Planets in opposition are usually in the same polarity. The opposition can be disassociate if one planet is in an active sign and the other in a passive sign.
Opposition Aspect Meaning
The opposition is an aspect of projection between the self and the other. This aspect tends to flip-flop between holding a stance in the principle of the first planet and then standing on the other side looking back from the viewpoint of the second planet.
It is an aspect that causes resistance between the two planets.
It can be difficult, and this aspect needs work to integrate the energies.
Strives for equilibrium
The person will strive for equilibrium within the boundaries of the energies shown by the planets.
The individual may very well disown the opposite first from one side and then from the other.
It can be frustrating to be constantly alternating the viewpoint.
Oppositions to Other Planets
Sun oppositions create much tension and stress in life.
Moon oppositions make emotional reactions the default response to challenges.
Mercury oppositions result in arguments and verbal conflict and mental stress.
Venus oppositions suggest romance and financial affairs are very difficult to stabilize.
Mars oppositions create general resistance and an abrasive attitude.
Jupiter oppositions grow big problems and need opportunities for resolution to stabilize.
Saturn oppositions can stonewall the individual so they cannot get past the issue.
Uranus oppositions make the individual contentious and uncompromising for others.
Neptune oppositions develop escapist attitudes when the tension rises and coping is hard.
Pluto oppositions can be very difficult to find a resolution, they may be the main theme of the life.
Aspects are the angular correspondences formed between planets, angles and other points in a chart. Aspects are the angular connections between two planets or points in a chart. They are measured in degrees and minutes of longitude. Aspects are a function of simple geometry.
Every planet will usually have some aspects.
Not all charts will contain all the aspects.
It is unlikely that all planets will have every aspect.
Not all planets will aspect each other.
Some planets may not receive any aspects.
Often charts will have a preponderance of the one particular aspect.
Aspects and aspect patterns show the main storylines within a chart. The dialogue between the planets and chart points is found by the planetary connections expressed through the aspects.
Aspects are like a conduit passing information between two planets. Two planets in aspect will communicate with each other for better or for worse depending on the actual planets and the aspect in question.
Where do aspects come from?
Aspects angles are created by dividing the 360° chart wheel by different numbers.
Major and minor aspects
We will focus on the major and minor aspects. The major aspects are the ones used by the Greeks and are today known as “Ptolemaic aspects” after Claudius Ptolemy. The minor aspects are those found to have value in chart interpretation.
An unaspected planet has no Ptolemaic aspects (conjunction, sextile, square, trine or opposition) nor minor aspects (semi-sextile, quincunx, semi square or sesquiquadrate) to another planet (not a point) in a chart.
Interpreting Unaspected Planets
Unaspected planets can go one of two ways.
They can be the rogue planet in a chart if prominent and unfettered.
Or they can rise to be the purest expression of themselves because they are not “tarnished” or influenced by an aspect from another planet.
Example chart Agatha Christie
Agatha Christie the prolific crime writer has an unaspected Mercury and she used it at its highest vibration and wrote good books.
The astrological aspects are the angular relationship between the planets and points (the Ascendant and Midheaven etc.) in a chart.
In your chart some planets will be in aspect to each other and some will not have aspects. Some planets may have easy aspects and some may have difficult aspects.
There are five main aspects.
More on the conjunction
Planets in sextile work well together and support each other. They suggest that you have latent talents in the nature of the planets involved and this can be brought forward for the creativity and vision in your life. The sextile is a soft aspect.
Planets in trine to each other are easy going and let the other planet be themselves. This is the best aspect of support and being positive. The trine is an easy or soft aspect.
Planets that are square to each other have some tension between them. Their energies compete for dominance and challenge each other. Planets in square create internal dilemmas for you. The square is a hard or difficult aspect.
Planets that oppose are in tension with each other and will struggle to work together. These planets create external dilemmas for you and can indicate where you project the issues to the other. The opposition is a hard or difficult aspect.
And another – The Quintile Aspect
Although not one of the big five aspects I use the quintile aspect as well as it is the aspect of creativity. Planets in quintile to each other show your creative expression in line with the meaning of the two planets. The quintile should always be considered when analyzing creative expression and outlets in your life.
The word ephemeris (plural ephemerides) is from the Greek word ephemeros, which means daily.
This is a quick introduction to the graphic ephemeris. Generally the ephemeris that astrologers use is a hefty reference book.
It details astronomical data like daily planetary positions by zodiac sign with the degrees and minutes for each planet as well as information such as sidereal time (used for calculating the ascendant).
An ephemeris is usually laid out month by month for each year. Planetary positions are listed in tables for either noon or at midnight depending on the ephemeris used.
Luckily we have a visual representation of the daily planetary positions in the graphic ephemeris. It is a quick way to find hard aspects.
