Greetings, and welcome back to Journeys and into 2023! To start the year I have been inspired to write something about the interpretation of aspects in astrology.
Aspects, the angular distances between planets in a chart, are one of the four main tiers or components of Western astrology, the others being planets, signs and houses or temples. Of these four main components aspects are arguably the more complicated and complex part because they come in so many varieties. Learning about 12 signs, the same approximate number of planets and 12 houses is fairly straightforward if also being heavily nuanced and filled with depth – Venus for example is pretty easy to grasp as a principal and the problem of interpreting her position in a sign or a house is made easier by the fact that there are only 12 of each. However, the number of major aspects Venus can potentially form are staggering. If we include the modern planets Uranus, Neptune, Pluto and the centaur Chiron as well as the midheaven and ascendant of the chart, the challenge for someone beginning to explore and learn about astrology is very definitely in the arena of what any particular aspect signifies simply because there are so many.
In the beginning it is like learning the alphabet before learning how to form words and then complete sentences. You learn the alphabet – Venus is emotions, squares are stress or energy, Leo is pride or confidence, the 2nd house is income, etc – and you try to understand an aspect this way, like lego bricks, but sometimes this method leads to a dead end or just no clue. Aspects are daunting for beginners and frequently puzzling for experienced astrologers, too. In fact a large part of the intellectual fun of working with astrology is figuring out what particular aspects signify. In this journey I will present some of the things I have learned about interpreting aspects, whether they are in a natal chart, synastry, a transit or progression or something else. I will take you through the thought process that has evolved for me over the decades of looking at charts and figuring out these kinds of questions. This isn’t a cookbook of aspects where I delineate some interpretations for all of the possible aspects that exist, instead it’s a toolkit and a guidebook for answering the question “what does this aspect mean?”.
THE WEB OF AWARENESS
The first thing we need to understand is what an aspect is, other than its technical definition of being an angular separation between two objects in a chart. As I written before, aspects represent the relationships between the planets. It’s also worth pointing out here that they are also, and more fundamentally, the relationships between the signs of the zodiac as in fact it’s the relationship of the signs of the zodiac to one another that form the basis of aspects, not the planets. The planets represent factors operating within everything, just as the signs do, but the planets are wanderers who roam the sky and are therefore free to form relationships with other planets without restriction – only Venus and Mercury have any such restrictions because they are bonded to the Sun, but even then these restrictions only apply to the aspects that can form between the Sun, Mercury and Venus, essentially making some of the aspects between these 3 objects impossible. By contrast, the zodiac signs have their relationships with one another fixed, as well as their relationships with the planets. Aries and Cancer are always in a square relationship with one another and are always ruled by Mars and the Moon respectively, for example.
So the first thing we can say about the nature of aspects is that they are not only the relationships between the planets but how the planets express the freedom that they have to form relationships to other planets, and that the signs are the fabric or blueprint that then enact those relationships. Therefore it is critical to consider the sign as well as the nature of the planets. In modern astrology this is not made very clear because so many books on aspects focus on the planetary side and ignore the influence of signs which is understandable because if you were to offer a delineation for every possible aspect between every possible combination of planets and also include every possible combination of signs which those aspects could be occurring in, your cookbook would turn into a monumental gastronomic archive. Additionally, it would be impractical and ultimately useless except as a reference work for providing inspiration because each and every aspect in each and every chart exists in context with the whole of that chart, in other words with all of the other aspects and all of the placements of planets in signs and houses. All of those things come together to also shape how the aspect expresses itself in the end result. This is the main reason why aspects can manifest in so many varied and surprising ways even though they always do so according to the particular archetypes that they express. Again, it is worth considering the liberty that planets have in forming relationships compared to the complete lack of liberty that signs have in doing so. Planets are agents of free will much more than signs are. Planets can wander and also grow and evolve, and in doing so they can access different frequencies or lower or higher qualities found within the signs. This is because planets represent dimensions of awareness – thought, feeling, etc.– whereas signs delineate the ways in which those dimensions of awareness behave, like verbs to a planets noun. Aspects, on the other hand, reveal how one dimension of awareness interacts with or regards another dimension of awareness, for example how feelings regard thoughts, and vice versa. So we can say that the power that planets have to form relationships with one another is actually the power of that dimension of awareness to interact with other dimensions of awareness and that signs are the archetypal relationships that are available to everything.
