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Ken Ward's Astrology Pages
When two planets are within a certain angle (give or take), they form aspects. Usually this occurs when the angle between the planets is the whole circle divided by a whole number, or a multiple thereof. Aspects also occur between other parts of the chart, such as a planet with the Ascendant or Midheaven.
There are five aspects always called major, and the quincunx is sometimes included, making six.
Other aspects are called minor. There are more aspects than those included on this page, but they tend to be used only in special types of astrology.
On this page:
The Zodiac below can be used as a reference when thinking about the aspect.
The conjunction occurs when a planet lines up with another planet or other part of the chart. Two planets are said to be in conjunction when they are with 8 degrees of each other (within an orb of 8 degrees). They can be moving together, which makes the conjunction stronger, or moving apart.
When two parts are in conjunction, they tend to combine their energies, and reinforce each other.
Because they are in conjunction when they are within 8 degrees of each other, it is possible that each planet is in a different house and sign from the other. This means the different houses or signs would tend to combine together.
Noticing a conjunction is easy because the planets are close to each other.
For instance, if Venus and Saturn are in conjunction, it means "to harmonise and to control are blended together". So what does this mean in English? "You seek your pleasures in a controlled manner. You exert control over others in a beautiful fair way...."
A trine occurs when the two planets are about 120 degrees apart, plus or minus 6 degrees (the orb). We search for trines by looking for planets 4 signs away from the one being considered.
Normally, if a planet is in say a fire sign, the trine will also be in a fire sign. So, for a planet in Aries, we would look for trines in Leo and Saggitarius. Similarly, for a planet in Cancer, we would look for trines in water signs: Scorpio and Pisces. However, planets in trine can be in different elements, because of the orb of 6 degrees which is allowed. So a planet at 1 degree of Aries, would be in trine with one at 26 degrees in Cancer. And one at 29 degrees of Saggitarius could be in trine with one at 2 degrees in Taurus.
For the moon in trine with mercury, we note "to react flows easily with to communicate", which might mean: "You instinctively communicate well. You communicate your feelings easily...."
Planets in sextile are 60 degrees apart, plus or minus 3 degrees. So to find sextiles, we look two signs away to see if any planets are near enough to be in sextile. Planets in sextile tend to be in supportive elements: fire and air, earth and water. Although they can be in non-supportive elements. For instance, a planet in 1 degree of Scorpio is in sextile with one in 29 degrees of Sagittarius.
If Jupiter is in sextile to Mars, we can say that "to expand supports to assert", or in English: "You get on by being positive and dynamic. Your growth (figurative) is supported by your enterprising nature..."
Two planets or a planet and a part are in opposition when they are 180 degrees apart in the chart. The orb of an opposition is often taken to be plus or minus 6 degrees.
Planets in opposition tend to be in supporting elements. So a planet in Aries (fire) may be in opposition to one in Libra (air). Although they can be in non-supportive elements.
For Pluto opposing Mars, we could write: "to transform opposes assertiveness", and in English: "The way you assert yourself completely changes things. You have a do or die way of being direct..."
When two planets or a planet and another part are at 90 degrees (with an orb of 6 degress) they are in a square aspect. The square aspect brings about tension, often internal conflict, which may bring about change.
If two planets are separated by 3 signs, they may be in square. When they are square, they are often in opposing elements. For instance, a planet in Gemini (air) square with another in Virgo (earth) having incompatible elements.
For instance, if the moon and mars are square, then "to react is in conflict with to assert", or "Your feelings produce inner conflict about your way of assertion, or direct action. Your dynamism creates problems for your peace of mind..."
Planets which are 150 apart (give or take 3 degrees, the orb) are quincunx (or inconjunct).
Places 5 signs apart may be in quincunx. For instance, a planet in Aquarius may be in quincunx to one in Cancer (or one in Virgo).
The quincunx is one sign less than an opposition.
The quincunx produces a "wrong-footedness" about two energies in the person's life. They feel pulled between the two energies.
For instance, Jupiter in Cancer quincunx the Midheaven is "Your tendency to expand pulls against the way you wish to appear in the world", or "Your efforts to gain more tend to be restricted by the way you wish to appear in public..."