The intricacies and complexities that exist within the tangled web of astrology are truly endless. There are so many ways that two planets can interact with each other, sparking new energy to life through their friction as well as their harmony. There are many easy, breezy aspects that each planet can make with another, but also challenging aspects, too. There are even aspects that exist somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. One of these aspects happens to be the sextile, which is a gentle, harmonious, and motivating aspect to have in astrology.
In terms of synastry (or astrological compatibility), a sextile is a wonderful thing to share with someone else. Even though a sextile is not as powerful as a trine — which takes place when two zodiac signs of the same element form a 120 degree angle — it’s not something that should be overlooked. The exact definition of a sextile is when two zodiac signs form a 60 degree angle, often two zodiac signs away from each other. A sextile is also formed between two signs who share the same “yin” or the same “yang.” In other words, masculine signs (yang) always form a sextile with other masculine signs, while feminine signs (yin) always form a sextile with other feminine signs.
Point blank, the energy of a sextile is pretty chill. It’s neither particularly over-the-top nor euphoric, but it’s definitely not detrimental or difficult either. While there isn’t much drama in a sextile, it does pave the way for a surprisingly gentle alignment between zodiac signs you probably never thought would have too much in common. Each sextile is different, producing its own brand of cosmic energy. Here’s what you need to know about how the sextile can show itself.
What Are Aspects In Astrology?
Before you can really get into the meat of what a sextile is in astrology, you’ve got to understand what aspects are and why they’re important. Professional astrologer Dalanah of the Moon Matters podcast previously told Elite Daily that there are four main parts of astrology: zodiac signs, planets, houses, and aspects. “Aspects ... give so much detail and refine the chart and really make it personal,” she explained. “Those are the parts that make it real, like, ‘Oh, it’s not just [that] I have a Cancer moon [and] you have a Cancer moon, but what are our Cancer moons doing? Who are they talking to in the chart?’ That’s going to be very different for everyone.” Aspects are often described as the way the planets communicate with each other — it’s how they converse, and it’s the tone of the conversation.
With smoother aspects, the planets are on the same page and understand each other’s energies. Then you have more abrasive aspects (not necessarily bad), where the planets involved are sort of like, “Dude, you make no sense.” They just don’t get each other. The five major aspects in astrology are conjunctions, trines, sextiles, oppositions, and squares. You may have heard aspects split up into “hard” and “soft,” but Dalanah prefers to categorize them as harmonic and dynamic because “hard” can imply something negative.
No aspect is inherently bad or good — some are just a smoother blending of energies while others create more friction. “Actually having too many harmonic aspects in a chart can make your life a little too easy,” notes Dalanah, adding, “and then you never learn any lessons.” That’s the job of the dynamic aspects: to inspire growth. The key is balance. Ideally, you’d have a mix of all kinds of aspects in your natal chart and in relationship synastry.
What Is A Sextile?
When you think about what an aspect is — the rapport between planets — imagine a sextile as two planets who are just absolutely chill with each other. They have a very friendly interaction, according to Miami-based astrologer Valerie Mesa. “A sextile is very beneficial,” she tells Elite Daily.
Put simply, sextile aspects all come down to the four elements. In astrology, a sextile is formed between fire signs and air signs (which are masculine). It’s also formed between earth signs and water signs (which are feminine). “Let’s say a water sign is in harmony with an earth sign, that’s when they’re 60 degrees apart,” Mesa explains. “The same would happen with an air sign and a fire sign and vice versa.” If you think of the way these elements work together in the wild, it makes total sense. Air blows its wind through fire, fanning its flames and creating an even bigger heat storm in the process. Water, on the other hand, nurtures the earth by providing it with the nutrients and hydration it needs in order to grow.
As previously mentioned, sextiles are similar to trines in that both offer a harmonic flow of energy. Sextiles are just a more muted version. “I don’t think it’s on as grand of a scale,” Dalanah explains. “It’s not as intense ... It’s still adding goodness, but it’s in a more subtle way.” With this in mind, each sextile manifests in its own unique way depending on which planets are involved, in which signs, and whether you’re looking at a birth chart, synastry, or transits. So, where exactly do we see this quietly benevolent energy play out? There’s synastry, of course, but you can also have sextiles happening within your own birth chart and passing overhead with the planets on the daily, aka transits.
