Posted by: Donna Cunningham | January 13, 2011

Aspects 101: Major Astrological Aspects and What They Mean

©1-13-2011 by Donna Cunningham, MSW

Since some of our readers are relative newcomers to astrology, I like to include an occasional article that covers the basics. An aspect occurs when two planets form certain kinds of angles to one another in the birth chart, by transit, or when comparing two charts.

If you’ve ever had a chart done, even by computer, there may be a printout of the aspects in your own chart, called an aspect grid (see an example below).

To me, aspects are the building blocks of almost all applications of astrology from natal chart interpretation, to transits and progressions, to chart comparison, to horary and other advanced specialties. Here’s my personal take on the four major aspects—conjunctions, squares, trines, and oppositions.

For those starting at the very beginning: Conjunctions are between planets that stand next to one another in the zodiac, within 8° or so. Squares are between planets that are 90° –3 signs—apart. Trines are 4 signs or 120° apart. Oppositions are 6 signs or 180° apart. (The orbs I use—how far from exact the two planets can be—are 8° for a conjunction or opposition and 5-6° for a square or trine.) You’ll find the symbols for the various aspects below beside their descriptions.

As an example of what aspects do, let’s first compare the conjunction—two planets standing next to one another—versus the opposition—which occurs when they are directly opposite one another by sign, house, and degree in the chart.

 These two connections provide perhaps the starkest of contrasts, for the energies of the two planets are most closely merged in the conjunction and seem to hold each other at arm’s length in the opposition. 

 Conjunctions are a bit like glass, which is made from sand combined with various minerals that are heated to such a high temperature that they’re fused. When you look at a piece of glass, you don’t generally recall that it started out as a handful of sand.  

 To narrow it down to something these folks could wear on their tee shirts, the slogan for conjunctions might be, “I yam what I yam,” while for the oppositions, it would be “Look what you made me do.”

 When you compare Michael Jackson (Venus conjunct Uranus) with Queen Latifah (Venus opposite Uranus), you could say Michael was more unconscious—almost naïve—about his strange sense of style—more shocked when we were shocked or disapproving of it. Queen Latifah has a sly sense of fun in her style—inviting us to react and laughing at our response. 

Conjunctions CAN be hard aspects, if the planets involved are difficult ones or not readily combined.  Conjunctions don’t come any harder than Pluto and Saturn, unless you catch Neptune and Saturn together on a really bad day. 

 Trines are viewed as fortunate aspects that convey blessings, benefits, and good luck to those who have them.

 Squares are supposedly the bearers of strife and tough obstacles. When a pair of planets is square by sign, the natures of the two signs create inner conflict and conflicts with others that make it harder to take effective action.

 After studying the charts of many successful people, however, it has become clear that they seldom have easy charts. Squares, oppositions, and other hard aspects create tensions and conflicts that drive us to make things happen; the ease experienced with trines can create a habit of lying back and waiting for good things to come.

People with trines as the dominant aspect in their charts tend not to capitalize on the lucky breaks that so often come their way: “easy come, easy go.” The best mix is a balance between hard aspects and easy ones, but the stimulus of a square or two is energizing.

People with trines to outer planets (Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto) tend to share their generation’s goals and beliefs about matters related to that planet. Society is less resistant to their attempts to impact the collective, because they create change or evolution in ways that are agreeable to their peers.

  • When Neptune is involved in a trine, these folks share the culture’s dreams, visions, addictions, sympathies, and sensibilities.
  • With a trine to Pluto, they’re in accord with how the culture deals with power — or share their era’s desire to create change in the use of power.
  • With Uranus, they embody qualities that the culture finds exciting, trendy, and innovative and may themselves become trendsetters.

Individuals with hard aspects like squares or oppositions to an outer planet pit themselves against the prevailing winds. Their ideas, goals, and tactics go against the grain of the culture — they may even be counterculture types.  

 Where the four Elements come in: Characteristics and elements of the signs involved in the aspect modify the picture considerably. Air signs generally abound in communication and verbal skills, while fire signs are energetic, lively, and often vivacious.

The three earth signs are likely to be practical, stable, and down-to-earth. Water signs are often sensitive, emotionally responsive, and empathic.

 The elements of signs that are square to one another are naturally incompatible. Water and fire conflict (water can put out a fire), and earth and air are also at odds (it’s hard to see in a dust storm).

Signs that are opposite one another  fall into compatible–and mutually dependent–elements:  water with earth, air with fire.  Earth without water is too arid and desert like; fire cannot survive without air. 

They are also in opposite houses, with concerns that have the potential to support one another if there is give and take.  (The 10th–the career–can be nurtured by the 4th–the home life.)  That’s why oppositions are not as bad as they are reputed to be, if we take care to give both ends of the opposition an equal place in our lives.

Signs that are trine are in the same element–earth to earth, air to air, fire to fire or water to water. 

 The two signs are harmonious, so actions performed under trines flow more smoothly than those under hard aspect like the square or opposition, with better results. The elements involved in a trine suggest the types of skills, tools, and tactics that increase the effectiveness of the aspect.

 (For more information about the elements, start here: Four Kinds of Smart—Air, Earth, Fire, and Water.)

Hmm. Since I’m trying to come up with a new series of Q&A topics for myself, it occurs to me that aspects would be a good choice, since they’re an important foundation for chart interpretation.  I like that idea, since aspects are one of my special interests.

 Readers, What type of aspect is the most common in your own chart, and what do you think it says about you? Leave your answer in the comment section.

