There are many types of aspects that two planets can make with each other, the ascendant or midheaven, the North Node, the vertex, etc., and the most common ones include:
- Conjunctions (0 degrees apart)
- Oppositions (180 degrees apart)
- Trines (120 degrees apart)
- Sextiles (60 degrees apart)
- Squares (90 degrees apart)
- Semi-sextiles (30 degrees apart)
- Inconjuncts or quincunxes (150 degrees apart)
Also semisquares (45 degrees) or sesquiquadrate (135 degrees) are somewhere close to the ‘major’ category.
A lot has been written about how these aspects manifest in one’s chart, what they mean differently. A lot of popular astrology will tell you that conjunctions, trines, and sextiles are favorable while squares and oppositions are ‘challenging’ — and then semisextiles are also favorable and semisquares and sesquiquadrates are somewhat challenging, too. The different challenging aspects are different from each other
And on and on. It is the basis for a lot of popular astrology, which you probably know about and which I won’t get into here, but a lot of this has been called into question by various sources.
For one thing, the Round Art (A.T. Mann) discusses the challenge of having what is known as a “Grand Cross.” That’s four planets forming four squares and two oppositions. Each 90 degrees a planet is stationed. A.T. Mann discusses how some of our most powerful and/or remarkable public figures have the Grand Cross and once the challenge is met, that’s where greatness occurs. It’s a kind of psychological integration that makes for the greatness, or so he says (I buy it). He has a section in his book that does astrological charts for 48 public figures in history and many of the greatest have such an aspect.
It’s hard to wrap our heads around greatness like that if we don’t have a Grand Cross in our own charts (or, theoretically, if we do but we decided not to meet the challenge).
Then there are the more minor aspects — quintiles, septiles, noviles, and so forth. There is an entire branch of astrology called harmonic astrology that goes into every possible division of the circle, and David Cochrane popularized it when he did the decades of research and pioneered Vibrational astrology, which is, in some sense, harmonic astrology. (Full disclosure: I just graduated from his program).
A quintile is two planets that are 72 degrees apart (1/5 of the circle). A biquintile is two planets that are 144 degrees apart (2/5 of the circle). Multiple these numbers by 5, and you get 360, or 720 (both of which reduce to zero).
A novile, binovile, or quadnovile are two planets that are 40, 80, or 160 degrees apart (1/9, 2/9, or 4/9 of the circle apart). These are still whole numbers, so it’s all good, right? But a septile aspect would include 1/7, 2/7, 3/7 or 4/7 of the circle, and these do not work out to whole numbers.
Neither do harmonics 11 or 13, 17 or 19. And then we might want to accept the possibility that 360 is an arbitrary number to describe a circle; why, thirty centuries ago, wasn’t the circle decided on 169 degrees? Or whatever.
Every single one of the types of harmonics I mentioned, and many more, carry different types of themes. I won’t go too much into the themes, except that 9th has to do with how one integrates with one’s community, including the themes of relationship and marriage, 17 has to do with empathy and interest in others’ stories, and so on. According to David Cochrane’s Vibrational astrology system. And other astrologers may have slightly different ideas than Cochrane came up with, though it’s doubtful they did the preponderance of research that he did.
And then we have the quintiles. I am lucky enough to have a quintile pattern in my chart that takes up the whole chart wheel, including Venus, Saturn, and Pluto. My Venus and Pluto are roughly 72 degrees from each other, and both planets are roughly 144 degrees from my Saturn. The orbs aren’t super-tight; the largest one is 2 degrees and the other two add up to 2 degrees.
In my chart relocated to Denver, CO, I have a quintile pattern involving my relocated Midheaven, Uranus, and Sun. My midheaven is about 144 degres from my Sun, with Uranus roughly halfway in between.
Just as in any other aspect, quintile patterns involving three planets are more powerful than quintiles involving only two planets.
Quintiles have to do with creative gifts and talents. They can also have to do with how someone plays. Somebody with quintiles in certain planetary patterns has unique creative gifts with those planetary themes. Quintiles are considered to be a positive aspect, and Venus/Saturn/Pluto includes the following, per A.T. Mann’s Round Art:
- Venus/Saturn: sense of duty, devotion, economy, fidelity, self-control, older partners, sacrifices for others; loyal, sober, reserved, respectable, unspontaneous, inhibited, straight-laced.
- Venus/Pluto: creative power, fanatic devotion to an artistic cause, special artistic gifts, sexuality; dramatic, unconventional, intense, talented, fascinating, magnetic.
- Saturn/Pluto: success in difficult undertakings, fanatic workers, hard struggles, great sacrifices, work in seclusion, research, record achievements; compulsive, indefatigable, painstaking, thorough, self-disciplined.
This is just one quintile pattern. If you have quintile patterns involving three random planets that I pick out, you might get:
- Moon/Mercury: lucidity, good judgment, competence, mental balance, good humour; sane, optimistic, adaptable, fluid, reasonable, intelligent, productive, sympathetic, articulate.
- Moon/Jupiter: happiness, understanding others, generosity, tolerance, good humour, easy and fortunate contacts, social conscience, popularity, material advantages, foreign contacts, good mother; kind, obliging.
- Mercury/Jupiter: balanced mentality, sense of humour, business success, constructive mind, common sense, good speaker and writer, optimism, erudition; literary, scientific, positive, evolved, cultured, kindly, temperate.
Keep in mind that with quintiles these verbal patterns activate in a creative context. Cochrane remarked to me very early on that people with a lot of quintile patterns tend to hate drudgery, so they have to come up with more innovative or clever ways to make money.