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The Basics of Astrology
Astrological Figures and Composed Aspects
This article completes the Figures and Planetary Patterns article which gives an overview of natal charts graphic configurations.
Indeed, besides the general figures formed by all the planets of the natal chart, and in addition to the natural aspects explained nearly everywhere (conjunctions, oppositions, trines, sextiles, squares, quincunxes, sesqui-squares, semi-squares, quintiles, semi-quintiles, and bi-quintiles, for the 11 most commonly used aspects, which are reviewed in our Couple's Compatibility Programme), a few groups of isolated planets sometimes form special figures. They are called Composed Aspects.
Actually, such figures are a mix of natural aspects: juxtaposition of trines and squares, combination of quincunxes and sextiles, etc. For instance, what happens when you see two planets in square and linked to a third planet in opposition and in square with the two former planets? Or five planets in conjunction?
The interpretation of these aspects is highly interesting, and even crucial to understand, since in reality, it is rare to find isolated natural aspects in natal charts. It is frequent to see a square mixed with a trine. Complex cases are ultimately more numerous than simple cases. The astrologer who must interpret combined aspects finds himself dealing with cases that are more complicated than those explained in classical textbooks.
In these pages, we shall review the various composed aspects with the only aim to provide a glimpse, and not a detailed explanation because it would require… several books on this topic!
The key to composed aspects interpretation always lies in the principle that a tense configuration (the planets are mutually conflicting in hard aspects such as the square, the opposition or the conjunction, in this latter case when the planets are of an incompatible nature, etc.), nearly always has an exit door, materialized by a link between hard aspects (tense ones) of the configuration and one or several planets or harmonious configuration. This or these planets constitute the exit door, i.e. the solution to problems brought about by conflicting aspects.
If we were to establish a classification of composed aspects, we would certainly start by making two distinctive groups: the first one, comprising the four main composed aspects, namely the T-Square, the Grand Trine, the Grand Cross, and the Yod, which is also pompously and exaggeratedly called the finger of God.
The second group would comprise eleven cases, some of which are not well-known, or still in a research state, with the exception of the stellium, which is common when it includes three planets in conjunction and rarer when it has four or five planets (as in the singer Jenifer's chart for example). Here are the names of the second group's composed aspects: the kite, the trapeze, the arrow, the stellium, the butterfly, the envelope, the mystic rectangle, the hammer, the hourglass, the star of David, the seal of Solomon, the cradle.
The angles and secondary bodies are not taken into account, although strictly speaking, the same interpretation rules could be applied with the appropriate weighting to reckon with the variations of importance, as required by each case.
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Moreover, from now on, hundreds of pages with statistics on planetary distribution in signs and in houses, as well as houses in signs are available. They offer the lists of hundreds of celebrities with all possible specific criteria.
THE GRAND TRINE
This not so frequent figure seems particularly nice at first sight. Indeed, how could one ask for more (in terms of easiness) than having three planets in trine with one another in the natal chart?!
It is perfectly correct to think that in natal charts, such a figure expresses a strong element of stability and "good luck" for the destiny or regarding events, depending on the meaning of planets and houses at play. Nevertheless, a closer look calls for a few comments.
As such, a trine is an aspect of harmony between two planets, but it does not prompt to action. Indeed, any action requires a drive that matches a void of some sort, whether the thirst for knowledge owing to deficiencies at some point in life, or the desire to change one's situation or environment caused by uneasiness in order to solve a problem, etc. In other words, action and the will to take action is usually linked to some sort of tension, and therefore, to so-called negative aspects in astrology.
It may seem paradoxical to link the capacity of action of a person to the presence of negative aspects in the natal chart. Nevertheless, it is the unavoidable truth, regardless of the nature of the planets (Mars in soft aspect still indicates a capacity to take action). We are addressing here the comparison between aspects taken separately.
Therefore, the Grand trine indicates a strong stability and at the same time a certain deficiency in terms of action (possibility of stagnation and immobility), all the more so if it involves the personal planets (the Sun through Mars), and even more definitely in the case of the luminaries (the Sun and the Moon).
