Allowances For Orbs

While an aspect is exact when two planets are separated by a specific number of degrees, astrologers still consider its effect when there are a few degrees more or less than the precise number between them. This allowance is called an orb. If we take the example of a square (a commonly used major aspect), to be exact the planets should be 90° apart, but an orb of 8° is allowed. So if, for instance, Venus is on 15° Virgo and Mars on 18° of Gemini, they will still be "in square aspect". In this book, because of the limitation on our calculations, it is unnecessary to allow orbs; but with further study you can learn how to use them.

Understanding the Major Aspects

On the following pages are the characteristics of the major aspects, including, on pages 282-3, the aspects to the Ascendant and Midheaven. To calculate the aspects on a birth chart, see page 304.

The orbits of seven planets are shown on this 19th century mechanical model.

The Conjuction

Of the major aspects, the conjunction is the most powerful. An exact conjunction takes place when two planets inhabit the same degree, but it will still be operative when there is up to 10° of the zodiac between them.

The positive aspects

The positive aspects are the trine and sextile, formed when there are 120° and 60° separating them respectively. These are helpful, and generally will not be a flashpoint for stress or difficulty. The trine is far stronger than the sextile.

The negative aspects

The negative aspects are the square, quincunx, and opposition. Here we have angles of 90°, 150°, and 180° separating the planets. Both square and opposition are very powerful. The square is nearly always stressful or inhibitive, while the opposition is seemingly so, but can very often act

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