INSIDE: By understanding astrological aspects, we can better understand our strengths, weaknesses, and the challenges we experience. It can help us to succeed in this lifetime and discover a whole new part of ourselves. Read on to learn more!
Knowing yourself is the key to personal growth. As highlighted in SimplyPsychology, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs can explain how important understanding our needs is, because only when they are recognized can we reach true self-actualization.
If you are curious about human psychology, astrology can be a great source of knowledge. Astrological aspects are an important part of any chart and they can help us uncover and understand ourselves and others on a much deeper level.
Let’s hop right into it!
What Are Aspects in Astrology & What Makes Them Important?
An aspect is formed when two planets form a specific degree angle. This angle points to tension or ease and can show how a person merges two different aspects of their personality.
Aspects can be seen as relationships between planets, and this relationship can either be complementary or at odds with one another.
Although some astrologers include minor aspects as well, in general, there are five major aspects that planets can form:
Aspects can either be auspicious or challenging. Auspicious ones are the trine and sextile, while troublesome aspects are the square and opposition. A conjunction can be both, and how beneficial or challenging it is will largely depend on the planets involved and their qualities.
Just having two planets in zodiac signs that conjunct, square, form sextile, trine, or opposition is an aspect itself, and in this case, planets give each other more "breathing" space. However, when the degree is within 5 degrees or less, the effect of the aspect is much more potent!
If unsure about your planetary placements, check the astrological aspects calculator.
Now, let's look at what each of the five symbols represents.
A conjunction is the most powerful aspect of them all, because when two planets conjunct, they merge energies and become one entity, in a sense.
When in conjunction, planets join forces and operate as one powerful driving force in the natal chart. It forms when two planets are in the same sign and are closely connected within 5 degrees.
Some astrologers consider even wider angles for conjunction, but all you really need to know is this...
The closer two planets are in degrees, the stronger the effect of the conjunction is.
For instance, a close Sun-Jupiter Conjunction, even when in a disciplined and detail-oriented sign such as Virgo, can give a person the ability to see the full picture. Not only that, but the person may be extremely gifted with using details for achieving bigger goals and be able to see both the details and the bigger picture.
So, even though we may be disciplined and down to earth, we may also be larger than life because, in this case, the planet of ego conjuncts expansive Jupiter.
But remember, the conjunction is one of the astrological aspects. Although extremely powerful, it can be a source of joy and good luck, but it can also be a source of tension in one’s chart. This is because the very nature of it depends on the quality of planets involved.
This is the most intimate dance between two planets, like a tango. When beneficial planets like Jupiter and Venus are in the mix, conjunction usually gives positive results and dancing is fun.
However, if it’s Mars, Saturn, or the afflicted Mercury we are talking about, things can get a bit tense and frustrating, and we may step on toes and elbow our way on the dance floor, to say the least.
Not only may we do it to others, but mostly, we do it to ourselves since conjunction plays itself in our personal chart.
When two planets dance like this, they are hard to separate, and both will adopt each other’s qualities and good and bad sides, adding more flow to your typical planetary position.
This aspect can work as a remedy and soothe bad placements, but it can also be a powerful indicator of where we can find help from others and where our talents and great potential can be found.
This aspect is harmonious, and will never be a source of trouble for us. We are given the basics and we have all the goods we need within to actualize our dreams. There's nothing to overcome and nothing to adapt to; just easy flowing energy.
The biggest and the only problem with trine is that this is the aspect of potential and natural talents - but the way we develop those talents is up to us. Sometimes we may even take those talents for granted, simply because there is nothing challenging about them, failing to maximize the full potential we have been given.
However, the good news is that trine is not about hard work, but about smart work, and it will help us learn and grow easily. Having one of these astrological aspects in a chart means that things come easily to us and everything happens naturally as it should.
We may also be fortunate in those areas of life that are touched by this aspect, and this is especially true when trine connects beneficial planets. If planets are in a bad state, the trine can help us overcome the struggles implied by these placements.
