Most astrologers, when looking at a map of the heavens, are particularly struck by the geometrical patterns, which have a strong visual impact on the way we interpret it. Around thirty years ago, certain astrologers, such as Dane Rudhyar, started to take an interest in the distribution of the planets across individual charts. They noticed that certain geometrical patterns formed by the planets were synonymous with particular personalities, as if these planetary shapes had an interpretation of their own.
Many studies were carried out in the 70s and 80s, and certain classical patterns started to appear in descriptions in more recent Astrology manuals. This observation is very interesting because these particular patterns are an important source of information. An overall view of a chart is essential and these planetary shapes are an excellent way of looking at it as a whole, enabling us to see great talent or persistent obstacles at a glance.
THE MINOR GRAND TRINE
The Minor Triangle is formed from a trine and two sextiles. This shape is synonymous with the qualities of communication and self-expression. The dynamics created and associated with this shape come from the two sextiles, which give a boost to the trine at their base. The trine is an asset bringing creative potential, with the additional benefit of communication and self-expression thanks to the two sextiles.
The specific tonality of the planets and signs involved in these aspects give us valuable pointers for analysis. If Air is a dominant element, this creativity will be intellectual. It is a matter of looking at the symbolism of the elements and planets concerned. This geometrical shape in an individual birth chart emphasises how the person operates specifically in terms of fulfilment and ease of communication, which will boost personal creativity.
People with a minor grand trine in their chart are endowed with a very specific kind of logic and they have no problem getting their projects up and running (unless conflicting aspects affect the trine itself).
THE GRAND TRINE
This figure is composed of three trines which link star signs separated by 120°, forming this symbol into a triangle. The signs concerned will always be of the same Element. This symbolically puts an emphasis on great creative potential, which can be deployed and disseminated on a collective scale, with an influence on society. It has the major qualities of the Sun, even if the Sun is not in its home sign, not part of the pattern, or it receives negative aspects from other planets. The stressful aspects of a square or opposition are mitigated by this pattern, which sometimes offers providential assistance during trials and tribulations.
THE GRAND CROSS
The Grand or Cosmic Cross symbolises intense energy and the ability to bounce back in the face of adversity, which is very important. The great challenge of this configuration is
to make important choices in order to focus this energy in a useful way. However, symbolically, this suggests difficulties caused by external circumstances and adversities creating doubt in personal ability to overcome obstacles. It won't be enough to concentrate effort, but there will be a need to try a different and radical approach, or change the circumstances. The planets involved will enable an understanding of how to develop as a person by identifying the source of the fears restricting action. In a birth chart, it will be necessary to study the issues outlined by the planets in transit, which will be able to provide triggers and development with trines, sextiles and conjunctions.
This is also known as the Mystic Rectangle. This pattern suggests the need to find a compromise in situations presented by planetary oppositions and the houses involved. Solutions to conflicts are represented by the trines, as long as the person seizes the possibilities suggested, as the mystic rectangle shows a tendency to be passive. This configuration brings opportunities for development, but the person can still be passive without personal reflection or developing awareness of individual talent.
The Envelope is formed by a Mystic Rectangle with the addition of a Minor Grand Trine. In this configuration, the sextiles make the chart more dynamic, with the result that it is easier to identify opportunities as they come up. The Envelope eases communication, mutual assistance, self-expression, travelling and social life.
This configuration is formed by the base of a sextile linked to a trine by two square aspects and the addition of two quincunxes to complete the symbolic pattern. This configuration asks the person to develop individual creativity in an active way in relation to the two trines, by putting already existing potential (the sextile) into practice. The two square aspects give impetus to the chart as a whole, but the two quincunxes create obstacles and a tendency to passive behaviour or self-denial with regard to personal action. Important projects can only be realised if there is perseverance, which is indicated by the quincunxes.
The base of the House pattern is the same as the Trapeze. This configuration enables a person to take control of his/her life, thanks to the sextiles completing the pattern. The planet at the focal point linking the two sextiles adds its energy to the configuration and transits that occur will be important to the study of the birth chart.
THE WINGS OF THE BIRD
With this pattern, communication is the name of the day. It encourages an open-minded outlook and a flexible approach to relationships. Two square aspects linked by two sextiles encourage adaptation in the case of unfamiliar situations. Care is needed here, as it is difficult to stay on the sidelines with this configuration. It will be a case here of being fully involved in exchanges with others in order to see the bigger picture.