In the above figure for instance, Venus is the only personal planet involved. The grand trine means a very strong stability in the affective area (Venus), increased by the trine with Saturn, which means duration and cristallisation of feelings, increased again by the trine to Jupiter. The planet of Greater Fortune in trine with the planet of Lesser Fortune is a premium asset for a successful affective life. But somehow, the triple trine works in a closed circuit and inclines towards inactivity. There is no need for a change since all is fine. Therefore, breaking up is difficult, and there is a strong propensity to get bogged down as long as the situation does not become unbearable, in spite of an impudent good luck.
Another important factor to consider is the grand trine's element. A fire grand trine is excellent for mobility and creativity, and the resulting actions are often devoid of risk or surprise. An air grand trine tends to make ideas turn tound in circles and toss them around uselessly, but it is favourable for communication. An earth grand trine gives unfailing common sense, and therefore, it is an asset to achieve material success, but with a danger to constantly remain in one's practical and even down to earth concepts. As for the water grand trine, it prompts to dream one's life rather than to concretely live it. It endows with unerring imagination and romanticism, but without enough tonicity to create real changes.
As always with all figures, their interpretation takes into account rulerships, exactness of aspects, as well as the possibility for trines to be formed in a different element (planets in between two signs), proximity with the angles, etc.
In brief, the grand trine is a major asset, but it often stands for a factor of peace, of stability, or immobility, often unnoticed by other people, rather a marked trait of the personality. It is when it is linked to a hard aspect (square, opposition) that it can fully play its role as a refuge or as a resting place. On that condition, it turns into a sheer asset, a little bit like an oasis where the native can seek refuge when tensions are too challenging elsewhere. The grand trine should be considered to be a rest and stabilisation factor and not a marker for extreme skills or some kind of originality.
Contrary to the preceding case, the T-Square (its name matches the shape of a capital T when the central planet is at the bottom) is scary straight away. With only three planets forming two squares and one opposition, a lot of stress and tension may be expected, if the analysis is not carried out any further.
Actually, with this figure also, what happens is paradoxically the contrary of what seems patently obvious: the grand trine looks nice and easy, and ultimately, it turns out to have a high potential for… passivity (although it remains a pleasant factor of luck and rest). As for the T-Square, it turns out to be like… a Ferrari engine for the chart owner!
This figure is difficult to deal with in the first part of life. It is very energetic and prompts to take action, to surpass oneself, and to move forward at any cost in order to grow. Although the underlying reason is not entirely noble, since it is about finding peace and avoiding anything painful, the end result is achieved, in any case.
It is necessary to carry out a rigorous analysis of all the possible types of combinations (planets, signs, elements, etc.) in order to understand that some T-Squares are much more explosive than some others, for instance when planets by nature active are involved (Mars, Pluto, Uranus). The rule of thumb is that T-Squares create a tension which prompts the native to take action at any cost in order to get over problems, and to permanently change his personality and his environment. Indeed, at the slightest stagnation, the T-Square takes effect again and starts a new cycle.
How could one manage to deal with such composed aspects? There are two different ways to do so. Owing to the very nature of the T-Square, the central planet, which forms two squares with the two other planets, indicates how AND in which area the native must focus in order to alleviate the prevailing tensions. The central planet channels all the might of the T-Square, and it is usually the sector (the astrological house) where this planet is found that is the scene of extreme changes and evolution.
In the above example, the T-Square comprises a Sun-Neptune opposition, a Sun-Uranus square, and a Uranus-Neptune square. The aspects to the Sun are the most important ones (collective planets have less influence when they are not angular). The native feels the effects of a double tension. The first one is experienced like a pendulum caused by the Sun-Neptune opposition (this aspect is complementary and difficult to experience in the early part of life. Later on, the energies of the planets involved are gradually integrated instead of conflicting each other in turn). There is a conflict between the will (the Sun) and the propensity to dream one's life, or to delude oneself about an inspiration that leads to nothing concrete (Neptune). The second tension is much tougher (squares are more brutal than oppositions, and they are much more difficult to overcome). There is a clash between the will and an extremely wild desire for independence, or a frenzied need for freedom (Uranus).
Since Uranus is the central planet of our example, the first exit door shows that the solution lies in the free expression of Uranus' need for independence, freedom, and independence. It is best to use the channelled energy in intellectual and transcendental ways rather than in more direct ways because is it Uranus' nature.
