Grand Trine in Earth Signs: Mars in Virgo, Jupiter/Venus in Taurus, Pluto in Capricorn

This post has been edited a couple of times since publication. I got a good excuse, Mercury is Retrograde in my Ninth House of Publishing!

A Grand Trine happens when two or more planets orbiting at a distance of 120 degrees from each other (from Earth’s standpoint) happen to be at the same distance from another planet or planets. If we were to trace these distances with an imaginary line, they would form an equilateral triangle.

The date of this complex event is March 15, 2012, but its effect could be easily felt one week before and after the actual time of exactness.

A perfect Grand Trine always connects Signs belonging to the same Element, enhancing, generally in a positive way, that Element’s particular energy and power.

This is an entry on the Grand Trine in my summary of aspects configurations in my Astrological Tutorial on Aspects Page:

This is traditionally a beneficial aspect, indicating potential talents and opportunities. But the study of numerous Charts and dramatic events in history led many astrologers, ancient and modern alike, to believe that there is more to the Grand Trine than mere blessing or joy. This beautiful configuration can sometimes be inauspicious too, exaggerating perhaps the positive influences to the point of self inflation; or expressing them in a climax type of atmosphere that entails some danger.

Possible effects of Trines (and Grand Trines) in the four different Elements:

Fire Trines: inspiration, passion, creativity, faith, generosity, joy, romance, artistic abilities, intuitive awareness.

Air Trines: refinement, sociability, friendliness, fairness, learning, communication, cooperation, intellectual awareness.

Water Trines: empathy, sensitivity, caring, psychic powers, imagination, psychical awareness.

Earth Trines: practicality, efficiency, sense of responsibility, power for service, reliability, calm, concentration, physical awareness.

The degrees occupied by the planets when this configuration becomes exact determine who will be more likely to come under its spell. This Grand Trine happens on the tenth degree of the Earth Signs of Taurus (Venus and Jupiter), Virgo (Retro Mars) and Capricorn (Pluto). You could feel the Grand Trine more personally if your Sun, Moon, any Planet, Lunar Node or Angle (Ascendant, Descendant, Mid-Heaven, Lower-Heaven) happen to be on the tenth degree of these Signs or within two/three degrees either way of it.

The Birthdays directly aligned with this Grand Trine will be: Taurus born April 27 to May 1; Cancer born June 29 to July 3; Virgo born August 30 to September 3; Scorpio born October 30 to November 3; Capricorn born December 29 to January 2; and Pisces born February 26 to March 2. And, of course, anyone born within few days of the exact trines (approximately March 12 to 19).

The Planets involved instead determine which psychic functions have been activated by the configuration. In this case we have a complex blend of Venus (cooperation, attraction, creativity), Mars (assertion, action, courage), Jupiter (expansion, faith, search for meaning) and Pluto (transformation, depth, personal power), the overall dynamic of the configuration. You can see then that this could indeed be a very powerful configuration, generating energy for all sorts of projects and ventures, giving a boost to our social life, personal relationships, study, career, business, and, most importantly, giving all a real opportunity to change the perception we usually have about love, work, the way we tackle difficulties and confront obstacles. Pluto’s presence always implying an intense desire to change things in a radical way, getting rid of all that do not work anymore for us, to be more truthful with ourselves and others, even if it hurts; while Jupiter adds the personal confidence and faith in better things to come, attitudes that can greatly help to face difficulties.  We could become, during this period (lasting a week or so) more resourceful, energetic and brave, feeling empowered to act by the difficulties we are facing rather than be passively overwhelmed by them.  As I described it in a recent post on Venus’ Transit through Taurus, this configuration could encourage, in many of us, a ‘renewal of confidence in self and life’.

I can add here that we could all feel life more passionately and intensely, getting more out of our experiences, more depth of understanding, more meaning and a sense of our destiny unfolding. To decide which areas of your life could be more likely affected by these transits you should look at the House positions of the four planets relative to your Birth Chart.

