Squares in Astrology and the Horoscope
When two horoscope factors are exactly 90 degrees apart, they are square. Whatever is square ‘can’t be squared.’ It’s hard to make anything work. You can have transiting squares to natal factors. So if you were born with the Sun at 29 Libra and Pluto is at 29 Capricorn at the moment, Pluto is square the Sun. Life will be challenging when that happens.
In this feature I will look at the squares in your chart, if you have them, and the squares created by other people, or the astrological weather. I will also talk about how you can use the Tarot on this website to solve them.
You can have natal squares in the chart from birth. So if you were born with the Moon at 12 Scorpio and the Sun at 12 Aquarius, you have Moon square Sun. You have inner conflicts. In modern astrology we use exact aspects (so 1 Aries and 1 Cancer, 2 Taurus and 2 Leo). At the most, allow one degree’s difference. So 3 Gemini and 4 Virgo, or 4 Cancer and 5 Libra.
People at astrology conferences complain about their squares! Or they say ‘Uranus is on my Taurus-Aquarius square.’
It Fits to a T
When we say ‘it fits to a T’ we are talking about the old T-Square for the accurate drawing of right-angles and parallel lines. 20th century astrology, without computers, often used a literal wooden T-Square or plastic T-Square, placed across the circle to draw lines. When aspects (patterns) actually fit to a T, we may be talking about, say, a planet in Sagittarius square a planet in Pisces.
If you liked old-fashioned music in the 1950s and disliked jazz, you were a ‘square.’ You could not square your personality with the mood of the times. If you preferred square dancing to rock’n’roll, then you were a ‘real square.’ You did not fit. Squaring an account means settling it. Things are uncomfortable between you, owing money, and the person who is owed, until you square it. That feeling of uneasy tension is characteristic of a square.
Square the Circle
If you attempt what is impossible, you square the circle. This is quite true in astrology. You can never settle two factors, square each other. This comes back to the basic clash of the signs. These are the three groups of signs which are square each other and can never be compromised.
When Signs Don’t Get On
From this comes the very old idea that signs don’t get on. They are not compatible. So, for example, in 1970s astrology you used to read that Aries should never marry Cancer; Cancer should never work with Libra; Libra should never date Capricorn. It’s stuff and nonsense, as two charts are complex with 34 factors each in modern astrology.
What Does Not Square?
Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn (Cardinal)
Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius (Fixed)
Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, Pisces (Mutable)
And yet, there is truth there. The fundamental difference between Gemini (Domestic Flights, Trains, Buses, Coaches, Ferries) and Virgo (Public Health, Hospitals, Epidemics, Pandemics) is plain to see.
Travel causes pandemics. You can’t square people’s need to go on vacation with public health. This mosaic photographed by Dulcey Lima at Unsplash shows what we call ‘a triplicity’ in astrology. There are three triplicities: Cardinal, Fixed and Mutable. People can feel stuck fast if they have a chart dominated by signs in any one group. A lot of sitcoms are based on four people who act out the signs. Seinfeld is a Cardinal sitcom. Jerry is Capricorn. Ambitious. Successful. Kramer is Aries. A wardrobe obsessive who is drawn to self-promotion. Elaine is Libra. Mad about men. George is Cancer. Dominated by his parents.
Sagittarius rules foreigners and foreign countries. It does not square with Virgo either. Monkeypox was flown into London from Nigeria. Sagittarius cannot be squared with Virgo.
If you are a Premium Member your online library will tell you more about how the signs square off. If you are a student at the Sun Sign School you can also find out in-depth detail about squares and other aspects.
I predicted a virus a year before it happened because I realised billions of people had been born with Virgo and Sagittarius factors in their personal birth charts, owing to a quirk of history. I saw that they were going to hit transits in Pisces, Gemini and Sagittarius. That’s how you predict the future. You can date-stamp it too. No vagueness. Just old-fashioned astrology rules.
To Square Up For a Fight
When two men face off, ready for the first blow, they are squaring up for a fight. It’s the same in astrology. You often get signs (people dominated by signs; they have stelliums there) which clash. Shakespeare wrote, “Are you such fools, to square for this?” in Titus Andronicus. We also think of square-bashing, slang in the armed services for parade-ground drill. Square formations are military. Aries, more than any other stellium (because it is ruled by Mars the god of war) squares off with people who have stelliums in Cancer or Capricorn.
Belligerent men who are upfront, ramming the point home, locking horns – are often Aries stellium people. They square off with Capricorn stellium people (who are slower, steadier, more patient, respectful of the system). Aries types also square off with Cancer types: Aries is about confrontation, competition, contests and challenge. Cancer is about security for the family; stability with the house or apartment. Aries will hear a burglar and rush out for a fight; Cancer worries about the broken windows.