The second exit door is indicated by the connection with another aspect, for instance through a sextile with another planet, or a trine with another group of planets. Such connections soothe the harsh energy of the T-Square and helps to drain it away whenever it becomes overwhelming and painful. It is useful to note that when the T-Square is isolated, it is difficult to experience, particularly if it involves fixed signs (the Taurus-Scorpio and Leo-Aquarius axes). In this latter case, the energies at play are less mobile than in other signs, and damages may be significant in terms of tensions or events when hard transits activate one of the points of the T-Square, particularly the central point.
Contrarily to the grand trine, the T-Square is very frequent. It is particularly active whenever it activates personal planets or the Ascendant's ruler, in addition to the three said planets.
Therefore, remember that the T-Square energises the natal chart owing to its frenzied need for action, and that it mainly influences the area of life indicated by the central planet. In general, it is quite well-experienced because it keeps things moving on. It is easier to deal with the T-Square when fixed signs and a majority of hard planets are not involved.
However, the T-Square remains sometimes a source of stress, for the best. Standing back results in personal growth, which enables to integrate and tame the three types of energy involved and to put them at the service of the native's will.
THE GRAND CROSS
This figure is both extremely dynamic and balanced. It combines two T-Squares and comprises two oppositions and four squares! At first glance, it is a real atomic bomb!
Everything we wrote about T-Squares is multiplied two-fold, and even more. Indeed, with so many tensions and no less than six hard aspects, the native with a grand cross in the natal chart has to put in relentless efforts in order to overcome such dynamism.
The energy released by the grand cross is among the most intense ones that could possibly be found in a natal chart. In addition, it gives the natal chart a principle of symmetry and balance.
Given the subtlety inherent to this figure, the person willing to use its formidable power in order to succeed in life and to implement his projects must face quite a weird compromise. Firstly, he must not let himself be overwhelmed by the tensions and contradictions which the four squares and the two oppositions bring about because, as the saying goes, "that which does not kill you strengthens you". Secondly, one must avoid going round in circles (no pun intended for the grand cross) as the tendency with the symmetry, or balance, of the figure inclines towards immobility, contrarily to the T-Square. Lastly, one must learn to lucidly use these tensions in order to properly orient them.
As with all composed aspects, it is impossible to describe all the cases of the grand cross, but as usual, fixed signs are the most frightening because, although their might is increased, it is actually impossible to tame their strength without sinking into a painful status quo. In this regard, it is always easier to deal with a cardinal grand cross, which is upsetting but provides more creativity, or a mutable grand cross, which endows with a mobility that helps to get out of any possible bad situation.
(Reminder: the twelve signs are divided into three modes. The cardinal mode represents the initial impulse and expression of the willpower. The fixed mode prompts to consolidate one's environment. The mutable mode brings about a constant desire for evolution or improvement.)
The typical case of a person with a grand cross in the natal chart prompts the native to create, take action, and in the beginning, to repeat the same kinds of errors. If he is perspicacious, he understands quite quickly that it is in a context of tensions and hurdles that he gives his best. In addition, as he starts to mature, he realizes that it is in inaction, and paradoxically when there are no problems to solve that he feels… the worst.
It is as if four goads constantly stung the native, and his self-identification to his actions allowed him to forget his inner pain or dissatisfaction.
It is as if merging his being into his actions allowed him to transcend this difficult figure. This is the reason why it is considered the most dynamic, but also the most delicate one.
This figure is quite infrequent, even rarer than the grand trine which is somehow its symmetrical counterpart: whereas the grand trine is synonymous with rest, fullness, inertia, spare tyre, and passive luck, the grand square is synonymous with tension, energy, goad, difficult events urging action, as well as factor of constant creation and evolution.
THE YOD or FINGER of GOD
This figure looks like a pointed finger, hence the name of Finger of God it sometimes takes.
The Yod involves a combination of three planets, two of which form a sextile, and point towards the third planet (the target) through two quincunxes (150 degrees).
One can imagine to which extent the Yod may be directive and channel a considerable amount of energy towards a very precise direction, which is indicated by the house where the third planet is posited (Jupiter in our example).
