Aspect Patterns in the Natal Chart, part 1
Once you have learned to recognize the basic aspects in an astrology chart (you can review them here), you can begin to perceive aspect patterns, or compound aspects, made up of two of more aspects which form a figure in the chart. A grand trine is easy to spot in a chart as it resembles an equilateral triangle, with the three planets at each point all forming a trine (120 degree) angle to each other.
Trined planets are located at the same degree, or within only a few degrees of each other in signs of the same element. Trines are traditionally thought of as harmonious aspects so many traditional astrologers interpret a grand trine as a sign that the individual who has these in the chart experiences a charmed life of easy cooperation between allies.
However this depends on the planets involved in the trine. A grand trine consisting of what traditional astrologers refer to as “benefic” planets like Jupiter and Venus tends to create abundant opportunities and many people willing to serve as fairy godmothers/fathers to the person. In some cases these opportunities and offers of help come too easily so the individual takes them for granted and may develop a sense of entitlement.
On the other hand, a grand trine containing “malefic” planets such as Pluto and Saturn may indicate gifts that come a great price or after long hardships. Generally, given the positive tendency of trines, a grand trine containing both malefic and benefic planets will take on the tone of the more positive planets.
Element and house emphasis
Regardless of the planets involved, grand trines place a strong emphasis on one element. The individual tends to embody the traits of that element. This usually operates at a very unconscious level so that the personality may portray many of the negative characteristics of that element. Not only the element but the houses of the trine should be considered when analyzing the chart. The areas represented by these houses will assume greater importance in the individual’s life.
If one of the planets involved in a grand trine conjuncts one of the angles of the chart (Ascendant, Descendant, Midheaven or Nadir), the grand trine has greater significance. It may give the person many talents but also prevent them from perceiving talents and points of view other than their own. Multiple grand trines in a chart have a similar blinder-like effect.
A variation on the grand trine is the Kite pattern. This aspect figure includes a fourth planet which forms an opposition to one of the planets in the trine. The opposition often represents an outlet to the negative aspects of the Grand Trine. The opposition shows the path person must take to overcome the challenges of a grand trine containing malefic planets or the orientation the individual must have to escape laziness and arrogance in a grand trine composed of benefics.
When you have your astrology chart done, or when you see the chart of someone you know, check to see if they have a grand trine and whether it includes a fourth planet making it a kite.