Cosmic connections of the chart
When I am writing #astrology articles and newsletters, or whenever I am speaking or giving readings, I try to avoid jargon as much as possible, as one of my key intentions is to make the information and insights as accessible as possible to everyone, to make them applicable to everyday life. It can be quite difficult to avoid astrological terms altogether though, and the two that you will hear frequently used, by all astrologers, are the words “aspect” and “transits”. I thought it might be helpful to explain a little of what these mean and their relevance when we are looking at charts. This time we will look at aspects, as they are an important part of birth chart interpretation, and transits, are seeing how the current astrology relates to a chart, so we’ll look at those next time.
The description “aspect”, is telling us that two or more planets have a connection, they are relating to each other. As an example, I might say that Mercury is aspecting Saturn. I am describing the fact that Mercury and Saturn are interacting in some way. This connection might be easy and free-flowing, co-operative and supportive, encouraging positive expression of the characters of both planets and the signs they are in. If we connect into that energy, we feel the easy flow, things go well and we feel positive. Or the connection might be challenging or stressful, with contradictory energies that are naturally oppositional, bringing a tension to situations around us and within us.
These planetary relationships are no different from, and in fact mirror and echo, the relationships in our lives. There are some people we get on well with and naturally fall into an easy flow with. We might notice that they are easy to talk to, and we find that we are comfortable with each other and bring out the best in each other. That doesn’t mean to say that we never disagree or fall out, but the majority of the time things work well.
Then, of course, we all have the people who challenge us. When we first meet we might instinctively be cautious, or even take a dislike to someone and we might find we have nothing in common with them. Sometimes, despite our best efforts, we just can’t get on with someone, we seem to annoy each other and argue. When we talk we can quickly become annoyed and find it difficult to see and accept the other’s point of view. In the same way, there are natural characteristics of signs and planets that can complement or contradict one other.
The chart below is for the upcoming Full Moon on 19th July 2016. The planets are represented by the symbols inside the chart, and the symbols around the very outside represent the signs, Aries, Taurus, Gemini etc etc. The aspects, how the planets are relating to one another, are indicated by the lines in the innermost circle.
The easiest planet to spot is the Moon which is shown with a typical crescent Moon shape and can be seen at the top of the chart. The green symbol beside it and on the outside of the chart, which looks like a V and S combined is Capricorn. So, in this chart we have the Moon in Capricorn.
Here are all the symbols
If we look at all the planets and which sign they are in, we begin to build up the picture of the personality or event the chart represents, the different facets and individual characteristics. We could then end up with a list that reads a bit like a grocery list or a list of ingredients for a recipe.
Sun in Cancer
Moon in Capricorn
Mercury in Leo
Venus in Leo
Mars in Scorpio
Jupiter in Virgo
Saturn in Sagittarius
Uranus in Aries
Neptune in Pisces
Pluto in Capricorn
Chiron in Pisces
North Node in Virgo
South Node in Pisces
To get an understanding of what these placements mean, we combine the keywords and the key energies of the planet and the sign. So, for example, Mars is our physical energy, how we assert ourselves, competitiveness, motivation, sexual drive and shows how easily we get angry. It rules Aries, a masculine Fire sign and the first sign of the zodiac, so this helps us to be spontaneous and initiating. Scorpio is a feminine Water sign, deep water in fact and it can be deep and mysterious and intense. It can be sensitive and feel things very deeply, but may not be able to cope with the intensity of these feelings and can therefore bury them beneath the surface. Scorpio has strong sexual urges and is not afraid to go to the taboo areas of life. We can see that the Fire of Mars will lose its spark in that deep water and operate in a different way. Taking on the characteristics of Scorpio, Mars can be dark, mysterious and brooding, there can be a strong sexual urge, and whatever it is doing it will tackle single-mindedly and even intensely. With this energy, we are likely to be driven to look more deeply at things, not just at what is on the surface, and especially deeply buried anger and emotional issues.
