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Aspects in Astrology and Their Meanings Explained

Patricia Lantz C.Ht.
overview of the zodiac

Along with the Sun, Moon, planets and houses, the astrological aspects are an essential component of astrology. Some consider them the underlying fabric of a birth chart. One thing's for sure, you can't read a natal chart without astrology's aspects.

What Is an Aspect?

Using the Earth as center, the planets form various angular relationships with each other as the orbit around the Sun. These angular relationships are known as aspects.

Aspects in astrology

An Aspect Analogy

Imagine that a horoscope is like a movie script. The Sun is the star; the Moon is the co-star; the planets are the actors; the signs are the costuming, and the houses are the sets. The aspects describe complex relationships between all the film's characters. Each horoscope presents with its own "story" expressed through the planets and their connecting lines - astrology's aspects.

The Role of Aspects

At their most basic aspects connects the affairs of one planet, its sign, and house, with the affairs of another planet, its sign, and house. These connections always alter the interpretation of the planets, and signs involved. When planets are in aspect to each other, their interpretations are blended according to the nature of the aspect.

Aspects in Astrology

The Major Aspects

The aspects below are considered the most important and are used in every horoscope analysis.

The Conjunction Aspect

A conjunction is the 0° aspect. These planets or other horoscope points are at almost the same position in the horoscope. It is the combination of two motivations merged that cannot act without the other. Together they create a unified and powerful force. Some conjunctions are easy, others more difficult, depending upon the planets and signs involved.

conjunction aspect

The Sextile Aspect

Sextile is an aspect that occurs when planets or other points in a chart are about 60° apart. It's a stimulating aspect that indicates talents and opportunities. If planets are in a sextile aspect, they are in signs with compatible elements. These two planets are harmonious and blend easily. They feed off, encourage, and inspire one another.

Sextile aspect

The Square Aspect

A square aspect occurs when there is about a 90° separation between planets or other horoscope points. Squares aspects involve planets that are in signs that have the same modality, but different elements. Squares generate tension and stimulate action that pushes an individual to create and manifest. Square aspects are considered challenging because they indicate blockages and obstacles in life. However, they also show strength and the ability to persevere difficulties. The Sun, Mercury, and Venus never form a square to one another in a natal chart because they are never 90° apart.

Square aspect

The Trine Aspect

The trine aspect occurs when planets are about 120° apart. When planets are in a trine aspect, they are in the same element, and there's a smooth flow of energy. However, there is a downside, trines are lazy and don't stimulate action. Once again, the Sun, Mercury, and Venus will never form a trine to one another in a natal chart because they are never 120° apart.

Trine aspect

The Opposition Aspect

The opposition is the 180° aspect. The planets or other horoscope points oppose one another. Both planets in opposition must be honored, but the individual will feel a push-pull related to the signs and houses they occupy. However, one is often rejected in favor of the other.

Opposition aspect

The Minor Aspects

Minor aspects can help fine-tune a horoscope analysis but are usually considered less critical than the major aspects.

The Quincunx or Inconjunct Aspect

The quincunx, sometimes considered a minor aspect, links planets that are about 150° apart. This aspect involves two signs that are in different elements, different modalities, and different polarities. They have nothing in common. The quincunx is a bend or break sort of aspect that requires adjustments. It's considered a "hard" aspect, meaning it brings challenges that are character building. A birth chart with more than two quincunxes indicates a very determined individual, especially if the Sun, Mars, Saturn, or Pluto are involved.

Quincunx aspect

The Semi-Sextile Aspect

The semi-sextile is considered a minor aspect that involves planets or other horoscope points that are separated by about 30°. Planets in a semi-sextile aspect are one sign apart and have little in common. There's an uncomfortable feel to semi-sextile, and a fair amount of effort is needed to get them to work together.