To offer an example for clarity, it is actually impossible in our solar system for Venus to be in opposition with Mercury in a chart. This is because they are always close to the Sun from our perspective on Earth and can therefore never be on opposite sides of the zodiac. It is therefore impossible for the personal thoughts and personal emotions to be polarized at birth. They cannot exist separately. In everything Earthly, thought and emotion are innately bonded. This relationship cannot be sundered. However, in another solar system where the principal of Mercury is represented by a planet far away from the Sun (or Suns) and the equivalent of Venus is close to the Sun (or vice versa), then it would symbolize a system where these two dimensions of awareness, thought and feeling, could operate completely independently of one another and any life would then operate in truly alien ways. Such beings might well find it natural to seperate their awareness from their physical bodies in various ways, for example. This different solar system would also interact with human awareness in alien and unpredictable ways.
Aspects have a deeper metaphysical reality to them, then, since they express how the various dimensions of awareness operate upon one another, both in potential (which comes from the arrangement of planets in the solar system and is the same for everybody) and in practice (which comes from which aspects are actually present in your birth chart). Additionally, through progressions and transits and other movements of objects in the natal chart, planets can have temporary relationships with one another which form periods in which the different dimensions of awareness within us go through shifts in terms of their behaviour and their relationship to other dimensions of awareness. Once understood, this makes aspects one of the most powerful magical tools in all of astrology.
So how do we unlock their secrets?
CONTEXT IS KEY
First of all, it is important to understand the context of the aspect which involves understanding each of the parts at either end independently of one another. This is basically using the alphabet or lego brick approach again and again, layering the interpretation with additional meaning each time. As an example let’s take a chart with the Sun in a square with Mars. The first step here will be to look at the Sun and try to understand it by its sign and house position, also its dignity and any other details that do not involve aspects. Then you repeat this process for Mars. The goal here is to understand the parts of the aspect first, starting with the planets involved. Ask yourself, what is this placement about and meditate on what it brings. Do this in steps bit by bit. For example, let’s say we have a chart with the Sun in Cancer. That’s protective, nurturing, shrewd and on the negative side we can add suspicious, defensive, smothering. Let’s imagine that the Sun is in the 2nd house. Now we start to see those qualities concerning themselves with income, material security and possessions. We can stop there but if we want more we can look at the degree position of the Sun for its dignity. It’s time to look at Mars. We know that this is a square between the Sun and Mars, and that the Sun is in Cancer, but that means Mars could be in either Aries or Libra and if the square happens at a sign boundary, near the end or the beginning of signs, then potentially it could also be in Pisces, Taurus, Scorpio or Virgo as well. This is a good example of why signs are important because the square will be different in each case. So let’s imagine that Mars is actually in Aries. That’s willpower, courage and directness while on the negative side it’s rage, impatience and selfishness. Mars is also probably in the 11th house, which implies something to do with friends and companions, or something communal. Mars is obviously extremely strong in its own sign and so therefore we might suspect that this side of the aspect will overpower or dominate the other side.
Already we have the basis of a good interpretation for this aspect. We only have to compare these two things, remembering that a square relationship between anything indicates a basic difference or conflict between them (thus also indicating stress as different parts of ourselves relate to one another at a level of conflict) but also a source of dynamic energy. A strong, potentially selfish drive and willpower or just rage can overpower this person’s innately caring and cautious side. The square makes it difficult for the person to control this. The houses also suggest that this might come into play when lending or borrowing money or possessions with friends. However if they master the square the positive potential emerges – the courage and drive of Mars in Aries then works in perfect tandem with the care-giving and astute tactics of Sun in Cancer, creating a dynamic engine. Mastering the square means that the negative potential has been transformed into the positive potential and so the positive potential of both planets and signs have been activated while their negative qualities have been transformed. This turns the warning about sharing money with friends into a blessing that helps the person enrich their own life and the lives of their friends. The energy just goes into income or alliances. The person gets brave friends, or nurturing bank managers or some other expression of the qualities of the signs and houses. The square is still a square and never fully under control but what does come under control is the persons responses to it. Their mastery of those responses is what unlocks the dynamic power and banishes many of the more negative manifestations (which arise from poorly managed stress levels, as from every square).
So even at this first step where we just identify what the individual principles of the two planets in aspect are, we get working results so long as we can identify something about each planet involved. If we cannot, it may be time to expand our concepts concerning a planet and try again. This is enough, really, and I think many people get this even at the beginning stages of learning about astrology. It’s intuitive and logical at the same time. It’s also a much better place to start than the description of what planet X in aspect to planet Y means according to what someone else has written. I think many people move on from this stage to look up such interpretations by others because they don’t know which steps to take next, or they are really stumped by something that they cant crunch down using this initial process. This latter situation seems to happen more often with the outer planets or with Jupiter and Saturn. I think the reason for this is that it’s much easier for us to understand the pop psychology that comes with the aspects of the inner planets whereas the larger concerns of these slower moving planets throw more curve-balls for people.
