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The Aspects



Claudius Ptolemy introduced the concept of the classical aspects, known as the major aspects. They are: the conjunction, (0°,) sextile (60°,) square (90°,) trine (120°,)  and opposition (180°.) The non-Ptolemaic aspects, introduced by Johannes Kepler in the 17th century, are the semi-sextile (30°,) semi-square (45°,) quintile (72°,)  biquintile (144°,) and sesquidrate (135 °.)I n addition, there is the inconjunct or quincunx (150°.) 

To qualify as an aspect, the planets involved must be within orbs of each other. 

Orbs are defined as the number of degrees allowed from the exactness of an aspect. For example, if Mars and Jupiter are conjunct at 23° of Libra they are in an exact aspect. When Jupiter is in 22° and Mars at 24°, they are conjunct with an orb of 2 degrees. 

Orbs are one of astrology’s areas of great controversy for astrologers cannot agree on the degrees of the orbs. Many astrologers allow a wide orb because, they say, the sky is very large and the planets appear close to each other. I recommend 10-degree orbs for the lights and 5 for the planets. The orb can be extended if other planets are involved and pull the planets together. 

All aspects are at their strongest when exact or close to exact. When aspects are exact, they dominate a chart.  They are applying and stronger when the fastest moving planet is closing in on the slowest. They are separating when the opposite occurs. 

Anapplying aspectis one where the faster planet moves towards the slower one. In a separating aspect, the reverse occurs. The faster planet is moving away from the slower one. 



The Ptolemaic Aspects 



The Conjunction – 0° Degrees

A conjunction is like dancing cheek-to-cheek. Planets in conjunction can feel each

other’s energy A conjunction is like dancing cheek-to-cheek. Planets in conjunction can feel each other’s energy much as you can feel your partner’s warmth and energy. When planets are in in conjunction, energies come together. When planets are copasetic, the conjunction works well. If the energies clash, a lot of work is required to blend them. 

When energies combine, the intimacy may come at a cost of clarity. Think back to your teenage years. Do you have any photographs of you and your best friend clowning for the camera? Remember how you dressed alike and sometimes acquaintances got you confused? Sometimes when planets are conjunct it is different to tell the two apart, just like it was with your friend.  

Planets in conjunction with one another typically share the same house and sign. This causes the planetary energies to blend even more. Consider the strength or weakness of the planets involved. f Venus and Mars were conjunct in the first house in Libra, Venus would be happy in Libra, even though the first house is not one of her favorite places. Mars on the other hand, would be quite uncomfortable in Libra where he is in detriment, but happy in the first house, which he rules. 

In this case, the energies would be rather balanced and can work together. The closer conjunctions are by degrees, the more subjective these combined energies are. Natives with several conjunctions often have have blind spots.

When the Sun is in close conjunction to another planet, we say the other planet is combust.For example, when Neptune is combust the Sun, the native may experience difficulty distinguishing between his sense of individuality and his spirituality. He may seem dreamy and nature. 

Individuals with conjunctions tend to be over-focused and self-motivated. They have difficulty seeing anyone’s viewpoints other than their own. If they lack oppositions, and they may lack clarity about their viewpoints. Individuals with Mars conjunct the Ascendant, for example, have a great deal of assertiveness. Think Donald Trump and Bill Clinton. Trump’s Mars is in Leo, making for a great deal of focus on him. Bill Clinton, on the other hand, has Venus in Libra on the ascendant, which gives him a great deal of charm and charisma, particularly with the ladies. 

The stellium: when three or more planets are conjunct in a house or sign, the conjunction is called a stellium. In a stellium, the energy of the planets combines to form a kind of “superplanet,” acting as one force. With the stellium aspect pattern, the planets are usually in the same Zodiac sign or house. When they are not, it is an out of sign/house stellium and is not as strong. 

A chart with a strong stellium is highly charged and creates a hot zone in your birth chart. If powerful enough, it can overcome the energy of the Sun sign. For example, when it is in the Sun sign or conjunct the Sun, the stellium runs away with the chart.  When the stellium involves the personal planets—the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Mars or Venus, it packs a punch. 