Articles from the Series about the Lesser-Known Aspects:

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  1. Squares, squares, and more squares! I’m one of those early Libra Asc. people, so my angles are almost exactly square to each other. And, I have 4 T-squares, a Grand Cross, and a Cradle. That’s not including the angles. “Energized” is such a nice way to say it. I would like to hear anything positive about squares. About the nicest thing I ever hear is “that which doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.” Ugg!

    • I seem to recall reading something about squares eventually “trining out”, which I took to mean we can sometimes learn to put that stressful energy to positive use. I don’t know if it’s true, but I like it.

      • when you speak of squares “trining out,” LB, I think you may be referring to progressions, since they turn into trines at about age 30–at least the Solar Arc progressions do. But that age, also, is around the time of the Saturn return, and using squares well certainly requires a certain maturity. Donna

      • Thanks for clarifying, Donna – that makes perfect sense.

        It was bugging me where I’d originally read it, so I did some hunting and found the source this morning. Here’s the link to Jeremy Neal’s Chirotic Journal post:

        Ironically Donna, he mentions you in this particular post. Jeremy also says it begins to happen at around age 30, which is just as you said.:)

      • The mad and delightful Donna Cunningham, Mr. Neal calls me! I’ve often been referred to as one or the other of that pair, but not in the same sentence! What a hoot!

      • With a description like that, you could have your own British sitcom.

      • Nah, I call British sitcoms Old Fart Humor. Hopefully, though I am old, I’m not an old fart. Donna

      • Absolutely not. I don’t think any of your readers would think of you that way! 🙂

      • The two most complimentary words in my vocabulary for sure. All the best people are, in my experience both mad and delightful, and that certainly comes across in your books as well (which is good!)

    • I’m early Libra Asc. too, and I also have some pretty heavy planetary squares (Venus square Pluto, Sun square Moon for example). Sometimes it feels like life is all uphill, but my chart is very fixed, so part of the problems I have are my own fault!

      Thank goodness for my Saturn/Moon trine and my Jupiter/Venus trine!

      When someone talks about a square “turning into a trine” they may mean a combination of two aspects. In my chart the Pluto square to Venus “turns into” a trine with Jupiter, which, IMO, helps out that square.

    • For me it is a good aspect, the square is to energize us according to all elements in harmony. It is the moment that we can elevate our spiritual progress, although it will require more attention to the Law of God and the virtues of Mother earth. It forced us to restore our deepest good faculties and destroys all our bad habit because the square if you look to the chart it point out to both division, the spiritual and the corporal. This two division are orderly separated and they are in different ways of elevation. Spirit is for spirit, and matter is for matter. The element Air and Fire are in the spiritual division, and the Element Earth and Water are in material division. We cannot touch them both because they are like the two terminal in electricity, the positive spirit and the negative matter. If the aspect square interact, that time is more on conflict with anyone in your area, this is now the time for you to be vigilant and always comply the Laws of God and the Virtues of Mother earth.

  2. I have 8 oppositions, including Sun-Moon, all across my first and 6th/7th houses. But I can’t say immediately what it says about me, and maybe that’s part of the expression of it. I see so many possibilities I have to go away and think on it awhile. Thank you for asking such a simple — and therefore profound — question!

    xx mm

  3. Counting all the aspects I feel (which sometimes means using wider orbs) and including aspects to the nodes and chiron I have a total of 8 conjunctions, 3 oppositions, 7 squares and 9 trines. Here’s how I’m experiencing them:
    Conjunctions are important, but they don’t feel that inseparable, they’re like car gears or, better yet, an extra suit in the closet, you put it on when the ocassion calls for it, then you can take it off and put it back in till the next time you’ll need it.
    Trines, I’d trade them in a heartbeat for placements I like but lack. And I barely know what they mean. Seriously, what does a sun/moon trine mean? -If I had the square I’m sure I’d know!!! If you wanna make me yawn, compliment me on my trines.
    If you wanna make me chant, on the other hand, compliment me on my squares and oppositions. They’re definitely the most important placements featured in my chart, and my most central issues .
    Squares feel like mixing a white blouse with a red t-shirt in the laundry, red always beats white, but the shade -varying from surprisingly interesting to utterly ridiculous- that’s up to you.
    Oppositions, well, those are NOT up to you- to say the least. One end of the axis dies, and you’re left with a deep-seated aversion for what it represents. This is not a “live and let live” aspect. You can’t help it, you hate-hate-hate people who’re like the dead part. You try to avoid them (coz they make you look like Hannibal Lecter) but you can’t, they’re practically everywhere (or so it feels)! When you come to your senses (which rarely happens when in their presence) you sincerely apologize, but you keep hating them in silence.

    • VR- Love your description of oppositions!

      • 😉

  4. I have more trines and sextiles in my chart than squares and oppositions, but I’ve discovered that the Saturn/Pluto conjunction to my Leo Ascendant more than compensates for the dearth of hard aspects. Despite all my nice flowing aspects, success comes only with hard work and ‘ego-less’ intent. The Leo part of me (ever hungry for ease, adoration and applause) doesn’t much like those rules, but whenever I break them the universe hits me with a 2×4.

    Donna, would you agree that a chart doesn’t necessarily have to be full of hard aspects to be difficult/challenging?

