Aside from “normal” aspects that are constructed from the angle planets see each other through, there is a separate category of aspects that is much less utilized. These are typically referred to as “mundane” aspects for reasons that we’ll discuss a little later on. Their utilization relies entirely on the concept of signs of long and short ascension and the placement of planets within them.
The signs of short and long ascension are based on the rising times of the signs over the Eastern horizon. In a mathematically perfect world, each of the 12 signs of the zodiac would take 2 hours to rise in a 24 hour period, but due to the angle of the Earth half of the signs take longer while the other half have a more hastened journey over the horizon. Those that take longer than 2 hours are the signs of long ascension (Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, and Sagittarius), while the other half who take less than two hours are the signs of short ascension (Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces, Aries, Taurus, and Gemini).
Signs of short and long ascension are also known by another moniker; crooked and straight signs. So called because of the way they appear to rise. The signs of long ascension appear to rise in a more upright, 90° angle, while the signs of short ascension rise more obliquely, kind of like Micheal Jackson here.
These sign groupings and designation play some roles in various branches of astrology on their own. For example in electional astrology, the signs of long ascension are more useful for undertakings that will last a long time, whereas short ascension are more useful for activities that need to conclude quickly. In natal charts, crooked signs are more likely to show deformities than straight signs. Whereas in horary, an emphasis on crooked signs can show something sped up or brought to conclusion quickly similar to electional.
Aspects between two planets in crooked or two planets in straight signs can also play out differently. We see this being used in William Lilly’s chart for Mr. B’s Houses. Lilly says the Moon applies to square Saturn, but since the two planets are in signs of long ascension (Virgo and Sagittarius) the difficult square gets stretched out into a more permissive trine. This and several other factors encouraged Lilly to proceed with his purchase, and he was quite happy with it.
The reason for the changing aspects has to do with the angle planets within them appear to be in the sky as opposed to the way they are presented in chart form. The picture below with unlocked houses shows an angular square between the straight signs Virgo and Sagittarius (much like Lilly’s example) and how it visually resembles a trine more than a square. This would also work similarly for sextiles in long ascension which would get stretched into squares using this technique.
The picture below demonstrates the opposite. The angular square between the crooked signs Gemini and Pisces more visually resembles a sextile. Likewise, trines that occured between signs of short ascension would get squished down into squares.
This technique is difficult to dismiss as a fluke, though it is mentioned only very rarely. It’s impossible to argue that the visual element of the sky has little to no bearing on the meaning and interpretation of aspects since it is one of the foundational principles, but a lack of examples makes it easy to overlook as it’s not so ingrained into an astrologer’s repertoire of techniques. However, it makes a nice counterpart to the reception techniques covered earlier in the series that can also change the way in which an aspect expresses itself.