©2009 by Donna Cunningham, MSW
This is an excerpt from my ebooklet, Analyzing Aspects: Building Blocks of Chart Interpretation. To order the booklet, which contains separate chapters on conjunctions, squares, trines, oppositions, sextiles, quincunxes, and lesser-known aspects, send $8 to me through PayPal and give them my email address, email@example.com.
We’re taught that squares signify conflict—both internal and with the external world. Planets at a 90° angle represent issues we keep needing to resolve. Just when we think we’ve nailed them, they pop up again to demand attention. The aspect sets up a battle for dominance between planets in two very different signs and in the key areas of life two houses represent. Of all the difficult aspects, squares create the most dynamic tension between contradictory needs and desires.
Squares must be bad, right? Who wants conflict? But what would your world be like if you didn’t have any squares in your natal chart and never faced another transiting or progressed square? What if you avoided all contact with people whose planets formed right angles to yours? Would your existence be easy, peaceful, and trouble-free? Maybe, but you’d be bored senseless in no time.
Squares energize us and drive us to action, either to deal with outside pressures or to satisfy an inner itch. Without challenge, those long hours on the job would become a stultifying routine. Your personal life would be stagnant and colorless. Conversations would put you to sleep. The programs you watch would be as riveting as that Yule log we see blazing on Christmas Eve. We thrive on tension. It makes a book a thriller rather than as lifeless as a phone directory. It creates excitement in our careers. It gives our love life juice.
Affinity of the Planets: In analyzing any aspect, the first stage should be to reflect on how well the two planets partner one another. Consider squares between the Moon and Uranus. Few planetary pairs are as incompatible in nature as these two.
Comparing qualities and concerns of these planets, you’ll see how ill-suited a couple they are. Uranus by nature is experimental, innovative, and radical, while the Moon by nature is traditional and conservative. The Moon is an ancient, feminine energy; Uranus is futuristic and more masculine. Uranus is adventuresome and craves excitement; the Moon is security-minded and safety-conscious. The Moon wants to preserve the past; Uranus wants to demolish decaying structures and build a shining new order.
The Moon is home cooking with an old family recipe; Uranus is high tech food processing with lots of artificial additives. The Moon and Cancer yearn for family and roots; Uranus and Aquarius would be happier living in a camper with little more than a computer and a couple of bookshelves. Aquarian types are defiant, rebellious, and anti-authoritarian, while Cancerians are conventional and tend to live like their parents taught them.
Incompatible Elements—Another Source of Conflict: The elements of two signs in a square aren’t compatible, producing a dynamic tension. For instance, all three air signs form squares to water or earth signs. Gemini squares Pisces and Virgo; Libra squares Cancer and Capricorn; and Aquarius squares Scorpio and Taurus. Likewise, water signs form squares to fire or air—Cancer to Aries or Libra, Scorpio to Leo or Aquarius, and Pisces to Sagittarius and Gemini.
The Modes as Modifiers: Another step is to classify the two signs by their mode (i.e., their modus operandi) as either cardinal, fixed, or mutable. Where squares are concerned, that’s a very telling piece of information, because the mode of both signs is the same, and that’s part of where the tension lies. It also shows how relatively easy or difficult the tension is to resolve.
The mutable signs (Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, and Pisces) are the most adaptable and flexible, so they “give” more readily in a face-off.
The cardinal signs (Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn) are action oriented and forever driven to achieve their goals. Therefore, they’re quick to rise to the challenges difficult natal and transiting aspects present, but are often more combative than other squares.
The fixed signs (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius) are the most difficult squares and oppositions to work through, because both signs can dig in their heels and refuse to budge or compromise. They’re intent on preserving their position, hate to change, and are richly endowed with endurance.
Living with Squares—Peaceful Coexistence for the Dueling Duo
Squares stimulate growth and progress because they make us stretch ourselves. People without this aspect in their birth charts tend not to have much motivation to change, so they’re less likely to rise to a challenge. A few squares in a chart comparison keep a relationship dynamic, even sizzling. That chemistry is part of the puzzle of why some seemingly incompatible relationships last.
There’s a learning curve with this aspect. With time and repeated transits, we grow into them and develop better strategies for keeping both planetary energies happy. Through trial and error, I’ve developed a system for living with my own squares. Make peace with them.
Don’t set up a right/wrong or good/bad dynamic that makes one of the planetary pair the villain or promotes a sort of sibling rivalry. Make time on your schedule for the conflicting needs and areas of life the signs and houses of the two planets represent. If you give both planets quality time and allow each of them their rightful place in your life, they tend to co-exist a whole lot better.
To learn more about how to interpret the aspects in an astrology chart, get a copy of Analyzing Aspects: Building Blocks of Chart Interpretation by sending $8 to me through PayPal and giving them my email address, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Readers, what squares do you have in your chart, and how are you working to harmonize them? Share your experiences and strategies with us in the comment section below this post.
More Excerpts from Donna’s Books:
- Full Houses vs. Empty Houses in your Chart—What to Expect
- Career Differences between the 10th, 2nd, and 6th House
- Four Kinds of Smart–Which One Are You?
- Donna Cunningham Introduces The Stellium Tool Kit
- English for Astrologers–No Astrobabble Please
- Hyperactive Jupiter Syndrome—The Down Side of an Upbeat Planet
- Getting a Grip on Saturn-Neptune Aspects
- Mars Mission 2: Anger—the Guard Dog of Denial