Trines and squares create very different motivations...
Trines and squares create very different motivations...

I am not the world’s greatest fan of the trine. That may seem unfair and undoubtedly it is, and quite possibly my motivations are intrinsically selfish too because, quite simply, I don’t have any. So yes, maybe I am just jealous, but in the astrology, the distribution of trines and squares, conjunctions and oppositions is profoundly insightful and the astrologer ought always to take note of how they stack up, because a trines person is fundamentally and profoundly different to a squares person regardless of any other factor in the astrology. This is an easy insight to overlook, but if aspects are the adjectives in the language of the astrology, then if we are describing an overall ambience in the nativity with words such as uncomplicated, easy, harmonious and light, then that creates a profoundly different statement than one which contains adjectives such as tense, driven, incomplete and difficult. Thus, the key insight has to be that the trines and sextiles person has, at their very essence, a fundamentally different approach to the world than the squares and oppositions type, regardless of any other factor in the entire astrology. This is easily more meaningful in terms of interpretation than an imbalance of any single element, chart shape, aspect pattern, dispositors or anything much else that you care to consider.

Now, for the purpose of illustration I do actually have a few trines. I have Neptune trine Chiron and Jupiter (conjunct Venus conjunct Pars Fortuna conjunct Pallas) trine NN, but importantly, I have no trines between Ptolemaic points, and in fact, my only sextiles are found between Neptune and Ur/Pl, so in effect, I have a chart which evinces no meaningfully personal easy aspects. I would say, that beyond peregrination, this is far and away the most important consideration in my astrology and I would consider that to be the order of things in whatever case.

Subjectively it is difficult, no question. I simply cannot relax except when I have my Ve/Ju trine NN firing on all cylinders; which pretty much means (because Jupiter is approaching 28 Leo) that I only get to relax when I am drunk at a party of royals and dignitaries. It’s fairly true as well, because the rest of the time I am driven, and I don’t much care to relax. Trine people in my life fail to understand this and consider that I need to learn to relax, but of course they misapprehend the nature of an astrology without easy aspects, relaxing feels indolent and pointless to the intrinsically squared nativity and relaxing can be a chore and will subjectively feel deeply uncomfortable to them. There is simply no more point to telling somebody whose chart evinces no easy aspects to relax than there is to ordering a fortunate with no hard aspects to “get going!” They simply cannot relate.

For the student of self-awareness, there really is no question, a difficult astrology is preferable simply because out of the friction of tense aspects comes an apprehension of that self-same astrological principle in the life; I have Ma/Sa/3 square Pl/Vi/12-1, and I feel that aspect all the time, quite intensely and in fact I always have. My two trines on the other hand have always been so innate that it is only through much self-examination and introspection that I have been at all aware of them, (although granted, Neptune trine Chiron is a fairly far-flung impetus to try and feel, but I do feel it, no question).

I know astrologers who switch off easy aspects in the astrology, because, like anything that is taken for granted in life, they are really not of much interest. The mad and delightful Donna Cunningham refers to sextiles as “oh that!” aspects and pretty much discounts them as an aid to understanding as a direct result. People are interested in their pain, not about how they are naturally charming at dinner parties. Now this presupposes a fixation on specifics, which is far from the point of this article; for the most part the majority of nativities will evince a reasonably even distribution of easy and hard aspects, and that is entirely normal. If on the other hand, you find a noticeable lack of one or the other aspect type, then sit up and take notice. Take more notice of peregrination, but then look at this next. You should also consider the very important understanding that all aspects are squares. I have seen considerably more long-term addiction problems evinced via trines to Neptune than I have squares. The square creates a very abrupt crisis that must be dealt with and that lesson is invariably learned by the age of 30 at which point the aspect neutralises through that decade of life and begins to, what I would call, “trine out” by age 40 or thereabouts. By the exact same token, the trine starts to become a problem by age 30, the initial recognition that one has rested on one’s laurels in this particular theatre of operations starts to impinge upon consciousness, the challenge then is to find some drive and gradually transform the trine into a thing of substance before it becomes an effective square that gradually erodes the life into the 40s. There is no better realisation than this in the broad sweep of the aspects in astrology.

When Jupiter and Neptune are squared...
When Jupiter and Neptune are squared...

One good analogy is to see each planetary energy as an individual in their own right. Imagine Jupiter in Leo, he is magnanimous, noble, proud, somewhat egotistical, warm-hearted and generous. Now consider Neptune in Scorpio, a true spiritual Spartan warrior, who believes that life is about substance and not show, who believes that less is infinitely more and who is a genuine metaphysician; then square them and put them in a room together. These people are not going to interact comfortably; they don’t have much in common, they won’t even like each other very much; Neptune will think Jupiter is a show-off and Jupiter will think Neptune is no fun at all. But, despite this, if you leave them in that room together for long enough then they simply have to find a way to get along, or they’ll kill each other trying! Now consider it the other way around: imagine Jupiter in Leo trine Mars in Sagittarius. Now Jupiter finds a real friend, somebody who is endlessly enthusiastic about having a good time with easy-going Jupiter, somebody who will appreciate the shared zest for life and Jupiter in turn will enjoy this talkative, inspirational and happy-go-lucky individual in return, but of course, leave them too long in each other’s company and they might well shoot the breeze so comfortably that they eventually just get bored, and maybe, if they don’t find a shared purpose they might just get a little dissolute and decadent together.

That is the essential insight. Are you all squares and oppositions or all trines and sextiles? Do you know anyone that is?

10 thoughts on “Trines vs. squares: half a dozen of one, or six of another?

  1. I’m mostly trines/sextiles with a few squares thrown in…so my life is pretty easy. I don’t think that makes me lazy as I come to the same conclusions as my SO who has many squares but had to work harder to get there. He is at a point where he has worked on those squares deeply and it shows. I have worked as well, but it doesn’t show…it’s just more intuitive for me to find/seek answers than he. Also, a goal of his in this life is to be ‘perfect’. We disagree on this…my goal in life is to be ‘wise’. I fall short all of the time but keep working at it.

    Best and thank you.

  2. Interesting post. I’m more squares/oppositions than trines/sextiles, and I appreciate what you have to say about the self-search in that context. Also interesting is the suggestion that trines become squares and vice-versa with time and experience. I can see that, somewhat, in my own chart, and have heard it from clients as well. We’re so aware of what we put energy into that the things that come naturally start to feel as invisible as the air we breathe.

  3. Gem: I would be glad of some trines really, I am only trying to present a stark contrast, and what you say makes sense. I’ll swap my Su/Sa opp for one of your spare trines if you like?

    Kathy: That’s right! It posits the suggestion too that in one sense at least trines could even be more challenging than squares (not that I’d know really :))

    Deirdre: I’ll share a bottle with you, we can make the best of things I am sure… (and I am intrigued to know what’s at the focal point of that tee-square of course!)

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