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Astrological Aspects

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 opportunities.

The basic Aspects used are as follows:

Major Aspects:


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 signs.


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 aspect indeed.

Example: a Jupiter/Saturn opposition can actually be very complimentary, toning down Saturnís gloom and Jupiterís natural exuberance.


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 complacent attitude.


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 influence.

Minor Aspects


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 carefully.


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 lacking.

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 minor ones.

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 the aspect.

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 Opposition.)

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 sun/moon opposition.


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