Q & A: What Does It Mean When An Aspect is Applying, Exact, or Separating? (Part 1)

Question: What does it mean when an aspect is applying, exact, or separating?

First of all, I want to thank you for the questions! One of the greatest benefits I have found about answering or attempting to explain astrology to others is that it forces me to think about it in an entirely different way, which I enjoy. So I appreciate your inquiries! Keep them coming!

But back to the question…there are a few ways for me to answer this; there is my version of a technical response, and then my more informal, intuitive feelings behind the answer to the question. I’m not going to get super technical because I am not a super technical person, but, an applying aspect means that the faster moving planet is moving towards the slower moving planet it is making an aspect to. A separating aspect is when the faster moving planet is moving away from the slower planet it is making an aspect to. When the aspect is exact, there is no orb to consider; the aspect the two planets make is, well, exact.

When I think about what this means, I think of it in terms of a life cycle. There is a sort of birth, followed by a period of maturation, culminating in a death or ending. It can also remind me, to a lesser degree, of sex. Two people see each other, maybe one approaches the other. There is a certain pull they both feel, there is an attraction; the build up is intense, and they know how it will end. Finally they join, two become one, and everything peaks. Then there is the slow winding down, as their bodies adjust with homeostasis; the act of sex is over, and they leave each other’s presence physically/mentally/emotionally.

The same can be said for aspects; two planets come near enough to one another that there is a subtle yet undeniable effect as the energy of both planets begins to comingle. This effect grows stronger and stronger until it reaches a climax; both planets are so close that they seemingly converge and become one when the exactness of the aspect is reached. As the faster moving planet moves away from the slower moving planet, the influence of the mixed energy diminishes, bit by bit, until both planets have progressed far enough to where they no longer touch each other, and can no longer attempt to express their energy in the direction of the other planet.

This kind of description probably works best with the conjunction but still, I think it is a fairly decent way to show the transformative and sometimes transient way energy operates in aspect. Not all life spans are the same, and sex can happen quickly or unhurriedly.

There are groups of astrologers who say that once the aspect is exact, and it begins to separate, it does not feel the same way as when the aspect was applying. I’m still on the fence about this, personally; I think the effects of some planets last longer than others because all heavenly bodies move at different speeds and have their own unique signatures, so when they separate, it may feel like either a sharp drop off or a gentle slowing down.

When I post Part 2, I will try to explain more about the feelings attributed to an applying/exact/separating aspect.

Mutual Reception: Mi Casa es su Casa

At my monthly Astrology meeting in December, the topic of mutual reception in charts came up. There were a couple novice astrologers at the meeting who were unfamiliar with the phrase and what it meant, so, I thought it would be a good topic to address here since so many of you got use out of my “chart ruler” post.

So, what exactly is ‘mutual reception’? It pretty much plays out how it sounds. The planet that rules one sign is found in another planet’s sign, and vice versa. They are like hosts who have left their house open to their guests; mi casa es su casa. What I have, is yours…you may use what I have in my house.

In my own chart, the Moon (which has rulership of the sign Cancer) is located in the sign of Sagittarius. My Jupiter (the planet that rules the sign of Sagittarius) is found in the sign of Cancer. This means that my Moon and Jupiter are in mutual reception with each other.

Okay. Now that you have looked at your chart (or your friend’s chart) and discovered that you (possibly) have a mutual reception, what comes next? For starters, planets in mutual reception are innately desirous of a functional working relationship. However, like we all know, not every working relationship operates smoothly or without hassle. So, you need to consider a few things to further understand the relationship. Notice the aspect that both the signs the planets engaged in the mutual reception make with each other, what the qualities are (and how they interact), the dignities involved. Basically, you are breaking it down to very fundamental levels to get to the core of it.

