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Aspects in Astrology

Two planets are "in aspect" when the angle between them* is close to  360° divided by 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8 or 12.  These small number divisors of 360° (1, 2, 3, etc.) are said to be the "harmonic number" of that aspect, and are given in the first column of each row below. Two planets in aspect can be thought of as being on two vertices of an imaginary regular polygon. The harmonic number of their aspect is the number of sides of that polygon. Not all planets are in aspect, but when they are they combine energies and work in harmony, discord, or in a more esoteric fashion as described in the last column of each row below.

If you divide 360° by an aspect's harmonic number you get the degrees of that aspect (col. 3). Aspects produced by dividing 360° by 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6 are called "major aspects": the conjunction, opposition, trine, square and sextile. Aspects obtained by dividing 360° by 8 and 12 (and their multiples: 3/8, 5/8, 5/12, 7/12, etc.) are called "minor aspects." Thus minor aspects have harmonic numbers 8 and 12.

Aspects with harmonic numbers 5 (quintiles) and 7 (septiles) are not well understood and not interpreted as much as the even-numbered minor aspects with harmonic numbers 8 and 12. I calculate and draw quintiles and septiles and all their multiples in my horoscope charts, but rarely interpret them unless they are part of a larger harmonic syndrome. Aspects with harmonic numbers 9 (novile), 10 (decile) and 11 are rarely considered. If you subtract an aspect from 360°, the resulting aspect is interpretively identical to the original; e.g., 60° and 300° aspects, 90° and 270° aspects, and 120° and 240° aspects are pair-wise identical. The larger orb in column 5 is for aspects including the Sun or Moon; the smaller orb in column 6 is for aspects between planets other than the Sun or Moon.

harm-

onic #

Aspect name

angle

fraction

of circle

orb: Sun & moon

orb:

planets

Aspect Description
1 conjunction 0°, 360° 1/1 12° 11° power, intensity, emphasis; harmonious or inharmonious depending on the energies of the planets involved in the conjunction.
2 opposition 180° 1/2 12° 11° change, polarity, awareness, objectivity, a style of relating; symbolizes a conflict between an internal energy and an apparently external one that one fails to see in oneself and projects onto the world; signifies others we bring into our life to externalize unconscious or rejected aspects of our being.
3 trine 120° 1/3 7° 30' harmony, ease, gifts, stability, creativity; often denotes inertia
4 square 90° 1/4 7° 30' obstacles and challenge creating dynamic inner tension leading to conflict and change; planets in square work at cross-purposes and resist, test and limit each other. Their energies are released when the aspect is resolved; not as exteriorized as opposition.
5 quintile 72° 1/5 the bringing together of the male and female within an individual, thus indicating marriage, creativity, and one’s art
5 biquintile 144° 2/5 same as the quintile
6 sextile 60° 1/6 4° 30' opportunity; unlike the trine, the sextile needs a little push from the will to activate its natural harmony
7 septile 51° 25.7' 1/7 1° 30' 1° 30' receptivity to inspiration, sacred and religious matters, creativity, children
7 biseptile 102°51.4' 2/7 1° 30' 1° 30' same as the septile
7 triseptile 154°17.1' 3/7 1° 30' 1° 30' same as the septile
8 semisquare 45° 1/8 2° 30' half square; challenge and resistance; like square but weaker
8 sesquiquadrate 135° 3/8 2° 30' similar to the semisquare: crisis, resistance to challenge
9 novile 40° 1/9
10 decile 36° 1/10
12 semisextile 30° 1/12 1° 30' similar to the quincunx
12 quincunx 150° 5/12 2° 30' unites signs with no natural relationship or connection to each other; discord, necessity for adjustment, or a forced choice between inharmonious conditions.

 

 

 

Although the faster of any two planets in aspect is the active force making the aspect, the faster planet is always learning lessons from and being shaped by the slower planet, never vice-versa. In the case of Mercury and Pluto for example, since Mercury is closer to the Sun and therefore faster in its orbit than Pluto, Mercury is the one learning lessons from and being shaped by Pluto. The planets from slowest to fastest (from teacher to student) are Pluto, Neptune, Uranus, Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Venus, Mercury and the Moon.

In addition to the above-named aspects which are measured in degrees along the ecliptic, there are also aspects measured in degrees of "declination" (i.e., north and south of the celestial equator: the Earth's equator projected into space or onto the celestial sphere). Two planets that are the same (angular) distance north and south of the celestial equator and on the same side of it are said to be in "parallel" aspect. Two planets that are the same (angular) distance north and south of the celestial equator and opposite sides of it are said to be in "contraparallel" aspect; both have orbs of 1°. So, two planets with the same declination are in parallel, and two planets with opposite declinations are contraparallel. This aspect is said to act like the conjunction when two planets have the same declination and are on the same side of the celestial equator (in parallel), and like the opposition when two planets have the same declination and are on opposite sides of the celestial equator (in contraparallel).

14 possible aspects are drawn in You and the Universe, and named and sorted by planet and by orb in the horoscope chart on page three. All five major and four minor aspects are interpreted in your book, and sometimes quintiles and septiles if they are part of a larger harmonic syndrome. For a more comprehensive discussion on orbs go to "orbs".

*The aspect between 2 planets is technically the angle between the planets in the ecliptic plane with the earth at its apex.

 

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