The way the Yod works is quite easy to understand. The sextile between the first two planets endows with communication skills and harmoniously increases the energy of those planets (the sextile is an astrological aspect related to with the number 3, or with Gemini. It corresponds to the distance of 60 degrees existing between Aries, the first sign, and Gemini, the third sign. It is the typical aspect for communication.) The energy of the two planets is nicely blended and then propelled into the target planet through the quincunxes.
Now, what is a quincunx? It is a mix of square and trine, an aspect related to with the number 6 (Starting at Aries, the first sign, 150 degrees lead to Virgo, the sixth sign). Therefore, it is an aspect of mutual services between two planets. Since the quincunx has the nature of the square, it is not easy to master at first glance: the energy yielded by planets in sextile is channelled at the price of true maturity. Until then, planets in quincunx play out painfully and the native has a tendency not to use them, lest deep wounds or detrimental disappointments crop up.
In order to tame tense aspects such as quincunxes, it is necessary to inject energy, to devote oneself, and to take action. This is how squares, oppositions and so-called negative aspects are generally solved.
It is clear that in the first part of life, the Yod is rather a handicap and a wasted energy since it is a source of tension when it is tapped into. However, as soon as the native understands the extent to which the target planet is laden with intense energy, he can exploit it in order to serve his will in the area of life indicated by the house where the target planet is posited. The way to use this energy depends on the planets involved and the usual rules of rulerships and states.
To sum up, for an evolved and mature person, the Yod plays out as a fantastic, directive and most specialized tool at the service of the native.
It may confer extreme talents in any given field, and create artists, scholars, and specialists of all kinds because it brings about an almost boundless power in the area considered, according to the nature and the state of the three planets it involves.
Like the grand cross, the Yod is statistically quite rare.
The Boomerang is a variant of the Yod. There are also two planets in sextile sending two quincunxes to the target planet. However, in addition, there is a fourth planet opposing the target, and thus, in semi-sextile with the two others.
In this pattern, the apex planet opposing the target constitutes, even more than the target itself, a challenge for the chart's owner, who must learn to deal with the energy of the planet as well as with the area in which it is posited. Considerable strength but considerable vulnerability (in the areas of life represented by the target and the apex planets) are on the agenda.
Compared to the Yod, the Boomerang requires a more acute awareness of the difficulty to overcome the existing forces and tensions, through a kind of mirror effect between the target planet and the focus planet: the person must not keep on taking advantage of an increase of power only; he must also understand and assimilate the opposition of the pattern, otherwise he will experience solely the tension contained in the Boomerang.
THE SEAL OF SOLOMON
This figure is a double grand trine and forms a star. Like the grand cross, which is a double T-Square, we are dealing here with a doubly rich figure, very rare, and aesthetically remarkable.
This hexagram, a perfect six-pointed figure, is known as the Seal of Solomon in esoteric and mystic circles. It is also called the Star of David and is modern Israel's emblem. This symbol has many occult meanings, but finally quite few in astrology, probably owing to its rarity.
Let's analyse its astrological characteristics in a few words. This perfect figure is the union of six trines, and it is not required that sextiles be formed among the three tips of the pair of triangles. Besides, from a statistical viewpoint, it is nearly impossible to get such perfect shape. Anyhow, it is easy to imagine to which extent this figure may offer stability and harmony to the happy chart owner, and to which extent such powerful and self-sufficient radiance may prompt the native to a certain inaction, as in the case of the grand trine. Indeed, so many harmonious energies also translate into lack of willpower...
Nevertheless, the interpretation of the Seal of Solomon is different from that of the grand trine, in the sense that here, two elements out of four are fully activated. Many different Seals of Solomon, or Stars of David, are possible: an Earth and Water star, an Air and Fire star, but also non-perfect stars including additional elements (such as in the above example, which has an imperfection since Saturn and the Moon are in Aries instead of Pisces). The association of two elements, whether perfect or imperfect, brings about a fullness and richness which are not available in the grand trine. It endows the chart owner with extremely marked nobleness and powerful assets. It is expressed as the capacity to radiate rather than the capacity to take action.
