Astrology 101: Aspects – Meet the Majors (Part 4 – Trines)






360° (= 360°/1)



180° (= 360°/2)



120° (= 360°/3)



90° (= 360°/4)



60° (= 360°/6)



Cast your mind back to the 1970s, era of “Charlie’s Angels,” of cinematic exorcists and antichrists, of Watergate and “Welcome Back, Kotter”…

The 1970s gave rise to a lot of very distinctive phenomena: this was a decade that spawned consumer fads such as mood rings and Pet Rocks, new music styles like punk rock and disco, and fashion crazes that included bell bottoms, leisure suits, sideburns, and polyester.

This same decade also brought the Citizens Band (“CB”) radio into the collective consciousness, where it gained a position of some prominence for a while, before later fading away in favor of other emerging technologies. As shown in popular examples of late-70s entertainment such as the film Smokey and the Bandit, or TV’s The Dukes of Hazzard, the CB radio was a device used at first mainly by truckers, and later by a much greater segment of the general population, and its main function was providing motorists with a means of inter-vehicle communication while driving.

The CB radio: the control box would attach beneath your dashboard or sit right on top of it, and you’d jaw into the handheld speaker-gadget, sort of walkie-talkie style, and this then-cutting-edge technology would connect you up with your fellow motorists in a way that seemed positively science-fiction-y at the time…

Initially, 23 channels were available to CB users, and this was later expanded to 40. Users selected a channel, and could then only interact with others within range who were tuned to the same channel, sort of like a semi-primitive, audio-only chat room experience (and if things got boring or otherwise disagreeable, changing to a new channel was as simple as turning a dial). Radio operators who were on the same channel could speak freely with each other in real time, although some care had to be exercised so as to avoid situations where too many participants all talked at once, with the whole thing devolving into meaningless cacophony. Still, as protocols developed and then caught on, the CB for a time offered an excellent mechanism by which users could provide one another with up-to-the-minute traffic reports in different areas, could warn others of road hazards, bad weather, and speed traps, and could recommend spots that offered low gas prices or good food.

So what does this cultural relic have to do with Astrology, and Aspects…?

Let’s take a look at the Aspect known as a Trine. With this Aspect, we’re looking at a division of the circle of the chart by 3:

360° / 3 = 120°

In other words, the Trine is an Aspect that exists when two Planets are 120° apart from each other. As the chart above shows, the Trine is generally held by modern Astrology to be an “easy” Aspect. This is in marked contrast to, say, the Opposition, a “hard” Aspect which is greatly characterized by an ongoing sense of tension, and which can take something of a toll on anyone whose chart boasts one or more of them. The Trine is a different beast: it’s believed to be a very user-friendly feature. It can feel very pleasant when activated, and it can seem to bring good luck.

In fact, the two Planets in a Trine relationship can act much like two highway motorists tuned to the same channel on their respective CB radios! Each one can provide the other with valuable information. Each one can help the other: warning of trouble, making recommendations, lending know-how.

The driver of the car who’s busy receiving a citation in this photo almost certainly was not using and heeding a well-tuned CB radio, or else this traffic stop likely wouldn’t have happened at all…

Imagine two drivers, a mile apart, both driving in the same direction on a major road. The first passes a highway patrol car that’s idling in the roadway’s median, just licking its metaphorical chops in anticipation of catching some unwary motorist exceeding the applicable speed limit. The first driver then broadcasts into the CB radio that this patrol car is primed and waiting, and furnishes anyone on the channel with the officer’s exact position. Now say that the second driver is the only other person in range who both has a CB radio and is tuned to the first driver’s channel. This second driver, forewarned and forearmed with knowledge of the lurking cop-car, can now pull into the slow lane and cut velocity down to just below the maximum speed permitted by law, and avoid getting a ticket. Other drivers, though, lacking CB radios, or not tuned to the right channel at the right time so as to catch that first driver’s warning, may get popped for speeding violations. And furthermore, they might watch that second driver – the one who does have a CB, and who does have it tuned to the first driver’s channel – sail on by unmolested, and might glare after that driver in resentment, thinking something like, “That lucky so-and-so…”

But it wasn’t exactly “luck,” as such, that saved the second driver from a ticket and a fine. It was the fact that this driver was tuned in to the same frequency as the first one. There was a conduit of information flowing freely between those two drivers that managed to save the second driver some measure of headache.

