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A Very Short Introduction to Astrological Transits and Planetary Aspects

By: Leah Bifano

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Post Date: 2024-01-26

Traditionally, Astrology has been used as a method of prediction, not only for the natal charts of individuals but also as a means to answer questions, determine the outcome of events, and foresee upcoming trends in the lives of both the individual and the collective. While most today recognize Astrology due to the popularity of Sun sign and constellation horoscopes and personality profiles, Astrology historically incorporates a whole body of data and symbols. They include, primarily, the 7 visible planets and the celestial places that they host - which are what we today know as, zodiacal sign and constellations - their transiting movements throughout celestial places, and alignments, or aspects rather, with each other. 


For this article, we will be focusing on planetary transits and alignments, since the main topic of this astrology column will be interpreting upcoming collective themes and events via planetary transits and aspects. 




The basic definition of a transit, rather, is to move from one place to another. Therefore, transiting planets are essentially planets that are moving throughout the sky in a cycle. In order to identify and delineate transiting planets, it is essential to be familiar with the immediate visible planets, i.e. Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, the Sun, Venus, Mercury, and the Moon. It is also worth noting that the order in which I have listed these planets is according to the Chaldean order, which signifies each planet by its speed, Saturn, being the slowest, moving planet, while the moon is the fastest moving planet. 


The speed of the planets is an essential detail, because, when it comes to identifying transit and their significations, it is useful to know which planet is the faster, moving planet that is applying to separating from the other, slower planet. I will go into this more in-depth in upcoming articles; I will review actual upcoming transits, and explain their indications for the corresponding future events.


Planetary Aspects


What does it mean when a planet “aspects” another planet? If we were to look at Merriam-Webster's, definition of “aspect”, it is as quoted, “a particular status or phase in which something appears or may be regarded.” Therefore, planets that are aspecting each other are regarding one other, or seeing each other. Traditionally, planetary aspects are identified by the use of numerical Ptolemaic aspects, which are listed as follows:


Conjunction: planets next to each other, usually within a 3-5 degree orb, give or take. Planets in conjunction are said to blend their significations. Conjunctions are generally considered tense, but can also be harmonious.


Trine: planets within 120 degrees of each other. Trine is considered to be one of the harmonious aspects. Planets regarding each other from a trine aspect are said to be a strongly positive and supportive interaction.


Sextile: planets within 60 degrees of each other. This is also considered to be a harmonious aspect, as planets also regard each other positively, however, the support isn’t as significant as the trine. Think of planets seeing each other from a sextile aspect as friendly acquaintances whereas planets in trine are more like good friends or allies.


Square: planets within 90 degrees of each other. 


Tense aspect: planets are at odds with one another. Think of them as “squaring off” - planets in this aspect regard each other harshly and bring tension. This interaction will feel as though they are competing with each other for space.


Opposition: planets within 180 degrees of each other - Tense aspect: directly opposed. Planets in this aspect are challenged to negotiate their differences. There can be some complementary components between each other, but differences still bring about tension and conflict.


It is worth noting that the tense aspects - the square, opposition, and in some cases, conjunctions - have been shown to correspond with significant events that cause important changes for the collective society as a whole.


In future articles, I will demonstrate how certain planetary transits and alignments play out by reviewing the upcoming transits in question, and comparing them to historical events that have happened during said transit. I will also be giving examples of planetary aspect correspondences using historical events, and from there, using that information to delineate how future events will most likely manifest.

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