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Mapping the Psyche Vol. II

An Introduction to Psychological Astrology, by Clare Martin

Volume II: The Planetary Aspects and the Houses of the Horoscope

Semi-squares Semi-square 45° and sesqui-quadrates Sesqui-quadrate 135°


Semi-square and sesqui-quadrate

Clare: Let's move on to the aspects that are created when the circle is divided by the number eight. Planets 45° apart are in semi-square aspect, and planets 135° apart are in sesqui-quadrate aspect. Like the opposition and the square, these aspects have the nature of twoness, and are therefore active and challenging. Although they are deemed to be minor aspects, with an orb of only 2°, they are nevertheless very dynamic and effective, because they do not suffer from the paralysis of the opposition or the same level of resistance as the square. They are easier to manifest and to work with.

Audience: Do you consider them to be as important as the square?

Clare: Yes, they are extremely effective and productive aspects. Do you have an example you would like to discuss?

Audience: I have Pluto at 8° Virgo in the 2nd house, and Saturn at 23° Capricorn in the 6th.

Clare: That is a sesqui-quadrate, with the planets three and a half signs apart. The planets are both in earth signs, so there is a similarity between them in that respect. Saturn in Capricorn in the 6th house indicates that you take your work seriously, and this could be driven by the fear of not being good enough, or by your need to get everything right. Together, these two planets can be a very powerful and effective force. There are also messages here about your health and about your body, since these planets are both in earth houses and signs. Does any of this make sense?

Audience: I have always been accused of being a hypochondriac, and I am always careful about my diet. I know I can be really disciplined about my body, and I used to work obsessively, but I am trying to get away from all that now.

Clare: Perhaps you are afraid of getting stuck in routine, and yet in a sense you need it as well.

Audience: So how would this work if it was a square? Would it be more difficult?
Clare: Yes, much more difficult, because there may well be a sense of being sabotaged or undermined or undervalued at work. This could either lead to a refusal to work because of the issues that always seem to arise, or alternatively, the challenge would be to accept the power and control and ruthlessness of the Pluto-Saturn square and use it to become an authority at work. It would depend on the individual chart. With a sesqui-quadrate and a semi-square, the two planets will work together more easily.

Audience: I have Moon semi-square Uranus in my chart.

Clare: What happens when we put the Moon and Uranus together?

Audience: An unusual woman or an unusual mother? Perhaps an intellectual mother.

Audience: Wanting to belong and wanting to be free?

Clare:Yes, there is something high-voltage and unpredictable about our emotional responses. This often describes inconsistent mothering at an early age. For example, when we are in our primal, lunar, baby stage of life, our basic sense of safety and the way we learn about the world depends on our mother's emotional responses to our needs. With a Moon-Uranus aspect, we may never have experienced a basic feeling of safety, which can leave us in a state of emotional shock, a high level of emotional tension.

Audience: Everyone in the family has lots of water in their chart, apart from my mother, who doesn't have any. So she is always having sudden eruptions that the rest of us have to deal with. I can certainly relate to what you said about not feeling particularly safe.

Clare: The semi-square between Moon and Uranus indicates that you can work very positively and effectively with this aspect. Your need is for freedom and autonomy, and you probably have unconventional or original ideas about the role of women or of families, or the care of children, which you will want to do something with, since this aspect is active and effective. And you may have some ambivalence yourself about becoming a mother.

Audience: I have never wanted children, but I have been involved in setting up a creche at work, so that mothers can continue to work when they have children.

Audience: How would the Moon-Uranus square and opposition work?

Clare: With a Moon-Uranus square, the challenge would be harder to resolve, and you may have more difficulty resolving the freedom-closeness dilemma in your life. With a Moon-Uranus opposition, it is likely that you could swing between the two poles, either cutting yourself off from your needs and feeling frustrated about other people's neediness, or alternatively feeling that your security is always threatened by others, who are likely to be perceived as unreliable and disruptive.

Before we finish tonight, I just want to introduce you to two other aspect patterns that are formed from hard aspects. As with all aspects and aspect patterns, each configuration will be unique, depending on the planets involved, as well as the signs and houses they are in. The approach is to analyse each combination in its own terms, knowing that all the planets involved are linked together and cannot function separately. The first is known as the 'Finger of the World', a pattern which involves two planets in square to each other, both of which form a sesqui-quadrate to a third planet. The focal planet here is the one that makes two sesqui-quadrates, which will drive the individual to integrate and actively resolve the challenge of the planets in square.

Finger of the World

'Finger of the World'

The second is known as the 'Hard Rectangle', consisting of two oppositions, the ends of which are joined by two semi-squares and two sesqui-quadrates. Like the grand cross, this is a closed aspect pattern, which means that it is self-contained and fiercely self-sufficient, although there is less resistance than with the grand cross because the hard rectangle belongs to the eight series of numbers.

Hard Rectangle

'Hard Rectangle'

All the hard aspects and aspect patterns are tense and stressful in their own particular ways but, as you will see when we compare them with the soft aspects next week, they do force us to grapple with the resistances and difficulties we encounter in life, without which we are unlikely to develop our full potential or sense of personal mastery. Hard aspects and aspect patterns can lead to significant achievements, personal growth, increased consciousness and self-knowledge.

nach oben


The Book "Mapping the Psyche, Volume 2"

First published 2007 by the CPA Press, BCM Box 1815, London WC1N 3XX, Copyright © 2007 by Clare Martin.
More Information about the Book.

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