- 1. Below I am raising two important questions on Western aspects. I would appreciate a response when you find time (I am in no great hurry). Is the aspect between two planets directional? In other words, if a planet, say Moon aspects Venus, can we also say Venus aspects Moon?
- [Sandy] Yes, we can say that, but let me elaborate. Western Aspects are relative to the angular relationships between two planets. So the
Western Aspects run both ways, or in both directions. It is the angular degree of
separation on either side that actually determines the aspect. However,
the planet that is doing the aspecting (applying toward the other
planet, or the faster moving planet), will officially and rightfully be the
aspecting planet, while the other is the aspected planet. For
example, if Moon is aspecting Venus (Moon applying toward Venus), we
can also say that Venus aspects the Moon because both planets are
at an aspectual angular distance from one another, and therefore both
planets are feeling the impact of the energy exchange between one another, for
good or for bad (depending on the angle of the aspect). But technically, in the
case you cited above, Moon is aspecting Venus, and Venus is the
aspected planet. If they are in trinal aspect (120 degrees), their
influence will benefit one another; if they are in square to one another (90
degrees separation), their influence will be challenging. So the
effects are determined by the angular degree of separation,
and whether the aspect forms a soft angle (helpful) or hard angle (challenging).
Sometimes you will hear Westerner's refer to "soft or hard" aspects, or "soft or
hard" angles: .the soft being trines and sextiles, etc, the hard being squares
and oppositions, etc.
- 2. Or is it
that an aspect just "exists" between two planets, and one planet does not aspect
the other (or both planets aspect each other)?
- [Sandy] Both planets aspect one another, BUT the
aspecting planet is the one who is bringing his personal energy
and influence to the other planet. However, even though the other planet
(the aspected planet) is not initiating the energy exchange
(is not the applying aspect or faster moving planet), the
aspected planet nonetheless still has an impact due to the
mutual exchange of their planetary energy falling in the angular distance from
one another, so the aspected planet's effects will also be felt to some
degree on the aspecting planet.
- 3. I have been under the impression that only a faster moving planet can aspect a slower moving planet and that aspect direction is important, that is, Moon aspects Venus and not the other way. For example, the aspect descriptions found in the book "Aspects in Astrology" by Sue Tompkins seem to support this belief. However, on page 248 of Second Reader, KSK talks of "Moon receiving good aspect from Venus". Moon being faster than Venus, this is not possible unless KSK was talking of Vedic aspects.
- [Sandy] I hope the above somewhat clarified that
for you. Direction, however, is important, so pay attention to whether
or not the planetary aspect is applying or separating. Applying means
that the planets have not yet reached exact impact, while separating means that
the aspect has already culminated, but the acceptable orb of influence is still
in effect (residual effects for either good or for bad, depending on the angle
of the aspect and planets involved).
- I also personally feel that the most important thing to remember about Western aspects
when assessing them in a chart is that the strongest aspects are those that are
bi-directional. Mono-directional aspects indicate
that the planets are either both direct or both retrograde, leaving one planet doing the applying. Bi-directional
aspects, however, are more powerful because both planets are coming at
each other. For example: one planet is in direct motion while the other
planet is in retrograde motion, so there is deliberate intent on both energies
to bring their respective influence to the other planet. Although there are many
schools of thought in the Western system, in my humble opinion, bi-directional
aspects (for common sense reasons) are by far the most powerful, and the ones
to watch closely.
- 4. The other point of confusion is about the orbs. First, various authors suggest different orb values and there does not appear to be a "standard" or "the most-widely used" values.
- [Sandy] There is no one school of Western thought that
agrees on orbs, and the exact size of the orb has never been officially
established in Western Astrology. The closer the aspect is to being exact, (the
tighter the orb), the more power it has to pack a powerful punch for good or for
bad - but also remember that its strength also depends on the
type of aspect involved - as all types of angular distances
(aspects) are not given the same degree of importance, nor the same "one size
fits all" orb. See KP: Aspects: Principles of Judgment and note the aspects in the Table listed in bold print; I
believe there are about ten of them. These are the aspects that are given
priority by the majority of practicing Astrologer's for delineating a
- 5. Secondly, I have noticed that there are two sets of orbs, one for the various aspects and another for the different planets. This is found in KSK Reader 1 and you have also discussed these in your articles. Other western astrology books talk of either, not both, of these. How does one use these in combination? An example detailing the calculation with imaginary planetary positions (including "applying" and "separating") will be of great help. You could include the revised explanation in your KP Stellar Notes for the benefit of everyone.
- [Sandy] A general
rule of thumb is that the faster the planet is moving, the sooner an aspect will
be formed with another planet, so the wider the orb allowance. Therefore, the Moon and
the Ascendant will have a significantly wider orb allowance than
Uranus, Neptune, or Pluto, which can be as tight as an allowance of only 1 to
2 degrees. Orbs for aspects between faster and slower moving planets are usually
given a value of the average between the greater and the lesser. But this is all
highly relative to each astrologer's individual experience and preference. Also, note the Orb Table at the bottom of the Aspect Table on KP: Aspects: Principles of Judgment. For
the outers, I would recommend an allowance of 1 to 3 degrees of orbital distance; the tighter the better.
- 6. Thanks very much for such a detailed explanation. It is much clearer now. By "bi-directional aspect", do you mean what is also called "mutual application" in KSK readers?
- [Sandy] I would need to see the context in which "mutual application" was written in the KSK Reader to be able to answer that. I say that because "mutual reception" is also another term, (where two different planets each occupy the other's sign - like Mercury in Pisces and Jupiter in Virgo) and cannot be confused with bi-directional aspects.
- To give you an example of a bi-directional aspect, let's
say that Jupiter is retrograde at 10 degrees Cancer, and Mars is direct at 10
degrees Aries. They are both "applying bi-directionally" toward a square angle
(aspect) to one another, in other words, one planet alone is not the only
planet doing the applying, they both are applying toward one another. This type
of aspect is making the contact powerful if or when the aspect peaks to exact (such as before Jupiter turns direct). If Jupiter was moving retrograde at 10 degrees
Cancer, and Mars was moving direct at 11 degrees Aries, then the square aspect
is still bi-directional, but "separating" at this point rather than "applying", because it has already peaked, or become exact, when Mars was at 10 degrees Aries, forming an exact square to Jupiter at 10 degrees Cancer. So the
heaviest influence has already been hit and marked (when both were at 10
degrees), and the impact of the influence is now beginning to separate when Mars
reaches 11 degrees and begins to move away in orb.
Please also see KP: Aspects: Principles of Judgment.
Note: All references to the material above are from the work and teachings of Prof. K.S. Krishnamurti, Chandrakant R. Bhatt, K. Subramainiam, Sri M.P. Shanmugam, Prof K. Hariharan, and/or publications in the KP & Astrology Journals/Yearbooks. For Book information, please go to KP Books.