Aspects represent how two planets (or chart points) interact with each other. Imagine you are at a dinner party, sitting at a large table with lots of people. Some people at the table would be positioned in ways that are easier to talk too. While others would be positioned in ways that are more difficult to talk too. This scenario is like an 'aspect'. Aspects simply describe how planets talk to each other or interact. Is it easy for them to talk to each other, or is it more difficult for them to talk to each other? Are other people in the way? Think of this simply as how planets co-exist.
It is difficult to understand the full nature and detail of our chart when we examine parts of our chart in a vacuum. For example, if the moon was in close proximity to the planet venus when you were born (meaning you could see the moon and venus together in the sky when you were born), your moon sign will behave completely differently. Venus will give your moon sign more venusian traits, making you more artistic, receptive, or cooperative. Aspects are one way to understand nuances about your personality and inner dynamics.
Below is a list of the major aspects I use in my practice. They are listed from most influential to least influential.
Please note, there are more smaller, less influential aspects that are omitted from this list for simplicity's sake.
0 Degrees Apart: Planets are close to each other in the sky.
Conjunctions are considered to be the most potent aspect in charts. They are the melding/synthesis of two energies. The fusion, the combination of the two planets involved. It's like when you put two planets into an energetic meat grinder and have a fusion of the two, or like the taste of a new dish when you combine two ingredients. Generally, this is harmonious, or energetically neutral.
180 Degrees Apart: Planets are opposite to each other in the sky (in opposite signs).
This energy requires balance, and can be energetically positive, neutral, or tense depending on the planets involved.
The energy is similar to a conjunction, it merges two energies together. However, oppositions require the need for balance. Although they are together, they still require separate treatment, and must find a harmonious way to co-exist.
90 Degrees Apart
Generally more subjectively difficult or requiring personal adjustment to circumstances that are uncomfortable. They have the energy of needing to break through in order to grow. Such discomfort usually leads to an experience that makes one a wiser and more resilient person.
Square aspects are like hurdles that we must jump over in life. Or, they are like trails that make us stronger. This energy builds character, and gives one grit.
Squares bring out the tension, differences, or problems between the two planets/signs involved in the aspect.
120 Degrees Apart
Generally a subjectively positive and harmonious aspect. Resembles free flowing energy.
Things come naturally with trines, opportunities arrive without too much effort. The path is cleared, and the flow is natural.
Depending on the planets involved, trines bring a harmony between the energies included in the trine.
60 Degrees Apart
Generally positive aspect. They are like trines in that they can bring a subjectively positive or favorable outcome. However, they do not come as easily as trines. Sextiles will only happen if you put in the effort.
Here's a quick analogy to understand the energy of aspects: a trine is kind of like getting a job without having to apply (it comes easy), a sextile is like getting a job that you have to apply for (easy, with a little effort). A square is having to apply to 100 jobs before you get one offer (more difficult, but character building and more prosperous long term).
INCONJUNCT (& YODS)
150 degrees apart
This is not considered a major aspect by most astrologers, but I find them very telling when using them in chart interpretations. An inconjunct is when two plants are 150 degrees apart from each other. When three planets come together and two are 30 degrees, and both are within 150 degrees from the same planet (pictured right), whis is called a Yod. Simply, inconjunct is two planets, a yod is three planets.
An inconjunct indicates areas of adjustment, shame, or our blind spots. Two planets involved in and inconjunct aspect literally have nothing in common. They are not the same element, modality, or polarity. Their energies do not mix, which causes the need for adjustment and seeing in blind spots in order to find harmony.
A yod is a bit different. The energy of a yod is like plugging in your phone charger in directly to an electrical plant. It gives a TON of energy to the planets and houses involved in the aspect. Yods depend a lot on the planets involved, but always have to do with how an intense influx of energy is managed and expressed.
(aka, how potent or powerful is the aspect)
A quick note on ‘ORBS’. Astrologers use the term ‘Orbs’ when they talk about aspects. This just means, how far away the planets are from one another. I don't mean how far they physically are away from each other in space. Rather, from our point of view on earth, what degree the planets fall on the ecliptic. For example, if the moon was at 3 degrees cancer, and the planet venus was at 5 degrees cancer, we would consider those two planets to be in a strong (tight) conjunction). They are not physically close, but they are close to the same part of the sky from our point of view on earth.
Orbs they tell us how strong, important, or influential the aspect is. For example, if the Sun and Moon are both at 5 degrees cancer, that is a conjunction with a 0 degree orb. If you look at an aspect, and the two planets are opposing each other, but one planet is at 5 degrees Aries and the other planet is at 10 degrees Libra, that would be a 5 degree orb. It’s simple math and shapes when you get used to it. The tighter (closer) the orb is to the degree of the aspect, the strong the aspect. Astrologers use ALL types of orbs. Practice astrology for a bit on your chart and find what works best for you. I personally recommend adjusting your Orbs to how fast and slow the planets are. I use 13-15 degree aspects with the moon. With the outer planets I use tighter orbs like 3 degrees. All other planets I generally use between 5-7 degrees. It all depends on the planets involved. I highly recommend testing out what orbs work best for your practice with at least 50 charts before making a decision. Find what works best for you!