When you pull up your birth chart, you know you’re looking for some planets and some zodiac signs. But what are all those lines zipping across the circle chart? Seriously, it looks like something straight out of geometry class — and, well, it sort of is. These lines and angles represent aspects, which add another layer of detail. Aspects are also a big indicator of compatibility when you compare two birth charts (synastry), and if you’ve ever taken a swing at that (everyone has snagged their crush’s birth chart to take a peek, no shame!), you’ve likely heard of trines. Trines are generally regarded as the GOAT of aspects, whether it’s within your birth chart, synastry, or just happening in the sky today. So, exactly what is a trine in astrology and what’s the big deal about them?
The easiest way to think of a trine is to consider the elements in astrology. A trine is formed when planets are in signs of the same element. So all the fire signs, for example — Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius — are trine with each other. Also notice that each element has three signs, which you can link to the “tri” part of the word, making spotting these aspects pretty straightforward. But what does it actually mean? Here’s what this charming little aspect is all about, from the natal chart and synastry to transits in the sky, according to the experts.
What Are Aspects In Astrology?
First, it helps to understand what aspects even are and why you should care. In short, aspects describe how the planets relate to each other, “how they’re seeing one another, and how their energies are blending,” according to Alice Bell, British Vogue astrologer and host of Astrology and You podcast. “Depending on what aspect it is, it’s like, are those planets working in harmony together, or are they confused in how to blend those different meanings of the planets?” she tells Elite Daily. When looking at an aspect, you’re taking the meanings and significations of each into consideration.
She tells Elite Daily, “I like to break those up into harmonic and dynamic,” explaining that she prefers not to call aspects hard and easy, or good and bad. Instead, harmonic aspects describe those that are flowy, like trines and sextiles, while dynamic aspects are the ones that “bring action,” she says, adding that you really want a mix of both because too many harmonic aspects can make things too easy and doesn’t inspire growth. Conjunctions, according to Dalanah, don’t really fall into either category because it depends which planets are involved. But keep in mind that one aspect is not going to make or break the chart. “It’s always the whole picture [to take] into account,” she stresses.
Aspects are super important in all studies of astrology. “We can see different relationships or attitudes occurring between the placements that are involved,” Dalanah explains. “They really become these mitigating factors that refine astrology and refine the charts, and they give us those juicy details,” she adds. So now for that juice on trines.
What Is A Trine In Astrology?
A trine is formed when the planets are 120 degrees apart and, as mentioned, this puts them in the same element. This aspect is typically a harmonious one because the two planets will naturally flow and support each other’s energy. “It sometimes represents skills you know you have that you kind of take for granted,” Bell notes. “But there’s this misconception that you have to have trines [in your birth chart] for your life to be good, when really it can be kind of lazy because it doesn’t motivate you to make any changes,” she explains.
In birth charts, synastry, and planetary transits, the trined planets really don’t offer any challenges, as the planets are excited to be working with each other and they understand each other’s vibe. So it is a very nice aspect. “Out of the harmonic aspects, [trines are] the stronger one,” Dalanah tells Elite Daily. “They’re very flowy — again it’s a triangle... Trines just feel like an injection of goodness, so to speak,” she adds. Of all the transits people want to have going on, trines are number one. Just know that this doesn’t mean you must have trines in order for things to be good in your chart or to have compatibility with someone.
As Miami-based astrologer Valerie Mesa puts it, “Whenever there is a trine, despite it being so harmonious, it’s almost like you’re given that hall pass, but you still have to work with it. The doors are open, but it’s up to you to walk through that door.” With aspects, think of the “doors” as access to each planet’s energies. With harmonic aspects like trines, the energy is readily available because there’s no block at the entrance.
Trines Happening In The Sky
When astrologers study the aspects being made in the sky, they are looking at transits. This is actually how astrologers write daily horoscopes, according to Dalanah. “They look and see where everything is, what planets are in what sign, and what planets are talking to each other via the aspects,” she explains. “It kind of gives us the vibes for the day. It tells us which planets are talking and the tone of that conversation.”
These transits affect everyone on earth and can detail the energy for the day when looking at fast-moving inner planets such as the moon, Bell tells Elite Daily. “If I wake up and the moon is square [a dynamic aspect] Saturn, I know it’s probably going to be a challenging start to the morning ... Whereas if the moon is trine the sun, that might just be an easier day where you feel like you’re really getting along with people and things are going your way,” she explains. Then you can also look at transits of slow-moving outer planets, which can explain bigger, long-term global and cultural events. A trine aspect in the cosmos is generally going to bring some nice energy across the globe — depending on where the transit is happening in your personal birth chart.
