The Hermetic Traveller

For: Explorers, Adventurers, Navigators

Aspects are the relationships of the planets to other planets (including the Sun and Moon, which are often referred to as planets). Aspects are used in astrology to gain a deeper understanding of charts. There are five main aspects that are used when looking at a chart (although there are other lesser-used aspects as well). These five aspects are known as Conjunctions, Trines, Sextiles, Squares and Oppositions.

For example, in a natal chart the aspects between different planets can give a lot more information regarding a persons potential or weakness' and how certain areas of their lives are likely to have an impact on each other. In a Synastry relationship chart the aspects between two different people are compared. This is to ascertain areas where agreement and mutual harmony should be easy to achieve as well as to gain a better understanding of potential areas of conflict and where more consideration and understanding may be necessary.

First it helps to understand that each astrological sign in a Placidus horoscope chart has 30 degrees to each astrological sign. You may notice with some people's charts that some of their houses are not at all evenly distributed into twelve equal parts. Most charts are not divided exactly equally with Placidus, but with some people's charts this is more evident. What does remain consistent though is the signs of the zodiac that run around the edge of the chart, they are of 30 degrees each.

Conjunctions

When we talk about conjunctions we are talking about planets that are zero degrees from each other. However, with aspects there is what is called an orb of influence, which is, the degree of give and take that is allowed for the aspect to be still considered an aspect. The number of degree can differ from astrologer to astrologer and it usually comes down to personal experience and preference. For example, a true conjunction will have two or in some cases more planets (or the angular houses) sitting in exactly the same degree of a sign. However, most astrologers allow a little bit of give and take between aspects and it could be that your planets are sitting 2 degrees apart and are still considered conjunct. Obviously the closer the degree of orb the more impact the conjunction will have.

Naturally because there are 30 degrees to the astrological signs most conjunctions are in the same sign as can be seen. However, it is possible to have conjunctions in different signs if one planet is at the very end of one sign and the other is at the very beginning of the next sign. (Venus is in Cancer while Mars is in Gemini. Note also how the houses in this example have such a difference in their sizes.)

Planets can also make aspects to the different angular houses. The angular houses are the Ascendant, Descendant, Medium Coeli and Immum Coeli. The Ascendant is on the cusp (line between houses) of the first house and is directly opposite the Descendant, the cusp of the 7th house. The Medium Coeli is on the cusp of the 10th house and opposite the Immum Coeli, which is on the cusp of the 4th house. You can see an example of a conjunction between the Moon and the Ascendant.

Conjunctions usually intensify what qualities the planets involved bring into play in a chart. This can be good or bad depending on the planets involved and in what houses they are in.

Trines

When planets are 120 degrees apart they are said to be trined. Trines are usually considered to be harmonious and beneficial, they show how the planets are working together. However, a chart with too many Trines and not enough Squares or Oppositions could indicate someone who may be prone to laziness, someone who relies too much on luck and does not have to stretch or challenge (Squares and Oppositions) themselves enough. You can find an example of a Trine between planets.

As Trines are 120 degrees apart and each sign is 30 degrees it is therefore true that Trines are usually 4 signs apart. The degree of orb can have an influence on this and you could find an aspect where the Trine is actually just over 4 signs apart. In general though the signs considered Trine are these. You may notice that the Trines usually involve signs that are in the same Element as each other (Fire, Earth, Air and Water).


Aries-Leo & Sagittarius
Taurus-Virgo & Capricorn
Gemini-Libra & Aquarius
Cancer-Scorpio & Pisces
Leo-Sagittarius & Aries
Virgo-Capricorn & Taurus
Libra-Aquarius & Gemini
Scorpio-Pisces & Cancer
Sagittarius-Aries & Leo
Capricorn-Taurus & Virgo
Aquarius-Gemini & Libra
Pisces-Cancer & Scorpio
Sextiles

Sextiles are also considered to be beneficial and harmonious aspects although the aspect may require working on to make it work to its potential. Sextiles are 60 degrees apart and therefore are usually two signs from each other. You can see an example of a sextile aspect between the Moon and the Ascendant.

Below are the signs generally considered sextile to each other. However, taking the degree of orb into account, another sign might be involved. It is also true that because signs are of 30 degrees each, signs that fall into this section below may not be sextile. This would be the case when for example a planet was in 2nd degree Aires and although you may have a planet in the 29th degree of Gemini these would not be considered sextile as they would be 87 degrees apart (too far for the tolerance of orb for sextiles). They would but close enough for the tolerance or orbs of a Square though and would be considered squared.


Aries-Gemini & Aquarius
Taurus-Cancer & Pisces
Gemini-Leo & Aries
Cancer-Virgo & Taurus
Leo-Libra & Gemini
Virgo-Scorpio & Cancer
Libra-Sagittarius & Leo
Scorpio-Capricorn & Virgo
Sagittarius-Aquarius & Libra
Capricorn-Pisces & Scorpio
Aquarius-Aries & Sagittarius
Pisces-Taurus & Capricorn
Squares

Squares are generally considered to be difficult and challenging. As the square is 90 degrees apart this usually means that the signs involved are 3 signs away from each other. The list of signs considered square are below but as with all the aspects, the degree of orb is to be taken into account. You can see an example of a square aspect.

You may notice that the squares are made up of the signs in the same Qualities (also known as Modalities or Quadruplicities), excepting the one that shares the same Temperament as themselves. The sign that shares the same temperament as themselves and is in the same Quality as themselves is known as their opposite. You may notice that the Oppositions (generally speaking) share the same squares.


Aries-Cancer & Capricorn
Taurus-Leo & Aquarius
Gemini-Virgo & Pisces
Cancer-Libra & Aries
Leo-Scorpio & Taurus
Virgo-Sagittarius & Gemini
Libra-Capricorn & Cancer
Scorpio-Aquarius & Leo
Sagittarius-Pisces & Virgo
Capricorn-Aries & Libra
Aquarius-Taurus & Scorpio
Pisces-Gemini & Sagittarius
Oppositions

Oppositions are 180 degrees apart and are therefore opposite each other. Oppositions are generally considered to be rather challenging, although in relationship Synastry charts this can be a sometimes be a case of polar opposites attracting to each other. You can see an example of a chart showing an opposition. You can also see a chart with all the aspects on it. Again, the degree of influence of the orb needs to be taken into account, but generally the oppositions fall into the signs below.


Aries - Libra
Taurus - Scorpio
Gemini - Sagittarius
Cancer - Capricorn
Leo - Aquarius
Virgo - Pisces
Libra - Aries
Scorpio - Taurus
Sagittarius - Gemini
Capricorn - Cancer
Aquarius - Leo
Pisces - Virgo