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

Too good to miss: the Gemini Moon Total Eclipse, in the horns of the Bull of Heaven, on December 10/11, 2011

The Astrological Eclipse

Here is the Horoscope of the Lunar Eclipse, calculated for our local coordinates. The relative positions of the Sun, Moon, Nodes and Planets to each other remains the same even as their orientation to the horizon change from place to place.

Eclipses are strange beasts. They can affect some people in very profound ways, while passing unnoticed by many others. That’s why with Eclipses, even more than with other astrological factors, we have to be careful not to generalize too much about the quality and impact of their influence, unless we have the opportunity to see the dynamic interaction between the Eclipse and a Birth Chart cast for a specific individual or event. This unique response to Eclipses can be explained by the fact that, in order to have a tangible effect, an Eclipse has to fall pretty close to a sensitive degree in your Birth Chart, meaning one occupied by the Sun, the Moon, one of the four Angles (Ascendant, Descendant, Mid-heaven, Lower-Heaven), a Planet or Lunar Node. When I say close I mean within one or, at the most, two degrees distance from the actual degree of the Eclipse. Eclipses on Mid-points between planets can also be quite significant, especially if the planets involved are part of  a strong theme in the person’s Birth Horoscope.

The impact of an Eclipse can also differ greatly depending on the character of the celestial body it falls close to, and also the area of experience (denoted by the Horoscope’s Houses) where the Eclipse takes place.

With these premises in mind this particular Eclipse could have a marked impact on some Mutable Sign.  The birthdays directly aligned with the Eclipse’s degree will be: Gemini, born June 8 to 10; Sagittarius,born December 10 to 12; Virgo, born September 10 to 12; Pisces, born March 8 to 10. Or individual with Natal Moon, Angles, Planets or Nodes between the 17th and 19th degrees of the same Signs.

Full Moons and Lunar Eclipses alike are significant times for realizations and often are also climaxes of a sort, peak experiences, bringing the coronation, success or failure, to activities and relationships we have began or have cultivated during the Waxing fortnight of the Moon’s cycle (when we are talking about regular Full Moons) or in the previous three to six months or longer (when we are talking about Eclipsed Full Moons). Whatever the nature of the events brought to light by a Lunar Eclipse they will have an emotional impact, sometimes a very great emotional impact, as when they coincide with the birth of a child, a death, a promotion, a significant illness, the purchase of real estate, influential encounters, life-changing choices or events over which one has little or no control, profound insights and psychic quantum leaps, etc.  In fact there is often a sense of fate in the events or feelings that surge out of an Eclipse, like something that was meant to be and has come to change our life in meaningful and sometimes unexpected ways.

Another important consideration to bear in mind is that this Gemini Moon Eclipse is aligned to the South Lunar Node, the place of descent, relating to the past in all its many forms: this life’s past, childhood, youth, or a past life’s past, or even the past of aeons of planetary evolution. So we may feel inclined or be forced perhaps to revisit things and people from the past that, positively, may help us illumine the present, or, negatively, create distress, regrets, or a painful sense of nostalgia and unrequited longing.

Emotionally a Lunar Eclipse can be very revealing of the true state of your feelings. If your life is already in an emotional spin then the Eclipse may bring all the intensity up to the surface, for everybody to see, including yourself. It could be a joyous experience too, but one that is also deep and somewhat more private than the Sign Gemini suggests.

Before being an Eclipse this is the yearly Full Moon in Gemini, showing a time of heightened intellectual and verbal energy. So if you have found yourself talking and talking in the last few days, do not worry, you are not alone. Many of us are attempting to express ideas that seem to grow in our heads as fast as mushrooms on a mossy bed. Communication can be intense and fast, under this clever Moon, with many subjects covered, moving from one to the next at great speed. The Eclipse will make what we try to communicate more poignant and partaking of our inner life too, not just idle socializing and prattling.