    • Sally, conjunctions CAN be hard aspects, if the planets that are conjunct are difficult ones or not readily combined. Conjunctions don’t come any harder than Pluto and Saturn, unless you maybe catch Neptune and Saturn together on a really bad day. I’d better add that to the post. Donna

      • made me think of someone I know, pluto/sat/mars conjunction in leo. Great creative person, but the ego takes so much of the good stuff to flow

      • Hi, Sabrina, that Mars-Pluto-Saturn conjunction was shared by Al Gore and Hillary Clinton. As you say, great creative person, but the ego takes so much of the good stuff to flow. Donna

        PS. I saw Hillary on tv yesterday, giving a eulogy for someone I never heard of, and her hair was seriously neglected…overly long and tucked around her ears so not to flop in her face. I’m, like, “Hillary, Baby, you CAN’T just let yourself go!”

        What’s up with that? Don’t they have hair stylists in Timbucktu or wherever she is trying to create world peace these days? This, from someone with a cut so impeccable during the presidential campaign, I almost decided to vote for her. A cut second only to Meryl Streep’s in The Devil Wears Prada. A cut I still have wet dreams about.

        Okay, yes, I do have my frivolous side, and my silvery-streaked hair is my one vanity. Donna

      • LOL I hear you! I agree her best hair ever was during the campaign. Maybe she’s going through a rough, busy time. but still, she is a world class public figure, and there are stylists that can give you those magic cuts that only need a wash-and-go for you to look gorgeous for weeks, I can’t afford them…yet, but I KNOW they exist 😉
        p.s both Hilary and Al Gore have birth dates close to my parents, the charts are very different, but the numbers are connected…

  5. I’m square all over!!:
    Sun Sq Moon
    Moon Sq Mercury
    Mercury Sq Jupiter
    Mars Sq Neptune….AND I’m a Pisces….tum de dum…think I understand ‘creative expression’ now!!

  6. well I’d absolutely love to hear more about aspects and aspect patterns! I know is astrology 101, but there are always deeper levels of them that could be shared/learned, and I can’t think of a better place than here.

    I have many trines, and when is necessary I can find inner/outer resources or they come, they give me faith in difficult times. My first astrology teacher told me grand trines are protective, I think is true. But sometimes I need to kick my b*** to get things done, to find internal motivation. Thankfully I have few hard aspects that keep me in line. Like you said, is good to have a balance of hard/easy aspects.

    For the last few months I’ve being curious about about kites and yods, there is not much material out there about them. I can’t wrap my head around yods and I’m trying to understand how some people make such great use of kites and others don’t. The other aspect is certain conjunctions, i.e moon/saturn in cancer versus moon/sat in capricorn. Or how overlapped patterns operate, say a t-square connected to an envelope, if that makes sense, etc, etc…

    Thanks! loved the venus/uranus example btw!

    • I can say this about a kite and whether it’s easy and productive or not. It depends on three things:

      1) the planets involved in the Grand Trine and whether they are essentially at ease with one another. (Mercury-Jupiter-Mars, say, vs. Pluto-Saturn-Sun.)
      2) the element of the three signs in the Grand Trine–fire signs are dynamos, earth more plodding.
      3) the two planets that form the spine of the kite (the opposition) and how well they work together. (Jupiter-Venus, say, vs. Mars-Neptune.)

      So, putting those 3 components together, there can be a great deal of difference between kite formations. Compare these two extremes:
      Mars-Jupiter-Mercury in fire signs, with Jupiter and Venus opposite one another.
      Pluto-Saturn-Sun in earth signs, with the Moon opposite Saturn. Donna

      • Thanks Donna, this is very helpful. It was also interesting to hear about other readers kites. I just started a little kite-project, so far I’m just collecting charts and pieces of info, mars in gemini in the 9th is having fun already, then opp neptune in 3rd will help to get a better ‘picture’ I hope!

      • A kite project? How cool! One generation you’d want to look into is the people born in about 1940-45, who had Uranus (in first Taurus then Gemini) trine Neptune (in first Virgo then and then Libra, which would fill out to a grand trine with something in Capricorn for the early group and in Aquarius for the later group. (the kite planet was usually Pluto) As I wrote about them in my ebook, The Outer Planets and Inner Life, v.3, there was a distinct difference between the early group with the Grand Trine in Earth vs. the later group with the Grand Trine in Air. Donna

      • my mom has that – with her moon in aquarius and pluto opposite in leo … ever since the first kite comment, i’ve been trying to figure out how this has royally messed up things for her! 😉

      • Thanks for the tip Donna!!! Now I just need some time..and a brain…
        Tara my Mom has two kites, one with a stellium in leo, hehe

      • I have a kite in my natal chart, and although it is not the only noteworthy configuration, it is by far the dominant one. It involves the Sun in Aquarius, Neptune in Libra, Uranus in Gemini, and Pluto in Leo. The total orb for all of the aspects between all of the planets is 12 degrees. That for three trines, two sextiles, and an opposition. Two pairs of planets (Sun/Neptune and Uranus/Pluto) are either exact or within a few minutes of separation.

        I have always looked at the kite as resembling a bow and arrow, with the opposition representing the arrow, and the sextiled planet the arrowhead. In my case, that is Pluto in Leo. The feeling I get–and this may seem more true with the grand trine in air–there is a cyclonic effect among the trined planets that builds and builds and ultimately is discharged through the tip of the arrow.

        In my case, the thoughts, insights, and creativity of the air planets builds until it reaches critical mass, and then is discharged through Pluto in Leo, usually through some kind of creative action. At least ideally.