It can be quite tedious to manually calculate all the planetary positions for a birth chart. Perhaps there are some of you who began your journey into astrology with this method.
You were probably relieved when the old Blue Star and then Solar Fire programs generated perfect charts.
Charts with a higher level of mathematical accuracy (even though birth times are still unreliable) are created by computers rather than manual calculations.
The graphic ephemeris has a slightly different purpose than the ephemeris book. It is mainly used for predictive work and specifically outer planetary progressions, transits and directions shown in a graph.
It is a highly visual tool where you can select the preferred time period. The planets remain constant on every graph of the period. It is the connections to the natal chart that are shown clearly by this method.
Imagine if you take the birth chart wheel as 360° on a piece of paper and you fold it in half at the (0°Aries/0°Libra) line you then have 180° of the circle.
Next fold it in half again to show 90°, finally if you fold the chart once more you have a 45° ‘slice’ of the circle. If the paper was transparent, it would show all the planets and angles within the small 45° slice.
Transiting planets will be at the same point on the slice and therefore will be depicted near each other on the Graphic Ephemeris. This is simply a different way to look at the transits to a natal chart.
The process of folding the chart from conjunctions 0° into oppositions 180°, into squares 90° and then semi-squares 45° or sesquiquadrates 135° only allows hard aspects to be shown.
Generally there are no harmonious aspects like sextiles or trines depicted on the graph.
How to Read a Graphic Ephemeris
The left of the graph begins with a column showing the cardinal degrees from 0° for 30°. At 30°, the fixed signs start and carry on to the 45°, and then begin again at the top from 0° to 15°. Finally the mutable signs are shown from 15° for 30°.
Across the top is time in months.
On the right side of the graph is a column with the natal planets and angles by sign. Each planet and point has a coloured dotted line associated with it running horizontally across the page.
Predictive work usually begins with revealing the transits. The outer planets Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune as well as Chiron and Pluto are generally selected for transits.
The direct transiting planets enter the graph at the left and move through time down and to the right. During retrograde periods, they move up the page in a wave motion. Where planets are at 0° of the cardinal signs by transit, they will re-enter the graph at the top.
Planets changing signs have a small dot in the planetary colour on their path.
Pluto has a shallower path than Jupiter. This is due to the slower movement of this minor planet in space.
Where a transiting planet’s curve crosses a natal planet’s dotted line, a transit aspect to the natal planet is formed.
The aspect glyph is at the intersection of the two. Where two transiting planets’ paths cross each other on the graph, there is an aspect being formed between those two planets on that day in space. The actual aspect symbol is not shown on the graphic ephemeris, only aspects to the natal chart.
Nodes and Moon cycle
The nodal axis moves in a straight line on the plane of the ecliptic and is always retrograde.
The full moon is shown as a white circle and new moon as black circles.
Where a solar eclipse happens there is a black circle with the conjunction symbol within it. A lunar eclipse is depicted by a white circle with the opposition symbol within it.
Thor’s Hammer is a Major Aspect Pattern sometimes found in astrology charts. It is triangle shaped and if you have one you can see it immediately.
If you don’t have one you will probably only learn about this pattern later in the first or second year of your astrology studies.
Thor’s hammer and other major aspect patterns used to be part of the second year syllabus but have recently been brought forward to some first year classes.
Thor – the Man
Thor was a mythical guy who wielded a small hammer that was used for throwing. When hurled the hammer would spin and hit his opponent with quite some force. It was not a hammer for banging nails in or banging on about.
The head of his hammer was shaped short and blunt as the major aspect pattern triangle is today thus the name Thor’s hammer.
Thor’s hammer is formed by three planets, two planets in square with each other and both sesquiquadrate to a third planet.
Features of a Thor’s Hammer
There are several things that make a Thor’s hammer different to any other triangle shaped aspect pattern like a grand trine, T-square or yod.
Example chart for Terry Fox, 7:30am, July 28, 1958, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
Terry Fox was Canadian athlete and sportsman who suffered in a car accident. After which he had pain and then had to have one of his legs amputated at a young age. He went on to run across Canada despite his prosthetic limb. Every year kids in schools celebrate his achievement by having the annual “Terry Fox Run” which raises thousands of dollars for others in similar situations.
This pattern has only hard aspects
The square (90°) always drawn in red ink, and the sesquiquadrate (135°) always drawn in orange ink, are both aspects from the eighth harmonic. This means they are derived by dividing the circle by 8 (360/8=45) and 4 (360/4=90). The sesquiquadrate is one quarter (90°) plus one eighth (45°) resulting in 135°.
There are no soft aspects in this major aspect pattern such as a trine or sextile.
In our example chart Terry Fox has Sun square Mars and both sesquiquadrate Saturn and this forms his Thor’s hammer.