One thing that addresses both of these issues and helps you to continue putting together your own interpretation is understanding the context in which the aspect takes place according to 2 conditions – the other aspects and the nature of the chart as a whole and the hierarchical position of the planets involved. These are not as tricky as they sound once you understand some simple concepts.
What I mean by the context of the other aspects and the nature of the chart as a whole is simply this: zoom out from your focus on a single aspect, form an impression of the chart as a whole or some other part of it, and then apply this context back to your interpretation of the aspect. You do not need to go into great detail here, just ask yourself a few simple questions – what is the Sun sign, and how does that potentially shape the aspect? Similarly, what is the context provided by the Moon and its sign? Is there something prominent that leaps out, for example a planet on the ascendant or midheaven? If so what might that do to the way that the aspect plays out? Even if these objects make no contact with the planets you are considering in aspect, they are powerful enough to affect everything in the chart strongly. As an example using the same aspect of Sun in Cancer in the 2nd in a square with Mars in Aries in the 11th, consider how different this is for a person with the Moon in Cancer as well. Suddenly the 2nd house has become more personal and extremely sensitive. The strong Moon in Cancer acts to ramp up the power of the Cancer side of the square to match the previously dominating power of the Mars in Aries side. We can’t be so sure anymore that the potentially selfish side will overpower the caring and nurturing side, but instead there is now the possibility that the defensiveness and anxiety will crush the courage and it seems likely that it will swing back and forth, with one side overpowering the other in an exhausting self conflict. Now let’s instead imagine that the person has the Moon in Leo. What we see here is that the Mars in Aries side of the conflict is getting even more support from the Moon. It bolsters the confidence and increases the courage making it easier to draw upon in an effortless flow. Now, the Sun in Cancer is really in trouble. The qualities of the Moon sign can add context by themselves, they do not have to make an aspect to “plug themselves in”.
Taking this path leads you into considering aspect patterns which leads naturally into seeing the chart as a configuration, a whole. For example, if in our example the Moon is in Libra, in opposition to Mars, it forms a T – square pattern with the Sun at the stress point (square both Moon and Mars by sign). So you begin to see a single aspect as being part of the overall chart by seeing shapes in the chart, shapes formed by the aspects. It fine tunes and sharpens the interpretation in an ever more specific direction. Try not to get too hung up on the “official” aspect patterns, nor on whether exact aspects are formed by degree or orb, remember that signs have relationships too and exact aspects just bring them into sharper focus. Look for shapes and dynamics, not just aspect patterns. The Grand Square or Cross, the Grand Trine, the Kite, etc., are all major aspect patterns that deserve attention but every sequence of aspects, every shape in the birth chart, is an aspect pattern. You just have to unlock it piece by piece. Always focus in on one piece at a time and then zoom out to consider the context of everything you know so far and incorporate it. If you get stuck, one trick or technique is to ask yourself a hypothetical question in response to a real situation, something like “if I were this planet in this sign how would I have reacted to losing my keys yesterday?”, or “how would this aspect jive with the themes presented in that movie?”. These kinds of mind games and inquiries can often produce inspiration that gets you moving forward with your interpretation. And they teach you about yourself, too.
What I mean by the context of the hierarchical position of the planets involved, the second thing that I suggest can help you move forward in your interpretation, is simply this: is one or both of the planets a Light (Sun or Moon), an inner world (Mercury, Venus and Mars), a gas giant (Jupiter and Saturn), an outer world (Uranus, Neptune, potentially also Pluto, etc.) or something else (ascendant, node, Chiron, etc.)? For example in the case of Sun square with Mars that is a square between a Light and an inner world. This is quite different to a square between, say, a Light and an outer world.
What is this difference? Essentially the Lights are the seats or centres of awareness that exist within all beings with the Sun representing the spirit (or conscious being, presence) and the Moon the soul (personal consciousness or personality). They represent the planes (the mental and astral) through which awareness is spread. The three inner worlds represent fundamental psychological realities – the emotions or instincts, the mind or intellect and the will or volition – and the invisible worlds that lie behind these psychological states of awareness. The gas giants, Jupiter and Saturn, are mediators of the natural order, Giants who regulate the evolution of life and awareness according to the universal laws and principles. Fundamentally they connect us with larger concerns than mere psychological growth. The outer worlds which we are still discovering represent the transcendent dimensions of awareness being opened by our exploration, both inner and outer. They are fundamentally more collective and tribal than the other worlds because they act to shape generations of people similarly.
