Aspects Specifics on Experience

You probably remember aspects from walking through the houses in Part 3. There we mentioned that a planet's aspects could determine how its energies would manifest in a certain house.

Looking at aspects means answering the question, "How do these planets get along?" There are five major aspects and many more minor aspects. Most planets can form any aspect to another, except for Mercury, which is never more than 28 degrees from the Sun, and Venus, which is never farther than 48 degrees from the Sun.

The following are the major aspects:

1. Conjunctions, which are the strongest aspects

2. Squares, which are considered to be challenging, and their tension provides dynamic action in your life

3. Oppositions, which show a need for balance between two competing or different energies or needs

4. Trines, which are considered the most favorable aspects, as their signs usually share the same element

5. Sextiles, which are harmonious, bring opportunity and attraction

Before we walk through the aspects, it's important to understand precisely what aspects are and how they're determined. Remember those numbers before and after each sign next to the planets of your birth chart? Those are the degrees of each planet at your birth, and they take on prime importance when we begin aspecting. The

AstroLingo

In astrology, aspect has a technical meaning. When two planets are in aspect to each other, they are related by one of a set of geometric angles between them, some of which are beneficial, and others that are challenging.

number of degrees one planet is from another determines its aspect to that planet.

Most astrologers agree that aspects occur within orbs, rather than just those that create exact angles. For example, while an exact square is 90 degrees, angles from 83 to 97 degrees are commonly considered to be squares; but even these orbs of 7 degrees depend on the planets involved. Exact aspects, of course, create the strongest connections, but wider orbs cannot be ignored. Some astrologers don't take orbs beyond 6 degrees, while others will go as high as 10 degrees.

In general, different orbs are allowed for different types of aspects. This is based on the planets—the Sun and Moon often get 10-degree orbs—and the type of aspect. Conjunctions get more of an orb than a sextile, for example, as a conjunction is a stronger aspect. We'll be explaining exactly what conjunctions and sextiles—and all the other major aspects— are in the next section of this chapter.

To explain this concept a little more, a conjunction is two planets within, say, 7 to 10 degrees of each other (out of 360 degrees), so the percentage of variance is small. Ten degrees out of 360 is ^ or 2.7 percent, after all.

On the other hand, if a sextile, which is only 60 degrees to begin with, had a 10-degree orb, that would be a nearly 17-percent variance! So orbs for an aspect like a sextile are smaller than orbs for something like a conjunction or opposition.

One helpful way to determine aspects is to recognize what part of a circle a particular angle represents (and you thought your geometry days were over!). We've provided a list for you.

Aspects Are Angles of the Circle

Portion of Circle

Angle

Aspect Name (* Major Aspect)

14

180°

opposition*

14

120°

trine*

K

90°

square*

14

72°

quintile

%

60°

sextile*

17

5114°

septile

14

45°

semi-square

14

40°

novile

Ko

36°

semi-quintile

1Î2

30°

semi-sextile

AstroLingo

Planetary degrees show the position of the planets in the signs. Orbs are the variances in degree allowed in determining aspects.

Note that the major aspects are the opposition, trine, square, and sextile—plus the conjunction, which isn't listed above because it's not an angle— planets in conjunction are in the same area. All the other aspects are considered minor, though some may not be quite as minor as once thought.

In addition, it's interesting to note that all the major aspects are essentially same-degree aspects (like a planet at 8 degrees is looking for another planet at about 8 degrees of another sign, in order to have a major aspect). Most minor aspects involve aspects that are not same degree.

Another way to determine aspects is to remember which signs are which quality, element, and/or energy. As a rule (there are exceptions), sextiles and trines are formed by signs with the same element or energy, and squares and oppositions are formed by signs of the same quality.

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