Cosmic Carrots: On Trines and Grand Trines

Greetings, and welcome back to Journeys! This month we’re going to explore an area of astrology that I feel is often overlooked, the magic and power of the trine aspect, and in doing so we will get to peek into some rarely explored corners of the workshop of the Elements with over 50 examples.

A trine aspect is formed when any two objects in a chart approach an angle of 120°. Most astrologers will use an orb of influence of about 6 to 8° for a trine meaning that the actual area in which a trine is formed is between around 112° and 128°. As with all aspects the closer the trine is to being exact, namely the closer it is to being exactly 120°, the stronger its effect will be. In my experience the time before an aspect is exact – i.e. the amount of time it takes to build up – is often longer than the time afterward, the time it takes to disappear. For this reason I will often use an orb of about 8° for the approach and only 5° or 6° for the separation. I find that 2° or less for an aspect is often the hot zone with 2°-4° or 5° being the next most powerful form, meaning that an aspect of 118° – 122° is very potent while a trine that falls between 115° – 118° or one that falls between 122° – 125° are the next most powerful kind.

Aside from how close it is to being exact at 120° there are other factors affecting the power of a trine (or really any aspect). These include whether or not the aspect occurs in signs where that aspect naturally occurs. To explain this you have to understand that a trine will naturally form between zodiac signs that share the same Element – it forms between two planets in Air signs, or two planets in Water signs, etc. The three signs that belong to each of the Elements are spaced 120° apart from one another in the circle. Sometimes, however because of the above-mentioned factor of there being an orb of influence spanning 112°-128°, a trine can form between two planets in different Elements instead. This can only happen when both planets are positioned near the beginning or the end of a particular sign. In these cases we call such an aspect “out of sign”. An out of sign trine is not as strong as one that is in naturally trined signs. The reason for this is that the trine itself emphasises the bonds that exist between signs that share an Element – it is the aspect that underscores 1 of the 4 Elements and so an out of sign trine has its innate power undercut since it is split between 2 different Elements.

This is a key thing to understand – the trine is bonded in nature to one of the four Elements. It emphasises that Element and supports its flow causing our connection to that Element to happen with ease. The planets in trine with one another show how this is done and the form that it generally takes, but the two signs involved also shape it and we will discuss this at length in this exploration.

Another key thing to understand is that the nature of the trine is sympathetic to Jupiter. This is encoded into the order of the signs of the zodiac because the two signs of Jupiter, Sagittarius and Pisces, are both trine to a sign ruled by one of the Lights – Cancer (ruled by the Moon) is trine Pisces, and Leo (ruled by the Sun) is trine to Sagittarius. So the innate qualities of the trine aspect are that it builds Elemental form and operates like Jupiter. Astrology classifies this aspect along with the sextile (60°) as a “soft”, “harmonious” aspect while squares (90°) and oppositions (180°) are characterised as “hard”, “dynamic”. I use the terms “form building” for the soft aspects and “energy releasing” for the hard aspects because I think this is a more neutral and objective characterisation. No aspect is wholly good or bad and any aspect can manifest itself in either polarity.

What this means in practice is that through a trine a particular Element flows with greater ease and has the quality of attracting what we call ‘good fortune’ in the sense that opportunities manifest readily and abundantly because we are open to them and/or we have a talent that expresses the power and magic of that Element and the signs and planets involved. We have an unseen astral being of a particular Element who inspires and assists us from within the Earth Zone with a specific task in this incarnation. Someone with a Mercury/Saturn trine, for example, can find ample opportunity and greater ease when it comes to disciplining the mind and to concentrating while learning and thinking soberly, and if that aspect is in Air signs they find it very easy to detach and examine situations objectively. In fact when they come under pressure or there is an emergency this is a natural fall-back position for them to take and will often get them out of trouble – the trine often comes to our rescue as a response to squares and oppositions but otherwise can lay fallow. We can see why this configuration and others like it show up frequently in the charts of scientists and intellectual and technical thinkers, but it could also manifest itself in many others ways, such as orators or diplomats, even in artists like bards and sci-fi authors who explore ideas or use the spoken or written word.

