The sextile aspect is a separation of 60 degrees between planets, within acceptable orb. The 60-degree separation puts planets in signs that are compatible, but not in the same element. There are two families of sextiles. One family is composed of pairs of planets where one planet is in fire, and the other is in air:
The sextile pairs here are Aries-Gemini, Gemini-Leo, Leo-Libra, Libra-Sagittarius, Sagittarius-Aquarius, and Aquarius-Aries.
The other family of sextile pairs is water-earth:
The sextile pairs in this family are Taurus-Cancer, Cancer-Virgo, Virgo-Scorpio, Scorpio-Capricorn, Capricorn-Pisces, and Pisces-Taurus.
Fire and air are compatible with each other, and so are water and earth. They work well together, but only after some prodding. You can think of the energy of a sextile aspect as somewhere between that of the trine, and square. The trine is an easier flowing aspect because it is between planets in the same element. The square is harder because it is between incompatible elements (e.g. fire-earth, air-water). The sextile aspect lends itself to opportunistic action. The best way to employ it is to actively seek opportunities where you can use the specific talent embodied by the planets in sextile with each other.
For instance, consider Mercury sextile Neptune. The talent embodied here brings together the communicative ability of Mercury with the imagination of Neptune–with some effort, this could be employed in activities such as creative writing, or illustrated story-telling. What if Venus is sextile Neptune? One avenue is performing arts such as making music, dancing, or work that marries form with aesthetics such as interior design. Mars sextile Pluto might find an outlet in long distance (Pluto’s extreme push) running (Mars’s physicality). A trine from Mars to Pluto might also show up in the same way, with the difference being that trine might be less inclined to push itself, while the sextile will strive harder to find opportunities for expression.
Here’s the planetary spread for American actress Meryl Streep (born June 2, 1949, 8:05 am, Summit, NJ, USA). Let’s see what sextiles, if any, we can find:
First, are there any fire-air sextiles? We’ll look by at planets in the signs Aries, Gemini, Leo, Libra, Sagittarius, and Aquarius. The Mars-Mercury conjunction in Gemini at 08o50′ and 10o17′ forms a sextile with Pluto in Leo at 14o51′, with an orb of over 4-6 minutes–the conjunction breaks down into two individual sextiles, Mars-Pluto, and Mercury-Pluto.
Pluto in Leo is sextile Neptune in Libra, but since these are both generational positions (everyone born within a few years will have this sextile, no it’s not personalized), we will ignore the aspect. There are no other fire-air sextiles.
Next, let’s see if there are any earth-water sextiles. Moon in Taurus sextiles Venus in Cancer, with an orb of just around 4 degrees. Sun and Uranus are also in Cancer, so you can possibly include them as making sextiles wth the Moon , if you are willing to allow an orb of around 14 degrees. This is a very loose orb, but the planets involved are the Sun and Moon, hands down the most important bodies in the horoscope. So we will consider these sextiles as well. So Moon makes sextiles to Uranus, Sun, and Venus. This is huge!
Looking at Cancer to Virgo, we see that Sun makes a sextile to Saturn, with a very tight orb of less than a minute. We will ignore the Uranus-Saturn sextile for the same reason that we ignored the Pluto-Neptune sextile above: this sextile will be shared by a very large cohort of people born in a multi-month span, so the sextile is not personalized. Would the Venus-Saturn separation be considered as a sextile? The orb is around 17 degrees, which is a little too much, so we will leave it out.
In all, Meryl Streep’s horoscope has 6 sextiles, 4 of which involve the Sun and Moon. This is well above average, both in number, and significance due to the presence of the Sun and Moon. You may be well aware that Streep is the most celebrated actress of her generation, winning 3 academy awards, and owning the singular distinction for having the most acting nominations ever. She is renowned for her versatility and depth, and her deep immersion in the characters she portrays–all of this seemingly without effort. I believe this is all because of the multiple sextiles which carry enormous talent, and which she has married to all the opportunities that she has been presented with.
This is what she has to say about making the effort to put her talents to work : “It’s a good thing to imagine yourself doing something you think you can’t. I do that every day because, basically, if I had it my way, I’d just stay home and think about what I’m having for supper.” It aptly puts words to her sextiles, overcoming the inclination to let sleeping talents lie (which might well be the case if the aspects were all trines instead of sextiles), to make the effort to put the talents into action and productive application.
Find out the sextile, if any, in your horoscope. Only consider sextiles in which at least one of the planets is the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, and Mars; ignore all others. Use orbs as needed. (Generally keep orbs down to 10 degrees of so, while allowing a little more leeway for the Sun and Moon sextiles.) Interpret according to the element of the participating planets (whether fire, earth, air, or water) and the significations of the planets. Start with what you consider to be your strengths and talents, and then match them to the sextiles. Doing it this way will also tell you which trines are stronger than others, which will also then give you a good idea of which elements and planets you “own” more than others.