Aspects: A Beginner’s Article to Astrology

By Dixie Turner
Copyright 1998. All Rights Reserved.

The Horoscope

The horoscope wheel consists of twelve houses representing the twelve zodiacal signs. The wheel begins with house number one at the 9 o’clock position, when you look at the wheel as though it were a clock. This is the sign that was just moving over the horizon on the east at the time of birth and is called the rising sign or ascendant. The sign Aries begins the natural wheel, followed by the sign Taurus, etc., until all twelve signs represent houses around the circle. Although Aries represents the beginning of the natural zodiacal wheel, we all have a different rising sign according to the time and location of our births.

The 360 degree wheel when divided equally consists of twelve 30 degrees houses. After house one comes house two, three, and so until we end the circle with house number twelve. Planets are positioned throughout the wheel according to the sign and degree that they were located in at the time of birth.

Aspects

When planets are positioned within the wheel they form relationships with one another according to their zodiacal distance from each other. I will talk about each one of these aspects in the paragraphs that follow. Aspects are formed by two planets according to the angular relationship they make with each other at the time a person is born.

Conjunction Aspect

An exact conjunction occurs when two planets are the exact same degree, i.e., Sun at 1 Aries, Moon also 1 Aries. We do allow a certain amount of lee-way when looking at aspects. This variance is called an orb. Astrologers vary somewhat with the amount of orb they allow. Personally with a conjunction, I always allow 8 degrees on either side of a conjunction aspect, especially when looking at aspects to the Sun or Moon. This would mean that when the Sun is at 1 Aries, in order for a conjunction to take place with the Moon, the Moon would have to be between 23 Pisces and 9 Aries.

When two planets form a conjunction with each other they blend together in influence. It is like they are bonded together, united, and joined at the hip so to speak. The Sun represents consciousness, our spirit, life force, our ego, etc. The Moon represents our feelings, nurturing instincts, subconscious, how we automatically react. So these aspects of the conscious and subconscious part of our personalities would blend together. Our feelings would color how we relate and we would be more reactive to external influences. A conjunction gives you the ability to see things up close, with mouse-like vision, more ego and self oriented. It is harder for the person to see things from an opposing view but relate more to them as being an extension of themselves. The conjunction has a strong Aries influence, as it is more self-oriented. Next, I will discuss the opposition, the circle divided by 2.

Opposition Aspect

The opposition occurs when two planets or houses oppose each other or are exactly opposite each other. Oppositions are 180 degree aspects with an orb of up to 8 degrees. If the Sun is 1 Aries and the Moon 1 Libra, they are in exact opposition to one another. The Ascendant as house number one represents our personalities and how we come across to others. The 7th house opposes our Ascendant (rising) and represents those we attract to us in close relationships. You will notice that all houses across from each other act as polarities or reflections of each other.

Oppositions are often seen as relationship aspects and representative of the sign Libra. In order for oppositions to work well together they require that the two planetary energies come to an agreement, compromise, and work in balance with each other, otherwise it creates tensions. A good analogy of an opposition can be seen by two people sitting on a teeter totter. In order to balance it you have to sit in the middle. People with oppositions in their chart are good at reflecting back and forth on situations, giving them better objectivity.

This aspect used positively is often seen in counselors and mediators charts. Oppositions negatively can also show feelings of being pulled in half or going in two different directions. It can also bring distance and/ or separations from people. It depends on how the person decides to use the aspect. Being conscious of the aspect makes the person more aware and able to make better choices.

Signs that oppose each other are:
Aries and Libra
Taurus and Scorpio
Gemini and Sagittarius
Cancer and Capricorn
Leo and Aquarius
Virgo and Pisces.

The next division is the trine, the circle divided by 3.

Trine Aspect

The trine aspect is the circle divided by 3 or a 120 degree aspect between two planets with an orb of 8 degrees. The trine aspect shows areas of ease, luck, and natural abilities that the person was born with. Some say that trines are abilities that were learned in a past life. These aspects show abilities that come so natural to the individual that the person often does not recognize that they have a special talent and thinks that everyone else also has the same ability. Since the talent is so natural and easy for the individual these abilities are not always fully utilized unless the person also has stressful aspects to these planets.

Trines help things flow well in life, provide harmony, and give people a since of well being; however, no planet is totally good or bad. While trines bring ease, they may bring too much ease at times in life and do not provide motivation for the person to try harder. Nothing ever remains the same in life, and as the person and their chart progress life conditions also change.

A person who has a chart full of trines does not necessarily have a life that is easier than one who has a chart filled with squares. Life is full of ups and downs and when people have it real easy early in life it is harder for them to deal with difficulties later on as they have no or very little experience in dealing with problem solving. When a chart is balanced with challenging aspects ( the square, opposition, and inconjunct) as well as aspects of ease (sextile and trine) the person is likely to make the most out of what they have and have better sense of what the real world is really like at an earlier age.

