Planetary Aspects (or Angles) In Astrology, Explained

Aspects in astrology describe the distance between any two planets and zodiac signs. Aspects are also referred to as angles.

Will you go through a challenging cycle or can you cruise down Easy Street? To find out, astrologers track the constant movement of the planets, and how each planet interacts with the others.

What is an aspect in astrology?

Here’s a metaphor to understand an aspect: The planets are like actors in the movie of your life, trying on different roles and costumes as they move through the zodiac signs.

Often, these actors will have a “scene” together. Will it be a shoot-’em-up action plot, a romantic tearjerker or a “bromantic” comedy? That depends on the TYPE of aspect these two (or more) planets are forming.

Aspects are measured by mathematical angles—but we’ll skip the geometry lesson for now and introduce you to them all. There are seven major aspects that astrologers look at—and we reference them all the time in our daily, weekly and monthly horoscopes.

In astrology, there are two types of aspects

The aspects are said to be of two types: soft (easy) and hard (challenging). While you might think it’s better to have more soft aspects, that’s not necessarily true. Soft aspects can make things come a little too easily—preventing us from building character through struggle. A good mix of soft and hard aspects is ideal. However, we get what we get! A person with a lot of hard aspects may have to pay more dues or overcome a bit more adversity to reach their destiny. 

Soft aspects

“Soft” (or easy) aspects are conjunct, sextile, trine

Hard aspects

“Hard” aspects are semisextile, square, quincunx, opposite

The 7 Major aspects (or angles) in astrology

Conjunct (same sign)

When two planets are conjunct, they are traveling close together in the same zodiac sign. As a result, they will blend their energies. A conjunction can either be an extremely powerful alliance—like a megadose of one kind of energy—or too much of a good thing.

Read more about conjunctions…

Semisextile (1 sign apart)

When two planets are semisextile, they are one sign (30 degrees) apart. The proximity can be uncomfortable, since these planets have no traits in common. It’s like building a tasteful mansion with an English garden next door to someone who decorates with astroturf and plastic flamingos in their lawn (not that there’s anything wrong with that—ha!).

Read more about semisextile…

Sextile (2 signs apart)

When two planets are sextile, they are in a highly compatible position. Sextiles are not extremely strong aspects, but they bring happy vibes, friendly interactions and general good cheer. In a sextile, both planets are either in “yin” (earth or water) or “yang” (fire or air) signs. Their energy is compatible and not in conflict.

Read more about sextile…

Square (3 signs apart)

Uh-oh! When two planets are square, it’s a tug o’ war extraordinaire. Squares happen when two planets are 90 degrees apart. They share the same astrological “quality” (cardinal, mutable or fixed), but nothing else. Get ready for a showdown or a battle of wills, as each side digs its heels in and resists the necessary compromise. Yet, to resolve the stress of a square, each side must give a little and meet the other in the middle.

Read more about square…

Trine (4 signs apart)

Welcome to your sweet spot! When two planets are trine, they are in their highest-vibe state of synchronicity. Trine planets planets are in the same element (fire, earth, air or water), creating an unspoken kinship and harmony. Of course, trines don’t ONLY bring happy news and events. They deliver a mega-blast of the same kind of energy. Like floodgates opening or a monsoon, trines can give us too much of a good thing. This excess can be destructive, so trines have to be carefully managed.

Read more about trine…

Quincunx (5 signs apart)

Awkwaaaaard! When two planets are five signs apart, they are quincunx, an eccentric angle where the zodiac signs have absolutely nothing in common. In fact, they can seem like aliens to each other, operating so differently that major adjustments need to be made for them to cooperate.

Read more about quincunx…

Opposite (6 signs apart)

Balance, please! When two planets are opposite each other, they are as far apart of a distance as they can possibly get. Oppositions create dynamic tension, but they also bring two extremes together, which can be extremely powerful if everyone plays fair. Compromise will definitely be called for—it’s like two people from opposite parts of the world sitting down for a summit on a key issue.

Read more about oppositions…

Multi-planet aspects in astrology

When 3 or more planets align

T-Square (3 planets at war)

A T-Square aspect occurs when three planets lock into tense, 90-degree angles (squares) with each other. This because a three-way battle of wills, with one planet wedged in the center of the other two, attempting frantically to negotiate a peace treaty.

Read more about T-Square…

Grand Cross/Grand Square (4 planets at war)

Breaking point! The rare and intense Grand Cross occurs when four planets align in stressful 90-degree angles (squares) with each other. Action can reach a deadlock during a Grand Cross, as four dueling agendas demand a seat at the table. This powerful celestial summit is like a U.N. meeting of nations.

Read more about grand cross…

Grand Trine (3 planets in sweet, sweet harmony)

In a Grand Trine, all three planets involved share the same element—either fire, earth, air or water. These moments of harmony can spark major artistic inventions, progress around world peace and massive communication openings. These are golden moments to break down barriers and lift everyone up to new heights of happiness and unity.

Read more about grand trine...

Yod (Finger of Fate-sextile-quincunx-sextile)

The Yod can indicate powerful mystical forces in a person or event—or a deeply-entrenched block that must be worked through with skill and careful negotiation. Often something hidden must be forced to the surface, and only through major excavation and prying can this come to light.

Read more about Yod…

What it means to have an aspect in your birth chart

You can use this method to compare two planets in your own chart. The distance between your Venus and Mars, for example, says a lot about your approach to love. If they are in a soft aspect, your romantic desires and sexual needs may be in sync. In a hard aspect, you may forever be battling dueling desires within yourself.

For example, you may have Venus in Cancer, which demands a lot of emotional reassurance and a secure, safe commitment in order to relax with a mate. But with Mars in Aries squaring your Venus, a need for sexual independence and envelope-pushing could create a complicated mashup within yourself.

Aspects and relationships

You can use the aspects to determine compatibility. Read more about this in our article: Cosmic Compatibility: The 7 Horoscope Love Matcher Secrets of Aspects/Angles

How do aspects work in real-time?

For example, if love-planet Venus and communication-planet Mercury are forming a soft (or easy) aspect with each other, they might blend their powers, helping you have a productive conversation with your love interest or open up about an attraction. But if Venus and Mercury are forming a hard (or difficult) aspect, lovers can argue or struggle to understand each other.

Another example: If structured and disciplined Saturn forms a soft/easy aspect to ambitious Mars, you could channel your energy into signing a contract, sealing a deal or making one of your big dreams into a tangible reality. But if Saturn and Mars form a hard aspect, you could come across as pushy, egotistical and impatient—perhaps trying to force an outcome before tis time.

Click through the links above to learn how the aspects work. They are the secret to predictive astrology and an amazingly helpful tool!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

AstroTwins

Identical twin sisters Ophira and Tali Edut, known as The AstroTwins, are the founders of Astrostyle.com and the authors of multiple bestselling astrology books. Their horoscopes reach millions here and through their resident astrologer column at ELLE Magazine.