Sextile is another beneficial aspect, but it's more gentle than trine. It forms when two planets are about 60 degrees apart. While trine is about having two planets in the same element forming a specific angle, sextile relates to two planetary placements that are not of the same element but are compatible.
Air is Compatible with Fire, and Earth with Water. However, sextile doesn’t include opposite signs (which we will dive into further in this article). Under the condition that planets fulfill degree requirements, here are all the possible sextile combinations that can show up in a chart.
- Aries - Gemini, and Aquarius.
- Taurus sextiles Pisces, and Cancer
- Gemini sextiles Leo and Aries
- Cancer sextiles Virgo, and Taurus
- Leo - Gemini and Libra
- Virgo - Cancer and Scorpio
- Libra - Leo and Saggitarius
- Scorpio - Virgo, and Capricorn
- Sagittarius - Libra and Aquarius
- Capricorn - Scorpio and Pisces
- Aquarius - Saggitarius and Aries
- Pisces - Capricorn and Taurus
In this case, planets are in a friendly relationship and can be compared to the friendship of two kindred spirits who work well together. Sextile points to easy and flowing relationships between two planets, where two aspects of your personality can effectively merge.
Square is a challenging aspect. It creates tension between the energies of the planets involved and is a source of distress and obstacles in one's chart.
It’s a hard aspect that forms between two planets that are about 90 degrees apart. It happens between planets that belong to the same modality, Cardinal, Fixed, or Mutable, but are not opposed.
Unlike previous astrological aspects where the energy flows easily and we may take it for granted, the square is never taken for granted. As a matter of fact, it can be so frustrating and challenging that sometimes our focus completely goes to this area of life.
We feel limited, restricted, and we may literally feel the inner tension between two aspects of our personalities or two aspects of our lives. The two planets it forms between are not only at odds with each other but don’t even really like each other enough to cooperate.
However, don’t be scared of all this tension. While difficult, square can help build character once the hard lessons are learned and we are able to master ourselves. In fact, there's no better character-building aspect than the square.
Although it may make life challenging, as we mature, we become more comfortable with it and learn to understand our triggers.
Things aren’t just given to us, but we need to work hard to get them and overcome challenges, both external and internal. The level of difficulty of having one of these aspects will depend on the planets involved, the modality, and the positivity or negativity of the planetary placements.
- Fixed Squares (Leo, Taurus, Aquarius, and Scorpio) are hardest to deal with, simply because these signs are less open to changing their ways, and squares simply demand change.
- Cardinal Squares (Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn) can present themselves as an inability to stick with the change.
- Mutable Squares (Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, and Pisces), which are easier to deal with, will adapt to change more readily.
The opposition is just as it sounds - an aspect between two signs that have nothing in common whatsoever. This is one of the most challenging astrological aspects, if not the most challenging and the planets involved are in signs that are opposed to each other:
- Aries - Libra
- Taurus - Scorpio
- Gemini - Sagittarius
- Cancer - Capricorn
- Leo - Aquarius
- Virgo - Pisces
In this case, while astrology elements are compatible, signs deal with two completely opposite things that cannot be merged together.
The planets are set about 180 degrees apart from each other and embody completely different energies. Many astrologers consider it to be the hardest aspect, simply because the gap between the two is hard to bridge. I
In other words, planets in opposing signs are at complete odds, don’t speak the same language, and are associated with different energies. This aspect is like a relationship between two people who are simply not compatible, having different love languages and completely different mindsets.
However, like in real life, opposites do attract. Although sources of unpleasant tension, oppositions serve to teach us to balance our lives and accept the light and dark areas of our personality.
This aspect is not easy because it forces us to grow and fight hard for what we want, sometimes having to make sacrifices down the road. Many times oppositions are there to teach us about what truly matters in life. Life becomes a gigantic scale that constantly requires measuring, changes, and adapting.
As you can see, when you understand astrological aspects, you can divulge a plethora of information about yourself from your natal chart. It can be both eye-opening and comforting to know that you aren't crazy, that you were born with certain aspects that make certain areas of your life challenging (and others a breeze).