Within Astrology, the relative position of the planets at the moment of your birth is what determines who you are and the path you will follow on your life.
But, how do we know exactly what these relationships are like? If your Ascendant planet is Mars, what does it matter where Jupiter is?
The answer to these questions is found through the aspects, they are the main and most efficient tool for understanding the part each planet plays in your birth chart.
So what are the Aspects? They are special degrees of separation between planets about the Earth used to interpret how their energies interact.
When planets are “in aspect,” their energies and meaning are melded together, they become integrated, creating a new definition of their own.
They determine which planets are struggling and which are at ease, just like where you are lacking and where you excel because of their influence or point to essential events in your life.
Aspects are measured from the orbit of each planet around the Earth, yes around the Earth, not the Sun, as Astrology looks at the stars from the perspective of our world, forming a triangle.
The best way to visualize is to imagine the Zodiac is a large pizza, and the different aspects represent the number of slices into which you may divide it.
The precise angle of the Aspect determines its nature and meaning, along with the planets involved. They are divided between the Major Aspects and Minor Aspects, the first of which is as follows:
Conjunctions (0°) – Conjunctions are the circle of the Zodiac divided by one, and represents the complete fusion of energies between two planets.
Considered by many to be the most powerful of aspects when two planets find themselves in conjunction their powers are multiplied.
So, for example if Saturn and Mars are in aspect, you will have both Control and Drive cranked up to eleven and combined.
Although this can be very positive, the negative effect can also multiply if the planets don’t get along (like Mars and Neptune).
Sextiles (60°) – When the angle of two planets forms a triangle that represents one sixth of the Zodiac, they are in sextile.
Sextiles traditionally imply a certain degree of harmony between two planets, and the coexistence of their energies.
When two planets are in sextile, ideas and opportunities seem to come more smoothly but still require action to bring good results.
Squares (90°)– The square represents a triangle between two planets and the moon that covers one-fourth of the Zodiac. In the Square aspect, the outer, or the more magnificent planet will be dominant over its counterpart.
When you have planets in the square aspect, expect to find obstacles between you and your objective that will demand you integrate the virtues of both planets to pull through.
Trines (120°)- As the name suggests, the trine represents a triangle formed by two planets around the Earth that divides the Zodiac into three equal parts.
The trine represents a natural harmony between planets, it is often the sign of situation following naturally from a past or current event.
Trines may also indicate situations or events tied to a natural talent or inclination, that if kept on its current course, might bring significant and positive consequences.
Oppositions (180°)- Two planets in opposition will slice the Zodiac down the middle into two equal parts, which also plays into its meaning.
Opposition is when two planets are in paralleled points around the Earth, naturally it indicates a fundamental division between two sides.
The aspect of opposition signals a situation in which two parts must cooperate or irreparably collide, an ultimatum that has you stuck between two different forces in your life, be it vocation and economy, love or success, justice or forgiveness.
As for Minor Aspects – they stand at the halfway point of their significant counterparts and bear their meanings and weight. These are often of greater importance when interpreting a Natal Chart.
Do not let the word “Minor” fool you, these aspects bear an enormous impact on our lives and may offer life-saving warning and council.
The Minor Aspects are:
Semi-Sextile (30°)– Semi-Sextiles are extremely subtle aspects, more customarily used to contextualize the rest of the chart. Resonating Number 12.
Semi-Square (45°) – Represents a minor obstacle or frustration, more an annoyance than an actual obstacle. Resonating Number 8.
Sesqui-Quadrate (135°)– Also known as “one square and a half,” represents almost the same as the semi-square, but with obvious consequences. Resonating Number 8.
Quincunx (150°)– 5/12 of a circle, the Quincunx indicates a struggle that is imposed upon you by circumstances or a form of neglect in different fields, or an adjustment in attitude.
Quintile (72°)– When two planets and the earth form a triangle covering a 5th of the zodiac, it represents creative and intellectual talents, being considered relatively beneficial.
As you read about the Aspects, a question regarding the exactness of these numbers may have popped into your head? – after all, the Zodiac, like any circle, is 360 degrees wide.
So, What do you do with an aspect of 44, or 67, or 93? This is what the Orbs were made for.
Orbs are the margin of influence for different aspects; for example, although the Square aspect is 90° if the planets are at an orb of either 85°, or 95°, they are still considered to be in aspect. In this specific case, that means the Square has an orb of 5°, which means it may deviate by five degrees either up or down.
That means every aspect has a window in which the planets may deviate by more or less and still be considered within the aspect.
A common practice is to consider an orb of 6° for major aspects and 2° or 3° for minor, unless the Sun or Moon are involved, which inflates the orb to 8° or 10°.
The smaller the orb, that is, the more exact the position of the Planet within the aspect, the more powerful it’s influence will be.
All Aspects of Life
This is, by far, the most complex part of my research to date. I can’t imagine my frustration if I stopped halfway through. My goal is to provide a comprehensive set of instructions – and a knowledge base of understanding our Birth Charts with confidence.