This is the 13th post in Astro DIY – our very own ‘learn astrology’ column. Your fabulous mentor-tutor is Tabby Besley! View all posts in this series here.
Understanding Minor Aspects
If you’re new to aspects we suggest you start with the previous post in the Astro DIY series on how to read and interpret major aspects in a birth chart and come back to this one after!
There are differing opinions among astrologers on the importance of the ‘minor’ or lesser known aspects in astrology. Astrologer Donna Cunningham conducted some research via her website and found some interesting things out about minor aspects, concluding that they are just less understood, opposed to having less significance. Let me know what you think after interpreting the meaning of the minor aspects in your chart!
Another way to consider minor aspects, is that if a planet has a major aspect attached then a minor one involving the same planets might be less significant. Whereas if the minor aspect is the only one involved with that planet, it’s influences are likely to be felt more strongly.
See if you can spot the planets that are inconjunct in this chart?
Minor aspects can show us people’s hidden qualities and talents, the things that might not appear so obvious. Some people have found their minor aspects to be the most revealing part of their chart – so it’s really worth taking the time to get to know them.
Astrologers usually use an orb of 1-3 degrees to find minor aspects. The tighter the orb, the stronger the aspect will be felt.
Quincunx/Inconjunct – 150° – 5 signs apart – orb of 2-3°
A quincunx or inconjunct aspect shows us a difficult, but useful relationship between two planets. The signs involved are five signs apart, meaning they will usually be in both different elements and different modalities. It’s kind of like when two very different people having to work together on something – they might feel consistently annoyed at each other and find it hard to understand how the other does things, but there is also great strength in this aspect.
A relationship between planets in two very different signs means that one will have what the other needs. It provides the opportunity to think about doing things differently and to broaden your focus. You may experience a little tug between the two energies reminding you to consider both perspectives and learn to adjust.
Another theme of this aspect is the inherent feeling that you must separate the two parts of your life involved, that they are too different to merge together. Unlike a square or opposition it may be hard to find compromise – you may forever be on a see-saw going back and forth between the two.
Semi-Sextile – 30° apart – one sign apart – orb of 1-2°
Semi-sextiles are always between two consecutive planets, meaning they are always made up of contrasting elements and modalities. They might not have much in common –but they live next door so try to work together and learn from each other.
For example, I have a semi-sextile between my Sun and Moon and Sun and Mercury – so between Taurus and Aries for both planets. This helps the energies of these two planets come together. Aries helps Taurus learn to let go, initiate new things and Taurus helps Aries stick with them rather than jumping straight on to the next idea at full speed. They compliment each other in doing this, but at the same time it can cause tension as they both seek to have things their way.
Semi-Square – 45° – 1-1/2 signs apart – orb of 2-3°
The semi-square is half the angle of square and manifests as deeply blocked energy between two planets/points in a chart, often appearing as external events, or feelings of stress and tension. Semi-squares can create similar situations over and over, forcing someone to address what needs to be dealt with. This can lead to developing great persistence, endurance and productive results in their efforts to control and reconcile these difficult combinations of energy.
A sesquiquadrate is a similar aspect of 135° that can be described as an unavoidable energy – again often appearing as events in someone’s life, such as accidents.
Quintile – 72° – 2 signs and 12 degrees apart – orb of 1-2°
Quintiles can show where we are naturally talented or driven. They can also explain compulsive personality traits, or areas where you might put a lot of time into mastering or perfecting something. If you have a lot of quintiles in your chart, you probably have an emphasised need for a creative outlet – whatever that might look like.
Quintiles show a relationship between two planets that get each other and have lots in common. They’re close enough to hear each other well and play off each other, but far apart enough not to annoy each other.
A bi-quintile (144°) can be interpreted in a similar way.
Other minor aspects be found in a birth chart include a novile, sesquiquadrat, septile, vigintil, decile and more if you are interested into looking further into these, although there is less information about them easily available.
With interpreting aspects it’s important to look at the planets involved and how they will relate to each other. Having your Moon inconjunct Mars will look really different to having your Moon inconjunct Neptune. Then as you look further at the exchange between the two zodiac signs and the houses involved in the aspect, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of what the aspect means and how these planets communicate.
Your homework: See if you can work out and note down all the minor aspects in your chart just from using what you’ve learnt from Astro DIY, counting between signs and spotting the patterns. How many minor aspects are in your chat?
Write out your own interpretations of what these might mean, using this post and your knowledge about the energies of the different planets, signs and houses the aspects are between.
Next time on Astro DIY we’re going to wrap up the last year of posts by looking at how you can pull it all together and use everything you’ve learnt to interpret a birth chart in a number of handy steps!