star school an intro to astrology for total beginners

Back when I was in high school, I hated doing homework, which irked my teachers. In my opinion, it was a waste of my time. I had better things to do (so I thought).

I especially loathed geometry, which bored me to death. At the end of the semester, my geometry teacher took me aside to say “Look, you should be getting an F for never turning in any homework but I’m going to give you a D because you look just like Chrissie Hynde.” (Dude was a bit inappropriate but that’s another story.)

Smartass that I was, I said “Pfft….I’ll never use geometry anyways.”

“You’ll see.” he said with that smarmy look of a wizened math guy who knew better than a cocky fifteen year old.

Lo and behold, I started studying astrology soon after. Which is pretty much a whole lotta geometry. Mr. C was right! (Side note: years later I wrote to Mr. C to let him know that he was correct and he wrote back to tell me that he was happy to hear that “applied geometry was being used out there somewhere.”)

Flash forward many years later and I’m teaching live astrology classes. Everyone loves the parts where we talk about the effects of the planets in certain signs, and all that jazz. But as soon as the math part came out, eyes glazed over – or filled with tears. The geometry part just wasn’t fun.

Well, it may not be fun – at first. But once you get the hang of it, it’s not so bad. In fact, you start to feel like a real smarty-pants for getting all those angles down. Rattle of those mathematical equations and everyone thinks you’re a genius. Perfect for shutting down mansplainers! Ha!

So let’s dive in to Aspects – which is all geometry, all the time! BAM!

What is an aspect?

An aspect is an angle (geometric) that one planet makes to another – or between planets and any points on the horoscope wheel (ex: a planet can make an angle to your Midheaven). These aspects can influence the planet – for good or ill.

Think of it like this:

The planets show what
The signs show how
The houses show where
The aspects show ease or challenge

For this lesson, we’ll cover the main aspects. Minor aspects and fancy ones – soon, my pretties.  Soon.  Let’s start with the biggies.

About orbs: The orb is important, so pay attention, homies. An orb refers to the exactness of the aspect. In other words, how close in degrees the planets are. I work with only tight orbs – I prefer the planets to be no more than 5 degrees apart. If the orbs are loose, the aspect is weakened. For example, the Sun at 20 degrees Gemini and the Moon at 22 degrees Gemini would be a nice, tight orb. The Sun at 20 degrees Gemini and the Moon at 1 degree Gemini…meh, too loosey-goosey. I don’t dig wiggle room. The tighter the orb, the more significant the influence. Kinda like a pair of hot black skinny jeans. Got it?

Okay – here are the main aspects along with my birthchart displaying each one with a big, fat red arrow! Yep, I have every main aspect in my messy little chart. You may have all the main aspects too – or only a few.  (Side note: I drew those symbols myself.  Don’t be laughing or hating. I’m graphically challenged!)

Conjunction: 0˚
Sextile: 60˚
Square: 90˚
Trine: 120˚
Opposition: 180˚

Some quick-cheats to make it easy to spot these bad boys:

Conjunction – in the same sign.
Sextile – every other sign.
Square – all in the same quality.
Trine – all in the same element.
Opposition – the sign opposite!


astrology aspect - conjunction symbolConjunction: the planets are 0˚ apart – the planets are virtually sitting on top of each other, kind of like they are doing a lap dance. This is the most intense aspect and serves to intensify the energy between the two planets. For example, my Sun and Mercury are both in 20 degrees Gemini, sitting right in the 8th house of intuition. This shows that I have a powerful instinct – my mind and intuition are amplified. Symbol is a circle with a little line coming out like an antenna, aimed to the right. (I always want to sing this when I think of conjunctions: Conjunction junction, what’s your function?)


Astrological Conjunction - Sun and Mercury

Notice the Sun and Mercury are both in the same sign (Gemini) at the exact same degree – 20˚. This is an INTENSE conjunction.


astrology aspects - sextile symbolSextile: the planets are 60˚ apart – or two signs apart. This is a positive aspect and shows the planets are in harmony. It’s an opportunity aspect! Woo hoo! The symbol looks like a little star – or a belly button.

Venus Uranus Sextile Astrology

Look at the arrows here – Venus in Cancer at 6˚ and Uranus in Virgo at 10˚. The orb is less than 5˚ so it’s strong. Sextiles are 60˚ apart or two signs over.


astrology aspect - square symbolSquare: the planets form a 90˚ angle. This is a tough aspect and is like two planets backed into a corner – they have to fight their way out. It creates tension but it also forces you to grow. If you face the problem head-on, you solve them. Squares can produce some of the most successful people because it can give the drive to succeed. Remember: no matter if your aspects are tough or easy, you still get to choose how you work with that energy. The symbol is a square. Duh.


Sun Mars square astrology

The Sun is 20˚ Gemini and the Mars is 21˚ Virgo. This is a nice, tight orb. Note: they are both mutable signs. Planets in squares share the same quality.


astrology aspect - trine symbolTrine: the planets form a 120˚ angle. This is “the big easy” – here, the planets are super friendly and help each other out. BUT it can also make you a bit lazy because you don’t have to try! (So-called good aspects aren’t always good if you don’t take advantage of ‘em or become complacent.) The symbol is a triangle.


Saturn Neptune astrological trine

Saturn at 16˚ Pisces and Neptune at 17˚ Scorpio. Another tight orb. Trines are in the same element – in this example, the Water element.

astrology aspect - opposition symbolOpposition: the planets are 180˚ apart. This shows that they are at odds – opposing forces, if you will. It’s like being pulled in two different directions. The way out is always in the middle. Compromise and be strategic. The symbol looks like a little barbell.

Saturn Mars opposition astrology

Saturn is 16˚ Pisces and Pluto is in Virgo at 13˚. They are polar opposites. And that’s the key for oppositions – just look for the opposite sign! EASY!


In chart-creating software, there is often a little grid that will help you to find the aspects. This makes it super easy until you begin to get comfy with finding them by hand.


aspect grid astrology

Here’s a fancy aspect grid from an astrology software program. f you look at the top row and then the side row, you’ll see the planets. Find the Venus symbol in the top row and scroll down – you’ll see there is a Sextile to Uranus. Easy!


Homework: get a copy of your chart and start to look for your aspects. How many can you find? Which planets seem to be getting all the action? Which ones seem to be unaspected? What do you think these aspects might be telling you about your personality or potentials? How are these planets getting along?

Write it all down in your astrology journal.

Bonus homework!  Look at our good friend Kim Kardashian’s chart and see if you can find the main aspects.  There is an intriguing opposition in her chart.  What does that tell you about her?


Kim Kardashian astrology chart


Whew! That’s it for this month. It’s a lot but in time, it becomes second nature.  Trust me!

In the next few lessons, we’re going over the personal planets, starting with all you need to know about the Moon, including how to moonwalk (kidding on that last part – I can’t dance)!



© Theresa Reed | The Tarot Lady 2016

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