Harmonic Level 3: The Perfect 4th, Trine and Sextile
The prefect 4th is the other relationship (apart from the perfect 5th) without which we would not have a musical system. The “circle of 5ths” employs the perfect 5th in one direction and the interval we call the perfect 4th in the other direction (it is a 5th in the reverse direction, but a 4th when it appears in our primary octave...one of the many reasons that Music theory gives people headaches until they can grasp how that works.)
Anyway, sufficient to say that our music system could not exist without this interval.
It is our habit, in astrology, to think of the trine as an easy aspect, but any of us who have looked at aspect for a while will attest to the observation that trine tends towards idleness like no other aspect. Folks with grand-trines (3 planets each in trine aspect to the other around the chart) tend to feel the need to be poked and prodded in order to achieve anything.
So what does the “perfect 4th” say about the trine?
The perfect 4th will depart from the tonic in a way that will beg for resolution (via the perfect 5th or some other means). This is a far cry from the easy idleness we experience with the trine. However, it does tell us what that “lull” is for. It is a chance for us to regroup, to make plans while things are going easily, plan our next adventure carefully, to make use of positive ease while we have it, rather than to lay about and wait for others to do the work.
The difficulty for those who have a grand trine in the natal chart (or any trine really), is to get over the idleness which is brought about by ease, use the energy to plan your adventures and to provide support while you meet the challenges of square aspects (either in transit or in the natal). Trine and sextile represent the easy energy of positive relationship, and need to be used to their fullest extent.
In the axial pattern of aspect, the Perfect 4th actually belongs to the Sextile, and the Major 6th gets the Trine, which all adds up to saying these aspects are not to be used to produce idleness, instead we are to use the harmony created by such aspects to further our adventures as humans on this planet.
The sextile is seen as “more active” than the trine, and so it should be, but it is all too often used by the native as an excuse to goof off “nothing challenging here, lets take it easy”. We have just established that this idle attitude represents a terrible waste of resources. As Astrologers, it is our duty to suggest our clients renew themselves to get ready for the coming storm when trine and sextile aspects are coming their way. This attitude makes sense of the overtone which the sextile and trine aspects represent.
The disposition towards “needs to be poked and prodded” speaks to both the 4th’s need for closure, and the idle attitude of the trine and sextile aspects. Use the trine and sextile aspects to explore closure while things are relatively easy. Poke and prod yourself, the rewards will be well worth it.