Aspect Formations

The T-Square

The T-Square, an opposition with one (or more) planet squaring both ends, is similar to the grand cross, except that it has one ‘arm’ missing. It is held to be easier to handle than the grand cross for the empty arm offers an escape route and creates less of a feeling of being torn 4 ways. The tension it sets up can also be released through any planet(s) which makes Sextile or Trine aspect to one of the planets within it. The same sort of dilemmas apply to the cardinal, fixed and mutable qualities of the T-Square as to the grand cross. However, because the planetary energies are not as prone to being bottled up, people with this combination usually manage to sort out their inner problems more easily.

This is a tense and dynamic feature. It can be enormously energising and it usually gives strength. However, it could cause considerable inhibition. When the ‘T’ Square is in: Cardinal Signs, there is exceptional dynamism and energy; Fixed Signs, people may be excessively stubborn, fighting personal battles to the bitter end. Mutable Signs, they may try to solve, or even avoid, the problems associated with the ‘T’ Square by being flexible and adaptable.

The Grand Trine

The grand trine consists of a triangle of 3 or more planets – including sensitive points such as the ASC and MC, which all make trine aspects to each other in one of the elements (Fire, earth, air, water). Traditionally, the grand trine was thought to be extremely fortunate. Since it shows natural talents which usually emerge early on in life, there may be a tendency to take these gifts for granted and a corresponding lack of resolve to develop them. The effects are much more positive when one or more of the planets in the grand trine also makes a hard aspect – such as a Square or Opposition to another planet. This stiffens the ‘easy come, easy go’ attitude, urging the subject to put more effort into channelling their planetary energies purposefully. A more common version of the grand trine is the minor grand trine, which occurs when 2 planets trine each other and at the same time make a sextile aspect to another planet. The effects are similar; but often more dynamic, since the sextile introduces a sense of perseverance that may be otherwise lacking.

When the Grand Trine is in: Fire Signs, talents lie in enthusiasm, and the search for new possibilities. Earth Signs, talents lie in practical work and experience. Air Signs, talents lie in intellectual work and the communication of ideas. Water Signs, talents are rooted in sympathy, compassion and intuition.

The Grand Cross

The grand cross, as its name implies, incorporates planets in Square and opposition to each other and involves all 4 signs of a particular quality (cardinal, fixed or mutable). It is sometimes referred to as the “Dilemma”, in that when it is triggered, especially by a transiting planet, everything seems to happen at once. As a result, people with this tricky combination often seem to lurch from crises to crises as if their mettle is constantly being tested. But if and when they finally master their formidable energies, they may be capable of quite exceptional results. People with a cardinal grand cross have tremendous drive and energy, but also meet with a great deal of resistance in achieving their aims. While they may blame others for the frustration they experience, much of it is self-induced, for they seldom plan or think carefully before they act and insist on doing everything their own way. Those with a fixed grand cross tend to do everything within their considerable power to keep things as they are. Valuing reliability and preservation above all else, they will passionately hold out against anything or anyone who tries to upset their sense of order; when change inevitably comes, it is usually dramatic and sudden. Mutable grand cross types have no difficulty accepting change, in fact, this is their problem. Rather than face a challenge they tend to alter their course in the vain hope that by changing their external circumstances they can avoid unwanted difficulties. The lesson they have to learn is that their conflicts arise from within, as a result of a lack of consistency and a tendency to spread themselves too thinly.

When the Grand Cross is in: Cardinal Signs, problems and difficulties are more likely to result in energetic and assertive behaviour. Fixed Signs, people may hang on to their problems and be exceptionally stubborn and resistant to change. Mutable Signs, they may be very adaptable but may also exacerbate their problems by evading them.

The Grand Quintile, Wreath or Pentagram

The Grand Quintile is formed when five planets are Quintile (72°) each other. This is a 5th Harmonic aspect pattern, and consists of five Quintiles, and five Biquintiles (144° aspects). This is perhaps the rarest of the aspect patterns simply because it requires five planets that can be 72° apart. The Sun, Mercury and Venus are basically limited to occupying only one position of five because Mercury can at most be 28° from the Sun, and Venus can at most be 46° from the Sun. Mercury and Venus can, theoretically be as far as 74° apart and could form a Quintile aspect, but this is an exceedingly rare occurrence. At least one Quintile between outer planets would almost certainly be required for a Grand Quintile, and the windows of opportunity for these cycles is both relatively brief, and very infrequent.

