Aspects are arguably the most important part of any particular horary chart. Aspects, or the angles that planets see each other with, color the relationship between individual planets and give us information on what has occurred and what will occur. This is extremely valuable and is typically the information that a querent is looking for, so it’s important to have a good grasp of what’s happening in any particular aspectual relationship between particular planets.
One of the most important foundations for aspects is being consistent with the orbs utilized. Classically orbs are determined based on the planets involved where brighter or larger planets are given larger orbs of influence, but the modern movement has put more of a focus on the aspects themselves, where more forceful aspects are given larger orbs than those deemed less forceful. This isn’t really to give support to one side over the other as even the traditional authors disagree slightly over the exact degrees each planet should be given, but there is a big philosophical shift between the two systems and it’s important to keep consistency in one’s practice.
Outside of orbs, there are also whole sign aspects where the idea is that planets in one sign are always going to aspect planets in another regardless of the number of degrees separating them. For example, by their very nature and position planets in Pisces are always going to Sextile planets in Taurus and Capricorn, Square planets in Gemini and Sagittarius, etc. This is a philosophy rooted more within the concepts of witnessing, seeing, and managing and can be just as effective. Aspects by orb are still preferred and have more power to them, but within whole sign aspects there is still an influence to be felt. So, while whole sign aspects are based on managing, aspects by orb are based on engagement.
As mentioned earlier in the article, aspects can be used to tell what has happened in the past regarding any particular question. This information is discovered by scrutinizing separating aspects, particularly those of the Moon, the First house lord, and lord of the house inquired about. Here’s an example.
This chart is from a young woman concerned about a possible pregnancy from a previous sexual encounter. While the outcome of this chart is very important, it’s interesting to note that the Moon (who represents the general flow of events surrounding a question) has just separated a Trine aspect from Venus in the Fifth. This separating aspect clearly shows the intercourse that previously occurred and gives some clues as to the outcome of her question (she wasn’t pregnant).
A final word on separating aspects and the ability to predict future events. Even though separating aspects typically have no effect on the future, there are some rare cases where the proximity will still have an effect on the future. Lilly tells us that planets that are separated by less than 6′ (not degrees) can still bring about an effect as the bodies of the two planets are still joined together within this small window though the light has started to separate
The engagement of two planets is particularly important when it comes to predicting an event or outcome. Without an aspect, there is no engagement and with no engagement there can be no event. There are arguably ways to mitigate not having an aspect, but many are relatively minor and some techniques will be covered later in the series. For example, if in a relationship question there is no aspect between the First house lord and the Seventh house lord or between the Moon and Seventh house lord then there won’t be a relationship or it will be short lived or perhaps something else not positive. This is the general idea. However, the type of aspect and the planets involved are going to have a large influence on just what exactly occurs. Squares and oppositions typically bring difficulty, obstacles, and stress to the situation whereas trines and sextiles are more likely to facilitate ease in the matter. At the same time, the natures and placements of the planets are going to have their own influence. A cadent Saturn is not likely to be helpful since he’s in a part of the chart that relates to powerlessness and is ungiving by his own nature. On the other hand, an angular Venus is likely to be very helpful as she has power and a benevolent nature. Dignity and reception are other factors to consider that will be gone into detail in later installments.
Generally we want questions that have harmonious applying aspects between strong and benevolent planets. These bring about the most positive and most lasting results. Of course life is not perfect and we often get a mixture which lead to mixed outcomes, but these are only natural. The ability to weigh a particular aspect and make a call on whether it is good or bad or will produce something or not isn’t something that relies a lot on experience as much as an understanding of the technique involved. We’ll go more into the individual techniques that effect aspectual relationships in more detail in the next few installments. Next week we’ll talk about reception which is arguably the single largest influence on any particular aspect.