I have a confession to make: I don’t believe in the minor aspects. Any of them. I don’t mean to offend but anytime I hear someone saying, “Hey, I’ve got Venus biquintile Neptune”, a part of me just rolls my eyes a bit. I don’t believe they’re important and ever since I began studying astrology, I never have. They always sounded to me like they were made up or just pulled out of a hat of weirdly named aspects at random.
The thing that bugs me about these minor aspects is that no one can ever explain what they meant. If someone sat me down and really broke down what a septile or a quintile meant, they might make a believer out of me. But, no one can. The best someone can do is say that a quintile is the “creativity” aspect or something. Really? If that’s the case, any aspect can be the creativity aspect because any aspect could be used creatively.
What I love about astrology is its clarity. Yes, it’s a mystical, complex study and there will always be parts of it that we don’t fully understand, particularly with subjects like the 8th House or the 12th House. But, it still follows a clear, rigorous, logical system that has always made it completely sensible to me. Astrology skeptics don’t understand this until we convert them. But, what good are we doing if we just keep spouting off random aspects without being able to explain them?
I see each aspect as a kind of relationship between the two placements. And you need to know what’s going on in a relationship to make it work. Now the five major aspects – the conjunction, square, opposition, sextile, and trine – clearly describe this relationship. Is it an endless drama? Is it smooth sailing? Is it maybe too much of a good thing? That makes every placement like a player in the soap opera called your birth chart and you know whether they’re making love or fighting through the aspects. The major aspects, that is.
So, let’s just do a bit of elementary astrology and go through all of these.
Conjunction – the placements are merged and dependent
With the conjunction, these two placements really rely on each other. Their relationship is very dependent. It’s like an addictive intimacy between these two; they can’t get enough of each other! And like that co-dependent couple, it’s hard to tell where one ends and the other begins, which can be as difficult as it is positive. Conjunctions in a birth chart can give you noticeable talents and innate skills. But, they can also cause you to overdo the expression of that aspect. It’s tough to separate the functions of the two placements involved in a conjunction. They never want to break-up and can hardly handle time apart but this is also why they work so well together.
Opposition – the placements are battling for power
The opposition is a real struggle for dominance. Both placements want control in the relationship and it’s like one can’t get the control it wants without totally dominating the other. It’s as if one placement has to tell the other to shut up and let them take over everything for a while. And then the other one gets revenge for being so repressed by making the other one shut up and take a backseat. And it just goes back and forth. Oppositions in a birth chart are crazy-making for this reason because you feel like you have to decide between being one or the other. The challenge here is to learn how to be both, finding balance by giving both placements equal power and expression.
Square – the placements don’t make each other happy
A square is like when two people just don’t know how to communicate or see eye-to-eye. But, unlike with the opposition, one’s not dominating or overpowering the other. In fact, both placements are being really passive-aggressive about their frustrations. And like a relationship between two passive-aggressive people, a square aspect in your birth chart can simmer and simmer until all of that unhappiness comes exploding out. Therefore, it’s important to immediately address and overcome the frustrations in this relationship. Both placements in a square need to be heard, to be directly communicated, and to compromise a bit of their own happiness to make the other happy.
Trine – the placements really encourage each other
With a trine in your birth chart, these two placements push each other to be their best and express themselves to the fullest. The aspect is expressed with gusto and easygoing spirit, like two close friends hitting the town together and having a good time. It’s a relationship of both placements having a huge amount in common. However, that doesn’t always necessarily equal a good thing. Trines can also go over-the-top, if you let them, as the bad habits of one placement can go uncorrected by the other placement, which shares many similar bad habits. Since trines feel so effortless and natural, that lack of effort may lead to lack of awareness.
Sextile – the placements understand and respect each other
Unlike with a trine, sextiles in a birth chart are not likely to get excessive. They’re kept in check because there are often just enough differences between the placements for them to not have the same weaknesses. But, they are also similar enough to get along really well and get each other. This is a relationship where the placements complement each other just enough to work. And without being dependent on or out-of-control with each other, they can give one another some space and freedom. Sextile aspects can sort of be turned on and off. However, this can also make them a bit calculated as well as expressed as a means to an end, instead of just for expression’s sake.
I don’t believe sextiles and trines are all good, then, or that squares and oppositions are curses. Squares and oppositions can often actually produce gold, if the person is willing to work on themselves. The skills of those aspects are hard-earned. The talents of sextiles and trines can just come in the snap of a finger, which may even make you take them for granted. Yet, there is a flow and an ease to these aspects that is a beautiful thing. Conjunctions, like I said, can go either way. They’re amazing and really give you an edge. But, they can also be sort of an Achilles’ heel, if you let them, because the fusion of those two placements is so natural that you don’t know how to separate the two functions.
The only other aspect I’d include in an interpretation besides those five is the inconjunct (quincunx). But, I’d say it’d have to be a very tight orb, in order for you to really feel that thing of the two placements just being from totally different worlds. While a conjunction is a swinging back and forth that eventually balances out, a quincunx may never fully balance out, which is alright if you accept the strangeness of it.
Still, I rarely consider that aspect. Basically, if it’s not a conjunction, square, opposition, sextile, or trine, in my opinion, it doesn’t make that much of a difference.