Hard and Easy Angles


Over the past two years I began to use the language hard and easy to refer to experiences and interactions.

This is language from astrology. A hard angle is something like a square or opposition and indicates struggle and growth. An easy angle is a trine or a sextile and indicates something that is easy and natural.

There are many astrological traditions, Hellenistic, Vedic, Egyptian, Renaissance, to name a few. Hellenistic astrology thinks about aspects in terms of vision: the planets see one another. What is it like to look at someone directly, to look at someone with the side-eye to look at someone next to you. There are 5 traditional “Ptolemaic” aspects that describe these: the square, the conjunct, the opposition, the sextile and the trine.

There is also a measurement aspect to angles. I first read about this in Dane Rudhyar – so perhaps this is a modern analysis, but I am not sure. I can take an astrological chart, a circle, and create arbitrary divisions and draw lines between them. If I divide the chart into 36 slices of 10 degrees and then draw angels between these I will come up with a different set of angles, I can do this with 5 slices of 72, and so forth.

A number of the non-ptolemaic aspects seem to arise from this sort of division. Some people even think trines are not actually about planets seeing one another, but about dividing the wheel in to thirds (120 degree angles). (My opinion is that it is about something else – elemental relationships but lets not talk about that now) .

So this is interesting right – in one case we have how planets see one another, and in another case we have an analysis of the world holding the planets (we could also say this is an analysis of a model – so perhaps substituting the map for the geography.

Does number have meaning? Does “2” have a meaning apart from our linguistic use of “2”. If it does than the measurement method takes on more weight because the meaning of the number of division then relates to what angles arise from this division.

But why did I start this blog post in the first place?

What does it mean to see someone, what does it mean to be seen, what does it mean to be oriented in space? Our struggles and triumphs can sometimes we considered in these terms. A discussion of angles, regardless of whether or not you believe in astrology, is a language for parsing visibility and orientation.

Historically astrologers controlled, and still control, the angles people can use – but what does this really mean about society – about mobility and visibility. It means rigidity and restriction.

I say be aquarian – make your own frickin angles.

One thought on “Hard and Easy Angles

  1. sometimes, often, i am more comfortable looking at someone, even a friend, from the side, obliquely, trine. face-to-face isn’t as common. i do have this angle at the dining table, i sit face-to-face with one family member, and side-to-side with another, and diagonally from another. recently, we tried to swap seats to change things up. there is dissension among the troops.

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