First Steps: Tribal Trines and the Nations of Earth, Air, Fire and Water

An interesting thing came up in a lesson the other day. We were looking at a chart with a heavy second house–and I mean heavy, with the Sun, and the chart ruler, Venus (ruler of the Ascendant) conjunct there. Now, Venus is often conjunct the Sun and I don’t usually give it much weight, but in this case it’s the chart ruler and also the dispositor of the 1st house Libra Moon and the Libra Pluto which happened to be conjunct the Ascendant. And to top it all off, the secondary dispositor of the Scorpio Sun, Mars, was also there in the 2nd. So, super second house emphasis. Great drive to have, to own, to test (Scorpio), discover and use natal gifts. To know in no uncertain terms what belongs to me. Perhaps some remarkable talent needing to be plumbed, in order to test the inborn legacy. A drive to husband resources. Tells you a lot about a person, even without the other planets and positions. A nice, pleasing front (Libran Ascendant), but capable of intense transformation (Pluto on the Asc) and emotional depth (Libra Moon conjunct Pluto in the first house). Pluto and the Moon are on display in the first–charismatic, intense– but the real drive is hidden. Whatever house Scorpio rules, we play our cards very close to the chest, and this guy will be very cagey about what’s in his hand. He’s in control.

But the question comes, inevitably, ‘where do you go with all this second house stuff?’ It can’t just sit there, stewing. It needs an arena. Aspects will tell you the plan of manifestation for these gifts, but one thing is inevitable, and very simple–second house energies are meant to be used. It’s a succedent/fixed house, and succedent houses are all about putting to work what is initiated in the angular/cardinal houses. So with a powerful first house providing the fuel, and this powerful engine in the second house, ready to be driven, this guy is going somewhere. But where?

Even without further aspect analysis, we already know. There are four quiet rivers running naturally around the chart, which allow us to effortlessly move our energy from one area of life to another. These quiet rivers are the secret of the trines. I call them the Nations of Trine–the houses each element naturally rule.

The ‘nation’ of the second house belongs to the nation of Earth. Taurus is the natural ruler of the second house, and the second house relates to all things and qualities Taurean, no matter what sign is on the cusp. The second house is about how and what we possess. Libra on this cusp may be fair in its handling of second house affairs, Pisces may give things away, Aries may (selfishly or on behalf of a cause) pursue–but it’s all about ownership. How can I use what I have? No matter what else is in the chart, the answer to this, ultimately, lies in the sixth and 10th houses. The sixth house will show us how we perfect these resources in our daily existence and the tenth house will tell us what we can build with them. This ‘flow’ happens even if there are no planets there. This is where they are meant to go. It’s the natural path of 2, 6, 10.

If there are planets there, then the passing of energy between the houses is emphasized. This chart happened to have a 10th house Saturn. Saturn loves the 10th house, it’s very strong there, very natural. Tenth house Saturns are usually very ambitious people, very serious about their work, even though, again, they don’t give anything away (a theme is developing here). They want respect and recognition, more than money or the trappings of fame. They want to achieve. This Saturn also happened to be trining the second house Sun/Venus and squaring the first house Moon–the three most important influences in the chart (Sun, Moon, chart ruler). Can we assume that this person is going to be ambitious, career focused and unlikely to be distracted from this path? You bet we can. You can’t fool around with Earth or Earth houses–they want results. They’re not going to dissipate their energies in fantasy. The Earth houses want concrete, solid results from us, something that we can smell, touch, taste, feel. You won’t philosophize your way out of an Earth house dilemma. It just won’t happen.

If there are hard aspects to these second house planets, particularly from their succedent cousins in the 5th, 8th, or 11th houses (see “The Fixed Cross and the Urge to Merge”), then the path to bringing these talents and resources to fruition will not be an easy one, and will have various blocks and barriers along the way. But there is still no doubt where these talents are intended–we are 10th house bound.

This natural flow of energy is as true for the other elements and the houses they naturally rule. Fire begins in 1, moves through 5 and ends in 9. The Air triplicity begins with 3, moves to 7 and ends in 11. Water, that most complex and mysterious of elements, begins in 4, moves through 8 and ends in 12.

Each element has a journey from the inner realms to the outer reaches. Fire is about intuition. The ego of the Aries “I” in the first house, which is pure unconscious expression, must learn to express itself consciously in the fifth and follow its path of individual vision and inspiration in the ninth. The Fire houses are all about where our instinct lies, where we sense we need to go, both as an individual and as a culture. Fire houses demand we move forward first individually, then collectively towards a wider perspective. The Air houses move us from facts to philosophy. What is information gathering in Gemini becomes an exchange of informed ideas in Libra and develops towards a concept of an egalitarian and humane universe in Aquarius. We can only test our gathered knowledge by relating with others. The water houses take us on a difficult and dramatic journey from feeling that we are unique and separate (Cancer hides and clings because, suddenly aware of its uniqueness, it feels vulnerable and alone without a shell), to the testing and submerging of that separateness in the eighth house (Scorpio), to finally understanding that we are at one with the Source itself in the 12th (Pisces).

Each group of these houses has a natural flow, like a river, round the chart, no matter the aspects. A packed fifth house may, under certain circumstances in certain charts, have difficulties expressing itself, but you can be certain that the consequences of the struggle will ultimately bear fruit in the visionary ninth. Difficulties require that we ask ourselves ‘why’, and the answer of Fire is that our visions and inspiration must light the way for others. Struggles in the fourth or eighth houses inevitably end up with us needing to abandon our notions of isolated ego in order to allow us to join with a higher power and return to the Source. (In mythology, the gods never ask us to sacrifice what is necessary to us; if they do, we know it’s a test of our wisdom.) The Water houses are about learning to live as the One within the All. Struggles with the Air houses will make us wrestle with the way our ideas about the world match our experience of relating with others, and end with us forming an ideological structure for our society based on that interchange.

Trines are silent, almost secret. They do their work behind the scenes, beyond conscious awareness, and rarely make themselves known. And yet the trine is what keeps things moving in a circular motion, on a cyclical basis. Trines flow. Squares fight one another, conjunctions implode, sextiles over-stimulate–only the trine moves forward, quietly, inevitably, like a wise body of water eternally renewing itself.

For those who are curious, the man with the strong second house and the 10th house Saturn is Leonardo DiCaprio, November 11, 1974; 2:47 AM, Los Angeles, California. No surprise he currently puts so much of his time and energy into fighting to preserve our natural resources. Go, Leo!


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