by Stefan Stenudd
Sextile Aspects in the Complete Horoscope
Cooperating Inner Forces in Classical Astrology
The creative energy
of things inspiring one another
into pleasant initiatives.
The sextile can be regarded as sort of a lesser trine. Where the latter signifies a kind of harmony that does not necessarily lead to concrete results but is present and helpful anyway, the sextile is often evident and leads to intensified activity as well as palpable results.
It is the weakest of the five major aspects (conjunction, opposition, trine, square, and sextile), but it still enhances the planets involved somewhat, compared to what their importance would be without that aspect. The closer the sextile is to 60°, the stronger the aspect is, and the more it enhances the planets involved.
In some cases, there can be three or more planets or other points in a sextile, if one or both sides of it has a conjunction. Of course, such a sextile is even more important.
OriginThe origin of the astrological significance of the sextile is from the Zodiac: it is the aspect that connects Zodiac signs of the same charge — positive or negative. Air and fire signs are positive, whereas earth and water signs are negative. It's a charge, not a value. It can be compared to the Chinese concepts yin and yang. The positive signs are outward and upward, but the negative signs are inward and downward. The former are also warm, and the latter cold in their natural state. So forces within signs of the same charge have the same direction, which makes them stimulate one another. Also, there is math in the aspect: the circle's 360° divided by six is 60.
KeywordsThere is no room here to describe all the possible sextiles and how they should be interpreted. Instead, see the keywords for the planets below, and you will probably figure out what their sextiles will signify. Also take into consideration the Zodiac sign each planet is in, which tells you more about the nature of that planet's influence — and even more so the Houses of the planets, which inform you of where in your life the sextile is mainly active. Here are the keywords for the planets and other points that form aspects:
For example, the moon in sextile with Mercury means that your longing and your curiosity cooperate, so that you find it easy to satisfy both — often in the same time and activity. The House of the moon will tell you what you long for the most, and the House of Mercury will tell you what you are the most curious about.
Here are the twelve Houses, and keywords for what part of life they describe:
2nd House Resources
3rd House Communication
4th House Home
5th House Pastime
6th House Work
7th House Partners
8th House Unknown
9th House Travel
10th House Career
11th House Ideals
12th House Shortcomings
Also the twelve signs of the Zodiac have natural sextiles, as mentioned and seen on the illustration above.
Native sextilesSextiles in a birth chart never change. They show characteristics that you are born with and will keep all through your life. Pay attention to what Houses they are in. That shows in what area of your life the sextiles mostly express themselves.
Also, consider how long the sextile lasted in the sky, at the time of your birth: Some come and go very quickly, so they are quite personal, whereas others (those of the outer planets) remain for years, so they are shared by a whole generation.
Transit sextilesTransit sextiles are those formed by the planets up in the sky to the points in your complete horoscope chart. It happens twice during each planet's orbit around the sun — once when approaching the transited planet or point in your horoscope, and once when moving away from it. For example, every year the sun forms two sextile aspects with each of the points in your horoscope, four months apart. For the moon, this is done in just a month. The slowest planet Pluto takes 248 years to complete its orbit, so you may reach old age without experiencing its sextile with all of the points in your horoscope.
Here are the times it takes for the planets and other points to make one rotation around the Zodiac, in round numbers — from a geocentric perspective, ie. as seen from the earth.
The frequency of a transit sextile decides how important it is in your life. So, Pluto causes big and lasting changes, whereas the moon does little more than influence your mood at the moment.
ProgressionsProgressions are aspects formed by imaginary movement of the planets and other points in the birth chart. They don't correspond to any actual movement of the planets. Therefore, they should be used with care. But many astrologers regularly consider progressions, so you may want to try it. I rarely do it, which is why I don't present it further here. Transits make much more sense to me.
OrbOrb is the measure of what angle is to be regarded as an aspect. For transit aspects of any kind, I would not recommend an orb grater than 1°, so that a transit sextile is active when the transiting planet is 59°-61° from the natal point. That usually takes more than a year for Pluto, but no more than about four hours for the moon.
Be aware that some transit aspects return once or twice, because of the retrograde movements of the planets, as seen from the Earth. So, usually a transit passing is followed by a retrograde passing, and then finished with a third passing when the planet resumes its forward movement. That means the event triggered by the transit tends to announce itself, then seem not to happen, but then finish by happening pretty much as it was originally announced. That's how much in life works, because of this stellar rhythm.
In the case of aspects in your complete native horoscope chart, orbs vary according to aspects. For the sextile I recommend an orb of about 2°, i.e. from 58°-62°, but most astrologers actually use a slightly bigger orb, some as much as 5°. You can also allow the orb to vary according to what planets are involved, but that should be done moderately.
The AspectsHere are the major aspects in astrology, with links to the webpage of each:
ZODIAC SIGNSThe twelve Zodiac signs and what they mean in astrology.
MY OTHER WEBSITES
About meI'm a Swedish astrologer, author and historian of ideas, researching ancient thought and mythology. My personal website: stenudd.com