The Astrological Aspects
Astrological aspects are the angular relationships that form between planets within a 360 degree circle of space. The aspects determine the quality of connection between planets. There is an orb of allowance for planets not in exact aspect. The orb of allowance (or orb for short) is the amount of inexactness from the perfection of the aspect as measured by degree.
So, if you had the Sun in Gemini and Mars in Leo they are sextile by sign but lets say the Sun is in 5 degrees of Gemini and Mars is in 15 degrees of Leo. That is ten degrees of inexactness from the perfect Sextile aspect, a ten degree orb. Are they still in aspect by degree? Most astrologers would say that a ten-degree orb is too far from exactness to be operant.
Astrologers differ on the amount of orb to allow. Some use wide orbs, others moderate orbs, and still others restrict aspects to narrow orbs.
I look at the chart as a whole first before getting into aspects by degree, looking at the sign-based aspects first. This gives the broadest view of the chart like looking down on a city from an airplane. So, by this method, the Sun in Gemini and Mars in Leo would be a sextile relationship regardless of how far off by degree it is.
The signs are sovereign in astrology. Nothing exceeds their influence and you can’t go wrong by measuring astrological aspects according to whole signs. The indications are general but overarching. All else must be referred back to this general picture.
Sign-based aspects are measured between the signs regardless of exact degrees that planets are placed within the sign. Thus, two planets placed in Aries (or Taurus, Gemini etc.) form a conjunction aspect between them. The orb would not be taken into consideration.
To determine aspects by degree it depends on the context of the particular chart I am looking at whether I use tight orbs or wider ones. Some charts warrant the use of wider orbs because there are few close aspects. However, the close aspects are usually the most important ones.
The Conjunction Aspect
The Conjunction is the most powerful astrological aspect that can occur between planets. It occurs between planets in the same sign. If you had the sun and moon in the same sign at birth they are in conjunction by sign. To determine if it is within orb you would need to measure the exact amount of separation from the exact aspect.
The meaning of the conjunction aspect is Power. The two planets are locked together for life. Sometimes they blend well, sometimes they don’t. It depends on the nature of the two planets. The conjunction grants a consolidation of energy to be used in a singular manner. The aspect is subjective and unable to reflect on the uses of the power generated and used. Conjunctions give the power to forge ahead without external validation.
The Sextile Aspect
The Sextile aspect occurs when two planets are 60 degrees (or two signs) apart in the zodiac. If one planet is in Aries and another in Gemini you have a Sextile by sign.
The Sextile is a harmonious astrological aspect and planets linked by it get along. Mental in nature, it facilitates communication and intelligent conversation between the planets. The personality conferred by a predominance of this aspect is eager to learn, bright, witty, and adaptive to changing circumstances. People with these aspects don’t judge people based on socio-economic factors. They reach out to people from all walks of life.
The Square Aspect
The Square aspect occurs when two planets are separated by 90 degrees (or three signs apart) in the zodiac. If one planet is in Aries and another in Cancer they are square by sign.
The Square aspect indicates frustration and friction between the two planets that are connected by this aspect. I call it the blindsided aspect. You get hit from the side where you have poor visibility. The Square teaches you how to use the energies of the planets combined by this aspect in a Constructive manner. Until then, they represent tests and obstacles in the life. The greatest achievers tend to have this astrological aspect prominent. You get stuff done with this aspect whether you want to or not. It coarsens the personality making it brutish and unmannered. But, the Square also gives strength of character if not left untended. Otherwise, it makes for a bitter and hardened personality.
The Trine Aspect
The Trine aspect occurs when two planets are separated by 120 degrees (or four signs apart) in the zodiac. If one planet is in Aries and another in Leo they are Trine by sign.
The Trine aspect is considered the most favorable astrological aspect by tradition. In terms of how it feels to the person possessing it, it certainly is. The Trine represents the maximum harmony between planets. It is the opposite of the Square aspect in interpretation. Fluid and tranquil, planets linked by Trine aspect function at peak efficiency with no effort. On the other hand, the Trine is complacent and unless there are energizing factors elsewhere, inclined to laziness and inaction. Planets linked by the Trine aspect indicate virtually unlimited potential in their respective spheres. Trines also represent areas of the personality that are taken for granted.
The Opposition Aspect
The Opposition aspect occurs when two planets are separated by 180 degrees (or six degrees apart) in the zodiac. If one planet is in Aries and another in Libra they are in opposition to each other by sign.
The Opposition is the most difficult astrological aspect. Where the Conjunction aspect indicates consolidation of power and strengthening of energies, the Opposition tears asunder and creates loss of energy. If the Square is the blindsided aspect, the Opposition is the head-on-collision. The planets in this aspect can never work together either productively or languidly. They are basically outright enemies to each other’s purposes and aims.
The Opposition bestows great consciousness of the world and people. Typically, another person will play one end of the Opposition. The person with the Opposition projects the disowned planet onto partners and people in general, adopting a one-sided view of the world.
Unfortunately, the Opposition doesn’t allow this and asks for the opposite perspective to be incorporated into the personality. Through confrontations and repeated losses the person over time comes to understand the point-of-view of the disowned energy. It is a difficult aspect for relationships because the person with the Opposition unconsciously causes separations and breakups but often blames the other person for the split. Often, they cause other people to leave them because of their difficult personalities.
The opposition gives great power of attraction and makes for a fascinating individual. This is especially true if it occurs across the Ascendant-Descendant axis.