But even that has some ancient roots! There are five main aspects described by Ptolemy and agreed upon in general by the astrologers of the ancient world up through the renaissance and early modern era. Ptolemy explains that these divisions of a circle are important precisely because they represent the primary divisions of the octave in music cf.
Tetrabiblos I. Each division correlates to a harmonic interval: correlate to the unison conjunction , the octave opposition , the fifth trine , and the major third sextile. If you play the note exactly halfway between the top and bottom notes of an octave, the interval that results is actually the most dissonant interval in music, the tritone also known as a diminished fifth or augmented fourth. This musical interval corresponds to the astrological square: halfway between the conjunction and the opposition.
For those keeping score at home, the modern equally tempered octave has twelve notes in it—but, the zodiac preceded the chromatic scale. Greek music used tetrachords: 4-note scales! It gets complicated quickly, but if you get used to doing this over and over, it becomes second-nature!
What Does “Aspect” Even Mean In Astrology?
Drawn on a chart, it looks like this:. So, Mars is hitting a certain collection of signs with his lewks, and so we say he can behold those signs. Really, anything in Aquarius can see anything in those other seven signs—there can be an aspect there. That means Mars and Jupiter are in aspect by sign. So, right now, Mars and Jupiter can see each other because they are in signs that can behold one another. If two planets are in sign-based aspects, they can interact with one another.
The nature of their interaction, whether friendly or hostile, is determined by the nature of aspect. That would mean that when Mars advances to a later degree of Aquarius, to meet the square that Jupiter is casting there, which activates whatever this relationship signifies. Mars moves faster than Jupiter usually, unless Mars is retrograde , so Mars will be the one who is approaching Jupiter here.
Think of it like this: Mars is approaching Jupiter as a friendly acquaintance and asking him for help with something. The last step is to figure out what parts of life the aspect is describing, and you figure this out by looking at which houses the planets involved rule. So in this example, with Aries rising, Mars rules the first house of your basic personality, body, health, vitality, appearance, and overall circumstances, as well as the eighth house of the unavoidables: fear, death, and taxes.
Jupiter, meanwhile, rules the ninth house of education, spirituality, and travel, as well as the twelfth house of limitations, sorrow, and the unconscious. Mars is placed in the eleventh house of friends and groups, and Jupiter is placed in the ninth house, which I already described. Then you see where that takes you.
Understanding of planetary cycles rests on the knowledge about the qualities of aspects that constitute the cycle. The first part of the story has looked into waxing and waning aspects, it this part we will extend our understanding to include applying and separating aspects.
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A planetary cycle is an unfoldment of planetary dynamics between two planets. The planetary cycle starts at every conjunction and follows through the sequence of aspects until the two planets eventually arrive to their next conjunction thus marking the beginning of the next cycle. This process gives an idea of a spiral-like movement.
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Any aspect between a pair of planets should be interpreted in the much broader context of the whole planetary cycle taking into account the overall symbolism of interaction between the planetary forces that are at play. Pretty much everybody is aware about the phases of the Moon and the lunar month that starts with the New Moon, proceeds to the Full Moon and completes at the next New Moon ready for the next lunar month.
The sequence of the phases of the Moon is but the planetary cycle between the Moon and the Sun. The New Moon marks the moment of conjunction between the two luminaries, the Full Moon is the moment of their opposition. The First and the Last Quarter are square aspects.
The order matters. For every rule there is an an exception! The topic of planetary spheres have been discussed a few times, most notably in the story about planetary hours.
12222 Astrological Aspects
The idea of planetary spheres allows us to list the planets in a certain order that reflects their astrological influence on the planet Earth:. The Moon is the fastest moving celestial body and its influence is the strongest of all, we all have experienced that feeling of the New Moon frenzy and the silent dark void of the New Moon. Nurses at hospitals usually have good statistics about those events, after all who wants a night shift during the Full Moon?
What could be the criteria? The only meaningful criteria is the speed of the planet as observed from the Earth. Faster planets exerts more direct force, slower planets are less direct and noticeable through their effects. For an observant eye, the effects of Mercury and Moon are easily noticeable. The effects of slow planets like Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Pluto are not so immediate.
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The trans-saturnian bodies like Uranus, Neptune and Pluto move so slowly that the effects of their cycles reveal themselves only at the macro level that may span centuries. The faster planet defines the dynamics of the aspect. All other aspects behave in exactly the same manner.
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The illustration below shows a very simplified version of the planetary cycle. The cycle starts with the conjunction, waxes through several aspects to its culmination at opposition, followed by the waning period of same sequence of aspects in reverse order until the next conjunction.