In Astrology, the term aspects refers to the relationship of one planet to another. Since the Zodiac is a 360 degree circle, aspects refer to the geometric angle one planet makes to another. These aspects have a numeric designation as well as an astrological term associated with the angle.
Aspects from one planet to another are the reason “not all Leos are alike, or all Capricorns, etc.” The aspect itself can color the attributes, and cause energy to manifest in a different manner. In other words, although each sign will have common bonds found in every person born under that sign, aspects will dictate different methods of expression. Making us all very different, regardless of the similarities.
Astrologers don’t always agree on the terms used to define aspects. We can use “Blending, flowing vs. Dynamic”, or we can use “harmonious vs. inharmonious”. I use harmonious vs. inharmonious. I use these terms because they reflect the ease or difficulty the planets have in relationship to one another. In a harmonious aspect, the planets will easily exchange and blend energy. They are in harmony. In inharmonious aspects, the planets are at odds with one another. Each planet finds it difficult to express its energy. There is no harmony, and indeed there is often conflict between the planets.
Additionally, some aspects are more important than others. Aspects designated as “Major Aspects” are more important. Aspects designated as “Minor” are less important in the scheme of things. This is a general definition, and can be mitigated by a number of things in a chart, but for the sake of understanding that some are more important universally than other, this will do.
Let’s take a look at the Major Aspects. They are the conjunction, the sextile, the square, the trine, and the opposition.
Conjunction: Here there is literally zero degrees of separation, and the energy will manifest as an intense desire to merge, blend, bond, etc. The energies of the two planets are trying to become one. Sometime this can be accomplished easily. A Moon/Venus conjunction does not have the level of stress that a Sun conjunct Saturn would have. For this reason, conjunctions depend entirely on the planets involved to determine whether or not they will be harmonious or inharmonious.
Sextile [harmonious]: Here there is 60 degrees of separation, and the planets will manifest with a sense of adventure and an openness to new experiences. Sextiles bring a natural attunement to life energies in general, and in some people [where sextiles dominate the chart] there will be a great gift or talent—even genius in the field indicated by the houses involved.
Square[inharmonious]: Planets are separated by 90 degrees, and the planets will manifest in combat and conflict. Generally these planets will all be in the same quality [Cardinal, Fixed, or Mutable] so there is a similar foundation. But, the effort needed to balance these energies is tremendous. Where the trine aspect is extremely easy, the square aspect is extremely difficult. The planets involved never seem to find easy expression and so, feel unfulfilled by nature. Depending on the planets involved, this can produce a never ending crucible of sorts, especially if the planets are the luminaries [Sun and Moon]. These aspects can take an entire life time to harness, and even then the individual may fail to ever find peace.
Trine [harmonious]: Here, there is 120 degrees of separation, and the planets will manifest with ease. Trines usually involve planets that are placed in the same element [fire, earth, air or water] and so they already have a foundation provided by the same element. It produces an easy blending of energy and an ease of expression. The trine is sometimes called the “lazy aspect” because it is so easy in expression. There is no effort needed to blend these energies. No lifelong struggle to learn how to achieve the balance. It comes so easily that individuals can become lazy in their thinking and actions because no effort is needed to understand and/or express.
Opposition [inharmonious]: Here the planets show 180 degrees of separation, and will manifest in an over-stimulation of the planets involved. Planets are constantly challenging each other for expression, and in many ways it is in the oppositions that we find the characteristic of “projection” in individuals. There is a marked lack of objectivity with the opposition.
Now, let’s take a look at the minor aspects.
Semi-Sextile [harmonious]: 30 degrees of separation and the energy will manifest in a similar manner as the conjunction, but with less intensity. The planets are constantly interacting, but there is no struggle to become one as with the conjunction
Novile [harmonious]: 40 degrees of separation and the planets involved will manifest as “spiritual destiny”. This aspect will show spiritual progress and in viewing the progress, it will also show the future. It is often energy that feels very intimate but somehow not part of the individual. Some people describe it as the Holy Ghost, or Spirit, God, etc. It is an aspect that feels intensely spiritual, but also not as an integrated part of the individual.
Semi-Square [inharmonious]: 45 degrees of separation and the planets will manifest similar to the square aspect, but with less intensity. Do not underestimate the aspect however, it is challenging and brings with it tension, stress, frustration and many times a feeling of helplessness in dealing with the stress. There is an intense interaction. The urge is toward dynamic self-expression and the promotion of one’s ideas. Powerful connections with others that could manifest either in an exciting and constructive, or conflicting and difficult way. The latter the more likely.
Septile [inharmonious]: 51 degrees of separation and the planets will manifest with irrationality. This aspect is one of destiny in that it indicates where two paths will meet and a decision will have to be made as to which destiny to pursue. The septile will indicate trigger points where the individual will meet a fork in the road of destiny. They can also be trigger points of irrational behavior.
Quintile [harmonious]: 72 degrees of separation and the planets will manifest their spiritual natures. This aspect is rare and many astrologers don’t even use it, but I find it useful in pinpointing the area of life where the individual feels the most in touch with his or her own spirit.
The Quintile energy can be romantic, playful and demonstrative. The quintile family of aspects can indicate science, math and engineering. There’s a need to make things happen. Cosmic will seems to be at play here, so if creative things aren’t happening, then look for destruction.
Quintiles bring a certain dignity, clarity, pride and unusual sexual energy. Sometimes interpreted as providing emphasis, power or single-mindedness to the planets involved. A combination that stresses creative approaches to overcoming problems, the use of intellect and imagination.
Quincux [inharmonious]: 150 degrees of separation and the energy will be a combination of the energy of the trine and the square aspects. It will both balance and adjust the individual, but these adjustments will be felt as annoyances. This is one of the aspects that can indicate OCD. The tendency to compulsive behavior can usually be traced straight to a quincunx in the natal chart. This aspects seeks to balance, adjust and correct, but it’s not felt as an easy adjustment.
This Aspect, above all, demands that adjustments be made. Things will appear muted or unclear, and one must resolve to gain some focus on the matters at hand. A reorganization of priorities, as well as a change in the way things are done, is needed. A change in attitude, outlook and perspective can also be indicated.
Quindecile [inharmonious]: 165 degrees of separation and the energy will manifest as an obsession. This is an aspect of separation, divorce, upheaval, and disruption.
Well, briefly, that is it. Although each planet has its own properties, the aspects will dictate how those properties interact and how energies are expressed. And, this is why aspects are so important. The aspects will show us the manner of expression. The planet will indicate what kind of energy is present. And, the House will indicate what area of life where the energy finds expression.
Or simply put:
The planet is the energy.
The sign is the mode of expression.
The House is the area of life where the energy will be expressed.
Aspects are how multiple planets interact and express themselves.