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Raphael’s Guide to Chart Interpretation ~ Part Two: How to Interpret Aspects – The Combined Meaning of Planets

Raphael’s Guide to Chart Interpretation ~ Part Two: How to Interpret Aspects – The Combined Meaning of Planets

by James Lynn Page

When I interviewed the late Jonathan Cainer he was right to point out that it is mainly the aspects that are of critical importance when looking at the birth chart. However, planetary aspects – the distance in degrees between planets, angles and other points on the chart – can seem like a minefield to the beginner when it comes to their interpretation. Just how is one to remember how “sun in Pisces square Uranus in Gemini between the 5th and 8th houses” is supposed to work? Then there are the many different types of aspects, what with the so called ‛minor’ ones which, unfortunately – like the semi-square, semi-sextile and quincunx – aren’t always so minor. (And you would be overlooking at least three important aspects if you ignored these!) Even if we just stick with conjunctions, sextiles, squares, trines and oppositions, there is a little too much data here to process, whatever your level of expertise.

So, can’t we simplify things? It so happens we can – and should. What follows is a set of results from combining the archetypal nature of two planets (or a planet/angle). Imagine blending two colours of paint – a third one will emerge, and it is this combined result that is to be our core understanding of any aspects between the two bodies. For example, you can see below that sun combined with Mars is interpreted as ‛physical energy, will, vitality, enthusiasm, being decisive/confident, assertive’ and that it may entail ‛risk-taking, impatience, courage.’ It’s up to the astrologer to then apply the aspect in question, so that it may mean something to the client.

For example, if it’s a trine, then the ‛will, vitality, enthusiasm and confidence’ is likely to be expressed positively and harmoniously – the individual will get along well with others and inspire them, perhaps as a leader and motivator. If it’s a square, the ‛will, vitality, enthusiasm and confidence’ is likely to be misapplied and carried to excess. Here, the individual will probably come across as too ‛full on’, bossy or plain arrogant as they seek to let the world know who they are. So, take the core meaning (the result of the two combined planets) and then apply the nature of whatever aspect is occurring. You won’t be going far wrong, this way. It couldn’t be simpler. Could it?

Here is the first part of this four-part series, starting with Sun, Moon and Mercury combinations (all based on real experience – those in my client base, along with knowledge from my own chart, my family’s charts and those of some high profile celebrities).


Sun combined with the Moon

How one’s ‛masculine’ (yang) and ‛feminine’ energies are expressed, and which is more dominant. The possible conflict between thought and feeling, extroversion vs introversion, will/intentions vs contrasting emotions. Need to integrate these facets of the psyche. (The exception here is the conjunction which merely emphasises the sign quality, with little likelihood of real conflict.)

Sun combined with Venus

Love, affections and their expression, social life, creativity. Pleasure-loving and all that this entails: physical indulgence, sexual encounters the ‛good life’.

Sun combined with Mars

Physical energy, will, vitality, enthusiasm, being decisive/confident, and assertive. Also risk-taking, impatience, courage. Possibly rashness leading to accidents. A Masculine archetype – how males express their ‛maleness’; what women may expect from men.

Sun combined with Jupiter

The need to reach out ‛incorporate’ the world at large – hence expansiveness, generosity, benevolence and optimism. A positive sense of self and optimistic outlook, a self-confident ego. Can be an aspect of personal success in any walk of life.

Sun combined with Saturn

Awareness of structure but also life’s limitations, possible conflict, opposition and frustration. Encountering the Father archetype through life in general – authority figures, rules imposed from without. The fettered will that must behave in a serious, conscientious and self-controlled manner to get anywhere. Conservatism, caution and love of tradition. Also reticence and shyness: the solar ego diminished.

Sun combined with Uranus

The will/self combined with the ‛awakener’ archetype. A dynamic, wilful energy: the desire for independence, uniqueness, originality and inventiveness. The inspirational and unconventional. Desire and will towards change, novelty. Tendency towards inconstancy and unpredictability.

Sun combined with Neptune

One’s individual capacity for sensitivity, intuition and seeing the ‛whole picture’, but also denial of the personal ego (Neptune ‛erodes’ the strength and will-power of the sun). Sympathy for others, toleration, charity, qualities of ‛vision’ and creative/artistic talents. Spiritual interests and practices. Possible emphasis on self-indulgence (via drugs and alcohol).

Sun combined with Pluto

The will towards power and control of the ‛environment’, the ability to act with ruthless ferocity. Personal magnetism. Being an agent for drastic change (positive or negative), either for oneself or others. Striving for power and the overestimation of oneself. The experience of destruction, or regeneration.

Sun combined with the Ascendant

The ‛projection’ of the self and ego on to the environment. One’s self-image and relationship to the environment: how others see you. One’s physical appearance, health and overall vitality. The dichotomy between personal identity and self interest; and relationship needs (the amount of ‛give and take’ etc.)

Sun combined with the Midheaven

The ‛projection’ of the self and ego on to one’s aspirations and the professional sphere – issues of self-importance and uniqueness. The dichotomy between being ‛individual’/having a self-made path in life; and having a sense of roots/family background (identifying with one’s career, or one’s home). Personal ambitions.


Moon combined with Mercury

The facility for imagination, social adaptability and change, identifying with others opinions, views and feelings. Exchanging ideas and thoughts. Identifying one’s opinions (i.e. personal feelings) with ‛rational’ ideas/argument (extreme subjectivity) so that objectivity is lost. The expression of emotions and one’s needs. Powers of memory and recall.

