astrology chart aspectsAstrology Chart Aspects are one of the four components of horoscopes. After establishing planets, astrological houses and zodiac signs, the Aspects are fundamental keys that “connect the dots”. In astrology nothing stands by itself. All four of these factors must be considered in the astrology chart.

A view of the entire chart is more relevant than each factor weighed individually. “The sum is greater than its parts.” The various elements in a horoscope do not cancel or void each other, but they do modify the flavor. A Moon in Pisces impacted by Scorpio will perform differently than a Moon in Gemini colored by Virgo or Capricorn.

Challenging or conflicting aspects are judged as stressful, stimulating and even irritating. But no aspect is either good or bad. Too many smooth-flowing trines and sextiles can render one a dull and monotonous person. Everything appears easy and life coasts along in an uneventful and probably insipid manner. A few challenging squares, oppositions or conjunctions can arouse and give verve to a character. A little tension creates a more interesting life. However, too many squares and oppositions with no flowing trines or sextiles may leave you bitter, inflexible, resentful and vexatious to yourself and to those around you. Astrology is no exception to the rule that “variety is the spice of life”.

The major aspects are obviously the more important astrological aspects. The “Orb” gives you the number of degrees of deviation from the exact angle that is permitted for each aspect. However, the forces are stronger when aspects are closer, strongest when exact (called partile). Conversely, influence grows weaker as the orb widens (controlling called platic).

Basic character is formed by the most exact aspects in the chart. Different astrologers use different orbs. Some will limit themselves to 6°, while others may allow as much as 14°. To get a quick look at the basic character you may wish to indicate the exact aspects (within 1°). Squares and oppositions deal with signs of the same qualities. Fiery Aries squares Fiery Cancer and Capricorn. This principle applies to the fixed and mutable signs as well. Of course, these planets must fall within acceptable orbs in order to form aspects.

This same principle applies to trines, but trines are based upon the division by element instead of quality. Fire signs trines the other fire signs, earth sign trines the other earth signs, air sign trines the other air signs; and water sign trines the other water signs.

A Conjunction (angle 0°) indicates commencement, intensification, concentration, and new activity. A conjunction occurs when planets locate within an orb of 7°. Usually the planets are within the same sign, but occasionally they are found in adjacent signs.

The primary characteristic of a conjunction is that it adds emphasis to a sign, as the forces of two or more planets are working in concert. The action of a conjunction is unambiguous, and its affects are on a conspicuous and obvious level.

Conjunctions are considered favorable or unfavorable depending on the particular planets involved. When you understand that these planets are simply a focus of activity, then there is nothing inevitably good or bad about them. Jupiter expresses expansive growth, and Saturn’s role is orderly, limiting and clarifying. Whether the conjunction of these planets is well-disposed or not depends on what is growing and what is being restrained or throttled. The growth of a tumor is unfavorable, controlling the tumor is good. The growth or development of a profession is beneficial, but obviously, obstruction or curb of a career is negative.

A group of three or more planets in conjunction is referred to as a “stellium”. A stellium creates its distinct, special action, and greatly accentuates the sign and house in which it is found.

A Square angle (90°) signals challenge, action, dynamic tension, and execution. The square involves two planets that are three signs apart. Squares may be permitted orbs of 7°.

The inherent potential, capabilities, and promises of an astrology chart lies in its squares. Action and decision are the essential character of squares. Of great importance is whether the square is cardinal, fixed or mutable. Cardinal squares presage quick action. Fixed squares portend action that is slow and calculated. With Mutable squares the action is unpredictable, depending to a considerable extent on the mood of others.

A T-Square or T-Cross incorporates three planets, where two of the planets are in opposition (180 or six signs apart). A Grand Cross or Grand Square requires four planets, with two pairs in opposition.

An Opposition is the broadest possible aspect. Its implicit value is to develop frame of mind and awareness. Oppositions show antagonistic factors at work, which complement each other when harmonized. They present hurdles just as squares do, but of a different type. An opposition involves identifying a lack within yourself, and using the duality of the two signs to meet that deficiency. Singularity then becomes balance. The unraveling of opposing forces is usually managed through awareness and judgment.

A Trine angle (120°) involves two planets that are four signs apart. The customary orb is 7°. Trines are by and large favorable and suggest innate creativity, talent, the ability to communicate easily. The trine indicates natural flow, and easy interaction between two planets, but there is also no demand to use the planets advantageously. Because there is no stress or tension, trines are not always a constructive aspect. They may promote a tendency to choose the line of least resistance, pleasure, and inertia. The trine expresses the bliss of living and the love of life. Life on a silver platter, however, doesn’t promote growth. A Grand Trine engages three planets, of the same element, 120° apart (7° orb). If the three signs were of the element Fire, this would be a Grand Fire Trine.

At 150° (5° orb), an Inconjunct (Quincunx) angle involves two planets that are five signs apart and totally unrelated to each other. They share nothing in common, neither quality nor element. Neither are they both active or passive. Nothing in common makes it much more difficult to integrate these forces, and often requires multiple adjustments and drastic, across-the-board changes. The inconjunct calls for a shift in attitude, altered habits and the necessity to adjust to circumstances revealed by the planets and houses in question. Health and/or money are usually involved in some way.

A Sextile angle involves two planets that are 60° (5° orb) or two signs apart. 60° indicates opportunity, attraction, self-expression and affability. Active/positive zodiac signs sextile each other, as do passive/negative signs. Fire/Air signs sextile each other, likewise Earth/Water.

