Interpreting Phase Aspects

topic posted Sun, October 31, 2010 - 6:44 AM by  Partha
Orthodox Astrology looks solely to the intensity of an aspect, but fails to consider the complete synodic cycle of two planets as the wider context in which this aspect falls:

"From Rudhyar's perspective, while only certain planets are actually ever in aspect to each other at any particular moment in time, every planet is always in a phase relationship to every other planet. In order to identify the phase relationship of any two planets, think of the slower moving planet as stationary, and see how many degrees ahead of that point the faster moving planet is. If Venus (the faster moving planet) is 287° ahead of Mars, then these two planets are in the Last Quarter Square phase. This understanding of any planetary pair can be extremely informative."


This wider context is of the paramount importance in Evolutionary Astrology, as a birthchart is a snapshot of time. This snapshot represented by the moment of birth is a karmic/dharmic blueprint of the energetic relationship between Soul and personality.
It reveals how the different parts (planets) of the psyche (micro-cosm) relate to each other and in what measure Soul-personality integration has unfolded.

The relative intensity/weakness of an aspect, is a good indicator to assign a hierarchy of interpretation - as the exact aspect represents the Zenith or Fulcrum (crisis) of that particular stage of unfoldment.

The waxing, waning and especially the intensifying and separating quality demonstrate the state of energy, relative to the phase of interaction planets are in. Signs may signify intent and houses, outer circumstances, but degree phases have the potential to understand how these planets (chakras) get along with each other and why (karma or dharma?). The next step is to superimpose the phase or orb of the aspect on the Sabian degree wheel.

The symbols are the stories, enacting further expansions to the the general theme reflected by the symbol of the exact aspect, giving more depth, compared to just interpreting aspects abstractly and more detail to the way the orb phase adds complexity and thematic texture to the planetary interplay. These symbols though, should not necessarily be seen as weak or strong (perhaps in a general sense as the ups and downs of life seem to characterize it as a whole), but as phases of realization within the Self - subtly suggesting the immensity of human evolution.

Another important aspect of the application of these symbols is the hierarchy of how to interpret your chart when working with them.
At which level, should one use them? I guess that's a matter of experimenting with them yourself. Obviously the major themes aspects can be gleaned from considering sign and house position.

I have found that the (evolutionary) phase of an aspect, is just as important as position of the planets. Superimposing the Sabian wheel on the exact orb is not a big step from that perspective. When looking at a planets position, I believe the Sabian symbol of the Sign and House cusp is next in line of importance, after decanate and somewhat analogous to Dwad. Then of course the projection of the interplay between planets in conditioning the state of affairs within a house.

Say for instance, you have Mercury trine Moon, and the Moon rules the 2nd house, if makes sense to not only look at the symbols of their degrees in sign, the symbols of the house cusps, but also HOW this interaction affects the ruler (Moon), further coloring the second House experience. The possibilities are infinite. After you spend enough time with these symbols, their meaning begins to speak to you more clearly....

Gradually patterns of interwoven themes begin to emerge, linking planetary degrees, house cusp degrees and aspects orbs, revealing the filigree pattern within the tapestry of the chart. Planets sharing themes acting, as points integration, resolving analogous symbol themes revealed by aspects of other planets - opening up new layers, hidden within the chart.

These themes represented by the symbols are giving colour to the way we project our Inner Selves unto the world and how the world reflects our experience in the houses, allegorically relaying the multi-dimensional fabric of your identity.
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  • Phase Aspect Calculator

    Sun, October 31, 2010 - 6:46 AM
    Aspect Phase Calculation
    Yesterday, 10:21 AM
    The work of astrologer Robert. M. Blaschke in his seminal work 'Sabian Aspect Orbs' has given an incredible intuitive tool in studying planetary aspects. Not only does this technique offer a way of understanding aspect through symbolic imagery, it also gives significant information about the evolutionary interplay between planet and points.

    Dane Rudhyar pioneered this method by taking the lunation cycle as a model for planetary aspects. Since then, many astrologers look beyond the strength of an aspect to whether it is waxing (involution-acquisition) or waning (evolution-sharing), intensifying (striving) or separating (teaching) aspects.

    In order to superimpose the Sabian Wheel on the aspect phase Wheel to translate aspect orbs into the analogous Sabian Symbols, we have to find the exact orb and phase between two planet/points.

    Calculating aspect orbs/phases can be a daunting task, some programs offer aspect orbs, but ignore the minor (8th/12th harmonic) and esoteric aspects (5th/7th/9th/10th/11th harmonic) aspects.

    This is a link to an ASPECT PHASE CALCULATION program:

    It calculates EVERY POSSIBLE ASPECT and its lunar phase, but beware it doesn't follow the follow the complete Chaldean Order, so aspects of the Luminaries have to be checked and corrected, which is fairly simple - just change waxing into waning and vice versa.

    The importance of the Chaldean order is important, because this ancient Babylonian mnemonic model, determines the relative strength of each planet. Simply stated the slower (far away) the planet, the more sway it holds. This is important in calculating the evolutionary phase of planets, because according to it, the Slower planet is placed on the imaginary Ascedant point, the quicker planet will either be above or below the horizon, making it resp. waxing or waning.

    This is the Chaldean Order:


    When calculating Vulcan and Earth, you can just fill in their degrees at Mercury and Venus in the list on the website. You can print a pdf of the page or copy and paste the data (which I do), you have to do a little tabbing afterwards. I paste it lying down, so the analogous Sabian Degree fits underneath each aspect. As you look at the last column which says separation, you'll find the aspect phase, round it off and look up the Sabian degree phase (all degrees have their phase at the beginning) on this site: