The fact that today I don’t get a single hard transit, Venus conjunct Uranus woke me at 8:04 this morning and she crosses my Ascendant around lunchtime (and I am looking good today, if I say so myself), has got me in the way of thinking about the quality of aspect experience in the nativity. The key observation is that a chart that evinces a lack of easy aspects will be fundamentally different in quality and tone to one that contains an abundance of ease regardless of any other factor in the entire astrology. It transcends, if you like, the more specific considerations of element, triplicity, sign and house and ought to be noted where found as “important!” I wrote broadly on this principle in a previous article which can be found here.
I have conducted a small study of my files and I can now provide some specific examples which will hopefully illustrate the principle and clarify the key quality of the insight. The first observation of significance is that charts of noteworthy individuals with a complete absence of easy aspects outnumber those lacking hard aspects almost completely, in fact I could find only 4 charts in more than 2000 that contained no squares or oppositions. This ought not be the greatest surprise in theory, since the very vast majority of charts contain a fairly broad mix of hard and easy contacts, speaking only statistically that ought to be the case, but by contrast, the number of charts containing no, or nearly no easy aspects is quite disproportionately long. Immediately an insight is gleaned about drive and ambition; these are created out of the square aspect more or less exclusively, although conjunctions to Mars or Pluto often evince something of the nature of a natural square.
Technical note: In this study I tend to only consider the trine, square and opposition alone. A sextile requires effort to activate and is not innate in the same manner as the division by 2, 3 and 4, thus I would consider a chart lacking trines and with just one or two sextiles to be exclusively difficult.
First then, the 4 cases I could find of charts that contained only easy aspects, by which I mean a total absence of squares and oppositions. Pauline Collins (a British sitcom actress), Rollie Fingers (a baseball star), Daniel Wesson (co-founder of the Smith and Wesson firearms manufacturer) and F. Scott Fitzgerald, are the only examples of even moderate note that I could find. Fitzgerald is easily the most noteworthy among these four so we will look briefly at his astrology here.
A chart with this much ease of course ought to be more of a handicap than an outright boon, but you should note almost right away that Sun and Pluto are both peregrinated, whilst Saturn and Uranus form a peregrine island in Scorpio and the 9th house. This is almost certainly the source of his drive to suceed, and his greatest work, The Great Gatsby is really a novel about the experiential dissonance of the protagonist who exalts the charming social conventions (Sun in Libra) of New York society in the 1920’s but experiences a real discomfort with the rampant materialism that underpins it (8th house). The rest of Fitzgerald’s life runs much more in the vaguely dissolute groove promised by a lack of tension in the nativity. He went to Princeton, failed to complete his studies, was considered a “mediocre student” and rather flaccidly went about his affairs, making easy associations with the likes of Ernest Hemingway along the way. His love life was stuttering and somewhat lacking in urgency, and he even managed to arouse a rather generalised resentment from his contemporaries, including Hemingway who referred to Fitzgerald latterly as an “archetypal, ruined American writer”. The experience of this broad sweep of aspects then is one of a rather unfocused, random and altogether too unfussy approach to the whole arena of life and there is always a sense that progress is made as much, if not more, through luck and blind chance than through any concerted effort or desire. That then, is the unexpurgated trine experience, and without peregrination, I do not doubt for one moment that even the great F. Scott Fitzgerald would have been simply incapable of rising above abject mediocrity in any facet of his life. The fuel is simply absent.
Here, conversely there is a wealth of material to choose from and if I were prepared to include charts evincing even a single easy aspect the list would grow exponentially. The Gemini Sun and implacably peregrinated Mercury in Taurus blend of Clint Eastwood and the dreamily poised peregrinated Mercury in Scorpio of Grace Kelly are examples of this latter type. Here then is the list of those charts from my records containing not a single trine:
Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull)
Alexander Graham Bell
Cliff Burton (Metallica)
Henri Cartier Bresson
Jennifer Jason Leigh
Several of these cases are extremely interesting in their own right and I have explored various facets of their respective astrologies in previous articles: Cliff Burton, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Guy Pearce (whose chart is a facsimile of my own, he is a few hours older than I and born just 30 miles from me too) and of course, Will Smith, who is the archetypal peregrinated Moon in Scorpio role-model, in this astrologer’s view.
For the purpose of this article I would like to consider two further extremely interesting cases; those of Jodie Foster and Bruce Springsteen, both of whom share a common quality of A-list celebrity status, a far cry from the rather meagre fame of those in the easy grouping.
