In the post on Planetary Aspects I introduced the concept of aspects, detailed the kinds of Ptolemaic aspects, and described the notion of orb.
The most powerful aspect is the conjunction. Two planets are conjunct when they are close to each other. The conjunction is the easiest kind of aspect to spot. Just look for planets in the same sign, and see if they are close enough. (There is the exception of the out-of-sign conjunction, when two planets may be close enough but in different signs: one of the planets being near the end of its sign, and the other being at the beginning of its sign. More on out-of-sign aspects in another post.)
Let’s see if we can spot any conjunctions in the horoscope of Steve Jobs, by examining the Ephemeris for his date of birth, which is Feb 24, 1955. However, as explained here, we should actually be looking at Feb 25 since the ephemeris is for UT 00:00 and he was born in the Pacific Time zone which is 8 hours behind UT. So here’s the planetary line up for Feb 25, 1955 (I’ve cut out the last NNo column):
Here, the Jupiter-Uranus conjunction occurs with an orb of 3 degrees and 35 minutes from the exact. And this orb is close enough to count as a conjunction. So we can say that Jupiter and Uranus are conjunct. However (see bottom of post) you wouldn’t take up this conjunction in the interpretation of Jobs’s horoscope.
Now, we also see that Moon and Mars are in the same sign, Aries. Could they be conjunct? Since the Ephemeris is for midnight at UT, and the Moon moves 12-13 degrees per day, the Moon position listed in the Ephemeris is not necessarily for Jobs’s exact time of birth. So when looking at the Ephemeris it’s best to leave out the Moon because we are not using exact birth times.
Let’s do another example. This is for Angela Merkel’s date of birth, July 17, 1954:
Here you see two conjunctions, both in Cancer. There’s the Mercury-Jupiter conjunction with an orb of a little under 3 degrees, and the Uranus-Sun conjunction with an even tighter orb of just over 1 degree. Would the combination of Jupiter and Uranus be considered a conjunction? They are separated by more than 11 degrees, which is a little too much to qualify as a conjunction.
Up next is an interesting family of conjunctions, involving three planets. This is for Marie Curie, born November 7, 1867:
The Sun, Venus, Mars, and Saturn are all in Scorpio. Of these, Venus, Mars, and Saturn are closer to each other, with the Sun at a greater distance. If you line up the planets in ascending order of degree positions, you would have Sun-Venus-Saturn-Mars.
The tightest conjunction is that of Venus and Saturn, separated by just 19 minutes of arc! Then there is the Saturn-Mars conjunction, with an orb of just over 4 degrees. And third, the Venus-Mars conjunction that reaches over Saturn, also with an orb of over 4 degrees, but slightly wider than the Saturn-Mars conjunction. Such a line up of conjunctions is called a stellium, which would become a significant driver of the personality.
What about the Sun in this mix? The Sun to Venus distance is just under 11 degrees. Should this be considered a conjunction? Since the Sun is involved, and because it is of such enormous significance to the identity and life direction, astrologers generally give it more leeway as far as its reach is considered for aspects. So in this case we would say the Sun is in fact considered to be conjunct Venus. And because Saturn is so close to Venus, we naturally also get a Sun-Saturn conjunction. Mars is a little farther out, so that’s about where we might draw a line and possibly not consider the Sun-Mars combination to be a conjunction – the separation is over 15 degrees.
This last example is that of writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, born September 15, 1977:
There are conjunctions in two signs: Venus-Saturn in Leo, and Mars-Jupiter in Cancer. There also appears to be a Moon-Pluto in Libra, but remember, we don’t know for sure what the Moon position is (without exact birth time), so we don’t know if this conjunction will happen or not. We’ll ignore it.
When two planets are conjunct, they join forces and influence one another. It’s like mutually impressionable friends that share their distinctive individual energies, so that the whole becomes greater than the sum of the parts. Think John Lennon and Paul McCartney of the Beatles, or any strong mutually supportive partnership, and get a really good sense of how a conjunction will manifest in the life.
With a conjunction, the combination of the natures of the planets will show up in the personality in ways that wouldn’t happen if the planets were to go their separate ways.
Consider some conjunction scenarios. For instance, if Mercury and Mars were conjunct, then the speed and dexterity of Mercury would be lent to Mars’s physicality, making for a person who is literally quick on their feet. Likewise, Mars’s assertion, drive, and strength would lend itself to Mercury’s expression of the mind, and you would get someone who is sharp in speech, given to debate (Mars combativeness), perhaps argumentative, with great mental stamina.