Taurus-Leo: Couples are too broke to afford a baby. They are renting and cannot go ahead with a pregnancy because children are expensive to house, educate and feed. Taurus is cash. Leo is offspring. Taurus is the rent. Leo is the heirs.
Gemini-Virgo: Commuting (Gemini) does not fit with the daily routine (Virgo). Perhaps there is no decent bus service or there are traffic jams. Your health (Virgo) does not fit with your internet habit (Gemini) and you have insomnia, say, or R.S.I.
Aquarius-Scorpio: The problems between friends in a group (Aquarius) when two of you want to have sex (Scorpio) and even get married (Scorpio). Divorcing your husband (Scorpio) and trying to stay good friends (Aquarius).
Two Squares is a T-Square
On the rare occasions you have two squares together, you have a T-shape in the chart. This is a T-Square. It happens more commonly with the lunar nodes, because they are already opposite each other anyway. The North Node and South Node are always in opposite signs at the same degree. So it only takes one more factor halfway between the two and you have that T-shape.
T stands for tension and trouble. Find your North Node and South Node. What degree and sign are they? Anybody with factors at the same degree in the ‘square’ group with them may create a T-Junction with you. A tense point in the traffic.
The Chess Game
Chess is a good example of square-based astrology. Checkmate is putting your adversary’s king into inescapable check – so you win the game. If you checkmate somebody you outwit them. This idea of checks is pertinent to astrological squares and T-Squares. (Image: Nick Fewings, Unsplash).
To keep someone in check is to hold them back, to restrain them. To check up on someone is to spy on them. To check out of a situation is to exit. This idea of chess is a useful way to recall the tension of squares. They’re never easy and there is never a perfect solution. We can’t avoid them but we can certainly minimise them.
T-Junction Traffic Jams
If you were born with the North Node at 15 Cancer and South Node at 15 Capricorn and along comes a person with the Sun at 15 Aries, you may find them too pushy; too self-serving; too narcissistic.
I am picking on Aries here but we could also find the example of someone born with Mercury at 10 Aquarius in opposition to Jupiter at 10 Leo who is troubled by transits (cycles) at 10 Scorpio and 10 Taurus. This is even more spectacularly difficult because it’s a Grand Cross.
The Grand Cross
The Grand Cross is unusual in a natal chart. The odds are against it ever happening. It is more common if you have an opposition (the lunar nodes are always in opposition) and then you have, say, transits which create squares with whatever is in opposition. When you look at the horoscope the whole thing looks like a perfect cross.
The cross is an ancient symbol. It represents crucifixion to Christians. To Scandinavians it was a boundary mark. It has often been a sacred symbol. The Scots have their St. Andrews Cross. The Egyptians used a cross with a handle. We all know The Red Cross.
Crossing the Line
When you try to push any of the signs involved in a Grand Cross out – or sideways – you cross the line. You will then have your ‘cross to bear.’ This refers to the crucifixion again; Jesus Christ carried the cross. Crosstown Traffic by Jimi Hendrix expresses the frustration of a relationship.
This is serious stuff in astrology. In politics we talk about the Cross-bench of conflicting views. In the House of Commons and House of Lords, seats were actually at right-angles; a cross-bencher is an independent. Not from the two major parties. That can be a cross to bear for everyone!
The skull and cross-bones is another example of the intensity of the Grand Cross. And naturally we think about a ‘crossroads’ in our affairs and also ‘crossing a person’s bows’ when we annoy somebody. It’s a naval phrase. It is a breach of good manners for a junior ship to cross the bows of a senior ship.
We are ‘very cross’ in England, when annoyed. We can be as cross as a bear with a sore head; vexed. If you cross someone’s path, a threat may be carried out. ‘Don’t cross my path again if you want to avoid trouble’ is a common warning.
The Rare Grand Cross
Horoscope factors natally, by transit, or at cross-purposes between two people, fall into the same sign groups you saw earlier.
Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn
Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius
Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, Pisces
That’s why astrologers who find families where there are two parents and children with these signs, dominating, tend to find cross purposes.
A Transiting Square in 2023
January 9th 2023
Venus 10 Aquarius
North Node 10 Taurus
South Node 10 Scorpio
If you have anything at 10 Aquarius, Taurus, Scorpio, Leo, this is going to be tense, tight, taut and troublesome. There are issues here about the money, the business, the house, the valuables, the charity or the apartment. The same day we also find Mercury at 12 Capricorn square Chiron at 12 Aries. When you spot two squares on the same day, find another day to act.
Not all squares are world-changing events. We have them all the time (the Moon can square factors every day). We pay more attention to squares, T-Squares or Grand Crosses between slow-moving horoscope factors. Why? Rarity.
