See also Aspect Analysis
In astrology, we treat earth as if it were the center of the universe. We view the movement of heavenly bodies through the zodiac from the point of view of a person standing on a specific point on earth. An Aspect is an angular relationship between two points based on this view from earth. Originally, aspects in the signs were determined by the zodiacal sign they were in. This is called whole sign astrology. So, for example, if the sun was found at 25° Leo and the Moon at 3° Aquarius they were said to be in opposition, even though the opposition is extremely wide in orb. By the same token, if Saturn were then found at 28° Capricorn, it was not considered to be in conjunction with the Moon, as it was in a different sign. Except for Hindu based astrology, most astrologers today do not use whole signs, instead they determine aspects based on degree measurements. Two planets are said to be in aspect if they are within orb of one of the commonly used aspect divisions under consideration.
Since the zodiac (hypothetically at least) makes up a 360° circle, the major aspects are found by dividing the circle by 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6. These divisions correspond to the conjunction (0°), the opposition (180°), the trine (120°), the square (90°) and the sextile (60°). The above divisions represent the Ptolemaic Aspects, but many others are used today, the chart below contains the most frequently used. The theory of harmonics assigns various meanings to different divisions of the circle based on the qualities of the number used to make the divisions. Division by one can be either easy or stressful, but the two planets involved act in unison. Divison by two is inherently stressful because it represents splitting into polar opposites, whereas division by three is inherently easy because it represents a synthesis. Division by four being two times two is doubly stressful. Other harmonic divisions have qualites based on their numerical characteristics. Astrological observation bears out these assumptions, the square indicates a very stressful energy for instance whereas the trine is easy.
|Aspects by harmonic|
|Conjunction||0° (division by 1)|
|Opposition||180° (division by 2)|
|Trine||120° (division by 3)|
|Square||90° (division by 4)|
|Quintile||72° (division by 5)|
|Biquintile||144° (two times the quintile)|
|Sextile||60° (division by 6)|
|Septile||51°26' (division by 7)|
|Biseptile||102°51' (2 times the septile)|
|Triseptile||154°48' (3 times the septile)|
|Semisquare||45° (division by 8)|
|Sesquisquare||135° (3 times the semisquare)|
|Novile||40° (division by 9)|
|Binovile||80° (two times the novile)|
|Quatronovile||160° (4 times the novile)|
|Decile||36° (division by 10)|
|108° (3 times the decile)|
|Undecile||32°44' (division by 11)|
|Semisextile||30° (division by 12)|
|Quincunx||150° (5 times the semisextile)|
|Quindecile||24° (divison by 15)|
|Vigintile||18° (divison by 20)|
Aspects from the Aries Point
In "Dynamics of Aspect Analysis," Bil Tierney offers an alternative way of discerning the meaning of aspects. For any aspect, count around the zodiac wheel going both clockwise and counterclockwise. For example, sixty degree from 0 Aries going counterclockwise, one arrives at 0 Gemini. Sixty degrees from 0 Aries going clockwise, one arrives at 0 Aquarius. Both Gemini and Aquarius are Air signs, so the sextile has a mental quality, with the waxing sextile have a flexible, curious quality (Gemini), and the waning sextile having a more detached, humanitarian quality (Aquarius).
A trine has a Fire quality, as both Leo and Sagittarius are 120 degrees from Aries. A square has a Cardinal quality, corresponding with Cancer and Capricorn, which are both 90 degrees from Aries; squares are known for the active, initiating energy (Cardinal) necessary to resolve the friction between the two planets. The opposition corresponds with Libra, which is 180 degrees from Aries; the opposition often manifests in the realm of relationships, which is under Libra's domain.
Other minor aspects follow this pattern, incorporating the decan and dwad of a sign. For example, a waxing semi-square would fall in the second decan of Taurus, which corresponds with Leo. Hence, this aspect has a stubborn quality associated with these fixed signs.
Aspects in Declination
The parallel and contraparallel are two other aspects which refer to degrees of declination above or below the celestial equator (rather than degrees of elevation in relation to the horizon). The parallel is thought to have the effect of a soft conjunction and the contraparallel the effect of an opposition (but easier to handle). Some authors (for example, Martin Lass) have stated that the parallel and contraparallel are nearly identical in effect. More research needs to be done on these aspects to say with much certainty what their effect is. Usually, a declination is considered a parallel if it is within 1° orb of the declination of another planet, and a contraparallel if it is within 1° orb of the opposite point in declination. Some systems (notably those which employ moeity orbs) may use different orbs for declinations.
- Wikipedia's article on astrological aspects retrieved 6/2/2005 under the GNU Free Documentation License
- Introduction to Declinations
Tierney, Bil. Dynamics of Aspect Analysis. 0916360563