Aspects are the relationship between the planets in your chart. Each sign has 30 degrees in it, starting from 0 and going to 29. All 12 signs together make a 360 degree system. All the planets are at different degrees of different signs when you are born. Often you will find that planets are working together or forming a challenge in your personality. By looking at aspects, you can tell witch planets are relating to each other. There are many different kinds of aspects. We will take a look at the major, and some of the minor aspects, and how each planet relates to another using these aspects.
There are 6 major aspects. These aspects go from Conjunction to opposition. Each aspect has an orb value. An orb is a window in witch an individual aspect can have an effect. For example, if your Sun was at 22 Leo, and your Moon was at 22 Sagittarius, then your Sun and Moon would be in a trine aspect, witch is free flowing and harmonious. That would be 120 degrees. The orb would be 8 in either direction. That could mean that your Sun could be at 18 Leo, and your moon could be at 23 Sagittarius and still be trine because there is only a 5 degree difference from the exact aspect. This would be 125 degrees. The further away the planets are to the exact degree of an aspect, the weaker the aspect.
Aspects are meant to highlight major areas of your personality. These aspects should also be kept in context with the sign and house that a planet is in. For example, If Mars is trine Neptune, then you know that the creative and mystical energies of Neptune flow freely through the power and action of Mars. If Mars is also in Leo and the 12th house, you then know the area of life where such power will most likely be seen, and in what manor.
You will often find that particular qualities will show up many times throughout a person’s chart. The aspects can reinforce what the planets and houses say, and can bring some needed nuance to some qualities that will help you gain a better understanding about a quality.
Harmonics: Dividing the circle
Harmonics are the division of the wheel that gives us the aspects. The harmonic number of the aspect can tell more about the energy of that aspect. The harmonic number meanings corespond to the numerological number vibrations. Below are the list of aspect names, the math that gets you the degrees of the aspects, and the harmonic/numerology energy that each one vibrates to.
- no division = 0° (degrees) [orb 8-10°] called a conjunction
- 360° by 2 = 180° [orb 8-10°] called an opposition
- 360° by 3 = 120° [orb 8-10°] called a trine
- 360° by 4 = 90° [orb 8-10°] called a square
- 360° by 5 = 72° [orb 1-2°] called a quintile
- 360° by 6 = 60° [orb 5-6°] called a sextile
- 360° by 7 = 51°26’ [orb 1-2°] called a septile
- 360° by 8 = 45° [orb 2°] called a semi-square
- 360° by 9 = 40° [orb 1-2°] called a novile or nonile
- 360° by 10 = 36° [orb 1°] called a decile
- 360° by 12 = 30° [orb 1-2°] called a semisextile
There are also other minor aspects that are subsections of the harmonic vibrations.
Major aspects, orbs and meanings
Conjunction. 0 degrees. Orb 10
This is when the planets are working as if they are one placement. They are connected for good or for bad. They feed off of each other and reinforce each other. Usually you will find that planets that are in the same sign are conjunced. For example, if the Sun hits a conjunct with Saturn at 22 Sagittarius, Saturn will give the central Sagittarius Sun a more serious and responsible element to it. The planets are working as if they are one combined planet. There are times when you could have an adjacent conjunction. For example, if your Mars was 28 Aries and your Pluto was also 28 Aries, you would have a conjunction. If your Mars was at 28 Aries, but your Pluto was at 2 Taurus, you would still have a Mars Conjunct Pluto, but some of the punch would be taken away due to the sign differences. This can happen with all aspects.
Sextal 60 degrees. Orb=+or- 5
This is a harmonious aspect. The planets involved are complementary to each other, and good things flow with little effort. The planets are usually 2 signs apart. For example, if Mars is sextal Pluto, it will not take much work to integrate the two powers.
Square 90 degrees. Orb= +or-8
This is a challenging aspect. The planets are causing an inner conflict in your personality. The conflict is determined by the signs involved. This aspect will give you something to overcome. If you learn to transcend a square, much success can be attained. The planets are usually 3 signs apart. The faster moving of the planets involved will usually be the one that will be challenged. For example, if you have Mars Square Uranus, Mars, being the faster moving of the two, will be the one that is challenged by Uranus. You must learn how to harmonize the Uranian energy with the power of Mars.