This is great lunar energy for creative writing, story telling, poetry, performances, song writing, learning, teaching, abstracting, eureka moments, intellectual breakthroughs.

The Sun and Moon, in opposition to each other at Eclipse/Full Moon time, are both forming a right angle (90 degrees) with Mars in Virgo (T square). This aspect will further intensify the mental activity and the desire to express our minds, manifesting also as competitiveness, tendency to argue about even minute differences of opinion and become hot and over-critical before we can control it or stop it. There is a sense of restlessness here that we need to become aware of, trying to find a place of quiet and tranquility amongst the hubbub and intense mental stimulation, perhaps consciously reducing our social interactions and activities, leaving some time free for ourselves and for some badly needed mental rest. Too many irons in the fire are often the bane of the Mutable Signs. This tendency to scatter and waste energy could be highlighted by the aspects of Mars. The more conscious we become of what is involved the more we may be able to use Mars’ extra boost to put our ideas into effective use, or changing in meaningful ways our routine and habits, to become more efficient and practical.

Saturn in Libra is within two degree of a trine to Neptune in Aquarius, a positive aspect, stressing again the mental and social impact of the Gemini Eclipse, via the accent on Air Signs. The often inimical functions of Saturn and Neptune have an opportunity here to work together in harmony, the practical outlook and realism of Saturn embracing the idealism, faith and compassion of Neptune, helping to manifest in concrete form our social and spiritual ideals. This is one aspect that, being active during the Durban’s Climate Change Conference, could help us finding some concrete solutions to our global problems, to match the ideal those international summits have been created to uphold. I don’t yet know the outcome, but this particular connection gives me some hope.

Between lovers a certain dimension of feeling-communication, or communication with feeling, could be revealing a side of the other person that we suspected but never saw quite as clearly. Forget candle light dinners and all the romantic trappings, rather talk, just talk about what really matters to you. Describe your feelings, analyze them, and thus discover or rediscover a different sort of intimacy, one that doesn’t rely necessarily on sexuality, but can make you feel as close as twins in a pod.

Venus and Mars, both in Earth Sign, have reached a phase in their eternal dance during which they can work in harmony (trine or 120 degrees angle). Our ability to cooperate and share (Venus) is going hand in hand with our ability to assert our individuality (Mars), so that we can cooperate with others without losing sight of what we want for ourselves.

Apart from all the above (and more that I don’t have time to mention here, or I’ll be late to post this before the Eclipse) there is, of course, also the Retrogradation of Mercury in Sagittarius to consider, making all matters more complicated and, like the Eclipse, suggesting  a need to revisit the past, recent or remote, to understand and deal better with the present. Mercury will be Retrograde a few more days, turning Stationary Direct on December 14, next Wednesday. Navigate HERE to my recent post on the Retrogradation of Mercury in Sagittarius.

The Eclipse and the Collective Psyche

The sheer number of transits active at this time shows an eventful time ahead for the world, Eclipses extending their influence well beyond the time they occur. The most significant aspect formed by the Sun and Moon is their mutual square (90 degrees angle) to Mars in Virgo. Because the Sun and Moon are closely conjunct the Lunar Nodes (the reason why the Eclipse is a Total one) Mars is also in a difficult configuration with the Nodes, fact that is not at all promising for world peace and general cooperation amongst people and nations. We should not overlook the fact that Uranus has just turned Stationary and then Direct (on December 9) accelerating the pace of change and bringing to a head issues that have been slow to mature.

Uranus is sitting on the very first degree of Aries, the archetypal beginning point of the whole Zodiac, so significant that aspect formed by Sun , Moon and Planets to this degree are often measured, even when there are no planet on it. Occupying this very significant degree Uranus leads the flock, so to speak,  taking on the function of the Ram of Heaven which leads the Year, ushering unforeseen large scale events, revolutions, innovations; change, change, and more change, affecting just about everybody.

