Special Aspect Patterns

Several aspects can combine to create particular patterns that change or enhance the original aspect. There are five such patterns you should look for when interpreting any birth chart: stellium, T-square, grand square, or grand cross, grand trine or cosmic cross, and kite.


This is a cluster of stars within the same sign or house or within a certain orb in adjacent houses. The key here is to pay special attention to any sign or house that contains three or more planets. In FIGURE8–3 , note the stellium of five planets in the first house. Four of the planets — Sun , Jupiter , Venus , and Mercury — are in Aquarius. Even though the Moon is in Pisces, it's conjunct the Sun at a five degree orb, so it should be considered in the overall impact of the stellium.

Some astrologers contend that a stellium consists of three or more planets in the same house or sign. Other astrologers say you have to look for four or more planets. Well-known astrologer Alan Oken allows a ten-degree orb for planets in adjacent signs.

In the eighth house, there are three planets: Mars , Neptune , and Saturn (). The planets are in Libra and Virgo and aren't conjunct, unless you take into account a wide seven-degree orb between Mars and Neptune. But toss in the South Node , and we find that eight out of the ten planets and two out of the three points fall within two houses. Now these three planets in the eighth house — even though they aren't conjunct by sign or degree — assume a vital importance.

At a glance, the stellium in the first house immediately tells us the individual's perception of the world is heavily colored by subjectivity. She probably has a clear sense of herself — who she is and where she's going. Her interaction with the world is expressed through the affairs of the eighth house. Not surprisingly, this woman was an attorney for many years and is now a family court judge.


This pattern is formed when two or more planets are in opposition and square a third planet. The third planet becomes the center of tension and represents the challenge the individual faces. It's often found in the charts of prominent individuals.

In the horoscope in FIGURE 8–2 , Jupiter in the fourth house opposes Saturn, Neptune, and Uranus in the tenth house at orbs of two to four degrees. These planets, in turn, square Mercury in the seventh house. This forms a T-square to Mercury.

Grand Square or Grand Cross

This pattern is an extension of the T-square. Created by four squares and two oppositions, the pattern has at least one planet in each of the quadruplicities: fixed, cardinal, or mutable. This pattern is one of extreme tension. But when the energies are used correctly, it can lead to great strength.

Grand Trine or Cosmic Cross

Look for three planets that occupy different signs of the same element at 120-degree angles. This auspicious aspect in a chart indicates tremendous creativity expressed through the element of the trine. Too many trines in a chart actually indicate that the individual may lack focus and ambition.


A Water trine enhances psychic ability, receptivity, and compassion. A Fire trine increases initiative and drive. An Earth trine brings material abundance. An Air trine intensifies intellectual ability and expression.


This pattern is an extension of the Grand Trine. A fourth planet forms an opposition to one corner of the triangle, thus sextiling the other two corners.

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