If you’re even remotely versed on the aspects in astrology, you’ve probably heard of squares — and it probably hasn’t been the best news. If the word makes you physically cringe when thinking of compatibility, the natal chart, or planetary transits... take a breather, you’re not alone. Squares are generally considered a difficult aspect, which, while true, doesn’t mean there’s no good to come of them. Before you go clutching your pearls and sprinting in the other direction upon the discovery of a square — be it within synastry, your birth chart, or an approaching transit — don’t panic and consider this first: What is a square in astrology? What does it actually mean?
Aspects in astrology can be described as the way the planets are talking to each other and how well their energies are able to mesh and understand each other. Is everyone getting along? What’s the tone of these conversations? On a birth chart, aspects are the lines and angles linking up the signs and planets to provide details of their relationships to each other. Squares are one of the major aspects that can happen between planets, meaning they bring on a strong layer of significations to the already ever-complex mesh of planets and signs. This aspect is formed between planets of the same modality (cardinal, fixed, or mutable) or way of operating in the world, occurring every three signs on the zodiac wheel. Squares are largely known as one of the most challenging aspects — the planets aren’t really sure how to talk to each other — so it’s helpful to see where and how they might be affecting you.
Below, see everything there is to know about square aspects in astrology, from how they occur in natal charts to synastry to transits, according to expert astrologers.
What Are Aspects In Astrology?
As mentioned, aspects tell you how the planets are conversing with one another and how the energy of one planet is getting along with, melding, and understanding that of the other. “Aspects ... give so much detail and refine the chart and really make it personal,” professional astrologer Dalanah of the Moon Matters podcast tells Elite Daily. “Those are the parts that make it real — it’s not just ‘I have a Cancer moon, you have a Cancer moon,’ but ‘what are our Cancer moons doing?’” Keep in mind that you’ll need to look at the whole chart or everything that’s going on to get the full picture.
According to Dalanah, there are five major aspects in astrology. These include conjunctions, trines, sextiles, oppositions, and squares. She then breaks these down into either harmonic or dynamic aspects. Often, these are called “soft” and “hard” aspects, but this can give dynamic aspects an unnecessarily negative connotation. “It puts people in that mindset of ‘oh, I have a bunch of squares, that means my chart is bad,’ and that’s really not the case,” Dalanah explains.
Generally, harmonic aspects are thought of as more beneficial and gentle because the planets “get” each other, while dynamic aspects tend to be challenging and cause friction because the planets are not seeing eye-to-eye. However, Dalanah points out that you can have too many harmonic aspects. “[It] can make your life a little too easy,” she says, “then you never learn any lessons and it kind of stunts growth.” Dynamic aspects, she adds, take work, bring in action, and are ultimately crucial to growth. Ideally, she says, there will be a good mix of harmonic and dynamic aspects within a chart or a relationship.
What Is A Square In Astrology?
According to Alice Bell, British Vogue astrologer and host of Astrology and You podcast, depending on the aspect, you’re looking at whether the planets involved are working in harmony together or if they are “kind of confused in how to blend those different meanings.” Squares, as you may have surmised, are considered dynamic aspects, and definitely make for some confused planets when it comes to their ability to blend their energies.
“I like to think of it like square dancing,” Dalanah offers. “They’re kind of dancing around each other ... As soon as one moves, the other moves, and they just can’t line up. Their energies are not in alignment.” Visually, when there’s a square, it’s made up of four signs of the same modality, each 90 degrees apart. For example, if you were to draw lines connecting each cardinal sign — Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn — on the zodiac wheel, you would have (you guessed it) a square. The same goes for the mutable signs and the fixed signs. See why it’s called a square now?
Each modality contains one sign from each element — meaning, to an extent, their similarities begin and end with this shared modality. A squared aspect will always describe planets in signs of different elements. Specifically, when you picture a square, this aspect is happening between a sign in one corner, with the signs in the corners to their left and right. The one directly across from it on the square or zodiac wheel is forming an opposition — a different dynamic aspect.
What’s more is the square aspect also happens between the technically least compatible elements of the four. Water and earth signs tend to get along because they are both what’s called negative polarities, while fire and air signs vibe because they’re both positive. For example, take the fixed earth sign Taurus, and picture its square on the zodiac wheel with the other fixed signs. Directly across from Taurus is water sign Scorpio, while on its sides lie air sign Aquarius and fire sign Leo. The signs that form a square aspect are Aquarius and Leo, so the bottom line is that for Taurus, the energy here is uncomfortable and doesn’t make sense, which causes friction.
Though planets in squared signs will be sitting in the same modality, “there’s often tension between those two planets,” Bell notes, adding, “which isn’t necessarily bad because you need tension to spur growth and make you want to get up and do something about it.”
