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The Evolution of Aspects-Linda Reid

The Evolution of Aspects-Linda Reid

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Published by: Moonlightshadow on Jun 02, 2008
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The Evolution of AspectsWritten by Linda ReidSaturday, 31 March 2007The Ptolomeic aspects - Conjunction, Opposition, Square, Trine and Sextile - have beenwith us since the dawn of time. In the 20th century, other aspects have been included inour repertoire and we've spent many hours in teasing out the interpretive impact of thesenewer aspects - think sesqui-quadrate and bi-quintile. This exploratory journey has helpedto broaden and deepen our knowledge of the planetary dynamics at work in a nativity.Once upon a time there were a limited number of aspects used in astrology, which is oftenreferred to as the Ptolemaic aspect set. Astrologers used a limited number of aspects,which are formed by the arc between planets. These arcs divide the circle by 2[Opposition], 3 [Trine], 4 [Square] and 6 [Sextile] and these particular divisions, plus theConjunction gave the aspects that have been in use for at least 2000 years. During the 17thcentury, astrologers began to use aspects formed by dividing the circle by 8 (Semi-square)and 12 (Semi-sextile), perhaps based on the observable lunation cycle and introduced theSemi-sextile and Semi-square. Through the 20th century, astrologers increased the rangeof aspects to include the quincunx and sesquisquare and attempted to find or assignspecific meaning to the new aspects. At this time the concept of aspects relationships became more exploratory. Perhaps astrology has become more complex, or perhapshuman experience has become more complex, certainly our desire to understand astrologyat more depth has become more accessible in the modern era with computers to do theonerous calculations for us.
The definition of aspects in astrology is that they are the arcs or distance between thezodiacal positions of two planets. They form as the faster moving body moves from the position when they were in conjunction. (The diagram illustrates how this happens). It'suseful to consider the Moon's monthly cycle and 8 phases as an illustration of how aspectsdevelop. The semisquare is like the Crescent Moon, the square asthe First Quarter, the Sesquisquare as the Gibbous Moon and theOpposition the Full Moon. After the opposition, instead of moving away from the other body, the faster planet now beginsto move toward it, until the two are again in conjunction. Thisoccurs further along the zodiac than their last conjunction because the slower planet has also moved. [i] Using the sameanalogy, the Moon at the waning sesqui-square is analogous withthe Disseminating Moon; the closing Square the Third Quarter Moon and the Closing Semisquare to the Balsamic Moon phase.There is something particularly potent in these specific aspects that are illustrated in sucha visual form. These aspects or Moon phase connections form what is known as the 8thHarmonic family and represent the most consciously active aspects. The flow of astrological aspects should be thought of as the cyclically unfolding relationship betweentwo planets. In the natal chart, the relationship will have already been established and thefaster planet already on its way and understanding the phase of that relationship that is oneof the most interesting facets in astrology.
The difference in interpretation of the opening and closing aspect is subtle. The opening(waxing) aspect will tend to be a more 'subjective' - i.e. apply the dynamics in a personalor psychological way. Symbolically there is an orientation towards growth andaccumulation of experience. The closing (waning) aspect will tend to manifest at a moresocial level, i.e. more 'objective'. Symbolically there is an orientation towards distributionand giving outfrom experience rooted in the psyche. The Waxing (opening) aspect is like an immature or experimental relationship between the planets, while the closing square is a more 'mature'or defined relationship, having passed the point of challenge when it reached theopposition.I like to think of the dynamic of opening and closing as if the faster planet has beeninfused with the energy of the slower one, when they were in conjunction but as it unfoldsin its cycle, it gets more distant from the source until it polarizes and is clearly imbuedonly with its own energy at the opposition. As it waxes, or opens in aspect the dynamicsare related to instinctive, evolutionary, subjective and self-developing activities andexperiences. The aspect is more spontaneous and reactive. After the opposition, the faster  planet 'seeks' to reconnect with the slower planet, bringing its particular energy to bear onthat planet. This occurs as it goes through the waning phases of the cycle and moves back to the conjunction. The aspects formed during the waning phases are less singular and become more directed toward some kind of objective understanding and purpose. SocialDiagramme of Aspects
expression replaces personal expression and there is a more cooperative sense of theaspects, even those that are deemed tense. [ii]In the diagram I have attempted to illustrate how aspects unfold as the faster planet movesaway from, and then towards the conjunction with the same slower planet. [iii]
Waxing - FROM CONJUNCTION - Arc0degWaning - FROM OPPOSITION - Arc180deg
1. Semi-Sextile - Arc 30deg1. Quincunx - Arc 210deg2. Decile - Arc 36deg2. Sesquisquare - Arc 225deg3. Novile - Arc 40deg3. Trine - Arc 240deg4. Semisquare (Octile) - Arc 45deg4. Square - Arc 270deg5. Septile - Arc 52deg (approx.)5. Quintile - Arc 252deg6. Sextile - Arc 60deg6. Sextile - Arc 300deg7. Quintile - Arc 72deg7. Septile - Arc 308deg (approx.)8. Square - Arc 90deg8. Semisquare - Arc 315deg9. Trine - Arc 120deg9. Novile - Arc 320deg10. Sesquisquare - Arc 135deg10. Decile - Arc 324deg11. Quincunx (Inconjunct) - Arc 150deg11. Semi sextile - Arc 336deg12. Opposition - Arc 180deg12. Conjunction - 0deg or 360deg
John Addey introduced the concept of Harmonics in the 1960's and the understanding of this has enlarged our opportunity to define and find the fundamentals of meaning for many of the more obscure aspects. Until Addey's contribution, use of the lesser-known,subtler aspects, was erratic, and largely misunderstood or applied according to a personal projection. The concept of harmonics gives us the opportunity to understand the moresubtle aspects based on the scheme of numbers to which it resonates and provides anorganized structure from which to understand the aspect. From a harmonic point of viewwe begin by dividing the horoscope circle by whole numbers. The idea of numbers havingspecific meaning is not new - it is the basis of traditional esoteric teachings andunderstanding a bit of numerology will help to give clues as the dynamics of Aspects. [iv]If we divide the circle by 8 we will arrive at aspects we call the semisquare. Twosemisquares equal a square, three - a sesquisquare and four - an opposition. So all theseaspects have a root aspect in common and unfold through the process of growth in thecycle.
The 1st Harmonic is the conjunction as it does not divide the chart.
The 2nd Harmonic is the opposition
The 3rd harmonic is the trine

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