Aspects Meaning In Astrology: How To Understand The 5 Major Ptolomeic Configurations
In Astrology, aspects like conjunctions, squares, trines, sextiles, and oppositions in the natal and transit chart show how planet-to-planet interactions work.
For those who listen to my podcast or read my articles, you'll notice that when I describe an Astrological happening, I refer to the two planets that are connecting by saying something like Venus sextile Mars.
I will then explain how Venus sextile Mars is energetically experienced and what you can expect from that sort of alignment. These planets connecting in this way is called an aspect in Astrology.
Aspects are an alignment that two planets form with one another. There are five major aspects: conjunction, sextile, square, trine, and opposition, and they all mean something different. There are also minor aspects that I will cover in another post.
In this article, we'll explore the meaning of each configuration from an Astrological perspective and how to interpret them in your Birth Chart.
Let’s take a deep dive!
What Are Aspects In Astrology
This is done by examining the mathematical relationship between planets to understand how it will affect us. We do this by using Aspects in the Natal or Transit chart that helps us know if their relationship is harmonious or complex.
The Aspects we use in Astrology come from the Greek mathematician Claudius Ptolemy. Ptolemy identified five Aspects that are still used today: conjunction, sextile, square, trine, and opposition.
The planets connect through 360 degrees in the chart, which is divided into 30-degree segments creating 12 houses in the horoscope. For the Ptolemaic aspects, each is sectioned off as even numbers. Therefore, all aspects fit into this equation and have their portion by degree in the Horoscope.
Aspects can also be looked at through their phasal relationship with the other planet it’s connecting with. In other words, these planet-to-planet interactions are the same as Moon Phases.
With planetary alignments, we always put the planet closer to the Sun first and the other celestial body that's further away from it last. In other words, you'll hear things like Mercury Sextile Mars rather than Mars Sextile Mercury. So, in the Birth or standalone transits chart, this is how these configurations would be read.
The only time we would say it that way would be if we were looking at Transits to a person's Natal, i.e., Transiting Mars is making a Sextile to the client's Natal Mercury, meaning the celestial body is aspecting this person.
One thing to note, conjunctions generally come in the same sign, but there are times when we see out-of-sign configurations with this aspect. The same goes for trines, sextiles, squares, and oppositions.
Out of Sign aspects occur when planets have already made this alignment with one another. Still, one planet has shifted to the next sign, which is usually the faster-moving celestial body.
So, while someone might have Sun conjunct Jupiter in Aries, another might have Mars in Capricorn in a conjunction with Uranus in Aquarius, but they are only out of sign by 3 degrees.
Another out-of-sign alignment would be Mercury at the very beginning of Gemini trine Uranus at the end of Capricorn. This is because Mercury formed that configuration while the planet was still in Taurus.
The Meaning Of Orbs In Astrology
Orbs are determined by how far apart a planet is from another celestial body. In other words, we use a specific amount of degrees to determine if the aspect of a planet is connecting.
Degrees of planets need to be considered because unless you’re using Whole Sign Houses, these would have to be within a certain distance by degree to count as aspecting.
In other words, if a planet is inching closer to an aspect of a planet by 10 degrees, it is applying to an alignment.
Once the planets have gotten to the same degree as one another, they hit the peak of the aspect known as perfecting, which would be something like Venus at 26 degrees of Aries and Mars at 26 degrees of Libra, making this alignment and opposition.
As these planets separate, it would look like Venus at 29 degrees of Aries and Mars at 27 degrees of Libra. This is still considered an aspect because they are within the 10-degree orb but separating by 3 degrees.
What Conjunctions Mean in Astrology
A conjunction is when two planets meet up at the same degree and zodiac sign in the sky. This is when planets are 0 degrees apart from one another.
Conjunctions occur when two celestial bodies merge their vibes together. This doubled-up expression is active through the house, aspects of other planets, and Zodiac Sign they are occupying.
Conjunctions are a new phase between planets, so it’s considered a fresh start. For this reason, it is like New Moon energy. Also, this alignment is regarded as one of the most substantial aspects of Astrology.
