Hard aspects in astrology are specific angles between planets or placements that indicate that the two may struggle to cooperate. There may be friction between the planets, or they may compete for control. Two major hard aspects are oppositions and squares.
So what can you learn from these tricky aspects in your chart? Keep reading to find out!
- Hard aspects can feel challenging and lead to conflict.
- The major hard aspects are oppositions and squares.
- In a chart, hard aspects are often represented as red lines.
Hard Aspects Explained
There is a lot of geometry used in astrology.
Because an astrological chart is circular, the units used for measurement in astrological charts are degrees, just like you learned in math class.
Aspects are simply angles between two planets or placements on a chart that are a specific number of degrees apart.
The specific angle determines the type or style of the relationship.
Angles referred to as hard aspects indicate that there is some kind of struggle between the two.
The Major Hard Aspects
Astrologers categorize aspects into major and minor aspects.
Major aspects are considered to be quite influential and minor aspects are seen as more subtle.
With hard aspects, there are only two that are considered major, the opposition and the square.
The aspect called the opposition represents a relationship where planets are 180 degrees apart.
This means that these two planets are on completely opposite sides of the chart.
In the sample chart above, you can see that Mercury and Mars are 180° apart so in an opposition.
An opposition could result in a power grab where each planet tries to exert itself and overpower the other, leaving the individual to continuously switch their attention and energy back and forth between the two.
The two planets don’t necessarily want to silence or destroy the other, they simply want to make sure their needs are met.
I think of an opposition like two siblings vying for the attention of their parents.
As long as they feel satisfied, they are ok with the sibling getting what they want as well, but it they don’t, look out!
Oppositions can feel like knee-jerk reactions that pull a person one way, and then the other.
Or, it can feel like an internal tug-of-war.
This can be both confusing and frustrating. But, it doesn’t have to be that way.
If we don’t look at oppositions as unfortunate aspects in our charts, but instead as areas that just need extra attention, we can actually use what we know about our hard aspects to try to avoid their pitfalls and fuel personal growth.
For an opposition, a compromise must be struck.
When looking at the needs and motivations of the planets in that aspect, it is important to try to figure out a way that both can “win” at the same time, or how they can both get equal attention.
This is where the creative and intuitive aspect of astrology comes into play. With an opposition, brainstorm and ask yourself how many different ways the two planets could have their needs met at the same time.
This will offer a long list of ideas to try and different ways to try to find a good balance between the two.
The other major hard aspect in astrology is called the square and it represents a relationship where planets are 90 degrees apart.
In the example chart above, you can see that Venus and Mars are square to one another, at a 90° angle.
In a square, the planets can’t see eye to eye in any capacity and they prefer to completely eclipse the other.
Like an opposition, each is fighting for attention, but what is different with a square is that they see no room for compromise.
They are out to squash the other.
A square can cause stress in an individual in the areas of life that the planets are affecting because of the constant turmoil.
It could be difficult to grow in these areas because of it.
Another outcome could be that one of the planets in the square succeeds at eclipsing the other.
While the individual may excel in the areas of life the dominating planet is influencing, the needs and strengths of the other planet have been silenced.
In that scenario, the individual will completely miss out on the lessons and gifts that the planet had to offer.
But, even though it may not always be easy, it is definitely possible to find a positive outcome from a square aspect.
One way to think about resolving an issue with a square is to pull both along at the same time, kicking and screaming.
Give both planets equal energy in life, even if it can’t be at the same time.
This must be a conscious effort, but with this approach, neither planet is allowed to overshadow the other and the strengths and gifts of both can shine.
In working with a square, two very different things can be true about the same person, and they should put energy into both things.
While the two planets may not be able to work together at the same time, they can definitely both be woven into the same life.
The Minor Hard Aspects
Minor aspects are generally not one of the first things an astrologer would look to in a chart for clues or guidance.
It isn’t that they aren’t thought of as important or influential, but their effects may be more subtle.
There are 4 minor hard aspects I will explain here, the quincunx, semi-square, semisextile, and sesquiquadrate.
What many astrologers feel is the most important of the minor aspects is the quincunx which describes two planets that are 150 degrees apart.
This is also an aspect that astrologers don’t all agree on if it is considered hard, soft or neither.
In a quincunx, the signs involved have nothing in common, such as sharing the same element or modality.
This makes for a situation where the two planets involved have a very difficult time understanding one another and finding common ground.
This can be very frustrating, but when enough attention, time, and energy is given to the situation, with a quincunx the planets can figure out how to work together and the relationship can improve and actually become a beneficial one.
The semi-square is a hard aspect where two planets are 45 degrees apart.
A semi-square has a similar effect on planets as a square, but simply less intense.
With a semi-square, the tension between the two planets can be an irritation, but a minor one that may not feel imperative to deal with.
Even though the frustration level is less with a semi-square, it still indicates an area of life where improvement and growth can be made.
In a semi-sextile, two planets are 30 degrees apart.
In this relationship, the two planets are in two signs that are right next to each other.
I think of the semi-sextile as a teenager and parent relationship.
The planet in the “more advanced” sign is like the parent that looks back at the planet in the sign behind them as immature and irritating, even though they were there themselves once.
The planet in the “less advanced” sign is like the teenager that rebels and resists becoming like their parent, even though it is inevitable.
It is a minor frustration, but another area where, when thought and energy are given to it, there is room for personal growth.
A sesquiquadrate is an aspect where two planets are 135 degrees apart.
This relationship may be challenging, but the issues it causes may be completely off of the individual’s radar and they may not be consciously aware of it.
It may take an outside event or situation to bring awareness of the tension between the two planets or the struggles the aspect is causing for the person.
How to Find Hard Aspects on a Chart
In an astrological chart, aspect lines are often drawn through the center of the chart and the hard aspect lines are generally drawn in red.
In the example chart above, you can see many colored lines, or aspects, in the center of the chart. The hard aspect lines are red.
So how do you know what type of hard aspect it is?
You can easily find this information by reading the aspect grid.
The grid is a table with all of the aspects included and you can follow the column of a planet or placement down to see an aspect, then trace its row over to see which planet it shares that aspect with.
We have an article that teaches you exactly how to read an aspect grid, step-by-step, and you can find it here.
Hard Aspect Symbols in Astrology
What’s a hard aspect in astrology?
A hard aspect is an angle between two planets or placements that are thought to lead to conflict or challenges between the two. Hard aspects are relationships between points in astrological charts that may not feel easy.
What are hard aspects in a birth chart?
Hard aspects are specific angles between points or planets in a birth chart that are thought to lead to a challenging relationship between the two. The major hard aspects are oppositions and squares and the minor hard aspects are quincunx, sesquiquadrate, semi-sextile, and semi-square.
What do the aspects mean?
Aspects in astrology are specific angles between two planets or placements. Each aspect is thought to lead to a certain kind of relationship between those two points. Some can bring supportive bonds (soft aspects), and some can bring challenging ones (hard aspects).
Is opposition a hard aspect?
An opposition ☍ is considered to be a hard aspect in astrology. This 180° angle between two planets or points can feel as though each placement is pulling from different directions with both competing to get their needs met.
Another article you may enjoy:
Soft Aspects in Astology