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The Basics of Astrology
Unaspected Planets in Astrology
An astrological chart is mainly composed of three groups of elements: ten planets, which are the specific energies providing the raw characteristics of the personality1, twelve houses representing a particular area of life2, and twelve signs which imbue the planets and signs with specific features.
In general, the ten planets of the chart are connected to other planets by major or minor astrological aspects6. It is owing to those ties that the planets' energies can manifest in the chart owner's personality and play out within safeguards according to a specific tonality.
It seldom happens that in a natal chart, a planet is totally disconnected from the nine other planets. Why does such a phenomenon rarely occur? It is because the aspects, or links, among planets are given some margin, referred to as orb in the astrological jargon. For instance, a trine between two planets shows that they are separated by an angle of 120 degrees. But the general practice is to accept a discrepancy of approximately 8 degrees, which means that two planets separated by a distance between 112 and 128 degrees are considered to form a trine. Thus, after having looked over all possible aspects, the probability of having a planet forming no aspect with the other planets is very low.
Astrologers have observed that when such a case occurs, the person feels the energy of the unaspected planet in quite a singular way, very jerky and powerful at the same time. Thus, for instance, the famed astrologer Jean-Baptiste Morin de Villefranche wrote that "an unaspected planet heralds that something strange or extraordinary will take place regarding the meanings of the house in which the said planet is posited" (source : l'astrologie selon Morin).
Other astrologers, such as Dane Rudhyar and Alexander Ruperti, explain that unaspected planets bring about more freedom to the people having them in their natal chart, with all its potential danger as well as with all its qualities and forces. The principle of the "wild horse" is often mentioned by most authors in this regard, because the unaspected planet is left to its own devices and can unleash its full power without any limitation. Numerous astrologers have expressed their opinion (Geoffrey Dean, Evangeline Adams, Moore, C.E.O. Carter, Grant Lewi, Bill Tierney, Janis Huntley, Bernard Crozier, etc.). Although their different experiences do not yet allow in the 21st century to decide how unaspected planets should be exactly interpreted, there are nonetheless very interesting common points that must be taken into consideration in order to fine-tune the analysis and interpretation of the natal chart.
Rules for detecting an unaspected planet
Astrologers do not agree on the aspects that ought to be taken into account when identifying an unaspected planet. There is a broad consensus that aspects formed by a planet to the angles of the chart are to be dismissed7, but whereas several authors consider only major aspects, some others include all the eleven usual aspects (major and minor).
Among all the testimonies that we have reviewed to this day, based on our experience, we tend to agree with American astrologer Janis Huntley who accepts seven aspects, which involve the zodiacal twelve sections of 30 degrees, and neglects the semi-quintile (36 degrees, very rarely used), the quintile (72 degrees, slightly favourable and allowing a very tight orb), and the bi-quintile (144 degrees, same meaning as the quintile), the semi-square (45 degrees, slightly unfavourable), and the sesqui-square (135 degrees, slightly unfavourable too).
The aspects to be considered are the conjunction (0 degree, cooperation or tension), the semi-sextile (30 degrees), the sextile and the trine (60 and 120 degrees respectively, aspects of cooperation), the square and the opposition (90 and 180 degrees respectively, tensed aspects), and the quincunx (150 degrees, slightly tensed).
Thus, a planet is said to be unaspected if it forms no conjunction, semi-sextile, sextile, square, trine, opposition, or quincunx with one of the nine other planets of the natal chart, within the orbs of those aspects.
How should this unaspected planet phenomenon be interpreted? After having made the synthesis of our personal experiences and those of astrologers who have published their conclusion on this topic, we provide here its most likely meaning for the ten planets.
Interpretation for the ten planets
The house where the unaspected planet is posited is particularly prone to those cyclic contrasts, which need to be taken into account. But the most important thing to do is to take note that this peculiarity marks, or tints, the whole personality and not only the area of life involved.
This rule applies to all planets. Indeed, an unaspected planet brings about its share of tremors over time, and the person has a hard time controlling its immense forces, which could be almost described as chaotic. In most cases, he can but acknowledge their influences, or adjust to them when he is mature enough, usually in the second part of his life.
It is also useful to cautiously remind that an astrological chart forms a whole. The meaning of any peculiarity of the chart, such as in the unaspected planets topic, constitutes only a facet which does not rule out the possibility that the personality or the destiny of the chart owner is different from the theory indicated. For instance, Louis Pasteur does not match the interpretation given for his unaspected Moon in Gemini in the 8th House, at least as far as his public image is concerned. His relatives and friends are the only people who could give a reliable opinion.
Let's see now how to interpret the ten unaspected planets:
Unaspected Sun : interpretation
When the Sun is unaspected in the natal chart, its characteristics, both assets and weaknesses, are increased. The person's charm, magnetism, and charisma are strengthened and facilitate his success in society. See the example of the Sun-King, Louis XIV, who had the Sun unaspected in Virgo (with an orb smaller than 6 degrees for his sextile to Neptune), or Vincent Van Gogh.