It is a manifesting aspect pattern
A manifesting aspect is one from the eighth harmonic set of aspects. These are always challenging and will be the aspect that the person will be working with already. Manifesting aspects do not hide in the bushes they are to be grappled with from day one.
Resistant to change
Due to the tight squares and sesquiquadrates this aspect pattern is resistant to change and the planets in the aspect pattern will be locked together and work as a ‘team’ for the person whose chart it is. This can be for good or bad depending on the planets involved.
In our example chart the three planets are the Sun, Mars and Saturn.
Difficult to live with
A Thor’s hammer is difficult to live with because it will keep on coming up as the squares and the sesquiquadrates demand their attention.
The Sun square Mars is a very masculine aspect full of life and energy.
The Sun sesquiquadrate Saturn suggests a struggle to achieve the life’s goals but shows perseverance.
The Mars sesquiquadrate Saturn indicates the drive and the ambition are linked in a powerful way but that caution may be cast to the wind in the push for life.
The focal planet is a sensitive point
In every triangle shaped major aspect pattern there are three planets. Two will be in cahoots and the third will be a ‘focal’ planet.
The focal planet in a Thor’s hammer is the one with the two sesquiquadrates connecting to it.
This planet will express the energy of the two other planets in square through itself into the chart. This makes the focal planet very sensitive to the energy from transits and progressions and those from the other two planets as well.
In our example chart for Terry Fox the focal planet is Saturn retrograde in Sagittarius in the fifth house of sport. This suggests the energy (Mars) and the identity (Sun) was been harnessed towards the goal (Saturn) even to the detriment of the life as this man pushed through adversity in sports.
Note the dispositor of the focal planet
The focal planet’s dispositor is the planet that rules the sign that the focal planet is in. So if the focal planet is Saturn in Sagittarius, Jupiter (as the ruler of Sagittarius) will be the dispositor of Saturn. or in other words, Jupiter will dispose Saturn in the chart.
This suggests that caution will be cast to the wind and the underlying Saturn drives may be taken recklessly because of Jupiter’s influence on the staid focal planet Saturn.
Thor’s hammers need careful interpretation. You have to understand the meaning of the three planets (Sun, Mars and Saturn) and the meaning of each individual aspect (the square and the sesquiquadrates) and which planet is stronger in each aspect before you can understand the inner dynamics of a Thor’s hammer.
Again in our example, in the Sun square Mars aspect, the Sun is powerful in Leo (score +5) and Mars is in detriment in Taurus (score -5) so the Sun dominates the square.
In the Sun sesquiquadrate Saturn aspect, the Sun again dominates this aspect and bosses up the sesquiquadrate with Saturn.
In the Mars sesquiquadrate Saturn aspect, Mars is in detriment in Taurus (score -5) and Saturn is peregrine in Sagittarius (score 0).
Neither Mars nor Saturn has accidental dignity by house but Mars is most elevated and Saturn is retrograde so on average Mars will be stronger than Saturn in that particular sesquiquadrate. This again shows the weakness of his Saturn.
Be on the lookout for a Thor’s hammer and see how it works in your charts.
Cosmos is a Greek word meaning “well ordered” or organized. People like to find organization in confusion or to put it another way to discover cosmos in chaos.
As kidswe all did the simple art project of joining the dots which starts as a page covered with dots and each one has a number.
We then drew a single line from the dot numbered one, to two, then three and so on until all the dots are joined and voila a picture is formed.
If you made a mistake and connected the dots in the wrong sequence then the image is not clear and could be interpreted as something else.
As darkness fell the early astrologers looked at the stars. They drew imaginary pictures in the sky by connecting the stars to form images of fish, lions, scorpions and other animals.
These star combinations were the birth of the constellations and the names we use today. A constellation is simply a group of stars that someone saw as a bull (Taurus) or an archer (Sagittarius).
Clearly these images are open to interpretation, as with the dot pictures, and for astrologers the stars are the dots.
How you can join the dots today
A modern astrologer does not usually go outside when they want to interpret your chart. They join the dots or stars in another way, through the clues in your horoscope.
The hidden message in your chart shown in your planets, signs, houses and aspects will be unveiled to you by the skill of your astrologer.
One astrologer will read your chart differently to the next but the thread and the message in your chart will be the same.
Just like the constellations, there will be a picture and a story of for example, a crab (Cancer) or a ram (Aries) although the main story will be the same when they interpret the same chart.
Inspiration in Art
I was inspired to write this post from the original art from ChampagneBlue a gifted and talented artist in Toronto.
In this piece there are random “dots” of different sizes and colours (that seem to me to be the planets bursting with energy) and they can be joined by your mind’s eye in many way.
Each one of us will imagine a different picture from the available circles.
