What the hell orb should I use? And when? And why?

**I know this post deviates quite a bit from the out of bounds stuff I was talking about last week. I’m not through there at all, but the topic of orbs has come up many times on the forums that I creep on (and answer questions), and it struck me that this would make a good post.**

What is an orb exactly you may be asking? An orb is how close together planets are in aspect in a natal chart (or any kind of chart, really). Why are they important? The tighter the orb between two planets, the more that particular energy may manifest in the person’s life. Which ones to look at first? I generally like to look at the orbs between the aspects made by the luminaries and the chart ruler (ruler of the Ascendant) first. An example of an aspect’s orb from my own chart can be found in the pictures below. In the first picture, circled in purple, you can see the conjunction between Pluto and Mercury in Scorpio in the 11th at about a 5 degree or so orb. The second picture is of the different aspects in the chart. You will notice next to the little symbols in the boxes there is also a number. That number is the orb between the aspects.

In purple: Conjunction between Pluto and Mercury at a 5 degree or so orb in Scorpio in the 11th.
In Black: You can see where the Pluto and Mercury conjunction appears, with the orb “5”

Different astrologers have different ways of reading charts and reading the orbs made between planetary aspects. Some use a 10 degree orb across the board, and some use a slightly larger orb or slightly more narrow orb all the time. Some open that orb up somewhat for certain planets and narrow it some for others. I tend not to think anyone is wrong in this regard; it really all comes from personal experience and what just “feels” right to the astrologer. For me personally, it does depend on the feel of the entire chart somewhat, but I do have some “guidelines” that I generally follow. They are as follows (for a Natal Chart):

No.1 – I tend to go by the 10 degree orb rule for aspects between the planets, luminaries, and Chiron. This has just always felt right to me personally. Every once in a while I *may* open this orb just a touch if the luminaries are involved in some capacity, but then I will only usually open it to 12 degrees. Also, when I open this orb slightly, this part of the chart really needs to be “speaking” to me in someway, for some reason.
No.2-For aspects made to the North and South Nodes by the planets and Chiron, I really don’t like to go above a 5 or 6 degree orb. This is because the North and South Nodes aren’t even real celestial bodies but hypothetical points.
No.3– For asteroid aspects, regardless of what the asteroid is making an aspect with, I really like to keep these even tighter, usually in the 3 degree range (though depending on what planetary body is involved, this orb may end up widened to 4 or 5 degrees).
No.4-For me to count a fixed star aspect, regardless of what the fixed star is making an aspect with, these orbs have to be really fucking tight, like an orb 1 – 1 1/2 degrees (maybe 2 degrees if the connection seems really outstanding due to other factors in the chart). This is because fixed stars don’t move around and are always found in the same location in everyone’s chart. An example is Algol, which is always at 26 Taurus.
No.5-As far as orbs having to do with a Stellium (and what a Stellium is), I have another post on this for your reading pleasure.

I also have a few different guidelines for different types of charts, as you will see below:
**For Transit Charts, I do use the same guidelines for orbs listed above for the Natal Chart, but I use them slightly differently. For planet to planet connections, I use the 5 degrees before the transit planet becomes in exact aspect with the natal planet (ascending), and the 5 degrees after becoming exact (descending). For example, if you have your natal Moon at 20 Libra, transit Pluto would be considered to be in opposition anywhere from 15 to 25 Aries. And with the transits, the more exact the orb, the more the particular transit will be felt (usually).
**For Synastry Charts, I use the same ascending and descending orb mentioned above, but I really like synastry aspects to be a little tighter. I usually will only go to a 10 degree orb with the luminaries, around 7-8 degrees for the planets and Chiron, with the Nodes, Asteroids, and Fixed Stars remaining the same.
**For the Composite Chart (midpoint method), I really like to see even tighter aspects (since this chart is based off of the midpoints between both people’s charts). For the luminaries I usually try to keep it an 8 degree orb, and for the planets and Chiron I try to stay around a 5 or 6 degree orb. I like to keep the aspects made to the Nodes at 4 to 5 degrees. With fixed stars, I really want them between a 0 and 1 degree orb, and for asteroids, around 2 degrees is good with me.
**I tend to keep the aspect’s orbs the same as the Natal Chart ones when reading Draconic Charts…..since it is essentially a type of natal chart itself, just the chart of the soul across all incarnations (in this dimension, in this plane. I won’t go into what I mean about that right now. That’s another post for another day). For even more reading pleasure, here is my post on Draconic Charts.

