My experience is that Squares are the unsung heroes of astrology. Most sites will say that they’re challenging or difficult, and they are, but they’re an amazing impetus for growth and progress. If we understand them, we can mindfully navigate our relationships and our own thoughts, feelings, and actions so that Squares become a source of strength, stability, and support. Squares are extremely stimulating, and the energy dynamic pushes us to resolve issues. Squares between current planetary placements in the sky (Transits) and our natal chart placements can be utilized to this end as well.
When Planets are conjunct ☌ , it means that they’re close enough to each other that their energies combine and work together as one. It’s like mixing blue and red and getting purple. Look at Mars and the Moon in the chart below for an example of what it looks like. The red line between them indicates that they’re conjunct.
A Stellium is when there are many planets conjunct. Some people define it as three or more planets. Some say it’s four or more. Define it however it makes the most sense to you, but just keep this in mind: The more planets are conjunct each other, the more strongly that area of the chart is emphasized. More planets in one area simply means more emphasis there.
How does this look in practice? If someone, for example, has a stellium of six placements including their Sun and North Node all conjunct in the 2nd and 3rd Houses in Capricorn plus Mercury in Sagittarius in their 2nd House, would that person be the most accomplished, successful, well spoken, polished professional out there? A self-made millionaire before age 25 who does Ted Talks on how to be successful in the businessmen world? In my experience, no. See the chart below for an example of a friend with whom I was very close.
My friend cared a great deal about what people thought of him, being successful, doing a good job at whatever task was in front of him, thriving in life, and making others happy. He cared so much, in fact, that he was plagued with debilitating anxiety that led to a very strong tendency towards addictions. He always tried so hard. Too hard. I’ve never seen anyone care so much OR fail as hard and as often as he did. He tried to be generous but was blind to how incredibly selfish he usually was. He was the most affectionate and most self-sabotaging person I’ve ever known. Nearly everything he ever tried to do somehow blew up in his face, and it was typically the result of silly or even ridiculous mistakes or oversights on his part.
He was ditzy, clumsy, intense, forgetful, and awkward. He had a very poor sense of professionalism, common sense, and personal boundaries at all, yet he was so incredibly charming, loving, sweet, and funny that, where ever he went, he always made a lot friends and really touched the lives of many of those with whom he came in contact. He was good at cheering people up and always encouraged others to be themselves. He loved and accepted them exactly the way they were, and that’s something that’s very rare. He was also an empath and very sensitive to the emotions of others, particularly towards him. This was often overwhelming for him, and as a result, sometimes he’d become avoidant and take some “me time” for a week or two during which time he failed to show up for jobs or meet other responsibilities.
His anxiety made it pretty much impossible for him to function effectively socially or especially professionally, so he self-medicated with many types of drugs and alcohol. Not surprisingly, the substances he to which he turned to make him more functional had exactly the opposite effect. He rarely held a job for more than two months much less excelled in his workplace. Towards the end of his life, he had managed to find a job which he not only managed to keep for an extended period of time but also progress. He had found some success.
Despite all of this, no one who knew him even somewhat well ever questioned whether he did his best. He, like all of us, just wanted to be loved and did his best to be worth of that love in the only ways he knew how.
Does this sound like a Capricorn to you? I wouldn’t imagine so! This is the impact of having so much focus on one particular area in our chart. The pressure is just so high, and sometimes it can even be unbearable. What can we do?
Astrology shows us not only how we’re all naturally unbalanced but also how we can focus our attention on other areas in our charts to help restore balance to our lives. This can lead to greater peace, success, and whatever else it is we hope to find in life.
Having no placements in a particular Sign or House doesn’t mean we can’t express energy in that manner or in that area of our life. It simply means that it’s not our natural tendency to do so. We can, however, be mindful of our natural tendencies and purposely put focus on the areas of our charts that help bring balance to us and our lives.
To balance a stellium, the first place to look is the opposite side of the chart. Which Houses and Signs are opposite that stellium? For Capricorn, that’s Cancer. For the 3rd House, it’s the 9th House. Consciously put your attention there as you go about your day and life.
What else can be done? If you’d like to experience significant growth, look to the Signs and Houses that are square the stellium (same modality), particularly the closest one counter clockwise the stellim. If you’d like to experience comfortable assistance, look to the Signs and Houses trine the stellium (same element), again, especially counter clockwise.
There are also other tips that can be suggested by looking at other aspects and placements in your chart. This is where studying astrology so you can read your chart or hiring a professional to do it for you can be an excellent investment.
