Any chart describes a dynamic process, not a static snapshot. Its qualities unfold through time in the movements of directions, progressions and transits (see 'Sun and Earth'). They also express through the spatial relationship between its planets (aspects). Aspects link scattered planetary energies, amplifying them into a coherent whole. Planets in aspect are energies in action. Aspects generate a current, provoke a dialog, between the planetary principles involved. They bring a chart to life. They create a gestalt, a wholeness, a unified dynamic out of what would otherwise be a jumble of disparate qualities. Two, or several, planets in aspect constitute more than the sum of their parts. One or a few strong aspects can dominate the energy budget of a chart.
Aspects are as important as positions because they indicate movement and evolution of the functions involved. The next three chapters outline the energies in play between pairs of planets in aspect. Their sign and house positions must also be factored in when evaluating these dynamics. Planetary positions portray what kinds of psycho-spiritual energies you have. Aspects indicate what they are doing.
'Solar Aspects and Retrogradation' describes the relationship of planetary functions, or subpersonalities, to the central identity (Sun). Retrogradation involves redefinition, an inward turning, of those forces. It is symbolized by a planet's apparent backwards motion through the zodiac as seen from Earth for part of the year.
'Lunar Phases and Aspects' describes the psychological grounding of planetary functions in emotional temperament. Moon's aspect to Sun, its phase, is the most important one.
'Planetary Aspects' describes interactions between various planetary functions.