Now we have all our characters, all our ingredients in our recipe, but what do they make? How do we know whether we end up with a soufflé or a meatloaf? How do we know which flavours combine well, which will dominate, or if a certain combination will curdle the eggs? The answer to this is to look at the aspects. Aspects are the geometric relationships the planets make to each other and the closer the aspect, the stronger the effect. An experienced astrologer, like a chef, understands the relationships between the individual ingredients and can see how they work together.
One of the easier connections is between planets in the same element. People who are aware of Sun signs often comment that they know they get on well with certain other signs in particular. The different elements of Fire, Earth, Air and Water operate in unique ways and therefore, within each element, there is an inherent understanding of each other. So, the Fire signs naturally feel the Fire energy, the spark and warmth of their fellow Fire signs, the Earth signs share a practicality and down-to-earth nature, the Air signs like to think, communicate and share ideas while the Water signs have a shared sense of being intuitive, emotional and trusting their gut instincts.
If you look at the example chart again, you will see the various, different coloured lines going across the centre circle that represent the aspects. They show which planets are connecting with others and how well. The different colours denote different aspects and therefore different relationships. There is a key to the symbols below to show what the aspects are. Two planets in an aspect are like having two different points of view but often three or four will combine to make a much more powerful combination, an aspect pattern. If the planets in this pattern are working well together, they find a shared or complementary point of view; it can be a flowing, dynamic, optimistic and positive influence with much potential. But if there are more difficult aspects involved, with differing points of view it is highly likely that we will have challenges to face. If you think of a birth chart where each planet represents a different facet of our personality, you can begin to see and understand how we can have internal conflicts.
If you find Neptune and Mercury in the chart and look at the numbers beside them, you will see that Mercury is at 11° 33¨ Leo and Neptune is at 11°42¨ Pisces. So this is a very close aspect as they are both at 11 degrees. The line connecting them indicates an inconjunct, sometimes called a quincunx This is a stressful aspect, the energies are quite internal and we feel an inner tension between the conflicting energies of the two planets as we try to find a way to harmonise and balance them. Often, it can feel like there is something unresolvable because there seems to be no common ground.
One of the key aspects of this Full Moon is a combination of three planets called a Yod, or sometimes called the Finger of Fate. It is a triangle pattern, a combination of two inconjuncts and a sextile. If you look again at the inconjunct aspect between Mercury and Neptune that I mentioned before, Mercury, and Venus beside it (conjunct) are actually at the head of this Yod. There are also inconjuncts going from Venus and Mercury to Pluto, and then Pluto and Neptune are sextiling each other. The South Node is closely conjunct Neptune too so joins in the fun! A Yod can be a very stressful aspect, as the three planets involved, have nothing in common, either in their element or the way in which the signs that they are in operate. If we have no common ground, how do we find a resolution? And that is the feeling we often get with a Yod. In this case, with the combination of these planets there is likely to be an old, karmic pattern of falling back into guilt, victimhood or escapism, whilst there is a need to be noticed, appreciated and valued, and power issues could surface, possible from authority figures. With Mercury, which rules the mind and communication at the apex, there could either be verbal power games or ego-based outbursts, or the conflict could be in the mind, going round and round, looking for a solution.
A Yod is also a karmic aspect and indicates an old energy pattern that might be ancestral. It can be a pattern that has been repeated through many generations and when it is highlighted, we have the opportunity to clear it. If you have a Yod in your birth chart, you have the opportunity in this life time to clear the ancestral karma that is indicated by the Yod, you are a potential lineage breaker!
An image that I have which might help to explain aspects, is of the chart being wired electrically. I see the round chart as a physical object, and the position of the planets are marked by different colour lightbulbs, which glow weakly or brightly according to how strongly the planet is being triggered. The aspect lines across the middle, representing the relationship between the planets, are different coloured strips or neon lights denoting the different aspects, so that the planets that are aspecting are wired to each other. When we look at transits next time, we will see how, when one planet in a chart is aspected by something in the current astrology, it activates any existing aspects in the chart.
I hope this has given you a bit of a flavour and understanding of the aspects of a chart and their importance in interpretation. Next time we will take this a stage further and look at transits, the continuing movement of the planets through the sky and how they affect us through the aspects that they make to our birth chart.
© Terrie Birch www.astrologywise.co.uk