A case in point is Hillary Clinton’s stellium in Scorpio, where she has the Sun, Venus, Mercury, and the South Node. Whether placed in the 12thhouse with Placidus or the first house with Whole Houses (her birth time is unclear), this stellium is responsible for making her appear secretive. It also makes it difficult for her to be aware of how others see her. Remember, the 12thhouse is where we are not aware of ourselves. 




The Sextile – 60° apart

The energy of sextiles is gentle. It highlights opportunities for the development of your talents. These opportunities are in your face. You can see them clearly, and

you can see that you can achieve them without anyone else telling you. Sextiles enable communication and demand expression because they occur between sympathetic but not identical energies: Air and Fire or Water and Earth. They point to areas in the chart where a door is ajar, but you must open it. If you don’t want to work with a sextile, ignore it. It won’t come back to bite you. Individuals with many sextiles tend to be communicative, creative, and expressive. 



The Square - 90° Apart

In a chart, the square aspect indicates challenge and tension and calls for action often in conflicting ways. Because squares occur in similar modes but different

elements, create a need to act if cardinal, to dig in your heels and stay put if fixed, or to consult others and change directions if mutable. The nature of the squarerequires effort from you to manifest the opportunities they offer. Here, not only do you have to open the door, sometimes you have to find the key.

If we return to our imaginary circle, to engage fully with the person who is 90 degrees away, you must turn your body or crane your neck. This means that the energy of squares is not harmonious. A positive way to look at squares is like tackling difficulties in life with the same approach but different perspectives, which requires an effort on our part. We must work with parts of ourselves similarly energized for action but that do not see the eye to eye on how to resolve issues. And, without resolution squares make us spin our wheels endlessly without success. 

People who have several squares tend to be crisis oriented. Difficulties and obstacles energize them and they are willing to tackle difficult situations. They tend to be decisive and energetic individuals with great strength of character. Few people are successful without a square in their chart.



The Trine – 120° Apart 

When in trine, planets lend assistance and support to each other. Since they are different manifestations of the same element, the planets intuitively understand one 

another and can have a conversation. Trines are such innately easy and accepting aspects and you don’t have to work hard to integrate their energy. They allow you to accept yourself, others, and situations, so much so that trines can lead to complacency.  

The talents that trines offer are second nature. For example, if a man has Venus trine Neptune, he may be poetic, romantic, or artistic, easily accept his romantic partner for who he/she is. Another man with Venus square Neptune may have similar qualities, and may possess a strong desire to accept his partner blindly, but doing so is not as natural as the first man. He has to work on it, and might come up against difficult situations in which he feels duped or abused by his partners as a result of that acceptance.Good example An interesting note is that the Grand trine is often considered a negative aspect because it can make a person extremely complacent, particularly if there are no squares or oppositions. 




The Opposition  - 180° Degrees

When an opposition occurs, planets face each other across the Zodiac wheel at approximately 180°. You cannot ignore an opposition; it is a challenging “in 

your face” aspect since polar opposite signs are involved. While you “feel” the conjunction and you may not see things clearly, with the opposition you may not feel it, but you can see it clearly. Since planets and what they represent face one another in an opposition, this aspect involves the push and pull we often feel in relationship. 

People with oppositions seek out others and, through this interaction, understand themselves better. Oppositions cause you to feel torn, however, for you want to embrace both sides of an issue. In their most negative interpretation, oppositions represent a state of divided loyalties, uncertainties, and insecurities. At their best, they teach you cooperation and completio.

Oppositions occur in elements that are compatible are easier to work with than squares. However, they require compromise because of the see-saw effect of their placing. 


Unlike conjunctions, which help the native to focus, oppositions often can cause you to flounder and feel insecure.  When you learn to use the energy of an opposition, you can become an adept negotiator, one who understands and considers both sides of an issue

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