First, know the major aspects, and how wide an "orb" you allow for them.
Note that the orb (the distance that still makes itself felt) varies depending on what type of astrology you are doing. For birth chart analysis, the orbs are:
- Conjunction = 0 degrees apart, plus/minus 8 degrees.
Basically, the same sign, within 8 degrees of each other. Such as "X" at 2 Aries, and "Y" at 6 Aries.
"Y" at 28 Pisces (which is only 4 degrees from an exact conjunction). This is called an "over-the-line" aspect, and can be tricky to find, easy to miss. Think of "Y" at 28 Pisces as being "almost-Aries" and it is easier to find.
The conjunction means that these two needs merge and function as if ONE need. It is positive or negative in effect, depending on the basic nature of the two planets involved in the conjunction.
- Sextile = 60 degrees apart, plus/minus 6 degrees (the only major aspect that is NOT an 8-degree orb)
Basically 2 signs apart. Such as "X" at 2 Aries and "Y" at 6 Gemini.
This indicates that the two needs are compatible and support each other, working well together to get those needs met.
- Square = 90 degrees apart, plus/minus 8 degrees.
Basically 3 signs apart. Such as "X" at 2 Aries and "Y" at 6 Cancer.
This aspect indicates that the two needs are in conflict, and when you try to meet one need, it tends to screw up the change of meeting the other need. This creates inner tension, and often results in behavior that bursts out that is not .. uh, effective.
- Trine = 120 degrees apart, plus/minus 8 degrees.
Basically 4 signs apart. Such as "X" at 2 Aries, and "Y" at 6 Leo.
This is, like the sextile, an indication of harmony. More easily obtained than the sextile (sometimes you have to work AT it with the sextile).
- Opposition = 180 degrees apart, plus'minus 8 degrees.
Basically 6 signs apart, opposite signs in the chart. Such as "X" at 2 Aries and "Y" at 6 Libra.
This pulls the person in two directions, resulting in any/all of:
- see-saw behavior between the two modes. This creates an inconsistency which interferes with relationships (people like predictable behavior in their partner)
- repressing one planet (which creates compulsive behavior for that planet)
- being pulled equally in both directions, with the net result of being stuck in the middle, stagnating and not doing anything (in terms of the planets and houses involved in the opposition)
Orbs for synastry/relationship between two charts: Not universally agreed. Some say a maximum of 3, others up to a maximum of 8 (6 for the sextile), or even more. Each person has to study couples and come to their own conclusion. I accept Sakoian & Ackers, and Sargents conclusion of 8 (and 6) degrees for the orb.
For transits, the orb is only 4 degrees.
For progressions and directions, the orb is only 1 degree.
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