Compatible, sextile planets cooperate with each other and create easy understanding and expression. Make note of planets involved, as well as the signs and the houses. The Moon sextile Mars brings together emotions (the Moon) with physical pizzazz and drive (Mars). If the 5th and 7th houses are reckoned, love affairs and alliances are involved. If the sextile is in Aquarius and Aries, then we are dealing with intellect and freedom (Aquarius) plus egocentricity and recklessness (Aries). Let’s suppose that the Moon is in the 5th house and Mars in the 7th house. This would imply that what you look for in love affairs or romance (5th house) is similar to what you want in a partner (7th house). The sextile blends and propitiates these two planetary impulses.

Aspects are always calculated by counting signs, not houses, otherwise you might skip a sign that spans the cusp of two house. Astrological houses do not automatically contain thirty degrees, but zodiac signs do. If the 1st house cusp is in Leo and the 2nd house cusp is in Libra, the sign Virgo is “intercepted” in the 1st house.

Planets that are exalted or dignified can assimilate well and can manage all aspects in a more positive fashion. “Out of Sign” aspects can turn up when a planet is positioned very near the cusp of a sign. Jupiter at 4° Scorpio square Saturn at 28° Libra is an out of sign square, but it is within the allowed orb, so it is nevertheless a square.

An “applying” aspect is more influential than a “waning” aspect. Mercury, in applying aspect, moves closer to Venus. As Mercury flies past and away from Venus it wanes and loses force. The applying aspect denotes something you are learning, the waning aspect shows something that has been learned. The aspecting (faster) planet is the “donor”, and the aspected (slower) planet is the recipient of the action.

Aspects to the Sun are the heart and soul – the essence of one’s identity. Mercury, never more than 28° from the Sun, can only conjunct our star. Venus, never more than 46° from the Sun, can only conjunct and form a semi-sextile and semi-square. Basic character is shaped by the most precise aspects in the horoscope. Aspects show disposition, abilities and disabilities, rather than actualization. The astrology chart reveals your possibilities and capacities, but how little or much you use your abilities and gifts will determine your fate. The fundamental significance of each sign, each planet and each house never changes. The keywords remain the same.

The conjunction is a 0° aspect. The 1st house is the native house of Aries and its ruler Mars. Thus all conjunctions have a 1st house/Aries/Mars quality; a sense of drive, activity and energy, no matter where a conjunction in fact exists in a chart. This adds to the perception of emphasis which occurs when two or more planets are found together in a chart.

The square, a 90° aspect, again begins with Aries. 90° forward brings us to Cancer/Moon and the 4th house. 90° retro places us with Capricorn/Saturn and the 10th house. We find ourselves in Cardinal signs with their associated feelings. Cardinal always signal dynamic action and intensity. Thus the square always expresses action, challenge, arousal and stress.

The opposition, a 180° aspect, does just what the word means. One planet confronts another. Opposite to Aries/Mars and the 1st house is Libra/Venus and the 7th house. It is also a Cardinal setting and its challenges and energies are similar to the square. However, here the “I” oriented Aries is facing the cooperative “We” oriented Libra. Every zodiac sign is made complete in its polar opposite. Aries is compelled to learn unity and balance.

When Aries alters its self-awareness into recognition of others, the clash of this opposition becomes cooperation. All oppositions echo this Aries/Libra conflict, regardless of the actual location of the aspect.

The trine is a 120° aspect that entails Aries/Mars and the 1st house, and either Leo/Sun and the 5th house or Sagittarius/Jupiter and the 9th house. Because Aries, Leo and Sagittarius are the three Fire Signs, this is a congruous aspect with creative (Leo/Sun) and broad-minded (Sagittarius/Jupiter). All trines exhibit this basic pattern no matter which element they materialize in.

The inconjunct is a 150 ° aspect that embroils Aries/Mars and the 1st house and either Virgo/Mercury and the 6th house or Scorpio/Pluto and the 8th house. Hasty, impulsive Aries has to contend with the exact, studious and uber-practical Virgo in matters associated with duty, work, health and routine (the 6th house). Some sort of conversion is required to draw these contrasting attitudes into alignment. In the other scenario, Aries/Mars/1st house needs to survive the penetrating, determined and incomprehensible Scorpio in questions relating to other people’s resistance or in areas of scrutiny and regeneration. Both of these examples show two natures that are very anomalous. A clear perspective and some kind of whammy are needed before these signs can “play nice” together. You can well imagine that the inconjunct is a thorny aspect. It produces stress and anxiety because it is always an aspect between contradictory energies.

The sextile is a 60° aspect engaging Aries/Mars/1st house and either Gemini/Mercury/3rd house or Aquarius/Uranus/11th house. In either case we are treating with the combination of fire and air, which are well-matched elements. Here extroverted Aries teams up with sociable and intellectual Gemini and the 3rd house, or with tolerant, intellectual, revolutionary and friendship-oriented Aquarius and the 11th house. All sextiles are between harmonious elements (either fire and air or earth and water) and are mergers that work in an agreeable way, expressing themselves naturally.

Trines (120°) = Fire/Earth – Air/Water
Squares (90°) and Oppositions (180°) = Cardinal, Fixed, Mutable
Sextiles (60°) = Fire/Air – Earth/Water
Inconjuncts (150°) = Problems
A reasonably “tight” Orb for all aspects is 5°, but there are no “rules”. Astrology is primarily an art, and artists are naturally rule breakers.

Back to the first lesson on Astrology Chart, or return to the top of Astrology Chart Aspects.