The Grand Quintile is an aspect pattern that is entirely dependent on the harmonics because the Quintile is not a whole-sign aspect. For this reason, the orb for a Grand Quintile would probably have to be less than 2° for each aspect.

Since this aspect pattern is so rare as to be practically nonexistent, interpreting it involves a lot of theory and guesswork. The 5th harmonic, which would be resonating with tremendous intensity here, relates to creativity, to freedom, and to change. In numerology, the number 4 represents the material world, the first manifestation of form and structure; the number 5 is the life energy, the creative spark that animates the form. Quintiles have been associated with both great creative power and with unthinkable destructive force. Charlie Chaplain and Adolph Hitler are two examples; they were born very close together, and each has strong 5th harmonic activity in their charts.

Although I personally do not consider the Quintile to be a particularly major aspect because it seems to me to operate on the mental and intellectual plane and therefore does not necessarily translate into any kind of action (like the 4th and 8th harmonic aspects do), I would have to guess that an individual with a Grand Quintile in their chart would feel compelled to be constantly in motion. The potential here would be perhaps to be able to be fully immersed in the ebb, flow, and constant change that is life. I would also guess that the need to create and to destroy, to discover and participate in the natural cycles of life would be extremely strong.

The Grand Sextile or The Star of David

The Grand Sextile is a 6th Harmonic aspect pattern and is formed when six planets are Sextile each other. Grand Sextiles must be in either Earth and Water or in Fire and Air (Feminine or Masculine polarities), and consist of six Sextiles, six Trines, and three Oppositions. Grand Sextiles also contain two Grand Trines, six Kites, and three Mystic Rectangles. Although Grand Sextiles are not unheard of, because they involve six planets, they are quite rare.

The Grand Sextile represents tremendous creative potential, but at the same time, because it is such a self-contained, balanced, and harmonious configuration, it contains absolutely no inherent motivation to take any action or to explore and fulfil the potential it represents. Even more than with the Grand Trine, the Grand Sextile requires an external stimulus to get it to take action. However, because there are so many more planets involved in a Grand Sextile, and because so many planets would be receiving simultaneous stimulus from a transit, progression or direction, the ultimate response may tend to be far more diffuse and ultimately less productive than it would be with a Grand Trine. The natural inclination of the Grand Sextile is to return to a point of balance and equilibrium between the six planets, and almost any action produced will be aimed at this result.

Using only whole-sign transits (progressions, directions, etc.), there are only two different types of transits to a Grand Sextile: passive and active. A “passive” transit would be one through a sign in the same polarity as the Grand Sextile (i.e., if the Grand Sextile is in Earth and Water, any transit through any of the Feminine Signs would be considered “passive”). Passive transits simply re-emphasize the Grand Sextile pattern by conjuncting one of the planets and forming trines, oppositions or sextiles to all of the other planets. “Active” transits, on the other hand, are transits through the opposite polarity as the Grand Sextile (i.e., if the Grand Sextile is in Earth and Water, any transit through any of the Masculine Signs ­ the Air and Fire signs ­ would be considered “active”).

Active transits to Grand Sextiles will always form a transiting T-Square and a Transiting Yod. The release point to these two transiting aspect patterns is identical: the point opposite the transiting planet. Under other circumstances, this type of a transit would certainly encourage very direct and specific action to alleviate the pressure that it represents; with a Grand Sextile, however, there are so many “soft” aspects to each of the triggered points that much of the discomfort (which is what motivates us to get up off the couch and do something) is diffused.

Yod (Finger of Fate)

This is a rare pattern in which 2 planets in sextile to one another are both quincunx (150ø) to a third. The yod takes it’s name from the Hebrew meaning ‘blessed’, and is reputed to have a quality of fate about it – in other words, the planets and houses involved point to a certain direction in life. This is not an easy pattern to work with, but if the tension it shows can be resolved, great achievements are possible.