Since the trine as an aspect that tends to lay fallow until called upon it is often undeveloped and contains untapped potential. The lack of urgency in dealing with the trine aspect as compared to the square and opposition and certain conjunctions means that I have rarely had people come to me asking me to help them with their trines. It’s also harder as a result to identify the presence of a trine in someone’s behaviour as by contrast their squares, oppositions and spiky conjunctions stick out sharply. We also tend to dismiss the things that we achieve through our trines, hand-waving them away as “easy” without really fully appreciating what we have accomplished. The effort we put into overcoming the challenges, stress and pressure of the squares and oppositions means that they often feel more important, more fulfilling and more significant to us. The rewards of trines often feel unearned in comparison. However we underestimate ourselves when we measure our successes only by what we overcome through blood, sweat and tears.

While it is often difficult to discern the influence of a single trine in a chart it is far easier to perceive when trines arrange themselves into aspect patterns, in particular the Grand Trine composed of three or more objects each spaced 120° apart from the others and all in different signs, i.e. there is at least one object in each of the three signs that belong to an Element and all of them are in trine to one another. For example, a Sun in Aries, a Moon in Leo and a Jupiter in Sagittarius, all near to 120° apart from one another, will form a Grand Trine across all of the Fire signs. This is effectively 3 trines working in tandem to form a near equilateral triangle in the chart. A Grand Trine will display very strongly the power and magic of the Element in which the trines take place. It will be easily identifiable to others but it is even more of a fall-back option than a single trine or a network of unconnected trines – it is something that we could even be largely unconscious of until the time comes for it to be called upon to get us out of a sticky situation. This is when others look at us and wonder at our great fortune or how we managed to get away with it, which is something that stands out and is remembered. The impression is that it’s all down to luck or talent and that some of us are born with it while others are not, but the reality is that our acceptance of situations and our inclination to fall back on innate strengths and a positive outlook is what generates the fortunate outcome. Squares and oppositions are things we resist but trines are about accepting without judgment, about going with the flow and attempting to utilize or channel its momentum to our advantage. This requires trust, principally in ourselves and our capabilities, even a leap of faith at times, all of which brings us back to the nature of Jupiter.

Sounds all good, right? Not really. While these kinds of influences are welcome, they are often welcomed without proper discernment or moderation. To put it bluntly, what is it that we are accepting about ourselves or life, what are we not resisting or enjoying too much of? This question is extremely important when it comes to the expression of a trine. I have seen many cases of people with an abundance of trines who get too much of a bad thing or accept things they should not and just go on living with situations they should seek to grow out of. Since there is no emergency, no pressure, nothing happens. The nature of the planets in a trine aspect and the overall tone of the chart as a whole can lead to these kinds of situations. Additionally, a trine is a lazy, complacent aspect. It doesn’t lead to growth, does not help us question ourselves or our behaviour and does not foster change, instead maintaining form and recharging resources. Grand Trines can actually make us apathetic and unconcerned with responsibility, qualities which can lead to criminal behaviour. Some astrologers say that the trine lacks motivation, but I think what they really mean is that it lacks urgency. There is motivation in this aspect but it’s not the motivation to do something, it’s more the motivation or innate capacity to be something, something that is symbolically encoded in the planets, signs, temples and Element involved. We can be motivated by sticks of punishing necessity, but we can also be motivated by the carrot of what we enjoy doing.

Additionally while a trine (or a series of them) which connects to a complex of hard and challenging aspects can help to relieve the pressure generated by the more difficult areas of the chart it could also remove the pressure that causes the person to act on the difficult pattern, they might just accept it. Think of a person trapped in an abusive relationship with someone that they do not break free of because in their view the person’s behaviour is just something that they have to live with. The acceptance and contentment of the trine can become a complacent poison as well as an antidote. This is all down to the consciousness of the individual and their choices, but if a trine is left to waste (meaning we do not develop its potentials) it can happen more easily.

