Aspect

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Historical chart: the planets "look" at each other[1].

Etymology: The Latin word aspicere means 'to regard', 'to behold', 'view', 'look at', 'witness' or 'see' each other.

General

Angle between either two planets or a planet and an axis. Such an angle creates a flow of energy between the horoscope factors involved. Aspects are considered to exist when the deviation from exactitude of a particular angle is within a certain range of degrees which is called an orb in astrological terminology. An aspect which falls outside an accepted orb but is nevertheless taken into account is called a platic aspect.

Aspects are divided into main and minor aspects.

The main aspects (also called major aspects or Ptolemaic aspects) are:

There are a number of minor aspects. The most important ones are:

The following aspects should also be noted:

  • Semi-Semisquare (22.5 degrees)
  • Squine (105 degrees)
  • Tridecile (108 degrees)
  • Quindicile (165 degrees)
  • Reptile (does not exist, is a joke)

Planets which do not form any (main) aspects are described as being unaspected planets. This is considered to be of significance when interpreting a horoscope.

When several aspects join to form a particular pattern this is termed an aspect pattern.

Interpretation

The aspects are divided into two main groups - harmonious aspects which are said to facilitate the exchange of energy between two planets, and disharmonious (more appropriate terms are analytical or challenging) aspects. At one time astrologers differentiated between the "good" (for example a trine) and "bad" (for example a square) aspects. Contemporary astrology has become increasingly critical of these terms because inherent within the analytical aspects is a great potential for personal development. They motivate us to be active in areas we might prefer to ignore and to tackle the more difficult aspects of our lives. The harmonious aspects may lead to a certain degree of lethargy.

This is less likely to be the case if Saturn, Uranus, Neptune or Pluto are involved. In this case the themes associated with the planet concerned will be a more decisive factor.

The inclusion of minor aspects can lead to a more nuanced interpretation, although a fairly in-depth interpretation is possible when only referring to the main aspects.

Before interpreting how a particular aspect may find expression – for example a square or a trine – it is important to consider the nature of the planets (or planet and axis) involved. It is always important to consider how each planet or other factor forming in an aspect might influence the other. And although it is usually presumed that the slower planetary body involved in any aspect has a more lasting influence on the faster moving one (daily motion), it is important to remember that energy also flows in the other direction. For example, when Venus and Saturn are in aspect the Venusian energy will, to a certain extent, soften the nature of Saturn.

Further categories

An aspect that is approaching the point of being exact, i.e. when the faster planet is approaching the slower one, is called an applying aspect. On the other hand, an aspect between two planets that has passed the point of being exact is called a separating aspect. Some astrologers consider applying aspects to be more powerful than aspects which are separating.

These terms should not be confused with waxing and waning phases between two planets. During the course of each cycle any pair of planets will form all the possible aspects with each other twice – with the exception of the conjunction and opposition which are only formed once. Such an aspect is waxing when formed after the conjunction but before the opposition and waning when formed after the opposition but before the conjunction. A well-known example of this waxing and waning is the half-moon during the course of the Sun-Moon cycle (see Lunar Phase). The waxing phase indicates that something is growing, whereas during the waning phase the zenith has been passed and a time of introspection is indicated.

All aspects in which the number of degrees can be divided by 30 generally connect two signs with similar qualities. For example, the square aspect usually connects signs of the same quality or mode e.g. mutable, whereas trines connect signs of the same element. But this may not be the case if the planets involved are located close to the cusp of two signs and aspect's orb is large enough. This is then called a dissociate aspect. For example, if the Sun is located at 3 degrees Taurus and the Moon at 29 degrees Libra, they form a dissociate opposition. The sign that is in "archetypal opposition" to Taurus is Scorpio, whereas Taurus and Libra are in a quincunx relation to each other. In this case the dissociated aspect is coloured by some of the qualities of the quincunx.

See also

Weblinks

Bibliography

The cusps of the signs regard each other by aspect.[2]
  • Sue Tompkins: Aspects in Astrology (A comprehensive guide to interpretations). 312 pages. Element Books 1989, 2nd edition Destiny Books 2002. ISBN-10: 0892819650 ISBN-13: 978-0892819652
  • Karen Hamaker-Zondag: Aspects and Personality. Weiser Books, 1990.
Includes chapters on the psychological influence of aspects and aspect patterns.
  • Bil Tierney: Dynamics of Aspect Analysis. New Perceptions in Astrology 1983; 1993 2nd edition. 277 pages, CRCS Publications ISBN 0916360180
Extensive book on all aspects, some aspect patterns, retrograde planets, unaspected planets, the hemispheres and the quadrants.
  • Tracy Marks: The Planetary Aspects - From Conflict to Cooperation.
How to synthesize opposing signs and houses, and techniques for mastering the T-Square.

Notes and References

  1. And at the child, of course.
  2. From the 1533 Hervagius edition of Ptolemy's Tetrabiblos.