The Butterfly has large wings. This is the symbol of an immense need for openness and the understanding of others, which will encourage learning in the wider sense. The need for an open mind, tolerance and the ability to question things will become evident. However, it is the trines that will free up the two square aspects. The Butterfly is very creative and inspired, encouraging the person concerned to go beyond conventional limits. He sees the bigger picture and wants to add something extra to the world, leading people to push themselves to the limit.
This configuration enables the individual to get down to a task patiently and complete it successfully, work in isolation from the rest of the world and other influences, create a plan or develop situations that will fulfil certain aspirations in the long term. The transits of the planets in opposition should be studied in particular to anticipate the launching or formalisation of projects or plans.
THE SAILING BOAT
The Sailing Boat stems from the Boat, focusing on a planet forming two squares at either end of the Boat. Here, there is enthusiasm for pursuing a desired goal on a collective scale, or ideas intended to be shared with others. This shape is more dynamic than the Boat, enabling a focus on a specific goal and the concentration of energy on its outcome. The planetary energies involved form a means of being successful in a quest or project, or a life change, often in a radical way.
THE YOD or FINGER OF GOD
The Yod symbolises a major event in a person's destiny. The planet on the receiving end of the Yod's energy symbolises the sector of life needing to be transformed, where creativity is often blocked. The planet receiving this energy symbolises the area in which an important decision will need to be made and the House involved defines which area (for example, the Second House = material concerns, the Seventh House = relationships, etc.)
The Boomerang has the same base as the Yod, but with the addition of another planet opposite the focal point or reaction point. This planet represents self-image, forcing the person to consider what is causing internal obstacles in a lucid way. Confrontation is inevitable. The planets in opposition enable an in-depth reflection and transits of these points activate situations which can help to solve the problem of the obstacle in question.
It is a good idea with this kind of configuration to establish definite goals to avoid deviating from them. It is a case of remaining in control of individual talent. The orientation of this configuration and goals depends on the central planet of opposition, as well as the nature of the planets and houses concerned. In fact, the Kite is an active symbolic figure with a bearing on creativity and boldness, and both of these give each other mutual support. The trines place emphasis on readiness or a fertile situation, while the sextiles enable the person to put plans and concepts into practice.
The anvil underlines the need to tackle problems head-on (the square aspects) to turn them into positives. The sextile and the trine bring creative potential, when the person accepts the need to work on him/herself. In spite of the effort involved in this symbolism, the fact cannot be hidden that emphasis is placed on potential for concentration and the ability to transcend things. The obstacles created by the square aspects can be converted into energy. Transits of the planets at the focal point of this figure represent positive outcomes, as this point is an indicator of obstacles to be overcome.
The Fish places emphasis on the ability to develop great creativity, when conflicting energies have been transformed and channelled in the direction in the star forming the head of the fish. The Fish is based on the formation of the Anvil, with the addition of a focal planet completing the configuration with three trines. The focal planet is the basis of the entire energy of the configuration. This pattern will be the dominant factor in the birth chart.
There is occasionally a very specific planetary configuration in an astral chart, known as the Star of Solomon or Seal of Solomon, which generally speaking involves six planets. However, the effects can be counterbalanced and mitigated by certain opposition or square aspects. The presence of a Star of Solomon planetary configuration is extremely rare in either an individual or a collective horoscope, as this figure involves three trines, which form a perfect triangle in the astral chart, plus three further trines, also forming a triangle, which will be on its end at 180° to the first triangle. The outcome will be these six trines forming six sextile aspects between the planets, giving all of them a creative aspect. This kind of planetary configuration reveals great creative potential. Solomon's Seal is also an indicator of achievements related to a previous life and more specifically, personal talents that can be mobilised. On the other hand, it does not inevitably mean that the person concerned will use these talents in life, as it is up to the individual to decide whether to use them or not. Those with Solomon's Seal in their birth chart are people who quite often have difficulty in finding their way or vocation in life, as they could be successful in all kinds of areas. The notion of choice remains an essential factor, which goes beyond any notion of astrological inevitability, a point that needs a reminder. The Star of Solomon is a six-pointed star, which has strong representation in Hebrew tradition and is rich in symbolism. It is an indicator of strong human potential, compassion and a great aptitude for successfully concluding social, humanitarian and political issues.
This is a shape that symbolises great energy, but also demands an ability to develop subtleties of action and self-expression. As a general rule, the focal planet indicates a blockage and a misuse of personal energy. This will need to be understood before it can be put to positive use. The astrological houses affected by the angles of this shape will be the sites of action for this planetary energy under tension in the destiny of the individual concerned. On the other hand, the T-Square can be of valuable assistance in concentrating energy on a specific objective. In a birth chart, it will be necessary to study the transits, which could occur in opposition to the focal planet, as this is where the exit door is to be found.
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