Natal Squares and Oppositions

Photo by Pia

Natal squares and oppositions (the hard aspects) get a bad rap. People prefer trines and sextiles, but did you know too many flowing aspects can make you lazy and unmotivated? (If you have a Grand Trine, read this awesome article on how not to become a mass murderer).

We need squares and oppositions – natally, or by progression/transit – in order to grow and learn. They are the root of action and motivation.


The essence of the square is Aries vs Cancer or Aries vs Capricorn: Cardinal signs with clashing agendas. There is innate tension in a 90º angle, which spurs a person into action. Generally, we will embody the traits of the inner planet in a square, and project the outer planet a person or event.

Example: Ralph has natal Mars square Uranus, which is an internal, tense energy of action vs. unpredictability. He embodies Mars by taking action, and projects the Uranus square into his outside environment. Every time Ralph gets motivated or sets a course of action, it seems like chaos ensues, or someone foils his plans.

Squares are frustrating, but you learn through repeated experience with them. Ralph eventually realizes he’s attracting people and events that change up his plans, keeping him on his own toes. Instead of worrying about unpredictable things happening, he could learn to work with his amazing ability to improvise. He can embrace Uranus’s good qualities in his actions: originality and intellectual genius.


Oppositions are different: this is the relationship aspect. Imagine yourself in a tug-of-war with an opponent. You’re looking them right in the face. The essence of an opposition is the Aries-Libra dynamic: my needs vs. your needs. This see-saw is almost always played out in your interactions with another person. People with lots of oppositions are often in and out of relationships because they need them to grow; they need someone else to play the other side of the opposition.

Example: Mary has Moon opposition Pluto. She’s frequently drawn to partners that are emotionally controlling. After some experience, she begins to realize that she goes back and forth between being in control of her own emotions, and feeling out of control. Mary examines her prior relationships and realizes that she often blames her partner for being manipulative, but in truth, she does the same thing in return.

Oppositions have the benefit of giving a person objectivity, because they frequently oscillate between one side of an issue to the other. They can see others’ points of view more readily.

The way to handle an opposition is to seek balance between the two energies at odds with one another. They have more in common than the squares do, but there is still a magnetic attraction/repulsion. Mary can practice control over her emotions, rather than seeking someone else to assert control on her (or vice versa).

If you lack challenging natal aspects, you can still experience them via natal progressions and transits, which will spur you first to conflict and then resolution.


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