Lesson Seven: Introduction to the Aspects,
The Square 90°
As we have already seen, the division of a circle by four brings about manifestation, as symbolised by the four elements, directions, and angles in the birth chart.
The geometrical symbol for the earth is the cube and, for Jung, the number four describes the way we make sense of the world, as can be seen from the universal fourfold structure of the mandala.
Shri Yantra Mandala
The square is an aspect of 90°, and planets in square confront and challenge each other. Squares are much more tangible than oppositions. They symbolise resistance and motivation in equal measure. Although this does not necessarily feel comfortable, squares provide the energy and determination we need in order to make things happen and to achieve our goals.
The Labyrinth at Chartres Cathedral
Planets in square generally share the same orientation, since they will both either be in cardinal, fixed or mutable signs. As you can imagine, with planets in cardinal signs, the challenge of the square may well be rather welcome, because each planet will stimulate the other to express itself in a dynamic, focused and goal-oriented way. With a fixed square, on the other hand, each planet will resist the challenge of the other, and this can become very rigid and unyielding. A mutable square is much easier, since both planets are inherently more inclined to accommodate, adapt and adjust to each other. The tension of this aspect is explained by the fact that, although the planets will normally have the same modality, they will be in different elements, and so they will have a different way of processing information. This creates a friction between the two planets that may never be entirely resolved, but this tension also provides energy and motivation. Has anybody got any squares that they would like to look at?
Anna: I have a cardinal square between Moon in Libra in the 11th house and Mars in Capricorn in the 2nd house.
Chart data omitted for reasons of confidentiality
Clare: Let's start by looking at the Moon in Libra in the 11th house, which also happens to be conjunct Neptune and the MC. What does everyone think that Anna needs (Moon)? What kind of public image does she project (Moon conjunct MC)? What are her dreams and ideals (Neptune), and what nourishes her and makes her feel safe and comfortable?
Audience: I should imagine that Anna's public status as a wife and mother is very important to her, and that she may well do whatever is necessary to achieve this dream. I would also image that she needs everything to be nice and harmonious, and she will probably also need a partner who is also a friend, in order to feel complete. Perhaps she is nourished by her friends, or by being involved in social events. I should think she gives great dinner parties.
Clare: How are we doing so far?
Anna: So far, so good. That is definitely an aspect of my role as a wife and mother.
Clare: Now let's have a look at Mars in Capricorn in the 2nd house. What do you think that is about?
Audience: Since the 2nd house is about self-worth, I would imagine that Anna is ambitious and hard-working, and her self esteem is connected to earning her own money and standing on her own feet financially.
Clare: Exactly. But there is an inherent tension between Libra and Capricorn because, although they are both cardinal signs, Libra is an air sign and Capricorn is an earth sign. I would imagine there is a struggle for Anna between her rational principles (air) and her need to achieve something practical and concrete (earth). How can she reconcile her need to be there for other people, for her husband and children, and her need to stand on her own feet and earn her own money? I suspect that when you are achieving your goals (Capricorn), you may well feel energised (Mars) but guilty, because you are not looking after the needs of your family. On the other hand, when you are in your wife and mother role (Moon in Libra), you may well find yourself feeling angry and frustrated because you are not doing your own thing.
Anna: That's right - you have just put one of my major dilemmas into words. And what I really don't like about it is how angry I end up feeling.
Clare: Well, the two planets involved are Moon and Mars, so it is not surprising that the tension of this square can be expressed as anger, a kind of emotionally fuelled rage. Let's see if we can find out a bit more about this. Can you tell us where Venus and Saturn are in your chart? These are the two planets which rule your 11th and 2nd houses, and which also rule your Moon and Mars.
Anna: I have Venus in the 1st house in Sagittarius, and Saturn in the 10th house in Libra.
Clare: This tells us that your Moon ruler is expansive, restless and adventurous (Sagittarius), and Venus is going to feel trapped and frustrated unless she is on the move and having fun. But your Mars ruler is particularly ambitious, because Saturn is in Libra in the 10th house. This is a dutiful and responsible placement, and it is very important for you to be respected as a professional woman (Saturn in the 10th house). How can you bring both these things together in your life - professional achievement and status on the one hand, and the constant broadening of your personal horizons (Venus in Sagittarius in the 1st house) on the other?
Anna: I am an anthropologist by training, and have lived in many different countries, studying the social behaviour of different tribes. There is so much more work I want to do on this, and yet since I had children, all that has had to stop. I am beginning to think I am going to need to find space in my life for both things.
Clare: That's right, and although that may never feel completely comfortable, nevertheless you will at least be living both ends of your square. And that can be a dynamic and successful combination. If you are working, the energy of Mars can be used to achieve your goals, rather than having nowhere to go and ending up with you feeling angry and frustrated and venting your rage on your family or on yourself.