The Opposition


tug of warWith an opposition we compare ourselves to a person, or situation, to discover what we are made of.

We put ourselves up against an outside energy to get a clearer understanding of who we are. The opposition mirrors the Aries-Libra relationship: it’s me versus you.

The opposition often shows up in relationships because we need the ‘other’ for comparison. How can we know how creative, how original, how smart, or how talented is there is no one to compete against?

How can we know what we are unless there is an ‘other’ to compare ourselves to?

Siding with the Inner Planet

In an opposition, we often take the side of the inner planet against the heavier, outer planet. The outer planet becomes the person or situation that we measure ourselves against. With Mars opposite Pluto, the person will side with Mars against Pluto. The Mars person becomes the active agent against a powerful, destructive, outside force. This force can be an actual person with power or it can be a situation that holds power over the indvidual.

Take someone with Mars in Aquarius in the 12th house opposing Pluto in Leo in the 6th. He complains that people want power – it’s the tyranny of the powerful over the average Joe. It’s the rich trampling the poor. He doesn’t matter, but he “sticks it to them” – he won’t let them get away with it!

He compares himself to powerful people at work. Why are they so special? Why do they get all the money while he slaves away in obscurity? He claims that he is not interested in power, yet he is enthralled by it.

The opposition can be a problem because the person with it has difficulty recognizing that the bad things he sees outside of himself start within. It could be that his attitude to work, his unacknowledged need for personal power on the job, rubs coworkers and bosses the wrong way.

Siding with the Outer Planet

Other times a person with an opposition will swing to take on the role of the outer planet. This time he knows he contains the power he fights against. He becomes Pluto against Mars – “I’m so destructive. Everything I touch is ruined. I’m the destroyer. I’m a terrible person. I don’t deserve to have a better job. I deserve to toil away in obscurity. I brought this upon myself. I am being punished.” In this example he is extreme.

Libra, scalesThe Mars opposite Pluto person needs to bring himself up against something powerful, or he needs to embody power to understand his capacity for action in the face of great odds.

Sometimes he applies the right amount of force but other times he falters and feels overwhelmed by the pressure to perform. Pluto in Leo in the 6th give him a powerful urge to put his personal best forward on the job. Mars in Aquarius in the 12th struggles to assert himself without ego. Without integration of these two forces, he makes no progress in his personal battle.

More like this ...


  • Stephen

    Can you do the rest of the major aspect like square, sextile and trine? And how many degrees do you use for each of them, including the square?

    • Thank you, Stephen – great suggestion!

      I was actually thinking about how I should write about the difference between waxing and waning squares.

      As far as orbs go, every astrologer has a different perspective. Some even adjust the orbs for whether an aspect in applying (getting closer) or separating (moving apart). Personally, I like to use wider orbs and I follow Liz Green’s orbs that are used as the default settings on
      10 degrees for conjunctions, oppositions, squares and trines
      6 degrees for sextiles.

      If a conjunction involves the Sun, I might even expand the orb.

  • LionessSwimmer

    I, too, love your site!
    What about Venus in Aquarius conj. Chiron in the 2nd, opposing Uranus in Leo in the 8th? I’d appreciate insights, thoughts, feelings.
    I’ve read that Venus in Aquarius can connote intellectual sovereignty, which is an issue for me, especially being the 2nd, and conj. Chiron. It’s not easy being a natural Marilyn Monroe body type who’s both a braniac and a sensitive perceiver and a visionary (and it wasn’t easy for Marilyn, either).
    Uranus in Leo in the 8th, for me, has to do with asserting individuality amidst, and breaking free of, a rigid family system & legacy.
    Additionally, I have a Libra (Venus-ruled) Midheaven (harmonious appearance and love of aesthetics), and a 5th house Taurus (Venus-ruled) South Node (possibly, karma about kids/creativity/lovers, as related to body?).
    I’d love to hear more ideas about this. Many thanks.

  • “South Node shows experiences you’ve had while North Node is experiences you need.”

    Oi vey: Jupiter, Venus, Moon and Chiron in Leo opposite Aqua. NN = slacked the **** off in a previous existence!!! Or seriously need to let go of tendencies toward flatter/sycophantism. Or both.

  • What is your opinion when Chiron or other asteroids like Hygeia, the midheaven, midpoints, Apex, or Lilith are in opposition- how do you think beings outside the ‘regular’ list of planets are rated on their level of ‘personality’…if that makes sense?

    • Michelle

      I’m not sure I understand what you mean.

  •  Does this pertain to oppositions with the north node as well? I have a tight opposition with pluto 6 degrees in my 1st house and north node 8 degrees in my 8th house. But then again I know north node is not a physical body. 

    • Michelle

      It’s not quite the same because the South Node is showing experiences that you’ve already had while the North Node is experiences that you need.

  • David5379

     and i dont mean your site is boring, your the best

    • Michelle

      Ha 😉

      The site is getting there. It’s still not where I would like it to be.

      • David5379

        well its good you want it better, but as far as vehicles for astrology go, this is the best thing i think, i learned everything(astrology) this couple of months, and scoured the internet for every scrap of info, you didnt teach me the basics, but thanks to this im still learning things somehow, usually when i come to a new subject i like, i delve into it and learn everything i can about it, then sit there only more hungry, this is the first thing ive delved into that still has things to learn for the foreseeable future, and out of all the things on the internet, yours is the best because your trying to completely address things one point at a time, instead of settling for shallow mentions and allusions
        astrology is bottomless, its refreshing to find a place where the attempt to portray it is just as endless
        thank you for your site, it really is the best thing out there beyond basics, its….. BEYOND!!!

        • Michelle

           astrology is bottomless

          It certainly is.

  • David5379

     hmm, ive been reading ur older stuff out of boredom, what would opposition between jupiter and venus mean? all i hear is of overindulgence, but thats not really my style.  between jupiter and venus mean? all i hear is of overindulgence, but thats not really my style. 

    • Michelle

       Another difference between Venus and Jupiter is the personal socializing of Venus versus the wider, less personal socializing instinct of Jupiter. Venus can be superficial when it comes to who she hangs out with while Jupiter usually isn’t. 

      • David5379

        mm, not sure if its along those lines, i always have two groups of friends im torn between, but never along the superficial philosophical lines, jupiter in the 2nd and venus in the 8th, i would think 8th house Venus as not so superficial, in sextile to saturn no less, i can see some instances where my pluto opposition mc have played out, but cant really think of an instance of the venus jupiter thing, my venus problems can be explained by saturn and neptune aspects, is it morals getting in the way of love, or just being moral in the face of others being more desire driven, i think of me being more moral just a virgo rising thing, i acknowledge it has to do with my moon trine jupiter, but it always feels more dutiful and virgoan, like i have to help and must be subject to a higher harsher critical standard no one else has to deal with, but i can see my morals being almost subconscious and natural as well, a friend said i was the only moral person he knew(not that he would be more inclined to not know a moral person) that i was the only one with actual true morals, so perhaps its morals opposing indulgence, but i am never holier-than-thou with morals, i never even bring it up, i just can or cant do something, so its not very much of a conflict or tug that i would think of an opposition, if its not that then i got nothing, cant really think of such a conflict in my life, it shuld be obvious in the house of possession and other peoples possessions  

        • Michelle

          Morality is Jupiter’s territory.  Pleasure is Venus’s territory. #astrology