In my case, my Sagittarius house and Cancer house make a 150 degree quincunx or inconjunct aspect. This is not altogether an amicable relationship; however, I believe my saving grace here is Jupiter. Jupiter is exalted in Cancer, and as such is the dominant planet in the mutual reception. But, when mutable Sagittarius wants to go off and explore like a rolling stone (so as not to gather moss), cardinal Cancer wants to firmly stay put and create roots in one set spot. Ah; the paradox of my mutual reception: a cross between Susie Homemaker and Dora the Explorer. But what if in your own chart, the signs involved formed a more harmonious aspect like a trine or sextile? Well, that’s great news for you, as your own Dynamic Duo of planets will be working overtime to help you in some way.

I’d like you to think about additional points. I will be the first to admit that my own take on Astrology is a hybrid between traditional and modern methods, and just plain old intuition. A lot of traditionalists would argue that my own example of mutual reception (in my chart) is not a *real* or true example because my Moon and Jupiter are not officially aspecting each other (well, if I use a slightly wider orb, they are in a weak 180 degree opposition). I don’t think it needs to be as strict as that though…but you are welcome to formulate your opinion on this.

Back to my own example for a moment: in my chart, my Sagittarius Moon is located in my 2nd House, which traditionally is associated with the sign of Taurus, and my Cancerian Jupiter is located in the 9th House, which is traditionally the house of Sagittarius. The Moon is exalted in the sign of Taurus (2nd House) and Jupiter is the natural Lord of the 9th House so…I don’t believe my quincunx/inconjunct mutual reception is as bad as it could be, all things considered. I think it actually balances out or displays it’s characteristics in a more blended, cohesive fashion simply because of this. It would be nice to say that Moon doesn’t mind getting grit in her britches thanks to the Sadge energy, and that my Jupiter grounds itself just a touch because of Cancer, but…they do not always take what they should from each other’s house, if you know what I mean.

And there you have it…a very brief working example of mutual reception. Like I said, take a look at your own chart or the chart of someone you know, and see if you can find one. It’s another facet of interpreting the uniquely beautiful mystery of an Astrology chart.

What’s A Chart Ruler?

Recently someone asked me what a chart ruler was, and the significance behind it.

In the most fundamental terms, the chart ruler is the planet or planets associated with the sign of the Ascendant. For example, in my chart, my Ascendant is the sign Scorpio. With that being said, my chart rulers would be Mars and Pluto (the sign of Scorpio has co-rulers). If you had Gemini on the cusp of the 1st House, then Mercury would be your chart ruler. With Libra, it would be Venus, and so on. Just determine which planets rule the sign on the 1st House cusp, and there you go, simple as that.

Alright, so now you know what a chart ruler is. Locate the house in your chart where your chart ruler is located. Going back to my personal natal chart, one of my chart rulers, Pluto, is in my 12th house. Now think about how the house where your chart rulers; this placement ‘colors’ everything inside it. In my case, the mission of my 1st House persona comes into fruition via the themes of the 12th house: my Ascendant or Rising Sign functions in the manner that illustrates what is represented by the 12th; I project what people wish to see, I am private, secretive, with a rich fantasy world, and my ‘persona’ is one created from illusions (maybe even delusions), perhaps?

Maybe your chart ruler was located in the 5th house. This would play out as your personality looks to creative outlets, children, romance, fun, lighthearted pleasure as the way you manifest the ‘agenda’ of your 1st House persona. Just remember to take into consideration the themes of the house in which your chart ruler is placed in to interpret it.

Some astrologers argue that the chart ruler is the most important planet (or planets in the case of co-rulers) in the chart, even going so far as to place its importance above the luminaries (Sun and Moon). Personally, I disagree; I don’t think anything tops the Sun or Moon (I mean, come on; if we didn’t have either, our existence on Earth would be…non-existent!).

But try it out for yourself; if you hadn’t considered it before, determine your own chart ruler, and see if that makes a difference in what you know of yourself and your chart. Tinkering around with various concepts is usually a good way to get another level of understanding of astrology, especially your own personally astrology.

Hurrah, Saturn Square Neptune! Time To Turn Your Dreams Into Your New Reality!