Squares are made up of Planets or placements in signs that are the same Modality. One sign in a Square is Yin and the other is Yang. The “easier” aspects such as Trines, Aspects, and even Oppositions are all Yin + Yin or Yang + Yang relationships. It may be helpful to think about it as a girl’s/guy’s night out vs a date or perhaps your relationship with your bff vs your relationship with your significant other. Yes, the same Yin/Yang polarity interactions are typically more comfortable, but the Yin + Yang interactions are no less important. They are more likely to make you sweat or to keep you lying awake at night, but they provide a great deal of motivation, growth, stability, effectiveness, and productivity in life. I’ve written about a similar topic here. Yin needs Yang, and Yang needs Yin. They support and protect each other.
In short, once we learn how to work with and balance out the energies, Squares are often, in my personal experience and understanding, an incredibly beneficial aspect! I have some Squares in my natal chart, but I’d like to offer this synastry chart as an example of how Squares can work:
The above chart is the synastry relationship chart. I’ve not written about synastry yet, but squares in synastry function similarly to squares in transits and natal charts. This particular synastry chart contains a Cardinal Grand Square. (Please note that this is not, however, a Grand Cross. They’re a different beast to discuss a different day.) Each of the red lines in this particular chart is a separate Square. This relationship has been both the most challenging and most rewarding experience of my life, and I’m a mother, so I’m not saying this lightly!
As an example of how Squares can be a debilitating weakness or an incredible strength, let’s look at the red Aries placements square the blue Cancer placements. Of course, charts are significantly more complicated than that, and it’s not possible to totally isolate one area of a chart, but my experience with this relationship highlights the dynamic that I’m attempting to explain quite well. For the purposes of this example, I’m just going to focus on the Signs, not the Planets or Houses.
Aries is the simplest of signs. It wants movement. It wants to win, and if its efforts are unrewarded by clear, measurable progress, it quickly gets frustrated and begins to push against whatever is standing in its way. It can be outspoken and even aggressive when faced with barriers or even minor delays. “Do do do, go go go! Outa my way!” and, “Are we doing this or not?!” and, “I’m going with or without you,” are mentalities we might see with Aries expression of energy. If Aries gets too impatient, it will just simply move on. “This is a waste of time. I’ve got other things to do.” It is the most shortsighted of signs, so it doesn’t think much about the long term or consider even somewhat far reaching consequences such as how its brusque nature can be hurtful and damage its relationships with others. It’s not malicious in and of itself, but it’s also not particularly thoughtful or considerate. Some say it’s selfish, and from a certain perspective, this is true. It’s not thinking about much of anything other than what it’s trying to do right now. It’s not that Aries thinks its values are more important than anyone else’s. It’s just not thinking about any of that! It’s Cardinal Fire, initiating and passionate. It’s also incredibly Yang: Active, outgoing, decisive, and dominating. A person with an Aries heavy chart can be warring and aggressive if there are not other energies at work in the chart to tame the person.
Cancer, on the other hand, is emotional, sensitive, gentle, nurturing, and guarded. The crab with its hard shell was chosen to represent Cancer for a reason! Some ancient systems used the turtle to represent Cancer. The turtle and the crab both have shells. Their home is important to them. They’re also not the speediest of creatures. The crab even moves sideways! Cancer is also very Yin: It’s passive in areas that aren’t particularly important to it, but it retreats into its shell when it feels threatened. It does not appreciate being pushed to do something that it’s not ready to do, and it’s very concerned with both protecting its loved ones and values and being protected. It needs stability from others to thrive because it’s moody. Its emotional state is everything, and its heart and therefore mind, demeanor, and behavior can change like the phases of the moon. During the darker phases, it can be pretty insistent on not moving. If you try to force it, you’ll find out exactly why those pincers are there! Cancer needs people to not only be patient and gentle with it, but also to provide stability and structure so that its free to indulge in its true feelings at any given time. It needs people who don’t take it too seriously, overreact, or abandon it when it lashes out or withdraws when its having a rough day or week.
I’m sure you can imagine how exasperated Aries could become with Cancer and how wary and thus uncooperative Cancer could be with Aries! How could any of this be a good thing?
Let’s remember that while Cancer is Yin, it’s also Cardinal. It wants to initiate and create, but it’s passive and introverted, so it can lack the necessary push to get its desires off the ground. Yin attracts others to take action. Aries, on the other hand, can push too hard and fail to reach its objectives due to impatience and lack of consideration for others. If we understand this, we can use that knowledge to see the situation from both perspectives and thus get past the initial hurdles. Aries must understand the cyclic nature of Cancer’s moods, refrain from overreacting to them, and give Cancer time and space when necessary with the faith that Cancer’s bright side will soon shine again. Aries must also refrain from pushing Cancer too much and allow Cancer to initiate indirectly through emotional expression. Once Aries understands this, it’s a fun challenge to stay present enough to spot Cancer’s cues that it’s time to act. There’s great satisfaction in meeting this challenge. Aries also benefits from the lessons it learns about how to patiently wait for the best time to move forward, how to notice and respect moods, and learning how to relax and allow itself to be nurtured.