Astrologers categorize planets as either benefics or malefics. The latter group tends to have more challenging attitudes and significations than the former. The nice thing about trines, though? Even when a malefic planet is involved, the overall energy is still positive. “It’s really about the trine because that’s the tone of the conversation,” explains Dalanah. For example, Jupiter is the planet of luck and expansion while malefic Mars is about aggression. When these two planets can play nicely in a trine, “that would be like aggressive expansion in a good way,” Dalanah explains. “It’s like we’re blowing up, [and] we’re blowing up fast.” Even though Mars has this malefic bad-boy rep, the trine is getting a more go-getter attitude from it than a destructive one.
As another example, take Jupiter (expansion and luck) and Venus (love, harmony, and aesthetics). A trine here would just be an all-around great time. “Jupiter trine Venus would be the double espresso shot of benefic wonder,” as Dalanah puts it. “That would be a good day to do pretty much anything as far as expansion and bringing people together.” The two planets would be working together in harmony and generally enjoying each other’s company.
Trines In A Natal Chart
If you have multiple planets in the same element, this means you have trines happening in your birth chart. “When we get to a natal chart, aspects speak toward the holder of the chart,” Dalanah explains. “Typically, natal aspects speak toward the fate of the chart holder or just who they are as a person.”
Again, not having trines in your chart does not make it “bad.” But if you do, consider yourself lucky because your planets are having very pleasant chats together. For example, say your moon sign (inner world and emotions) is trine in your natal Mercury (communication, expression, and intellect). Your emotional world is well understood by your intellectual and communicative one and vice versa. This might allow you to be able to speak from your depths and bring out these deep emotions in a way that resonates with others, according to Dalanah.
“It’s cooperative energy — [the planets] want to work together regardless of if it’s a malefic or not,” Dalanah tells Elite Daily. “Even if Saturn is involved, a trine is going to give you the best of Saturn.” She provides the example of malefic Saturn, which is about hard lessons, restriction, and authority, in a trine with the moon. While it seems heavy, “Saturn trine the moon would mean you take emotions seriously,” she explains. “You’re able to seriously look at the things the moon deals with, and you’re able to also control your emotions,” she continues. Wherever you might have this aspect in your chart, think of it as each planet working to allow the best in the other to come to the surface.
Trines In Synastry
Here is where the misconceptions come in. When you’ve Insta-stalked your crush and gathered their birth details, you’re ready to see if your charts are compatible via synastry. “If you look up online what signs are compatible, it’s just going to give you signs that are in a trine to your own,” notes Bell. If you’re a Cancer, Google will tell you that you’re compatible with Pisces and Scorpio (all water signs).
However, that’s not necessarily the case with couples, Bell tells Elite Daily. Instead, she’ll often see couples forming oppositions and squares, which create more of a dynamic for growth and learning. For example, a Cancer would attract its opposite sign, Capricorn, and squared signs, Libra and Aries. “Whereas a trine can be like ‘this is a little too easy, there’s no sexual tension, there’s no need to grow and explore other parts of [yourself] in this relationship’,” she adds, explaining that trines may be better for friendships where you might not want as much friction. In any case, Bell says it’s best to have a balance. “You don’t want all squares or oppositions in your relationship, [and] it might be helpful to throw in a trine to help things out. Usually couples have a mix of all these different things,” she explains.
All of this to say that it’s important not to stress if you don’t see a synastry lineup chock full of trines. But as Bell notes, those trines do help balance and harmonize the flow of energy between two people — so yes, it is a prime aspect for synastry. As an example, if your sun is trine with their Mercury, you’ll have some beautiful communication. “They’re going to be so chatty,” says Dalanah. “The person who has the sun is going to illuminate the conversation and bring a lot of warmth and depth to it ... then the person with the Mercury is going to receive all those ideas and double down and send that back tenfold. It’s going to be a nice trine feedback loop of constant communication.” Wherever you see trines happening in synastry, this is where the two of you really get each other, are stoked to mesh, and there’s a natural sense of ease and flow.
While yes, trines live up to their rep as the most beautifully melodious aspect (who doesn’t love ease and harmony?), it’s not the end-all be-all of aspects as it’s sometimes framed. Balance is key in order for expansion, whether that’s on a personal, relational, or global level.
Valeria Mesa, professional astrologer, soul coach, and writer