Navigate HERE to another recent post on the Sagittarius Partial Solar Eclipse of November 25, 2011.

The Visual Eclipse

It will be worth your while staying up to witness the Moon’s metamorphosis from silvery white to red ocher-orange, dark and rich hues.

In the Australian states that adopt Day Light Saving (NSW, ACT, NT, VIC) the Total phase will take place around 1.30 am on December 11, and completely end by 3.15 am. In Queensland the event will take place an hour earlier and in Western Australia a couple of hours earlier.

The event will be visible in its entirety all over Australia, New Zealand and most countries in Asia. No so lucky people in North America and Canada, where the Moon will be setting at Eclipse time, or Europe/Africa where the Moon will be rising instead. While South America will miss out on this event all together.

Click HERE for an informative sight where you’ll find the exact time of beginning, full phase and ending of this Eclipse from different locations in Australia and around the world.

The first image below shows where to look for Jupiter, toward the West, as the Moon begin to darken, around midnight local Summer Time. , in New South Wales Northern Rivers region (very similar view and time all along Australia’s East coast).

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Below are three Stellarium‘s skyscapes of three phases of this Lunar Eclipse: the beginning, full phase and end, as seen around respectively 0.15 am, 1.30 am and 2.45 am. The three snapshots represent the North-Easterly, at first, and then North-Westerly night sky.

In these images that also show the constellations note how the Moon seems neatly placed between the horns of the Celestial Bull, Taurus, close to Aldebaran, the alpha star, and also aligned to the Pleiades (Seven Sisters). Orion is dominating the sky above, and the most brilliant star in our firmament, Sirius, the Dog Star, walks at his heels. A whole mythical pageant is here to accompany the mystery of the Full Moon obscured by the Earth’s own shadow.  Our collective Shadow Self revealed in all its glory, made conscious and tangible, if only for a few moments.

December 11, 2011, 0.15 am - Click to view larger image

December 11, 2011, 1.30 am - Click to view larger image

December 11, 2011, 2.45 am - Click to view larger image

Venus in Capricorn, November-December 2011

Venus will be in Capricorn between November 26 and December 21. This is a serious time for Venus and therefore for our relationships and social life, the areas Venus presides over. The Sign more likely to feel the effect of this yearly transit are: Capricorn, Cancer, Aries, Libra, Taurus and Virgo.

Capricorn is not only a Earthy, practical, no nonsense Sign, it is also a Sign of Saturn, the Cosmic Task Master who helps us to grow up and accept responsibilities for our life, the successes as well as the failures. When Venus transits this Sign then we are given the task of looking realistically at our relationships, without the common embellishment of wishful thinking and starry eyed hopes or illusions. This is often an ideal time to make lasting commitments (like engagement and marriage) or to take on extra responsibilities in our career or business.

Family matters will come to the fore under this influence, because family is the foundation of all relationships for Capricorn. This Sign takes its duties toward parents, children, siblings  and the general welfare of the tribe very seriously, sometimes too seriously in fact, thus risking to lose track of its own dreams and aspirations in the process of caring and providing security for others.

If you are involved with community projects or local politics this is also a positive period to give it all you have, because you may find yourself better organized and efficient than usual, also more able to put across your ideas in a way that will demand the respect and appreciation of other people.

Venus-Saturn’s Mutual Reception

An important aspect of this year and last year transit of Venus in Capricorn is the fact that, Saturn, traditional Ruling Planet of Capricorn, happens to transit Libra, a Sign assigned to Venus. This way the two, Venus and Saturn, are in each other house, so to speak, and therefore have to reach a mutual agreement that can satisfy both of them. This situation is called Mutual Reception in Astrology.  If you are not sure about the meaning of Reception I suggest reading, for a start, this instructive article by Alan Oken (Soul Centered Astrology newsletter. And this Skyscript Tutorial on The use of Reception between Dignities.