Just thought I’d throw my own hat in the ring on this subject. What rules for orbs do you personally go by, and why?

Moon/Mercury Contacts of the “Harder” Variety

A question that I get asked often has to do with mental illnesses/mental differences, and if I’m able to see things like that in the natal chart. The answer to this particular question is yes and no. The natal chart is like a blueprint of possibilities for the person (and the soul) in this lifetime. Just because something “difficult” shows up in one’s natal chart regarding mental illness (or anything, really) doesn’t necessarily mean that the person will ever manifest that particular difficult energy into reality. Though, if the propensity *is* there for mental illness to occur, whether or not it actually occurs depends on a number of factors (such as biology, environment, and nurturing), as well as heavier transits hitting the aspect in question, thus activating it. Since I am specifically talking about mental illnesses & mental differences, certain aspects made between The Moon and Mercury (specifically the square, opposition and conjunction) seem to cause people some issues in the areas of mental health. The specific types of mental health issues that these hard aspects between Mercury and Uranus tend to produce are anxiety (either full blown or just some general nervousness), and moodiness (all the way to the extreme end of the spectrum with intense mood swings). This is a trend that I have noticed time and time again, and I suppose the part of me that finds mental health and psychology fascinating wanted to discuss it 

**Just for a bit of reference……Mercury is essentially the mind of the natal chart, where we think and learn in a concrete way, and where we communicate. It is traditionally quick and logical. The Moon represents our feelings and our emotions.**
***Also, as a disclaimer, I am in no way, shape, or form saying that people automatically have mental issues and differences by default when they have these harder aspects in their natal charts. I’m only saying that the possibility could exist of something like generalized anxiety disorder occurring in their life if one of these aspects is in the natal chart of the person. Just want to make that part really, really clear.***

Moon/Mercury Conjunction: Out of all the harder aspects in this post, this is usually the easiest for the native to carry. With the Moon and Mercury in conjunction, this causes a natural merging of the mind and the emotions. The typically rational mind may have a more emotional bent to it here, and this can cause some confusion for the person. They may become overly attached to things (especially things having to do with the house where this conjunction falls). There is also usually an above average emotional intelligence that these people possess which helps them to communicate with other people (and to communicate internally with themselves). Mercury tends to be more anxious and nervous by default, and the Moon here feels this, making the person possiby more emotionally and mentally anxious. You may also be more emotionally sensitive as well, for your emotions here are very changable; the Moon is changable anyway, and so is Mercury. This can add to this anxiety you may feel, as well as any anxiety that you feel from being an emotionally sensitive person. Anxiety can also creep into the native’s mind and life when the merging of the two planets causes conflict. There are times to use your emotions and times to use your rational mind (and then times to merge the two), and the key here is figuring out how to pull one or the other out and use them independently. The tighter the conjunction here, the harder this will be to do.

Moon/Mercury Opposition: With the Moon and Mercury in opposition, this can cause there to be natural tug of war between your emotions and your rational mind. Issues can creep up dealing with how you process and think about your own emotions. There can be an over emotional quality to this aspect, and also an over rationalization (though not usually in tandem, until the native gets a handle on these energies). There will be times that you will be pulled more towards Mercury, and times that you will be pulled more towards the Moon, and it will be be an situational appropriate match. This can also end up happening in the opposite way that it should, such as you should really be operating through Mercury and your rational mind in a certain situation, but the Moon takes over instead, so you operate out of emotion instead. There can also be some general moodiness (to intense mood swings) and changability in thought because both planets want to have their own way here and aren’t operating in harmony. There could also be some issues with how to communicate with people, and when to do this, and what to communicate. This disharmony naturally can cause quite a lot of anxiety in the person and moodiness (even more than with the conjunction). They key to this aspect and tempering the anxiety that comes along with it is finding the balance between The Moon and Mercury, and knowing when to use one or the other (or when to use both at once).