However, this principle may be inverted under the influence of transits or progressions. At such crucial times, the Sun's negative features prevail, in which case social maladjustment, paralysed willpower, unawareness of one's rude character or behaviour, self-centredness, egoism, and vanity erase the natural benefits of the Sun left to his own devices.
Unaspected Moon: interpretation
The Moon's main characteristics are reactivity, passivity, emotionalism, and the propensity to dream one's life rather that to live it concretely. When the Moon is unaspected in a chart, the person periodically expresses himself without restraint or shut himself away in his inner world. Like an overly sensitive radar, he becomes alternately utterly vulnerable to fleeting impressions or to stimuli that are hardly perceptible to people, or he displays no reaction, as if he had grown indifferent to his environment.
The Moon's intuition and popularity are usually prevailing, but they will manifest in fits and starts only, probably as soon as the Moon ceases to be stimulated by a tricky transit or a problematic secondary progression. Although this condition is quite hard to deal with, it has an endearing feature. Indeed, more than any other unaspected planet, an unaspected Moon endows the person's changing disposition with quite charming powers.
By analogy, it ought to be noted that in a horary chart, when the Moon forms no applying aspect, she is said to be void of course, and it becomes impossible to provide an answer. An unaspected Moon increases the weird and uncontrollable tendencies of the person. A good illustration is the scientist Louis Pasteur who has the Moon in Gemini and in the 8th House, as already mentioned.
Unaspected Mercury: interpretation
Mercury is seldom unaspected in a chart since he is never very far from the Sun and Venus.
Mercury's first characteristic is his mobility. Whether he gets his features from airy Gemini or earthy Virgo, in both cases, he is by nature quick, unstable, vivacious, and changeful. It is easy to understand that when he is unaspected, the intellectualism, the nervousness, and the dispersion that he brings about may blow up out of proportion. Even though the person is sometimes able to achieve short-lived amazing intellectual feats or verbal and written exploits, he has trouble finding stability and constructing on a long-term basis. He can display a wide range of features, from the undeniable charm of a versatile journalist and the talent of a TV presenter to the carelessness of the chronically absent-minded man.
Having said this, mobility is often an asset which enables to land on one's feet in all circumstances, and it does not restrain intellectual excellence. Mahatma Gandhi, whose destiny was exceptional as we all know, had unaspected Mercury in Scorpio in the 1st House.
Venus unaspected: interpretation
Venus is seldom unaspected in a chart since she is never very far from the Sun and Mercury.
Venus unaspected shows alternating outbursts of emotions and both material and sensual desires. Venus' charm and kindness are still strong, but owing to her uncontrolled characteristics, some degree of indolence or passivity sometimes prevents the person from achieving a very active or conquering life.
The person may seem too "quiet". In the long run, these sentimental fluctuations, or this vulnerability to material desires may also lead to some degree of introversion, and the person ends up distrusting himself as well as the desires, and feelings that recklessly take him too far too quickly.
Mars unaspected: interpretation
Mars unaspected in a chart is without doubt the most noticeable case among the ten unaspected planets, according to the majority of astrologers. This can be explained by Mars' very nature which is synonymous with action, sexuality, or anger. Whereas with an unaspected Moon, Mercury, or Venus, the energy may be directed inwardly through emotions, the intellect, feelings, or desires, with Mars, there is always a concrete impact, an action, and a momentum directed towards a goal.
Along with Pluto (hidden and instinctive energy) and Uranus (unpredictability), and to a lesser extent, the Sun (energy controlled by willpower), Mars possesses not only the strongest energy, but also the most direct, visible, and instant one. Unaspected Mars sometimes moves mountains and endows the person with inordinate power, sometimes activates the aggressive and quick-tempered facet of his nature.
Depending on the person's natal chart, unaspected Mars may create a war hero, an athlete who achieves incredible exploits, or a quarrelsome, impatient, and chaotic person unable to control himself as soon as this planet is triggered by a hard transit or progression.
It is worth underlining that when Mars is in his home, exaltation, exile, or fall, his unaspected condition has stronger consequences, with a special mention for Mars in Aries, in his home. In such a case, Mars expresses himself without restraint and in fits and starts.
Jupiter unaspected: interpretation
When Jupiter is unaspected in a chart, the best and the worst can be expected. Let's begin with the best. Jupiter is also known as the planet of Greater Fortune, meaning that he is the luckiest planet. He is par excellence the planet of social adaptation, of legality, of optimism, of organisation, and of success. One can imagine that with unaspected Jupiter, at times, the person enjoys unfailing protection and stimulation, and that his career and destiny are favoured... in fits and starts.
