The STORY in your chart
Modifiers of Meaning
© 2021 Molly C. Gauthier

Aspects: The DRAMA

What are aspects in astrology?

Up to now in my beginning astrology courses, we have focused on reading the planets in their zodiac signs and houses. While this is important foundational information, the birth chart has even deeper, more interesting stories to tell.

An aspect is an angular relationship between two planets. I call them the “guts” of the chart. The aspects form a web of relationships among the planets. This is where natal charts really come alive.

Aspect Terms

Here are some aspect-related astrology terms to get you started.

Conjunction aspect

  • Two planets in the same sign or close by each other on the zodiac circle.
  • The two planets influence each other’s expression powerfully, creating a great deal of focus and drive in the house with the conjunction.
  • Conjunction aspects can be easy or difficult, depending on the planets.

Opposition aspect

  • Two planets in opposite signs or close to 180 degrees apart.
  • Planets in opposition are usually found in signs with the same mode or quality (cardinal, fixed, or mutable).
  • There is a call for balance and cooperation between the two planets and the houses involved.
  • Opposition aspects often reveal issues that play out in your relationships.
  • Opposition aspects can be easy or hard, depending on the planets (and the rest of the birth chart).

Square aspect

  • Two planets that are three signs apart, or close to 90 degrees apart.
  • Planets that form a square typically share the same mode or quality (cardinal, fixed, or mutable).
  • The nature of the aspect is tension between the two planets. Each of the planets involved creates obstacles for the other.
  • Square aspects are usually hard aspects, but they can be very driving and motivating.

Trine aspect

  • Two planets that are four signs apart, or close to 120 degrees apart.
  • Planets that form a trine typically share the same element (fire earth air or water).
  • Trines reveal talents, gifts, and blessings that come easily to you.
  • Trines are usually easy aspects, but they may not have the drive to succeed without hard aspects to motivate them.

Sextile aspect

  • Two planets that are two signs apart, or close to 60 degrees apart.
  • Sextiles show you where you create or meet with opportunities and support from others.
  • The sextile is an easy aspect.

Major and minor aspects

  • The major aspects are the need-to-know, core aspects that all beginners should learn.
  • The major aspects are the conjunction, opposition, square, trine, sextile.
  • There are many minor aspects that you can add to your toolbox if they “speak” to you.
  • The minor aspects are the semi-square, semi-sextile, inconjunct, parallel, sesqui-square, quintile, septile, novile…. (the list goes on).

Easy aspects

  • The easy aspects are the trines and the sextiles.
  • Planets in easy aspects contribute to one another, blend easily, and tend to work to your advantage.
  • Planets in easy aspects show where your talents lie, where your efforts are likely to pay off.
  • They operate with less motivation, tension, and friction than the hard aspects.

Hard aspects

  • The hard aspects are the squares and oppositions.
  • Planets in hard aspect interfere with one another.
  • Hard aspects tell the story of the obstacles and issues you have had to work through in life.

How to get an aspect grid

For beginners, I recommend that you start with an aspect grid. You’ll find one at the bottom of the charts you get at It looks like this:

I do NOT recommend using the aspect lines in the middle of the chart. It can be difficult to see exactly where the lines point. This makes it super easy to misread an aspect. I recommend that beginners always cross-reference aspects with the grid!

Are you ready for more?

  • How to identify aspects quickly and easily
  • How to tell the deeper stories in the chart
Collapse Comments

This is by far the most simplistic instruction on breaking down aspects and I am SO SO SO grateful for you! I don’t know how many courses I have paid money to and never had the kind of understanding I do now. Wow, thank you so much!

Molly Gauthier (Administrator) November 7, 2019 at 2:47 pm

Yay! Cool! Glad I could help.

Hello! Thanks for breaking this down. I have my sun and moon in opposition and was reading about that on Cafeastrology and it said, “Look for a planet that might trine and sextile the Sun-Moon opposition for a way to release the tension the opposition creates.” I understand how the regular aspects work, but how would I figure out and aspect for an aspect? Would love any guidance around that!

Molly Gauthier (Administrator) June 13, 2019 at 3:43 pm

Welcome, Renee! It sounds to me like they are looking for a 3rd planet that trines the Moon and sextiles the Sun, or trines the Sun and sextiles the Moon.

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