Of course, the interpretation of this figure is still in the research stage. It would be meaningless to develop all its hypotheses in an article like the present one. The principle of this figure is thus a principle of harmony and radiant complementary, which is expressed according to the planets and elements involved. The union of the heaven and the earth, the Yin and the Yang, action and reflection, strength and softness, will and compassion, introversion and extraversion, secondary and primary levels, reason and intuition, etc., are dual and complementary symbols which perfectly match the interpretation guidelines of this out-of-the-ordinary figure! Marguerite Yourcenar's chart has this rare figure.
The stellium is a series of planets in conjunction, preferably comprising at least four planets. Since Mercury and Venus are never further from the Sun than a few dozens of degrees (the only possible aspects are the conjunction, the semi-square, and the sextile, the latter for Venus only), conjunctions between those two planets and the Sun are less considered because they are less significant. Therefore, the stellium requires one or two additional planets, whenever the Sun, Mercury, and Venus are part of it.
The rules which apply to the stellium are quite complex or wide-ranging, owing to the multiplicity of all the possible cases.
However, several remarks help to get an idea about the interpretation of the stellium.
The first principle is of course the emphasis on the sign and house where the stellium is posited, bearing in mind that in some cases, two adjacent signs and houses are tenanted by the series of conjunctions. In the simple case where only one sign and one house are involved, the stellium brings about an extraordinary accentuation of the typology corresponding to the sign and/or the area of life indicated by the house.
When two houses and/or two signs are involved, it is necessary to use the whole set of standard astrological rules in order to identify which house or sign is most important. In any case, the other sign or house coming in second position remains a major factor in the natal chart.
The second principle is that the planets of the stellium create a connection among them. Let's take the case where they are separated from one another by 5 or 6 degrees. Normally, the planets at the beginning and the end of the stellium would not be linked, since their orb is over 10 or 12 degrees, and thus, they form no conjunction. In the stellium, there is a transmission and blending of each planet's influences and characteristics. This factor must be reckoned with in the interpretation of the personality, as well as in synastry and forecasting works.
The next principle is to spot the most important planet of the stellium. It is obviously the main issue when the astrologer is facing a stellium comprising 4, 5, or more planets linked to one another by their conjunctions. Each planet plays its part and is subjected to the following special rules:
The first criterion used for assessing a planet's accentuation is the place it occupies: the first planet in trigonomical order (counter-clockwise) is the first one to be activated by the transits which impact the natal chart. Thus, the first planet starts the process off, whereas the last planet is the latest one to be activated. In the case of outer planets' transits (Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto), the last planet of the stellium describes the potential and the way the transits' meanings end up. In natal charts, the interpretation is very similar: the first planet describes immediate feelings, whereas the last planet describes the final reactions to the stimuli of life.
Besides, the Tradition often mentions mid-points and central positions between planets found at both ends of an aspect. In a stellium, whenever the mid-point of such planets coincides with the position of a third planet, within 1 or 2 degrees or orb, the latter planet is particularly accentuated and plays a major role in the psychological profile and forecast.
The planets at the center of the stellium are always important, since in forecasts, the back and forth transits are more likely to hit the central planets than the planets at both ends. Therefore, this criterion is not to be overlooked.
Lastly, the planets' dignity is always to be taken into account according to the sign but also the house where it is posited, although the issue is burning and not yet settled. Modern astrology pays less and less attention to the ancient rules of rulership, exaltation, detriment and fall. However, the planet in its own sign should be credited with more influence, as for instance the Moon in Cancer, Mars in Aries, etc. Likewise, though to a lesser extent, the usual analogy between houses and signs must be considered. For instance the Moon in the 4th house is certainly more powerful than in the 9th house because the 4th house perfectly echoes Cancer, the sign ruled by the Moon.
The issue of rulership, exaltation, detriment and fall is quite tricky in so far as the modern astrological community is more and more sceptical about it. Counter-examples abound where Mars in Libra proves not as ineffective, and Venus, not as unable to charm as one might believe. The same holds true for all planets and their possible misdemeanours and qualities.
We do not stand up for any clear-cut theory. Our view is always that pragmatism should prevail. We consider as many factors as possible, and we exercise great caution in all the areas where experience has historically led astrologers to express their doubts about a topic.
Getting back to the stellium, it must be noted that when a planet is near one of the four angles, particularly the Ascendant and the Midheaven, its importance is increased compared to the other planets of the stellium.
