Planetary Aspects in Astrology
Aspects are formed when two or more planets form one of several critical angles. When this happens, their energies flow back and forth between each other, creating an effect in the native’s personality or environment.
As the faster moving planet moves closer to the slower moving planet it is about to form an aspect with, it approaches a critical point where the influence of the aspect will gradually begin to take effect. As the faster planet contunues to move closer, the influence of the aspect grows stronger and stronger until it peaks. This happens when the exact degree is reached which makes the aspect “perfect”. After this, the aspect’s influence weakens as the planet continues to travel until it leaves the critical zone. This critical zone is called the “orb” of the aspect. Astrologer’s opinions on orbs vary. Generally an orb of 8 degrees is used for major aspects and an orb of 2 degrees is used for minor aspects. An approaching aspect tends to be stronger than a seperating aspect.
The following page has a list of the aspects and some keywords describing how each aspect works. The major aspects are listed first, followed by the minor aspects.
These are the strongest type of aspects, which will normally have a more significant influence than the minor aspects listed below:
Conjunction (0 degrees): “Prominence.” Combines the energies of the planets that are involved.Can be a hard or soft aspect depending on the combination of planets and the aspects made to the conjunction by other planets in the chart.
Sextile (60 degrees): “Opportunity.” Provides a chance for a potential benefit relating to the energies of the planets involved. However, the native needs to consciously apply them in order to gain benefit. A soft aspect.
Square (90 degrees): “Obstacle, Problem.” Creates a strong tension between the planets that are involved. A challenge that needs to be overcome. A hard aspect.
Trine (120 degrees): “Ease.” The trining planets share their energies naturally, with harmony. The trine is said to be the most harmonious of aspects. A soft aspect.
Opposition (180 degrees): Creates a sense of conflict. You find yourself at one end or the other. Like a tug-of-war. The opposition is resolved by learning how to balance the energies of the opposing planets. A hard aspect.
These aspects normally create an influence, but not as strong as the major aspects unless they are exact.
Semisextile (30 degrees): Provides opportunity for ‘growth’. Like the sextile, the native needs to consciously apply these powers in order to gain benefit. Traditionally, a soft aspect.
Semi-square (45 degrees): Causes ‘friction’ between the energies of the planets involved. A minor irritation. A hard aspect.
Quintile(72 degrees): Denotes ‘talent’. A soft aspect.
Sesquisquare or Sesquiquadrate (135 degrees): Creates a sense of ‘agitation’ between the energies of the planets involved. A hard aspect.
Quincunx or Inconjunct (150 degrees): Creates an urge to make ‘adjustments’. The native feels an urge to compromise in order to satisfy the urges related to each planet. This creates a feeling of “ought” or “should”. The inconjunct (or quincunx) has recently caught more attention and is starting to be considered a major aspect by many astrologers.