Moon/Mercury Square: Out of all the harder aspects in this post, this one is by far the most difficult to deal with. The square is constant tension, so with this aspect there is probably a constant tension between the person’s rational mind and their emotions. This can cause the native to be incredibly anxious concerning their own emotions and emotional state and how they process these. Decision making can be incredibly difficult for the person, especially if either the head or the heart needs to be used exclusively for the decision to occur. The person knows that this tension between the two exists (even if it isn’t on a conscious level), and naturally has some difficulty in this area. Communication may not always be as effective, either. This can be communication that the person has internally with themselves, or it can be communication that the person has with other people. They may have difficultly really expressing how they feel and why to other people, and have difficulty understanding their feeling themselves. This tends to rear its head most often in intimate one-on-one relationships/familial relationships, where people are more likely to need to share and communicate their emotions and feelings freely. The mood swings here can be on a much grander scale, as can the anxiety that they may feel. If any of this is prevalent in the life of the person, it is very important that they consciously are aware of when to operate out of one planet or the other. By operating in spite of the tension, they are able to ease a lot of the anxiety and moodiness that may naturally accompany it.

Links to other posts in this series for your reading pleasure 🙂
Squares to the Sun
Mercury/Uranus Hard Aspects
Mercury/Saturn Hard Aspects

Squares to the Sun and Mental Differences

Questions that I get asked often have to do with mental illnesses/mental differences/learning differences, and if I’m able to see things like that in the natal chart. The answer to this particular question is yes and no. The natal chart is like a blueprint of possibilities for the person (and the soul) in this lifetime. Just because something “difficult” shows up in one’s natal chart regarding mental illness, learning differences, or anything really, doesn’t necessarily mean that the person will ever manifest that particular difficult or different energy into reality. Though, if the propensity *is* there for mental illness or learning differences to occur, whether or not it actually occurs depends on a number of factors (such as biology, environment, and nurturing), as well as heavier transits hitting the aspect in question, thus activating it. Since I am specifically talking about mental illnesses/mental differences, square aspects made between The Sun and Uranus and The Sun and Neptune can cause specific types of issues having to do with anxiety and addictions/paranoia. (Pluto Square the Sun is another big one, but I will cover that one in another post). This is a trend that I have noticed time and time again, and I suppose the part of me that finds mental health and psychology fascinating wanted to discuss it 
***As a disclaimer, I am in no way, shape, or form saying that people automatically have mental issues by default when they have these harder aspects in their natal charts. I’m only saying that the possibility could exist of something like axiety occurring in their life if one of these aspects is in the natal chart of the person. Just want to make that part really, really clear.***

Sun Square Uranus: With the Sun squaring Uranus, you have the life force (one’s sun) in constant tension with the independent rebel, Uranus. These people tend to want to live life on their own terms, to the beat of their own drummer, and in the fullest, most electric way possible. These people, never wanting to be ordinary, will buck tradition every chance they get; sometimes this is because they really want to revolt against whatever tradition is in question, and sometimes this is because they just want to go against the grain. Because of this, these natives may have a tendency of rubbing people the wrong way (especially the more traditional and conservative types). The tension in this aspect’s case isn’t the aspect itself necessarily, but what do with the tension caused by the aspect. Because of all the natural tension here of wanting to do things their own way (and they very much get off on being “different” and “shocking”), if for some reason these people feel that they can’t be their true selves, things like anxiety can pop up in spades. It’s the type of erratic and anxious energy that will absolutely radiate from their very being…..and once that sort of energy starts up in the person, it can have a kind of snowball effect. There may also be a feeling of being so “different’ that the person feels “against the world” in some way. The best way to keep any possible anxiety from creeping in (or keeping that snowballing effect from happening if anxiety has already creeped into the native’s life), is to refocus yourself. Accept the natural tension with this aspect as part of your makeup. Get out of situations that don’t feel authentic to you (if you can), and live as authentically as you can. And focus that tension not in a “me against the world” way, but towards something truly meaningful to you (like some sort of cause that means something to you).

