Astrology 101: Aspects – Meet the Majors (Part 2 – “Hard” vs. “Easy”)

This table – presented for the first time in the post that immediately preceded this one – will hopefully be a helpful aid in getting a grasp on the basics of the Major Aspects:

Aspect

Glyph

Degrees

Character

Conjunction

360° (= 360°/1)

Variable

Opposition

180° (= 360°/2)

Hard

Trine

120° (= 360°/3)

Easy

Square

90° (= 360°/4)

Hard

Sextile

60° (= 360°/6)

Easy

Last time around, we looked at the Conjunction, often celebrated as the most powerful Aspect of them all. If you look at that table again, you might also notice something else that makes the Conjunction stand out from the rest of the pack: it’s the only one whose cell in the “Character” column says “Variable.” All four of the other Major Aspects are listed as being either “Hard” or “Easy.”

Here's the birth-chart of actress Julie Newmar, probably the most famous television version of super-villainess, Catwoman. The colored lines at center represent Aspects. Some are rendered in a cool, soothing blue, because they're believed to be easy and pleasurable for the chart-holder to experience, while others appear in angry red, as they're taken to be tense and friction-heavy...
Here’s the birth-chart of actress Julie Newmar, probably the most famous television version of super-villainess, Catwoman. The colored lines at center represent Aspects. Some are rendered in a cool, soothing blue, because they’re believed to be easy and pleasurable for the chart-holder to experience, while others appear in angry red, as they’re taken to be tense and friction-heavy…

The idea here is that two of the Major Aspects – the Opposition and the Square – are generally regarded as being “hard” on the person whose chart features them. These Aspects can represent connections among some of our inner drives that are filled with tension and friction for us. These drives, which are symbolized by various Planets, will refuse to blend easily together for us, and this refusal will be more or less a lifelong state of affairs. We can (and should) work on integrating these planetary energies as we continue to grow, but their “default settings” will always be urging them back toward that state of struggle. More on the specifics of Oppositions and Squares later on…

But then meanwhile, there are two other Major Aspects – the Trine and the Sextile – that are usually considered to be “easy” on those whose charts are marked by these types of connections. Where Oppositions and Squares show inner stresses, Trines and Sextiles show tendencies for distinct inner drives to get along well, and maybe even to help each other out in symbiotic fashion. These Aspects can represent ease and opportunity.

My own personal view that’s evolved over time prompts me to add one more layer for your consideration (and you can feel absolutely free to dismiss it if it doesn’t seem to hold true for you)…

I’ve come to believe that the so-called Hard Aspects (Oppositions and Squares) will very often highlight areas of a chart-holder’s life in which the world will dump challenging experiences right onto that chart-holder’s head. Quite often, the existence of an Opposition or a Square can’t be avoided. You can try to hide from them in your safe room, but even there, the determined Opposition or the intrepid Square may find you, and club you about the face and neck repeatedly with demanding situations and developments.

In contrast, though, while Trines and Sextiles can surely symbolize terrific opportunities and lucky breaks, I believe that they’re also more passive. Instead of tracking you down and force-feeding you experiences as their “hard” relatives might, these Aspects are more likely to play it coy with you when they appear in your vicinity – so it may be on you to be the active party in the scenario. As an example, imagine that probabilities become enormous at some point that you can win the lottery… That would be some fantastic news, but it would still be on you to get up off the couch, and go buy yourself a lottery ticket if you want to have any real shot at turning those probabilities into reality.

Julie Newmar: as her chart indicates, even TV's Catwoman faces challenges within her own psyche and in the world outside, in addition to the more free-flowing and fortunate-seeming internal and external occurrences she'll experience in life...
Julie Newmar: as her chart indicates, even TV’s Catwoman faces challenges within her own psyche and in the world outside, in addition to the more free-flowing and fortunate-seeming internal and external occurrences she’ll experience in life…

So the Hard Aspects are active, and may confront you whether you like it or not…while the Easy Aspects are more passive, and may well require a fair amount of effort and initiative from you if you want to reap their potential benefits…

Now, if that’s what the “Hard” and the “Easy” Aspects are about in general terms…why are Conjunctions held aside in their own category of “Variable,” and what does that mean, exactly…?

The concept here is that when it comes to Conjunctions, the overall ease or difficulty of any individual example of this kind of Aspect will be far more dependent on which specific Planets are involved than would be the case for any of the other Major Aspects. With Oppositions and Squares, we know that no matter which Planets are connected, their energies won’t merge very easily. With Trines and Sextiles, probabilities will lean strongly toward the connections being pleasant and user-friendly. With Conjunctions, though, it’s important to really examine whether the basic natures of the Planets involved will tend to combine well or not.

For example, the reflective, Yin energies of the Moon will flow very agreeably with the dreamy, mystical energies of Neptune. The effects will probably feel very “easy” to any person whose chart bears this feature. But then again, the results of this Conjunction in that person’s life might conceivably involve too much dreaminess, too much passivity, a decided lack of drive or productivity or action – so while this Conjunction might feel “easy,” its overall effects in life might be “hard.”

Here's an example of one of those Neptune-Mars Conjunctions, this one taken from the chart of famed conqueror, Napoleon Bonaparte. It could be that Napoleon felt a fusion of his spiritual (Neptune) drives with his urges to fight and conquer (Mars), like it was his cosmic destiny to defeat the world in battle. This Conjunction may well have been a huge factor in compelling him to become such a noted and successful aggressor...but with the Conjunction, we can't assume this would have been either
Here’s an example of one of those Neptune-Mars Conjunctions, this one taken from the chart of famed conqueror, Napoleon Bonaparte. It could be that Napoleon felt a fusion of his spiritual (Neptune) drives with his urges to fight and conquer (Mars), like it was his cosmic destiny to defeat the world in battle. This Conjunction may well have been a huge factor in compelling him to become such a noted and successful aggressor…but with the Conjunction, we can’t assume this would have been either “easy” or “hard” for him to deal with in his life. It may well have been both at various times…

But then consider that same dreamy, mystical Neptune forming a Conjunction with fiery, combat-prone Mars. We might be looking at a situation that’s almost the reverse of the Moon-Neptune Conjunction: this one might feel “hard,” and brimming with inner turmoil as placid Neptune and raging Mars vie for control…but dealing with the Conjunction might bring about phenomenal, positive results. Think about the phrase “spiritual warrior,” which might be a good descriptor for a Neptune-Mars Conjunction person. This might be someone compelled to spread their spiritual views to the world against difficult odds, or to use their spirituality as the means by which they enlighten and even protect others. These may be very challenging roads to travel (“hard”), but they might bring tremendous rewards in life, such as enlightenment, fulfillment, fame, and financial well-being (“easy”).

When you’re dealing with any Aspect, it’s important to analyze the inherent natures of the Planets involved, and also to take note of which Signs and Houses they inhabit. However, with the “Hard” Aspects, you can start off by defaulting first to the notion that the planetary energies involved will probably be merging in the more difficult of the ways that exist within the spectrum of reasonable possibilities. With the “Easy” Aspects, the mergers will most likely tend to happen in the more harmonious ways possible. With the Conjunction, assume neither of these things to start – begin your analysis of Conjunctions at conceptual Ground Zero, and approach it like a detective sidling up to a crime scene: what do the facts say? In the absence of other factors, how would this Planet in this Sign in this House most likely be inclined to merge with this Planet in this Sign in this House…?

The next post will get into specifics about each of the remaining four Major Aspects…

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