To know what personal effect these transits and others are having on your life, past, present and future, you may want to book a reading-consultation with me. I am available in person, by phone or Skype. Click my Astrological Consultations Page for details, HERE.

For everyone the fact that these trines occur in an Earth-Fixed Sign means that the opportunities will be very real, not just fanciful feelings or far fetched ideals, encouraging a practical and realistic take on life, making things really happen for us, if we are able to use wisely the gift of this rare configuration. 

While it is true that Grand Trines can prove very beneficial, increasing the potential for expressing in creative and fulfilling ways the Element they are in, in this case Earth (practicality, sensuality, realism, efficiency), studies done by many serious astrologers have also revealed their potential for negative expression. This seems to be mainly due to their close circuit nature, where the planetary energies bounce from one another, keeping on moving in circles, so to speak, without achieving much, while creating feeling of self-inflation or excessive optimism.

Of course we should not forget also that, at the same time, Mercury has started his Retrograde period (becoming Stationary on March 12), now moving backward into Aries, while Mars is still Retrograde in Virgo. These facts will tend to slow down the pace of progress for everyone, forcing us to repeat experiences and face challenges we may have thought to have left behind.

Talking about retrogradation I have to apologize for an error (now corrected) in my previous post on the magnificent visual conjunction Venus-Jupiter (exact on March 15) where I stated that Jupiter was Retrograded at this time. He is not, while Mars and Mercury are. A Retro Mercury’s trick?

Below is a Chart calculated for the moment Mars trines Pluto, using my local coordinates of Wollumbin in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales, Australia. At this time Venus and Jupiter are separated from their respective trines to Mars and Pluto by only a few minutes in longitude. To convert the time of this Horoscope to your own time, please visit the World Clock site HERE.

click to view larger image

Watch out for the magnificent conjunction Venus-Jupiter, March 2012

This is the best rendezvous of Venus and Jupiter in years.  You’ll need clear westerly views. Due to their magnitude the two brightest Planets are already visible when the light of the Sun still lingers. They have been moving toward each others for a while now. The conjunction will be exact on March 15, but the two will remain visually close for the whole month of March. It would be worth your while to look them up every evening for the next week or so. It should be easy to recognize Venus because she is the brightest amongst the two (approx. magnitude -4.18 versus magnitude -1.96).

Astrologically this is considered a fortunate conjunction, Venus and Jupiter being known as the two most fortunate planets, one fostering cooperation, love and artistic creativity (Venus), the other optimism, expansion and improvement at all levels (Jupiter). This is a positive aspect for relationships, travel, business, artistic expression,  fun, financial gain and all sorts of opportunities. In direct line with this transit are Pisces born between the 12 and 16 of March, Taurus born between April 28 and May 2, and all those born with the Sun, Moon, any Planet, Lunar Node, or Angle between the 8th and 12th degrees of Taurus, Pisces, Virgo, Capricorn and Cancer. Scorpio, Leo and Aquarius are also aligned to this transit , but, being connected with it via opposition and squares respectively, they could experience some difficulties in enjoying its full benefits.

I have to apologize for an error in an earlier version of this post (now corrected), if you happen to have read it before this editing, where I stated that Jupiter was Retrograded at this time. He is not, while Mars and Mercury are. A Retro Mercury’s trick?

For more on this transit and others active in March 2012 please check my recent Venus in Taurus post, HERE.

Below is a sky-scape of this event, taken on March 15, around 7.40 pm, looking North-West, low on the horizon (in mid-latitude in the Southern Hemisphere). Note Aldebaran, alpha star of Taurus, and the Pleiades, Seven Sisters, above, and beautiful Capella, alpha star of Auriga, the Charioteer, parallel and north of the conjunction, and finally Hamal, alpha of Aries, the Ram, below the conjunction. Looking up you will also see the great sky Hunter, Orion, and west of it the two main stars of Gemini, Castor and Pollux.

