by Robert Wilkinson
Over the years, people are always amazed at how quickly I can spot aspects in a chart with no visual aids. Today I’ll give you a few tricks that will help you immediately calculate aspects.
First, remember we’re using a Base 30 method of calculating the length of a sign. 30 degrees for Aries, 30 degrees for Taurus, and so forth. Taking 30 degrees as one sign, it’s easy to see the traditional Ptolemaic aspects by simply counting signs.
A semisextile is always 30 degrees (same degree one sign earlier or later, plus or minus about 2 degrees) before or after a point. A sextile is always 60 degrees (two signs earlier or later, plus or minus about 7 degrees) before or after a point. A square is always 90 degrees (three signs earlier or later, plus or minus about 7 degrees) before or after a point. A trine is always 120 degrees (four signs earlier or later, plus or minus about 7 degrees) before or after a point. A quincunx is always 150 degrees (five signs earlier or later, plus or minus about 2 degrees) before or after a point. An opposition is always the opposing sign from a given point, plus or minus about 10 degrees.
So counting from Taurus, if you have something at 20 Taurus, one sign (30 degrees) away is the semisextile at either 20 Aries or Gemini, while two signs (60 degrees) away is the sextile at either 20 Pisces or Cancer, give or take a few for the orb. If we’re counting from 13 Libra, one sign away (the semisextile) is either 13 Virgo or Scorpio, while two signs away (the sextile) is either 13 Leo or Sagittarius, and so forth from any point in the zodiac. Three signs is always the square, four signs is always a trine, and five signs is always a quincunx.
When it comes to other aspects, you can use the same “count by signs” plus or minus the number of degrees to make the aspect. A quintile is 72 degrees (plus or minus about 5 degrees). That means you can find quintiles by counting 2 signs forward and then add 12 degrees, or count 2 signs backward and then go another 12 degrees further back.
Using our previous examples, you can find the quintiles for 20 Taurus by counting forward 2 signs (to 20 Cancer) and then add 12 degrees to find the exact quintile is 2 Leo. With the orb, that means anything between 27 Cancer and 7 Leo makes the quintile to 20 Taurus. The other quintile to 20 Taurus is found by counting back 2 signs (to 20 Pisces) and then going 12 degrees farther in that direction, making the quintile at 8 Pisces. With the orb, that means anything between 3 and 13 Pisces is the other quintile to 20 Taurus.
For 13 Libra, we count forward 2 signs to 13 Sagittarius, and then add another 12 which puts the quintile at 25 Sagittarius. We find the other quintile by counting back 2 signs to 13 Leo, and then go another 12 which puts the other quintile for 13 Libra at 1 Leo.
The biquintile can be computed two ways. Since it’s 144 degrees, you can do what we did previously by adding 4 signs (120 degrees) and then adding another 24 degrees, or subtracting 4 signs and then going back another 24 degrees. However, I find it easier to count 5 signs to the quincunx, and then subtract 6 degrees.
In our examples, the quincunx (5 signs) to 20 Taurus is 20 Libra, and if we subtract 6 degrees, we see that 14 Libra is a biquintile to 20 Taurus. Counting the other direction, 5 signs earlier than 20 Taurus is 20 Sagittarius, and shortening the length from 150 to 144, we find that 26 Sagittarius is the other biquintile to 20 Taurus. The quincunx to 13 Libra is 13 Pisces, and subtracting 6 we see the biquintile is at 7 Pisces. The other biquintile is found by taking the other quincunx to 13 Libra at 13 Taurus, and shortening the span, we see it’s at 19 Taurus.
You can do a quick check on the biquintiles by remembering they are literally the span of two quintiles. So a quick check is to find the quintile, then find the biquintile. Do that both directions, and you find the 5 pointed Star made from any given point in the zodiac!
Other aspects can be found using the same “shorthand.” A septile (51+ degrees) is a sextile minus 9 degrees. The septile from 20 Taurus is about 11 Cancer, while the other one is at 29 Pisces. The septile from 13 Libra is about 4 Sagittarius, with the other one about 22 Leo. In both cases the aspect is around 9 degrees short of a sextile, or two signs from wherever you’re counting.
The biseptile is about 103 degrees. That is 3 signs and 13 degrees either way from a point. Add 3 signs to 20 Taurus and you get 20 Leo; add 13 more degrees and the biseptile to 20 Taurus will be found around 3 Virgo. Going the other direction, 3 signs the other way is 20 Aquarius, and adding another 13 degrees puts the other biseptile at 7 Aquarius. 13 Libra plus 3 signs is 13 Capricorn; add 13 more, and you find the biseptile to 13 Libra at 26 Capricorn. 13 Libra minus 3 signs is 13 Cancer. Go 13 more degrees back, and the biseptile is found around 30 Gemini or 1 Cancer.
You can also use this shorthand for other aspects. Again, make sure you’re adding when you go forward, and add what you need to when going the other direction. Add in this sense means further in each direction, even if it’s taking you to an earlier part of the zodiac.
The triseptile (154+ degrees) is 5 signs (the quincunx) plus about 4 degrees either direction. The tredecile (108 degrees) is 4 signs (the trine) minus 12 degrees either direction. The semisquare (45 degrees) is one sign plus 15 either direction; the sesquisquare (135 degrees) is 4 signs (the trine) plus 15 in either direction. The novile (40 degrees) is one sign plus 10 degrees either direction; the binovile (80 degrees) is either 2 signs plus 20 degrees either direction, or 3 signs (the square) minus 10 degrees. The quadranovile (160 degrees) is always a quincunx (5 signs) plus another 10 degrees either direction.
While this may seem a bit complicated, you’ll see pretty quickly that you can get a general sense of the aspects at a glance, and with practice you’ll be able to spot aspects fairly quickly. And that’s how I do it, folks!
© Copyright 2018 Robert Wilkinson