Seven Major Aspects
Twelve Evolutionary Processes

The science of astrology uses seven major aspects (or angles) and these seven express themselves through twelve creative-evolutionary processes.

The following system of aspect interpretation is based on the six axes of the zodiacal circle. With it an astrologer is able to put into clearer perspective the twelve creative-evolutionary processes that characterise the seven major aspects.

This technique incorporates the symbolic meaning of the Lunar cycle in that it acknowledges a 'fullness point' for each natal planet. The 'fullness point' symbolises the archetypal qualities that a natal planet must bring into manifestation, and balance with itself, in order to achieve completion (or 'fullness'—i.e. like the full Moon).

The 'fullness point' corresponds to the zodiacal degree that is exactly opposite the degree of the natal planet. This point is associated with the symbolism of the full Moon because during a full Moon the Moon is positioned exactly opposite the Sun in the zodiac.

When a transiting planet makes a major aspect (i.e. one of the seven major aspects) to a natal planet the first thing that needs to be noted is whether it is a 'waxing' or a 'waning' aspect.

A waxing aspect is one where the transiting planet is moving away from the natal planet (i.e. disregarding retrograde movement) and towards the 'fullness point'.

This type of aspect occurs before the transiting planet reaches the opposition point (or 'fullness point') of the natal planet.

Note: Similarly, the Moon waxes as it moves away from the Sun and towards its opposition to the Sun in the heavens.

A waning aspect is one where the transiting planet is moving away from the 'fullness point' and towards the natal planet (i.e. disregarding retrograde movement).

This type of aspect occurs after the transiting planet has passed over the opposition point (or 'fullness point') of the natal planet.

For example, if natal Mars at 12° Taurus begins to be sextiled by transiting Venus at 12° Cancer then the sextile aspect is waxing away from natal Mars towards the 'fullness point' of Mars on the other side of the chart. The 'fullness point' for Mars at 12° Taurus is 12° Scorpio.

The natal planet's 'fullness point' expresses the qualities and attributes that the natal planet needs in order to bring its own archetype into balance. These special qualities are in process of being developed and integrated into the psyche of the person whose chart is being considered. This is a life-long creative-evolutionary process.

So when interpreting transits to natal planets it should be remembered that the 'fullness point' represents new qualities (and modes of expression) that are being developed and that are coming into manifestation, while the natal planet represents old qualities that are being modified, refined, and balanced by the emerging qualities of the 'fullness point'.

The type of aspect being made to the natal planet tells us something of the nature of the creative-evolutionary processes being experienced during the transit.

Waning Aspect Formula
Opposition Libra-Aries
Quincunx Scorpio-Taurus
Trine Sagittarius-Gemini
Square Capricorn-Cancer
Sextile Aquarius-Leo
Semi-sextile Pisces-Virgo
Conjunction Aries-Libra
Waxing Aspect Formula
Conjunction Aries-Libra
Semi-sextile Taurus-Scorpio
Sextile Gemini-Sagittarius
Square Cancer-Capricorn
Trine Leo-Aquarius
Quincunx Virgo-Pisces
Opposition Libra-Aries

Basically, the first sign (i.e. of each axis formula above) shows the kind of change that is occurring at the natal planet, while the second sign shows how the change becomes reconciled at the 'fullness point'.

For example...

Conjunction
Natal Planet Fullness Point
Change Reconciliation
Aries Libra

The natal planet represents the relatively well-established, conditioned expression of its respective archetype in a person's being, psyche, and life. It represents the status quo prior to the beginning of the influence of the transit. The transiting planet introduces a new element into the otherwise stabilised 'equation' of a person's life. The natal planet undergoes a change (or significant development) in quality and/or form as the transiting planet moves into alignment and interacts with it. The process of change that occurs in relation to the natal planet is implemented via the axis formula associated with the particular aspect being made.

The twelve axis formulas are based on the angular relationship that the transiting planet forms to the natal planet (on the one hand) and to the 'fullness point' (on the other). These angular relationships are modelled on the relative position of the transiting planet to these two points in the chart when superimposed on the zodiacal wheel. When determining these angles both the natal planet and the 'fullness point' are regarded as being positioned at 0 degrees Aries on the zodiacal wheel, and the transiting planet's angular displacement is measured from that 0 Aries degree.

