What Are Aspects?

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Disclaimer: The information presented in this post does not reflect the views of the author. It is presented using information from those who believe in astrology.

What are aspects?

To get a fuller understanding of this topic, visit the introductory post on astrology.

Planetary positions are said to have an influence on our lives. These are made manifest in houses, zodiac, and the planets themselves. However, it gets more complicated as we explore aspects, or the relationship between the positions of multiple planets to each other.

When planets are in aspect to each other, they alter each other and blend together in nature. Aspects are measured in degrees and tell how far apart any two planets are from each other. When measuring planets relations to each other, orbs are tolerances used to establish a range of angles. For instance, and using an orb of 4° for a square (90°) aspect, an astrologer will say two planets are square if they are within 86-94° of each other.

Major aspects

When two planets are in major aspects to each other, they have a more profound effect on each other.

  • Conjunction (0°): Planets combine their energies as their qualities work together in harmony.
  • Sextile (60°): The planets collaborate and work well together. Sextiles look into talents and bring them out.
  • Square (90°): Elements are usually in opposition, such as air and earth, or fire and water. Planets are in tension and often bring about internal conflict. For example, qualities such as peacefulness and stubbornness are conflicting traits.
  • Trine (120°): Most often, trine planets are in signs of the same element, thus reinforcing their characteristics. It allows talents to be revealed and emphasized.
  • Opposition (180°): As would be expected, this one brings tension and frustration.

Minor aspects

When two planets are in minor aspects to each other, they still have an effect on each other, but not as powerfully as major aspects.

  • Semi-sextile (30°): Planets in this aspect lightly affect each other, if at all.
  • Semi-square (45°): It is like the square aspect, but much milder.
  • Quintile (72°): Planets lightly benefit each other’s qualities. Creativity may be slightly enhanced.
  • Sesqui-quadrate (135°): Acts the same as semi-square, but with external rather than internal difficulties.
  • Biquintile (144°): Acts the same was as quintile.
  • Inconjunct/Quincunx (150°): It brings strain, but change. The planets are not in harmony.

What are transits?

Aspects are the positions of planets in relation to each other; transits essentially aspects of a planet with itself. They deal with the current position of a planet relative to where it was when you were born. As it’s transiting, it affects you profoundly. Some last days, some last months. The closer it gets to where it was at the precise moment of your birth, the stronger the effect.

  • Sun: Increased activity, success, energy, and action.
  • Moon: Affects mood and emotions based on sign and house being transited.
  • Mercury: Enhanced communication and possibly focus.
  • Venus: Increased amount of social activities, recreational activity, and possibly romance.
  • Mars: Affects area of life dealing with its aspect to your natal planet (rising sign). Increased energy and drive, possibly tension and temper.
  • Jupiter: Depending on the aspected planet, it could produce success and fortune. Otherwise, it could produce exaggerated behavior and misjudgments. It lasts for months, giving time to its other influence: expanding your world externally and internally.
  • Saturn: Brings about limitations, restriction, and grounding. It is a great time for self-inspection and organizing your life. This includes resources and planning for the future. It brings about contemplation about your life and relationships.
  • Uranus: Surprises occur more often, allowing you to think in different ways. Creativity and originality flourish as novelty becomes the dominant force in life.
  • Neptune: It has similar effects to the transit of Uranus, but with some extra changes. The characteristics of the house or planet aspected disappear. This is a time of disillusionment and enhanced sensitivity to the world around us. Spirituality flourishes due to a growing desire to experience the world beyond reality as we know it. This could be manifested through artistic expression/enjoyment and escapism.
  • Pluto: Superficial desires and activities are stripped away to show the deeper meaning of things. This is a time of transformation, interrupting the normal flow of life to bring about a desire to seek deeper meaning and experiences.

Returns

This refers to a planet returning to the precise location as it did when you were born, when it comes around again. These mark different stages of your life, as they take years to come back for each return. Whatever attributes of these planets you possess (taken from planets’ positions relative to Earth when you were born) will be highly accentuated. Whether they are well-aspected to other planets will indicate whether the good or bad traits will appear the most.

The amount of time for a planetary return is the time for one full revolution of the body around Earth (taking a geocentric view).

  • Lunar: This occurs every 27-29 days. It is associated with expression of emotions and urges. It work in tangent with the solar return by showing which months the activities predicted by the solar return will finally occur.
  • Solar: This occurs every 365 days (and on your birthday). It reveals what types of events will occur and indicate your personal growth.
  • Mercury: This occurs every 10-11 months (its apparent orbit around Earth, remember). It deals with your evolving perceptions and to what you investing your mental resources.
  • Venus: This occurs about every 11 months. It will indicate social, romantic, and material interests and benefits.
  • Mars: This occurs every 22-24 months. It represents our independence and assertiveness in getting what we want. It is marked by an increase in productivity and energy.
  • Jupiter: This occurs about every 12 years. It indicates a period of growth and development. Your mental, spiritual, and worldly horizons will expand. This especially profound during the first two returns at ages 12 and 24.
  • Saturn: This occurs about every 29-30 years. The Saturn return is the most significant return, occurring at ages 30 and 60 (and 90 if you’re fortunate!). During these times, you may be assessing your life to take stock for a secure future (30), and you may focus on retirement and how you’ll spend the rest of your life (60). You will also reflect on your life, pondering your career, relationships, goals, and status. Generally speaking, Saturn brings restrictions and a sense of responsibility.
  • Uranus: Typically, these are seen in terms of half-returns, as a full return takes 84 years. It is said that mid-life crises and perimenopause are reflections of Uranus’ effects. It indicates sudden significant changes in your life. For the full return, it is a time of enhanced creativity.

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