The Boomerang is one of the newer aspect patterns. I believe that it was named by Marion March. Essentially, the Boomerang is a Yod with a planet at the release point, Opposing the apex planet, and forming two Semi-sextiles with the base planets. Much as is the case with the Opposition that makes a Grand Trine a Kite, the Opposition in the Boomerang helps provide a much-needed sense of perspective and balance to the Aspect Pattern. The difference here, is that while the Opposition in the Kite doesn’t necessarily change the overall feel of the aspect pattern, the Opposition in the Boomerang does.

The extra planet in the Boomerang helps to take a lot of the guess-work out of the Yod. The Quinxunxes still create the feeling that some adjustment is needed, and they still create the feeling that there should be a point of balance between the two planets when in fact there is none. The difference here, is that in addition to receiving two Quincunxes, in a Boomerang, the Apex planet also receives an Opposition which does have a true point of balance. As long as the individual is able to stay focused on and aware of the opposition, they are far less likely to suffer the problems of bad timing and missed opportunities that are so prevalent with the Yod.

The two semi-sextiles formed by the Opposition are also invaluable in helping to integrate the different energies of the Quinxunxes. The opposing planet creates a more concrete awareness of the balance point in the configuration.

On a higher level, the division of the triangle by the opposition splits the isosceles triangle of the Yod (which operates entirely on the mental/emotional plane) into four separate triangles. The result is that a Boomerang not only operates on the mental/emotional plane where a Yod exists, but also in the physical and material realm (enabling more concrete action) and on the level of what the Greeks called “Nous”, which is where we encounter our Higher Self and higher guidance. The sacred geometry of the Boomerang offers assistance in integrating the conflicting elements, and can lend support in getting the most out of the lessons presented by the aspect pattern.

The Mystic Rectangle

This is a complex pattern consisting of 2 oppositions, the ends of which forms Sextile or trine to each other. Because of it’s shape, the flow of energy may be limited to the soft aspects, missing out the hard ones altogether and leaving important issues unresolved, as with the grand time. However, if the oppositions are integrated, the blend of hard and soft aspects can result in the kind of dynamic tension that enables people to develop their natural abilities to the full.

The Kite

This occurs whenever 3 planets in a grand trine link up to another which opposes one and is sextile (to the other two). It’s effect is much the same as the mystic rectangle in that the many soft aspects can lead to a reluctance to face the difficulties shown by the planets in hard aspect. But again, if the issues shown by the opposition are confronted, the potential rewards are high.

The Pointer

This occurs whenever 3 planets in a grand trine link up to another which opposes one and is sextile (to the other two). It’s effect is much the same as the mystic rectangle in that the many soft aspects can lead to a reluctance to face the difficulties shown by the planets in hard aspect. But again, if the issues shown by the opposition are confronted, the potential rewards are high.

The Stellium

A stellium (also known as Satellitium) is an aspect pattern made up of 3 or more planets which are either in the same sign or in the same house (although if they are only in the same house, but the signs are different, the effect is less intense.) The group of planets form a chain of conjunctions, so that while the first and last planets in the chain may not be in aspect to each other, they are joined through their conjunction to the planets in between. The effect is to exaggerate the qualities of the sign(s) and house(s) in which the stellium falls – although sometimes overpoweringly so, at the expense of any planets which do not happen to aspect this relatively common configuration.

Dissociate Grand Trine

A Dissociate grand trine occurs when one planet of the triangle falls in a different element from the other 2. This can only happen when the planets involved are either very near the end or at the beginning of their respective signs. Because one of the planets in this configuration falls in an inharmonious sign, the flow of energy in less stable than the pure grand trine. The errant planet introduces a quality of tension, rather like a square, to the aspect pattern, and offers a greater chance of using the planet’s collective energies assertively. Dissociate grand crosses and T-Squares are also softer versions of their pure forms. At least one planet in the configuration falls in a different quality to the others, and consequently tones down the overall level of tension. The same principle applies to all dissociate aspect patterns.

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