The square aspect is typically looked at with great disdain in the astrological community. It's seen as a "hard" or "bad" aspect, with little wiggle room. The typical definition goes like this - squares represent great challenges with great rewards. They are lessons we need to learn, and create friction and ambition in the birth chart. I do not attempt to reinvent the wheel with this, but simply add to it.
When I asked some of you who have handled your square aspects well whether you thought it was because of the rulers of the planets involved or because of "outlets" ("easy" or "harmonious" aspects) to the planets involved in the square, many of you painted a different story. Some said it was both, some said it was neither, but many of you gave your experiences with your squares, whether in your own charts or client examples, as well as how you thought about and perceived your squares. A great many of you talked about having issues with your squares when you were younger, and while the lessons you learned were painful, they eventually helped you later on. Many of you talked about how you saw your squares as opportunities. I want to dive into this a little further.
Some would say that squares manifest as physical, real opportunities in life. Some would say that this manifests as ambition and opportunity in the personality. I want to introduce something I've been juggling around in my head for a few months - which is the idea that squares represent things that have to work together, even if they don't want to. It's like your least favorite, grumpiest coworker. Or like roadwork. Everyone hates it, but the fact of the matter is, it still needs to get done. Squares don't want to work together, but have to, in order to get things done. A square is how we make things work and intersect, not the work itself. I want to illustrate this with a few examples through the signs and houses, with a small note about rulership. Please understand these examples are generalized, and may differ from chart to chart, depending on the planets involved.
Squares have never made much sense to me from a rulership standpoint. I was introduced to the Thema Mundi, but that answer didn't seem to satisfy. Why do the signs Jupiter rules square each other? Why do the signs Mercury rules square each other? If a sign represents how we express things and relate to others, a square by sign would represent a conflict that needs to be resolved. In Gemini and Virgo's case, these can represent the best and more difficult sides of Mercury. Fickle, but forever laying out plans. Communicative, but perhaps unsure of the most helpful ways to share that knowledge. In Pisces and Sagittarius's case, they can represent many sides of the expansive planet, Jupiter. It can represent the urge to expand, but also to hide. It can represent the repercussions of that expansion, or even that we may be uncomfortable with our own beliefs and changing them. It recognizes the very thing that drives us - our beliefs and dreams. The Gemini and Virgo square shows us how we might act on these dreams, or experience them in reality.
When we look at the Virgo-Sagittarius square, we see someone who is unsure of the best ways to practice their beliefs. We see someone who may be afraid to act on what they believe in, or conversely, zealous about implementing those beliefs. They may be concerned about doing the "right" thing all the time.
In the Pisces-Gemini square, we see a hesitancy to share those beliefs. What if my ideas aren't accepted by my social group? What if I get made fun of for them? Will others discourage me from following my dreams? What if my ideas aren't respected? Will my ideas be taken seriously, especially in an academic or social setting? The square represents the journey from the unconcious mind to the logical one. It represents how we present our ideas to others, and communicate with them. It can also represent the struggle to bring something to life, so to speak. Everything starts with an idea, and a dream.
As for the houses, I will examine the most obvious of which- the first, fourth, seventh, and tenth houses, briefly. In the case of the first house and fourth house - we may not always agree with our family, or their beliefs. For the fourth house and seventh house - our family may not always agree with our partner, or our choice in partner. The seventh house and tenth house - our work may keep us from spending time with those we love. The first house and tenth house - sometimes, in all honesty, no matter how good the job, it can get on our nerves.
But the truth is, we need all of these things. All things connected by the square are intertwined in some way or another, whether it be by our need for harmony, a conflict of interest, or two seemingly alike things that can be just as multifaceted as everything else. We try to make our family work, whether our chosen family or biological one. We want our family to accept our spouses. We may meet our spouse through the place where we spend most of our time, work, or our work may take away time with them. We need our job, and even if we don't - we need to be out there in the community and be social. Even if none of these things seemingly have any connection whatesoever to the other, they are all intertwined, and work together. They are intertwined in this case because they all have to do with things of public nature (yes, even the family is public in nature and how it presents itself, as shown in the fourth and tenth polarity)! Because we have to try to make it work with all these things, we can't just ignore a facet of our lives, and if we do, things start to fall off the rails.
In short, squares teach us that it's not the challenge in life, but how we work with it. The square is how we make things work, not just the work itself. It's a challenge to strike harmony between all these things, but we manage, somehow. And if we don't, that's okay too, because we try.
Squares are the glue that bind us together - they teach teach us how to work with each other. Instead of harmony coming through an easy way, they teach us how to make harmony for ourselves, which, arguably, is a far greater lesson. That is why the reward is so great with a square, knowing that we've accomplished something with obstacles and circumstances that seem stacked against us. These are not like trines, things do not just come easily. But if we work with the energy, it can teach us how to make things work together, and create our own form of harmony with that.
They teach us, most importantly, that it's not about our problems in life and how we solve them, because our problems will always be there. It's about how we work with and approach them. Do we try to work with them? Do we avoid them? How we approach our problems in life is important, as is how we go about a solution. Squares can lead to a feeling of being stuck for any number of reasons. Examples can be because you are entrenched too deeply in an issue, you've thought it over again and again and again, or simply because we don't know how to make the impossible work. And that's the thing about squares - it's ok to take a break. Sometimes our mind works better with rest and reprieve, and when we forgive ourselves for not being able to solve everything, all the time, all at once. Like I said, and I hope it doesn't sound discouraging, there are a few constants in life. One of them is that we will always have issues, big and small. What matters is not always how we solve them, or that we've got the best solution, but how we approach them.
Sometimes we can do nothing about the problems we face - a mother's death, a traffic accident, or medical issues. And in those cases we just need to let ourselves grieve, in our own way. That is one approach to solving a problem, because a big aspect of that is acknowledging our feelings involved. Write it out, journal it, cry, eat some good food, be angry, whatever works for you. You may not come to a concrete, black and white answer or solution. Sometimes the answers aren't black and white. Sometimes acting on instinct is best. Sometimes we retain no power over the problems we face, except for how we choose to think about them. But wow, what a thing we can control - our perspective.
If you liked this article and it helped you understand the square aspect better, please subscribe to the newsletter at the bottom of the page. I hope this helped! I know I struggled with aspects for a long time, and I hope this is a good introduction to squares. I'll cover squares more in depth in the aspect library, where I cover all the aspects by sign, house, and planet. :)
I would love to hear what you think!
Much love and best wishes,