Triangles in Esoteric Astrology

Triadic Arrangements of Meaning

Triangles in esoteric astrology are an almost entirely new concept. Almost, because the elemental triads of astrology (fire, earth, air and water) are also included in the triangles of esoteric astrology, albeit with extra layers of esoteric meaning. Triangles are an essential part of Alice Bailey’s Esoteric Astrology but, as is always the way with esoteric work, they require significant effort to make them symbolically useful for individual or group horoscopes.

Esoteric Astrology does not cover all the various triangles of energy which are effective on our Earth, and which, incidentally, affect humanity (EA 464). So, although some interpretation is included here for each triangle given in the book, the esoteric astrologer needs to determine their meaning for any horoscope in which they appear:

…certain triangular relationships can be tentatively considered and their place in the planetary or in the individual horoscope can then be later worked out.

…it is possible to indicate certain fundamental interpretations of this relation [of triangles to esoteric astrology] which will enable the astrologer to work out eventually the astrology of the soul … and to draw up the new types of charts which will demonstrate soul purpose on its own plane and group relations also on the physical plane and so be of aid to the intelligent, dedicated personality. (EA 464, 468)

The pervasive theme of the main three principles expressed through the three rays of aspect—the first of Will, the second of Love-Wisdom and the third of Activity—begins with the big three: Great Bear-Sirius-Pleiades behind origin of all triangles. This particularly concerns the three crosses as they carry us from experience through intensification or crisis to realisation and synthesis, only to begin again on another turn of the spiral.

It will also be apparent to the astrologer of the future along which lines the chart of the soul must be drawn; the major triangles and the three cosmic Crosses will control… deductions as to the unfoldment of consciousness. (EA 468)

These point to which particular sector of the journey towards the expansion of consciousness an individual chart might reveal, bearing in mind that during this process we repeatedly cycle through all three sectors covered by the crosses, so there is no hierarchy as such. However, at critical points there are definite initiations or beginnings, marking a fresh phase from which there is no return. Anyone “on the path” will recognise these points, and the intuitive astrologer can combine their knowledge of the individual or group with indicators revealed in the actual horoscope.

The “Big Three”

It is essential to understand the triple nature of the big three as expressed in our solar system through the signs and planets of the main associated triangles. These fall into a primary set that affects the broad sweep of planetary evolution:

These work respectively through the three planetary centres Shamballa, the Hierarchy and Humanity (EA 435)

The Seven Ray Triangles

These seven triangles are one of the main components of esoteric astrology. Each ray is expressed through exactly three signs:

This means that signs each express either one, two or three rays (as shown in the main diagram, home page and top left).

Three rays

Sagittarius works through an interesting combination of odd and even rays, offering opportunities to combine various influences in preparation for initiation in Capricorn, where the focus is on the odd-numbered rays, anchoring the spirit in matter as an act of will.

Two rays

Aries, Cancer and Leo all express odd-numbered rays (the will, the mind and the material), while the polar pair Virgo and Pisces express two even-numbered rays of love-wisdom and nurturing devotion.

One ray

Each of these have a specific and focussed connection to their singular ruling ray. The polar pair Taurus-Scorpio concern the fixed cross and uniquely human 4th Ray process of intense growth, leading to the resolution of conflict and eventual harmony. While with Gemini-Libra-Aquarius—as you would expect from the air triangle—these concern the mental development of humanity in the widest sense under Ray 5.

The Elemental Triangles

The four elements from conventional astrology each have their own triangle, which bring in the esoteric interpretation of each element. This is a summary for easy reference:

Triangles in Esoteric Astrology

These triangles will… dominate the new astrology in a most interesting manner and condition the charts of those whose horoscopes are being considered. (EA 247)

Beyond these primary three and the seven ray triangles, there are over 80 triangles, some forming around 14 groupings, each containing up to 5 related triangles (full listing to follow). Most consist of three astrological signs, some contain one or more planets or are formed entirely from planets, while others include rays, constellations or specific stars.

Some triangles are immediately applicable to individual horoscopes, others require their symbolic meaning to be stepped down to a personal level, yet others are more obscure or concerned with abstract esoteric configurations that have no obvious personal application. For completeness, all are listed, although a few descriptions still require editing. For convenience, those including signs and planets are also listed selectively under each sign and planet.

…these triangles must not be thought of as placed, static and eternally the same… [they are] in rapid movement, revolving eternally in space and ceaselessly moving onward and as of fourth and fifth dimensional extension… only the inner eye of vision can imagine their progression, position or appearance. […] It is useless… to attempt to unravel this aggregation of interlacing streams of energy. All that is now possible… is to accept hypothetically these statements […] and… arrive at some understanding of that intricate, interwoven network… the… etheric body […] This astrology has nought to do [with…] the outer plane of existence… our effort lies along the line of psychological life history… (EA 417-18)

Each triangle has an active and a receptive pole, plus a third balancing or grounding node. For some triangles these are given in Esoteric Astrology, but for others it’s not always clear. The three nodes of any triangle express:

(The three listed above update the “major, secondary, lesser” labels from Esoteric Astrology.)

…These energies change within themselves and sometimes one will strike the dominating note and sometimes another; sometimes a secondary energy will become a major conditioning force and sometimes the lesser expression will come to the top and become, for the cycle, the outstanding characteristic of the triangle. (EA 420)

How to use the Triangles

A good starting–point is to look through a horoscope to see if any configurations stand out. For instance, if Sun, Moon and Ascendant signs all feature in one of the triangles, it is at least worth attempting to assess how the meaning of that triangle might apply.

Following the above passage from Esoteric Astrology it might will also help to work out if any/which of the three points are the:

These three will also align with the various other ternaries in esoteric astrology: Cardinal/Fixed/Mutable (synthesis/crisis/change), the position of Jupiter/Saturn/Mercury, and the various aspect groupings under the three primary principles.

Another approach might be to locate the most prominent planet or sign in a horoscope, then scan through the triangles in which it appears to see if the meaning of any strikes true, or if any aspected planets and signs correspond to a triangle. For aspects, it is essential to locate “closed” aspect patterns where three or more planets fall in three signs that are also the nodes of a triangle.

Note: to ease listing for the website, the three nodes of triangles are listed in alphabetical, planetary then stellar order (signs A-Z, planets Vulcan-Pluto as in the solar system, stars A-Z), so a triangle’s three nodes may sometimes appear in a different order in Esoteric Astrology.

(more to follow on groups of related triangles)