It isn’t enough to know what planets fall in each of the 12 houses; you also need to look at how they interact with one another. Do they provide an easy flow of energy and are they in harmony with one another or are they a source of tension?
Aspects are the angular relationships between points in a chart. You can view them on your own Natal Chart or when looking at two individual natal charts too see how the planets will interact with one another; this form of astrological study in known as synastry. In short it shows the overall compatibility between two people. You can also look at them via transits; to see how the planets in the Sky will form angular relationships to your natal chart.
Allow me to quickly review the aspects bearing in mind each sign has 30 degrees
Let’s begin with the conjunction; it is most visible when 2 planets or points are in the same sign and close degree. Though planets can form “out of sign conjunctions” or a “dissociated conjunction” this is when they are in close proximity to one another by degree but in different signs. For example: If a person has Venus in 29 degrees of Taurus and Venus in 2 degrees of Gemini this is considered an out of sign conjunction. People that are new to astrology often assume conjunctions are easy or good this is really not the case. Whether we are looking at a Natal Chart or Synastry we have to take into account the nature of the planets. A Moon and Venus conjunction can be beneficial but a Moon/Saturn conjunction not so much. A conjunction can be considered a “hard aspect” similar to the square and opposition it depends on the planets involved.
The Conjunction 0 Degrees
“Two or more planets in the exact degree position or in very close proximity to each other, intensify the quality or the dialog that each planet represents” –Jeanne Avery
“Any conjunction between two planets in an individual chart should be regarded as important since it indicates an intense merging and interaction of two life energies” –Stephen Arroyo
Opposition 180 Degrees
Next up is the opposition. Unlike the conjunction oppositions are not in harmony they occur with opposing signs (Aries/ Libra Taurus /Scorpio etc.). They are coming from 2 different viewpoints and they are always striving for balance between the two energies. The opposition aspect is easier than the square, you can see one another and make take turns swinging from one end to the other. In synastry an opposition will require balance, compromise and give and take. Personally I like the energy of oppositions
“Oppositions describe energies directly in conflict with each other. They form exactly opposite points of view. However oppositions can be reconciled. Each point of view has a validity and if used in balance can enable one to arrive at a conclusion from dialoguing the two sides of the question” – Jeanne Avery
“One might say we need squares and oppositions for challenges, but we also need the flowing aspects for resources with which to meet those challenges” –Stephen Arroyo
“The pressure of the opposition can be relieved with understanding and love”- Robert Pelletier
Sometimes beginners look at charts with all trines and sextiles and assume this is great. The dullest people on the planet are often lacking hard aspects. Also people that lack challenging aspects are often complacent they may lack the drive to make life changes that would best suit them. Hard aspects give us the impetus to make changes and to accomplish things.
Square 90 Degrees
The square occurs between two planets or points in the same mode (Cardinal, Fixed or Mutable) but in different element (air, fire, water, earth). The square is the hardest aspect. Squares represent friction. Where an opposition is about trying to find balance you can see one another and meet in the middle the square can show two planets stuck in their ways and fighting for dominance. The squares are difficult to integrate. It’s like a tug of war the square is more stuck in its ways, less reluctant to change. It is the 2nd most powerful aspect after the conjunction. These 2 energies do NOT blend together, they represent conflict and stress.
The square aspect describes energy that fights for the right to be heard. This quality of energy is not as easy to resolve, as each voice is saying “I’m right listen to me”. Neither voice seems to want to give in.” –Jeanne Avery
“Next to the conjunction the square is the most powerful aspect between planets. Its dynamic influence exceeds that of all other aspects….it is the aspect that denotes action and reaction at the most refined level”. The planets involved are almost always in signs that are naturally hostile to each other”- Robert Pelletier
“A square aspect shows where energy must be released usually through action of a definite sort, in order that a new structure must be built” –Stephen Arroyo
Trine 120 Degrees
Next up are trines!(think Triangle) Trine Trine Trine even the word is nice! Trines occur with planets in the same element (water, fire, earth, air). They are not hard aspects and not life changing. They signify two planets that work well together; from an evolutionary stand point some say they are a gift from having used the energy well in a past life. Trines represent an easy flow of energy; you do not have to work at it; it just is. Due to the easy nature of the trines sometimes we do not fully utilize them, we expect things to go well in these areas and we do not apply much effort.
The Sextile and Trine “These are both soft aspects and indicate harmonious dialog and interaction. The energies are primarily supportive of each other, yet these soft aspects may not produce as much energy as the hard aspects”- Jeanne Avery
“One does not need to build a new structure or make marked adjustments in one’s life in order to utilize this energy creatively. The planets involved in the trine aspect reveal dimensions of life and specific energies which are naturally integrated and which flow together harmoniously”. – Stephen Arroyo
Sometimes those that are new to astrology mistakenly believe trines will compensate or alleviate hard aspects and this is simply not so.
“It lacks the power to counteract the intense pressure of negative aspects, but it is available to soften their effects when used with understanding and willful deliberation” -Robert Pelletier
Sextiles 60 Degrees
Sextiles occur in every other sign- they are 60 degrees apart (Aries and Gemini (skips Taurus) sextile one another. Taurus and Cancer sextile one another skip Gemini) Water signs sextile earth signs and air signs sextile fire signs. I always like to think of compatibility like this; water nourishes earth and earth absorbs water. Fire fuels on air and air fuels fire. Sextiles are not as strong as trines still they represent positive energy working harmoniously together. The sextile does require some effort; it shows potential for things to work together however we have to reach toward incorporating and working with the energy.
“The sextile is chiefly an aspect of flexibility and potential understanding, and it tends to be a mental aspect….Perhaps most importantly the sextile shows an area of life where one can cultivate not only a new level of understanding but also a greater degree of objectivity which can lead to a feeling of great freedom”- Stephen Arroyo
“The sextile is especially useful for creativity, since it provides a medium for expression, either in speaking or writing. It shows much flexibility of opinion because the person having this aspect is able to continually adapt to new or additional information” – Robert Pelletier