The Tradition also mentions a quite ancient and reliable rule which indicates that the heaviest or the slowest planet of a stellium is the most important one. It deeply influences the whole stellium and imprints its signature on it.
Thus, it is obvious that the interpretation of a stellium and the assessment of the planets' strength imply a part of subjectivity. In addition to the above criteria, the number of exact aspects of the planets involved in the stellium might have been added. Once again, it is preferable to try to make the synthesis of the whole natal chart rather than to focus too much on its detailed analysis. It is the best method. Finally, the identification of the most important planet of a stellium is not crucial, provided that the overall meaning is found with the set of existing rules, and that caution and standing back are practiced.
The kite is a figure comprising a grand trine, two sextiles and an opposition to a central planet. In the above example, Jupiter is the central planet.
Beyond the particularly graceful and pleasant name of the figure (the grand cross and the finger of god are quite nice too), the characteristics of the grand trine are broadly found here, as well as a factor of chance and stability, in the sectors symbolised by the three planets that are within the kite. The central planet brings dynamism to this harmonious figure. However, a few remarks are needed:
The communication between the two planets linked to the central planet is stronger than in the grand trine. The two sextiles are communication aspects par excellence, and the easiness offered by the trio of planets involved is increased. Besides, the trine and the sextiles form a "small grand trine" of their own.
The oppposition creates a dynamic pendulum. If there is enough energy available, the oppostion provides a considerable capacity for stabilisation and action that is much higher than in the grand trine. Nonetheless, it seems that the kite is not too appreciated in the astrology literature because of its inertia. It is true that, like many other figures explained later in this article, the kite is still at the research stage, and its interpretation is far from being settled.
The kite abides by the general rule that too much easiness thwarts the chart owner's action, and that benefits come only in terms of protection and armour rather than creative and conquering potentials.
Actually, it is already not bad… As in the case of the grand trine, the effects of the kite figure can be best described with the image of a human being wearing a comfortable jumpsuit filled with… liquid (!) in order to absorb all life's blows whenever they occur. In those moments, there is merely a shock, the impacts' strength is softened, and after a few quivers, the happy chart owner rapidly gets back to his immutable stability!
THE MYSTIC RECTANGLE
Despite its name, there is nothing mystic about the mystic rectangle, as far as we know. It belongs to the family of composed aspects related to with the number 3.
Like the grand trine and the kite, the mystic rectangle is a combination of 4 planets linked by 2 trines and 2 sextiles, and therefore, 2 oppositions, which brings about complementarity and cohesion.
The figure means a stability of a much wider and dynamic kind than that of the grand trine. The sextiles indicate focused communication, whilst the oppositions give a broader vision of things and integrate complementary and antagonistic values, until the native matures. As for the trines, they provide the usual stability.
It is difficult to add anything more without entering into the numerous specific cases produced by this figure.
It belongs to the same family as the preceding figure, with 4 planets forming 3 sextiles, 2 trines and 1 opposition in one same area of the Zodiac.
The same remarks about the above figure also apply here, except that the gathering of planets in one half of the natal chart, or slightly more, brings a stronger and more concrete dynamism to the areas indicated by the 4 planets involved.
This unusual figure of composed aspects is formed by a mystic rectangle, to which an additional planet is linked by a sextile.
The figure seems to have the same assets as the mystic rectangle, but with more vivacity and versatility.
The four sextiles increase the sense of communication, at least as far as we can suppose, and until statistical researches produce more elaborated theories on the topic.
This interesting figure is very dynamic. It is created by the juxtaposition of a T-Square with an additional planet in opposition. The latter is in a slightly lopsided position, and as a result, its shape as well as its influence are not exactly the same as in the grand square, in the sense that the arrow is easier to experience.
In the above example, Neptune forms no squares with the Sun-Uranus opposition because Neptune is a bit off the opposition axis, and does not match the symmetry of the figure.
Thanks to this characteristic, it is obvious that tensions are less challenging than in the grand square or the grand cross. However, the arrow remains extremely dynamic. The chart owner can take more rest, and as he matures, he takes on the figure's creative and mobile features, and evolves more rapidly towards his destiny.
