Astrology terms: aspects (part 2)

Written by selenaw on May 3rd, 2012

Understanding your chart aspects

Last week, I talked about the five basic types of aspects or relationships between planets in an astrology chart (aspects part 1).   This post will look at some of the other aspects, which may be less familiar to astrology newbies, and perhaps even to some intermediate students.


This aspect, also sometimes called a quincunx, means 150 degrees lay between two planets.  In other words, they are one sign away from forming an opposition.  Most astrologers use a smaller orb in identifying an inconjunct relationship—usually only 2 degrees in either direction.   This is more an aspect of instability rather than tension like the opposition and square or harmony like the trine and sextile.

You can think of this aspect as being the same as when two people just don’t get each other—they may not even have enough ground to actually quarrel, but communication between them will be difficult, almost as if they were speaking different languages.  The two energies represented by the two planets refuse to blend.  An individual with a quincunx in his natal chart may feel insecure and off balance in both of the areas indicated by the two planets with this aspect.  The person will have to make some adjustments to accommodate the differences between the planets.


A semi-sextile means half of a sextile so the planets are thirty degrees apart (give or take an orb of 2 degrees).  This is usually a neutral relationship—there are no fireworks of either attraction or conflict between the two planets.

Spotting Aspects

The five most basic aspects—conjunction, opposition, square, trine and sextile—as well as those above are readily identifiable as you scan the chart by simply looking at the degrees where the planets sit.  The aspects below can be more difficult to spot because the planets involved do not share the same or similar degrees.  Some astrology software programs draw lines to indicate aspects between planets, usually red for tense or challenging (squares and oppositions), blue for flowing or harmonious (trines and sextiles) and green for inconjuncts.


A semi-square means half of a square aspect, so the planets in question are 45 degrees apart.  This is similar to the square in that the person may experience a sense of the planets blocking each other, although the sense of conflict may be less constant than the square.


Also known as a sesquare, this 135 degree aspect denotes some sense of imbalance. The individual with this aspect in the natal chart tends to feel that the planetary energies involved in this aspect should work together yet they resist.  One way to understand this aspect is as a square plus a semi-square (90 + 45 degrees).


If you divide the 360 degree circle of a natal chart by five, you get 72 degrees.  This one-fifth of a chart relationship is considered very harmonious.  Astrologers usually use an orb of 3-5 degrees to determine if two planets form a quintile relationship to each other.  Quintiles can indicate an area of talent which comes from blending planetary energies in an unusual or creative way.  To other people, the person with a quintile may appear obsessed or driven, perhaps a bit odd, at least in the area defined by the quintile.


A biquintile means two times one fifth of the chart, so 144 degrees.  This aspect has an effect very similar to the quintile.  To tap the positive energy of quintiles and biquintiles, the person often has to be willing to go against the tide a bit, to be an innovator.

 More to come

I will continue this series later this month with a discussion of compound or composed aspects, what some astrologers refer to as figures.  These are made up of multiple aspects and thus can be more difficult to interpret.



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