Applying & Separating Aspects
There are three different types of planetary movement in the Natal (birth) Astrology Chart.
The applying movement is when the planets are moving together to form an aspect (unless in retrograde), the faster moving planet is behind the slower moving planet. An example of this would be Mars 19 degree Aries and Saturn 20 degrees Aries. Mars moves faster than Saturn and is approaching Saturn and will eventually meet up with Saturn.
The separating movement is when the planets are moving away from one another. Using the same planets with Mars at 20 degree Aries and Saturn now at 19 degrees Aries, Mars once again is moving quicker than Saturn and is now moving away from Saturn.
Finally there are stationary aspects. The planets that have been in retrograde motion or forward motion at some point appear to be motionless before moving forward or backward in the opposite direction.
Even when a Planet is retrograde at birth, it will either be forming an aspect with another planet or separating from an aspect to another planet. The closer the degree is to making an exact aspect, the stronger its energies influence us in our lives.
There may be some planets that do not be making an aspect but this is rare. This is known as a unaspected planet.
There are varying types of aspects in Astrology. The major aspects (sextile, trine, conjunction, inconjunct, square or opposition) are very powerful in the natal chart. See our Aspects in Astrology.
There are Astrologers that have noted that a separating aspect deals with past events or if you like, they represent finished business. Separating aspects have already been dealt with and will eventually fade over time as the aspect continues to separate. Some Astrologers believe that the acknowledgement and correction took place before birth, and we have already made adjustments to overcome whatever the aspect between the two planets describes. The degrees that separate the planets describe how powerful that aspect is in the chart. The closer the aspects the more powerful its energies are. A separating aspect represents perhaps one of the last things that were set in motion in a previous lifetime, but obviously this is speculative depending on whether or not one believes in the possibility of reincarnation.
Astrologers understand the significance of applying and separating aspects and will define its intensity and help delineate the meaning of any particular influence in the Birth Chart when this is part of the delineation process.
When planets are applying, it is understood that the faster moving planet is moving towards the slower moving planet and suggests unfinished business that will have to be dealt with during the course of this lifetime. Once again, the closer the aspect is to being direct by degree, the more apparent and pressing the energies of the planets involved. We have come into this life to address the energies. Only then can we come to terms with whatever the planets and aspects suggest.
The applying aspects become stronger as time passes and the energies will intensify. They push us in directions that will assist us in dealing with the energies represented by these two planetary energies and the aspect they are making. These conditions are dealt with after birth.
Applying aspects are suggestive of future endeavours that should be approached and dealt with. This is not to say that all aspects between planets are challenging-- far from it. You have to take into consideration the planets involved and decipher how well they work together and what aspects are involved before making a judgement call on how the energies will affect us.
Remember the tighter the aspect, the more significant its influence in our lives.
For example, a conjunction between Mars and Pluto is a very strong aspect, but if these planets are separating from one another and are out by 8 degrees compared to an aspect of let’s say Venus conjunct the Sun, (which is a much softer aspect) which is applying and only out by 23 minutes. The latter aspect would have a far greater influence in this individual’s life than the aspect between Mars and Pluto.
It is important to weigh out the aspects and recognize whether the aspect is applying or separating when deciphering the energies contained within a Natal chart and how great the impact will be.