Squares Happening In The Sky
One place to look for aspects in astrology is through transits. “[With transits] we’re looking at the sky today. That’s like your daily horoscope, and those are the [aspects] happening in real time,” Dalanah explains. “[We] look and see where everything is, what planets are in what sign, and then what planets are talking to each other via the aspects — it kind of gives us the vibes for the day,” she continues.
For example, if you want to gauge how your mood might be for the day, you’d see what aspects the moon is making for that specific day (varying by person based on where the aspects hit their personal birth charts). As a fast-moving inner planet, the moon moves quickly and changes signs about every two and a half days, so there are constantly different aspects coming through. If one day the moon is square Saturn (the planet of restrictions and hard lessons), “you’re going to not be really understanding your feelings,” Dalanah explains. But not to worry, this wouldn’t last long, as the moon will be out of that square in no time.
“But then when you have the bigger, outer planets come into aspect with each other,” Bell explains, “that tends to represent bigger shifts on earth.” The themes of the slow-moving outer planets are going to be put together and stay for years, depending on which planets they are, rather than days.
“With aspects it’s really interesting because you can look back in history and see when these same aspects have been repeated between planets and similar history has happened,” Bell tells Elite Daily, pointing to the intense Pluto (transformation) and Uranus (revolution, liberation) square from 2013 to 2020. “The last time those two were in contact with one another was when they were conjunct in the 1960s, so there’s a lot of parallels between #MeToo and BLM and all this protest-type, ‘we need to change society’-type energy going on recently, to the 1960s, when that same stuff was going on. Those aspects with outer planets [represent] big cultural shifts,” she explains.
Squares In A Natal Chart
When you examine the aspects in your natal chart, you’re looking at who you are or even your fate, according to Dalanah. “I know a lot of people, myself included, like psychological astrology,” she says. “We use it for the betterment of ourselves to live our lives, but also there are fate-based things.”
When you spot a square in your natal chart, the two planets involved can sometimes represent some kind of inner tension or an obstacle you had to overcome. “It really depends where these planets fall in your chart, whether that’s with family, relationships, or career,” Bell tells Elite Daily. “But it’s good because it forces you to overcome those obstacles and become stronger and actually accomplish stuff,” she adds, stressing that aspects in astrology shouldn’t be looked at as good or bad.
For example, take Chiron, the “wounded healer” (representing your deepest wounds), square the moon. “Chiron and the moon are trying to have a conversation, and they can’t get through to each other, they can’t make each other see eye-to-eye,” Dalanah says. This person would probably have emotional wounds, she explains, and likely would have endured emotional pain, or be “feeling like they’re misunderstood and maybe they don’t understand their own emotions,” she says, adding that understanding emotions, in general, would likely be something they would always struggle with. Someone with this aspect might even be unaware of their wounds because the square has each planet “dancing around each other,” as Dalanah puts it. The square closes off the flow of energy from one planet to another and makes it difficult for the person to even access these parts of themselves.
“But since it is a square, if they work at it [and] continually try to understand themselves and others ... and figure out what is the lesson that this square wants you to see, then it’s worth it,” she tells Elite Daily. Squares are by no means easy, but becoming aware of them allows you to work on these areas and pushes you to learn and evolve.
Squares In Synastry
Squares are intimidating, yes, but there is a major misconception around this aspect when it comes to romantic compatibility via chart synastry. When you look up what’s compatible with your sign online, Bell says Google is going to give you all trine signs, or same-element signs. But she notes that this is actually not typically the case with couples; rather, it’s “hard” aspects like squares and oppositions that are most compatible. “There’s more of a dynamic, a lot of growth going on in the relationship,” she explains. With the tension, you can teach each other important lessons. A trine, on the other hand, can be a little too easy. “There’s no sexual tension, there’s no need to grow and explore other parts of [yourself] in this relationship,” Bell tells Elite Daily.
Of course, you don’t want all dynamic aspects with someone you’re in a relationship with. “It’s always good to have a balance,” Bell says, pointing out that couples usually have a mix of all different aspects. If it’s nothing but harmonic aspects between two people, the relationship can tend to fall flat, so don’t write someone off as a potential love interest because of a square. “It’s important not to be like ‘oh my god, my sun is square their sun, it’s never going to work out’ when really that might be a good match for you,” Bell offers. Plus, squares can indicate a whole lot of passion and sexy energy between couples.
So, what does a square in synastry look like? Taking the same planets as previously mentioned, Chiron and the moon, a square here in a relationship has the potential to be “a very big catalyst to healing,” Dallanah tells Elite Daily, adding, “but it can also be a big catalyst to triggering [your emotional wounds] as well, and that’s a very fine line.” Depending on whether the rest of the charts are set up in a nice, supportive way, then with some work, the Chiron person could help the moon person understand themself on a deeper level and heal, or they could just trigger them over and over again without any real progress.
Squares in astrology don’t have to be a big scary aspect to send you running for the hills. In fact, nothing in the practice should be considered inherently bad, but more like a challenge, an opportunity, or even a little added spice.