top of page
  • Kristina Terzieva

Planetary Whispers: Decoding and Balancing Hard Aspects in an Astrology Natal Chart

Updated: Sep 30, 2023

“The message boldly blazoned across the heavens at the moment of birth is not meant to emphasize fate—the result of past good and evil—but to arouse man’s will to escape from his universal thralldom. What he has done, he can undo. […] He can overcome any limitation, […]

because he has spiritual resources which are not subject to planetary pressure.”

– Swami Sri Yukteswar

Balancing hard aspects in an astrology natal chart could appear daunting at first glance, especially if they concern major spheres of our lives, such as our health, relationships, or career. Knowing that we have an opposition, square, or a semi-square in one of these areas may easily create a mental block that further exacerbates the dynamic implied by the respective hard aspect. Before I delve into an analysis of what one may be able to do, in order to harmonize these planetary energies and make the best of one’s life lessons for this incarnation, I would like to take a brief moment to describe what types of configurations in a natal chart would be considered “hard aspects”.

The term aspect, in and of itself, suggests a relationship between two planets, or between two components of an astrology chart, such as the Midheaven, for example, and the South and North Nodes, or the Ascendant (which are not planets, but are part of one’s natal chart). These relationships are measured by the angle, which the two planets, or the two components form within the circle of the birth chart. As we know from Euclidean geometry, a circle has 360 degrees. Thus, every aspect would be at a degree between 0 and 360 degrees.

Within the above parameters, a distinction between “major” and “minor” aspects exists. The major “good” or favorable aspects are: sextile (60 degrees) and trine (120 degrees). The major challenging aspects are: square (90 degrees) and opposition (180 degrees). A conjunction (0 and 360 degrees), also counts towards the major aspects, and it may fall in either the “easy” or “tense” category, depending on other configurations in the chart.

The minor aspects, generally speaking, are derived by “dividing” the angle formed by the major aspect in half. For example, a semi-sextile would denote a 30-degree angle, and a semisquare is formed at 45 degrees. Additional minor aspects include: quintile (72 degrees); sesquiquadrate (135 degrees); biquintile (144 degrees); and quincunx (150 degrees). The minor aspects, too, indicate either a harmonious, or challenging relationship between two planets. The semi-sextile, as well as the quintile and biquintile point to complementary, or mutually reinforcing planetary energies, while the semisquare, the sesquiquadrate, and the quincunx reveal a difficult, or tense interaction between the respective components of the chart.

For the purpose of this discussion, I chose to focus on the opposition – a major challenging aspect – as well as the semisquare and sesquiquadrate as examples of a minor tense aspects. Based on that, a more general rule may be applied to other hard aspects as a harmonizing principle. In examining my own natal chart, several hard aspects stood out to me, which related to my career (Midheaven in 10th House), relationships (Venus in 5th House), and health/wellness (Mars in 6th House). Interestingly, all of these tense aspects tied to the position of Chiron – an asteroid – in my chart.

The aspects that Chiron formed ranged from opposition (Venus) to semisquare (Midheaven) and sesquiquadrate (Mars). To better understand these placements, I took a moment to engage in an "intuitive inquiry" – and approach that I have developed over the years, which involves three steps: 1) I empty my mind completely; 2) state a question, which has a "yes" or "no" answer; 3) wait for a response. I don't meditate in that state, but I do remain open and receptive to guidance. This method yielded a meaningful insight, namely that Chiron serves as a balancer for other planets and/or configurations in the natal chart. In my case, Chiron "came" in Taurus to balance the Midheaven in Pisces, Venus in Scorpio, and Mars in Sagittarius. It took me some time to interpret that insight and give it meaning, especially in the context of my career, relationships, and health/wellness.

As it relates to my career, I had often swung from jobs that offer great deal of excitement and don't pay much, to positions that pay adequately, but do not align with my Soul's path and self-expression. In my natal chart, the balancer – Chiron in Taurus – teaches not to swing in either extreme. Dynamic, intellectually stimulating jobs that don't pay much tend to be just as bad as jobs that pay decently, but don't allow the Soul to express its true potential and to serve its mission. In other words, the semisquare between Chiron in Taurus and Midheaven in Pisces has been placed to keep me in check throughout my lifetime by forcing me to make career choices that ultimately offer financial stability, intellectual stimulation, and are in service to others. I have noticed that all three conditions need to be met, in order for this aspect to work its magic in the chart by balancing the tendencies to oscillate between these extremes.

Looking at the opposition between Venus in Scorpio and Chiron in Taurus, a similar message emerged, but with an added emphasis on grounding and maintaining healthy boundaries in a relationship. Taking inventory of my romantic involvements revealed to me a somewhat unpleasant truth that I have often had a tendency to easily fall in love, delving in too deeply too soon, and finally losing myself (to a degree). The popular saying: “when I give, I give myself” applied fully, except it did not serve me well, and needed a balancer. The Taurus energy suggests a level-headed approach and teaches to maintain a firm stance and not lose ground.

Interpreting the sesquiquadrate between Chiron in Taurus and Mars in Sagittarius gave me much food for thought. One way to understand this minor aspect is to consider it a composite of a square (90 degrees) and a semisquare (45 degrees). Using the intuitive inquiry method, described above, led me to a more unconventional perspective on this configuration. Instead of focusing on what it is – a hard minor aspect – my analysis suggested that I examine what it is not – or the closest favorable major aspect. Geometrically, this would have been at trine (120 degrees). However, that would have placed Mars in Capricorn, also and earth sign, which would have signaled a lesson learned. Having this hard aspect between Mars in Sagittarius vis-à-vis Chiron in Taurus indicates a lesson in grounding the kinetic energy. It also guards against going to excesses and puts one on notice to pace oneself. Mars in Sagittarius can be very expansive, even exuberant, at times. These energy bursts, although productive, may need grounding to be contained. In this way, one’s “car” does not run out of fuel before reaching the final destination.

Overall, hard aspects in a natal chart teach us how to live a balanced life in a certain area, where we may be prone to going to excesses. The key to decoding the messages that these configurations have for us lies in examining patterns in the respective sphere of life where the aspect manifests itself and finding the planet that balances these choices, or behavior. Based on my experience, the way to harmonize challenging aspects would be to look for the “balancing” planet(s), taking into account their placement within the chart and the associated element (earth, fire, air, water).


bottom of page