One of the many differences between western astrology and Vedic astrology lies in the small matter of aspects between planets. The first thing to bear in mind is that in the Vedic system only certain planets can cast a specific aspect. Not only that but in Vedic astrology the aspect has no orb – or rather, the orb is 30°, because the aspect is cast to the whole width of the house, and not just to any planet that resides in the house.
Next, even if no planet resides in the house, the aspect is still valid, because the aspects are cast to the houses. For example, let’s say that Saturn resides in the 1st house. By opposition Saturn is aspecting the 7th house, regardless of whether or not a planet resides there. The 7th house will feel the restrictive, heavy hand of Saturn one way or another.
Moving on to the planets themselves, the four so-called personal planets – Sun, Moon, Mercury and Venus cast only the conjunction and opposition; Jupiter, Mars, Saturn and the Nodes also cast the conjunction and opposition. In addition however, Jupiter, the greater benefic, casts the trine; Mars casts the forward (i.e., in the direction of the signs) square (4th aspect) and the forward quincunx ( 6th/8th aspect ); Saturn casts the forward sextile ( 3rd aspect) and the backward square (10th aspect). Last but never least the north node – like Jupiter – casts the trine.
Now a word about the strength of each aspect. The Sun, Moon, Mercury and Venus utilise 100% of their strength and energy to cast the conjunction and opposition (7th) aspect. Additionally:-
MARS = 100% strength on the house 4th and 8th from it’s position; 25% on the house 7th from him.
JUPITER = 100% strength on the houses 5th and 9th from him; 50% 0n the house 7th from him.
SATURN = 100% strength on the houses 3rd and 10th from him; 75% on the house 7th from him.
NORTH NODE/RAHU = 100% on the 5th and 9th from him; 75% on the house 7th from him.
Also, the north node (Rahu) sends a special aspect with 100% strength called purva paapa, which means “past evil deeds”. This aspect is thrown to the 12th house from his position, although bear in mind that Rahu always travels retrograde, so the aspect will be to the house it tenanted previous to the one it currently occupies, e.g., to the 4th if currently in the 3rd, to the 7th if currently in the 6th etc.
SOUTH NODE/KETU casts no aspects to planets but casts trines with 100% strength to houses 5 and 9 from his place.
In the chart on the left, we see the Moon and Mars in mutual opposition from Libra to Aries. The Sun in Cancer casts no aspects, and neither does Mercury, while Venus in Leo in the 8th house is conjunct Saturn and Ketu. Jupiter in Scorpio throws a trine to the Sun as well as to the empty 3rd house. Remember that the aspects are cast to the houses, regardless of whether or not the house itself is tenanted. Now to the “special” aspects. Saturn from Leo throws his 3rd aspect with 100% force onto the Libra Moon, and his 10th aspect – with equal force – onto the empty 5th house. This latter aspect is especially important in this case as the 5th has Taurus on the cusp and Saturn conjuncts the ruler, Venus, in the 8th. Heavy! Next, with 100% strength Mars from Aries casts forward his 4th aspect to the Sun in Cancer; also his 7th aspect – with only 25% strength – onto the Moon, and his 8th aspect, again with 100% strength, onto Jupiter in Scorpio. Finally Rahu from Aquarius in the 2nd house casts trines to Mercury in Gemini and the Moon in Libra.
Here is a chart loaded with aspects! How do we choose the ones that take priority? I would look first at any aspect to or from the Sun, Moon, or Ascendant ruler. These must be of primary significance. In the example chart we see Saturn, lord of the Ascendant, throwing his 3rd aspect to the Moon, lord of the 7th. As lord of the Ascendant, Saturn’s aspects will be even more significant. Not only does he hit the Moon but he also conjoins Venus – lord of the 5th and 10th houses and therefore the Yogakaraka planet in this nativity.This is highly significant!
Next Mars – lord of the 4th house, throws his 4th aspect to the Sun and finally Rahu trines the Moon. As in the western tradition more information can be gleaned by checking the houses tenanted and ruled. The signs occupied are significant also. Put the pieces together like a jigsaw and slowly a picture will emerge.