Despite the fact that Venus and Saturn will form only one angular aspect, a square, at the very end of Venus” transit through Capricorn, due to Mutual Reception they will be linked during the whole transit of Venus in Capricorn, by residing in each other Sign, each given the opportunity to walk in the other’s shoes for a while, fact that promotes mutual understanding and a kind of sympathy. This sympathy in turn will help Venus to express the more evolved and positive side of the Saturnine influence, and avoid some of the pitfalls.

Capricorn can be a rigid, unbending Sign, often unable to express emotions for fear of being rejected or to appear foolish or vulnerable. The Mutual Reception Venus-Saturn can help Capricorn to feel more lovable and more social, while maintaining a healthy degree of reserve and privacy.

Transits of  Venus in Capricorn

Entering this Cardinal Sign Venus is again becoming part of the Cardinal dynamics that we have seen activated in a big way by some slow moving planets, namely Uranus in Aries, Pluto in Capricorn and Saturn in Libra. During this period Venus will also form harmonious aspects with Jupiter in Taurus and Mars in Capricorn.

Let’s keep in mind that the aspects of Venus never lasts more than two to three days, starting to have effect a day before exactness and continuing only for a day or so after exactness.

Venus square Uranus in Aries, November 26 to 28

The day after entering Capricorn (November 27) Venus will contact the first of the Destiny Makers, forming a 90 degrees angle (square) to Uranus, at the moment retrograding on the naught degree of Aries. This is an aspect often fostering changes in relationship, or new exciting encounters; also unexpected turns of events that might somehow upset our inner balance. There is a risk of feeling emotionally alienated  from our loved ones, while we search for ways of gaining some  independence (Uranus), in spite of the commitment that binds us to them (Capricorn).

Venus trine Jupiter in Taurus, November 27 to 29

On November 28, while the square to Uranus is still active, Venus is given a helping hand from Jupiter, through one of those traditionally spirit-lifting, fortunate aspects. This is a sensual and artistic transit, encouraging demonstrations of affection and also a surge of aesthetic feelings. It could indeed help to soften the coldness sometimes associated with the Venus-Uranus’ contacts, making us feel more generous and content.

Venus conjunct Pluto, December 1 to 3

The Venus-Pluto’s close encounter, on December 2, is the most significant transit during the passage of Venus in Capricorn. Conjunctions have always a more marked effect than any other type of transits. Pluto intensifies the effect of every planet he comes in contact with. In this case deepening our feelings, showing us the more hidden and perhaps difficult side of our relationships, shedding light on the unconscious motives and emotional underpinning that have such an important and often unrecognized role to play in the way we relate to others.

With Pluto is always ‘honesty’ time. Loving or unloving feelings cannot be concealed easily under this influence, thus often matters come to a head when we confront the truth both within ourselves and in others.

Venus trine Mars, December 5 to 7

With the conjunction to Pluto over we can now enjoy this harmonious aspect between the two archetypal lovers, Venus and Mars (December 6). This trine will encourage expression of affection, both sensually and emotionally. We may seek relationships more openly, plucking the courage to be more assertive and confident in love matters.

Venus square Saturn, December 18 to 20

During the contact Venus-Saturn (December 19) it could be difficult to express love and warmth. We may feel awkward and shy in matters of the heart , experiencing real difficulties in reaching out. We will need to look at the emotional barriers we are putting in place or that we find the ones we love seem to be erecting against us.  It is time to be more realistic about love and romance, accepting the limitations and drawbacks that every relationships soon or later encounter. We may feel lonely, unloved or unlovable for a little while. This too will pass, soon.

You must know that Melancholy is the Muse of poets and artists. Let’s put this melancholic Venus to good use then (a truly Capricornian advice). Express your feelings, isolation, vulnerability, the lot in words or paint strokes or planting flowers, whatever suits your temperament best.

A decent post I wrote early this year on Venus in Capricorn, in the Natal Chart and in transit, can be found HERE.