Aspects (or configurations) are last of the 4 main features of an astrological chart (the rest being Planets, 12 signs and 12 places).
Aspect or Aspectus in Latin means ‘seeing’. In the doctrine of Hellenistic astrology, in order for planets to have an aspect, they must ‘see’ each other. For a planet, that means transferring beams of light, which can be in the directions of:
- 60 degrees, left and right
- 90 degrees, left and right
- 120 degrees, left and right
- 180 degrees, straight ahead
In other words, each planet ‘aspects’ 7 signs/places at the same time.
2 planets in the same position (0 degree = conjunction) is not an aspect in the strictest sense. They are too close to see one another.
- 60 and 120 degrees = positive, harmonious, smooth
- 90 and 180 degrees = negative, challenging, frictional
120 degrees (trine) left and right in the sky would make a perfect triangle, which is considered most positive.
Negative ones have different qualities. 90 degrees (square) is a ‘forced growth’ as it powerfully makes you rise to the challenge. 180 degrees (opposition) presents a ‘tug of war’; it is frictional, with no ‘winner’ in sight.
The above mentioned degrees do not have to be exact. For example:
Virgo 12 (<- 3 signs x 30 ->) Sagittarius 15
These two still have a square aspect. Closer to the exact, more intensely their aspect/influence presents itself. What range (orb) is used for an aspect to be considered as such? I use 3 degrees which is 10% of 30 degrees of a sign. In the example above, Virgo in the range of 12 to 18 degrees (-/+3 degrees) would be squaring Sagittarius 15 degrees.
Aspects and transits
Aspects are first and foremost within your natal chart. It is how the planets were orchestrating celestial music at your birth in that precise moment.
You also consider what aspects are happening to your chart in any given moment. For example, I do not have anything in Leo in my natal chart, but Mercury has been passing there, squaring my natal Sun in Taurus:
Mercury in Leo 28 (<- 3 signs x 30 ->) Sun in Taurus 25
Aspects happening to your chart are called transits.
Then there are also current aspects in the sky. Which would be the natal chart of a baby born in this second.