What is the meaning of the aspects in astrology? In this post I will describe the importance of the main Ptolemic aspects used in traditional astrology. (Plus one!) In my practice, however, I integrate the Huber method, which includes the quincunx (an aspect that was added by Johannes Kepler). The link is an affiliate link, but I have this book and can only recommend it.
I have not included other aspects such as quintile, novile, septile and sesqui-square because this would completely confuse the sacred geometry of the Huber approach. The Ptolemic Aspects (excluding the quincunx) listed below are the Gold standard in terms of aspect pattern astrology.
Important planetary aspects importance
The connection – 360 divided by 1
A perfect conjunction is 0º of separation. This aspect of meaning is not inherently good or bad. It all depends on the planets involved. The two merge into one being, so it helps if the two planets get along. The Moon and Mars would work as the hard aspect while the Moon and Venus would work as the soft aspect. Planets in conjunction cannot see each other.
A person with Sun Uranus will wonder why everyone else thinks they are crazy when they see themselves as normal and conventional. Conjunctions are very obvious in a horoscope, especially when they relate to personal planets or angles. You’ll be the number one hotspot on the charts and often the first thing most astrologers talk about.
Conjunctions are similar to ascending energy. You are ambitious and work together towards a common goal. However, the planets must both be running in sync in order to move forward. You are focused and determined.
In some of my contributions to planetary aspects, I have divided my aspects into “soft” and “hard”. I combined the conjunction with the quincunx to save space. At first glance it might seem strange that the quincunx should have something to do with the conjunction, but we have to remember that traditional astrologers did not even consider the conjunction as an aspect, since it cannot “see” the planet next to it.
The quincunx is also known as inconjunctive since the planet has no mode, gender, or element in common with the sign aspects. The quincunx cannot “see” the other planet, and they have absolutely nothing in common. I’m not saying these two aspects are the same, but there is still a kind of blindness that is common to both of them. In conjunction, on the other hand, the planets are mixed up. So the planets do not see each other, not because they have nothing in common, but because they think they are one and the same.
Aspect pattern: The Stellium.
The opposition – 360 divided by 2
A perfect opposition is 180º separationº. Some confrontation with the opposition will be inevitable, but it doesn’t always work as a tricky aspect. It just means that the two opposing planets have to find some balance. You can’t be in two places at the same time, so it’s all about cooperation and compromise.
This aspect meaning is something like the following energy. People with strong opposition need to learn not to focus too much on one side. Again, it works better if one of the planets complements the other. A common interest also allows them to meet halfway through.
Jupiter Opposition Neptune could, for example, share a passion for spirituality or travel. Otherwise, oppositions tend to swing from side to side and feel a little bipolar. Transits can show which end is taking the reins. As with offspring, when we act out one side of an opposition, we can project the other side onto a partner. Just as the offspring can reveal our open enemies, one side of the opposition can also reveal our shadow.
Aspect pattern: Dragon, T-Square, Mystical Rectangle, Rack.
The Trine – 360 divided by 3
A perfect trine is 120º apart. This aspect of importance shows the line of least resistance. Yes, a trine is harmonious and easy to use in transit or as a birth aspect. However, it doesn’t do anything … We use our trigons after trying too hard on ourselves and having to do something to relax.
Usually, trigons inspire our natural gifts. They bring out the best of the fiery planets. Hence, a Mars trine Jupiter is more likely to be of better use than a Neptune trine Venus. Trines are our talents, but we may not even realize they’re there because we find them so easily. There is no urgency with them. There is nothing to prove. Trigones work best when a stressful aspect pattern is relaxed, such as when this trine is plugged into a grand cross.
A good example of a negative trine could be a triangle situation. For example, when a mistress unwittingly supports a dilapidated marriage by being the third party. A trine in this situation will maintain the status quo for better or for worse. Trines aren’t the force for change and they don’t like rocking the boat. So the dark side of a trigon is that it could act like an enabler and ease an undesirable situation.
Aspect pattern: The Grand Trine, Dragons, Mystical Rectangle, Small Grand Trine.
The square – 360 divided by 4
A perfect square is 90º apart. Planets in a square are very conscious as opposed to the opposition. They keep getting in each other’s way. Some astrologers see this as the planets working against each other, but I think it’s more that the square won’t let you sweep anything under the rug.
Squares encourage you to do your best and let you see things from all possible angles. They force you to step out of your comfort zone and face the uncomfortable truth. They’re not a holiday in the sun, no, but boy, they make you grow.
Squares are Martians; they are hard-love and hard-tittie. They get lighter with age. Squares are associated with the number four, matter and manifestation. The square triggers a certain fear, but this fuels a kind of fight or flight reaction. The muscles contract and create action.
Without squares in our natal chart or squares after transits, we would achieve nothing. The negative side is, when the quadratic energy doesn’t take the rest it needs, the stress builds up to dangerous levels and becomes more destructive than constructive. If we work on our squares, they will turn into diamonds!
Aspect pattern: Grand Cross, T-Square, The Fist of God (Sesquiqudrate or Thor’s Hammer).
Sextile – 360 divided by 6
A perfect sextile is 60º apart. This aspect meaning has less of the ease that the trine has. Six is a Venus number. It doesn’t quite have the established severity of the Trigon, but appears to have beginner’s luck. The sextile is the flower rather than the fruit.
Again, we always look at the planets. When a chart has many squares, one sextile is not enough to calm things down. It’ll add a giggle and tease, but people can get sextile jokes wrong too.
If the planets get along, they’ll joke around with each other pretty easily. The sextile can make a bewitching creative combination, and it also loses the trigon’s often self-satisfied feeling. The sextile contains more “oomph” factor. The spicy sextile builds a helpful bridge between the planets and has an opportunistic atmosphere. The planets actively encourage one another to be themselves. The advantage of the sextile is that, unlike the Trine, it does not fall asleep due to its innate “bubbling” energy.
Aspect pattern: The Star of David, Small Large Trine, The Yod.
Quincunx – 360 divided by 12
A perfect connection is 150º separation. This aspect meaning continues the story of the 3 (trine), 6 (sextile), 12 (quincunx). So the quincunx should really be counted as a soft aspect. But as you can see with the 1 (conjunction), 2 (opposition), 4 (square), life becomes more complex with age. Each turn of the wheel accumulates more baggage and karma.
The quincunx is simply a reflection of this development, so its meaning is ambiguous. The quincunx’s enigmatic quality stems from the fact that it shares no element, gender, or mode with the planet it is contemplating. Planets in quincunx do not see each other at all! As if they weren’t even registering on each other’s radar.
Hence the danger of the quincunx lies in its passive-aggressive quality. A nagging friction inside that you can’t quite understand. Once you’ve figured it out, the quincunx can become very powerful indeed. On the positive side, the quincunx acts like dissonance in music. It turns out to be two unlikely things that go unexpectedly well together, like a jam and cheese sandwich.
The quincunx is a sophisticated resolution of differences. It’s also alchemical, almost miraculous, because it unites a kind of harmony that one wouldn’t expect. The quincunx is also known as the karmic aspect and could be the reason why it appears so often in synastria. Time resolves the inner irritation of the quincunx. The key is patience. At some point the sand will make pearls in the shell!