Every aspect of course has to be evaluated within the context of the entirety of the astrology involved as well as by the details of its position but aside from the universal characteristics described above individual pairings of planets can also be delineated, for instance the Mercury/Saturn combination from the example. Some planetary pairings are easier to delineate than others in this way; outer planet combinations are usually where people find the most difficulty in understanding. Many astrological books have been written from this perspective – actually “many” is a vast understatement, there are shelves and shelves of astrological books delving into what each individual pairing of planets means for every aspect, including of course the trine. However with seven traditional planets and a growing number of modern ones the number of these planet/planet combinations is exponentially cascading. One can imagine that these astrological “cookbooks” of the future will have to run to many volumes! I do not even have the space in this exploration to delineate what the general characteristics of all of these planetary combinations for the trine are. However, fortunately there is another way we can examine the aspect, a way of drilling down into a deeper layer of detail that does not involve the planetary combinations, and this is done through examining the pairings of signs. For example, Libra can be in a trine with either Gemini or Aquarius and each of these two trines will have individual characteristics which apply generally and universally. Examining the aspect in this way will also give us insight into the workshop of each of the Elements.


Trines involving the Fire signs are the most outgoing, warming, electric and life affirming trines. They represent connections which affirm our will to live life fully and broadly, in enjoyment of all it offers. They are abundant sources of motivation, enthusiasm, spirit, guts, self assurance, confidence and optimism. Talents which flow from these aspects can be very physical, such as athletic or sport related talent, or of the spirit, such as charismatic leadership qualities or innate faith. There is often a dramatic, colourful, artistic and creative power that can be tapped. The three Fire signs of Aries, Leo and Sagittarius produce three individual types of Fire trine – Aries/Leo, Aries/Sagittarius and Leo/Sagittarius.

The trine aspect between Aries and Leo is the most charismatic, willful, domineering, enterprising and confident kind. It is imbued with a courageous heart and an undaunted spirit, often has enviable creative talent and unlocks the raw power of the planets involved. Let’s look at some examples. All of the charts in this journey are examples of Grand Trines, chosen because they will display the power of the trine more visibly.

Leonardo Da Vinci has a trine between Mercury in Aries and Pluto in Leo showing his capacity for deep thought taking form through art.

Andy Warhol has trines from his Moon in Aries to a Sun/ascendant conjunction in Leo as well as a Mercury/Uranus trine (with Uranus in Aries). This helps us to understand the source of his creative inventiveness and the innate artistry in his spirit.

Henry Ford has trines from a Sun/Mercury conjunction in Leo to Neptune in Aries, a visionary combination obviously related to both business and transportation but also to a silver tongued gift with persuasion and image building.

Bill Gates has a trine from his Moon in Aries to Uranus in Leo, an ambitious and tech oriented trine that enjoys being seen and breaking new ground.

JP Morgan has a conjunction of Venus and Pluto in Aries in trine with a Mars and Jupiter conjunction in Leo. This trine is about power, mass influence and over-brimming confidence.

Maya Angelou has a Sun/Jupiter conjunction in Aries in trine with her Leo ascendant, clearly symbolizing a defiant spirit with a will to survive and capacity to squeeze life for every drop of enjoyment.

Winston Churchill has Chiron in Aries in a trine with Uranus in Leo, something that helps to explain his charismatic ability to calm and assure the masses in a time of suffering.

The trine aspect between Aries and Sagittarius is more of a mission oriented trine looking for adventure and excitement, something to aim at that will help it distinguish itself. Its talents are its innate honesty (especially if this can be turned upon inner exploration), its capacity to grasp the importance of its actions on a broader scope and scale, a spirit of enterprise and exploration and an almost prophetic grasp of the big picture with an ability to foresee what is oncoming.

French Impressionist Renoir, known for his celebration of beauty and the feminine, has a trine between Jupiter in its own sign of Sagittarius and a conjunction of Moon, Venus and Pluto in Aries.

William Blake has a similar Jupiter in Sagittarius in conjunction with his Sun with both in trine to an Aries midheaven.

Michelangelo has a trine between Venus in Aries and a Sagittarius ascendant and he painted the Sistene chapel with beautiful, dynaamic religious icons.

Nostradamus has an Aries ascendant in trine with Pluto in Sagittarius, a component of his astrology which helped him perform his divinations.

Charles Dickens has a complex connection between Mars in Aries and a Moon/Neptune conjunction in Sagittarius, another visionary influence but one that is also breathtakingly industrious at work and motivated to improve the lot of life and the tenor of society.

Finally, the Leo/Sagittarius combination is often connected with a source of faith and belief, either sourced in ones being or in some external force, but it is also connected with the urge to improve the self, fervency, charm, adventurous exploration, magnanimity, joviality and good humour. There is a bright, positive, hopeful, forward looking cheeriness to these trines. Talents connected to the Leo/Sagittarius trines often serve to lighten the atmosphere, lift spirits, entertain and provide illumination.