Cancer, on the other hand, must trust Aries enough to express its feelings and desires and understand that Aries’ directness and even aggression can be tempered through proper communication. Aries can also be an excellent protector.This trust may sound simple, but it’s no small feat. What’s in it for Cancer? Aries loves to take action and make stuff happen, so Cancer can attract Aries and then harness some of this power to do by letting Aries know what it wants. Cancer can also learn to be more confident and from Aries, and it can become more comfortable with taking risks. When Aries and Cancer understand and are considerate of each other and work together, they can come to appreciate and even rely on each other greatly, and this creates stability. This applies in relationship charts as well as in natal charts. With transits, the Planet in question isn’t impacted like a person would be, of course, but the person involved can make use of the Square for growth.
Each set of Square Signs and each set of House and planetary placements has its own nuances, so consider all of that when looking at signs as well. Sun in Aries in the 2nd House Square Sun in Cancer in the 5th House is going to be a lot different than Mercury in Aries in the 11th House Square Moon in Cancer in the 1st House, as an example.
One of the ways to help the squared Signs or placements understand and work with each other is to focus on each Sign’s opposite (Capricorn for Cancer, Libra for Aries). In the case of a T Square where three of the Signs of the same modality are Square, focus on the fourth sign of that modality.
Of course, too much focus on one modality has pitfalls as well even when they are supporting each other well. A method for balancing that is to focus on the modality that follows the one on which there’s a natural focus in the chart. For example, the example above contains a Cardinal Grand Square, so it’s helpful to focus on the fixed Signs. There’s already a very strong focus on Scorpio due to my Moon and Uranus there and it being his Ascendant and having Pluto in Scorpio. There’s already a bit of a focus on Aquarius due to it being my Ascendant and South Node. He has Jupiter in Aquarius, but it’s intercepted, so it hadn’t been much of a focus for him before we knew each other. Meeting me did seem to bring him more into his Aquarius expression of energy! Taurus isn’t particularly pronounced in my chart, but his DC, Venus, and North Node are there. It’s an area in which I have put more attention since I’ve met him. My DC and North Node are in Leo, and Leo is also intercepted in his chart. This means that in our relationship, I would be wise to focus on Taurus and, even more so, Leo expression of energy, and he would be wise to focus on Aquarius, Leo, and especially Taurus expression on energy. (However, because Aquarius and Leo are intercepted in his chart, he must access them through the previous Signs, Cancer and Capricorn, but that’s a topic for another day.)
The theme for 12th House, Pisces ♓, and Neptune ♆ is “Beyond Conscious Thought”. Here we either lose ourselves in delusions and illusions or we transcend ourselves and connect with the Oneness of all. It can be difficult to tell which is which at times!
This area is responsible for bringing things outside our conscious thoughts into our awareness or experience, and the way this “energy of the unknown” manifests itself can vary wildly depending on how “awakened” an individual is. Awakening is basically the process of unlearning the untruths we learned through our experiences in life, particularly the foundational experiences from early childhood. As we process our old pain, we see and release these illusions in layers and gradually “awaken” as a result. Awakening is essentially the process of healing our core wounds. I’ve discussed this in greater depth here.
Neptune brings our unconscious thoughts and feelings to the surface when there’s something that we’re not facing. If we’re determined not to see what it’s trying to show us, we can fall into escapism and get stuck there. However, Neptune also goes beyond the unconscious mind. It connects us with Oneness. It’s our connection to Life itself, to the collective consciousness, and to the things that are too vast to comprehend with our thinking minds. This connection goes both ways, too. We each hold within us the power of creation. Our ability to create external events through our thoughts, words, and intentions happens through Neptune’s energy and influence.
Anything in our chart that’s influenced by Neptune can take on an otherworldly or dream-like feel. At its worst, Neptune is related to escapism, imprisonment, our most pervasive illusions, and negative self-fulfilling prophecies. At its best, it’s related to visionary wisdom, the bliss of surrender to Oneness, the ability to flow with Life, incredible clarity, and empowerment beyond measure. If you have a strong Neptunian influence, you’ll either be plagued with paranoia, addictions, unconscious self-sabotage, or delusions or you’ll develop a strong spirituality that provides true inner peace and joy as well as incredibly strong, accurate intuition. In either case, it can be perceived as “psychic” in nature. For those who are relatively “awakened”, this gift has a healing influence on their life and the lives of others. For those who are still relatively caught in their illusions, it’s experienced as a curse or used in ways that harms others.