What does it mean when a planet "is aspected"?


New member
Hello there! :)

I'm beginning to learn about astrology and so I'm starting with learning to interpret natal charts. I have a bunch of books out from the library currently but I am stuck on one question in particular and it's too vague for me to find an answer by merely googling.

I know about aspects between multiple planets and how to interpret them. However, in a definition for a planet it will say, "When this planet is positively aspected..." that completely throws me off.

Does that mean when that planet is positively aspected by ANYthing at all? That seems kind of vague because multiple planets may positively aspect it.

Or, conversely, does it refer more to -current- astrology as opposed to natal placement. Like when the planet is positively aspected in our day-to-day lives X traits will become more prominent.

I'll find an example right quick to try and make myself clearer:

Here is one about having Saturn in Aquarius: "The individual may have an obstinate and rather cunning streak if Saturn is negatively aspected."

It does not specify is negatively aspected by what, so what does it refer to? Thank you!


Well-known member
I'll find an example right quick to try and make myself clearer:

Here is one about having Saturn in Aquarius: "The individual may have an obstinate and rather cunning streak if Saturn is negatively aspected."

Negatively aspected in terms of western astrology can mean aspect by planet in a square or opposition.

It may also refer to being aspected by a Malefic (Saturn and Mars, westernly)

In Vedic astrology it can mean aspect from a Malefic, or an unfriendly planet, as they use a planetary relationship scheme which is not generally used in modern western astrology.


Well-known member
"When Saturn is negatively aspected...." refers to any "hard" aspect from another planet to Saturn in the natal chart.

It may also refer to any aspect from Mars, because Mars -- like Saturn -- is a natural malefic, and because Saturn and Mars are natural enemies.

Conjunctions with Sun, Moon, Venus, Mars and Jupiter and the outer planets will probably also be seen as "negative", because Saturn is the greater malefic and not very friendly with anyone. But this depends on the conditioniing of the two planets involved.

Saturn is a planet of evil. Note the usage of the word "evil" in the 17th century, when much of what we have inherited of astrology was written:

Old English yfel (Kentish evel) "bad, vicious, ill, wicked," from Proto-Germanic *ubilaz

"In Old English., as in all the other early Teutonic languages., exc. Scandinavian, this word is the most comprehensive adjectival expression of disapproval, dislike or disparagement" [OED]. Evil was the word the Anglo-Saxons used where we would use bad, cruel, unskillful, defective (adj.), or harm, crime, misfortune, disease (n.). The meaning "extreme moral wickedness" was in Old English, but did not become the main sense until 18c.

As a naturally evil planet, Saturn, when badly conditioned or evilly aspected is most likely to manifest unwanted or unsavory characteristics. Where a chart is ruled by Saturn or he is in the First House or where he is powerfully prominent and thus affects the personality strongly or prominently, he may be miserly and avaricious, hard and cold, harshly critical and demanding conformity to conventional (according to time and culture) behaviors and thought, backbiting, rigid and unbending, anal-retentive, small-minded and concretistic in thought, realistic and practical to the point of being inhuman, austere or ascetic (drying and withering), bitter, choleric, melancholy and under a cloud, alienated or isolated, dissembling, selfish, a slave-driver (extracting what the law allows to the last penny, or pound of flesh), fearful in extreme, a malcontent, suspicious and distrustful, jealous and envious, unfeeling (Think of Ebeneezer Scrooge).

Generally speaking, if one of these characteristics is noticeably present, the rest will be there too.

So-called "modern" astrology tends to portray Saturn as a "teacher" rather than as the devil. While I agree that Saturn's lessons are ultimately for our good and our growth, the person living through a Saturn period is apt to be cursing Saturn vehemently. Saturn brings evil -- especially in our younger days, before we have learned those good lessons he carries.

The idea with aspects is that they support (for good or bad) the aspected planet. A planet in trine to a well-conditioned benefic has support for good. A planet in opposition to an evilly-conditioned malefic is up to no good. Most planets and their aspects lie somewhere between the two extremes. One of the tricks to accurate chart interpretation is the judgment of condition -- whether a planet is well-conditioned or evilly-conditioned, to what degree and in what way. Astrology provides many ways of determining these things. Among them are dignities/debilities, house position, aspects, special degrees (such as pitted or dark), rulership, motion of the planet and relationship to Sun....
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