Zany humorist Spike Milligan has a conjunction of Saturn and Neptune in Leo in a trine with his Sagittarius midheaven. He struggled with bipolar disorder and often used black humour as a vent.

“Somewhere over the rainbow” Wizard of Oz actress Judy Garland was born with a Grand Trine in Fire involving Neptune in Leo trine Mars in Sagittarius (the third point in the Grand Trine is Chiron in Aries). She was gifted with a contralto vocal range (the lowest and hence most masculine female vocal range) and was renowned for her versatility as an actress. She is a film legend and a gay icon.

Madonna, another entertainment legend, has Uranus in Leo trine Saturn in Sagittarius, an aspect which symbolises a lasting mass appeal and ability to establish new trends but also the creative use of religious iconography. It also gives her charm and a talent for taking control of her own creative direction.

Prolific horror novelist Stephen King has a conjunction of Saturn and Pluto in Leo in a trine with Moon in Sagittarius (in the 5th temple of creative output). With the two (hugely compelling) planets most closely connected to death in the creative (storytelling) sign of Leo pouring inspiration into his mind’s eye so directly, King is oft quoted as saying he couldn’t have done anything else. I have a look at King’s chart here.

Victorian era novelist George Eliot was born with Mars in Leo in a trine with Venus in Sagittarius. She assumed a masculine pen name, changing her name from Mary Ann Evans, and is known for her vivid depictions of both the countryside and human emotions and drives.


These trines form connections in the mental plane that enable learning, communication and social interaction to flow more easily. They do not increase intelligence (nor do the Air signs) but rather lead to an increase in knowledge and intelligence through an acceptance of the need to learn and acquire more information, whether from books, people or contemplation, in other words through an awareness that there is always more to learn and an acceptance of that fact. There is light-hearted, watchful, logical, adaptable and freedom loving energy to these trines which manifests in many talents, including cleverness, wit, diplomacy, debate, objectivity, subject knowledge (usually broad and unfocused) and the pursuit of truth. The three Air signs of Gemini, Libra and Aquarius produce a trinity of trines – Gemini/Libra, Gemini/Aquarius and Libra/Aquarius.

The Gemini/Libra pairing emphasises the social and personal interaction of the Air Element. It is focused on communication with other human beings (or other living beings) and with ease in forming connections (including between concepts). It also emphasises social conditions and questions like equality and balance within society as well as within personal relationship and is good at asking the right questions and uncovering the truth. Its talents include being able to smooth over disagreements, establish common ground, the forming of links and connections between ideas and people and all kinds of persuasion.

Leonardo da Vinci (see Aries/Leo) was born with Chiron in Gemini trine Saturn in Libra. He had a deep love of animals and according to one of his many friends had the habit of purchasing caged birds and releasing them. As well as being a painter he was also an architect, engineer, sculptor, scientist and scribe who became known for his notebooks.

Harlan Ellison was born with a Sun/Chiron conjunction in Gemini in a trine with a Libra ascendant. The author of many well-known science-fiction stories Harlan is unusual in that he was well known for being “the most contentious person on the planet”. His reputation for being difficult with others and for providing shock value (filing many lawsuits and once sending a publisher over 200 bricks post due and a dead gopher by 4th class mail) became part of his charm and appeal.

Antonin Artaud was a leading theatrical theorist inspired by the occult, ancient cosmology, Balinese dancers and his many stays in psychiatric sanatoriums. Although his life was deeply troubled this served as the inspiration which left an indelible mark on the theatrical world. His chart shows a cluster of trines from Mars, Neptune and Pluto in Gemini to a Libra ascendant and Mercury.

Agatha Christie, the author of the greatest sleuthing mysteries ever published, had a tight Neptune/Pluto conjunction in Gemini in trines with the Moon and Mercury in Libra. She is well known for her characterisation, creating both Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot, and also for her inventive plots with devilish twists. The trine with the Moon is part of a Grand Trine including Jupiter in Aquarius.

Oprah Winfrey is the most famous talk show host in the world. Her Jupiter in Gemini is trine an Aquarius midheaven and part of a Grand Trine including a Sun/Mercury conjunction in Aquarius. She is famous for being able to talk to anybody about anything.

