The Not-So-Grand Trine…

Theoretical wisdom (an oxymoron if ever there were one) tells the astrologer that there is nothing as fortunate in all of astrology as the grand trine. If I had a dollar for every message board missive I’d read proclaiming one’s great good fortune at being the recipient of such a favoured configuration then I would have an appreciably more polite bank manager and it goes without saying that if you could buy such constructs on Ebay and have them grafted on to your own nativity somehow, then they would be no doubt among the most desirable of items, fetching kings’ ransoms as a matter of course.

And I would probably be one of the very few not bidding.

Having said that, I do absolutely concur that a grand trine does ostensibly confer the most delightful of blessings, a sense of ease and harmony according to the nature of the planets or angles that the pattern incorporates. If, as conventional wisdom suggests, the trine designates flow then a grand trine ought to create a rather regal and supercharged flow altogether.

My sense impression of easy aspect patterns as a rule is that they operate much as the rubber bumpers do in a pinball machine, as the pinball hits the bumper a kinetic kick is added to the mix. This creates a real buzz within the element and for the most part it is experienced subjectively as enjoyable.

Broadly speaking therefore, and by way of an example, a grand water trine ought to create a sense of inner richness, emotional ease and contentment, a feeling of being at peace within oneself and with a gift for expressing the feeling-nature. This sounds rather wonderful and indeed, it probably does feel that way for the owner. My experience in counselling however posits a very different understanding of the much vaunted grand trine.

At this point, I would like to make a clarification which might add insight over the course of this discussion. I very rarely receive requests for astrological interpretation from individuals whose charts evince grand trines: although their less celebrated counterparts – the kite – feature very heavily in my consultations. The kite is a pattern whereby two of the planets or points of that are in trine are bisected by a 4th point which is in sextile to both of these and in opposition to the other which creates a pattern which looks like a kite (and obviously therein lies the etymology).

Here, for the purpose of edification is an example:


This particular example is both rare and remarkable and it has not yet come into manifestation. This is the nativity for 10:19 am on 18 September 2031. This is the closest kite that most of us will ever see in our lifetimes (assuming we all make it that far). The only previous kite of such exactitude occurred on 6th August 1905. The key understanding I wish to convey about the kite however is that it is given developmental tension through its opposition (in the example above between Moon and Neptune), this is important and it explains exactly why the kite owner is so much more likely to consult with an astrologer or counsellor than the owner of the basic grand-trine.

An opposition promotes awareness, usually through difficult interactions with others, and it is for this reason that the kite-flier will begin to suspect that all is not well in their harmonious land of free-flowing ease and plenty, because, whilst they may enjoy the pleasant experience of subjective ease promised by the trine, they eventually become aware of a dissonant note in their personal relationships which causes them to begin to question the situation. Thus, they might say to themselves, “I feel good, but why do people react in this way to me all the time?”

In the theoretical example above, this would be experienced as a rather transcendent feeling of warmth, artistic and cultural appreciation and an easy ability to realise financial benefits from artistic projects with a cross-cultural basis. I would consider it thus and then account for the houses accordingly:


Immediately you might be able to see how this pattern would promote a sense of easy control of feel-good passions and a love of art, music, culture and an ability to generate enthusiasm accordingly – in the fire element. This ought to be fantastic, and quite rightly it is experienced both subjectively by those born with it, and objectively by astrological textbooks, as a desirable and beneficial configuration.

Then we add in the opposition to Moon from Neptune. Neptune in Aries ought to refine the impulse to self-pointedness, so there would be a dissatisfaction with one’s Martian quality acting as a spur to spiritual evolution. The Moon in Libra needs to be fair in all senses of the word, physically, morally and socially. The opposition creates tension usually experienced through subtle projection in interaction. The experiential quality of this aspect therefore ought to be that the kite owner experiences tension in interactions due to taking offence at perceived insensitivities, the native won’t understand why this keeps happening because they are so very concerned with promoting harmony. Moon in the 11th too requires social approval to feel secure and the opposition to Neptune will make others appear selfish, but in all likelihood, it is a subtle farming out process that is the problem: in order to be approved of and to maintain the social grace that Libra Moon requires the disappointment that is felt at not being the centre of attention will be projected onto others. They don’t value you enough, they’re too insensitive and selfish. It amounts to an annoying dissonant buzz that undermines the soaring symphony of the grand trine.