Trine 120 degrees. Orb= +or-8
This is the most harmonious of the aspects. The planets involved are like best friends, always there for each other. The energies are so at ease with each other, that if you had too many trines, you can be very lazy, or you can become arogant because things come easy for you. The planets are usually 4 signs apart.
Quincunx 150 degrees. Orb= +or- 2 degrees
This is an aspect of imbalance. The planets involved are like a seesaw. In order to bring forth one quality, the other quality has to be sacrificed. Tension and frustration may be present when trying to equal out these different energies. The faster moving planet is usually the one that starts out with the dominant energy in this aspect, but the tension can have the native flipping back and forth. For example, if you have Moon Quincunx Mars, the moon will start out as the dominant force, leaving you sensitive, and people may take advantage of your kindness. The Mars energy may be too weak for you to stand up for your self in this area. If you try and develop the Mars, you can flip to the other extreme and may cause some inner conflict. Balance is the challenge. The planets are 5 signs apart.
Opposition 180 degrees. Orb= +or-10
This aspect has the planets in question aposing each other. This is a challenging aspect. This can create tension or inner conflict that will then be expressed by taking some kind of action towards others, or one planet’s qualities will be projected on to somebody else or an external situation. The slower of the planets involved is trying to teach something to the faster planet. If the lessons can be learned, the conflict can be resolved. For example, if Mercury is opposite Jupiter, Mercury, being the faster moving planet can come across as very intelligent, but can be snobby or arogant about the intelligent, and may pretend to know more than is really known. Jupiter is trying to get Mercury to backup words with facts. The planets are 6 signs apart.
The minor aspects also matter, in fact, some minor aspects are thought to actually be a major aspect. Either way, below are some brief words and aspect degrees of some minor aspects.
- Semisextile [30° + or – 1-2°] slight ease, opportunities, resources
- Semisquare [45° + or – 2°] strain, conflict necessitating action
- Sesquiquadrate [135° +or – 2°] challenges, friction leading to action
- Nonile [40° + 2°] fated things, compulsions, may have to do with creativity or completion. Joy
- Septile [51°26’ [+ 2°] similar to the nonile but with a spiritual side, inspiration, ideas
- Quintile [72° + 2°] unique abilities or talents, easily developed
- Biquintile [144° + 2°] like the quintile, perhaps a bit weaker in influence
- Semi-Octile (22.5 degrees). Very minor tention.
- Squile (75 degrees). Miled conflict, deceitful.
- Squine (105 degrees). Like the squile.
There are lots of minor aspects, but like has been mentioned, many of these aspects just support the major aspects. Its good to be aware of these aspects, but you do not need to be overly focused on them.
Below is the list of planets from slowest to fastest in terms of their travel through the signs. As stated above, the faster moving planet is the one that receives the energy from the slower one.
The planets from slowest to fastest are Pluto, Neptune, Uranus, Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, the Sun, Venus, Mercury, and The Moon. Aspects can also be made to the ascendant, which moves faster than the Moon. In many charts, you will also see aspects to the Midheaven and the North Node.
Reading these aspects can be confusing at first. Most of the time, many of the planets have more than one aspect on them. To make it easier, you can read any conjunctions, Sextals, and trines that a planet has first. This will let you know all the undertones of that planet. I find that dealing with the harmonious traits first is better. After you have the full picture of that planet, then you can read any Squares, Quincunx, and Oppositions. For example, if your Venus has Trines from The Moon, Mercury and Jupiter, and a Conjunction from Uranus, it may be easier to understand all the free flowing energies, and the united energies before you take on that Square from Mars, or that Neptune Opposition. Just like the houses, the aspects should be kept in context as far as what signs are involved.
Class discussion on the aspects
In this discussion I review all th major aspects as well as some of the minor ones, take questions from the audience, and do some real time aspect breakdowns in people’s charts.