Gemini/Aquarius trines bring out the inventiveness of the Air Element. They supply insight, originality, unorthodoxy, love of change, liberty and freedom. This is an aspect that refuses to be contained or delineated by boundaries or labels and helps us to stand out in a distinctive way or unusual manner. It is revolutionary and rebellious without being too disruptive. Its talents include vocal gifts, lyricism, wildness, eclecticism and unpredictability.

Prince was born with a Grand Trine involving the Sun in Gemini and Chiron in Aquarius with Jupiter in Libra as the third point. He turned his social awkwardness, insecurity and shyness into a blessing with a falsetto voice and a knack for flamboyant displays. He was androgynous and consistently experimented with his own identity, famously changing his name to “The Artist Formerly Known As Prince” following a dispute with his record company and adopting an unpronounceable sigil as his stage name.

Jim Morrison was the lead singer of The Doors and a musical shaman who gave unpredictable and wild performances. He was the first rock artist to be arrested onstage during a live performance (a feat he produced many more times). His chart shows a conjunction of Mars and Uranus in Gemini in trine with an Aquarius ascendant.

Janis Joplin once hit Jim Morrison over the head with a bottle of whiskey during a fight at a party, referring to him as “that asshole” forever after. She had a powerful stage presence, wore her heart on her sleeve, kicked against the status quo, sang the blues as a white woman when that was daring and had a ‘chainsaw’ voice that resonated with sorrows and pain. Her chart shows a Saturn/Uranus conjunction in Gemini in a trine with Mercury in Aquarius (in the 12th temple).

John F. Kennedy announced the Moon missions and spoke about liberty and American freedom in speeches that are still quoted today. His chart displays a Grand Trine involving Venus in Gemini, Uranus in Aquarius and a Libra ascendant.

The combination of Libra/Aquarius tends to focus on broad social issues and reforms and with the relationship between the individual and society. Trines between these two signs broaden our contacts and enable us to form connections in a way similar to the Gemini/Aquarius trines but with more diplomacy and less contention or controversy. Talents related to this pairing include negotiation, mediation, creative originality, impartiality and objectivity, ability to consider all perspectives equally and emotional detachment.

Petrarch was an Italian Renaissance poet now considered the father of Humanism who argued that God had given humanity intellectual curiosity as a gift. He was born with a Grand Trine in Air involving Uranus in Libra, Pluto in Aquarius and Venus in Gemini.

William Butler Yeats was a poet and author whose inventive and unconventional style drew upon symbolism and a mastery of traditional forms as well as mysticism, spiritualism and the occult. He was born with a Grand Trine formed from an exalted Saturn in Libra, Moon in Aquarius and a Sun/Uranus conjunction in Gemini.

Friedrich Nietzsche had the Sun in Libra in a trine with Neptune in Aquarius and Mercury in Libra trine Saturn in Aquarius. He was a visionary philosopher and student of language who had a giant impact on intellectual thought, in particular developing responses to nihilism and eternal return (the notion that all existence is recurring infinitely). “If our soul has trembled with happiness and sounded like a harp string just once, all eternity was needed to produce this one event”.

Giuseppe Verdi composed some of the most famous and popular operas in the world including Aida, La traviata and Falstaff. His chart shows a Grand Trine involving a tight Sun/Mercury (probably cazimi) in Libra in a trine with Mars on the Aquarius midheaven and a Gemini ascendant.


Water sign trines (and Water in general) helps us to know what we and others feel. We may not necessarily understand or even be able to communicate those feelings but we will be put in touch with them. These combinations are often more privately or invisibly expressed and are therefore somewhat more mysterious and enigmatic, and they often relate to feelings of dependency that are easy to fulfill. The talents that stem from these aspects can include psychic gifts, empathy, compassion, imagination, emotional force or clarity, calmness and loyalty. Ultimately they help us to be content by accepting what is felt. Water sign trines come in three combinations, Cancer/Scorpio, Cancer/Pisces and Scorpio/Pisces.

