I see my life as a paint-by-number scene where not all the sections are colored in yet.
The colors are known but I have not matched the paint pallet to the number yet. Astrology helps identify the color pallet and my birth chart is the blank picture with numbers in all the right spots. During my research into Aspects, I was intrigued with how these Aspects of my own birth chart explained some idiosyncrasies of my personality. Aspects helped to fill in a few missing sections on the paint-by-number portrait. The meaning behind the painting is clearer now.
How planets are located in “aspect” or relation to each other, on the zodiac wheel, influences how they influence us. Aspects represent the geometric angles created by the difference of degrees between planets as they move through the heavens or as are placed in the birth chart. The zodiac wheel is 360 degrees and each of the twelve zodiac sign and each twelve houses are 30 degrees. If planet Uranus is placed at 15 degrees Leo and planet Mercury is 15 degrees Aquarius, then Uranus and Mercury are exactly 180 degrees apart on the zodiac wheel and considered to be in Opposition astrologically. There are five Major Aspects commonly used by astrologers: Conjunction 0 degrees; Sextile 60 degrees; Square 90 degrees; Trine 120 degrees; Opposition 180 degrees.
Not all Aspects are exact. Aspects are said to have an orb of influence when planet degree differences are plus or minus 5 to 8 degrees of an Aspect angle. Therefore, in the example above, if planet Uranus is placed at 15 degrees Leo and planet Mercury is 20 degrees Aquarius, then they are still considered to be in Opposition astrologically, even though they are actually 185 degrees apart.
Conjunction, Sextile and Trine Aspects are generally considered harmonious while Squares and Oppositions are considered challenged. Keep in mind that being challenged is not always a bad influence. Sometimes challenges are what get us to step up and face adversity head on. Some might say there are no challenges, only opportunities. The following are the five Major Aspects:
Conjunction: When planets are 0 degrees apart, they are considered mutually enhancing, blended, teammates. The energies of the two planets are brought together in an immediate way, fused and intense. This is said to be the most powerful of all Aspects which is great when the conjoined planets are compatible, but if not, then stress or challenge is created.
Sextile: When planets are 60 degrees apart, they are considered cooperative, supportive, flowing. Traditionally an aspect of ease, harmony and lack of tension, Sextile is less powerful then other major aspects. This Aspect is so comfortable that it is less effective and more stressful. An excess of sextiles in a birth chart might indicate a passivity challenge.
Square: When planets are 90 degrees apart, friction, challenges and tensions will result between the two planets. The planets will be at cross purposes and might result in forcing an issue. The influence may be energizing or a blockage may occur depending on the two planets involved. Fortunately, this may point to the possibility of enormous growth.
Trine: When planets appear 120 degrees apart, they usually involve the same elemental signs therefore result in a harmonious influence, such as planets in Aquarius, Gemini and Libra all air signs. This flowing influence embodies potential and good fortune.
Opposition: As the example shows above, when planets are 180 degrees apart, they are considered to be at odds. Whether polarized or complementing, there results dynamic tensions. Compatible energies are invigorated and strengthened. Compatible energies are found in polarities, such as Gemini and Sagittarius (air and fire) or Taurus and Scorpio (earth and water), which means their elements are different but compatible. The qualities are therefore often the same, as in Gemini and Sagittarius are both mutable and Taurus and Scorpio are both fixed. With these compatibilities, the resolution of these oppositions start with at least a compromise.
When like Aspects are grouped together as Aspect Patterns, they result in even stronger astrological influence, enhancing the original aspect. The most common Aspect Patterns are:
T-square: when two planets are 180 degrees apart (creating an Opposition) and a third planet is about halfway between or 90 degrees apart from the other two planets (creating two Squares). The third Squaring planet becomes the enhancing challenge in this influence.
Grand Cross (or Grand Square): when four planets are each 90 degrees apart (creating four Squares), then naturally two pairs of planets are 180 degrees apart (creating two Oppositions). The influence enhances what challenges must be faced in life with potential for great strength and success.
Grand Trine: when three planets are each 120 degrees apart (creating three Trines). The three planets will usually be in signs of the same element and increase the influence of that element. This influence results in flowing, harmonious energy with tremendous potential and benefit.
This discussion of Aspects can be seen as very mathematical, geometric, and scientific. During the time when Astrology had a negative image, Astrologers tended to rely on the scientific side with lots of details, rules and parameters. However, when looked at as an art, the interpretation of a chart can be seen as a hologram of an individual or entity, where the whole is greater than the sum. By allowing intuition to part of the interpretation is to allow astrology to be a work of art, a painting from the heavens and not just collection of dots, spots and angles. Now that we have shared the scientific tools of astrology, we can step back and view the whole painting. Any artwork is really only a group of lines, circles, arcs, waves and angels. Even astrology charts show what might been seen as a splatter pattern. Whether fine art or paint-by-number, Astrology is as much art as the Mona Lisa.
Starting next month, we will look closer at this color pallet by delving deeper into the richness of each Zodiac sign. So rise your brushes, it’s time to paint the sky.
NOTE: this article will also appear in Star Nations eMagazine available next full moon on iTunes and Google Play Store – go to website for more information http://www.starnationsmagazine.com