Sun Square Neptune: With this aspect, you have the life force (Sun) in constant tension with dreamy, creative, and confusing/foggy Neptune. This particular aspect can cause some real problems with the self-esteem of the person, and the possibility of always feeling like a victim (or actually possibly being one). While those in and of themselves aren’t mental illnesses/differences, what can manifest because of them are. Things like addiction as a way of escaping the natural tension that the native feels because of this particular aspect (especially if there are other “hard” aspects to either of these planets). Who wants to constantly feel like they are being picked on, or treated badly? I get it, escape is a comforting idea here. Substances in general can be a slippery slope here; addiction tends to come on fast and easy with these people, and they also have a higher possibility than many to end up poisoned in some way from some sort of substance (since Neptune rules over things like poisons and the sun is the actual life force). Another thing Neptune does here in the Square with the Sun is cloud things (and lie). Neptune could cause one to believe some creative things that aren’t true about themselves and their reality (and the natural stress this aspect gives off could cause them to believe them). Telling the native things about the self, such as the native is worthless and the native will always be a victim, and these sorts of thoughts could turn into paranoid thinking at the furthest end of the spectrum. The best way to combat mental differences that may stem from this particular aspect is to really embrace your creativity and throw yourself into it. There is a hell of a lot of creative energy here, and if one can put all that tension into something productive in this way, they can help to release a lot of that stress.

Mercury/Saturn Aspects of the “harder” variety

Questions that I get asked often have to do with mental illnesses/mental differences/learning differences, and if I’m able to see things like that in the natal chart. The answer to this particular question is yes and no. The natal chart is like a blueprint of possibilities for the person (and the soul) in this lifetime. Just because something “difficult” shows up in one’s natal chart regarding mental illness, learning differences, or anything really, doesn’t necessarily mean that the person will ever manifest that particular difficult or different energy into reality. Though, if the propensity *is* there for mental illness or learning differences to occur, whether or not it actually occurs depends on a number of factors (such as biology, environment, and nurturing), as well as heavier transits hitting the aspect in question, thus activating it. Since I am specifically talking about mental illnesses/mental differences/learning differences, certain aspects made between Mercury and Saturn (specifically the square, opposition and conjunction) seem to cause people some issues in the areas of mental health and information processing/learning. The specific types of issues that these hard aspects between Mercury and Saturn tend to produce are being overly critical of oneself, overly restricting the things that one says, possible learning differences dealing with information processing (though these people are usually very smart regardless), and depression/depressive ways of thinking. This is a trend that I have noticed time and time again, and I suppose the part of me that finds mental health and psychology fascinating wanted to discuss it 

**Just for a bit of reference……Mercury is essentially the mind of the natal chart, where we think and learn in a concrete way, and where we communicate. It is traditionally quick and logical. Saturn tends to represent hard work, perseverance, seriousness, and yes, restriction.
***Also, as a disclaimer, I am in no way, shape, or form saying that people automatically have mental issues and learning differences by default when they have these harder aspects in their natal charts. I’m only saying that the possibility could exist of something like depression occurring in their life if one of these aspects is in the natal chart of the person. Just want to make that part really, really clear.***
***Also as a disclaimer, I am in no way saying that learning differences are mental illnesses, and I never would. I only lump them together here because these harder Mercury/Saturn aspects can cause either/or; this aspect can indicate the possibility of one or both of these manifesting in the life of the native. To know for sure which (or both) are actually a possibility in someone’s life, you would need to take the whole chart into consideration. ***

Mercury/Saturn Conjunction: This conjunction blends the energies of Saturn and Mercury together, and depending on how tight the conjunction is, it may be quite hard to discern them from one another (the tighter the conjunction, the harder this will be). Saturn here can cause Mercury (communication and thought) to be more serious, more focused, and possibly more restricted. This restrictive influence could cause one to really censor what they have to say (and sometimes this could be to the native’s benefit, depending on other aspects in the chart). If it isn’t a good thing though, this can make the person extremely cautious about what they say, how they say it, and who they say things to/speak with in general. There can be issues with communicating anything at all, but especially things dealing with the native themselves, and their own emotions (and this will be magnified even more if the Moon is somehow tied to this conjunction/depending on other aspects). Because this aspect causes one to be more serious-minded, it is important that they stay mentally busy and of productive use. Being overly negative in thought and thought patterns is definitely a possibility here if Saturn isn’t kept productive and the mind is allowed to stay idle too long. All of the above can give the mind more of a depressive bent. But unlike the opposition and the square, all of this will feel natural to the native; there is no tug-of-war or tension feeling with the conjunction aspect.