So, for example, a waning sextile aspect will correspond to the sign Aquarius in relation to the symbolical 0 degrees Aries of the natal planet, and to the sign Leo in relation to the symbolical 0 degrees Aries of the 'fullness point'. (See diagrams below.)

These twelve axis formulas can be usefully included in the overall interpretation of any transit that forms one of the seven major astrological aspects.


The Conjunction

Aries-Libra (0°)

There is only one type of conjunction aspect, and one type of opposition aspect.

Conjunction and Opposition

The conjunction aspect expresses the dynamic of the Aries-Libra axis, and in particular, the flow of energy from Aries to Libra.

The conjunction aspect involves a shift of emphasis away from self (Aries) and towards other (Libra).

During a conjunction aspect there is a surge of inner motivational energy, personal will, and/or inspiration (Aries) that needs to then be focussed towards (and resolved within) the realm of relationships (Libra). This might mean, for example, that some existing relationships need to be adjusted to receive the new influx of motivational energy, or alternatively, new relationships might need to be formed to accommodate the new influx.

The aspected natal planet signifies the personal attribute that is receiving the assertive influence (Aries) before passing it on to its 'fullness point' via a manifestation of the Libra archetype.

Thus, for example if natal Venus is conjuncted by transiting Jupiter then a person will experience an intensified feeling of desire, and a need to more strongly (or forcefully) express their personal desires/values (Venus)—especially as regards the desire for knowledge, travel, etc (Jupiter). This impulse is projected towards the fullness point on the other side of their natal astrology chart via the Libra archetype. So for example, a person might consult with their partner and try to convince them to come on a holiday with them somewhere.

The Opposition

Libra-Aries (180°)

The opposition aspect, on the other hand, expresses the opposite dynamic—that is, Libra-Aries—where the energy flows from Libra to Aries.

During an opposition aspect a person may feel somehow dissatisfied with their existing relationships (Libra) and experience a growing need to assert the self (Aries) at the 'fullness point'. This need becomes apparent as newly developing self-limiting (or personally unsatisfying) circumstances emerge within existing relationships. The opposition aspect is reconciled using the Aries archetype as it is expressed at the 'fullness point'.

So, for example, if natal Venus is opposed by transiting Jupiter a person may begin to question the value of particular relationships (or their own desires within the context of those relationships) and then (in response) feel driven to reconcile their feelings at the 'fullness point'. Jupiter's opposition to Venus might, for example, initially reveal some ideological differences, or differences in personal interests (Jupiter) within relationships (Libra) that are reconciled by a person more strongly expressing (Aries) their personal values (Venus) and point-of-view (Jupiter) at the 'fullness point'.

The Semi-sextile

Waxing: Taurus-Scorpio (30°)
Waning: Pisces-Virgo (330°)

There are two kinds of semi-sextiles.

Semi-sextile

The waxing semi-sextile expresses the dynamic of the Taurus-Scorpio axis.

During a waxing semi-sextile a change occurs at the natal planet that influences an individual's personal desires, values, and/or resources (i.e. reflecting Taurus). This then needs to be reconciled using the Scorpio archetype as directed towards the 'fullness point' on the other side of the chart. This might lead, for example, to a new involvement in some kind of productive avenue, personal investment, or business venture that reflects the new desire or value (i.e. in relation to the aspected natal planet).

So, for example, if transiting Saturn forms a waxing semi-sextile to natal Mercury a person may feel a need to more strongly communicate (Mercury) their personal values (Taurus) in order to establish personal boundaries (Saturn) which then frees them to be able to more independently negotiate a business deal (Scorpio) at the 'fullness point'.

The waning semi-sextile expresses the dynamic of the Pisces-Virgo axis.

During a waning semi-sextile a person might experience (in relation to the natal planet) a new feeling, intuition, or revelation (i.e. reflecting the Pisces archetype) that requires reconciliation at the 'fullness point'. The reconciliation occurs as a result of the application of the Virgo archetype towards the 'fullness point'. For example, a person might begin to feel disillusioned (Pisces) within an existing situation and resolve their feelings by taking steps to apply their work/service-related skills (Virgo) in a new, more personally satisfying direction. This aspect can also manifest as a need to resist self-delusion and the false projections of the mind (Pisces), and to focus on the practical reality of a situation (Virgo).

