I thought I'd share some step by step instructions/explanations about phasal relationships that I already have written up for those who are not yet clear about this. Maybe this will be helpful...
To have any planets in any kind of relationship to one another implies that prior to that particular relationship, they were building up to the point of being in that relationship.
Aspects imply a process. When two planets (or luminaries such as the Sun or Moon, or any celestial body) are right next to one another (what we will call an exact conjunction, or combustion) it implies that prior to the conjunction they were in some other relationship with one another, one that naturally preceded the exact conjunction.
If you are walking into a room right now, what does this imply? It implies that prior to this walking into the room, you were just outside of the room. Now, let’s say you are walking out of a room right now. What does this imply? It implies that prior to your walking out of the room you were inside of the room.
We can think of aspects just like that. To have any two planets, or points in a chart in any particular relationship to one another, innately implies that that relationship is the next step of a long spanned evolutionary journey.
Here is an astronomical example to illustrate this point:
Everyone knows that there is a thing called a new Moon and a full Moon. Astronomically what is actually taking place during those two events?
On the new Moon, the Sun and the Moon are in the exact same place from the point of view of the Earth. On the full Moon, the Sun and Moon are seen to be in opposite positions of the zodiac. We can call the “new Moon” the beginning of a lunar cycle as it symbolizes the point at which the Sun and Moon are in the same place. We can call the “full Moon” the culmination of the entire lunar cycle as it is the greatest point of separation achieved during the entire lunar cycle.
Now, based on that simple understanding, what can we say about the full Moon? It implies that prior to the Moon being full, it was on its way towards being full. What can we say about the new Moon? That prior to the Moon being new, it was on its way towards being new.
Determining the phase:
This first chart is a new Moon chart. However note that the Moon is applying towards the Sun. This means that the previous lunar cycle is still in process of completing itself.
In this next chart, the Moon has traveled beyond the Sun. Thus this chart depicts the very beginning of a new lunar cycle.
Note that both of these charts depict a new Moon. However one is a new Moon as the Moon is applying towards the Sun and completing an old cycle, whereas the other is a new Moon as the Moon is moving away from the Sun, beginning a new cycle.
A conjunction is a conjunction, right?
WRONG! A conjunction, by definition is when any two planets are within orb of 10 degrees of one another. However, as depicted in the above illustrations, a conjunction can imply the beginning of a cycle of the completion of an old one.
How to determine which kind of conjunction?
It’s simple. As a guide, you can refer to the Sun and Moon. The way to determine whether the conjunction between any two planets is beginning a cycle or completing one is to simply put your finger on the slower
* moving planet (or celestial body) and move counter clockwise, in the natural direction of the zodiac. If you have to go all around the chart to reach the faster moving planet, then the conjunction between the two planets are completing a cycle. If however your finger immediately, within the first 10 degrees, reaches the faster moving planet, then the conjunction between the two planets are just beginning a cycle.
Moving beyond conjunctions:
The above principal can be applied to any two planets that are positioned anywhere in the chart. Basically, all planets are in some sort of phasal relationship with one another. (See the chart Steve has provided on the 8 primary phases for a visual http://schoolofevolutionaryastrology.com/forum/images/Aspect.Chart.pdf
The 8 primary phases:
First quarter phase
Last quarter phase,
Each phase is made of an arc of 45 degrees.
Any two planets that fall within a new phase means that the faster moving planet is within an arc of 0-45 degrees beyond the slower moving planet. Whereas any two planets that fall within the balsamic phase means that the faster moving planet is within an arc of 315-359 degrees beyond the slower moving planet. The above illustrations of the new Moon depict this point:
In the first chart, the elongation between the Sun and Moon is about 355. Thus the conjunction is balsamic.
In the second chart, the elongation is about 6 degrees, thus the conjunction is new phase.
*The Sun is always considered the "slower moving planet" as in actuality, it is not moving and is the point of integration for the entire chart. Therefore the same method would be used for determining the phasal relationship between the Sun and the Moon as well as the Sun and Pluto for example.
* Nodes are the other exception, as explained in the 135 degree thread.