Admittedly, the past few months have seen this blog beginning what looked like a slow death spiral. Health and other issues didn’t allow me much energy to do more than what was minimally required in my life. Things haven’t changed all that much now, but, one way I am going to face the current Saturn in Sagittarius square Neptune in Pisces is by trying to make my dreams a reality; hence, the return to my beloved Astrology and this blog.

Currently, we all are feeling the effects of the major square aspect between Saturn in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces.  Did you just wince? I myself am trying not to…instead, I am attempting to make this rotten bowl of lemons into some sort of natural lemon cleaner (blame my optimistic Sagittarius Moon) that I can use to clean *something* (I have a Virgo Mars).

As I said, Saturn (fear, restrictions, authority, limitations) is squaring (challenging, creating tension, blocking) the planet Neptune (ideals, fantasy, delusions) which is transiting the sign of Pisces now. To say that a lot of people’s bubbles are bursting is an understatement; it can be likened to waking up after that alcohol induced haze made you think you were making out with the hottest person you had ever seen, but when that liquor wears off you take a second look and was like “What the hell was I thinking?” because your judgement was off on so, so many levels.

So, what do you do with a set up like this? I like the suggestion that hard work (Saturn) can turn your dreams (Neptune) into reality. Remember, Astrology comes down to your own personal free will after all, so…instead of blubbering that you came so close to your goal before the rug was yanked out from under you, roll up your sleeves, get back to work, and force yourself to make those dreams a reality.  A lot has been said about Saturn; Saturn is to be feared, Saturn is mean, Saturn is heartless, etc.  But I have heard time and time again that once you take Saturn’s lessons seriously and make yourself an apt pupil, he will reward you for your hard work.

Don’t slump your shoulders in despair; go out and make your own lemon cleaner.

A Pristine Canvas: New Moon in Leo August 14th, 2015


Today on August 14th is a New Moon in the sign of Leo. It is conjunct retrograde Venus in Leo, trining Uranus in Aries.

New Moons represent beginnings; they help usher in a new direction of energy in our lives. Whatever was ended or completed with the last Full Moon, the following New Moon will come in and attempt to let you begin or start a new task.

This New Moon in Leo could lead to opportunities with methods or outlets of self expression, creativity, and leadership (all Leo themes). The possibility exists to have new doors open with anything child or childhood related as well.

Some ways this can manifest is a sudden (Uranus) opportunity in your field to take on a role that sets you in a leadership position among your coworkers. Maybe you will turn a creative project into a budding business. Or, perhaps you will discover a new hobby that you and a special child in your life can explore more together. Maybe you will even find a way to resolve and move forward from pains or hurts stemming from childhood.

Either way, you can actively utilize this energy by focusing on these types of Leonine themes and applying them to your own life.

Jupiter in Virgo: Benefiting From Moderation August 11th, 2015 – September 9th, 2016

Every year the benefic planet Jupiter changes signs, heralding a new area of luck and expansion, based on the sign. For the past year, we have seen Jupiter touching and expanding everything Leo flavored. Ideas formed were big and bold, egos may have grown in size exponentially, and the drama created by some may have been singular to none. Now, we can thankfully find ourselves leaving much of that behind, as Jupiter glides into the sign of Virgo for his year long stay.

So what will Jupiter do in Virgo? Well, there are many possibilities, as Virgo is the most detail centric sign of the Zodiac. We have to combine all of what encompasses the sign, and then add that expansion factor of Jupiter into the mix. We cannot lose sight of what Jupiter in Leo set the stage for, either. Virgo is humble, modest, diligently working. Virgo uses logic and analysis to fine tune plans in progress. Virgo practices good health and hygiene, watching what they eat, making sure to avoid overindulgences, and getting enough exercise. Virgo tries their best to be of service to others, in whatever form that may take. With Jupiter involved, the result is a magnification of these, or maybe even lucky breaks tied into them. Jupiter expands, yes, but he is also associated with luck; you may find yourself getting lucky or experiencing good fortune all in Virgo related areas as well.