In the Natal Chart, conjunctions can be experienced as doubled-up energy. In other words, both celestial bodies bring a combination of their points together in a way that's heavily pronounced. This makes that area of the Birth Chart more dynamic than just having one planet in that sector.
An easy way to understand this Aspect is to take, for example, the planets Mars and Neptune. Mars is the planet of action in Astrology, how we assert ourselves, motivation, and bedroom stamina. Neptune is about our relationship with our dream world, spirituality, extrasensory abilities, and compassion.
Combine these two on a high vibrational level; then, you could have a person who takes action on spiritual goals and has enough energy for tantric intimacy. So, when you have two planets in conjunction, it can be experienced as an overabundance of power in that area of life.
Transit-wise, a conjunction of Mars and Neptune will add a dose of spiritual dimension to the day. An alignment like this is excellent for connecting with yourself on higher frequencies! Mars and Neptune's help give us the strength to advocate for the underdog. Also, it’s perfect for clearing spiritual blocks that keep you from progressing and connecting with psychic abilities.
The orb for a conjunction is at 10 degrees max.
The Meaning Of A Sextile In Astrology
A sextile is when two planets are at 60 degrees apart from each other.
Sextiles are harmonious connections from one planet to another that allow us to take proper steps toward our goals. The energies in this configuration involve Zodiac Signs that play well together, so their powers combine will create magic that gets things moving.
A configuration like this revs up our ambitious side, so we feel energized by these two planets working together to make things happen for us.
Sextiles involve signs from complimentary elements with one another such as earth with water or fire and air. Also, they are the equivalent of a crescent Moon phase.
For instance, Virgo and Scorpio happen to be compatible and are 60 degrees away from one another. These signs would interact in this alignment by allowing us to focus our energy on small details that need a deep dive because we need to improve something in our lives. This would help us transform unhealthy circumstances and get on the path to self-improvement.
If we were looking at house placements, it would be a scenario of Venus in Sagittarius in the Second House sextiling the 4th house Saturn in Aquarius. Or transiting Jupiter in Aries is sextiling an individual's natal Pluto in Sagittarius.
Natally, let's say the individual has Mercury Sextile to Saturn; this could help a person be more focused and practical about how they approach life. This could be someone who retains data even after years of not using it and is more logical than most. These planets working together give the individual mental stamina.
Transit-wise, Mercury with Saturn means you can think long-term and plan your goals. This is excellent for those looking to take their aspirations far beyond what would otherwise be possible. In this kind of configuration, Mercury and Saturn pronounce our mental abilities to feel more potent, and we gain the stamina to stay the course.
The orb for a sextile could be about 8 degrees max.
The Meaning Of A Square In Astrology
A square is when two planets meet up at 90 degrees apart from each other. Once we get to this alignment, we're at a spikier angle.
Squares tend to push us outside of our comfort zones so that we can learn and grow from the experiences. However, because of its complexity, it gets us taking care of things that have been plaguing us for a while.
An alignment like this is equivalent to the first and last quarter Moon.
This configuration involves signs from the same modality. In other words, Signs share squares in the same mode: Cardinal, Fixed, and Mutable. If we were looking at signs that can create friction together, it could be something like Gemini and Pisces. These signs make a Mutable square because they’re from the same mode.
Gemini to Pisces squares could create situations where an individual feels mentally foggy, might have difficulty deciphering small details, and must be mindful of dishonest people. However, once channeled healthily, this person can use their intuition and mental agility to solve problems that are too abstract for most to comprehend. This is because squares push us to work through our conflicts.
If this were by house position, the planets would be in the 3rd and 12th because these are Mutable houses; therefore, they square one another.
In a Birth Chart, say someone has Venus Square Uranus; this person might not be predictable regarding love and finances. With this energy, the person could feel a romantic intensity for someone then suddenly, their interest burns out. This could also be an individual who enjoys relationships outside the norm. And with finances, they might be the type to earn money on their own terms, i.e., being self-employed.
In Transit, watch out for the urge to make changes before you've thought things through. Venus, in a complicated alignment with Uranus, can feel like an unexpected urge to break out of a restrictive love and financial situation! Don't abruptly end relationships or do anything drastic unless there's an exit strategy - otherwise, things may turn around on you instead of working towards your desired outcome."
