Working With The T-Square
I often see people asking how to work with their T-square. As a classical astrologer I rarely use them in readings, but as a result of seeing so many questions involving them, I decided to do some research.
I find most of what I read about T-squares to be vague and frustrating. Below I give some specific ideas regarding what you're working with and how to work with it.
Depending on the configuration, I prefer to see the T-square as a planet squaring an opposition instead of three squares. Squares and opposition are known as "hard aspects," and are to be considered stressful and difficult.
There is a lot of talk about the dynamism of the T-square, but it's important to note that oppositions have the power to impede, destroy and frustrate. Squares create tension, pressure and require effort to make them productive.
Does It Involve You?
The first thing to note is whether the ruler of the ascendant or the Moon are involved in the configuration. The ruler of the ascendant and the Moon represent the entire person, and are your representatives in the natal chart. A T-square involving one or both of these planets will be felt in an extremely personal way, and may affect your body and physical well-being as well.
What Areas of Life Are Involved
The second thing to note is the houses ruled by the planets involved. Part of what I think makes T-squares so stressful is how many areas of life become embroiled in the configuration. Except for the Sun and Moon, the planets rule two signs each (classical rulerships), which gives them rulerships over two different houses, or areas of life. Take note of which ones are involved.
What If The T-Square Isn't Just About You?
As mentioned, the ruler of the ascendant and the Moon represent you, but some planets represent other people in your life based on the houses they rule. For instance, if the ruler of the 3rd is involved in the T-square, your sibling may be the focus, and not you. Imagine a T-square where the ruler of the 4th (father) opposes the ruler of the 3rd (brother or sister) and is squared by the ruler of the 10th (mother). That T-square is about mom in the middle of explosive issues between your father and your brother. The T-square isn't always just talking about you.
Note the House Placement
Note the houses occupied by the planets in the T-square. All will help to identify where in your life and how the T-square is operating. A Mars/Saturn opposition squared by the chart ruler in houses 2 (money), 8 (debt) and 11 (friends) may give us a situation where friends borrow money often creating arguments and contentions.
Application and Separation
Astrologers of the past believed that applying aspects represented incoming influences, or what was going to happen, and separating aspects represented influences that were moving away and what has already transpired.
Application takes place when a faster planet is in a lower degree of the zodiac from a slower planet and approaching any partile (exact) aspect. For example, Moon is 3 Taurus applying to the sextile of Venus at 6 Pisces, or Venus at 6 Pisces applying to the square of Jupiter at 9 Sagittarius. An example of separation takes place when Jupiter is at 9 Sagittarius and Venus is at 11 Pisces. The square has already taken place, and its influence is dissipating.
In my opinion, applying T-squares should be more dynamic and stressful than separating ones: Moon at 3 Taurus squaring Mars at 7 Aquarius and Jupiter at 9 Leo. Moon is applying to Mars who is applying to Jupiter. But the most dynamic T-square should take place when the fastest planet is translating light. Translation takes place when the fastest planet is between the two slower planets and passes the virtue of one to the other. An example: Mars at 7 Aquarius, Moon at 8 Taurus and Jupiter at 9 Leo. Moon then translates light from Mars to Jupiter and makes the configuration even more intense.
The Focal Planet
The nature of the planet: Jupiter - increase, Venus- pleasure, Mars - agression, etc., its sign placement (strong or weak?), its house placement and the houses it rules will give you a comprehensive view of the energy you must use to "salve," or salvage the situation. The key is using the planet in a decisive way. Squares are highly productive with decisive and sustained action.
In essence, this is what the T-square really represents: a situation approaching calamity or crisis which is triaged by the decisive and sustained action of someone with agency.