Aspect patterns in the natal chart, part 2
Like the grand trine we looked at previously, a t-square is a compound aspect comprised of multiple basic aspects which create a figure in the natal chart. A T-square formation happens when two planets in opposition to each other (180 degrees, give or take an orb of 8 degrees) both square (are 90 degrees away from, again allowing for a slight orb) a third planet.
Two challenges combined
A t-square is a dominant presence in the chart since it involves at least three planets (more of any of the involved planets are conjunct another planet) in three different houses and signs, and also influences to some extent the planets which rule those signs, wherever they may be placed in the chart. A T-square creates a central karmic challenge which recurs in different forms throughout the individual’s life.
T-squares combine two of the most challenging of the basic aspects: the opposition and the square. Planets in opposition almost always represent one of astrology’s six basic polarities (except when the opposition is out of sign, as for instance, between 0 degrees of Virgo and 29 degrees of Aquarius). An opposition represents two conflicting forces which the individual must bring into balance, a process which is usually never completed but constant and ongoing. You can think of these planets and signs as staring across at each other—which at least gives them a common focus, as if they see the same thing but interpret it differently. Planets which square each other on the other hand, are in disagreement because they in a sense cannot see each other at all and thus have entirely different agendas.
When these two aspects, each inherently stressful, are linked in a t-square, the opposition becomes harder to resolve. The third planet in the t-square is referred to as the apex or focal planet of this figure. Any attempts to balance the opposing planets can be undermined or contradicted by this third planet. The focal planet can operate like a child throwing a tantrum, demanding huge amounts of energy and attention. The area of life symbolized by the house where the focal planet resides can be a constant source of trouble for the individual. The person dealing with the t-square may appear to behave irrationally as he/she tries to cope with the unruly apex planet. Observers may perceive the effects of the focal planet as if it were a wrong or jarring note an otherwise consistent personality.
Some people with this configuration in their charts remain locked in a cycle of self-destructive and/or compulsive behaviors. However, those who are able, through focus and creativity to master the challenges of this compound aspect, often achieve great things. Astrology studies of very successful individuals with natal t-squares indicate that they key to resolving the t-square may lie in utilizing any positive aspects the focal planet has to other planets in the chart.