Why All the Details?
For decades, many people publicly denied or ignored astrology, though many considered it more closely in secret. Many astrologers focused on its science, rather than its art, believing that the scientific side made it more legitimate. For this reason, the study of astrology became quite complex over the years; it now includes so many rules, parameters, and minute details. This explains also why you can often find entire books on a single planet in the astrology sections of bookstores.
Science or Art?
This is a very common question in the study of astrology. Take Mars, for instance. Once you get through its influence in mythology, folklore, popular fiction, and the movies, the only thing left to explain is the meat: its influence in a chart. The rest is just filler to justify a book on the subject.
Unfortunately, this practice tends to make astrology seem dull and boring. It also misses the point. What matters in the interpretation of a birth chart is the entire chart. The whole is definitely greater than the sum of the parts, in this case. Also, by attempting to interpret increasingly smaller pieces of a chart, your intuitive voice gets lost. The science of astrology comes from the left brain; its art is from the right brain. The interpretation should be a bridge between the two.
The Aspect Grid
Look at the chart in
Locate the Sun symbol along the bottom of the graph. Now locate the MC along the left side of the graph. To find out what aspect the Sun and the MC make, follow the Sun column up two squares until it's directly opposite the MC. You'll see a trine .
The traditional aspects have been in use at least since the second century a.d. They're called “classical” or Ptolemaic, after the Greek astrologer Ptolemy (Claudius Ptolemaeus). These aspects are the conjunction, sextile, square, trine, and opposition. They are considered the major or hard aspects and are also the most powerful.