As an example in practice what this means is that if you have a Light in an aspect with an outer world, you become somehow a focal point for a collective, tribal or generational trait arising from a shared astrological influence, a zeitgeist if you will, because the aspect, no matter what it is, directly influences the way you express your Sun or Moon and what you experience of it. As an example, during the 1960s almost everybody born up until near the end of that decade was born with a conjunction of Uranus and Pluto in Virgo. During the 1970s when they were teenagers they spawned the punk era and many of them dyed their hair outrageous colours, cut it in tribal styles, and pierced their noses, lips and other body parts with safety pins, studs and other adornments, which shocked their parents. This was an expression of the Uranus/Pluto conjunction. In cases where this conjunction made contact with the Sun or Moon in a chart those individuals took the look to heart or kicked against it violently – they were personally and directly shaped by the collective as it manifested through their peers and this conjunction.
The context provided by this planetary hierarchy can be important in helping you understand those often trickier to understand outer planet and gas giant aspects. With the outer planets as I said there is a collective level to what is going on and the contact will be very strong if the aspect involves a Light, as explained, but also very strong if it involves one of the inner planets as these are also quite personal, acting to channel the collective zeitgeist for a particular dimension of awareness (the will, the intellect or the emotions). The type of aspect – square, trine, etc. – is really just describing how easy or difficult it is for us to integrate and accept the power of the outer planet. In the case of the inner planets this will often manifest in some way as a muse which guides a person in a particular way, for example an aspect from Neptune to Venus will frequently turn up as an artistic muse in the life of an artist while an aspect from Neptune to Mercury will frequently show up as some kind of abstract or fantasy theme that shows up in the life of a thinker. What is happening in both cases is that the collective impulses of Neptune are being transmitted into the intellect or emotions (or in the case of Mars, into the will) of the person. Suddenly the collective atmosphere that they are born into as an environment is something that they are breathing as well, or perhaps even producing. The gas giants have a particularly important role in this hierarchy because they are in effect mediators or middle men between the inner worlds and the outer worlds. What this means is that in terms of aspects they are able to work equally well with both groups and to translate between them. This is an interesting factor to consider in aspect patterns, for example when the Moon is in a sextile with Jupiter and Jupiter is conjunct Uranus, it’s an indication that something is going on relating to the transmission of whatever Uranus represents to whatever the Moon represents, in this case through Jupiter (expansion, enlargement and opportunity but also potential waste), via a sextile (stimulation, hype, arousal, excitement). A simple way to think of Jupiter and Saturn is as increasing the flow (unfolding it) or slowing it down (ordering it). In this way we can understand aspects involving Jupiter and Saturn as either increasing the flow of meaning from the outer worlds to the inner worlds (or Lights) or slowing it down and organizing it into structures. When the gas giants form aspects with the outer worlds (e.g. Saturn square Neptune) they are integrating transpersonal energies into their agendas (which modifies how they are expressing themselves) and when they are forming aspects with the inner worlds they are enacting those agendas in nature and mundane life (generally, modifying the way those planets express). Aspects are always two-way, but there is a natural order to their significance.
The hierarchy of the solar system that we live in is actually more complex than these tiers suggest but this is the most practical one to use, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the notion and are just beginning to use it in aspect interpretation. In my book The 26 Keys I present a more detailed discussion of this hierarchy which I will share with you below for reference:
The Astro-Cosmic Structure (from the most mundane to the stellar)
The temples: Realms and arenas of experience in which we encounter all that follows below personally. Structurally, arises from our localized perception of the daily rotation of the Earth (primary motion).
The zodiac: The Elemental processes of life on Earth, through which all that follows below is expressed. A co-creative relationship between humans and the beings of the Lights and planets expressed as native Elemental processes, particularly the processes of the seasons, therefore, partially human in creation and reflective of different cultures and ages of human societies. Astrological aspects are of the zodiac, being the harmonic interaction it contains, its geometry, and the Lunar nodes are also part of this structure (see Dragon’s Head & Tail). Structurally, arises from our perception of the rotation of Earth around the Sun (secondary motion), but has its earliest roots in the patterning of stars (see below).