So, for example, if transiting Saturn forms a waning semi-sextile to natal Mercury a person might be forced to face some misconceptions (Pisces) in their thinking (Mercury) and as a result, be impelled to adjust their approach to the reality of the mundane circumstances (Virgo) in which they find themselves.

The Sextile

Waxing: Gemini-Sagittarius (60°)
Waning: Aquarius-Leo (300°)

There are two kinds of sextiles.

Sextile

The waxing sextile expresses the dynamic of the Gemini-Sagittarius axis.

During a waxing sextile channels of communication are opened that provide new information, or new ideas are formulated (Gemini) that subsequently require reconciliation at the 'fullness point' using the Sagittarius archetype. For example, new information received (Gemini) might challenge a person's perspective of a situation and require that they modify their belief system, or future plans (Sagittarius) accordingly.

So, for example, if transiting Mars forms a waxing sextile to the natal Sun a person might formulate some new creative ideas (Sun/Gemini) that then require to be integrated into a large knowledge-based project (Sagittarius) at the 'fullness point'.

The waning sextile expresses the dynamic of the Aquarius-Leo axis.

During a waning sextile, the Aquarius influence might impel a person to re-evaluate or review their friendships, social activities, or other group involvements (i.e. as they relate to the aspected natal planet). This would be due to an evolutionary need to more intensely express their own individuality and/or personal creativity (Leo) at the 'fullness point'.

So, for example, if transiting Pluto forms a waning sextile to natal Saturn a person might be urged to re-examine their roles and/or responsibilities (Saturn) within the community (Aquarius) and feel impelled to restructure their community involvements so as to reflect more perfectly the nature of their true Self (Leo) at the 'fulness point'.

The Square

Waxing: Cancer-Capricorn (90°)
Waning: Capricorn-Cancer (270°)

There are two kinds of squares.

Square

The waxing square expresses the dynamic of the Cancer-Capricorn axis.

During a waxing square the Cancer archetype can influence a person to re-examine personal (emotional) security issues as they pertain to the aspected planet. This aspect can, for example, coincide with important family issues (Cancer). Simultaneously, the evolutionary force of the Capricorn archetype urges a person to assert more independence and/or to express more strongly their personal sense of authority at the 'fullness point'.

So, for example, if transiting Mercury forms a waxing square aspect to natal Venus a person might experience a lack of support (Cancer) within existing relationships (Venus) and feel impelled to overcome their low self-confidence, and to assert their own sense of authority (Capricorn) by expressing their thoughts (Mercury), values, and/or desires more strongly within the relationship.

The waning square expresses the dynamic of the Capricorn-Cancer axis.

During a waning square the Capricorn archetype can (for example) make a person aware of unsatisfying burdens and responsibilities, and/or pressures from outside authority figures (i.e. as expressed through the aspected natal planet). The issue becomes resolved at the 'fullness point' as a person works to develop a stronger sense of security by overcoming personal insecurities, and improving their personal support base.

So, for example, if transiting Uranus forms a waning square aspect to natal Mars a negative, oppressive atmosphere (Mars/Capricorn) within existing authoritarian structures (Capricorn) might motivate a person to draw support (Cancer at the 'fullness point') from other sources that will enable them to achieve their personal goals.

The Trine

Waxing: Leo-Aquarius (120°)
Waning: Sagittarius-Gemini (240°)

There are two kinds of trines.

Trine

The waxing trine expresses the dynamic of the Leo-Aquarius axis.

During a waxing trine the need for ego-expression and/or personal creativity (Leo) becomes intensified at the aspected natal planet. This surge of creative energy must then be channeled towards the wider community (Aquarius) where it can manifest within some form of community-based activity at the 'fullness point'.

So, for example, if transiting Pluto forms a waxing trine aspect to natal Jupiter a surge of passionate interest in a particular culture or sphere of knowledge (Jupiter) that somehow reflects and enhances a person's essential nature (Leo) might impel that person to seek out groups of like-minded people within the community (Aquarius at the 'fullness point') who are similarly orientated.

