The following is an excerpt from a longer article on trines in my ebooklet, Aspect Analysis: the Building Blocks of Chart Interpretation. This 8-part tutorial reprinted from my series in The Mountain Astrologer includes step-by-step instructions on how to analyze conjunctions, sextiles, squares, trines, quincunxes and oppositions.
Aspects are the building blocks of serious astrology, moving you beyond single chart factors to integrating the many features a chart contains. Not only are they crucial in natal charts, they modify the qualities of transiting planets, progressions, and chart comparison. They powerfully impact outcomes in such diverse branches of our field as electional, horary, medical, and mundane.
Got Trines? You Must Be Living Right!
©2009 by Donna Cunningham, MSW
Trines are considered a lucky aspect that flows so naturally that accomplishing things seems effortless to the outside observer. Trines are 120° (plus or minus 5°) and four signs apart, though not always four houses apart. Most trines consist of two or more planets in the same element — air to air, fire to fire, water to water, or earth to earth.
Because opportunities related to the planets in the trine tend to be handed to people who have it, a sense of entitlement can creep in. They may come to regard these perks as their due, simply because of who they are and what they represent to others in that sphere of life.
Often, windfalls come without much effort, so people with a predominance of trines can become lazy and take these benefits for granted, with an attitude of “God will provide.” Still, trines can be a mixed blessing — it depends largely on the planets involved. With a Saturn–Pluto trine, for instance, the goodies can come with so much baggage attached that they almost aren’t worth it.
Thinking Inside the Box: In each part of this series, I present a graphic creation that provides an overview of an aspect — not of the pair of planets concerned but the essence of that angle itself. How does it feel? What emotions and patterns of response typify a trine versus, say, an opposition? Here’s what a trine feels like to me: Affinity of the Planets: When analyzing an aspect, the first stage should be to reflect on how well the two planets partner one another. Venus and Saturn aren’t particularly compatible in nature. No doubt, if you had the aspect, you’d stand in line for hours to trade up for a Venus–Jupiter aspect. I think you’d be wrong, though.
Venus–Jupiter folks are warm, enthusiastic, and welcoming — to each and every person they meet. And they do meet so many of them, because they’re forever on the go. If you were in a housing crisis, they’d probably text you from Tahiti with a digital hug to explain why they can’t help you pack to move.
Venus–Saturn people, by comparison, might be more reserved and formal, but they’re solid and steady, a source of practical support and sage advice when you need them. They’d have your move organized and a reliable moving company hired before you finished asking.
Because of their stability, social skills, and willingness to support those with similar goals, people with Venus–Saturn conjunctions and trines often attract friends and suitors among successful, slightly older people who then become mentors and protectors.
Love affairs in youth often involve older partners — almost like father or mother figures — who help them acquire a social polish that might not have been learned at home. (It’s an aspect that often confers upward mobility.) At midlife and beyond, their partners are often younger.
Not as trendy and fashion-forward as Venus–Jupiter or Venus–Uranus people in their sense of beauty, Venus–Saturn folks are likely to have an elegant, classical look. In fact, there’s an air about many of them that just says class. They often age beautifully — it’s those enviable cheekbones. They grow in poise and confidence as they come into their own, professionally and socially.
There is a kind of luck that happens with Venus–Saturn aspects, since Venus (along with Jupiter) is a good luck planet. Because of Saturn’s presence, there are windfalls due to an innate instinct of timing — being the right person in the right place at the right time. Then, too, you’ve worked hard to prepare for what you’ll be doing, so your good fortune isn’t entirely an accident. With breaks like these, observers rightfully remark, “You must be living right.”
Roles of the Elements and Modes: Part of why trines work so effortlessly and seem so harmonious is because the two planets are generally in the same element. They’re like two people who meet and hardly even have to get acquainted, because they have a great affinity for one another. They have so much in common that it’s a meeting of the minds.
With trines, one planet in a water sign supports another in a second water sign — they flow together in a perfect blend, without resistance. One planet in fire supports another in a different fire sign — it adds fuel to the blaze. Similarly, earth solidifies earth, and air uplifts air.
Though the planets in a trine are in the same element, the modes (cardinal, fixed, and mutable) are mixed in this aspect. Each mode adds something that the other is lacking and needs in order to keep moving forward — it’s not a competition but a natural alliance.
Take the earth signs Capricorn, Taurus, and Virgo. Their productivity and fruitfulness is enhanced by cardinal earth (Capricorn) setting a goal and initiating it, fixed earth (Taurus) keeping a steady focus on achieving it and sustaining the efforts, and mutable earth (Virgo) adapting to changing conditions and figuring out how to fix the various snags that appear along the path.
Sign/House Combinations: Understanding the houses involved in the trine is important, for it shows two areas of life enhanced by the ways a person’s innate abilities support one another.
If you have a Venus–Saturn aspect of any sort, you too can hope to get better as you get older, but if you have the trine, you probably already possess many of the necessary qualities. A classic style quite possibly comes more naturally to you than to most people, and the mature years are bound to be your best ever.
We’re old a lot longer than we’re young, and there’s no reason that we can’t live and love and keep on growing for all of our years. The current transit of Saturn through Venus-ruled Libra is an excellent opportunity to discover more about how to bring those sterling qualities to the fore.
NOTE: This has been an excerpt from my ebooklet, Aspect Analysis: the Building Blocks of Chart Interpretation. To order it, go to http://www.paypal.com and create an account, if you don’t already have one. Then tell them to send me $8 and give them my email address, email@example.com. You’ll receive the booklet by email.