What Exactly Is an "Aspect" in Astrology?

So you’re an astrology newbie, but you want to get to the next level. Planetary aspects are v. imp. because they are “the conversations” happening in the sky. Whether you’re consulting a handy dandy birth chart (yours, your celebrity crush’s, your real-life crush’s, the potential new pal you met at the work mixer, etc.) or you just want to know what the current astrological weather is like, it’s crucial to take a peek at the planets for some insight into the overall MOOD.

So, what’s an aspect, exactly? First, some background: Astrology is the observation of the connections between the planets, the Sun, and the Moon, from our perspective on Earth. Each planet (which in astrology includes the Sun and Moon, aka the “luminaries”) represents an energetic force within us, or a component of life. (To put it simply, Sun = ego; Moon = emotions; Mercury = mind/communication; Venus = love; Mars = sex; Jupiter = luck; Saturn = discipline; Uranus = change; Neptune = spirit; Pluto = transformation.)

When we’re looking at a 360-degree view of the sky, we divide the circle into 12 houses. 360 total degrees divided by 12 = 30 degrees in each house. Planets move through different houses and zodiac signs, and as they move, they send messages to each other when they link at certain mathematical angles. These angles are what we call planetary aspects. There are five common major aspects, created by dividing that 360-degree circle of the cosmos by 1, 2, 3, and 4.

Here’s a list of some of the most common aspects and what they do to our lives.

Conjunction

When two planets are close to each other in the sky (within a couple of degrees, usually in the same zodiac sign), this means that they form a conjunction, and their energy is blended in unison. This can create a perf alliance or bring intensity. In transiting astrology (“astro-weather”), we can expect this day to be especially potent.

Conjunctions in transiting astrology mark new beginnings, too: For instance, when the Sun and Moon form a conjunction, it creates a New Moon. If you have your Sun and Moon conjunct in your natal chart, it not only means you were born on a New Moon (or in some cases, a solar eclipse), but also that you will have an easy time synergizing your conscious and subconscious in the pursuit of your goals throughout your entire life.

Sextile

If two planets are separated by two zodiac signs and are roughly 60 degrees apart, we get one of the sweetest aspects of all—the sextile. Since these planets are in compatible elements two zodiac signs apart (earth + water or fire + air), they support one another and flow easily. Sextiles are often happy and chill, bringing good moods and camaraderie. An opportunity may present itself if we seize the day to take action and uncover it.

For instance, let’s say Venus and Neptune are sextile. If it’s taking place in your birth chart, you are blessed with creativity and a romantic demeanor. If the planets are linked in a sextile on a random day, we will be more openhearted at this time, likely pulled toward beauty, romance, or art. I’m getting butterflies just thinking about it!

Square

Yikes! One step further than a sextile is a square: two planets are separated by three zodiac signs, meaning they are roughly 90 degrees apart. Get ready for a battle as each planet steps into the center of the ring to trade blows! When two planets are in a square, they share an astrological quality—they’re both cardinal, fixed, or mutable signs—but don’t have much else in common!

Squares often bring tension, struggles, and conflict, with each planet not seeing eye-to-eye. The best way to navigate this awks energy is to do your best to compromise. As an example, let’s say you have Mars square Saturn in your natal chart. Welp, that means you will often feel blocked and criticized by the world—especially around how you express yourself and pursue your passions. In transiting astrology, the days that Mars is square to Saturn will bring frustrations and obstacles to you as you’re pursuing your goals. Ick. However, challenges in astrology can also bring the greatest rewards, because they teach you to find your strength and create solutions.

Trine

Get ready for good vibes, bb! Next on our list is when two planets are four zodiac signs apart, or roughly 120 degrees. This aspect is called a trine and, like a sextile, it means that the planets will be in the same element—fire, earth, air, or water. Trines bring luck, harmony, and opportunity. We can move forward easily, often with something presenting itself with very little effort

Howevs, since trines are just ~so fab~, they can also make us lazy—as opposed to squares, which make us put in a ton of effort to get what we want. In a birth chart, let’s say Mercury and Uranus are in a trine—that means you’re blessed with a brilliant mind with a progressive view of the world. And if these two planets are frolicking through the heavens on a random day and meet in a trine, you can expect that exciting news is going to pop up for you suddenly, pushing you to form new ideas and open your mind.

Opposition

Whoa, tense much? These two planets are directly across the sky from each other and separated by six zodiac signs, meaning they’re about 180 degrees apart. (Quick guide to the opposites: Aries-Libra, Taurus-Scorpio, Gemini-Sagittarius, Cancer-Capricorn, Leo-Aquarius, and Virgo-Pisces.) On one hand, this can bring balance and union through compromise, almost like the planets fit together like two opposite puzzle pieces. But on the other hand, this aspect can bring obstacles. The planets will be in congenial elements (fire + air or earth + water), which on one hand can show that they can work together well when they try, but they also share an astrological quality (cardinal, fixed, or mutable), meaning they are pretty set in their ways and won’t really want to budge.

For example, let’s say you have the Sun opposite Pluto in your natal chart—like your Sun is in Taurus and your Pluto is in Scorpio. This means that you’ll face many personal crises in life, likely around relationships, that will help to transform you repeatedly. In transiting astrology, the days that the Sun stands opposite Pluto will bring a major change, likely triggering a crisis moment that can help you evolve for the better.

No matter what aspects we have in our charts or in the sky, they’re here to bring new experiences and help us to live balanced and transformative lives. Without them, we wouldn’t be who we are. So embrace them and plan ahead by using them. You’ve got the stars in you!

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