Sextiles Happening In The Sky
Think of transits like astrological weather, in a way. This is what’s occurring right now or what’s to come. “That’s how people write horoscopes for the day,” Dalanah explains. “They look and see where everything is, what planets are in what sign, and what planets are talking to each other via the aspects. It gives us the vibes for the day.”
Transits not only show you what to expect for the day, but they can also describe bigger cultural shifts. “It’s the same way that people look at the weather,” Mesa tells Elite Daily. “You know, ‘Do I take my jacket? Is it a day for the pool?’” Planetary transits will let you know, and sextiles in particular, Mesa says, are like “seed planting” for opportunity to happen — especially when Mercury, Venus, or Mars are involved.
As another example to further demonstrate the differences between sextiles and trines, Dalanah points to Jupiter [expansion, luck] and Mars. When they’re in a trine, she says, “To me, that’s like frat-boy good. That’s like, ‘We’re throwing down a party, this is going to be wild, this is great.’” Whereas when these two form the softer sextile, it’s more like “Yeah, come to my house party, it’ll be a nice time — there [are] no keg stands, but it’s still going to be a good time.” Both are happy and positive, but one is more enthusiastic while the other is subtle and chill.
Sextiles In A Natal Chart
Looking at a natal chart will provide details of who the chart holder is as a person and their fate. Learning about what aspects are happening in your chart can tell you the nitty-gritty details that simply turning to planets and signs can’t. If you look at yours and have planets in signs that are 60 degrees apart, that means you have sextiles happening in your chart, and that’s a pretty sweet deal.
“It’s always going to depend on the person, but if let’s say someone is Mercury sextiles Mars,” notes Mesa. “Say their Mercury is in Gemini and their Mars is in Leo ... You have two elements working on your behalf.” Your planets of communication and of action are in harmony. “You can use your voice, you can use your mind to take action, [and] you can use your voice to get your point across,” Mesa explains.
Whichever planets you have sextiling each other will work together cooperatively and smoothly, but not loudly, like a trine might. As another example, if you have your Venus in a sextile with your ascendant (presentation and impression) that would be “someone who cares about their aesthetic [and] likes to bring beauty into their persona and into the world,” Dalanah tells Elite Daily.
Sextiles In Synastry
When you compare your natal chart with someone else's, you’re looking at synastry. This is how astrologers determine compatibility between two people, whether that’s for romantic partners, family, friends, or for something work-related. Synastry is bringing together two different energies, and in a sextile, the energies work. “It’s one of those things that you’re like, ‘It’s really nice that we have that’,” says Dalanah. Whatever the situation, having sextiles with someone else is an indicator of easy-breezy compatible energy between the planets in question.
Further, you might not even notice these harmonic aspects because it’s easy to take them for granted. “The trines and the sextiles are the things that are just so innate within your synastry,” Dalanah explains. “It’s like ‘Wow, that’s so easy.” It’s your instinctive habit or chemistry that you have with another person. Again, the sextile will just be more low-key than the trine, but it’s still a very nice vibe to have.
“Let’s say my moon sextiles your Venus,” offers Mesa. “That means we have a very cooperative, harmonious way of connecting emotionally. Or if you have your sun (the ego) sextiling their sun, Dalanah says you’re going to be able to recognize each other pretty innately and see the other person for who they are.
Because a sextile doesn’t flow as freely as a trine, it’s up to you what you make of it. A sextile can come and go without much notice, which is an opportunity that’s passing you by. Whether a sextile is taking place in the sky, in your natal chart, or it describes your compatibility with someone, it’s up to you to take advantage of the opportunity it’s presenting you with. Appreciate your differences, be proud of what you bring to the table, and watch how this energy mixes in the cosmic cauldron to form one powerful potion.
Valeria Mesa, professional astrologer, soul coach, and writer
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