For those native Virgos, this will undoubtedly be a banner year for you. If you have Jupiter in Virgo in your natal chart, you are experiencing a Jupiter Return (which occurs once every 12 years of course) and as such, this year will be setting the trend for the next 12 years of your life.

Check your natal chart to see which house cusp falls on Virgo; there you can expect good fortune and expansion for the upcoming year. If you have any planets in Virgo, look for the expansive and beneficial benefits of Jupiter’s passage over them, too.

Jupiter in Virgo keywords:

Benefits from work, benefits from healthy habits, benefits from honesty and humility, overthinking and getting hung up on details, overdosing on the criticism, taking a new health regime to the extreme, lucky breaks with service or in the service industry, good fortune in volunteering, honest service, honest or humble work, expanding your duties

Sexy Beast: Mars in Leo August 8th – September 24th, 2015

Mars ingresses into the sign of Leo on August 8th, and scorches a path towards Virgo all the way through September 24th. Leo natives will appreciate the extra boost Mars in your own sign gives you, adding a punch to your already larger than life energy.

Transiting Mars in Leo is characterized by big and bold actions designed to garner the attention or admiration of those around you. This can be kind of interesting, as Mercury just entered Virgo yesterday. It’s not that Mercury in Virgo is detached, but while Mars in Leo stands in front of a crowd and says enthusiastically “Yeah! Let’s DO this”, Mercury in Virgo tempers this a bit and says “Let’s think about this for a moment; what’s the best or most efficient way to do this?”. The end result could be a perfectly planned execution of show, or a tragic display of being bogged down with details.

With Mars in Leo, you may find yourself spending more time, energy, or money (or possibly a combination of all three) on the children in your life, or generally ‘fun’ activities, or entertainment experiences. Your sex drive could be on the uptick, as your passionate side becomes more dominant. Just watch for tendencies of selfishness, or doing things for the sake of getting attention.

Remember to look on your chart where Leo sits on the house cusp to see what area of your chart will be getting this surge of activity!

Mars in Leo Keywords:

Saying and doing what you want, doing what you feel, acting competitively, working hard to be the best, working for attention, working for admiration, wanting to be noticed for what you do, acting selfishly, having confidence, making big decisions, big sex drive, big passion, energy spent on children, energy spent on entertainment.

Prudent Practicality: Mercury in Virgo August 7th – 27th, 2015

On August 7th, Mercury travels into Virgo. Native Virgos will benefit from the burst of clarity they can receive with their ruler working it’s way through the sign, as well as those with Mercury in Virgo natally. Mercury rules Gemini and Virgo, so his energy functions fluidly and easily in either sign of rulership.

Mercury in Virgo will infuse all mental and communication processes with the typical Virgo traits of analysis and logic. Looking at the finer details with a critical eye, and using solid reflection to make good judgments can allow the collective to literally collect themselves from all the possible drama and ‘oops’ moments Mercury in Leo caused. Mercury in Virgo is a slower, more steadfast way of thinking, favoring practicality, virtuous and ethical operations above spilt second and possibly questionable decisions. Also, while Mercury in Leo looked at the broad picture, Mercury in Virgo can bury themselves in the details.

Just be sure that your rationale doesn’t become too nit picky or critical, as Virgo can be known for. Try to utilize this time to reign in your grandiose thinking or communicating, and come up with more solid and practical solutions or transmissions. Virgo is all about serving others as well, so you may find yourself voicing support to others more readily than in the past. Helping others is a good thing to do, and goes along perfectly with the Virgo mentality, again, a noticeable shift from the Leo “me me me” mantra we all have become familiar with lately.

Here are some Mercury in Virgo keywords:

Resourceful, analytical, logical, detail oriented, critical thinking, voicing pickiness, good judgement, practical thinking, virtuous thoughts, ethical thoughts.