The Lights: The essence of life on Earth expressed as consciousness (Sun, the mental awareness of meaning, existence and life, the focus of our individuality) and astral awareness (Moon, the personal awareness of significance, the focus of our personality). The conductors of the celestial music of life on Earth.
The inner worlds: The solid, visible worlds of the personality – intellect (Mercury), feeling (Venus) and will (Mars). However, Mars is also involved in an individual process of aligning our personality with our individuality (he is an architect and enforcer of the mediators and inner worlds who decides which ideas and feelings to act upon).
The asteroids: The minutiae of the specific material of the personality and individuality which must be made integral and assembled into a harmonic whole. Our relationship to the many details of the personal and individual world which we must discern and integrate. Harmonizing Mars with Jupiter is an important overall aspect of this process because this places our seemingly vast and fractured individual differences in context with our greater quantity and quality of individual similarities. Largely invisible and therefore astra-mental in causation.
The mediators: The gaseous worlds of the individuality, the guardians of the natural order, endless expansion (Jupiter) and endless crystallization (Saturn). They are mediators between the zone of the Lights, inner worlds and asteroids (the inner zone) and the zone of the outer and mythic worlds (the outer zone), therefore, mediators between the personal/individual and the collective or transpersonal. Visible, therefore able to create a physical causation directly.
The centaurs: Emissaries and bridges to the collective and transpersonal, our ties to what lies beyond the mediators and thus escorts to the outer and mythic worlds. We must always go to the outer and mythic worlds and bring back what we learn for the collective, individual and personal worlds. These are our guides and companions for that journey, they are teachers and the givers of knowledge from beyond, the threads which connect the individual to the wider collective or spiritual and thus bind them together. Any other objects found among the centaurs and named for hybrid or mythical creatures will also serve a similar function of introducing us to the outer or mythic worlds. Not visible with the naked human eye, therefore astra-mental in causation, but still capable of condensing a physical effect through the geometry of the zodiac.
The outer worlds: Uranus and Neptune, representatives of the collective human awareness that we are all one mind, and the universal awareness that all existence is one mind. Uranus hovers on the edge of visibility with the naked eye like some of the asteroids, but is more effective on an astra-mental level than a physical one, like Neptune. Again, this does not mean they cannot create physical effects, only that they always begin with an astra-mental one. Shapers of generations of people.
The mythic worlds: Pluto and other invisible worlds beyond Neptune; concern the emergence of mythic archetypes and are heralds of realizations and states emerging in the collective human awareness as it encompasses more of its infinite nature and the universal consciousness. Transmuters of the collective and representatives of aspects of the universal consciousness. Transcendental portals through which consciousness touches the infinite and eternal. Shapers of fate.
The stars: Underpin all of the above with pure essential meaning through Quadrapolar relationships to the Earth (see advanced material). The essence and font of pure astral and mental meaning which becomes clothed in and expressed through the planetary fabric of our solar system. Stars represent influences over the creation of a (temporal) spirit. Constellations relate to the facets of the Greater Self (the immortal spirit) as it turns its infinite face through physical eternity, therefore to the turning of celestial ages.
This hierarchy is just another tool for you to use in coming up with an interpretation for your puzzling aspect, it’s a jumping off point for new investigation. Don’t feel that you have to include it, but do think about it and know that it is there if you need it. Really this hierarchy, as far as aspects interpretation is concerned, is just another detail that you can add to the essential meaning of the Lights and planets.
DOMINANCE & RECEPTIVITY
Another factor at play in every aspect is the potential for one planet to dominate or submit to another, something I have touched upon above. Dominance arises usually from one or both of two considerations or conditions:
A) One of the planets is angular, with the ascendant being the most powerful angle, the midheaven the next most powerful, the descendant in third place and the IC in fourth. Any planet near or at one of these places is in a throne of power and command over the chart. Just being in the house also helps a lot. Alternatively, one of the planets is the chart ruler.
B) One of the planets is in rulership or exaltation while the other is not or is in fall or detriment. Alternatively, if one planet is very well aspected (has many sextiles and/or trines, some conjunctions with the benefic planets (Venus or Jupiter) or the chart ruler, or is in an overall better position, this can confer some dominance, especially if the other planet is in a difficult position. However, the reverse can also occur when one planet in the aspect is heavily stressed by squares and oppositions and assumes dominance by default because it becomes so loaded with issues.
Receptivity, the capacity to be open to receiving influences, usually arises from:
A) The nature of the planet itself, with Venus and the Moon as well as Neptune being highly receptive because they are usually more passive.