You will note that the only sextile is almost entirely generational with Neptune and Pluto neither angular, not overly pronounced in the context of the overall nativity. Pluto is pronounced however through its lordship over Sun in Scorpio, the focal point of a rather unconvincing tee-square from Mo/Ur opp. Ju. Moon conjunct Uranus in Virgo creates a real possibility of emotional dissatisfaction, a feeling of being different but the opposition to Jupiter in the 3rd creates real stress in her relationships whenever she tries to express it. The result of that is vocal tension, a sense of crackling restraint in the self-expression when it is squeezed into ultra-controlling Sun in Scorpio. Just listen to her talk and you will immediately feel that quality, it is unmistakable. You can palpably sense the fizzing, electrical quality of Uranus being strained out through the Sun. Of perhaps even more import for the arc of her life and career is peregrinated Saturn in Aquarius, where he is undoubtedly very comfortable; here Saturn is idealistic with regard to material matters, she therefore has real power to realise assets in her life, a quality she shares exactly with Michael Caine. The overall ambience of the nativity therefore is perfectly in keeping with a lack of ease; even if life is objectively seen to be quite comfortable and successful, the lack of trines individual cannot rest on his or her laurels and must continue to strive for a resolution to that inner sense of tension.
Bruce Springsteen is another unique case, since his chart evinces not only a lack of trines but a remarkable lack of oppositions too. There are other charts that show no opposition, those of Paul McCartney, Orson Welles and Peter Sutcliffe, the Yorkshire Ripper for example, however, Springsteen’s chart is one of the very few that contains only squares. A lack of oppositions is in general an indicator of an uncomfortable tendency to not seek external validation. This is the same end result as a grand trine in truth, however the grand trine creates no friction, it is an entirely comfortable self-absorption; the lack of opposition by contrast merely generates isolation. The native, unable to moderate behaviour through the mirror of interaction simply annoys others until they drift away, frustrated and no doubt desirous of easier company. This, I would think in Springsteen’s case will just add to the angsty quality of the trineless nativity and drive him onward in his quest for self-acceptance and equanimity. Sun on the Aries Point of Libra creates an opportunity for fame too, but the real drive in his life is found in the Venus Mars square, a dissatisfaction with love and, with Venus in Scorpio, an inability to differentiate between sex and the more rarefied sentiments. Uranus rising in Cancer, ruling the vocation and squaring Sun creates a tension and need to express independent views on the homeland and this is a real feature of his songwriting of course. Jupiter is especially poorly placed, detrimented, squared to the Lord of the Geniture and in Pluto’s house, but it does create a real drive too to realise power in the life, and material concerns are part of that impetus with Capricorn configured. Tense, tense, tense: poor Bruce, he might never get to sing it out of him.
‘Unexpurgated trine experience without peregrination’is one phrase that I am not familiar with and the other is ‘Lord of the Geniture.’ I have been working lots with my study on peregrination, and I am finding that explains a lot where explanation was missing, but these are easier to find when I am using Vedic astrology. And I do understand the concept of peregrine island, at least I think I do, but these involve planets in conjunction if I am correct. But in this trine, I am thinking that the planets are in major aspect with one another, namely, a trine, which means they are not peregrine in the sense of aspect, correct? The term ‘unexpergated’ may be what is throwing me off, I am not familiar with it. Can you help? thanks
I only meant that trines alone provide no possibility of impetus and that it is entirely due to the fact of peregrination that Fitzgerald made such a name for himself.
Having said that I do rather believe that two planets, even in aspect other than conjunction, can form a peregrine island, that interplay of energies, if not configured into the astrology as a whole can operate in a rather maverick fashion. In Springsteen’s case it is easy to see how the Su/Ur square could operate independently of the rest of the nativity and there ought to be no question that this is his “stage persona”, and would also explain his rather angsty, edgy ambience well.
Lord of the Geniture is (I believe) an Alan Leo-ism, simply referring to the chart ruler.
Oh, thanks for answering my questions! Memoring…Lord of Geniture = chart ruler.
I agree with what you said about trines. I have known a few people with grand trines in water that have ended up with senile dementia in one form or another, after having had an entirely ‘lucky’ life with great success and wealth (based mostly on lucky breaks). I realize that is not a very large number of cases to base something on, but maybe (hopefully!) you will do some health pieces for us!