Saturn Direct: The Final Stretch August 2nd, 2015

On August 2nd, Saturn turned direct (finally) after months of languishing in Scorpio. Saturn in Scorpio has been a brutal time for many, but thankfully it is almost over. On September 17th, Saturn will cross over to the sign of Sagittarius, leaving Scorpio in his wake until the year 2041. Thank goodness.

Saturn in Scorpio made everyone reflect deeply on Scorpio and 8th House related themes like fear and transformation, how we respond to grief or crisis, or tackled power control behaviors. Saturn tested our limits with Scorpio flavored issues over the past couple years, and if we responded by exhibiting the worst of Scorpio’s traits like rage, jealousy, or manipulation, we found Saturn would quickly slap us back, coldly. You do not progress by doing the opposite of what Saturn wants. Saturn wants you to take responsibility for your actions, and part of that is to act with maturity, and not let loose with the more base reactions of man. Saturn wants structure, commitments, reform, and the lesson with Saturn in Scorpio was to strip away all superficiality until you get to the very core, casting aside all illusions and pretenses, and confronting your fears (demons) head on.

So now that Saturn is on his way out of Scorpio and headed to Sagittarius, we are about to face a whole new different set of challenges. Sagittarius is the sign associated with the 9th House, and it’s themes deal with philosophy, higher education, long distance travel, voyages, discoveries. How we expand our mentality, spirituality. Jupiter is Sagittarius’ ruler, and Jupiter deals with expansion. Saturn wants to stop, while Jupiter wants to go…it will be an interesting dance to watch, let alone participate in.

But we aren’t out of the woods yet…Saturn will still take his time exiting Scorpio up until mid September, so there is that. For those of you with personal planets towards the end of Scorpio, you may still feel that tiny sucker punch as Saturn passes back over them. But the worst is over, really.

So take joy in all that you have accomplished with Saturn in Scorpio. For some it may have meant more than others, and for others it may have meant considerably less than that. If you were not an apt pupil, you are going to find yourself in a bad way. If you handed your work in on time and put a lot of effort into it, you will be graded well. If there is one thing I know about Saturn, it’s that he always rewards diligence.

Full Blue Moon in Aquarius July 31, 2015

On July 31st, we have the third Full Moon in the month of July – something so rare, it is called a Blue Moon; hence the expressions “Once in a Blue Moon” or “Only during a Blue Moon”.

The meaning of a Full Moon centers around the concept of completion. The tree is ripe and ready to bear fruit, we are on at the last chapter, a finale is upon us. The stage is being set in some way for the New Moon in Leo on August 14th.

Aquarius is an Air sign, known for detachment. Aquarius operates uniquely, often many steps ahead of the rest; they don’t have time to get hung up on meaningless details. Uranus is the sign’s co-ruler, so it’s no wonder why people associate Aquarius with rebels and rebellion. But Aquarius is a wonderful humanitarian sign, doing a lot of good for many.

So what does this all mean? In many people’s lives, something has definitely run it’s course. I feel that since this is happening in the sign of Aquarius, it is going to affect people on a massive scale, or have to do with a project or idea that many people have invested their time or energy in. Maybe the time has come to stop detaching, and instead we need to learn to attach (or perhaps vice versa). Venus is in retrograde after all, and a lot of people have been taking a step back and reviewing their relationships. Again, since Uranus is the co-ruler of Aquarius, something completely unexpected my pop up, and end just as quickly.

I find it somewhat ironic that when I turned on the news this morning, they were talking about finding new debris from the missing Boeing 777, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 that disappeared somewhere in the Indian Ocean. Some feel that airplanes and advanced technology fall under the sign of Aquarius, and with Uranus Rx, and the Full Moon in Aquarius, a part of me wonders if we will find out more about the plane’s mysterious disappearance?

Full Moons often bring about endings in order for you to plant fresh seeds at the following New Moon, so keep this mind if you are faced with a heavy decision to make, or you feel that a door has been unfairly closed in your face.