Aspects are an important part of Astrology. As the planets move in their orbits around the Sun, they form various anglular relationships. These angular relationships are called aspects.
The most popular aspects result from dividing the circle (360 degrees) by simple number like 1, 2, 3, 4, resulting in aspects, such as the conjunction (0 degrees), oppositon (180 degrees), trine (120 degrees), and square (90 degrees), etc.
When two planets form an aspect with one another, their energies and natures are said to combine and to work in harmony, or in stress, according to the nature of the aspect. For example, if two planets are 90 degrees apart, they form a square. They are connected in a very powerful way.
The Hard, Unfavorable Aspects – Semi-Square (45 Degrees), Square (90 Degrees), Opposition (180 Degrees)
The hard aspects represent challenge, obstacles, and substance. They can block or obstruct the easy flow of life, yet a lack of the hard aspects in a person’s birth chart can cause that person’s existence to be weak, or thin.
The Soft, Favorable Aspects – Sextile (60 Degrees), Trine (120 Degrees)
The soft aspects bring ease, clarity, and vision to our lives. We can see, grasp, and understand what is happening in the areas these aspects predominate, yet too many of the soft aspects make for a life that runs cool, and is lacking in substance.
CONJUNCTION (0 – 8 Degrees) Key Word: Emphasis, Intensity
A conjunction occurs when two planets are from 0 to 8 degrees of each other. Their natures are fused or blended into one. Their energies combine or reinforce each other, giving emphasis to the planets’ expression. A conjunction can be favorable or unfavorable depending on the planets involved and whether or not these planets are harmonious or opposite in character.
Traits: Expression, beginning and ending, acting and operating together.
SEMI-SEXTILE (30 Degrees) – Key Word: Support
A semi-sextile is a minor, favorable aspect in which two or more planets are 30 degrees apart, plus or minus 3 degrees (27-33 degree orb). This aspect is of mixed qualities because the planets involved are not in harmonious signs. The planets will support each other in an external sense, but will not share any true inner communication. The expression of a semi-sextile indicates that one must give attention to contrasting energies so that each functions effectively.
Traits: Two energies affect each other indirectly.
SEMI-SQUARE(45 Degrees) – Key Word: Friction, Challenge
A semi-square is a minor, unfavorable aspect in which the planets involved are 45 degrees apart, plus or minus 3 degrees (42 – 48 degree orb). The semi-square aspect is similar to a square, but the influence is only a minor frustrating aspect.
SEXTILE (60 Degrees) – Key Word: Opportunities, Growth
A sextile is considered to be a major, favorable aspect in which two planets are 60 degrees apart, plus or minus 5 degrees (55 – 65 degree orb). The planets involved are of the same in gender, quality, and functions harmoniously. Sextiles in a birth chart show where opportunities are presented in life. They represent circumstances that when acted upon can lead to achievement and success of a goal.
Traits: Compatible elements, eager to exchange and work together.
SQUARE (90 Degrees) – Key Word: Challenge, Adverse, Conflict
A square is considered to be a major, unfavorable aspect in which the planets involved are 90 degrees apart, plus or minus 7 degrees (83 – 97 degree orb). In this aspect, the energies of the planets are clash with one another, each trying to make the other to conform to its manner of expression. Squares in a birth chart indicate where a person will need to apply great efforts and determination to achieve the goal. Tremendous growth is possible under this stressful aspect.
Squares signify actions: In the cardinal squares, the action is swift. In fixed squares, the action is gradual and cautious. In mutable squares, the action is changable and influenced by other factors.
Traits: Motivation, ambitious, pressure, stimulation, creative friction.
TRINE (120 Degrees) – Key Word: Creativity, Expansion
A trine is a major, favorable aspect in which the planets involved are the same element and 120 degrees apart, plus or minus 7 degrees (113 – 127 degree orb). The trine represents harmony, creative inspiration and generosity. Trines in a birth chart can help a person to overcome difficulities and bring good luck, easy attainment. The trines also identify natural talents, and where things come with little effort, and where success is most easily attained.
Traits: Favorable, harmonious, sympathize, support.
QUINCUNX (Inconjunct) (150 Degrees) – Key Word: Adaptation, Adjustment
A quincunx is considered to be a minor, unfavorable aspect, where the planets involved are 150 degrees apart, plus or minus 3 degrees (147 – 153 degree orb). This is probably the most important of the minor aspects. This aspect indicates problem that a person needs to learn to adapt to, or to work around, which in turn will lead to personal growth.
Usually, the planets and signs are totally unrelated to each other, and do not share the same element, quality or gender. Since they have little in common, it is difficult to harmonize their energies. There is a perception of slight tension that is hard for the conscious mind to grasp. This aspect calls for a change in attitude and of old routines. It indicates the necessity to adjust to the condition as shown by the planets and houses involved.
Traits: Difficult to communicate with each other, forced and obligated to perform.
OPPOSITION (180 Degrees) – Key Word: Awareness, Relationship
An opposition is a stressful, unfavorable major aspect in which two planets are 180 degrees apart, plus or minus 7 degrees (173 – 187 degree orb). An opposition indicates areas where there is a need to balance the opposing forces or circumstances. They can pull together or apart, depending upon the nature of the planets involved.
Through an opposition, a person has an opportunity to gain greater awareness of himself/herself and others. Sometimes, these forces can not be resolved and the only solution is to compromise. Since the condition represented by an opposition can not be changed, they must be dealt with or accepted as they are.
Traits: Against each other, counteract, contradict, collaborate.
An unaspected planet is a very powerful focal point in a birth chart. It usually means that the person is very aware of the planet’s influence, he/she may or may not be able to integrate its qualities psychologically into the personality.
If the Sun is unaspected , the person’s life will be more about “being” than about “doing,” and the qualities associated with the zodiacal sign occupied by the Sun will come into sharper focus, because no other planets are involved to complicate matters.
INTERPRETING THE ASPECTS
Not everyone with lots of favorable aspects is successful in life; some may be too easily satisfied or contented. And, not everyone with lots of unfavorable aspects achieve success through drive, and stimulating effort; they may be too easily irritated, and develop obstacles in their own paths through various actions.
A physician does not diagnose until he is familiar with the health history of the patient. In a similar situation, an astrologer should not render judgment in a vacuum. He needs to be familiar with his client’s station in life, his background, and activities. And, he must have made no mistake about the aspects in his client’s Birth Chart.
The influence and effect of planets in a Birth Chart depend largely upon their aspects, favorable or unfavorable, to other planets. It is essential not only to render judgment on a planet in a house according to the quality of its aspect, but also by nature of the planets with which it is aspected.
As a planet often has more than one aspect, it is sometimes necessary to make a combination judgment, especially where one aspect is good and the other adverse. For example, Saturn in the Second House in good aspect to Jupiter, and in stressful aspect to Venus, would show success in the areas of property, land and investment, but loss through women or excess of pleasure.