Wednesday, September 24, 2014

In a Minor Key - the semi-sextile

In astrology there's seldom universal agreement about anything. The good news: it means the old doctrine is still a work in progress, nowhere near yet being chiseled in stone. The bad news: we can never be absolutely, 100%, sure of anything.

The semi-sextile, considered a minor aspect, is also a minor point of disagreement. Semi-sextile is a tight aspect of 30 degrees (not more than 1 or 2 degrees from that) between planets, which entails a link between neighbouring zodiac signs, which are usually quite different in nature, always different in element and quality. Some sources have the semi-sextile labelled as a minor "hard" aspect, others see it as being slightly helpful but less so than its cousin and big brother, sextile (60*) and trine (120*).

Numerous articles and explanations of the semi-sextile's potential in a natal chart are available on the net and in astrology text books. Personal experience: I have Sun in Aquarius exactly semi-sextile Jupiter in Pisces (6 degrees of each), also Saturn semi-sextile Uranus, at 12 and 13 degrees of Aries and Taurus respectively. Aquarius and Pisces, via Sun and Jupiter, get along rather well for me, I find. My natal Sun's modern ruler, Uranus, in semi-sextile to natal Sun's traditional ruler, Saturn perhaps assists, at times, in attempting to understand both sides of any old/new, trad/mod, change/status quo questions.

Brief extracts from a few astrologers' observations on the semi-sextile:

The Owl in the Moon blog begins a nice piece on semi-sextiles like this:
Many astrology students reasonably suggest that as the two planets are in signs with nothing in common, it makes sense that they do not 'get along'. However, their position as neighbours is a vital relationship. Also keep in mind that planets are neutral to each other, and all points need to be considered to discover how they will work together.

From Donna Cunningham at Skywriter:
Have you read or been taught much about the semi-sextile? I’m guessing that you haven’t—in most astrology writings, it tends to get shrugged off as a minor aspect after a half-hearted sentence or two of description. It’s a 30° aspect, plus or minus 2-3°. For instance, a planet in Aries may form a semi-sextile to a planet at approximately the same degree of either of the two adjacent signs, Pisces or Taurus.

The table below shows the pair of possible semi-sextiles for all 12 signs. Briefly, the aspect involves planets in neighboring signs. But are they good neighbors or bad? That is to say, are they harmonious or at odds, do they support each other or bicker, and do they bolster each other’s efforts or sabotage them?

My answer is: all of the above…depending on the signs and planets involved. There aren’t really any good or bad aspects, you know — just evolved and unevolved ways of using the two planets in the combination. The ultimate effect depends on the choices you make about how to use them at any given moment...............

From AdZe MiXXe's Angle on Aspects:
....A semi-sextile is somewhat comparable to the pearl within an oyster. The oyster itself is illusive and then once you have it you still have to dig to get the benefit. Semi-sextiles are receptive and internalizing. They often indicate latent abilities and require preparation. Planets in semi-sextile aspect help to clarify each other. Semi-sextiles help link the perimeter to the center. Energy and resources are attracted. Semi-sextiles require both worldly assets and spiritual goods. Often they can indicate the power of divination and subliminal influence. Higher consciousness is required to make effective use of this energy. Semi-sextiles resonate with Neptune, Mutable, Water and Pisces energy.

At The Inner Wheel Dawn Bodrogi has a slightly different way of putting it:
The semi-sextile is the nice, polite kid no one notices, until one day we start wondering who has been putting soap in the cat food and dropping Aunt Bessie’s jewelry down the toilet. Even then, his bigger, stroppier brothers, the quincunx and the square, get the blame, and all the while, while everyone’s back is turned, the semi-sextile grows up in the shadows and thinks up more clever and nefarious means to disrupt the flow. And he gets away with it. This is how Bond villains are created. The next thing you know, he’s threatening to take over the world (or at least, two planets in your chart).

As always, personal experience is key to knowing how it (or anything) works for you.

9 comments:

mike said...

I don't discount the semi-sextile, but I don't put much emphasis on it, either. BUT, that's when I consider ONLY the 30* aspect alone. Something all astrologers should consider when contemplating the semi-sextile is that, either through the natal chart or transits, angles will form to the two planets forming the semi-sextile.

Consider your Sun-Jupiter semi-sextile, Twilight. When a planet by transit is in the sign of Leo, that transiting planet will form an opposition to your Sun and an inconjunct to Jupiter. A transiting planet in Gemini (or Libra) will form a trine to your Sun and a square (or inconjunct) to your Jupiter. A transiting planet in Aries or Capricorn is the most propitious, as it will form a semi-sextile to one and a sextile to the other...but I'm not all that fond of sextiles, either. I view the sextile as a benevolent, minor aspect, just a bit stronger than a semi-sextile. The sextile has the same inherent potential to form negative aspects with transiting planets, particularly the yod.

