What are Astrology Aspects?
Astrology Aspects is the connection(s) or relationship(s) between two or more planets when looking at someone’s birth chart using angles and degrees.
An aspect is defined by the angular distance between two planets. The nature of the aspect depends on the number of degrees separating the two planets.
These connections always alter the interpretation of the planets and signs involved. When planets are in aspect to each other, their interpretations must be blended according to the nature of the aspect.
Aspects in Astrology are incredibly important in interpreting any chart. Aspects indicate how the various planetary and sign energies play out. They show many things including where there will be struggles or ease within a birth chart. Without acknowledging the aspects in a chart, the reading is incomplete and ultimately incorrect. Keep this in mind when you begin to read the interpretations of your planets in the signs of your chart – the aspects tell more of the story.
Aspect Orbs – Astrological Orbs
The angles between planets never always match the exact standard definition of aspects. The degree of separation between exactness of the aspect angle is referred to as “orb” in astrology. If the orb is tight (an almost exact aspect, within 0-10° of being the exact angle), the aspect is more powerful. Each aspect is allowed a different orb though opinions vary on what these are.
Example: Mars in Taurus at 12° would be trine Saturn in Virgo at 12°. This would be an exact trine.
In natal birth charts, normally accepted orbs are up to 10 degrees for oppositions and conjunctions, 7 to 9 degrees for trines and squares, 4 to 6 degrees for sextiles. Orbs for other angles include 2 degrees for quincunxes and sesqui-squares, around 1 degree for semi-sextiles and semi-squares, and often 0.5 to 1 degree for quintiles and their family (semi-quintiles and bi-quintiles).
Example: Mars in Taurus at 12° would still be trine Saturn, 19° in Virgo because trines allow up to 9 degrees for the influence to be applicable. It will not be as strong as an exact trine, but it would be more influential than Saturn at 25° in Virgo
Much smaller orbs angles are used in forecasting and synastry.
The Major Astrological Aspects
There are many aspects of astrology, but some have greater significance and value than others. These aspects are the conjunction (approx. 0-10°), sextile (60°), square (90°), trine (120°), and opposition (180°).
Aspects often fall into two groups:
Dynamic, Hard or Challenging Aspects
Hard Aspects refer to the square (90°), opposition (180°), quincunx (150°) and sometimes, depending upon the harmony of the planets and signs involved, the conjunction (0°) and the semi-sextile (30°).
Harmonious, Easy or Flowing Aspects
Easy Aspects refer to the trine (120°), sextile (60°), and some of the conjunctions (0° – depending on planets involved) and semi-sextiles (30° – depending on the harmony of planets/signs involved).
A conjunction is when two planets form an angle of approximately 0-10° of each other. An orb of up to 10° is usually considered a conjunction. This aspect is considered the most dominant aspect, intensifying the effects of the involved planets and becomes a major point in the chart.
It marks a strongly focused potential for expression along with a tendency for direct action and self-dramatization. The two planets in conjunction are blended, fused, and intensified and interpret as a blended combination in which the planets work together. It can be a good thing if the two planets get along (for example, Venus and the Moon), but it can be inharmonious if the two planets are incompatible (like Mars and Neptune).
Any conjunction in an individual chart should be regarded as important since it indicates an intense merging and interaction of two life energies. The most powerful of all conjunctions are those involving one of the “personal planets” (Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, and Mars) or the angle of Ascendant (Rising Sign). Such conjunctions always characterize particularly strong modes of energy flow and personal expression (by planet and sign) and dominant emphases in the person’s life (by the house). The keynote of the conjunction is action and self-projection.
Sextiles form when two planets are posited 60 degrees apart though orbs within 04° either side of the 60° angle are considered to be a sextile.
The sextile has been traditionally said to be similar in influence to the trine aspect, but of less significance. It indicates ease of communication between the two elements involved, with compatibility and harmony between them, but only provides opportunity, requiring effort to gain its benefits.
It represents an easy flow of opportunities or ideas that, if acted upon, will help realize the individual’s goals. It can also indicate talents. This is a harmonious aspect in which the energies of the planets involved collaborate well and work comfortably together.
Square angles form when two planets are 90 degrees apart or within a 7° orb of that 90° angle. It is an aspect of tension, with the planets are in constant conflict. Planets in square aspect are at cross-purposes with each other and the native strongly feels their struggle. To overcome them, he must continuously fight against the difficulties set by their energies. The aspect endows with strength and the ability to overcome a great many hurdles in life, provided that the person has much courage and tenacity. Individuals with exceptional destinies often have many squares in their natal chart. Squares prevent people from keeping still and prompt them to move continuously ahead, create, and evolve, since immobility is hard to bear when such constant tensions crop up.
This aspect implies restrictions and challenges. It is a dynamic aspect since the challenges pressure you to work on the issues represented by the planets involved. They are in conflict that leads to irritation; though patient hard work can result in success through an integration of the two principles. Traditionally, this is a negative, inharmonious aspect. The planets and houses involved are areas in the individual’s life where adjustments and tremendous effort must be expended to realize the gains.
A trine angle forms when two planets are 120 degrees apart or within a 8° orb of that 120° angle.
It is considered the most fortunate of aspects, representing smooth flowing energy between the planets involved, bringing luck, opportunities, and innate creative talents. However, too much of a good thing can be bad – the easy energy brought on by the trine is often taken for granted, and the talents and gifts of the planets get left unexpressed. More often than not, the trine aspect tends to manifest the most pleasant potential of the planets involved.
Planets in a trine aspect support each other and create a feeling of well-being and easiness since they are in harmony with each other. It is an aspect of good luck and psychological comfort.
The opposite is an angle of 180° degrees apart or within 10° orb of that 180° angle.
The opposition (180°) is the circle divided by two. This aspect indicates a fundamental polarity or duality; a situation in which one must cooperate with others or break with them. It creates tension leading to frustration though objectivity may result in a delicate balancing of opposites. Resolving the tension is helped by compromising between the two energies. Otherwise, they bounce back and forth, competing for center stage in your life. Compromise is by accepting that the two are parts of a whole. In general, this is considered an inharmonious aspect.
Other Astrological Aspects
Besides the most influential aspects above, there are many other aspects. Whilst not as important and their influence not as strong, they are not to be overlooked.