Cancer/Scorpio is adept at creating protected, private worlds in which the imagination and dream can flourish. If Aries/Sagittarius is the offensive master then Cancer/Scorpio is the defensive strategist. These trines are nurturing, protective, loyal and devoted, extremely private and sensitive. They furnish us with talents like intuition, foreboding, canniness, eroticism, shrewdness, spirituality, asceticism, preparedness and instinct.

Michelangelo was born under two Grand Trines in Water, both involving Saturn in Cancer. One is formed by Uranus in Scorpio and Mars in Pisces the other by Neptune in Scorpio and Sun in Pisces. He spent four years on his back painting the ceiling of the Sistene Chapel and lived an extremely frugal and impoverished lifestyle despite dying as one of the richest men in Florence.

Nostradamus (see also Aries/Sagittarius) had a Grand Trine in Water composed of Mars, Jupiter and Saturn conjunct in Cancer, Moon in Scorpio and Uranus in Pisces. He used astrology and bowls of water as a divinatory tool to access the Akasha.

Goethe, the German novelist, playwright and scientist who had a profound influence on Western culture, was gifted with a trine between Neptune in Cancer and Pluto in Scorpio as one side of a Grand Trine involving Jupiter in Pisces. His play “Faust” is perhaps the most famous supernatural play ever written and involves not just devils from folklore but also faeries and spirits.

Mata Hari (her stage name) was a French exotic dancer whose love for a German officer embroiled her in espionage. She was later accused of being a double agent and executed, although there is suspicion that she was used as a scapegoat by the French authorities. Her chart shows an exalted Venus in Cancer in a trine with Jupiter in Scorpio on the ascendant.

Cancer/Pisces is one of the more passive combinations in the zodiac, it is almost incapable of making any naked grabs for things. There is enormous sensitivity and vulnerability (far greater than other Water sign combinations) and an avoidance of attention, making these trines perfect for subtle, unseen, stealthy approaches. It can also be acquisitive, enjoying and finding ease when it comes to getting what it feels it needs emotionally. There is also great imagination as the astral senses are impressionable. Some talents which emerge from this combination include care-giving, calming, soothing, pacifying, dreaming, disarming, cleansing and comforting abilities.

Hugh Hefner had a trine between Pluto in Cancer and the Moon in Pisces. He was the founder of “Playboy” magazine and its clubs and franchise and lived a bon-vivant lifestyle. This was a time when sex itself was far more taboo than it is today and Hefner also took controversial attitudes such as support of homosexuality.

Jules Verne had a Grand Trine in Water involving an exalted Venus in Pisces and Saturn in Cancer with the third point being a tight conjunction of the Moon and Jupiter in Scorpio. He authored some of most popular adventure and exploration stories of all time (“Journey to the Centre of the Earth”, “Around the World in Eighty Days” and “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea”) and he is the second most translated author in the world (between Christie and Shakespeare). You can read more about Verne’s astrology in this journey.

Aretha Franklin was born with the Moon in its ruling sign of Cancer in trine with Mercury in Pisces and Scorpio ascendant. She is regarded as the Queen of Soul music and has and continues to provide strong feels, comfort and pleasure to billions of people.

George Michael was born under a Water Grand Trine involving his Cancer ascendant, Chiron in Pisces on the midheaven (ouch) and Neptune in Scorpio. He had to transform his career by coming out as gay and like Franklin his music continues to provide strong but mostly unseen and astral emotional support to billions of souls.

Scorpio/Pisces is the part of the Water triad that focuses on the mystical, unseen and spiritual dimensions. It is overflowing with imagination, deep insight into feelings, psychic potential, mystery and emotional power. This combination can also have a smoldering sex appeal or enigmatic sexuality, ability to obfuscate, misdirect or evade, astral magic, healing gifts or talents which allow it to transform and transmute emotions. Some of the talents I have seen in this combination include those that belong to psychic detectives with genuine gifts, counseling and therapeutic gifts, musical sensitivity, divination, acceptance of sexuality and mercy.

Marilyn Monroe was born with Saturn in Scorpio in trines with Mars and Uranus in Pisces. We can see the combination of sexuality and vulnerability in this mixture, but also her ability to weather hardship and unexpected twists of fate. She was probably quite psychic but left this undeveloped.

Kenneth Williams, another vulnerable soul, was born with Saturn in Scorpio in a trine with Uranus in Pisces. He is known for his comedy performances in the “Carry On” films and in later life for his diaries and interviews, in which he was the master of the anecdotal story. In many ways the depression he suffered found an outlet through his ability to make other people laugh.

