Teeing the square…


The t-square.

If I had a dollar for every person who said something like:

  • My t-square is holding me back
  • I’d do it if it weren’t for my t-square
  • I hate my t-square

I’d be a very rich astrologer.

The thing is,  t-squares, as frustrating and troublesome as they are when they appear in your chart (or in the sky as a transiting aspect pattern), are also highly motivational.

More very successful people have t-squares in their charts than the easier, more harmonious aspect patterns.

Why? Because they have learned how to make the most of the potential inherent in this much tension. Also, people with t-squares in their chart are used to having to work for everything- very little comes easily and they don’t expect that this will be the case. They succeed because they understand this.

People with this sort of challenge in their charts tend to deal with challenging transits more easily than those to whom hardship is not something that they live with daily. Relatively speaking and all other things being equal, of course.

When you have a t-square in your chart, you have two choices- you can either step up to the plate, grab the ball, mix your metaphors and run with it or you can wallow in dissatisfaction, frustration and a chronic case of  “why is it so hard?”

As challenging as it is, a t-square can motivate you to do something about your situation- whatever that may be.

So, what is a t-square?

A t-square is formed when 2 planets in opposition both form a square to a third planet.

Looking at the example below we can see that:

  • The Sun (Taurus) and Moon (Scorpio) are in opposition.
  • The Sun squares Uranus (Leo)
  • The Moon squares Uranus.

While some astrologers do include out of sign aspects, I don’t. For this reason, another rule:

  • T-squares will be in the same mode

I use orbs of no more than 5 degrees (applying and separating) unless the Sun or Moon is involved. In aspects involving the Sun or Moon, I use orbs of 10 degrees.

Because we’re talking about squares and oppositions, there’s no doubt that this pattern is challenging, so how do we deal with them?

What is the mode?

  • All planets are in cardinal signs? You will be motivated towards action, actually doing something about something. Doing nothing should not be an option for you- no matter the discomfort that activity brings.
  • All planets are in fixed signs? You are no stranger to hard work and perseverance- once you get started. You are, however slow to start and may resist change until you are ready to move.
  • All planets are in flexible or mutable signs? You accept change, are happy to change course and learn and absorb new ideas but often lack the staying power or intestinal fortitude required to complete the work required.

In the example below, Lauren has a fixed t-square…

Chart-27 copy

What is the planet at the “stalk”?

The planet that is being squared is said to be the “stalk” of the t-square. In Lauren’s chart, this is Uranus. This is the planet that must be worked with and understood in order to deal effectively with the opposition and maximise the incredible potential in the chart.

Uranus in the first house needs to act with absolute freedom of will. This is a placement where people may try and stop you from doing what is in accordance with your own authenticity. Your response when Uranus is calling the shots? Just try and stop me!

Leo Ascendants, however, need to feel pride and self respect- this can sometimes be a perceived roadblock preventing you from being completely you- regardless of how it looks.

What is at the empty leg?

Look at the point directly opposite the “stalk” planet. Is there anything there? Regardless of whether there is any planet here, this point is important and could be the key to understanding the way through the tension.

In Lauren’s case. this is 17 Aquarius.

Activation of this point by transit or progression will be important times for Lauren.

Aquarian or 7th house activities will be important for Lauren- maintaining her own identity through her partnerships with others is a challenge that will reward her. Lauren has no other planets in the 7th house, so this may be an area of life where life simply happens. Normally an empty house indicates an area of life where it’s ok not to give a lot of attention- as the empty leg in a t-square, this is not the case for Lauren.

Break down each part of the aspect

In this case it will be:

  1. Sun square Uranus.
  2. Moon square Uranus
  3. Sun opposite Moon

When Uranus is in hard aspect to the luminaries, your desire for freedom, individuality may be somehow thwarted by the motivations of your Sun and/or Moon. You may feel that people overlook you, misunderstand you or misinterpret you- this is partly true as you have a restless, unpredictable streak that you’ve learned over the years to keep under control.

The challenge, when Uranus is involved, is to maintain the courage of your convictions- whatever they might happen to be- in the face of what society thinks you should be doing, or saying.

The danger is in rebellion simply for the sake of change…

Are there any easy aspects coming off the t-square?

Any planet trine or sextile from any point of the t-square will provide an easing of tension, and a path through to success.

In this case, Saturn is trine the Sun.

Saturn is notoriously hard on the Sun, and people with this aspect are notoriously hard on themselves- even when we are talking about the trine or the sextiles.

Age and experience are the dual solutions to this as you learn to know your real worth only as you get older…and through this, feel comfortable expressing your true individuality only when you begin to feel worthy. When Saturn is involved, you often grow into yourself- if that makes any sort of sense.

What about you- do you have a t-square in your chart? How does it manifest for you? Have you reaped the potential yet, or are you still struggling with the frustration this brings?


  1. Excellent article, Jo! Some of us with multiple grand trines WISH we had t-squares. Or any squares… Everything is either handed to me too easily, or I am too busy ruminating in my oppositions. Squares are powerful motivators. They may hit me hard in transits, or in my interactions with others, but I find I am thankful for their influence when they hit.

    1. Thanks 🙂 I agree- it’s the toughies that push you to your tipping point & over. Trines are lovely, but tend not to live up to their potential…I’m exactly the same as you in that regard.

  2. Hi Jo….. I have a Cardinal T square…. 6 Aries Mercury 7th house, 7 Cap Saturn 4th house, 7 Cancer Mars 10th house…. Fun! Not. I always struggle with not being reactive and keeping my mouth shut.
    I have a question…. how would a Cardinal Grand Cross be different?
    Thank you for a great article.

    1. Cardinal grand cross? Wait for next week…. 🙂 That’s one tight t square you have…

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