Aspects are the different angles planets form with one another as they move through the sky at their different speeds and in their different orbits. It is the aspects -- these angles -- planets make between themselves, either between planets in the sky or between planet positions in the sky when compared to the stationary planet positions in a Natal Chart -- which allow an astrologer to see and describe the way the energies they represent interact in a horoscope, and so in the character or evolution of the person or event being studied.

There are easy or "soft" aspects, where the energies are pleasant, supportive, helpful, and compatible. These aspects, such as most conjunctions, as well as sextiles and trines, are considered beneficial, forecasting times of blessing, prosperity and good fortune when they occur in the sky (in transit) or when transits set off elements (planet placements) in a person's Natal Chart.

There are also harsh or "hard" aspects, where the energies are upsetting, dissonant, conflicted, and frustrating. These other aspects, such as squares, oppositions, and increasingly an aspect known as an inconjunct (an aspect of 150° between the components) are considered challenging, difficult, and inauspicious -- or at best, inconvenient -- when they occur, again either as transits or when the transits set off elements in a person's Natal Chart.

The aspects between the moving planets in the sky at any given time and the static planet placements in the horoscope an astrologer is interpreting are especially important in forecasting what is happening to the person, entity, or event in the chart, what it means, what it is trying to accomplish, how it will manifest, and how long it will last!

A conjunction, as the name implies, occurs when two planets occupy exactly the same degree and minute of arc in a Zodiac sign. (As a practical matter and for interpretation purposes, two planets that are within about 8 - 10 degrees of one another in the 360 degree circle of the horoscope are considered to be conjunct. At that distance, the symbolism of each influences the other in the characteristics they describe in a personality or event.) Metaphorically, a conjunction represents a uniting, blending, and combining of the different energies involved.

Planets in a conjunction operate like Siamese twins -- the action of each affecting the other in an inescapable, inevitable way. Each planet in the conjunction will assume some of the colorings, qualities, and characteristics of its partner so that the unit is literally inseparable -- in the same way the color green contains the elements of both yellow and blue, but is still markedly different from either one of those original components.

A sextile is a pattern in which two planets are 60 degrees apart (plus-or-minus about 8 degrees "for practical purposes.") Planets in a sextile are considered to have a benevolent, advantageous relationship, each offering the other qualities and opportunities to work together for mutual benefit. They are usually in signs that can use each other's talents and strengths easily and cooperate nicely.

A square is a pattern in which two planets are 90 degrees apart (again, plus-or-minus about 8 degrees.) The planets in this pattern are considered to be in a difficult and challenging position, each seeming to block, impede, frustrate and hinder the complete or positive expression of the other. The energies such planets represent seem to push and aggravate each other, rather like two actual people who, because of their different values, needs and personal chemistry just "don't get along." They have different concerns and priorities, different perspectives and agendas, and neither likes having to share time and attention with the other.

A trine is a pattern in which two planets are about 120 degrees apart. These planets are also considered to have a benevolent, advantageous relationship, each offering the other qualities that can put both in a good light. Planets in a trine show traits that are genuine natural talents, and are usually in signs which can capitalize on each other's creative gifts and support.

An opposition -- again as the name suggests -- is a pattern where two planets are about 180 degrees apart. Planets in opposition are in a difficult relationship, each seeming to require one's full attention and compliance. In life, oppositions often create the feeling of having to serve two masters at once -- and constantly. A person with oppositions in his chart is almost always dealing with relationship issues ... as one of the planets will represent disowned energy that other people bring into his life.

Oppositions require you to take other people into account as a way of trying to integrate your own energies. They ask that you reclaim qualities you've repressed, denied, or pushed away into what Jung called "The Shadow" of your personality. And yet the feeling you experience from this rejected "opposition" energy is that someone else is doing this to you -- causing you all kinds of trouble -- in experiences that are usually strong, upsetting, and inescapable.

Working out the compromise that an opposition requires is often unpleasant and hard, requiring tremendous empathy, insight and the ability to keep potentially incompatible circumstances in very delicate balance. The energies in an opposition are frequently experienced as disagreeable and problematic and it is extremely easy to slip into the negative traits of the qualities the planets symbolize. In fact, it happens all the time.

(c) 2007 Rebecca Brents, All rights reserved.

Author's Bio: 

Rebecca Brents writes on a wide variety of spiritual and new age subjects, including astrology, tarot, feng shui, alternative health, metaphysics, and self-improvement. She publishes the extensive online new age Ezine, The Enchanted Sprite on her website: Enchanted Spirit, and offers numerous online new age lectures and new age classes in these various fields. She also provides astrology readings, tarot readings, and personal consultations through The Enchanted Spirit Metaphysical Source Shop. Stop by and subscribe to her free new age ezine, New Age-New Horizons.

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