March is in fact a great month for naked eye observation of the planets, with Mars at his brightest after his opposition to the Sun, on March 5, and Saturn visible east of Mars, still close to Spica, the brightest star of Virgo.

click to view larger image ~ created with Stellarium, free and wonderful software

Venus in Taurus, in the light of the general transits active in March 2012

Venus will transit her own Sign of Taurus from March 5 to April 4 2012. This is good news, in the area of relationships, finance and general well being, for people whose Natal Charts have emphasis on Taurus, especially, and also the other two Earth Signs, Virgo and Capricorn, by harmonious trine aspect. This Venus could as well bring some positive developments to Pisces and Cancer (by sextile aspect). Scorpio, Leo and Aquarius will be touched by the hand of the Goddess too, but her contact will prove somewhat more problematic and intense for them (opposition and square aspects). You will feel the Venus’ effect sometimes this month if your Sun, Moon, Ascendant, any planet, or one of the four Angles (Ascendant, Descendant, Mid-Heaven, Lower-Heaven) were in any of the above Signs in your Birth Chart.

Since antiquity Taurus has been considered the ideal mansion for the earthly form of Venus, providing the fertile medium through which the Goddess can grant her gifts of love, pleasure, abundance and creativity.

We tend to take life more easy when Venus transits Taurus. We may want to make time to enjoy our surroundings and to become more keenly aware of our physical responses. If your natural sensuality and calm have been stifled or neglected lately this transit could be a great opportunity to make contact again with your own body and those simple pleasures that can make you feel happier with your lot. Such are the Taurus’ gifts of calm and contentment.

The lure of love and romance could be intensely felt by some, while there is a danger of becoming too attached to the object of your desires, or emotionally too entangled for your own good (especially possible for Taurus, Scorpio and Leo). On a more positive note relationships that begin now could be lasting and reliable ones, also sensually fulfilling, Taurus being a Fixed, loyal and affectionate Sign. There is a serious side to this Venus, in her capacity to make love a profound and committed experience.

To others it could bring back their love for nature, and of activities like gardening, landscaping, creating beautiful tactile objects of art and craftsmanship; relaxing in tranquil surrounding, eating nice food, listening to your favorite music, taking it easy.

Many ways to propitiate the Goddess

There are many ways to propitiate this Goddess, who in her Taurus incarnation every year is prompting us to become more aware of the deep roots that connect us to the planet and the physical plane, and also to our common humanity.

Taurus thrives on tradition. If you are cooking, for instance, chose some traditional dish or one that has been prepared in your family for generations. If you are an artist, try a traditional technique or style, a Raphael rather than a Jackson Pollock. If pottering in the garden put in some heirloom vegetable seeds or plant some old fashion roses or bulbs.

If you want to do a ritual at this time, in honor of the Goddess, make sure that your surroundings give justice to the natural environment, with offerings of fruits and flowers, and earthy, sensual scents.

As I remarked in a previous post on Venus’ transit through Taurus: “Relaxation, meditation, spiritual devotion and rituals, all forms of hands-on therapy and natural healing techniques are activities that will go well with this Venus energy … Taurus is well known as a Sign with natural healing powers...”

A possible negative outcome of this transits is to produce a too lay back and lazy attitude, with a tendency to overdo the pleasures, over-eating and drinking, over-partying or over-sleeping! Not to enjoy some of the bounties of Venus in Taurus would be a pity though. If you can take some time off and just enjoy being, loving and celebrating life, do it while the transit lasts.

The bigger astrological picture for March 2012

So far I have looked at the Taurus’ transit of Venus in isolation. But, while Venus placidly glides through this Earth Sign, the Sun, Moon and Planets continue their complex dance, not always in tune with Taurus’ content and contemplative spirit.

The transit of Venus in Taurus is in fact a timely event, hopefully helping us to remain steady and stay grounded during a period that could otherwise be open to conflicts, presenting a rather charged planetary environment, especially early and late in the month of March.

