When two or more people’s energies combine, it makes for a group tapestry interwoven with the persons’ combined elements, zodiac signs, planets and geometry. This is what synastry—or relationship astrology—is based on. In any given chart, it’s helpful to have a variety of aspects, for each serves one’s evolution in very specific ways. The most commonly analyzed aspects in astrology are the conjunction, sextile, square, trine, and opposition. This article discusses one such interwoven aspect (or planetary angle) between two people: the square. This is the astrological term given when any two planets form a right angle (that’s 90 degrees).
Astrologers often give a great deal of credence to the notion that squares generate friction. Well, yes, they do. Friction may begin with the letter f, but it is not a four-letter word. It is friction that catalyzes change; it is friction that generates action; it is friction that spawns growth. Without friction, not a heck of a lot happens. So let’s remove the unnecessary fear that has been disseminated ever since squares got associated with tension. Because really, put these planetary squares under the microscope, and what you’ll see is a whole lot of very excited molecules.
Now, to be fair, if the excitement doesn’t abate for a spell, what once felt exciting can start to rub you the wrong way. And that’s one of the cautions when dealing with squares in synastry. While this combined flavor may generate a lot of heat and chemistry—perhaps the initial factor in bringing two people together—it’s an energy that is best tapped into with conscious application. After all, the degree of spice is the difference between a dish being edible or not.
So when two people’s energies create a square, the guiding principle is to treat it as an amber street signal: proceed with caution. If you can imagine two perpendicular vehicles arriving at an intersection at the same time, only one of them will have right-of-way. If you’ve got a square in your synastry, then you may need to give some thought as to which situations confer right-of-way to whom, when that synastry square is activated. This is compromise. And it’s a key requirement with squares, unless you thrive on relentless tension.
When you experience a synastry square, you’re essentially bumping into your partner’s discernible differences: There is a marked difference in your motivations, goals, viewpoints, and attitudes. And that can be exciting, intriguing, and attractive. But without compromise, a synastry square can make one or both parties feel boxed in. It can feel as though the two of you don’t speak the same language. That difficulty in comprehending each other can gradually lead to the agonizing question will I ever truly know you? Or you really don’t get me at all.
Consider that two planets in square aspect highlight the difference between day and night. They differ by element and by active or passive (electric or magnetic, male or female, yin or yang) polarity. So, of course, there is going to be some resistance between these interacting planets. And yet a plane cannot take off without resistance to the air currents. You can’t buffet yourself from dynamic tension, so you might as well work with the energy that synastry squares create, in order to mine some of their riches.
Not All Squares Are Created Equally
Some planetary pairings are easier to work with than others. This is true regardless of the aspect they make. For instance, if one person’s planet in Gemini squares the other’s planet in Virgo, then Mercury may have a strong role (as planetary ruler of both of these signs) in mediating the way this square gets expressed by both partners. The same can be said if one person’s planet in Sagittarius squares the other’s planet in Pisces. Jupiter, as ruling planet of both signs, can bestow some common ground between the partners.
As we consider that planets in square operate through different elements, it’s also fair to say that some elemental differences are easier to combine than others. Let’s take air and water for starters: when each partner works towards a common goal, they generate steam on a good day. Without joint focus and awareness, it’s one long foggy day. In a similar vein, fire and water can be quite successful at negotiating their elemental differences; instinctively each partner senses that they can easily annihilate each other if they resort to low vibrational behavior. And yet fire and water also hold out the promise of sweet relief for each other when bringing their best selves to the table.
Partnership—the kind that has some legs for long-term growth—needs a mixture of soft and dynamic energy to keep both partners invested. Some of the tension inherent in a synastry square will be offset by any trines between both of your luminaries and ascendants. Also take note of any mutable aspects between personal planets that can offset a cardinal or fixed square. It may help to remember that the two of you perhaps share similar approaches to life. After all, in spite of a difference in elements, your synastry square shares the same modality. If it’s cardinal, you both take a proactive approach. If it’s fixed, you both lean into dependability. If it’s mutable, you are very capable of making accommodations.
Synastry squares add dimension to what might otherwise be a flat landscape. There is no denying that a synastry square offers a channel of highly stimulating energy. Consider your square as offering the hit you need to prevent you from getting into a rut. It’s the jolt you get from your morning hit of caffeine.
The question for you to consider is how you wish to harness this energy. In aid of that, it will help to have specific goals to work towards, either as an individual, or as a couple. If the two of you are in it for the long haul, you may want to think of yourself as an Amazing Race team. The square provides some tangents that force you to work together if you’re going to get back on track and win the prize (or accomplish whatever feat you’re working towards).
So how do you work together when synastry squares can so easily pull you apart? Start with a good dose of compassion. Sure, you’re perfect (right?!) but your partner may still be working their stuff out. So easy does it on the blame game…otherwise known as take the log out of your own eye before trying to remove the speck out of your partner’s. And pick your battles; if you attempt to “correct” every ailment you perceive in your partner, you’ll have very little success with the issues that are truly, for you, non-negotiable. And, should you choose a high-stakes battle, you can still convey your message from a place of compassion. Opt for non-violent communication.
The synastry square is one that will push you both into upping your adult communication skills. It’s a soul-testing aspect, to be sure. Yet choosing to see and to value each other’s admirable qualities goes a long way to mitigating some of the prickly nature of the square. And so does choosing to express the highest vibration of that energy that you can. This is where alchemy comes into play; you ‘work’ that square and, in so doing, you become more like each other. So go ahead and rise up to, rather than side-step, the friction.[/show_to]