B) The Water and Earth Elements and their signs, which make all things more receptive
C) Trines and some sextiles confer greater receptivity and passivity
D) Planets in cadent houses are more receptive because they have less power to act (9th, 3rd, 6th, 12th, with the 9th being the strongest cadent house and the 12th the most inactive).
Dominance and receptivity are also related to the hierarchy outlined above – planets at higher levels have dominance over planets at lower ones with the exception of the Lights, which are both almost equally dominant and receptive, with the Sun having the edge in dominance and the Moon in receptivity but both having such power by nature that they transcend the hierarchy. Saturn is frequently very dominant in his aspects because he is the final planet that we can clearly see with the naked eye, so the buck stops here effectively. Spiritual karma is the ultimate determiner of whatever happens. Sometimes dominance is obvious and at other times not, usually because it is volatile and changes hands under certain circumstances. For example, Mars is often the dominant factor if the aspect tends towards anger or frustration, Saturn if it is gloom and limitation. It’s important to understand that what is happening in terms of dominance is that one aspect of our awareness is exerting excessive force or control over another. Even the so-called benefic planets, when made too dominant, produce undesirable effects such as insatiable desire or excessive Pollyanna like ignorance of reality. Similarly, the so-called malefic planets can produce positive effects when they are dominant. Saturn can help us bring order to things and Uranus can help us reinvent them.
You can often deduce dominance from within a chart using the pointers I have provided but understanding which planet is dominant in any given aspect can also be inferred from watching people and then that information can be brought to the chart. A very sober and disciplined person who tends to be looking on the pessimistic side of things a little too much will probably have something going on in their chart with Saturn. If you get to see that chart you would then immediately hone in on the position of Saturn, looking for the reasons why it is so dominant. Perhaps you don’t find a strong Saturn but instead find a pileup going on in Capricorn, its most sober sign. In this case you would switch to looking for the strongest planet in Capricorn, the one that is producing all that strong saturnine energy. You could then begin to build up your interpretation of the chart from a place of certainty and the aspects of that planet would become important ones for you to work on, at least initially. In this way your observation of planetary dominance in life around you helps to inform and guide your astrological learning by proceeding from known and observable realities rather than guesswork. It can also teach you, as in this case, about the often blurry distinctions between planetary qualities and sign qualities. Both of Saturn’s signs, Capricorn and Aquarius, display Saturn-like qualities, but there is a difference between the influence of Saturn and the influence of his signs, and both signs express their planetary rulers nature differently. This is not an easy distinction to put into words but using the above method you can discover it for yourself and this can also end up being extremely useful in aspect interpretation. The best way I have of describing it is as I have said earlier – the planets represent dimensions of awareness (nouns) whereas signs represent processes of awareness (verbs, adverbs and adjectives) which those dimensions engage in. Again, a dominant or receptive relationship between planets in an aspect represents a dominant – submissive/receptive dynamic in part of us.
This raises the interesting question of whether an aspect is primarily internally or externally experienced, in other words whether it will manifest as events, happenings and the activities of other people around us or as an interior experience, a state of being. Actually the answer is that it always manifests as both because there is no separation between the interior and exterior except in our perception, but the question that remains is which way it will tend? The nature of aspects themselves have a strong role to play here – squares and oppositions tend to be external in their effect whereas sextile and trine aspects tends to be internal. With conjunctions, it’s mostly internal but that can change depending upon the nature of the planets with more active and forceful planets like Mars making for more externally focused conjunctions. The Moon is always very interior and the Sun always radiates into the exterior. Another factor that plays a strong role here is angularity – anything that connects with the angles, especially the ascendant or midheaven, always has an external manifestation that is quite strong. Recently for example I have been talking to a woman with Venus in Gemini on the ascendant who is a speech therapist. The 12th is the most interior house and the 1st the most exterior. The question of whether an aspect will manifest in the exterior or interior experience is a judgment call I make based on these kinds of considerations but really I prefer to gather this information from direct interaction with the person and then use it as context to fine tune my interpretation of the rest of the chart. We must always remember that the chart is like a garment that the person is wearing, and not the person themselves. People inhabit their charts as consciousness and then express it according to their degree of consciousness and the choices they make.
I hope that these words have helped you to work with all kinds of aspects, please let me know in the comments if you have any questions or observations of your own that you would like to share and thank you for journeying with me! Before I go I would just like to mention that starting this year I will be sharing some simple magic spells each month with my $5 or more patrons on Patreon, alongside the monthly forecast. These will cover a wide range of topics and be provided for personal use. If that sounds interesting to you please join us!