        Several times in my life I have experienced major aspects from outer planets to this configuration involving multiple transiting planets hitting critical points in the kite more or less simultaneously. Believe me, things happen at those times. All the more so when, due to retrograde motion, the event is repeated in various forms over quite a period of time.

        I am, in fact, experiencing one of those things lately, simultaneously involving Neptune, Pluto, and Uranus. Though transiting Neptune is the only one that is touching on the kite itself, Pluto is conjunct/opposed to another three-planet aspect near my mid-heaven, and Uranus is transiting my Ascendant. All during the same relatively brief period, and all at 3 separate times.

        I must say that it is the most challenging time I’ve had for a good many years. With Pluto involved, I can literally feel myself dying and being born at the same time. Sometimes it’s hard not to take that literally.

        I am, however, at one level very hopeful that the outcome will involve the release of energies that have been bottled up for a long time, maybe a lifetime, if I can just find a way to survive the process.

        I can say this about kites, however. From my over 40 years experience of astrology–my own chart in particular–the kite is one of the most powerful and potentially beneficial aspects. It is easily the most powerful configuration that can be used beneficially with minimum difficulty. The Square is powerful, too, but is much more difficult to master (e.g., Hitler).

        However, in the same way that a tricycle is easier to drive than a Ferrari, the latter will take you farther and faster, to say the least. In other words, when it comes to planetary configurations, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. 🙂

  7. Since all my planets fall within an area less than 180 degrees, I lack any oppositions in my chart. I have 1 conjunction (sun/saturn), 5 trines and 6 squares, with a bunch of sexties which are not part of this discusion…since we’re talking planets, I left out aspects to asc and MH. My mercury alone has 5 aspects to it (sextile, square, 2 trines, and an inconjunct) which is something I just noticed for the first time because of your question today, Donna…thanks 🙂 I’ll need to ponder this a bit.

    Overall I feel like the square/trine aspects translates into this: when I do the work and come prepared, the opportunities appear. For example:

    For years, I worked as a secretary/assistant. I wanted more. While taking evening classes to earn my computer science degree, I tried to get a job at Hughes Aircraft. Walking through the front door yielded me nothing. So I researched what temporary agencies they used, signed up with all of them, and within 2 weeks of my FIRST assignment I was hired as an engineering intern, which led to a engineering student job and then a full engineering promotion once I graduated. Without all the prep work, this opportunity would never have happened for me. That I believe is the balance of squares and trines, at least in my chart.

  8. after looking at my chart, I see squares and oppositions as the predominant aspects, with trines coming in third. I also have a 3 planet conjunction (Sun, Mars, Uranus in Cancer). People see me as dynamic and unusual, and one of a kind 🙂 I also have to work for everything I get.

  9. I’ve got 3 really tight oppositions, a loose stellium and one tight conjunction. I think Sally’s on to something … a chart can be challenging in its lack of aspects. I’ve got a few biggies operating in isolation!

    • Yes, I agree that a chart without a lot of aspects can be challenging too. Kind of like sailing around the world all alone–hard to make connections and find support. Donna

    • Many aspects can be hellish too, like having a bunch of hands grabbing you and pulling you towards different directions. Hard to decide which way to go.

      Connections and support are a gift, indeed, but you never feel like you’re a perfect fit anywhere (which makes you look like you’re the bad guy in the end).
      I guess there’s no such thing as a perfect chart.
      Sometimes I wonder how it feels like to be a triple sth, though!

      • Nice image on the chart with many aspects, VR.

  10. Donna,

    I continue to love reading your blog. So much insight, although I am a newbie to atrology (still.)

    I have read your past posts on stelliums and that was fascinating, but I still do not understand how to figure out how to do a progressed chart. What exactly is one and/or where should I start in my quest to understand how to learn this? Books, etc.
    Thanks for the terrific website. I just love your energy and input.


    • I read that each day after our birth counts for a progressed year, so for example day 50 after the birth, would be our progressed chart for our fiftieth year and so on. we can see it in an old ephemeris by counting the days or with a computer. Also that progressed planets and aspects show internal effects and transits outer events.

      • Hi, Jen, that’s one system of progressions, “Day for a Year”, and it was a quick and dirty way of finding our progressions back in the day we calculated them by hand rather than have the computer do them in two seconds. (Now there are lots of students who don’t even own an ephemeris.)

        BTW, we’ll be having some guest bloggers doing articles and Q&A sessions on progressions in the next couple of months, since I don’t work with progressions much, only transits. One of them, Gretchen Lawlor, will be holding a Q&A about the progressed Moon on January 29th. Doona

      • That is going to be a great Q&A, she’s wonderful!

  11. Hi Donna – Everything in my chart receives at least one major aspect. I have squares, trines, conjunctions and oppositions – mostly squares and conjunctions. Ironically, the least common aspect in my chart is the one that challenges me most, and that would be the opposition. At their best, my oppositions lend themselves to a certain level of objectivity and self awareness; they also help me to strike a healthy balance or compromise, where each side gets its needs met. But other times they battle it out, with one side of my nature working at counter purposes to the other; I always know exactly what’s happening. In spite of that awareness, it’s the one aspect I can’t seem to consistently get a handle on, at least not during times of great stress or when faced with some major injustice or ongoing external challenge.

    It only happens when I’ve been pushed too far and for too long – or if I feel I have to compromise some essential part of my nature to too great an extent. Inevitably, my Libran sense of balance gets thrown off and I end up in some hyper-expression of the opposition’s energies. It can be intense.