Early March

Sun opposition to Mars

We should remember that on March 3 the Sun formed his yearly opposition to Mars, aspect that always enhances the power of the red Planet, for good or ill, more often than not making conflicts come out into the open, disagreements to become more polarized and difficult to reconcile.

Physically this means that the planet Mars has reached now his greatest distance from the Sun, 180 degrees, and also its greatest brilliance, being now one of the best celestial bodies to observe in the night sky. Look out for a clearly red glowing star already well above the eastern horizon after sunset and climbing the sky for the rest of the night.

Mercury in Aries

The ingress of Mercury into Aries, Mars’ own Sign, a day early, on March 2, will keep us mentally more belligerent too, ready to get into an argument for the sake of winning it, until March 24, when Mercury will return to Pisces in Retrogradation (Mercury will begin his retro motion through Aries on March 12). Watch out for angry and hurtful words coming out of your mouth and the mouths of others, of course.

Venus’ soothing transits and the Virgo Full Moon

Venus’ steady Taurus glow will help via a beautiful sextile to Neptune in Pisces, on March 6, enhancing the urge for forgiveness and compassion, and also for imagination and creativity. And, on March 11, Venus will form the same harmonious aspect with Chiron in Pisces, a strong healing energy to help us accepting what we cannot change and smiling rather than frowning at our fate.

In between the contacts just described the Goddess will reach a distance of 45 degrees from the Sun, one/eighth of the whole Zodiacal Circle, on March 8, day of the Virgo Full Moon. This means that Venus will also form a sesqui-square aspect with the Moon, making relationships an ideal medium to reveal unconscious feelings to our conscious self, but not without some difficulties (semi-square and sesqui-square aspects). Avoiding excessive criticism and nit picking (Virgo Moon), remaining relaxed and cooperative (Taurus Venus) will help all of us to manifest the more compassionate and loving traits of Pisces (Sun). 

Venus is steadily separating from the Sun. She will reach maximum elongation and maximum brilliance on March 27.

The middle of the month is preparing to be one of exceptional planetary configurations, all happening between March 12 and 16, and active few days before and after these dates. Venus is involved in some of these cosmic events too.

The middle of March, Mercury Retrograde

Mercury begins moving retrograde on March 12, marking a time of greater introspection, during which we will be called to reflect on our visions and the ideas we are always prepared to fiercely defend from external attack; an opportunity to mentally slow down, and to be patient. This could be either frustrating or refreshing, depending very much on how you take it. Computers, cars, printers, photocopiers, gadgets of all sorts break down or mysteriously stop working during a Mercury Retrograde period because we need then to observe our restlessness and slow the pace of life and thought.

Jupiter trine Pluto

On March 14 a big event: the last pass of Jupiter’s trine Pluto (Taurus/Capricorn), the aspect that, in my mind, has helped more than any other, so far, to counteract the negative effects of the transit of Pluto in Capricorn. Jupiter is still helping to drive Pluto’s intense energy into creative and inspired channels, giving meaning to our experiences of change, even those that challenge our desire for security.

Venus and Mars will act as catalysts to this major transit, at this time, with Venus forming a conjunction to Jupiter and trines to Pluto and Mars, and Mars a trine to Jupiter, all exact on March 14. We may find ourselves more resourceful and energetic than usual, combining effort and pleasure in clearing the way for new and exciting development in our life, in particular our relationships.

This mid-March period will end with square aspects from Retro Mars to the two Lunar Nodes in Sagittarius and Gemini, showing that it is destined to be a period when we will need confrontations and strife to get where we want to go.

The visual conjunction of Venus and Jupiter on March 15

A close encounter between Venus and Jupiter in Taurus will take place on March 15, one of the most spectacular sky displays for the whole year. The two brightest planets of the Solar System are in fact already visually close in the western sky, after sunset, and will remain so until the end of the month, with Venus slowly separating from Jupiter after the conjunction, the latter plunging westward toward the setting Sun (Sun-Jupiter’s conjunction will occur in June in the Sign of Gemini). It should be easy to distinguish one from the other because Venus is visibly brighter.