Mercury/Saturn Opposition: This opposition shows up in people that are incredibly smart, but there may be issues in how you communicate and think about everything that you know and want to share. The ability that you have to censor yourself may not feel as natural here in the sense that there may be a tug-of-war quality about it; there may be times that you know it would be in your best interest to NOT censor yourself, and can see what you need to do to not do this, but there can be issues in actually acheiving this and not doing it. Because of this, I feel that this is the one of these three aspects where anxiety can creep in. There can also be a real tug of war in terms of the way that you process information and learn new things. Mercury wants to learn things quickly and wants to share this newly learned information just as fast, but Saturn here in opposition says “hold up, let me really take in this new information I’ve learned.” While extremely smart, you may not process things quite as quickly or in as fluid a way as other people at times, which can leave you feeling less than. The same thing can be said about the way that you communicate this information; it may be a little slower (and you may even speak slower, more deliberately, when you do speak), as a way of really getting your thoughts across in a clear manner. Too much self-censoring, and feeling less than, can leave you feeling depressed. This possible depressive inclination is exacerbated by the seriousness of the mind here, and it’s inclination to lean more towards the “negative.” Learning to consciously balance the mind here, (kind of consciously allowing Mercury & Saturn to come through at times), as well as giving yourself grace to operate differently from other people (we are all unique!) is key here.

Mercury/Saturn Square: Out of all these aspects, this one is probably the most difficult to have in your natal chart. There is no merging here, no give and take, just pure tension all the time, and one has to learn to live and operate in spite of this tension. Mercury is quick, wanting to take in everything that it can learn and always curious. Saturn never really wants to give in to Mercury here, and is constantly “restricting”. At the same time, Mercury never really wants to slow down enough to appease Saturn. Having this aspect can cause some real issues with a lack of self-confidence, shyness (and possibly even loneliness) due to this lack of self-confidence, negative/depressive thought patterns, and a variety of learning differences. Because of Mercury and Saturn not ever seeing eye to eye here with this aspect, the mind (while again, usually very intelligent), may need extra time to really catch up and process in some way. You may have a different way of needing to learn certain concepts (nothing wrong with that, we’re all different!), and one of the ways to take on the challenge of this aspect is to embrace this about yourself if it happens to be the case in your life. The censoring that you can do to yourself here in regards to how you actually communicate can be crippling. It is massively important for any depression that you may suffer from, or for any intense shyness and loneliness that results from this, that you actually do force yourself to communicate your thoughts to the world. I’m not saying you have to turn into Chatty Cathy with anyone and everyone, but communicating when you have knowledge that you want to share (of which you have oodles), or something that you really want to say…..try just saying it. You could start out doing this with people that love you and have your best interest at heart, and slowly widening your circle. By just dipping your feet into the shallow end of communication, you may find that some of the depression, self-criticism, and loneliness that you may suffer from are alleviated some.

To read more on the subject of mental illness & mental differences in the natal chart, here is the link to a blog post of mine about Mercury/Uranus Hard Aspects:
https://saturnseason.com/2019/02/15/mercury-uranus-aspects-of-the-harder-variety/

Mercury/Uranus aspects of the “harder” variety

A question that I get asked often has to do with mental illnesses/mental differences, and if I’m able to see things like that in the natal chart. The answer to this particular question is yes and no. The natal chart is like a blueprint of possibilities for the person (and the soul) in this lifetime. Just because something “difficult” shows up in one’s natal chart regarding mental illness (or anything, really) doesn’t necessarily mean that the person will ever manifest that particular difficult energy into reality. Though, if the propensity *is* there for mental illness to occur, whether or not it actually occurs depends on a number of factors (such as biology, environment, and nurturing), as well as heavier transits hitting the aspect in question, thus activating it. Since I am specifically talking about mental illnesses & mental differences, certain aspects made between Mercury and Uranus (specifically the square, opposition and conjunction) seem to cause people some issues in the areas of mental health. The specific types of mental health issues that these hard aspects between Mercury and Uranus tend to produce are anxiety (either full blown or just some general nervousness), ADHD, all the way over to schizophrenia (among other things). This is a trend that I have noticed time and time again, and I suppose the part of me that finds mental health and psychology fascinating wanted to discuss it 🙂
**Just for a bit of reference……Mercury is essentially the mind of the natal chart, where we think and learn in a concrete way, and where we communicate. It is traditionally quick and logical. Uranus goes far beyond the concrete mind and basic logic in a lightening fast, revolutionary, sometimes shocking and universal way. **
***Also, as a disclaimer, I am in no way, shape, or form saying that people automatically have mental issues and differences by default when they have these harder aspects in their natal charts. I’m only saying that the possibility could exist of something like generalized anxiety disorder occurring in their life if one of these aspects is in the natal chart of the person. Just want to make that part really, really clear.***

