As the planets move around the chart they
interact with each other. Since the
Astrological Chart is a circle, (i.e. 360
degrees) then the planets are separated by
degrees. It is the number of degrees between
two or more planets which defines an aspect.
Some aspects are very good; and some are
very thought provoking, but even the most
negative aspects indicate solutions or
The basic Aspects used are as follows:
This is when two planets are side by
side; that is, at 0 degrees to each other.
This can be a very positive aspect,
bringing out the best traits between two or
more planets. However, this can also bring
out the worst traits of two planets too.
Example: 14th February 1990 Ė there was a
conjunction between Saturn, Venus and Mars
in the sign of Capricorn. This would have
had a very inhibiting effect on certain
This is when two or more planets
literally oppose each other at 180 degrees.
This isnít necessarily negative. If the
person affected can somehow combine or
reconcile the clashing energies of the two
planets, then it becomes a very positive
Example: a Jupiter/Saturn opposition can
actually be very complimentary, toning down
Saturnís gloom and Jupiterís natural
The Trine occurs when two planets are 120
degrees (e Ė one third of 360 degrees)
apart. Three Trines between three planets
create the Grand Trine (that is Ė a complete
triangle). Usually that Triangle of Trines
is either in the Air Houses; the Water
Houses; the Earth Houses or the Fire Houses.
This is a strange aspect: it is generally
described as a positive one, enabling
opportunities, but it also points to lost
opportunities. In other words, it advises a
proactive approach, but encourages a
The Square actually occurs when two or
more planets are at right-angles to each
other (90 degrees).
The Square, 90 degree aspect, could be
regarded as almost the opposite of a trine;
that it, it manufactures inner stress, but
adds a boost of determination too.
If four planets, spread equally across
the charts at 90 degrees to each other, then
this forms what is known as the Grand Square
or Grand Cross. This is literally in the
shape of a complete square. The Grand Square
is a useful problem spotter, but leaves you
to be the problem solver.
There was a Grand Square on the 12th
December 2008 between the mutable signs:
Gemini; Virgo; Sagittarius; Pisces. This
particular day would have brought out inner
dissatisfaction; inner discontent and a
general sense of stagnation, but possibly
renewed ambition too.
A Sextile occurs when two planets are 60
degrees apart. The Sextile brings gentle
harmony and balance between two or more
planets. Some astrologers suggest that it is
a weak aspect and while itís certainly not
as aggressive or active as the previous
aspects, its positive attributes shouldnít
be dismissed too readily.
A Saturn/Mars Sextile, for example, can
modify the Aries impulsiveness and add a
little pizzazz to the straitlaced Saturn
A Semisquare (45 degrees) is regarded as
a watered down version of the Square aspect.
It sometimes denotes two areas of tension
that require some work or a reintroduction
of balance. If a Semisquare occurs, for
example, between your First House and Third
House, perhaps youíre not being true to
yourself, or youíre holding back.
This minor aspect operates much like the
Semisquare, in that it draws attention to
minor obstacles and areas of tension, but
where the Semisquare occurs at 45 degrees,
the Sesquisquare occurs when two planets are
at 135 degrees.
A Quincunx (or Inconjunct) acts like a
problem spotter. It occurs when two planets
are 150 degrees apart and generally points
out where minor alterations in approach or
attitude might be needed: slow down; speed
up; take a risk; hold back and so on.
A Mercury/Uranus Inconjunct might
indicate a need to think things through
This aspect occurs when two planets are
30 degrees apart; that is, not very far
apart, but close enough to form a Conjunct.
Some astrologers dismiss this as a
wishy-washy, kind of vaguely beneficial
aspect, and perhaps theyíre right, but if
the Semi-Sextile suggests anything, it
suggests the areas where effort may be
Definition of Terms Used in Aspects
The degrees between planets are what
define Aspects, but since the planets are
always on the move, then too are the Aspects
under constant flux. A Grand Square one day
can give way to a Grand Trine the next.
So how do we refer to Aspects that are
fading or those that are coming into
existence? A brief glossary of terminology
is useful here.
Orb: this refers to the small
leeway allowed when defining an aspect. Two
planets that are exactly 180 degrees
apart form a perfect Opposition, but thereís
a little give and take in this definition. A
very few degrees are allowed either side for
it still to be considered a proper Aspect.
Major Aspects have a little more leeway than
Applying: this is when a planet is
moving in to form the defined aspect. Itís
approaching the exact number of degrees to
form the perfect aspect.
Separating: this is when the
planet, having formed the perfect aspect
with the exact degree number, is beginning
to move out. It is literally separating from
A good example to illustrate these three
terms is the Saturn/Uranus opposition on the
4th November 2008. At approximately 07:00
(EDT) the two planets moved into perfect
opposition and were exactly 180 degrees
apart. Prior to this the two planets were
moving into the opposition (Applying) and
after this point the two planets began to
separate again. However, thanks to the
degree leeway, or the Orb, the opposition
was in effect from 11th September 2008 and
didnít disappear until 23rd March 2009.
Effectively, this opposition lasted for
nearly seven months, even though the perfect
opposition lasted a few hours!
Waxing: this refers to the lunar
phase. A waxing moon is when the moon
develops from new to full; (or in
Astrological terms; from Conjunct to
Waning: this refers to the lunar
phase. A waning moon sees the moon reverting
from full to new again; (or in Astrological
terms, from Opposition to Conjunct.)
New Moons always generate a sun/moon
conjunct, while Full moons always generate a