On January 28th, we find the lunar nodes (which take 18 or 19 years to turn up in the same zodiac sign again) at 8 Taurus and 8 Scorpio, square the Sun at 8 Aquarius. This is the commonly recognised clash between my money (Taurus) our money (Scorpio) and the group (Aquarius).
This is how you predict the future. On January 28th or thereabouts there will be a clash between shareholders on the board (somewhere) and those who want to sell or merge. Naturally you’d avoid that date if you were in the know. Too hard!
Astrology is pretty simple. Just avoid difficult dates. And be aware of who/what you cannot square, based on your own chart.
The Cardinal signs are Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn. We always see the equinox on Aries and Libra weather, and the solstice on Cancer and Capricorn weather.
This is a very old idea (Stonehenge is based on the solstices). The word ‘cardinalis’ meant a hinge in Latin and described something on which everything turned, or depended. From this, perhaps, we get the idea of a Cardinal in Rome. Cardinal points of the compass are those upon which navigation hinges. Life often hinges on Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn. They are the signs of battle (Aries) home (Cancer) marriage (Libra) and work (Capricorn.
The cardinal virtues are justice, prudence, temperance and fortitude, on which all other virtues hinge. I am sure you can see Libra the scales is still justice. The scales are an ancient symbol for the law.
Fixed signs are Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius. If you are in a fix, you are often stuck financially. Taurus and Scorpio rule money and business. So you fix upon a solution and that may be to fix up a deal or fix up a problem.
A ‘fixed price’ is a Taurus statement. Taurus the bull is stubborn, digs her heels in, and does not move. On the most basic level, don’t negotiate on a sale or purchase if fixed signs are in the weather, or in the charts concerned.
Leo is monarchy, royalty and aristocracy. Throughout history is has been hard to square that with taxation. Her Majesty the Queen is a Sun Taurus. Charles, Prince of Wales is a Sun Scorpio. The Queen Mother was a Sun Leo. There is more to the chart than the sun, but they were publicly ‘fixed’ (and still are) on the subject of the royal purse.
We always go back to Latin in astrology because it is Roman. The Romans took it from the Greeks and updated it. They then shipped it to Britain where it became a way of life by the 17th century.
Mutatis mutandis is from mutare (to change). It means, after making necessary changes.
These four signs are changeable: Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, Pisces. Gemini and Sagittairus are associated with tourists, migrants and travellers. They move around. They don’t stand still. They don’t settle. They come and go.
Virgo has changeable health. Schedules change because of that. Work changes. Pisces is fluid by nature as it is ruled by Neptune and symbolised by the two fish, swimming in constant motion. It comes in and goes out, like the tide.
Solving Squares, T-Squares, Grand Crosses
The best way to solve these irreconcilable differences in each group, is avoidance. That’s common sense. If you have a stellium in Gemini, you don’t go into business with someone who has a stellium in Pisces.
You can also watch the astrological weather. If you have a square between, say, Mercury at 29 Libra and you see transiting Pluto at 29 Capricorn, you don’t get married that day.
The best way of all, though, is to introduce people into the equation who break up the pattern. If you are stuck with a strongly Scorpio woman and you are strongly Leo, then bring in people who have stelliums in other signs to break it up a bit.
To further decode this, use the Premium Member online library. Naturally it is crucial to figure out the nature of the horoscope factor inhabiting the signs you can’t square.
Is it Ceres? A huge deal will need to be worked out. Is it Vesta? Sort out the gender issues. Mercury? Communication will be the problem. Vulcano? Extreme tension bubbles under. Pluto? Power and control issues. Diana? Freedom is the ‘cross’ upon which people will prostate themselves. Venus? It’s about sex. And so on.
Using the Tarot to Solve Squares
You can use the Tarot to help sort out squares, T-Squares or Grand Crosses. Pamela Colman Smith and Arthur E. Waite were both schooled in astrology. Their deck is ideal for showing you solutions.
Manik Roy photographed this spread at Unsplash. This is a simple layout. It shows Libra (the married couple, shown here as The Lovers) who can’t be squared with the angry ex-husband, Aries (shown by the King of Swords). The solution card is The Empress in the middle. Bring in the hippie sister!
Follow the steps when using the Tarot on this website to resolve squares and so on. Ask “How can I resolve this square in my chart?” or “How can I fix things with this fixed-sign marriage?”
I’ll be talking about this at the Tarot Guild of Australia (in relation to love and sex) in a global Zoom on Saturday 3rd September. Come along and find out how to sort out those squares, T-Squares or Grand Crosses in real time.
Main Image: Kelly Sikkema (Unsplash).