not what you have but what you do with.
Most people with several square aspects of astrology in their chart, love the challenge and against a lot of obstacles obtain their goals. Without friction an engine won’t operate, a sexual relationship will not happen, and so on. Friction produces action so “square-people” are the doers and shakers.
Trine Aspect is the Most Favourable Aspect
It is ease, co-operation, golden opportunities, talents, i.e. the “golden child of fortune”. This aspect is raved about, some of us would trade an arm and a leg for one.
A trine Aspect occurs, generally speaking, between two planets in the same element. No hard work required with this one. Planets in trine aspect talk to each other pleasantly, helping each other along.
No criticism only encouragement, the drawback can be limited action.
As an extreme example, I had a client, who had two grand trines; one in Air the other in Fire. A grand trine is a configuration where three planets form a trines to one another (e.g. Sun at 13°Libra trine Mars at 8°Aquarius trine Moon at 15°Gemini).
The purpose of her visit was to find out what talents she had. I described a multitude of talents in her chart artistic ability, creative writing, sculpting, and so on.
Each description brought an enthusiastic nod followed by a statement:
“Oh, I did that for a while, I know I was good at it, but I don’t know I just dropped it.” That can sum up trines, they lack challenge, it is too easy.
Quincunx is an aspect requiring adaptation and change. The planets involved each have a need and don’t quite see “eye to eye” on issues. However, the planets think they do and therein lies the dilemma.
The best explanation of this I know is-
Imagine two individuals one a Libra Sun the other a Pisces. Their eyes connect across a crowded room and they are immediately attracted to one another.
It appears to each one that they are face to face and recognizes the other person as their opposite – kind of like looking in a mirror.
In truth, the other person remains constantly at the corner of the eye, so to speak, so each person tries to the other just to move (change) a little bit.
This is a complex aspect with the focus on change. A cute reference to this aspect is as “an itch you cannot scratch”.
The Opposition is a Relationship Aspect
It is a balancing act, it is a so-called malefic aspect according to traditional astrology. Planets in opposing signs form a teeter-totter and planets at either end have needs that need to be met.
The choices are to boomerang from one end to the other or to find a place in the middle and turn it into conjunction-like influences.
When something is placed right in front of your nose, you tend to see it for better or for worse. It’s like standing in front of a mirror and looking at your reflection, except that in front of a mirror you can shift poses and get a better-looking reflection.
Opposition can’t be shifted that simply. That is where others come in, they are your mirror. The cruel part is that first you see all the good points in that person, they reflect or complement what you consider your own good points.
Very fine and dandy, where the cruelty comes in is that when you get closer to that person, it’s as if someone washes the reflecting surface and this person that you let into your life has faults!
Why are these faults so irritating, why do they rile? Could they be your own faults and shortcomings?
What are your options after that realization – you can fog up that mirror and overlook those traits in the other person and at the same time push them back in your own make-up.
Then something happens and clears that mirror up again, and once that happens often enough, you better look at those traits and deal with them, and then you can strike another pose and express a more positive side of that trait.