First, thank you all for responding and sharing your thoughts with the rest of us.
My general response is that all of this is very interesting and intriguing. In many cases, I would like more specific details. For example: In my original challenge, I am asking for comments and the general rules that you personally use as to these questions (and I have added some other questions to clarify the issues):
(1) For any two planet/body combinations, such as the planets Mercury and Venus, which affects the other? Is it “Mercury influences Venus,” or “Venus influences Mercury,” or both?
(2) If you say it is always “Mercury influences Venus,” which might be interpreted as “Thoughts of Love,” then what happens to “Venus influencing Mercury,” and “Love of thoughts and ideas?” Certainly both versions make perfect sense (use your own interpretations; my interpretations are just included here to make things clearer), so where/when is it appropriate to use the second version, the “Venus influencing Mercury?” This is crucial.
(3) Here we are not specifying or interested in WHAT the particular angular separation or aspect is, but only in the general combination and the order in which they are placed for an interpretation. Whether it is a Conjunction or Square is something we can get to later on, if needed.
(4) If you are saying that in synodic (aspect) cycles, in which the faster body always circles the slower, then the faster body ‘influences’ the slower, as in “Mercury influences Venus.” Is this what you mean? Or do you mean “Venus influences Mercury,” because it is slower and more powerful or outer? Please clarify by examples.
(5) Saying that Mercury and Venus are special because they never get very far from the Sun overlooks that fact that heliocentrically, this is not the case. In the helio, either planet can be anywhere, so let’s not use that argument here.
(6) Or, are you making the distinction between natal charts (where we have strict synodic positions) and transits to natal (where any planet - fast or slow - can aspect and contact any other), like “Jupiter to Mercury.” Does this mean “Jupiter influences Mercury?” Or is it still “Mercury influences Jupiter.” Take the time to tackle this question, please.
I hope that some contributors will see fit to enlarge upon what they have written, by specifying more clearly what I have asked about in the above points.
Again, thanks everyone for contributing and, if you can find a moment, please expand on your responses to the points detailed here.