Orb of Influence

Orb of Influence

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Few aspects are ever exact (exact aspects are referred to as partile aspects). For this reason, astrologers speak of the orb—or the orb of influence—within which specific aspects are effective. For a sextile, or 60° angle, for example, many astrologers use a 6° orb in a natal chart, which means that if any two planets are making an angle (with respect to earth as the vertex) anywhere in the 54°-66° range, then they are regarded as making a sextile aspect with each other. The closer an aspect is to being exact, the stronger it is. Major aspects (e.g., conjunctions and squares) are given larger orbs than minor aspects (e.g., quintiles and semisextiles), and the more important heavenly bodies, such as the Sun and the Moon, are thought to have larger orbs of influence than the smaller and more distant celestial bodies. Beyond these general principles, there is much disagreement among astrologers as to specifically how large orbs should be. Some allow, for instance, as much as a 12° orb for major aspects, while others allow only a 6° orb for the same aspects.

Sources:

DeVore, Nicholas. Encyclopedia of Astrology. New York: Philosophical Library, 1947.
Hand, Robert. Horoscope Symbols. Rockport, MA: Para Research, 1981.