The Aspects

As a planet moves through the zodiac, it continually makes and remakes relationships with other planets. These relationships, or aspects, are defined as an angle, or fraction of a circle. The number of degrees between two planets placed on the zodiac circle forms an imaginary line when observed from the Earth. In astrology, certain angles are of importance. These major aspects are 0?, 60?, 90?, 120?, and 180?. Thirty degree and 150? angles have some influence, as do 45? and 135?, but the major aspects, known as conjunction, sextile, square, trine and opposition, are the ones that have the most effect on a birthchart.

The combination of any two planets in an aspect will bring the influence of those planets together, in either a good or bad way. To give an example, if the Sun and Saturn were placed 120? apart in a (positive) trine aspect, they would combine to bring honesty, organisation and power of concentration. The conjunction, sextile and trine are regarded as being positive in nature, and help the individual to use his or her talents carefully and wisely.

The square and opposition are often thought to be negative in nature, as they represent conflict between the two planets. At a first glance, this may seem to be a bad thing, but the square and opposition also symbolise obstacles that need to be overcome before an individual can progress. This is often the biggest challenges that have to be surmounted to achieve anything in life, and as such, is positive. If the Sun and Saturn were placed 90? apart in a square aspect, they would bring lack of confidence, an inflexible attitude and pessimism. This aspect suggests that the individual concerned would have to work hard to build up his or her own confidence, learn to be adaptable and try to be optimistic. It is only by adopting these attitudes could the individual progress in life.


A conjunction is the most powerful of aspects in astrology. It brings together two or more planets in a dynamic and sometimes explosive combination. It occurs when the planets involved are placed less than ten degrees apart in the birthchart. The closer the planets, the greater the strength of the conjunction.

A conjunction often has a duality about it, as the two planets jostle for position. For example, having Saturn and Mars in conjunction in a birthchart gives a combination of energy and restraint. At times the individual will channel this energy (Mars) in a disciplined and determined way (Saturn) and can achieve much. However there will be times when caution and limitation (Saturn) seem to hold back the individual so that the enthusiasm (Mars) has nowhere to go. The result is frustration and often a backlash against authority.

Conjunctions created by transiting planets can have an equally powerful effect. Take the Saturn/Mars conjunction again, this time as a transit in an individual's chart. As Saturn moves round to contact Mars, the individual can often experience a desire to be active, positive and dynamic.

Used wisely, the individual can again use Mars' energy positively by using Saturn's constraints to channel the force where it is needed most. If the individual cannot express this desire for action, the result is again frustration, often lashing out in a fury. If caution is not exercised, it is likely that this frustration will lead the individual into contact with authority, probably of the uniformed kind.


The opposition aspect occurs in astrology when two (or more) planets face each other across the zodiac. In the birthchart, the opposition does not have to be totally accurate - planets placed from 172 degrees through 180 to 188 degrees apart from each other are considered to be in opposition.

The opposition is one of those things in astrology that have two distinct possibilities. One is that the two planets will clash and cause problems, the other is that the two planets will use their different characteristics to form a strong combination for good. One planet that often brings such problems is Mars. The opposition will invariably bring the worst out of the fiery planet, causing arguments and aggression. One example of this is Mars opposition Saturn, where the person concerned will have a natural tendency to argue with anyone in authority, starting with the father and going on to council workers, policemen and anyone else who tries to control the energy indicated by Mars.

However, by learning to balance the control of Saturn against the enthusiasm and power of Mars, it is possible to achieve much. By understanding who is doing the holding back and why they might be doing so, there is the chance of getting round the problem. In sport, for example, it can be learning how to play a referee, to work with the man in charge to know what he is looking in for. Co-operation is possible, but there has to be give and take.

In the power games between the two planets, one often holds sway. In our example, it could be Saturn controlling the Mars energy so much that frustration occurs and eventually boils over into argument. Conversely, it could be that over-energetic enthusiasm rules the roost until the officialdom denoted by Saturn eventually takes control.

Always a knife-edge, the oppositions are important and often dynamic elements in the birth chart. Maybe not always to the fore, but underneath, they can be working away. Understanding the oppositions in the chart can bring relief and balance to your life.


The square aspect in a natal chart (90 degrees between two planets) has often been thought of as being negative, bad, not wanted. In some ways this is true, because the energies flowing between the two planets is often uneven and disrupted. In some cases, there is simply no connection between the two planets, so that they seem to be at loggerheads with one another.

However, this is only part of the story. The square aspect is an obstacle, possibly put there by yourself, that you have to get round, or at the very least, negate in order to progress and realise true potential.

For example, a square between Mars and Saturn would suggest that a person would blow hot and cold as they try to reconcile the limitations imposed by Saturn on the boundless energy of Mars. Unresolved, this difficult partnership will lead to frustration and anger, possibly even violence.

However, by learning to balance the two different energies, a dynamic fusion of power and control can be forged. Someone who might benefit from this would be a sportsman, such as a rugby player, a boxer or American footballer. Such a person would need to control his energies, to live within the acceptable rules of his trade, but with an edge that allows him to be more physical and dominant.

A difficult balance, but once that hurdle has been overcome, the potential for success is great. People with a number of square aspects in their chart are often edgy but dynamic. Those that learn to use this often succeed in life in some way or another.

Dynamic Aspects

Dynamic aspects are those aspects, particularly the square and opposition, that lie in wait in your birth chart. Whereas some aspects may have a tolerance of up to nine degrees either way, dynamic aspects are precise, with less than one degree for the orb. For instance, if you had the Moon at 12 degrees in Aries you would have to have a planet placed at 12 degrees Libra to be in opposition, or 12 degrees Cancer or Capricorn to be in a square dynamic aspect.

Although dynamic aspects do not have a great effect on your natal chart, it is later in life that they are brought to bear. It can be described as having something missing from your life, until suddenly, you stumble around a corner and there it is. The effect of the dynamic aspect can be far-reaching, but it is always positive in nature. It could be something as simple as realising a dream by meeting a famous person, or it could be as dramatic as walking on the Moon. The scope is enormous, but life will never be the same once you give in and let go.

By understanding any dynamic aspects in the charts, we can uncover hidden depths and truths. Once out in the open, often other elements in the chart become less troublesome, and easier to understand. For example, someone with the Sun in a dynamic aspect, together with Saturn and Neptune in a square aspect, will feel something (or someone) is missing from his or her life. The Saturn/Neptune influence will indicate a great sense of restless and wandering.

However, once the missing person or desire is uncovered (dynamic Sun), the reason for the restlessness becomes clear. From this point, the person in question can look at their life in a different way (although what they do with it is another question).

A simple but powerful element in the birthchart, the dynamic aspects are worth taking a closer look at, for they often hold the key to finding focus and direction in life.

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