    The sources of my conflict may come from the outside, but I always feel the situations are there to help me fine-tune my character and turn me into a saint (hahaha). Not likely to happen anytime soon.

  12. Trines, squares, then equal numbers of oppositions and conjunctions.

    I believe the conjunctions and oppositions to be my chart’s strong suits. I’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of my Cap Jupiter/Saturn conjunction opposite Cancer Mars.

    Maybe it’s time to ease up and let some of the trine energy flow?

  13. Donna, why do you see the Saturn Pluto conj as so harsh?

    I have mainly squares (10) and it gives tension, which can be used positively or negatively. I have to say it has to be wielded with caution, because I’m easily seen as someone who provokes. So the energy has to be put to good use, otherwise all bets are off. When I feel anger or frustration, I use that energy to go do something that earlier I had put off, to be assertive and take matters into my own hands. Energy is energy, it’s gotta go somewhere!

    • I see the Pluto-Saturn conjunction as the harshest aspect because for the past 40+ years, I have been listening to clients who’ve had to live with them, and when that aspect is strong in the chart, many of them have had to live with terrible adversity…abuse, poverty, harship, loss.

      (Strong as in it’s in the 1st or 10th houses, conjunct the Sun, Moon, or multiple planets, or many aspects.) I have a chapter devoted to Pluto-Saturn aspects in my ebook, The Outer Planets and Inner Life, volume 3. (Aspects between the Outer Planets).

      Read more about this aspect and how it’s been affected by last year’s Pluto-Saturn square: .

      Even Britney Spears, who has it in the 1st house square Venus has not had an easy life. In fact, many child stars who mess up majorly seem to have that aspect.

      By the merest coinkidink, I happened to look at the Oxford Astrologer’s delightful and irreverent blog this morning, and she has an article about Prince William’s fiance, Kate Middleton, who has a strongly integrated Pluto-Saturn in her (untimed) birth chart. See it here:

  14. I have fairly equal amounts (7-10) of conjunctions, oppositions, trines, and sextiles. Three squares and a couple semi-squares, quintiles and biquintiles. Two of the squares are to my moon so I feel those deeply but have learned to manage them finally. I think the posts on aspects is a great topic.

    BTW speaking of aspects of child stars (I guess I am thinking of people in general lately who come into lots of money all of a sudden it seems) is there a certain aspect, time period, transit, etc. that shows why or how these people just become multi-millionaires? The facebook people, harry potter kids and others who have had this. Is is just all of a sudden or am I just paying attention more? 🙂

    • Oh, I think there are many young stars who are sudden millionaires, but it’s hard getting their data, particularly the birth time. Donna

  15. Re the Saturn/Pluto conjunction, I’ve collected several quotations that seem to capture its quintessential nature and experiential expression. My two favorites are:

    “The light at the end of the tunnel is invariably an oncoming train”.

    “What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger”.

  16. Donna, I would dearly love it if you would run a series on how to make the best use of, (or live with) squares.

    I have a mutable Grand Cross, involving the angles. It feels like I am always butting heads, with myself if there is nobody else around.

    And not knowing which way to go, just bounce around inside the square.

    I have more Squares, Oppositions and conjunctions than trines. But I feel like I can work with conjunctions and oppositions.

    The squares are stumbling blocks and I haven’t figured out how to work positively with them.

    Would dearly love to learn to deal with squares in an evolved way!

    Thanks Donna, as always love your blog.


    • Hi, Judy, That’s a much more complex topic than can be handled on a blog–more like a self-help book I no longer have the stamina to write.

      However just today I decided that my next series of Q&A sessions (not guest bloggers, but topics of my own)will be on the aspects. And as much as possible to make a week of posts about the aspect in the session. So we’d have Square Week, Conjunction Week, and so on. Who knows what will come out–I never do…until it comes out.

      A book that you might find helpful is the new edition of Tracy Mark’s book on t-squares. A Grand Cross is nothing more than a series of t-squares. Also, since it’s mutable, look around to see what you can find of Dr. Zipporah Dobyn’s work about the Mutable Dilemma. (I believe she may have had a mutable Grand Cross herself.) You can find out-of-print books like that at . Donna

      • What I mean is I’d really like to know how to constructively use squares, all of them!

      • By becoming conscious of times when we are expressing the negative sides of one or both planets and slowly decreasing the number of times we do that, while working diligently to embody the more positive side of both of them.

        How do you do that? The same way you get to Carnegie Hall–practice, practice, practice.

        Often one planet in a square will start to act up if you suppress it (e.g. you decide that planet’s needs are “bad”) while giving preferential treatment to the other planet. You need to find constructive outlets for the planet you have decided is “bad.” Donna

  17. I have a minor grand trine between the sun, moon/saturn cnj. and mars being in the lead trn the sun. they are 5 to 10 degrees earth/water and function so seamlessly. The ease with which things in those areas of life happen seems to tell me “don’t sweat this stuff, we got this go take care of that t square. These celestial bodies share few to none aspects to other celestial bodied or angles and so run the affairs of the portions of the chart they rules almost on automatic pilot. The rare times something interferes they work it out with flawless grace with hardly a twitch of the eye. It amazes me at times. On the other hand almost all the rest of celestial bodies and all the angles in my chart are related at 22 to 26 degrees by mostly (uncomfortably at times) active “hard” angles. Those keep me busy. There is a T square between ur/ju cnj to venus/nep conj with chiron in the lead making an opp to the ur/ju cnj. These play ping pong or 3 way catch with me often feeling like the monkey in the middle. There are also though bodies that aspect this t square from “soft” angles mitigating the picture though so’s to bring in solutions more easily. The trick I have found is to relax enough to allow those “softer” aspecting helpers enough reign to operate on the “hard” aspects. A t square can make one feel that they are in a burning building and so “must” act (but not sure where the door is) especially in that my t square is cardinal and wants to jump in right away, often before a full assessment has been made. Some times it is of moment to let transits that make the “softer” angle to one part of the t square and a not less soft angle to another part dictate the path of least resistance no matter how minor the aspect may be it is still a helper pointing the way. So after 50odd years living with a t square I would say it has been a tremendous boon in that it has expanded my horizons like wind in my sails.