The waning trine expresses the dynamic of the Sagittarius-Gemini axis.

During a waning trine the mind becomes stimulated to explore new areas of interest and/or to share knowledge (Sagittarius) with like-minded people. There is an evolutionary urge to broaden the mind that can also occur through study and/or travel to unfamiliar places (Sagittarius). This archetypal influence is felt at the aspected natal planet.

The Sagittarius influence of the waning trine is reconciled via Gemini at the 'fullness point' as wisdom, understanding, and knowledge is shared with others through various modes and channels of communication (Gemini).

So, for example, if transiting Neptune forms a waning trine to natal Saturn a revelatory experience of dogmatism or rigid thinking (Saturn/Sagittarius) in one's existing situation can impel a person to begin a path of new exploration (Gemini) in order to find knowledge that is more liberal, inclusive, and universal (i.e. via Gemini at the 'fullness point').

The Quincunx

Waxing: Virgo-Pisces (150°)
Waning: Scorpio-Taurus (210°)

There are two kinds of quincunxes.

Quincunx

The waxing quincunx expresses the dynamic of the Virgo-Pisces axis.

During a waxing quincunx a person becomes aware of a need to break free from unfulfilling daily routines, work-related duties, domestic service, personal habits, etc, (Virgo) as these are expressed through the aspected natal planet. The issue becomes resolved as the emphasis shifts towards the 'fullness point', and an increased inner attunement (Pisces) guides a person towards new activities that a more heart-based. This aspect can also manifest as a shift away from seeing existing situations 'mundanely' (Virgo) and a move towards looking for the deeper meaning (or truth) that lies behind the surface appearance of things (Pisces).

So, for example, if transiting Mercury forms a waxing quincunx with the natal Moon mundane family-based service obligations or duties (Moon/Virgo) can lead to a person needing to communicate (Mercury) some heart-felt feelings (Pisces at the 'fullness point') in regard to their own personal needs (Moon).

The waning quincunx expresses the dynamic of the Scorpio-Taurus axis.

During a waning quincunx there may be issues that arise in relation to the values and/or resources of other people (Scorpio). Business-related challenges and/or opportunities (Scorpio) associated with the aspected natal planet become resolved at the 'fullness point' as a person's own values gain priority and their focus shifts towards further developing and tapping into their own personal resources (Taurus).

So, for example, if the transiting Moon forms a waning quincunx aspect to natal Mars personal insecurities (Moon) might motivate a person towards a business opportunity (Mars/Scorpio) that appears to offer security (Moon) and, in response, they may draw upon and invest their personal resources in the business project (Taurus at the 'fullness point').

Transits to Transiting Planets &
Natal Planet Aspects to Natal Planets

Aspects formed between two transiting planets, and aspects between two natal planets in a birth chart are interpreted in exactly the same way as described above, but when interpreting an aspect between two natal planets (or two transiting planets) two axis formulas must be considered.

When two natal planets are in major aspect to each other they each exert an influence on the other that is characterised by their respective angular relationships as per the rules of interpretation set forth above.

Natal Planet Aspects

The diagram above shows natal planet 'A' in a waning trine aspect to natal planet 'B'. Thus, the influence that natal planet 'A' exerts upon natal planet 'B' is reconciled via the Sagittarius-Gemini axis formula.

On the other hand, the influence that natal planet 'B' exerts upon natal planet 'A' is based upon a waxing trine aspect and is therefore reconciled via the Leo-Aquarius axis formula.

In both cases reconciliation occurs at their respective 'fullness points'. In the case of natal planet 'B' the aspect is resolved through the Gemini archetype expressed at its 'fullness point', while in the case of natal planet 'A' it is resolved through the Aquarius archetype expressed at its 'fullness point'.

This method of interpreting aspects between natal planets in a birth-chart adds an extra layer of meaning to chart analysis, and I hope you find this technique as useful as I do when pondering the creative-evolutionary forces at work in an astrology chart.

[Click Here to download the diagrams used in this article as a pdf document.]

Cheers,
Patrick Mulcahy
(November, 2008)