Aspect Patterns

aspectpattern1Hi everyone,

There are a lot of beliefs floating around out there about what aspect patterns in the chart may mean. Some definitions are misleading. I'm here to set a few things straight.

First up, aspect patterns are still just ASPECTS - planets and points connected by mathematical degrees. And aspect pattern ties together three or more planets into a geometrical shape. They are CONNECTED to each other. Scripted to interact.

Planets are energy - the actors.
Signs are expression - the costumes the actors wear.
Houses are environments - the stage on which the actor struts her stuff.
Aspects are the scripts - the dialog between actors who are connected.

Second point, think of aspects like table legs. If you pick up one leg of a table, all the others come up with it. In a T-Square aspect pattern between Moon, Venus and Mars, if you activate the Moon (pick up that leg of the table), Venus and Mars (the other table legs) ARE ACTIVATED TOO. This applies to all aspects, recognized patters or not. I learned this from the amazing astrologer, Richard Idemon.

Third, aspect pattern are neither good nor bad. They are energy, just as it is. How we utilize the energy is what matters.

Fourth, aspects patterns are not immutable fate. Even the YOD! They are the default. With awareness, you can used them for your own well being and abundance. They don't 'use' you, unless you let them.

Fifth, do consider the Ascendant and Midheaven in the aspect pattern, as long as you remember they are not planets/energies as such but modes of expression/environments. If the Asc is part of a T-Square, you will likely use it, or the Descendant, to express the two planets that are involved. The Asc becomes the conflict resolution or filter for the energy.

Summary: ANY aspect between two or more planets means they are scripted to dialog with each other. They are connected so that if one is active and 'doing something' the connected one wakes up too. They are partners, of sorts.

Let's look at some real life examples. I won't go through all the patterns as once you get the idea, you can work out the meaning yourself. I will cover three favorites of mine: the Grand Trine, T-Square and Yod.

I'm choosing examples that are famous and infamous, to give you contrast and bring home that the patterns don't mean 'good or bad', they are energy for use to put to use.

The Grand Trine


The Grand Trine consists of three or more planets trine to each other to form an equilateral triangle. The Trine aspect is 120 degrees of the circle, connecting planets and points of the same element. The orb (leeway) is 10-12 degrees. * NOTE 28 Aires is trine to 28 Leo Trine to 28 Saggo, Trine to 28 Aries creating a Grand Fire Trine, BUT, it might be 28 Aries, 3 virgo, 22 Saggo. Aspect patters that include different elements are said to be out of sign.*

People think the Grand Trine is all kinds of karmic money in the bank. They use words like lucky, fortuitous and abundant. If it's a Grand Fire Trine they are super creative visionaries, Grand Earth, incredible with money and finances, Grand Air Trine, eloquent writers and speakers, Grand Water Trine, sensitive, psychic healers. Lucky Lucky Lucky.

Sometimes this is absolutely true when the individual is raised with love and fostered to develop their many abilities. What the Grand Trine can also mean is THEIR vision of the world is so beautiful that the reality of their life is a devastating contrast that crushes them psychologically. It happens. Best leave the notions of luck and good karma out of the equation when reading a chart with a grand trine, until you sus what the client has 'done' with it. Trines are slippery slopes, and inherently lazy. There isn't much to get the energy moving, unless the person feels the ecstasy ... or agony of how it fits in their life. Mahatma Gandhi has a Grand Fire Trine and his creative vision and charisma changed the lives of millions of people.

But then there's Peter, Kürten, aka the Vampire of Düsseldorf, who was a serial murderer, rapists and, well, bad guy all around. Behold his beautiful Grand Earth Trine involving the Asc/Neptune, Uranus and the Moon. He used the energy in very macabre ways. He was the 3rd born in a poverty stricken family of 13 children where he witnessed his father beat and rape his mother and sister. I won't go on. Just imaging how this 'heaven on earth' grand trine, Neptune on the Asc, Venus ruled sensitive child handled it. No DoCS to the rescue. He would run away from home and be dragged back. The unfairness of the world would have been crippling psycholoically. And it was. He murdered his first victims when he was 9 years old. Kürten was executed on 2 July 1931 by guillotine in Cologne.

Not all Grand Trines are heavenly.

The point is we don't idealize aspect patterns. They aren't magical indications of greatness, or even difficulty. They show how planetary energies are connected. If you have a terrible home life like Kurten, and your Moon (home, mother family) is connected to Uranus (unusual, innovative, genius) connected to Neptune (longing for reunion with the divine/madness) on the Asc (outer expression) you might just find pleasure and nurturing in bizarre ways that control life (by taking it away).