  18. “…“softer” angle to one part of the t square and a not less* soft* angle to another part dictate the path…”
    *I meant to say “not SO soft angle”

  19. There’s a Kite in my chart, involving a stellium and a grand trine, and sextiles. So 8 oppositions, 6 conjunctions, 4 trines and 2 squares, and 8 sextiles The opposition is seesaw – sometimes the Virgo stellium wins and every detail is attended to, sometime the Pisces Jup wins and the dustbunnies have a party. But to be serious – the oppositions give me a way to express the grand trine, I think. I can’t really say which of the 4 planets in the stellium is stronger. Pluto is chart ruler, but Uranus is pretty strong too, for some reason. The other two are Sun and Moon, so it feels as if it’s one planet with a very strong energy working at the same time. Like my Moon is in Virgo, but the descriptions of Moon in Aquarius and Scorpio fits my life pretty well, too.
    The Kite is very focused – I can’t remember if it’s the planets that get the sextiles that is the focal planet (a stellium in my case), or the opposing planet.

    • See my reply to Sabrina about the kite. The sextiles ease the opposition that forms the spine of the kite. Donna

    • Hi Natalie! May I ask you something? At what age approximately did you start experiencing your opposition as a seesaw?
      I’m asking because the closest I’ve ever got to my taurus moon was one time I bought an ill-fated plant- my scorpio mars said he never agreed on watering it, let alone making arrangements for it when on vacation!

      • Mars and Moon? Though! My opposition is between Jup in Pisces and a stellium in Virgo. It’s been pretty seesaw as long as I can remember. I was very much Pisces when I was younger, in a way I have grown into the Virgo – so I could manage to achieve my dreams. This is classic Kite – the stellium is at the sextile part of the kite, and gives the Jupiter energy a practical outlet. And about plants? Virgo would love flowers around the house – Jup just can’t be bothered with the watering, it’s way too much work. I found a compromise: green plants that doesn’t need much water, and a kind of lily that hangs with her leaves when she’s thirsty.

      • Thanks, Natalie, very illuminating!
        Maybe mine is a harder pair, or I just don’t have what it takes for that necessary compromise (yet).
        P.S. Gosh, you’re all so doggone evolved here, sometimes I feel bad about myself!
        (If it weren’t for Donna discarding presidential candidates on hairdo grounds and contemplating on current hair trends in Timbuktu, I’d be outta here!! 🙂 )

      • I’m not an astrologer, but I’m guessing Mars in Scorpio is a pretty strong factor. Perhaps your Moon is a bit neglected? I’d like to leave an example of my seesaw:
        Good luck!

      • Great post, Natalie! And, great blog, too! Thumbs up from my Virgo stellium!
        Good to know you have a writting partner, writting is such a lonely task, most of the times..
        I wish you all the luck in the world with your projects 🙂

      • Hi Natalie! It’s me- Again!
        I hate to take advantage of your generosity, but I’ve Got to ask this! How does it feel like to have a Grand Trine? Books affirm it signifies a flow of energy and prosperity in a chart. Is it truly that huge a deal? Could you comment a bit on that one? Please?
        (It’s so hard for me to conceptualize the impact of placements I don’t have!)

      • Hey, guys, get a room! Write to one another off-site or something, because you’re way off thread. Donna

      • Ouch – sorry, Donna 😀 VR: you’re welcome to contact me through my blog!

  20. I don’t really have any dominant aspect type in my chart. However, my chart does seem to have one of each major aspect that seems to say the most about who I am (whether I like it not; ) .

    Conjunction: combust stellium of Mars-Sun-Venus in Cancer in the 4th house
    It truly is very difficult for me to distinguish between the energies and motivations of these planets. This means that I can be deeply disappointed when I fail to satisfy a need or desire that arises here. Catch me when engaged in home renovation and decoration or one of my other “special projects”, however, and this trio is full of vim and vigor.

    Opposition: Saturn in Aries in the 1st house and my Moon in Libra in the 7th house.
    No mistake, this is THE challenge I face. For me, this aspect is all about feeling that I am not enough. Needless to say, much anger, pain, and fear has been the result. If you, Donna, or any other kind soul has any recommendation on dealing with this aspect/issue, I am certainly open to hearing them.

    Square: Sun in Cancer in the 4th and Moon in Libra in the 7th
    This internal conflict was a major source of sturm und drang in my early adulthood. I do, however, credit these two for getting me out of a marriage that was slowly but surely draining the life out of me. Yes, they still have their testy moments, but, for the most part, they seem to have hammered out some kind of agreement.

    Trine: Moon in Libra in the 7th and Mercury in Gemini in the 3rd
    I am truly grateful for this aspect. No matter what is happening in my life, my Moon and Mercury work together to make sure that all of those daily details and routine interactions continue to be taken care of as usual. This is a gift when dealing with serious health issues or the death of a parent, for example.