Semi-sextile aspect

The Semi-Square Aspect

The semi-square is a minor aspect that involves planets or other horoscope points that are separated by about 45°. The semi-square can be moderately difficult and create tension. It can create self-doubt related to the planets, signs, and houses involved. Some might say it's a "trouble in the making" aspect.

Semi-square aspect

The Sesquisquare Aspect

The Sesquisquare is considered a minor aspect that involves planets or other horoscope points that are about 135° apart. Planets in this aspect can needle, push, and annoy one another because they have a hard time seeing and understanding the other.

Sesquiquadrate aspect

Orbs of Influence

The "orb" of influence refers to the exactness of an aspect. Orbs vary depending on the planet and the aspect, as well as the astrologer. Generally, the fewer degrees in the aspect, the smaller the orb. Larger orbs are used for conjunctions and oppositions, or if the aspect involves major planets, such as the Sun and Moon. However, the more exact the orb, the more powerful the aspect will be. Orbs of influence:

  • Conjunction: 0 - 10° (waxing or waning)
  • Opposition: 0 - 10° (waxing or waning)
  • Trine: 0 - 8° (waxing or waning)
  • Square: 0 - 8° (waxing or waning)
  • Sextile: 0 - 5° (waxing or waning)
  • Quincunx: 0 -2° (waxing or waning)
  • Semi-sextile: 0 - 1° (waxing or waning)
  • Semi-square: 0 - 2° (waxing or waning)
  • Sesquisquare: 0 - 2° (waxing or waning)

Waxing and Waning Aspects

An aspect's orb that is not exact is either waxing or waning. If the faster-moving planet is ahead of (by degree) the slower moving planet, the aspect is waxing. If the faster-moving planet is behind the slower moving planet (by degree) the aspect is waning. For instance, if Venus and Mars are conjunct, and Venus is at 14° Aquarius, and Mars is at 12° Aquarius, it's a waxing conjunction. Mars is at 14° Aquarius and Venus at 12° Aquarius is a waning conjunction.

Out-of-Sign Aspects

Out-of-sign aspects add a strange ingredient into the aspect mix that gives the aspect a different flavor. Out-of-sign aspects add complexity to the interpretation of the aspect. They also add complexity to a life. Two examples of out-of-sign aspects:

  • A conjunction between planets located in adjacent signs, such as a Moon/Jupiter conjunction with the Moon at 28° Sagittarius and Jupiter at 1° Capricorn.
  • A trine between the Moon and Jupiter, with the Moon at 28° Sagittarius and Jupiter 1° Taurus.

Aspect Patterns

Aspect patterns in a birth chart say something unique about a person and are often challenging to interpret. Below are four patterns most astrologers are sure to notice.

  • A Stellium is when three or more planets or points are conjoined. Two famous individuals who have a significant Stellium in the birth charts are Keanu Reeves and Katy Perry.
  • A Grand Grine is when three planets or angles in a birth chart are trine one another in the same element but different astrological signs. Two famous people with Grand Trines in the birth chart are Oprah Winfrey and Stephen King.
  • A Yod, or the "Finger of God," forms when two planets are in a sextile relationship, and a third planet is in a quincunx relationship to both. The amazingly talented Prince has two Yods in his birth chart.
  • A Grand Cross is dynamic; it occurs in a birth chart when four planets are linked by four squares and two opposition. All four planets are in the same modality but different astrological signs. A famous person with a Grand Cross in his birth chart is Adam Levine. Adam Levine also has a Grand Trine, and a Yod.

Aspects Are Fascinating

Aspects are fascinating. They are used in delineating the synastry between the charts of couples, to delineate tranists to a natal chart, and more. However, if you're just starting out with astrology, stick to using the conjunction, trine, sextile, square, and opposition aspects, otherwise, you'll be overloaded with information. Once you're comfortable with those, you can move on to the quincunx, semi-sextile, and semi-square, as well as waxing and waning aspects and out-of-sign aspects.

Aspects in Astrology and Their Meanings Explained