As above so below
The macrocosm (the stars) is replicated in the microcosm (your chart).
We don’t literally join the dots but it is a good analogy for the process of taking a picture of planets and signs and interpreting an image of the person whose chart it is through the understanding of the “dot” on the page.
Join the planets (I mean dots) with aspect lines
Astrology goes further and joins two planets with line if they are in a recognized angular correspondence to each other.
The aspect lines are colored differently whether easy (blue) or difficult (red) planetary energies are coming together.
Every chart will be visually different because of the shapes created by the aspect lines such as assorted triangles, squares, kites or bucket shapes.
An astrological mandala for meditation
I use the practice of meditation with all the charts I do for friends and clients.
Once I have drawn the chart is and all the dots are joined with lines, I pause… and use the circle of the chart with the lines as a focal point for meditation like a mandala. I like to call this an astrological mandala.
This ritual allows me to focus on the image the chart has formed by the dots and colored lines and shapes before I begin to interpret in detail.
I will often leave one day between drawing up the chart and meditating on it, to the actual detailed unpacking of its message.
I find this lets me ponder the dots, the image, the chart and my client in a broader frame (as above) before offering my in-depth interpretations (so below).
To remind you the Fibonacci sequence is a pattern in numbers where the previous two are added together to result in the next number in the sequence.
1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21…
One plus two equals three, two plus three equals five, three plus five equals eight and so on.
It can be drawn as a widening spiral. This shape is found in nature in plants and animals and can be clearly seen in the nautilus shell chambers and in the head of a sunflower.
The numbers build on the past sequence to create the future patterns.
It seems to me that this reflects a natal chart as it begins to progress and develop by building on what has gone before. The progressed chart unfolds over time from a base point in time i.e. the natal chart.
Situations that occur in life must have been in the natal promise to start with.
Baker’s dozen (13)
Missing Ptolemaic aspects
In this sequence of numbers we see that the square (4) and the sextile (6) do not appear. Nor will the semi-sextile (12) aspect.
Well, astrology is a system of patterns and symbols.
We happily take chart divisions from one to twelve and for the simple reason that every number is represented.
We are also ok to extract the hard aspects in the eighth harmonic (1, 2, 4, 8) and call them manifesting aspects.
Surely if the Fibonacci sequence occurs in nature and so is part of the Earth experience should we not consider this group of aspects in a particular way?
Perhaps because the quintile aspect is found in the Fibonacci list that is our first clue. Quintiles are closely associated with your creativity and genius.
13th Harmonic a Baker’s Dozen
What about the thirteenth harmonic?
Keywords transformation and values. This is not an aspect that is widely used in general astrology but can it be somehow associated with the meanings of the others in our sequence, maybe following the quintile theme?
I’m not sure, but using the Fibonacci aspects in a particular way as a group is a theory that has been buzzing in my thoughts for a while now. I wanted to put these ideas out there for consideration.
Astrology is a subject that tends towards the, “I thought I knew what I was doing until I began to learn it” type comments.
Students have mountains of information to process and any method for remembering the little details helps.
Scientists believe the act of learning is improved when you approach a subject from many avenues. Techniques may include; to listen in class, to read a book, to take notes, to make a collage, to put it to music or to watch a movie.
All of these practices create new pathways in your brain which reinforce the original information storage.
Building many roads to Rome lets you recall information better when you try to retrieve or remember something, for example, during a client consultation.
A planet’s speed is determined by its distance from the Sun. The closer it is, the quicker it moves. The exception is the Moon which has the most daily movement.
The planets listed by speed are; the Moon, Mercury, Venus, the Sun, Mars, Jupiter, Chiron (depends), Uranus, Neptune and Pluto.
An applying aspect occurs when a faster planet moves towards a slower planet.
An aspect is separating when the swifter planet pulls away from the sluggish planet.
An exact aspect has zero orb.
Note any retrograde motion as this will change the status of the aspect.
The Solar Fire Aspectarian
On the Solar Fire aspectarian (the triangle of blocks with the aspects listed in it at the bottom of the chart sheet), there is an “A” or an “S” this tells you if an aspect is applying or separating.
Solid or dotted
Conveniently there is an option to show applying aspects with a solid line and separating aspects with a dotted line in the chart wheel.
In Thick and Thin
Set your program to display thicker aspect lines if the orb is tight and thinner if it is wide. You can select a different color for each type of aspect.
Here is a method to remember the difference between applying and separating aspects which you won’t forget in a hurry. Cast your mind if you will to the fun activity we all love.
Applying aspect keywords
A close encounter
Pending main event
Heat and friction
Exact aspect keywords
Separating aspect keywords
Time for a nap
The difference between applying and separating aspects is clear. Perhaps you can ponder this next time you have a slow Saturday night.