The Grand Trine: even the moniker creates a regal ambience; if you could buy and sell aspect patterns on Ebay then there’s little doubt that the beautifully equilateral one would conjure as much interest as any possible configuration, excepting possibly the Golden Yod (which everyone in the know would want but would have no clue how to use). Even astrologers get drawn in to this self-same conclusion, but my experience (which is very often at odds with the received wisdom of astrology) continually hit a bum note wherever the Grand Trine was in evidence; I do not doubt for a moment that the Grand Trine is subjectively fantastic; but for everyone else, it’s probably only just short of infuriating, although not necessarily for entirely negative reasons. The grand trine can give enormous benefit which everyone but the owner of the pattern can see clearly.
My own suspicion was distilled by the thinking of Noel Tyl who uttered the immortal wisdom that “all aspects are squares” (or somesuch) and that includes trines of course; because a trine that is taken for granted and remains untapped by any driving factor soon breaks down, indulgence follows on, then laziness sets in, and before much longer the aspect has degenerated into something positively hedonistic. In my experience, the Grand Trine configured without some sense of urgency in the form of squares, or outright adversarial impetuses from others in the form of oppositions to any of those self-same loci, can easily devolve into a peculiar form of myopic self-obsession, characterised by the onlooker as aloofness, an unwillingness to participate or just outright arrogance. Without squares there is no self-doubt, without opposition there is no requirement for relating; the native with the Grand Trine can experience these planets exactly however they want and they require no external validation. Thus the native with a grand water trine can be quite comfortable with the notion that their feelings are quite simply the only feelings that matter in the world, and anyone looking in simply could not grasp the subjective sense of it. The grand trine though is innate, asking the native to describe the experience of their grand trine is like asking them to bite their own teeth, it is utterly subjective, especially where personal planets are involved. Of course none of this is to say that they might not be justified in their view that in the affairs of these planets they are beyond reproach, often, the grand trine does give exceptional power in a particular domain, but most especially where there are squares to add drive and oppositions to add perspective. A grand trine that is not treated as though it were a challenge will very quickly deteriorate into a vortex of dissolution.
Let us consider examples from each of the elements.
Agatha Christie, the prolific writer of crime novels has reputedly sold upwards of a billion books to date and her astrology evinces a grand air trine between Moon in Libra in the 2nd (instinctively financially fair but competitive), Jupiter in Aquarius on the 5th/6th cusp, (increasingly creative and independent: this placement almost defines the character of Poirot incidentally, having quirky offbeat, but highly intellectual habits that reflect a unique and expansive intelligence) and Neptune – combined with Pluto – in the 10th which certainly speaks to matters of vocation (Gemini thus writing) and being a leader (Jupiter trine Pluto) in her field of work (6th) and career (10th). Note too that the grand air trine falls across the houses of the earth triplicity, which gives the mind a practical outlet and expression. Thus an easy, but near-tangible, exchange of ideas is created, a flow of thought and mental energy that can manifest into matter. The important point though is that this is an untapped potential, it might never actually manifest. Agatha Christie though with Virgo rising has peregrine Mercury in Libra ruling her nativity; which actualises the grand trine, the imperative of a peregrine Mercury then creates an enormous drive to communicate, one that fires up the enormous and sweet potential of the grand air trine to express itself in practical ways (air signs on earth houses), 93 books and several plays later and the rest is history.
Grace Kelly by contrast evinces a grand water trine, here with intense, controlled Scorpio Sun on the 1st, Moon configured with competent Pallas in dreamy Pisces in the 5th of acting and each of these fuelled with astonishing power and control by Pluto in tenacious, receptive Cancer. This is why she appears to be so poised and graciously cool but there is with it a hint of compassionate depth and a truly dreamy quality that refines the entire self-expression (and if you can’t tell, I’m a big fan of Grace Kelly), and here the water signs are found in the fire houses, thus energising the emotions and giving rise to a need to express the emotions, although with Scorpio rising, it must always be carried out in a controlled and poised manner, no unseemly outbursts thank you very much! But it is the hint at unfathomed passion beneath the surface that lends this power. And the drive? Again, peregrine Mercury in Scorpio, rising creates an overwhelming impetus to express water through fire, thus the feelings through acting.
Ali, undoubtedly the most complete gladiator of modern times is the proud owner of a grand earth trine, which gives a near-perfect interchange of physiological energies; Sun in Capricorn on the 6th creates a methodical, indomitable attainment energy, here is an impetus to get to the peak of physical endurance, power and stamina; think of Leo (Sun) on Capricorn on Virgo (6th house), an enormous push to be a dominant force (Sun), to endure and stay standing (Capricorn) and to be physically as perfect as humanly possible (6th House); and this the chart ruler too!. Configure this with Uranus in Taurus (individuation through being non-negotiable) in the career (10th) and Neptune in Virgo in the 2nd (a dream of financial perfection, no doubt fuelled by considerable financial disappointment in childhood) and you have the perfect conditions for a true fighter to emerge. It lacks only an impetus and I believe that in Ali’s case the drive is provided by Mars square Pluto across the fixed Taurus-Leo axis, slowly building power, the strength of a bull configured with an obsessive need to dominate and demonstrate his power and this expressed through brute force (Martian strength is always supercharged by Pluto, it creates a transcendent physical force where the energy is greater than that provided by the body alone). There is too an element of ruthlessness in Mars – Pluto squares, one that in the fixed element especially will brook no opposition and the grand earth trine creates a physical power to back up that psychic imperative.
Finally then, the grand fire trine, which is shown here in the case of (arguably) the finest actor to have ever lived: Marlon Brando, and it is only required to see his performance in Apocalypse Now to get a feeling for this pattern being played out. The Sun and Moon in Aries and the 4th create a very personal and quite self-centred energy. Immediately we get an impression of somebody who even when expressing some very private sense of self suffers almost no doubt or embarrassment; there is no question of stage-fright here, Brando could make a display of even his most intimate self and be quite perfectly brazen with it! Neptune in Leo in the 9th creates a philosophic and spiritual undertone of acting and with Jupiter rising in its domicile you have astonishing and fortunate power, overwhelming presence and an ability to see further than most. Chiron in the 4th/5th is interesting too, on the cusp it sensitises the private (4th) need for admiration (5th) and creates an outlet into acting. The drive though? I would say that peregrine Venus in Taurus in the 6th tells a story: it creates a true power of being physically compelling, of being habitually resolute and seeking to perfect, almost stubbornly, the habits of his trade (thus acting) and Brando was famed as the quintessential method actor of course; indeed, he probably invented it! In this way he really changed the craft (6th) of acting forever, by simply making every other actor appear shallow and mediocre by comparison.