An example of a trine aspect: The Sun at 1 Aries exactly trines the Moon at 1 Leo. The Sun represents the conscious self, the ego, and the father. The Moon represents the unconscious self, feelings, and the mother. This individual would likely have a better sense of self integration as both their conscious and unconscious is in harmony. It is likely that the parents or environment that the person grew up in was in harmony with the individual. This person is more likely to have a good sense of identity.

Signs in trine aspect: Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius. . . the fire signs

Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius. . . the air signs

Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn. . . the earth signs

Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces. . . the water signs

We will move to the square aspect, the circle divided by 4 or two planets 90 degrees apart.

Square Aspect

When dividing the zodiacal wheel into one-fourth we have four 90 degree divisions called squares. When two planets are 90 degrees apart (allowing an 8 degree orb) they form right angles to each other called a square aspect. Squares show challenges that we are forced to learn how to overcome or we suffer, feeling as though we are spinning our wheels by reliving the same problems over and over again. Squares are motivating because through mastering them we overcome our problems and make them our assets. They help us become master builders in later life. Squares are not easy in early life but as we get older we learn from them thus gain strength.

People who have it easier in early life often have it harder later on as they haven’t had to learn how to problem solve. All things balance out in the long run and no particular aspect remains easy or hard.

All cardinal signs within 8 degrees naturally square or oppose each other:
Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn.

All fixed signs within 8 degrees naturally square or oppose each other:
Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius.

All mutable signs within 8 degrees naturally square or oppose each other:
Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, and Pisces.

Often times, people who accomplish the most in life have what is called a T-Square. A T-Square is when two planets are in opposition (180 degrees apart) and both planets square a third planet. An example of this would be Sun at 1 Aries opposing Moon at 1 Libra and with both square Saturn at 1 Cancer. If we draw in lines separating these 3 planets from each other, we see a “T” configuration, the reason for its name. The T-Square shows areas in life that need to be balanced in order to lead a more effective and happy life. Often times people with T-Squares in their chart go on to do great things in life, because they are used to over coming challenges. The next aspect I will discuss is the circle divided by 6, the sextile aspect.

Sextile Aspect

The sextile occurs when two planets are 60 degrees or two full houses away from each other, allowing a 6 degree orb. Sextiles are aspects of ease and opportunity. They show potential ability. Sextiles require that work be done in order to see beneficial results. Unless we put out some effort and work these opportunities will not pay off.

When looking at the horoscope we always see Aries as the starting point or the ruler of the natural zodiac. The sextile thus has a Gemini type influence when we move forward 60 degrees from Aries and an Aquarius influence when moving backwards two signs or 60 degrees. Both of these are air signs associated with the mind, communications, and social activities. Sextiles are highly mental thus have a higher than normal amount of nervous energy. This energy is best used to create, invent, teach, write, lecture, and work with others in mental, scientific or humanitarian type endeavors.

Sextiles between two planets provide a common link between each other. Even though planets in sextile aspect are not of the same element they are usually in compatible signs. Every other sign is sextile. Fire sextiles air and earth sextiles water.

Fire and Air: Earth and Water-

  • Aries and Gemini: Taurus and Cancer
  • Gemini and Leo: Cancer and Virgo
  • Leo and Libra: Virgo and Scorpio
  • Libra and Sagittarius: Scorpio and Capricorn
  • Sagittarius and Aquarius: Capricorn and Pisces
  • Aquarius and Aries: Pisces and Taurus

There is an occasional exception seen when one planet is at the end of a sign and another at the beginning of a sign they may link together through elements that are not normally compatible. An example of this would be: Sun in Leo at 29 degrees sextile Moon at 1 Scorpio. You see that there is a 62 degree separation here, well within the orb of a sextile aspect. These sextile aspects may not relate as easily to each other. In the following paragraph we will look at the semi-sextile, as it divides the horoscope into twelve 30 degree aspects, along with the inconjunct 150 degree aspect (quincunx).

Semi-Sextile and Inconjunct Aspects

Semi-sextile and Inconjuncts (quincunx): Semi-sextiles are two planets 30 degrees apart, with an orb of 2 degrees. An inconjunct or quincunx does not divide the circle into equal divisions. It is an 150 degree aspect between 2 planets with a maximum orb of 3 degrees. The reason that I link these two aspects together is that they are coming from very similar places. Both semi-sextiles and inconjuncts aspect planets in elements that are not normally compatible. The reason they aren’t compatible is that they are coming from entirely different places and it is difficult for them to relate to each other.