Billie Holiday had a triple conjunction of Mercury, Mars and Chiron in Pisces in trine with a Scorpio midheaven. She was known for her vocal delivery and her impact on jazz music as well as for a life of tragedy, abuse, imprisonment, insanity and addiction – the triple conjunction of Pisces is in a painful square with a Saturn/Pluto conjunction in Gemini. This is a good example of how soft aspects can help to relieve the pain of harder aspects – or enable them through acceptance.

Leonardo DiCaprio came to fame in the movie “Titanic”. He is born with a Grand Trine in Water made of Mars in Scorpio (unsinkable ship), Jupiter in Pisces (iceberg) and a Cancer (sentimental) midheaven. Sometimes the symbolism is quite literal. The Mars/Jupiter trine also aptly symbolises his philanthropic efforts in later life.


The final set of trines emphasises material and physical support and the ability to ground oneself as a way out of challenges or difficulties. What flows in these aspects are resources and more importantly common sense, pragmatism and practical know-how. When the chips are down an Earth trine can find needed supplies or fall back on mechanisms that engineer a solution. It has support from infrastructure but also from internal stability and consistency – the person is just more reliable. The talents that emerge from these aspects include the ability to focus and concentrate more easily and for longer, endurance, persistence, love of nature and the senses, all kinds of therapies for the body, efficiency, sobriety, thriftiness, humility, realism and productivity. The triad of Earth signs produce three combinations, Taurus/Virgo, Taurus/Capricorn, and Virgo/Capricorn.

Taurus/Virgo is the part of the Earth Element that works at things, it is the industrious, labour-intensive, practice makes perfect corner of the workshop. The qualities that emerge from this combination are often related to consistency and reliability in the tasks that we enjoy doing, an ease with sticking to the plan and following the model, capacity to get through the drudgery or the boring work, being in positions where we are able to provide support and help to others or receive it, mechanical and engineering aptitudes and various talents such as structural analysis, being a wordsmith, healing modalities, logic, agricultural skill and “green fingers”, accounting acumen, conservation of resources and practical instruction.

Lewis Carroll, author of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”, entered life with a Grand Trine in Earth composed of Chiron in Taurus, Saturn in Virgo and Mercury in Capricorn. The eldest son of a pastor born Charles Dodgson, Carroll suffered from physical problems (an asymmetrical body, a weak chest, deafness in one ear, a stammer) but unlike many authors lived a comfortable life financially. At the age of 11 his father moved into a spacious rectory where the family lived for the next 25 years and following the commercial success of Alice he enjoyed substantial sums of money.

Oscar Wilde was born with a Grand Trine in Earth involving Uranus in Taurus, Virgo rising and a conjunction of Jupiter and Chiron in Capricorn (on the cusp of his 5th house of theatre). He was a free spirit imprisoned for living openly as a homosexual in Victorian England and whose wit, conversational skill and intelligence are renowned. He was one of the most famous people of his time (Uranus generates mass appeal, often with notoriety and controversy) and his father was a knight who was Ireland’s leading eye and ear surgeon. He used the inheritance from the sale of his fathers properties to set himself up in London, where he became world famous.

Ludwig Wittgenstein was a logic, mind and linguistic philosopher born with a Grand Trine in Earth with a Taurus Sun/Mercury, Virgo midheaven and Jupiter in Capricorn. His insights into the meaning of language itself makes him one of the most important philosophers of the 20th century. His father was an industrial tycoon and one of the richest men in Europe (only the Rothschild’s were wealthier) – Wittgenstein grew up in a palace.

Luciano Pavarotti was one of the most popular opera singers of all time. He has trines from Uranus and the midheaven in Taurus (the throat) to a conjunction of Neptune and Venus in Virgo on the cusp of the 2nd temple (physical resources). At the time of his death his net worth was measured in the hundreds of millions of dollars but he also left many debts (Neptune causes things to slip through our grasp).