Since Jupiter is not connected to any other planet, when a hard transit or progression occurs, his influence may be reversed. What prevails then is a tendency towards solitude and groundless exuberance. The person may take decisions on the verge of illegality and finds it hard to accept any form of authority.
In any case, owing to the very nature of this planet, such sporadic or repeated inconvenience cannot cause really serious harm, especially given the fact that with Jupiter, we enter the domain of collective planets. Therefore, it is most unlikely that the person is personnally affected.
A good example of a chart with Jupiter unaspected is the nonconformist singer Janis Joplin (if we take only a 9 degree orb for her Sun-Jupiter opposition, and a 10 degree orb for her Moon-Jupiter conjunction. Astrotheme uses slightly larger orbs).
Saturn unaspected: interpretation
Saturn, the planet of time, prudence, and effort, may express himself in a tricky way when he is unaspected. Inhibition, inferiority complex, melancholy, and failures are the negative characteristics of this planet of ill repute.
Having said this, many authors have a contrary opinion and believe that Saturn's damages are lessened when he is unaspected. Like all collective planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto), caution is required for the interpretation of this configuration.
However, one can guess that the phenomena of personality structuring and of constructing long-term projects might be less powerful than when Saturn is strong and harmonious. In compensation, he endows with a less rigid character.
Uranus unaspected: interpretation
Most astrologers agree that when one of the trans-saturnian planets, namely, Uranus, Neptune or Pluto, is unaspected in a chart, its collective nature limits the scope of this special configuration.
Some people believe that the planet's influence is weaker, while others prefer to stick to the usual interpretation of personal planets, meaning that they consider that the unaspected planet's nature is expressed in fits and starts, excessively, then with restraint.
As far as Uranus is concerned, one may also foresee periods of irresistible craving for freedom and independence, with a strong taste for whatever is original, even fringe, or with adrenaline surges which prompt the person to rebel or to make a revolution followed with... moments devoid of exuberance or special excitement. This interpretation is to be taken with the utmost caution.
Neptune unaspected : interpretation
Neptune is the planet of mysticism, increased sensorial capacities, intuition, imagination, and faith, but also of depravity and addiction to forbidden substances. When he is unaspected, he can bring about paranormal gifts and moments of mystical ecstasy, or on the contrary, moments of doubt, confusion, and indefinable but upsetting disturbances.
Pluto unaspected: interpretation
When Pluto is unaspected in a chart, the person sometimes feels very strong impulses which he cannot escape. Pluto, the planet of instinct, domination, but also emptiness, may prompt to solitude or powerful actions requiring an intense energy, which is more or less well channelled, depending on the rest of the chart and the configuration of the moment.
It is important in all cases to remember that an unaspected planet's influence is obvious when a personal planet is involved. Therefore, the Sun, the Moon, Mercury, Venus, and Mars, when unaspected, always bring about the special impacts mentioned by Jean-Baptiste Morin de Villefranche. Regarding Jupiter and Saturn, one ought to exercise great caution. As for the three trans-saturnian planets, their interpretation is given on an anecdotal basis only, because the volume of the surveys carried out is not yet important enough.
As a closing remark, it is worth recalling that, as mentioned earlier, a planet is deemed unaspected even though it forms an aspect with the angles of the chart. We all know that the power of an angular planet, meaning a planet which is posited near or conjunct one of the four angles, is strengthened. Therefore, we can deduce without mistaking that, if a planet, especially a personal planet, is angular or to a lesser extent if it forms a major aspect to an angle, its unaspected condition is expressed in an even more powerful way than what we have described, similarly to the case when it is in one of its dignities or debilities, i.e. in his home, exaltation, exaltation, or fall.
1 In a nutshell, willpower for the Sun, emotions for the Moon, communication for Mercury, feelings and attraction for Venus, action and sexuality for Mars, etc.
2 Behaviour and vitality for the Ascendant, money earned through work for the 2nd House, etc.
3 Some angles between two bodies – 0 degree, 60 degrees, 90 degrees, etc. - create a resonance, and therefore, an association between two planets, which is more or less easy to deal with depending on the nature of the planets and of the aspect.
4 There is a natural relationship between planets and zodiacal signs, since each planet has five different states, and it can be in its home, its exaltation, its fall, its exile, or peregrine. It plays out more or less efficiently in a given sign, with more or less strength and adaptability, and influences the person's life accordingly.
5 Aries is in analogy with the 1st House, Taurus, with the 2nd House, Gemini, with the 3rd House, etc.
6 Conjunction, sextile, square, trine, opposition for the five major aspects. There are also six minor aspects, the semi-sextile, the semi-square, the sesqui-square, the quincunx, the quintile, and the bi-quintile. A few authors also accept the semi-quintile.
7 The angles (Ascendant, Midheaven, Nadir, and Descendant) are of a virtual nature, like for instance the lunar Nodes or the Black Moon, and contrary to the planets which exist physically.