Introduction to Aspects

Q&A and discussion on Aspects.
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Jim Eshelman
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Introduction to Aspects

Post by Jim Eshelman » Sun May 07, 2017 10:43 pm

(Excerpted from Interpreting Solar Returns by James A. Eshelman, (C) 1979, 1985, All Rights Reserved.)

Aspects between planets are the keynotes in examining any type of astrological map. When two planets are separated by specific angular distances along the ecliptic, their natures are merged, indicating a dynamic link between the two principles they represent.

Each aspect used in astrology is formed by dividing the circle of 360° by some whole number. The most important aspects are those generated when the circle is divided by 1 (360° = 0° = conjunction), 2, (180° = opposition), and 3 (120° = trine), then successively halving those aspects to produce the square (180°/2 = 90°) and the sextile (120°/32 = 60°), which are divisions of the whole circle by 4 and 6, respectively. These five configurations seem to be the most important in general astrological work.

In my personal work with natal charts, I use these five aspect distances as well as the semisquare (45°) and the sesquisquare (135°). There are other aspects I also consider to be somewhat valid but do not regularly use, including the semisextile (30°) and quincunx (150°). The 22 1/2° series (22°.5, 67°.5, 112°.5, 157°.5) seem quite valid in directions but are scarcely useful in natal work. Also, the quintile series, based on the division of the circle into fifths (72°, 144°) gives very reliable information natally, though these aspects are not readily discernible in a drawn horoscope. [2015 clarification: The nature of the "very reliable information" is quite different from that provided by the other aspects mentioned and, for most astrologically use, these are inert.]

Setting the quintile series aside for a moment, all other aspects mentioned above can be grouped into two categories: those based on successive halving of the opposition to produce the series 180°, 90°, 45°, 22°.5, and all their multiples, which are usually called hard aspects; and those based on the successive halving of the trine to produce the series 120°, 60°, 30°, and multiples of each, which are usually called soft aspects. The conjunction belongs to both groups since it is both 2 x 180° and 3 x 120°.

Rather than call these aspecgts "hard" and "soft," I prefer to use the terms dynamic and static. [FN - In the first edition of this book, I suggested the terms kinetic and static. "Kinetic" was selected to imply not only energy but, especially, movement. In some ways, I still prefer it to "dynamic." However, dynamic is the precise antonym of "static," and indicates activity, force, energy, change, process (see Webster). Static means at rest, in equilibrium, quiescent. I agree with one author's criticism that this is a dynamic equilibrium; however, the net result is typically a lack of visible change.] The Opposition Series represents dynamic action, incentive and movement, whereas the Trine Series seems to signify placidity, quietness, and stillness. John Nelson's work with predicting sunspots has clearly shown that the dynamic aspects are most important in triggering major solar flare-ups and activity. On the other hand, what I have terms the static aspects, especially the trine, will put a damper on the likelihood of solar activity, actually creating a situation where the release of solar energy is inhibited. The exception to this I when the soft aspect connects directly to a hard aspect pattern, as when a planet trines one end of an opposition and sextiles the other. In that case, the soft aspect enhances and reinforces the energetic quality of the hard aspect. [FN with citations.]

In natal astrology, these same principles hold true, with the soft aspect by itself representing a status quo in the personality where a person does not really care to change. A soft aspect connected to a hard aspect pattern, though, will reinforce and modify the latter configuration, augmenting whatever the basic hard aspect pattern represents.

Both dynamic and static aspects are important in natal astrology. However, my experience has convinced me that soft aspect transits are unreliable and only occasionally worth noting. Transits elicit a behavior change and provide an opportunity to take definite action, or grow. Because of their static quality, trines and sextiles bring no such likelihood.

Therefore, in examining Solar Returns, our attention must be focused entirely on the dynamic aspects. Remember, however, that we will be reading each Solar Return twice. When we read it as though it were a new birth chart, without recourse to the actual natal planets, we can use exactly the same rules which are valid in natal astrology. Even then, though, static aspects should take a back seat to dynamic aspects in any case of doubt. And, when Solar Return planets (which are actually transits) are compared to natal planets, only the dynamic aspects are important.
Jim Eshelman
www.jeshelman.com

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Jim Eshelman
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Re: Introduction to Aspects

Post by Jim Eshelman » Wed Oct 25, 2017 6:00 pm

In partial summary...

DYNAMIC (Hard) ASPECTS (0, 45, 90,135, 180) (lit., activity, force, energy, change, process). Represents dynamic action, incentive and movement.

STATIC (Soft) ASPECTS (60, 120) (lit., at rest, in equilibrium, quiescent). The net result is typically a lack of visible change. Signifies placidity, quietness, and stillness. In natal astrology, portrays a status quo in the personality where a person does not really care to change.

When a static aspect connects directly to a dynamic aspect pattern, the static aspect enhances and reinforces the energetic quality of the dynamic aspects. In natal astrology, a static aspect connected to a dynamic aspect pattern, reinforces and modifies the latter configuration, augmenting whatever the basic dynamic aspect pattern represents.
Jim Eshelman
www.jeshelman.com

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