The birth-chart of Abraham Lincoln. It’s Trine City toward the upper left (Square Town, too, but we won’t get to those until our next post — for now, focus on the long blue lines…)…

And Planets in Trine can help each other out in much the same way. The chart of Abraham Lincoln can illustrate this Aspect in action. Lincoln’s chart features no less than five fairly tight Trines, but for simplicity’s sake, we can just focus on one. Let’s zero in on Lincoln’s Mercury-Uranus Trine.

First, we can spot Honest Abe’s Mercury in the Sign of Pisces in his First House. This tells us that Lincoln was probably plugged pretty directly into the greater societal consciousness (Pisces), and that communication (the stuff of the Mercury function) was an integral part in defining the man’s very identity (H1 business). That is, Lincoln was a communicator and a thinker, and he invariably aimed these things at helping humanity as a whole.

Next, we can locate his Uranus in Scorpio in his Eighth House. Uranus describes our drive to be new, original, genius, innovative, revolutionary, individualist…and Lincoln’s Uranus expressed itself in the deep, dark, intense manner of Scorpio, and it manifested especially in ways that had to do with death and other people’s property (which things are both within the province of typical H8 affairs…and if we allow for the fact that many people in Lincoln’s time viewed many other people back then as their “property,” this placement alone seems to describe the basics of the Civil War!).

So to tie this all back to the CB radio metaphor, we can theorize that Lincoln’s Piscean Mercury in H1 was rather permanently tuned in to the same channel as his Scorpionic Uranus in H8. And notice how both Planets lie in Water Signs (Pisces and Scorpio – along with Cancer – make up the Zodiac’s full complement of Water Signs). Most of the time, with Trines, the Element involved (Earth, Air, Fire, or Water) serves sort of like the “channel” that the two Planets are tuned to in the Trine connection. If you look at a chart, you’ll see that Signs of the same Element are 120° apart from each other.

Abraham Lincoln — 16th President of the United States of America…and also possessor of what must have been a whale of a CB radio-style connection between his Mercury and his Uranus…

So in Lincoln’s case, his Mercury and Uranus could constantly help each other throughout his life. His Mercury allowed him to effectively communicate things that were polarizing and arguably radical (= Uranian) in such a way that he was still able to attract enormous numbers of people to his cause. Meanwhile, his Uranus lent a unique and brilliant quality to his communications (Mercury stuff), such that we still quote and revere such works as his Gettysburg Address more than a century and a half later.

To put it more simply, the Trine we’re looking at enabled Lincoln to successfully radicalize his communication, and to just as successfully communicate his radicalness… And this all probably came very naturally to him, without the kind of struggle that those of us who don’t have such a Trine in our charts might encounter if attempting to pull off similar feats.

Now, this isn’t to say that Trines are unqualifiedly wonderful in every way, all the time. The biggest knock on having too powerful a Trine, or too many Trines in a chart, is that the chart-holder will become too accustomed to things just seeming to work out well for them without them ever even needing to contribute much in the way of effort. Laziness and complacency can set in. This can become a problem whenever occasions do arise, though, in which the Trines don’t take care of business automatically for the person in question. The person may then be called upon to make use of skills that they haven’t been cultivating, and so such occasions can lead to instances of frustration and failure.

Consider a young, beautiful model who receives all manner of favors and gifts and attention due to their beauty, to the point that the model doesn’t even bother to practice social skills, because why bother? There doesn’t seem to be any need for them…

But what happens when the model suddenly stumbles into a situation in which their beauty won’t help them? What if their well-being suddenly depends on charming someone who is immune to their beauty, or who can’t even perceive it? The point is that just as Oppositions aren’t 100% “bad,” Trines aren’t 100% “good.” They may generally feel like more pleasant presences in the lives of the chart-holder than Oppositions will, but for any Aspect, it’s best to consider all possible manifestations of them, both positive and negative.

Next up: the Square!

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