Taurus/Capricorn is the most acquisitive and resourceful part of the Earth Element. Aside from supplying us with physical and material resources these trines are also extremely grounding and disciplined, patient and conservative. They can supply us not only with wealth and possessions but also the fundamental ability to handle real life. Whereas in times of crisis an Air trine falls back on objectivity, a Water trine on feeling and a Fire trine on action, the Earth trine falls back on an acceptance of fundamental realities and this combination is the master of that tactic. Some of the talents of a Taurus/Capricorn trine include resourcefulness, restraint, stoicism, tolerance, endurance, staying power, authority, stability and sensuality (enjoyment of the physical senses).

Mark Rockefeller is the great-grandson of oil magnate John D. Rockefeller (considered the richest American in history and the richest person in modern history after adjusting for inflation). His chart has a Grand Trine in Water – exalted Jupiter in Cancer (family wealth), Neptune in Scorpio (underground oil), Saturn in Pisces (oil again) – as well as a trine from the Dragons Head in Taurus in the 4th (family history) to Capricorn rising.

Lucille Ball is one of the most well known faces in the entertainment industry. She was an actress, comedian and producer, in 1962 becoming the first woman to run a major television studio (which produced “Star Trek” and “Mission Impossible”), but is most famous for her sitcom “I Love Lucy”. At the time of her death she had a net worth of around 80 million dollars in todays terms.

William Wordsworth was a poet who was instrumental in launching the romantic era of literature in the early 19th century. He grew up in a mansion in the Lake District of England and nature is a pervasive theme in his poetry (see “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud”). He was born under a Grand Trine in Earth involving Uranus in Taurus, Pluto in Capricorn and a conjunction of the Moon and Neptune at a Virgo midheaven. A long term acquaintance once said of him “He looks like a man that one must not speak to unless one has some sensible thing to say.”

Carrie Fisher was born into a show business family, dropping out of high school at 16 to appear on Broadway. In her early 20s she found lifelong fame as Princess Leia in “Star Wars” and left a fortune estimated at 25 million dollars. She spoke honestly about the harsh realities of Hollywood, bipolar disorder and drug addiction. She was born with a Grand Trine in Earth – Moon in Taurus, Capricorn rising, and a Venus/Jupiter conjunction in Virgo.

Virgo/Capricorn is the area of the Earth Element that regulates, controls, nails down. It is concerned with following the rules and the proper method, with doing things with precision and exactness and aiming at perfection through the step by step process of scaling ambitions, acquiring the skill, practice and experience and saving up the resources to make designs manifest. This trine can confer honours and recognition from institutions. It is often gifted with problem solving talents that combine both wisdom and fine analysis into simple solutions. Planets in trine through these signs can be productive, efficient, frugal, careful, diligent, responsible, fruitful, organised, reliable and modest.

Immanuel Kant, author of “Critique of Pure Reason”, became one of the most influential figures in philosophy, introducing a Copernican scale revolution in his theory of perception and the notion that things exist as themselves independent of observation and that this inherent nature is unknowable. It is said that neighbours could set their clocks by his daily walks. His chart features an Earth Grand Trine of Moon and Pluto in Virgo, Saturn and midheaven in Capricorn and Neptune in Taurus rising.

Rudyard Kipling, author of “The Jungle Book”, wrote many classics of children’s literature and poems about British soldiers in India (where he grew up) and contributed greatly to the development of the short story format. He received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1907 and was the first English writer to receive that award. His chart displays a Grand Trine of Virgo rising, a tight Sun/Jupiter conjunction in Capricorn and Pluto in Taurus.

Alan Whicker was a journalist who interviewed thousands of people and investigated stories with a satirical tone. His globe trotting career aimed to inform and entertain rather than preach and he was awarded a CBE for services to broadcasting. His chart has an Earth Grand Trine of an almost exact Mercury/Venus conjunction in Virgo, trine to a Moon/Jupiter conjunction in Capricorn and a Taurus midheaven.

Jack Nicholson is one of the most celebrated and accomplished actors of the 20th century, with 3 Oscars and 12 nominations (making him the most nominated actor in Academy Award history). His chart has a Moon in Virgo, Jupiter in Capricorn and Taurus Mercury in a Grand Trine.

That’s it for this month, I hope you have all enjoyed this journey and I look forward to going on another with you next month! If you would like to support the growth of this site please consider joining me on Patreon, or write to me at if you would like to have a session discussing your chart, and thank you for reading!

2 comments on “Cosmic Carrots: On Trines and Grand Trines

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