Moon combined with Venus

Both personal Feminine archetypes: an emotional nature that is kind, affectionate, receptive to others but also pleasure-loving and self-indulgent. A sense of emotional harmony. Love that can be maternal but also cloying. The ‛anima’ in males (his expectations of women in personal relationships); a woman’s own sense of her femininity and attractiveness.

Moon combined with Mars

The Feminine archetype of human emotion/receptivity with Masculine ‛survival’ and self-interest. Enthusiasm, impulse – the ‛hotheaded approach’. The male ‛anima’ infused with ego and assertiveness. Heightened emotional reactions. Emotional defensiveness. Aggressiveness – the typical ‛short fuse’.

Moon combined with Jupiter

Archetype of human emotional response combined with the archetype for social/psychological integration/expansiveness. Feelings which are/early exposure to the: positive, expansive, tolerant, sincere, generous, exuberant, warm. Nurturing towards others. A sense of humour, joy about life. Someone possibly drawn to spirituality, philosophy or religion. May denote a particularly supportive relationship with the personal mother.

Moon combined with Saturn

Archetype of human emotional response with the symbol for limitation and archetypal boundaries and structures. Early exposure to/feelings based on a sense of duty, reticence, loyalty, self-discipline and control, indeed, self-denial. Thus emotional inhibitions (feelings which cannot ‛flow’ easily) which lead to alienation and loneliness. May entail an emotionally distant or difficult relationship with the personal mother (or mother-figure).

Moon combined with Uranus

Archetype of human emotional response with the symbol for dynamic change/revolution. Feelings which are/early exposure to the: high-strung, volatile, unstable, changeable, abrupt. Shallow emotions. The need for the novel and unusual. Emotional resistance to tradition, routine and habit, preferring the unconventional and progressive, even if this disturbs the familiar and secure. Seeking change for its own sake. May entail an unusual or eccentric relationship with the personal mother.

Moon combined with Neptune

Feminine Archetype of emotional receptivity with universal symbol of transcendence. Feelings which are/early exposure to the: idealistic, sympathetic, altruistic, nebulous, dreamy or other-worldly. Seeing the mystical ‛whole’ as opposed to linear, rational perception. Reactions that are imaginative, artistic, escapist, superstitious. May entail a strongly devotional or co-dependent relationship with the mother.

Moon combined with Pluto

Feminine Archetype of emotional receptivity with universal symbol of death and rebirth. Feelings which are/early exposure to the: intense, deep-seated and powerful, possessive, jealous, transformative and cathartic. Strong desires and reactions possibly bordering on the obsessive. May entail experience of the personal mother that is rooted in power struggles and the will to dominate.

Moon combined with the Ascendant

Sensitivity, emotions and habits in personal relationships. The feeling-toned attitude to and perception of one’s environment. Understanding other people’s emotional needs. The ties and emotional bonds to one’s immediate family or partner. Relationships at home. Dependence of one’s feelings or moods on the environment.

Moon combined with the Midheaven

Emotional identification with the home, personal ambitions or career environment. Dependence of one’s feelings or moods on authority figures or parents. Habits formed in early family life and how one looks to the past for self-definition.


Mercury combined with Venus

The communicator combined with the archetype for human love and affection. Sociability, courtship. Capacity for the humorous, light-hearted, appreciative, diplomatic, tasteful. An interest in the arts. A sense for what is attractive and formally (or intellectually) pleasing.

Mercury combined with Mars

Rapid and energetic thought processes, quick thinking. Restless and busy intellect, eagerness to acquire new input/information. Prone to nervous exhaustion. A mind or style of communicating that is excitable, forthright, quick-witted, querulous and argumentative. Self-absorbed ideas/opinions that do not readily consider others’ viewpoints.

Mercury combined with Jupiter

The communicator combined with the archetype for social/psychological integration. Expansive mind/intellect that is also philosophical and just. A love of inspiring new ideas and the readiness to incorporate them. Adopting a positive, hopeful, bright, optimistic view of life. A willingness to negotiate and reach agreements fairly and see the whole picture, as opposed to emphasising details.

Mercury combined with Saturn

The communicator combined with the archetype for limitation and structures. A mind that is cautious, methodical, conscientious, conservative, ‛traditional’, focused and concerned with strategy. Possibly narrow and defensive. An intellect that is logical, methodical, reflective, persistent, painstaking, organised and practical.

Mercury combined with Uranus

The communicator combined with the archetype for revolution and change. Intellectually stimulating and vital, a mind that loves new and exciting concepts. Ideas may be progressive, inventive, eccentric, through an intellect that is highly alert, intuitive and highly strung, hence inconstant and erratic. Changing one’s mind often.

Mercury combined with Neptune

The communicator combined with the archetype for universal transcendence and compassion.
Creativity and imagination. Holistic, idealistic and intuitive thinking. A mind that is inspired by the spiritual, mystical, compassionate, charitable. Woolly, superstitious or illogical thinking.

Mercury combined with Pluto

The communicator combined with the archetype for regeneration. One’s powers of insight and observation, clarity (seeing what’s happening beneath the surface), the critical faculty, the power of one’s speech and the art of persuasion. A sharp and intense intellect and its power over others, harsh speech, guile and potential for cunning, but also obsessive thinking.

Mercury combined with the Ascendant

The communicator combined with the symbol for the outer personality/persona. Communicating one’s thoughts generally. The input and output of ideas to and from the environment. Enjoying small talk. One’s local environment as a source of data/news.

Mercury combined with Midheaven

The communicator combined with the symbol of authority/ambitions. May suggest career choice in ‛Mercurial’ professions: writer/journalist, courier, driver etc. Focus on one’s life path and aspirations. One’s career and profession as a source of everyday information/news.

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