The apex of the T-Square is even more active, and its exit door is more easily reached than in the grand square. The T-Square is more common than the grand square, and although the former shares many of the latter's creative characteristics, it is actually much easier to master in daily life.
The butterfly is not rare and seems promising or active. Indeed, 2 trines and 2 sextiles interspersed with 2 squares bring about a nice dynamism, since the figure contains within itself the tensions required to progress, to evolve, and to modify one's destiny, as well as the easiness and assets needed in order to take a break after the effort.
Nevertheless, like several aspects described here, its interpretation remains at the research stage, or depends more on its specific features (planets, signs, houses) rather than on general rules that would differ from those enumerated above.
This figure of composed aspects is quite frequent and is nothing else than a stellium of planets taken in the wider sense (a total of three planets is accepted) with one opposition, thus several oppositions since the stellium consists of a series of conjunctions.
The figure is interpreted at the same time as a stellium, owing to its group of planets, and above all, as a series of conjunctions characterized by a possible complementarity with the values symbolised by the two signs and houses involved.
The interpretation of the oppositions takes into account the planets involved. "Irreconcilable" couples are going to have a hard time solving, for instance, the Moon-Saturn opposition (affective doubt), Mars-Saturn (pendulum between inhibition and impulsivity), or Venus-Saturn (difficulty to express feelings), etc. The nature of the signs involved must also be taken into account. Oppositions in cardinal signs (the Aries, Libra, Cancer, and Capricorn cardinal grand cross) produce efficient actions and consequences. Oppositions in fixed signs (the Taurus, Scorpio, Leo, and Aquarius fixed grand cross) are more related to with material matters, and symbolically, with positions taken in the sentimental and intellectual areas. The usual danger for them is stubbornness or inflexibility. Oppositions in mutable signs (Gemini, Sagittarius, Virgo, and Pisces mutable grand cross) face inter-personal adaptation difficulties, in the sense that they are too impressionable or that they lack determination.
For all practical purposes, it is important to remember, firstly, that it is the planet receiving the brunt of the opposition (with the narrowest orb) that may be the problem, but provided that the native is able to master it, this planet is also a major asset. Secondly, the interpretation must thoroughly consider the stellium and the other oppositions. Lastly, the synthesis of all the analysed factors is to be made.
To sum up, it must be kept in mind that at the beginning, there are difficulties and alternate swings of the personality from one side of the hammer to the other, and that later on, with maturity (in the best cases), the native opens up to the many latent complementarities which lie in the natal chart.
THE HOUR GLASS
The hourglass is formed by several oppositions with planets which are remote enough to create distinct oppositions, but at the same time, close enough, so as not to fall into another composed aspect figure where two adjacent planets are separated by a sextile.
This quite infrequent figure is interpreted along the usual rules, while focusing on the modes of the signs involved. Indeed, there may be a concentration on the cardinal, fixed or mutable mode, or in some specific cases, a lack of any given mode if for instance two or four signs of the same mode are involved in the oppositions. Please bear in mind that exact oppositions involve the same mode. However, two planets in opposition do not necessarily mean that opposite signs are activated, since it is possible to have, for instance, one planet posited in Aries and the other one in Virgo or in Scorpio, at the very beginning or the very end of the signs.
The trapeze is an infrequent figure formed by two planets in trine, facing two planets in sextile, the two groups being in mutual square.
This figure has no precise rules because it has not yet been classified, nor systematically researched. Trines and sextiles bring about easiness and connections to the planets involved, and thus, some level of harmony in the areas indicated by the corresponding houses, and according to the planet's nature. As for the squares linked to both groups, they express difficulties in conciliating the areas in question.
For example, the 10th house and the 2nd house facing the 7th and the 5th houses may herald a tension between financial and professional matters, and marriage and heart affairs, and so forth for all the other possible house combinations.
However, like all figures with hard aspects, the trapeze prompts to create and to build in order to progress, at the cost of a little bit of will and energy. Thus, this figure seems dynamic and positive, and more manageable than other very explosive figures (the grand cross, the arrow or even, the T-Square), all the more so because tension and easiness are more balanced.
For all specific or rare cases, reflection and common sense are always the best tools for the good interpretation of any figure.
More examples and additional pieces of information are available on the Figures and Planetary Patterns.