    • Moon-Saturn hard aspects are very painful–usually a stern, perfectionistic mother figure who made you grow up too fast, and you never could be enough, because the demands increased every time you mastered one thing she wanted from you.

      Two flower essences related to insufficient mothering from The Flower Essence Services come to mind: Mariposa Lily and Evening Primrose. Donna

  21. I wanted to tell you that I really like the way you described the different aspects here.
    When you included real people (M Jackson and Queen Latifa, I could really relate and understand the point you were trying to make.)

    about my chart, i have 18 squares which includes the midheaven and chiron according to Astrodienst.

    I always focus on the better parts of my chart, I confess I was very surprised to see all those squares. Since a lot of the squares are outer planets, I am thinking it means I was born to tough times, but I know that my life has been a bowl of cherries compared to some (a friend of mine died yesterday after a 7 year battle with cancer, for example; and even she had a great life compared to some)

    a cool thing in my chart is the sun and moon are sextile mars and trine jupiter.
    I think this means that stuff works out for me. When I want it, I get it. And even though Jupiter therefore is opposing Mars, things often end well.

  22. …..Oops this post flew away before I ended it…Maybe it was high time that it went? When a Moon-Saturn ages it is obvious that he she love regularity more than others do.

  23. Whaa…! Off-line 12+ days. Still catching up after our google virus meltdown. Actually had to change servers to rid the plague— Thank goodness hubby backs everything up on flash drives. Sorry to have missed my own “winning” suggestion for outer planet forum…(only 11 queries? Your disappoinment was tangible and understandable–though the “mea culpas” brought up some good points and I see that you are incorporating the best suggestions).
    Thanks for the moderation…I’ll be practicing more myself-especially with trans. JUP conjuncting natal JUP in early Aries…
    “Mad AND Delightful”, what could be better?

  24. I have a mixture of easy and hard aspects. The overall effect seems to be that my peers think that I have a charmed life (mostly easy aspects to outer planets) but I know that I have worked hard for everything that I get (hard and easy aspects to Mars).

    To paraphrase Maya Angelou, they see my glory but don’t know my (internal) story.

  25. What about trines in different elements. Like late pisces and early gemini, or early aires and late scorpio. Will the energy still be trine?

  26. Apparently, I’m the holy grail. I have a grand sextile in my chart which creates a three dimensional hexagon with a star in the middle. It pretttttyyy , and its quite amazing in its “geometry.”

    17 Trines —- I guess im a lucky one. ( i.e takes things for granted as well)

    12 Sextiles —I have the ability to get away with things , and things always seem to work itself out , with little too minimum effort.

    6 Squares — I have overcome great difficulties battled with depression (i have five harsh aspects to my moon , but i have been through these tulmoultous phases, and persevered and survived, almost as though reemerging as a stronger person.( i would assume this is my pluto aspects working , forcing transformation , as i have SUN sq Pluto, mars opp pluto , also my mars opp pluto)

    6 Oppositions- mostly saturn and others
    3 Conjuncts- conjuncts include my venus and jupiter and all conjunting my asc as well which is cancer.

    I have a leo sun. (2nd)
    Aries moon (10th house)
    I have mercury in the third house in virgo in trine with four planets.
    Also Scorpio in pluto in the 5th house

    The point is one may be so blessed and gifted but not realize they’re worth or their gifts. As i struggled with early parts of life , and had to persevere to find out , the true value i have and reallly potential ANY person has. We all have different charts, different aspects , some favorable some very harsh,astrology helps us be more aware of them and is not ment to define but to guide! !!

  27. Oky: What can you tell me, when all bunch of “hard planets” are messed up? I have : sun square jupiter, sun opposed pluto, venus opposed pluto, venus square saturn, mercury square saturn,mercury opposed pluto,mars square uranus ( heard some nasty things about this :((( but didn’t understand much- smth like if I had one planet in taurus or scorpio is sucks and I don’t have a single drop of pure love in me:(((
    but my mars is in aries , uranus in capricorn, and I might be born on the cusp- midnight- 21 may , 12.05 am..taurus-gemini cusp. So I don’t get it, If I am a taurus life is doomed? bcz of mars uranus…duhh..really need help for that) oky I have more:)..moon square mars, mars square neptune,saturn square pluto. 😐 and saturn,uranus and neputune or pluto- 3 planets retrograde..niceeee, really? Yes I am complainig…life is tough for me…especially in love area…I just had a toxic relationship , but I want to get over that…so can anybody help me? With these “cute”aspects..can I really repair my flaws?:D thank you

    • Look, Narnia, I get that you’re overwhelmed by your aspects, but no one is doomed by their astrology chart. Some aspects are definitely a lot harder than others, but there aren’t big, bad planets in the sky crapping all over you. The planets don’t CAUSE anything, they just show what’s going on. When planets like Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto are really strong in the chart, as they are in yours, it means that a huge part of the problem is the huge mess our world is in, with a trickle down effect in the lives of people born with those combinations.

      From what I can piece together, you must be born with the triple conjunction of Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune in Capricorn that every single person born on the planet in 1989 and half of 1988 had in Capricorn. We’re talking 413 MILLION young people in 1989 alone. So you are not just one person that the heavens have singled out to crap all over.

