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Unread 10-08-2006, 10:57 PM
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The beginner's guide to remembering the commonly used aspects

<Warning: Very Long Post>

This article is mainly for beginners. The objective is to be able to remember and recogize the most commonly used aspects.

The beginner's guide to remembering the commonly used aspects


Aspects in astrology are the angles between planets. On a horoscope (chart), draw two segments both starting at the center of the chart but extending at different directions and ending at any two planets. Measure the angle formed by these two segments and you got yourself an aspect. Well, you actually have the measurement of the aspect, because the aspect itself is drawn as a segment between the two planets involved.





A problem many beginners face when learning about aspects in astrology is how many there are and how complicated their names sound. If one cannot remember the aspects, how is one supposed to recognize them on a chart, let alone know how their effects work? Also, there are major aspects, minor aspects, stressful aspects, harmonious aspects; so much to remember when one is just beginning to learn.

There are a few patterns that, if understood, will make remembering aspects much easier for beginner astrologers. It doesn't require any extra skill to understand, just very basic geometry that we all have learned. The result will be remembering and recognizing all the aspects in the chart. It will be up to you then to find other sources to learn more of their effects though.

We will divide the aspects to 4 families based on what we will call their basic angle. I recommend that you read about one family at a time, understand it thoroughly and then move on to the next. The material is quite long and trying to get it all at once can be really confusing.

The families are;
  • The eighths (octiles)
  • The twelfths
  • The fifths (quintiles)
  • The one-aspect family
The first family is the eighths (octile) family;

In the octile family there are 4 members, 3 of which are duplicates of the first member (the basic angle). They are the octile, the bi-octile, the tri-octile, and the quadro-octile. The octile family members together form the aspects known as stressful aspects

The octile is an angle of 45°, which is one eighth (1/8) of a circle. From the names of the other 3 angles, you can easily guess their measurements.

Octile = 1 x 45° = 45°
Bi-octile = 2 x 45° = 90°
Tri-octile = 3 x 45° = 135°
Quadro-octile = 45 x 45° = 180°

Yes, only 4 eighths forming 4 members, not 8 as the name may suggest.

Sounds easy, huh? Well, the difficult part about this family is that each one of those aspects is famous by another name.

The octile is also known as semi-square
The bi-octicle is most widely known as square
The tri-octile is also known as sesquiquadrante (what the $#%^!)
The quadro-octile is most widely known as opposition

It easy to remember them though as the stressful aspects, and keep in mind that they are all duplicates of 45°.

The second family is the twelfths (1/12) family;

In the twelfths family there are 4 members, 3 siblings and 1 cousin. Yes, 3 siblings and 1 cousin.

The basic angle here is 30°, which is one twelfth (1/12) of a circle. So the members are as follows;

The siblings:
One twelfth = 1 x 30° = 30°
Two twelfths = 2 x 30° = 60°
Three twelfths = 3 x 30° = 120°

And the cousin:
Five twelfths = 5 x 30° = 150°

Yes, only 4 twelfths forming 4 members, not 12 as the name may suggest

Of course these are not the formal names. In astrology, they are known as follows;

The siblings:
One twelfth = semi-sextile= 30°
Two twelfths = sextile = 60°
Three twelfths = trine = 120°

And the cousin:
Five twelfths = quincunx (also known as inconjunct) = 150°

Why are there 3 siblings and 1 cousin and not simply 4 members? Because in this family, the aspects I'm calling siblings are all harmonious aspects, while the aspect I'm calling the cousin (the quincunx, aka inconjunct) is not so harmonious. Why wasn't the quincunx (inconjunct) placed with the stressful octile family?
1) Because of the derivation of its angle from 30°
2) Because it's not purely stressful. It's sometimes harmonious and other times stressful, depending on the dynamic of the chart and situation. I like to call it the neurotic aspect.

It easy to remember them though as the family of twelfths, and keep in mind that they are all duplicates of 30°.

The third family is the fifths (quintiles);

In the fifths family is quite easy. It has only two members, the quintiles and the bi-quintile. Together, those two aspects form the aspects known as creative aspects

The quintile is an angle of 72°, which is one fifth (1/5) of a circle. From the name of the other angle, you can easily guess its measurement.

Quintile = 1 x 72 ° = 72°
Bi-quintile = 2 x 72° = 144°

Yes, only 2 fifths forming 2 members, not 5 as the name may suggest.

Astrologers disagree on the effects of the aspects of this family, but they do agree on one thing; they give creative energy. They cannot be spotted easily on a horoscope, so usually they are detected on a special calculation called the 5th harmonic chart.

It's easy to remember them though as the family of creativity, and keep in mind that they are both duplicates of 75°.


The fourth and final family is a one-member family, the conjunction;

The conjunction is a virtual angle. It is equal to zero. Its name tells it all. Any planets in conjunction are in union, they are located on one segment that connects them both to the center of the horoscope.

The conjunction gives both harmonious and stressful energies. No, it's not like the quincunx that could be either harmonious or stressful. The conjunction is both harmonious and stressful; both energies fused together.


I'm done with the list of the most commonly used aspects. Before I wrap up though, I'd like to add one note.

I've made it clear that there are only 4 members in the eighths and twelfths families and only 2 members in the fifths family. You know why?

OK. Have you noticed that the octile family's widest angle is 180° and no other angle in any of the families was wider?

The reason is that the widest aspect allowed is 180°. A degree more than that and the measurement of the aspect has to be subtracted from 360°.

So, there was no point of adding the three-fifths angle to the quintile family. It would have been 216° (3x72°). Since we don't allow angles larger than 180°, we have to subtract 216° from 360° to come up with a "net" angle. 360°-216°=144° which is already an established angle called the bi-quintile.

The point is, beyond 180°, the angles will just start repeating themselves.

So to sum up, we have divided aspects into 4 families based on their basic angle;
  • The fifths (octiles) – the stressful aspects – duplicates of 45°
  • The twelfths – 3 harmonious aspects and 1 neurotic aspect – duplicates of 30°
  • The quintiles (fifths) – 2 creative aspects – duplicates of 75°
  • The one-aspect family – the conjunction - zero degrees
One last thing; now that you know all the common aspects, you're ready to know which is major and which is minor. The major aspects are the conjunction (zero), sextile (60°), trine (120°), square (90°) and opposition (180°). They are also known as traditional aspects. All the other aspects are minor.

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Last edited by Summery Joy; 10-08-2006 at 11:51 PM.
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Unread 10-11-2006, 06:32 PM
Ishk Ishk is offline
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Re: The beginner's guide to remembering the commonly used aspects

Thanks Sore, This is really very helpful for beginners like me.

Understanding and remembering aspects is a lot more easier now.

Thank you so much for taking the time to post this. .
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Unread 10-11-2006, 11:32 PM
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Re: The beginner's guide to remembering the commonly used aspects

I'm glad it was helpful
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Unread 10-28-2006, 10:41 AM
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Re: The beginner's guide to remembering the commonly used aspects

Dear Sorehearted and other angular gurus,

The quincunx (or inconjunct) at 150 degrees, is so close to the Bi-quintile at 144 degrees, how do you decide which you have? Can you have both?

My natal moon is 146 degrees from natal Jupiter. Do you think that they might get along creatively, inconsistently, or both? :0:
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Unread 10-28-2006, 10:51 AM
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Re: The beginner's guide to remembering the commonly used aspects

Because they are both minor aspects, it's best not to use an orb wider than 2 degrees with them. 146 degrees is closer to 144 than 150, and therefore, I think it should be treated as a bi-quintile.

My 2 cents of course.
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