How about Venus conjunct Saturn? Venus’s significations of love, pleasure, and money would be greatly influenced by Saturn’s caution, resulting in the person being careful with their affection, and able to happily live with much less than most people, if needed. On the other hand, Saturn is also about building or materializing, so a Venus-Saturn conjunction could also show up as building wealth. In fact, this conjunction shows up in the horoscope of very wealthy people, including Bill Gates (founder of Microsoft), Jeff Bezos (founder of Amazon), Amancio Ortega (founder of Zara), and many others. Yet another possibility would be a constancy (Saturn is about steadiness) in love (Venus). Or, limiting (Saturn) pleasure (Venus) – a stoic. Whereas a Venus-Jupiter conjunction would likely result in an expansive (Jupiter) pursuit of pleasure (Venus), tending to hedonism if unchecked by other restraining influences.
Saturn is the planet that “rules” the conjunction in these examples, bringing its influence to bear on Venus. Could it be the other way round as well? For instance, Venus, could soften Saturn’s tough exterior, and make the person more approachable. Or Venus’s inclination to build relationships would chip away at Saturn’s reserve, and allow a person to reach out to others.
Generally speaking, though, Saturn is the “heavier” planet in the conjunction so Saturn has a much bigger influence on Venus than Venus does on Saturn. So although conjunctions in general are like partnerships, the participants are not always on equal footing. And it’s not just because one planet has more pull by virtue of being social planet (Jupiter/Saturn), or an outer planet (Uranus/Neptune/Pluto). It could also be because one of the planets is in its own sign (i.e. a sign it rules), while the other isn’t. So, in a Venus-Mars conjunction, if the conjunction is in Taurus or Libra, Venus would have the upper hand, because these are the signs it rules. However, if the conjunction is in Aries, then Mars would be stronger because it is in its own sign.
For the Venus-Saturn conjunction, I only outlined a handful of scenarios out of numerous possibilities. Any one of Venus’ significations could be combined with any of Saturn’s to get at a possible manifestation. This is not an abstract exercise, but an astrologer would have a hard time getting through all of them in an hour’s consultation to figure out how you express that Venus-Saturn conjunction, if you indeed have one in your horoscope. But if you knew all the significations of Venus, and all the significations of Saturn, you could spend hours or days or weeks or whatever it takes to really get down to the bottom of it, and figure out what exactly your Venus-Saturn is up to. And once you get to the bottom of it, with the deep awareness you have gained, you can find other more constructive combinations of Venus-Saturn energies if you are so inclined.
You can work with any conjunction this way. You may want to start exploring with the conjunctions in the examples above for Steve Jobs, Angela Merkel, and Marie Curie, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. In particular, Adichie has a Venus-Saturn conjunction, which may be a good starting place since you have already made some headway above in combing the Venus and Saturn qualities. There is a plethora of online information about all of them. (I find their personal quotes particularly revealing.) How did these people’s lives manifest the various planetary conjunctions in their horoscope.
Then, find out the conjunctions in your horoscope. I would stay within an orb of 10 degrees if I were you, unless you have no conjunctions at all, in which case I would be more generous. So for instance, the only conjunction you have is a Sun-Uranus conjunction if you allow an orb of 15 degrees, then go for it. Also, I would only work with conjunctions in which both planets are not one of Jupiter or Saturn (social planets) or one of Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto (outer planets). So, a Mars-Saturn conjunction is definitely worth examining, but not Jupiter-Saturn, or Saturn-Uranus, or Uranus-Neptune, etc. (Recall that Steve Jobs’s horoscope has a Jupiter-Uranus conjunction, but we wouldn’t take it up for interpretation.) Reason being the social and outer planets have long orbital cycles, so you would share your Jupiter-Saturn conjunction (within, say, an orb of 5 degrees) with many millions of people born in the same year.
For each conjunction you have identified, combine keywords of one planet with keywords of the other, and see which ones resonate. Then examine them more deeply. For instance, you might have a Sun-Jupiter conjunction. One of the possible paths of exploration is how your identity (Sun), who you really are, is tied to faith, belief, religion (Jupiter). Do you live your life in accordance with the practices of an organized religion? Or do you go with your own personal belief system that you developed over time? Why one over the other? The Sun also signifies the father, or father-figure. How have their beliefs influenced you? Were they your role model for your faith, or did you take off in the opposite direction?
Whatever the combination of planets in conjunction, it’s important to remember that they always go together. Like neurons, planets that wire together fire together – you don’t get one without the other.