So, I find the semi-sextile (or sextile) to be riddled with the potential for tension. A planet forming a positive aspect to one, will form a negative aspect to the other, for the most part.

I'm more in alignment with your excerpt from The Inner Wheel, except that Bodrogi blames it entirely on the semi-sextile, whereas I would put the emphasis on the square or inconjunct aspects to the semi-sextile, either natal or transiting.

Sonny Gianetti said...


Just stopping by to see what ya'll are discussing..
Hoping you have a great day~!

The high here is 60 and I have the windows open and the most beautiful soft breeze flowing thru the house.
It feels and smells sooooooooooo good.

Twilight said...

mike ~ It depends what use and emphasis each of us wants to put on astrology, doesn't it?

If we were to track every transit to every natal planet or aspect, some of us (including me) would become nervous wrecks! I don't do that for myself, or for anyone else. I do what comes naturally in life, I don't wish to worry or elate myself due to this or that transit.

I understand your observations though, and do not exactly disagree with anything you've written.

I'll look back over a decade or so and see whether any major changes in my life matched any past transit, but no more than that. That's the best way to prove astrology works, to my mind.

Expecting transits to have a given effect could sometimes cause a person to act in ways they wouldn't have done otherwise, and in doing so cause some other outcome. Doing what comes naturally, dealing with events as they arrive is my best bet.

Such finely done, personal, prediction as you mention is a use of astrology I, personally, do not go along with. Astrology works sometimes, but not all the time, because its (whatever "it" is) is not properly understood in sufficient detail to be reliable.

I prefer to investigate the way astrology relates to personality; along with watching the broader outcomes of outer planet transits on the world at large.

I'm very happy with my own semi-sextiles. That's just me.

We each find our own key - Thank you for outlining yours! :-)

Twilight said...

Sonny ~ Hi! Enjoy that breeze! It's around 70* here just now, likely to climb to mid-80s later.

LB said...

Something about AdZe MiXXe's interpretation appeals to me. I like the idea of the semi-sextile as having the potential to make the spiritual real, since in relationship to one another, each point represents either the 12th or 2nd house for the other. Ideally, it could serve as a very balancing, *grounding* energy.

In a negative sense, it might also make it easier to indulge an addiction or delusion, thinking something is real when it really isn't.

I also agree with mike about transits to semi-sextiles and the challenge of the quincunx, both in transit and in the natal chart. Quincunxes often demand an uneasy adjustment of energies.

Twilight said...

LB ~ I've just pulled my copy of deVore's Encyclopedia of Astrology from the shelf, to see what he had to say about semi-sextile. It comes from a longer section on aspects in general:

Semi-sextile: an aspect of mixed quality, rhythmically favorable but involving planets in inharmonious signs.

Blandly accurate definition, no opinion involved.
So much depends on individual personality mapped by our unique natal charts as to how we perceive anything at all. This is probably the very reason astrology's validity, even in part, will never be proved or disproved.

I agree that a quincunx, if not connected to a Yod formation, will be a scratchy kind of aspect but not exactly malefic. Much that used to be labelled malefic, I see as necessary challenges, which must be be dealt with, bumps in the road. Or aspects of our personality which may or may not be modified or heightened by other parts of the chart.

IM(not very H)O it's just not possible to dictate a meaning of any aspect so that it will fit all.

LB said...

Twilight ~ Agree that not everyone is as sensitive to energies, or to particular energies. Having said that, and using next-door neighbors as an analogy for semi-sextiles, just because we're not personally aware our neighbor is poisoning our cat, doesn't make it any less true.

It just dawned on me how this was probably the point Dawn Bodrogi was trying to make. It also ties in with my earlier comment about the semi-sextile's potential for delusion and/or deception.

I have a couple of semi-sextiles too - sometimes it's difficult to see what's coming at us from the 12th!

Twilight said...

LB ~ Well...again, it depends how we perceive the signs themselves. Each sign has positive and negative sides. Surely, if we draw on the positive sides of closely aspected neighbouring signs, that can only be to the good? It's up to us, not up to the signs. We are in charge!

I happen to like the s/s neighbours I was born with, haven't found anything Dawn Bodrogi wrote resonates for me, personally.

To each his/her own, as always. :-)

LB said...

Twilight ~ I don't disagree - the two points involved could definitely work for the good. No question! Even *if* they don't always start out that way.

I also agree we're not robots, acting out our charts as strictly programmed. A lot of the time we have choices as to how to respond to our challenges and blessings.:)