      You can’t fix the world singlehandedly, but you can–with work–fix things that you yourself do to complicate your life and your relationships. Fixing things can take a lot of work on yourself and any self-destructive behavior patterns. It takes insight and self-control and not blaming others or the planets for any grief that you cause yourself.

      An astrology chart session with a professional astrologer who fully understands this chart pattern can help you identify the ways you contribute to your problems as opposed to the ways the world situation is causing grief for so many people your age.
      Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of astrologers who are fully aware of this phenomenal chart pattern. (I’m not available, as I’m retired from chart sessions in order to focus on writing.)

      I am writing a book on stelliums that would help you put the pieces together and share some self-help tools that will be out in a month or two, so if you’d like to know when it comes out, sign up for a subscription to this blog. I can imagine it’s really hard to sort all these factors out, but the transits that you 413 million or so young people are gong through right now are really tough. They will end eventually–it’s not a life sentence! Donna Cunningham


  28. I forgot to mention, I also have some good aspects,haha..,like 5 conjunctions, 6 trines, 3 sextiles…If I had to compare with my “bad” aspects I just realised I am somewhat balanced..but still, please read my messages, I need an expert advice in what might happen in love life..I have venus in taurus and this aspects really interest is everything..and when I heard about that mars-uranus thing..something inside me, crashed. Thank you so much! 🙂

    • Forgot to mention the good ones, did you? Imagine that! If you have 6 trines–probably in earth signs like Taurus, Capricorn, and Virgo–then you have lots of strengths to draw on to in making a better life for yourself.

      Look, it sounds like you are reading the most negative interpretations you can possibly get your hands on. Every aspect has its good uses and its bad uses, and it is up to you to work on making sure you recognize when you’re living out the bad ones and work on pulling yourself out of expressing the planets in the unhealthy or toxic ways. Again, there are tools in my upcoming stellium book to help you sort out what’s what. For instance, there’s a self-help worksheet you can construct and use to take regular inventory of how you’re using the planets.

      And now I have to get back to writing, so I can’t answer any more of your questions. Donna

      • Donna please shed your wisdom: do some folks just always have challanging aspects? Constant squares and semi squares? My natal, my progrssions, always squares and the conjunctions are difficult as well. Its like i cant get any relief even in composites! Can a partner with certain aspects aliviate these tentions in a natal? In otherwordscan meeting someone woth certain aspects ligeten your natal load? I look at my friends charts or family members and they are all trines and setiles few squares. Mine are all the hard aspects and its to the sun and moon. 😂😂😂Transits too. Always tension. Is there no escape? Are squares ever friends? Or pleasent i should ask? Growth is great but constant challange is so exausting. Also do you have podcasts availible?

      • Some people do have more hard aspects than easy ones in their charts, and you sound like one of them. But, honestly? Do not tell anyone I said this, but people with hard aspects have more of a chance at achieving substantial things, because they are driven to work hard to overcome obstacles. Many people with Grand Trines have things handed to them, easy peazy, so they don’t make an effort to get somewhere.

        The way of making peace with a hard aspect like a square is to make sure both sides of the conflict (the urges and needs represented by both planets’ signs, and houses) have quality time where you pay attention to it, rather than decide one end of aspect (one urge or need) is worth doing and the other is to be ignored. The need you ignore will become more and more frustrated and that ultimately causes upset and trouble.

        As for progressions, two planets that are square natally will become a trine by progression at about age 30. Donna

  29. Wow, now that was fast! Thank you. I’ve got it..I assume I read to much into it..heheh but I also focus on what’s positive..otherwise I’ll go gaga 😛 Have a nice day!

  30. Just for the record, I’m a 92′ person 🙂 and I surely have no clue if my trines are in virgo, taurus or so..since they are like moon trine venus, mercury trine uranus and so on. But you’ve being helping me and I really appreciate your clarity and fast,fast reply. I’ll check out your site carefully, for now..keep up the good work!

    • Not sure why my comment wont post but im wondering if a partner can create better aspects for your natal? Can a partnership or friendship lighten the load of heavy squares in your natal? Can the composite be more harmonious and there for make your own challanging aspects feel supported or more kind? Saturn square sun and moon is a bummer big time. Sun square venus is no walk in the park ( would be lucky to even attract a partner) .if tou have a stressful chart Is it more likely to attact a partner with similar stuggles or more opposite? Which would last longer and feel better? Donna do you have a podcast? I wish tou did! Thank you!

      • The first time you post a comment here, it will be held up in moderation until I can get to it. After that your comments will load up automatically.

        Every composite is different, but of course, it is helpful to have people in your life whose planets form supportive aspects to your own. It’s not possible to have a Sun-Venus square natally or in a composite, as Venus is never more than 72 degrees away from the Sun, due to its orbit being close in. Donna

  31. For me, living true means identifying the aspects of my life that make me happy, and giving my
    self more of those. I’m not sure if there were any other ways
    in, however. It is best to acknowledge you do and to pick an area
    you truly need to improve.

  32. Ayyyeeyee Donna… Always good late night revalations on your site. Perfect way to end the astrology search and exhale. You are the expert indeed. I have a 4th house mars in gemini opposing my sag neptune in the 10th . As well as a 2 nd house 1 degree aries sun opposing libra pluto in the 8th. Ill be on this blog for a lifetime. With a lovely square from 8th house pluto to my 5th house gemini saturn. Ill leave my 12th house venus aspects for another post. Thinking of having a re bith in my pool so I can create a new chart hahahahaa. I kid. Im a grateful life participant but you get it. 😉😉

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