The Grand Trine
Grand Trines attract a lot of excitement, confusion and wishful thinking.
First of all, lets talk about the trine. The trine has always been considered the most beneficial of the aspects. It has always conveyed a meaning of ease and ability. Receiving a trine aspect from a benefic planet has always been considered a boon.
In essence, the trine is the aspect of "yes" and "can," as is the sextile on a smaller scale. The trine is an aspect of cooperation and working together harmoniously, as planets that are in trine to each other do so. The trine is the aspect of permission. On the opposite side of the aspect spectrum is the opposition, which is the aspect of no and can't.
Astrology has spent a lot of time in consideration of the importance of the number 3 and integrated much of the philosophical, geometrical and metaphysical knowledge into the astrological system. Ancient astrologers talk about what are called "triplicities" and "trigons."
The trigons are the "corners" of the chart: houses 1, 5 and 9, and were considered auspicious houses to be placed in. As the leading angle, the 1st house is the strongest house in the chartto be placed in, the 5th was called "Good Fortune" and represented children and gifts, and the 9th house was called "God," and was connected to royalty and kingship. These houses are 120 degrees away from each other.
The triplicities refers to the four elements: fire, earth, air, water, in combination with the three qualities of sign: cardinal,fixed and mutable, which gives three zodiac signs per element. Thus, the idea of a triplicity consisted of the three zodiac signs that made up the totality of the element.
In other words, the element of the grand trine matters and the triplicity needs to be complete in order to be considered one. From this we can see that the grand trine puts each element on display for public view in the totality of its expression: cardinal, fixed and mutable. This implies a certain virtuosity and versatility bestowed upon the native by the grand trine.
As a result, I am of the opinion that, in order to have a Grand Trine, all three planets (or more) involved in the configuration must be expressing the element in its totality and representing a cardinal, fixed and mutable sign in that element. My opinion is no out of sign, which would mean out of element, aspects for grand trines.
I am also of the opinion that only planets should be included in the configuration. As I have previously mentioned, asteroids and planetoids, nodes and angles have no agency of their own and are governed by the planets who rule the signs they occupy. Planets, including the outer planets, have the personal agency to effect events and outcomes.
I mentioned my opinion about the necessity for a complete "triplicity" recently, and someone disagreed with me using their out of sign "Grand Trine" in their own chart. The impression they gave of it, was like a wagon with a wheel missing; Not quite the full expression, but should still be referred to as a Grand Trine. I propose from now on that we refer to out-of-sign "grand trines" as "Grandiose Trines," not fully the real thing but aspiring to be included.
Needless to say, with a real grand trine all the wheels are on and the vehicle is triple-loaded and ready for warp speed.
Grand Trine Elements
The Earth Grand Trine - The earth is either fruitful or fallow, so production and results will be foremost in the mind of the native with this configuration. Earth is about that which is tangible, so, at best, the native will use the supplemental energies provided by the grand trine to manifest tangible results.
The Fire Grand Trine - Fire can take many shapes and forms, from a smoldering ember to a raging forest fire, so self expression, impulse and self-inflation have to be controlled for this configuration. Fire is considered of the "choleric" temperament because of its ability to destroy. The choleric temperament is connected to ire, anger, violence and rashness. Fire can be warming and comfort giving or it can destroy everything around it. The native with this configuration needs to "temper" their self-expression in order to not "burn bridges." The native who has this grand trine will generally feel great about it. The people around the native, not so much.
The Air Grand Trine - I call this "the vortex of ideas." Air is about ideas on the mental plane and the fluency with which those ideas are communicated. This should be an intensely mental and verbal configuration that should love debate and intense discussion on a variety of topics. There should be a love for all types of media and ways to "connect." The nature, depending on the planets, should be highly social and thrive on interaction. The air signs and Virgo are called "human" or "humane" because they feature humans in their sigils (someone is holding the scales of Libra, someone is holding the water pot in Aquarius), once again highlighting the need for human interaction.
The Water Grand Trine - This has the potential to be a highly sexual placement, as I have found in my research that water signs are among the most sexual of the zodiac. Scorpio is of course known for sex because of its rulership of the sex organs, but Pisces is the exaltation of Venus, who rules sex, coitus and semen. Cancer isn't typically thought of as a highly sexual sign, but it is a sign that constantly reaches for something to stabilize its emotional state. That could be food, sex, drugs, video games, etc. Using sex to fulfill emotional needs for closenes, or to just fill an emotional void is highly common and I have definitely seen high sex drive and strong motivation to acquire sex in the charts and lives of people with important Cancer placements. If you see Moon trine Jupiter trine Venus in water signs, that's a sexual dynamo. Other expressions of this grand trine are a heightening of the intuitive, empathic and absorbent aspects of water placement. Natives with this configuration may need to be more vigilant about self-protection because of the heightened sensitivity of this configuration.
Things to look for:
Is the ruler of the ascendant or the Moon involved in the configuration? They represent you in the chart, and the grand trine will express through your own behavior and actions.
Note the houses the planets in the configuration occupy and the houses they rule by sign. This will key you in to the areas of life that are being highlighted. This will also allow you to identify others who may be involved besides yourself.
The sign a planet is in matters more than signs matter in the abstract. Zodiac signs can dictate whether a planet has the ability to operate as per its own nature or not. Planets in their own signs and exaltations can operate according to their natures. Planets in the signs opposite to those are weak and unpredictable in behavior. Planets in signs where they are complete strangers (called peregrine) will act according to the condition of the ruler of the sign they occupy. Example: Jupiter in Scorpio is peregrine, and his actions will be dictated by Mars.
Watch out for Venus/Jupiter in the configuration. I've already talked about Venus/Jupiter being "too much of a good thing," and though it is usually considered a thoroughly beneficial trine, I have seen Venus/Jupiter in charts of people with all kinds of issues with addiction.
Are the trines applying or separating? If all three of the trines are applying it will intensify the configuration, even more so if there is translation. An example of an applying grand trine would be Mercury at 17 Virgo trining Venus at 21 Taurus trining Saturn at 25 Capricorn. That would be a very strong grand trine as all three planets are in their own sign. A translating grand trine would involve Mercury separating from Venus to apply to Saturn, giving him her light: Venus at 21 Taurus, Mercury at 23 Virgo and Saturn at 25 Capricorn. Mercury here translates Venus' light to Saturn. As in the case of the T-square, I would consider this the most intense expression of the grand trine.
How tight are the orbs?
The closer the aspect, the more intense the effect. I see lots of wide orbs included in these configurations, but the closer the aspect is to exact the stronger the effects of the aspect.