So, if you consider that reality, what you get is a sense that the grand trine without any tension might become a kind of internal Shangri-La. Something that might be wonderful, but which is first and foremost intensely private. Nobody else can share it.

This then is the dark side of the grand trine. It is, if you like, a three sided moat which keeps you safe in its confines, but importantly, as a place of refuge, it also keeps everyone else out. The native can go on in this way for years, and in the case of the grand trine alone, probably will, for the remainder of their days on earth, but in the three sided construct that the pattern offers them, they will never be able to share those facets of themselves with anyone outside (thus anyone at all) and that is nothing more than a facsimile for isolation.

Now, don’t get me wrong: in the case of the grand trine, it is probably, as Disraeli termed it, an entirely “splendid isolation”, but that does not detract from the reality that while it promotes subjective comfort and inner harmony, it absolutely acts as an impediment to true intimacy with other human beings. The kite is truly a blessing in this respect because it offers a ‘breakout clause’ in the oppositional spine which is simply not available in the trine alone. The interpersonal discord that becomes apparent is experienced as a tension and isolation which is the result of the selfsame self-containedness in one’s relationships. I have seen many cases of individuals with an abundance of grand trines who are almost completely lost to the outside world even thought hey seem very content with things. The kite, conversely creates an awareness of this disconnection, at least by the time one has lived for thirty-something years, and if a break-out has not occurred by age 40 it can degenerate into a real sense of desperation and even loneliness.

Currently, with Mercury retrograde and  a mountain of correspondence and work to complete, I am going to leave this article at this juncture and aim to continue the theme with an example or two that ought to be very interesting. This is the theory lesson, what will follow is applied theory.

If you require insight into your own trines or kites, please visit astrologyhour.

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7 thoughts on “The Not-So-Grand Trine…

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  1. I just noticed I have two kites, if you count asteroids. Interesting. I’ve been looking at my chart a long time! I have a lot of aspects in general, though, and sometimes it’s hard to distinguish the effects of one aspect from the other– which is easy and which is hard. I have often heard that my grand fire trine is fat and stupid and lazy, but ya know, sometimes my grand cross needs a break from all the drawing and quartering. I think there is something powerful in acknowledging what comes easily for you, or what is a talent, and moving toward that. We fight against our natural tendencies and gifts more than we should. Sometimes I look at my trines to remind myself what those things are, and to focus on them rather than all the challenges.

  2. Hello,

    Just letting you know I’ve awarded you a Lemmy, a completely unofficial kudo in honor of the consistent depth and insight available here. Participation by creating your own list of ten is entirely voluntary (specs at my site); the intent is simply to point readers toward the best–that’s why I included you.

    Julie Demboski

  3. this is so wrong, i have a very tight grand trine in water, and i feel pain most of the time – deeply, yes i am compassionate, sensitive and all that too, that does not stop the pain

    1. What’s likely Rachel is that there is some other condition which is exacerbating that sense of difficulty, but it would be very hard to say for sure without understanding your nativity in its entirety.

  4. Hi, yeah, wow. Wonderful. In fact I have the kite in my chart; I was kind of excited when I finally noticed it. (there were lots of aspect lines blurring it and obscuring it to an unpracticed eye. And yes, I have sought the help of several astrologers in the last 12 years. Indeed I can well confirm the gist of all of what Jeremy has said here. My opposition also does involve Moon/Neptune, but with Mercury thrown in conjunct Neptune. It comes to represent the key insight, evidently enough, to be gleaned from one’s chart. All in all, I’d say that my mind “reels” that there is so much writ so literally in my chart.

  5. I have been studying my chart for a long time now

    I am quite interested in this article because I have not quite mastered grand trines or kites, but I have a grand trine in fire, with 2 kites (almost a star of david I guess). But I am not too sure of its implications on my life.

    I have also been looking to the relationship that I have with a girl that I met online.

  6. “Broadly speaking therefore, and by way of an example, a grand water trine ought to create a sense of inner richness, emotional ease and contentment, a feeling of being at peace within oneself and with a gift for expressing the feeling-nature. This sounds rather wonderful and indeed, it probably does feel that way for the owner.”
    I’ll let you know when the extreme sensitivity from my grand water trine and from the Scorpio Moon that resides within it makes me feel wonderful and makes me feel emotional ease, contentment, at peace. 😀 Has not happened yet. Maybe other Grand Wanter Trines feel this, but I don’t see how one with a Scorpio Moon could have this!

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