Almost any astrology software or chart calculation website will also include an aspect grid: a table that shows you where all the planetary aspects are in your chart. This can be a handy, thorough guide to keeping track of all the chart aspects, but you can learn to spot the major aspects quickly in a chart just by eyeballing it. Here’s how to do it.
Pick any planet in a chart and note its sign and degree. For example, let’s use the Sun at 19° Sagittarius. Now, add and subtract your preferred orb amount to that degree number to get a range. Let’s use a 5° orb to add and subtract from 19, which gives us a range of 14-24 degrees.
Moving counterclockwise and ignoring house cusps, count two signs over to the neighboring sign. Is there any planet, angle, asteroid or point within your degree range there? In our example, we’d count two signs over to Aquarius and look for planets in that 14-24 degree range. Any planets there are sextile the Sun in Sagittarius.
Return to your starting planet, and repeat the process, this time counting three signs, not houses, counterclockwise. Any planets in your degree range in this sign are square your starting planet. In our example, a planet within the range of 14-24 degrees of >a href=”http://www.llewellyn.com/encyclopedia/term/pisces”>Pisces is squaring the Sun.
When you’ve checked all the way to the opposite side of the chart counterclockwise (six signs away from your starting planet), return to your start position and repeat the process going clockwise this time.
- A planet in the same sign as your starting planet is conjunct (0°).
- A planet two signs away from your starting planet is sextile (60°).
- A planet three signs away from your starting planet is square (90°).
- A planet four signs away from your starting planet is trine (120°).
- A planet six signs away from your starting planet is opposite (180°).
Using this technique will help you find all of the major planetary aspects in a chart. Just repeat for each planet until you’ve checked them all. This trick will even work for a couple of the minor aspects:
- A planet one sign away from your starting planet is semisextile (30°).
- A planet five signs away from your starting planet is inconjunct (or quincunx—150°).
This process works because the signs are all a uniform 30 degrees wide, but the houses vary in size, so counting signs instead of houses will keep things consistent. Yet, there are exceptions to the ease of this method. Minor aspects such as the 72° quintile or 135° sesquisquare (say that five times fast) won’t lend themselves easily to this eyeball method, and out-of-sign aspects can make your sign count seem confusing, but you’ll get the majority of the important planetary connections in any chart in the blink of an eye with this technique. I discuss tips like this and much more in my new book, Essential Astrology: Everything You Need to Know to Interpret Your Natal Chart.
Our thanks to Amy for her guest post! For more from Amy Herring, read her article, “Interpreting Whole Sign and Out-of-Sign Aspects.”