This mixes fire or air with earth or water. Earth and water put out fire and air by suffocating it. Differences between the elements are: Earth and water are more family oriented. Air and fire like to associate with all people. Earth and water are generally more quiet, conservative, and private. Air and fire are often noisy as they love to communicate, like progress, what’s new and different, and are open books. Fire and air people often talk to strangers about things that earth and water signs would never dream of telling them. Fire and air signs are freedom loving. They like to do their own thing and have a strong sense of individuality. They like light relationships and friendships that are unbonded that give them more freedom. Earth and water signs like to feel secure through deep bonding with close family members and a few friends. They are often possessive of each other.

The semi-sextile and inconjunct aspects, as you can see from what I wrote above, often feel uncomfortable with each other, uneasy, and frustrated. Major adjustments or reorganization needs to be made between the two planets for them to function well. Often times we either need to change the way we are doing something in our lives or eliminate it. Bill Tierney in his book, “Dynamics of Aspect Analysis” says that the inconjunct is an aspect that is highly correctional, has a therapeutic nature, and urges us to make alterations and adjustments that we need to in order to move on to function on a higher level.

The inconjunct (quincunx) represents the sign Virgo or the 6th house when we move forward 150 degrees from the Aries (natural ruler of the first house) and Scorpio when we move backwards 150 degrees or the 8th house. One of the main issues concerned with the 6th house and Virgo are health issues. Issues concerned with the 8th house often have a crisis type connotation, ruling things such as birth, life, death, and surgery. Commonly the applying inconjunct, representing the 6th house, (when the faster moving planet is a lesser degree than the slower moving planet) relates to health issues, and the separating inconjunct, relating to the 8th house, (when the faster moving planet is at a higher degree than the slow moving planet) aspect applies to crisis situations.

The semi-sextile works in unison with the inconjunct as it relates to the opposite signs and house that are naturally ruled by Virgo and Scorpio, the sign Pisces opposes Virgo from the 12th house and the sign Taurus opposes Scorpio from the second house. Virgo/Pisces is the health axis. Taurus/Scorpio is the crisis/surgery/financial axis. I mentioned earlier that all opposite signs and houses work together through a reflex action.

Conclusion

The horoscope is a fantastic road map of our lives that shows the best direction for us to take so we can be happier with ourselves, in our relationships, and live more productive lives. Understanding the aspects in our natal charts is one of the best ways to do this, as they show what we came here to learn so that we can grow.

Take note that each person utilizes their charts a bit different. Some people who have many aspects of ease (sextiles, and trines) utilize their abilities and create wonderful things. Others who have easy aspects become lazy, as everything comes too easy for them they don’t take advantage of the benefits they bring. Some people who have difficult aspects (square, opposition, inconjunct), learn how to overcome life challenges and become master builders. Other people who have square aspects in their chart spin their wheels and keep reliving the same problems. They refuse to make necessary changes thus do not grow or grow very slowly.

Personally, I believe there is a certain amount of fate mixed with freewill. It is helpful to learn how to change what we can, learn how flow with what we can’t change, and to give ultimate power and control to the higher source.

I hope that you have enjoyed this article on aspects and that it will help you in some way.

Biography

My name is Dixie Turner and I have been involved in the Astrological World for over 27 years. I first became interested in Astrology when I was twelve years old and read a horoscope magazine. I have had a natural love for people since I was a little child and wondered why people were different from each other. Through learning about Astrology and then later working as a psychiatric registered nurse I have learned a lot about people.

Through studying Astrology and the spiritual realm I have developed a strong belief system that we all come here for a special purpose, to learn and grow. I have a strong desire to help other people as well as better understand the universe I live in. I read and interact with other people with similar ways of thinking daily in order to do this, many through Festival groups here on the Internet. I teach beginning and intermediate Astrology in my home. I have written several articles on AOL and Prodigy online networks. I have given lectures in my hometown of Sonoma, California. I also work with the developmentally disabled as a registered nurse.

I prefer to give Astrological consultations in person; however, I do taped, and telephone consultations for people who do not live in the North Bay area of California. A basic reading consists of talking to the person about the important aspects of the natal chart, looking at important progressions, and transits for the year. Progressions and transits tell trends for the year and help us make better life decisions by knowing what type of a cycle we are currently going through. Saturn cycles involve maturing and career development. Uranus cycles tune us into our own individuality and creativity.

I also enjoy giving relocational and career consultations. Relocation consultations consist of looking at the person’s natal chart in relationship to where their planet lines fall in the world. Through looking at these lines we can take up residence in an area that best suits our life needs or learn to solve issues involving “shadow planets” on the line where we currently reside. Often times when we live on a Mercury or Jupiter line we do better at school or better able to thrive in careers that involving teaching or sales. When we go to our Venus line we may find romance or better able to develop a career that involves the arts. On a Neptune line we may best develop psychic, healing, and spiritual abilities. Relocational Astrology emphasizes that there is a time and place for all things.