The Yod

The Yod is the name for an astrological aspect between three (or more) plants or points where two planets are 60 degrees sextile and both 150 degrees inconjunct (or quincunx) to a third. This is one of my favorite patterns, not just because I have two. They combine planets/energies that are a different modality, polarity and element. ie, nothing gets along easily, at first. Check out Will Smith's yod.

willsmithWith the Yod, you want to note where the 'finger' is pointing. In Will's case, it's to a 10th house Saturn. Ambitious man. REALLY ambitious, and competitive. It's where all the energy is headed, pulling from the fuel of Jupiter in the 3rd (words that impact LARGE arenas, and Neptune in the 5th, the illusion of the theater/creative drive, imaginations, deception (acting). There is contrast! Saturn is grounded in the real world. Jupiter is all about the vision. Neptune, the ideal. What Jupiter and Neptune 'see' is perfect, imagined without flaw. When it is manifested in reality, aka Saturn, the vision is no longer infinite and perfect. It becomes real, hence flawed. The only way to deal with this dichotomy is to find a balance. Allow both imagined perfection and 'reality' that falls short.

The cool thing about this Yod is that it pulls in Mercury by opposition, so will can achieve his ambition by LEARNING (Mercury). He actually says, 'I have a moderate amount of talent. But what I do know about is skill development. That's where I excel with ridiculous amounts of time/work.' He claims to have a 'sickening work ethic.' Can you see it? Can you imagine what he would do if he didn't have the creative outlet he has gained?

To sum it up, the Yod means that three or more planets are in dialog with each other and it's up to the pointing planet to harmonize the energy. It's called the finger of fate or God/gods because for most people this is a default. Wherever it sits in the chart, (what houses or areas of life are activated) describes where a pattern of behavior or external events occur. More on the YOD here ...

The T-Square

In this pattern, three or more planets (of or near the same modality) are 90 square each other and two, or more, are 180 opposition. The orb is 10 to 12 degrees. There is often tension, and contrast in this aspect, but it MOVES energy. There is a feeling of 'forced growth,' unlike the trine.


We hear that T-Squares are trouble, right? Meet Oprah Winfrey, according to Wikipedia, the "Queen of All Media", the richest African-American of the 20th century, the greatest black philanthropist in American history, and is currently North America's first and only multi-billionaire of African/American descent. Several assessments regard her as the most influential woman in the world. In 2013, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama and honorary doctorate degrees from Duke and Harvard. Harvard!

Yes, she has a Grand Air Trine with an exalted Mercury trine Jupiter trine Neptune, but check out the T-Square. Mars square Pluto (god of war and god of death, opposite Mercury square Mars. That could be a whole lot of anger, aggression and darkness. She grew up in extreme poverty, born to a teenage single mom, was molested by family members from the age of 9 and had a baby who died shortly after birth when she was 14 ... but unlike Kurten, she didn't become the Vampire of Mississippi.

Whatever your feelings towards her, she overcame incredible adversity both personally and culturally, to be something 'more than' in the world. Note the Grand Air Trine (communication) is in Earth Houses (money, work, career). She was not lazy with this aspect pattern and the T-Square helped her there.

Focusing on the T-Square, the third house Mars can suggest anger/violence and square Pluto in the 12th can bring a whole collective of prejudices, race, gender, creed ...opposite that exalted Mercury. It's like she was a true alchemist, turning a mix of mud, s**t and old carcasses to gold.

When you look at the T-square, note the 'empty' leg (where if there WAS a planet there in Taurus, it would be a Fixed Grand Cross). T-Square people will often attract the empty leg in some way, in Oprah's case Taurean types people, or 9th house things, (like an honorary degree from Harvard!)

And below is the infamous Mata Hari. Her chart shows, like Ophra's, a Fixed T-Square and a Grand Trine, this one in the element of Water.

She was an exotic dancer and courtesan, convicted of spying for Germany in the first world war. The trial was over before it began, and she was executed by firing squad in France at age 41. The idea of an exotic dancer working as a lethal double agent using her powers of seduction to extract military secrets from her many lovers made Mata Hari an enduring archetype of the femme fatale ... I included her in the discussion to support idea that aspect patterns do not dictate a persons reality, but they fuel it in whatever direction we point.


Here are more aspect patters to look at. Don't go nuts with them, but do familiarize yourself with the names and how they tie energy together.


Check your chart for aspect patterns like the Grand Trine, T-Square, Grand Cross, Yod, Kite, etc. Explore the example charts too, if you like, or any family, friend, or celeb charts you have. If you can post the chart here, or link to it, all the better for discussion.

This is great practice in spotting aspects with your eye, a skill that will help you in chart reading as you connect with the geometry of the circle.

See you in the comments!