The orb for a square can be at max 10 degrees.
What A Trine Means in Astrology
A trine is when two planets are 120 degrees apart from each other. Trines are easy-breezy energy, so things flow smoothly, which is why it is considered lucky in some way.
Trines are the equivalent of the waxing or waning gibbous Moon phase.
In the Natal Chart, a trine is experienced like things we don’t have to work on because we have a natural propensity towards a specific skill or talent. It’s like being blessed with healthy and silky hair; no matter what you do, it just stays luxurious, so you don’t have to think about doing anything with your mane.
But Trines are such chill energy that we might take things for granted because they come so easily. Therefore, it’s hard to take action on trines because it’s more of a receptive energy. It’s not to say that we’ll always be lackadaisical with our trines; it just takes some revving up or certain planet combinations to make them seize the day.
This configuration is formed by planets occupying Signs in the same element. In other words, the kinds of trines we see are from the water, air, earth, and fire element.
For example, say there was an alignment between Mercury in Leo and Mars in Aries; this would be a fire trine. This is because Aries and Leo are from the same element, so together, they bring out the best qualities in one another.
Another example would have Pluto in the 3rd house in Virgo and Sun in the 11th house in Taurus; this combination would create an earth sign trine. This is how we would see a trine in someone's chart by house and planet because the 3rd trines the 11th house.
In a Birth Chart, someone with Sun in a trine to Jupiter would be born before or after a Retrograde. This is because the Sun's angle to Jupiter signals a Regressive Cycle at this phase.
However, even though this is a Retrograde signature, it reveals a person's upbeat nature. With energy like this, the person can feel enthusiastic, have a sense of humor about them, need adventure and travel, have a more pumped-up sense of self, and seem to catch lucky moments more than most.
During the Transit of Sun Trine Jupiter, it signals the incoming or ending of a Retrograde Phase. However, this transit will pump us back up. The need for socializing is higher than usual, along with road trips and other exhilarating activities. Also, this is a lucky energy so opportunities might pop up out of nowhere.
The orb for a trine can be at a maximum of 10 degrees.
What are Oppositions in Astrology?
An opposition is when two planets are 180 degrees apart from each other. This aspect is considered a polarity point because the energies of the signs attached to the planets in this configuration are the counterbalance of one another.
Oppositions can feel challenging because we have to work with parallel energies. This is because it is the configuration of the other, so it involves relationships and individuals at odds with opposing situations or people. Also, we work on joint efforts, compromise, and how to relate to others with an opposition.
A configuration like this is also the peak of energy and one of the most substantial aspects in a Natal or Transit Chart. For this reason, it is like Full Moon energy.
These configurations occur through modality, so signs that are in the same mode of Cardinal, Fixed, and Mutable form oppositions to one another.
Let’s say Venus in Cancer is opposing Pluto in Capricorn; this would be a Cardinal opposition since these signs are the polarity points of one another.
Or, it could look like the Moon in Pisces in the second house oppose to Neptune in Virgo in the 8th house. This is because the 2nd and 8th oppose one another, and since both the planets are in Mutable Signs, it creates a planetary polarity point.
A person born with Mercury Oppose to Mars might have to learn how to use their voice productively. In other words, Mercury is how we communicate, and Mars governs our tempers, so this could be about learning how to assert yourself without being aggressive in your delivery.
In Transit, when two planets are in Opposition, it can be a time of stress. Venus Oppose Mars in Transit can be a blend of romance if channeled appropriately or aggression in relationships when operating under the lower expression. An alignment like this could be a wake-up call to get out of an unhealthy relationship. Or about making up after relationship drama through passion and intimacy.
So yeah, aspects have a ton of depth to them, so if you read my weekly’s or listen to the podcast, you’ll now know what I’m referring to when I say Venus sextile Mars.
Try a few out yourself to see how these planetary alignments work in your Natal or transits charts.
If you enjoyed this blog post, a fresh cup of java would be greatly appreciated; thanks again!! 😺☕😻