Mercury/Uranus Conjunction: Conjunctions naturally fuse together the energy of two planets, and they don’t usually operate independently of one another, if they are able to operate independently at all. You would be able to tell this from the orb of the conjunction; the tighter it is, the more fused together they are and the less of a possibility of them operating independently. Here you have two planets that actually very much like one another and get along, but they are both vying for the attention of the native, trying to make their independent presence known and express themselves. If any planet wins out in their bid for attention, it is usually Uranus; Uranus likes to shock and stun. There is usually a lot of nervous and anxious energy with this conjunction due to both planets being so quickly mentally inclined. Mercury, while fast, is pushed way beyond it’s regular quickness capacity with Uranus here. There may even end up being some jumbling and scattering of thought processes at times, and communication could be a little screwy, due to how quickly both think about things, and how quickly they desire to say what they think. The conjunction between these two is easiest of the “harder” aspects to work with. Depending on other factors (such as “positive or negative” aspects to this conjunction) in one’s natal chart, this conjunction could produce someone with a really genius and visionary mind, or someone who is quite genuis and visionary but can’t slow their mind down enough to make sense of their thoughts and communicate them effectively.

Mercury/Uranus Opposition: With any opposition aspect, there is a natural “push/pull” or tug-of-war that occurs between the planets. One planet wants to do things it’s way by sign and house, and the other planet wants to do things it’s way by the opposite sign and house. There can be a real frustration here; Since these planets do naturally like each other there can be some irritation between the two with each one trying to get the other to come over to “their” side of things (and not understanding why the other planet won’t play along with them). Both are very quick, so the tug-of-war nature of this aspect can cause the person to feel incredibly mentally scattered, and quite frankly, at times mentally worn out. This can be quite anxiety producing for the native since both planets are so quick. There is a lot of great potential here for the genuis inside the person to emerge if they can learn to balance the energy between Uranus and Mercury in their natal chart. Knowing when to utilize the visionary, off-beat, and mentally light years ahead qualities of Uranus, and when to utilize the concrete mind and effective communication of Mercury. The balance is actually possible here, though it will take a lot of effort (and will be made easier or harder by way of the house and sign that each of the planets fall in). It may even end up feeling like less of a balance between the planets, and more like them “calling a truce.” However you want to think of this, once you acheive this you get both planets to quit their constant back and forth, and shut the fuck up….some of the time, at least.

Mercury/Uranus Square: With any square aspect, there is usually nothing but tension. This tension can either serve as a driving force in our lives (as something to overcome), or it can serve as a crippling agent. Mercury square Uranus operates exactly this way. Here you have someone who is unusually smart (possibly even brilliant or genius), but the square causes issues with how the person is able to easily manifest these qualities in reality. On one side of the square you have Uranus in all of it’s revolutionary glory, with all of it’s visionary ideas. On the other side you have Mercury trying to communicate and think as clearly and effectively as it can. Oh, and let’s not forget that both planets are trying to do their thing at a rapid pace. With the tension here, it can cause someone to not be able to clearly process their own thoughts and communicate all of their many ideas effectively. This can lead to massive amounts of disorganized, bizarre, and/or scattered thinking, massive amounts of anxiety (in the extreme this anxiety could fall over into the realm of paranoia), and to someone who is just labeled as quite eccentric. How lightly or severely these qualities appear in the life of the native will depend on the rest of their chart. The goal with this particular square aspect is learning how to operate inspite of these differences. The person with this aspect will probably have their own unique way of doing so (and figuring out what works and how easily it works will have a lot to do with easier or harder aspects in the chart made to these particular planets, and the houses and signs they fall under). Once the native release some of this tension by operating inspite of it in a functional way, they are able to really let all their real brilliance shine through.