Aspects in Astrology
Aspects are a powerful technique used by astrologers to integrate and describe the different dimensions of the personality. The aspect system – based on the rules of trigonometry – provides a way to understand the complex layers of your psyche.
This is where all the different component of your chart come together. Aspects are like the magic ingredient that brings a perfect sauce together! They help you make sene of the sometimes contradictory qualities of your birth chart.
We like to think of each planet in your chart as a character or a voice.To think like an astrologer you need to combine these different “voices” into a fully formed understanding of who you are. By focussing on synthesis, rather than analysing each part individually, you can unlock the secrete of your astrology chart and how to fulfil your potential.
The Nature of Aspects
Aspects are the fourth major component of Western astrology, and together with planets, signs and houses make the horoscope come alive.
Elsewhere we have talked about our model of the birth chart as describing the ongoing drama that is you. If you take that idea a little further then you can think of aspects as describing the dialogue that is going on between each of the characters.
The lines that “criss-cross” your birth chart describe who is talking to who and IMPORTANTLY the quality of dialogue that is being exchanged.
The theory of aspects in astrology is based on the relationship generated by different planets (characters) as they travel through each of the signs. The nature of the conversation will depend on
- The relative strength/weakness of the planet in that sign (essential dignity)
- The planets essential qualities (yin/yang etc.)
- The influence the planets involved will have on each other’s essential quality
- The nature of the aspect (hard/soft)
- The house position of the planets involved (accidental dignity)
You can explore these ideas more fully by enrolling in our online astrology course.
The Five Major Aspects
As mentioned, the theory of aspects is derived from the interrelationship between planets as they appear in different signs, or divisions of the circle of the Zodiac. Their relationship is defined by geometry.
There are therefore 5 traditional, major or Ptolemaic (after the astrologer Ptolemy) aspects that are used in Western astrology, and their influence is thought to the greatest. There are also other “minor” aspects that will be covered in another article.
The 5 major aspects
Conjunction. (0-10 deg apart) Same Sign Voices unify or agree
Opposition. (180 deg apart) Opposing Signs Voices oppose or contrast
Trine. (120 deg apart) Same element Voices blend or harmonize
Square. (90 deg apart) Same Modality Voices challenge or contradict
Sextile. (60 deg apart) Same Polarity Voices relate or connect
As you think about the major aspects in your birth chart, it is useful to imagine real characters, people or situations you might know.
For example if you have one planet in Aries in aspect to another one in Cancer, you might imagine a feisty, impulsive character like a five year old wanting to run outside and play (this is the Aries voice) versus a caring, protective but equally action-oriented character like Mum trying to put his jumper on (this is the voice in Cancer). These planets will be in square aspect to each other. Think about all the ways they might interact and what they need to do to compromise.
Or you might have two planets in Air signs, both in aspect to each other. In this case, there will be a trine aspect (120 degrees apart). If you have an Air trine in your chart then the planets involved will share very similar ideas about how they express themselves. Think of two friends encouraging each other to do what they want.
Sometimes that can work really well. Planets that have similar qualities work well when they are in trine aspect – like the Sun and Jupiter.
But planets that don’t have similar qualities can bring out each others’ worst qualities, just like friends can do. They might encourage each other to get into trouble! For example, the Moon and Uranus don’t have much in common, but they are both very changeable.
If you have a trine aspect between the Moon and Uranus in your chart you may always be looking for the next place to be and have trouble settling down but others might see you as sometimes erratic or cold.
At first this might seem overwhelming, but if you keep practising you will get the hang of it. Or schedule an astrology session with me to really understand the dynamics of your birth chart. Astrology is an amazing tool and we are here to help you out.
Another way to work with aspects is to think of the idea of planetary contacts. Planets in aspect to each other are in contact and with a bit of imagination you can think about ways they are likely to interact. Traditionally, planets in aspect are said to be able to “behold” or glance at each other. The ancient system of aspects was built on the notion that the planetary gods could see – and therefore relate to each other – in certain positions. Being able to see each other means they can influence outcomes.
Conversely, there are also places where they cannot see or influence each other. In our next article we will talk more about this idea and the nature of planetary contacts.
Find the Latest Updates on Astrology & Wellbeing
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Here we look more closely at Saturn’s influence and what Pluto in Aquarius might mean, plus a personal focus on your Saturn cycle based on your Rising Sign
A New Jupiter Cycle Kicks Off – One of the bigger generational patterns to shift gear in 2023 is the journey of Jupiter through Aries and then Taurus. Because Aries is the first sign of the Zodiac, when Jupiter transits here (once every 12 years) we can think of it as the step up to the next level in an evolving cycle.
This article appeared on our website as part of the March monthly forecast, written late Feb 2020. It speculates on the possible chart for COVID19 based on its emergence to the world stage at the same time as the Chinese New Year.