Number Symbolism: Four Square (Kate Booth)

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Number Symbolism: Four Square (Kate Booth)

Three points represent the first shape with a measurable surface. An added point to this creates depth or a third dimension. According to Schneider, a tetrad or three dimensional triangle, “manifests itself in nature with greatest exactness at the borderline between nonliving and living forms.”[1] If three

represents life itself then perhaps four can represent what is man-made: tables, chairs, desks, walls, floors, ceilings, monitors, picture frames, books. What is square seems solid or durable. Linguistically, one squares up to another person to prepare for a fight. We talk of “square meals” meaning solid, no nonsense eating. If we hit something squarely, we have probably done some injury. If we say someone is a “square” we mean they haven’t changed with the times, they’re somehow behind, unchanging in the face of revolution. If we’re “fair and square” we’re just and have treated others equally, if we have to go “back to square one” we probably did not have our “feet planted squarely on the ground” in the first place.

The Greeks noticed (or were the first who took credit for noticing) that four is formed by both the multiplication and the addition of two together. On earth, where the four traditional winds blow across the four corners of the globe, we have four cardinal directions. Two equinoxes and two solstices mark out our four seasons. In the Ojibwa tradition, there are four sacred herbs (tobacco, sage, sweet grass and cedar), four sacred foods (sweet meat, wild rice, corn and strawberries) and four kinds of plant beings (flowers, grasses, trees and vegetables). There are four elements in the ancient tradition: fire, air, water and earth. Many other groups have four components. The Medieval Society had Monks, Knights, Burghers and Peasants. The Hindu caste system has Brahmins (Priests), Kshatriya (Military), Vaisya (Merchants) and Shudra (labourers). The rivers of paradise were made from honey, milk, wine or water. In Genesis, Adam’s dominion were the creeping things, birds of the air, fishes of the sea and beasts of the field. It would seem things on earth have a way of naturally grouping into fours.

Astrologically, a square is formed when a planet is at a right angle or ninety degrees to another. A square is usually viewed as a challenge, a problem to be managed. Robert Pelletier writes that next to the conjunction, the square is the most powerful of aspects between planets. However, in terms of stimulating human reaction, it is the square that has the most dynamic influence, surpassing even that of the conjunction.[1] As Pelletier asserts, the square aspect has the elements of both fire and water: two incongruous elements that cannot exist simultaneously unless both adapt in some way. Used judiciously however, says Pelletier, and the results can be constructive. Pelletier goes on to assert that the square aspect presents a test for the native that builds character and with each challenge, the native becomes more adept at finding a suitable solution.

A chart that strongly features the square aspect is that of Kate Booth, the daughter of the founder of the Salvation Army, William Booth.
Kate’s contribution to the success of the Salvation Army in the face of extreme opposition is a fine example of how the square aspect endures, stabilises and survives. When she went to France as a young woman, she was pelted with mud and stones for preaching the gospel.  On several occasions, she was nearly strangled by her bonnet strings by the resistant French who didn’t like this odd English woman telling them that the road to hell was paved with tobacco and alcohol. She tolerated living in extremely poor conditions in the same buildings as prostitutes because her mother had taught her that men were culpable for their circumstances–a dangerous opinion to hold in the late 1800’s. Worse of all, those she did manage to convert were often persecuted, sometimes being fired from their jobs.
Nonetheless, Kate battled on, mastering the French language and becoming known as “La Marechale,” “The Marshall”. She was a formidable force, eventually marrying Arthur Clibborn and bearing 10 children. In her later years, she was isolated from her family for standing by her man, who had adapted some very odd beliefs indeed. Unfortunately, sometimes the square aspect can be completely inflexible and immovable and her decision to stay with Arthur cost her acceptance within the very organisation she was so key in helping to establish.

[1]  Schneider, Michael S., A Beginner’s Guide to Constructing the Universe, Harper Perennial, 1995, p. 59

[2] Pelletier, Planets in Aspect, Whitford Press, 1974, p.125


[1]  Ibid, p. 61

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