This yearly encounter will bring some rather exciting and lucky turns of events especially for those Pisceans who celebrate their birthday between the 14 and 16 of March. To all of us this transit could encourage more optimistic feelings, a renewal of confidence in self and life; also the desire to have a break from work and routine, to travel or in some way explore a novel world of places and relationships,

The end of March Transits

The end of the month is again enlivened by some exciting but also potentially unsettling transits: Mercury Retrograde in early Aries will conjunct Uranus on March 19, and the Sun, in Aries from March 20, will also conjunct Uranus on March 25 and then square Pluto on March 30. The Inferior Conjunction of the Sun to Mercury will occur on March 22, on the first degree of Aries and will be very close to Uranus and to the square to Pluto too, indicating the possibility of sudden turns of events in the political, social and physical world. The desire for peace, beauty and relaxation of Venus in Taurus will then be again challenged by many contrary forces, helping us to stay grounded and focus on the essential amongst all the unsettling changes.

Weekly Astrological Highlights, May 9 to 15, 2011

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The Moon s in waxing mode, providing extra energy for all enterprise and activities.

Emotionally we may meet the cycle’s first serious obstacles. It is the Leo First Quarter Moon Phase, on Wednesday, May 11, when we will need to toughen up and find creative solutions to our problems, to eventually fulfill the Full Moon’s goal.

On Saturday, May 14, the Moon will enter her Libra Gibbous Phase, a step closer to the Scorpio Full Moon due on May 17, and hopefully a flurry of great activities.


The major transits this week are the ingress of Mars in Taurus, on May 11, and the multiple conjunctions in the Sign of Aries, Mercury and Venus on May 10, and both Mercury and Venus with Jupiter on May 12.

Click HERE to navigate to my Mars in Taurus post and HERE for Readings of Mars in Taurus for all Rising Signs.

And HERE for a sky-scape of the Aries multiple conjunction.

MAY 10 to 12, and spilling into the next week: anyone prepared to get up a bit earlier this week will be able to observe these multiple conjunctions first hand. With Mars close by, Mercury, Venus and Jupiter will all be together above the Eastern horizon, just before sunrise.

Hopefully these aspects will communicate optimism and enthusiasm to many people. The  individuals more likely to feel their beneficial effect will be however Aries, born April 11 to 17, Cancer, born July 14 to 20, Leo, born August 14 to 20, Libra, born October 15 to 21, Sagittarius, born December 14 to 20, and Capricorn, born January 12 to 18.

This is Aries stuff at its best, vision, initiative, courage, because the conjunction Mercury-Venus unites the head with the heart, firing the mind with artistic feelings and the heart with understanding, promoting great conversations and intelligent as well as exciting relationships. Mercury and Venus’ conjunctions to Jupiter are also expanding the scope of both planets, encouraging confidence and optimism in the communication and relationships’ areas. Ideal time to feel inspired about writing or art making, because aesthetic feelings are strong, the mind is alert and you may feel more than usual confident in your abilities.

With the ingress of Mars in Taurus and the imminent conjunction of Venus to Mars in Taurus (May 23), these exciting transits could provide the right inspiration for practical activities and business in the near future, and also for more stable and content relationships.

Click here for my most recent post on the June to September 2011 Major Transits

Click HERE for my recent post about  the Aries Equinox conjunct Uranus

If interested, please click HERE to navigate to my recent Venus in Aries’ post .

Click HERE to navigate to my most recent post on the transit of Uranus in Aries, and other major transits.

For more information about the ingress of Neptune in Pisces, please check two of my posts on the subject HERE and HERE.

A post on  Jupiter transiting Aries can be found HERE.

Star over Wollumbin, May 11 and 12. A multiple conjunction in Aries: Mercury, Venus and Jupiter, with Mars near by