I promise I will stop talking about the Cardinal Grand Cross (also known as a Grand Square), just not quite yet!
Here’s the chart again, as a visual aid. The four sides of the square are (not surprisingly) known as squares and the two central diagonal lines are oppositions. So here we have four squares and two oppositions all working together to create a vortex of energy in which we are immersed right now. Which means what?
Well, a square between two planets is initially about stress, irritation and frustration. Something in the environment, be it another person, a set of circumstances, an event, or anything which we may perceive as ‘other’, comes along and places an obstacle in our path. Our well made plans go awry as someone else’s seem to take precedence, or an unexpected happening blind-sides us throwing our lives into disarray. We are faced with something which causes us stress, anxiety, anger, frustration and we have no choice but to react to and deal with it as best we can. This is why squares, whilst challenging, are also the seeds of growth and development, because it is often in these very kinds of circumstance that we discover strengths we never knew we had, inner wisdom we’d not yet had to call upon and creativity we weren’t aware of.
The trouble with squares, though, is us! Because whilst they demand that we deal with the emotions and the issue involved in order to recalibrate our lives, what we often do is avoid, ignore and suppress instead. The emotions triggered by a square may be so powerful that they scare us, or so dark that we fear if we truly acknowledge them we’ll be lost in that darkness forever. So we swallow them down, grit our teeth and try to soldier on. Either that or we over-react in the moment and blow a gasket, rendering far more remote the possibility of positive progress in due course. And, of course, what we often do is both: suppress and avoid, the tension builds, and then we explode, with anger, frustration, despair (can you explode with despair? I’m not sure… but you get my drift!). Generally speaking, human beings are not great at handling squares, though once we get the hang of it they can bring about some of the most momentous and positive change in our lives.
So, when we have four squares working in tandem in this way you can understand why it can be such a challenge. If you imagine we are at the centre of this alignment (which is effectively where the Earth is situated in a geocentric chart such as this) every side is blocked by a square, so no matter which way we turn we will encounter what feel like blocks to progress and challenges to our own idea of what should be happening in our life. There is no escape but through these challenges, developing new skills, understanding, strength, awareness and wisdom as we go. Yes, it can be frustrating beyond belief. We may experience emotions more powerful than we have ever known, fear that paralyses, incandescent rage, deep despair, but on the other side of these emotions we encounter wisdom, insight, a deeper peace born of having traveled through the darkness of our own inner pain with eyes wide open and a heart willing to see, perhaps for the very first time, the true extent of all that lies within.
The squares in question are formed by Mars squaring Pluto and Jupiter, Jupiter squaring Uranus and Uranus squaring Pluto. This is an incredibly powerful combination of planetary influences. Pluto brings us challenges unrivaled by any other planet. It takes us into the very depths of our own psyche, finds the most painful bits that we really don’t want to be reminded about and then brings them out into daylight for all to see. Pluto wants us free, but its way of going about it can feel little short of sadistic! It demands that we let go everything with which we identify if that identification is holding us back in any way. Pluto will not accept fear of change as an excuse not to do so, anymore than it will accept ‘I can’t live without [enter your own thing/person situation here]’ as a reason not to let go. Pluto takes us into the underworld of our life and demands that we deal with whatever we have banished there. So when Pluto is squared by Uranus, the planet of sudden change, disruption and radical freedom and Mars, the planet of aggression, assertion and personal will, we can begin to see just why things have been so intense and there are so many things coming to challenge us. In effect, our very sense of self and identity is under fire at this time, challenged to rise up higher so that identity is not born of fear and a need to control and impose our will upon the world around us, but reflects deeply a commitment to liberation, whatever it takes.
So what about Jupiter? Well, here we have a slightly different kettle of fish, of which we can be grateful! For in Cancer, Jupiter reminds us that whilst, yes, we need to work towards freedom from all that binds, we need to do it in such a way that our sensitivity to our own and others’ suffering is kept intact. Just because we’re in the pressure cooker right now doesn’t mean we can’t use the boiling water to make a nice cup of tea and have something of a break. We can’t be in Pluto’s underworld 24/7. Sometimes we just need to take a moment out and reconnect with the more gentle aspects of this universe, especially at a time when the universe can feel like a fairly brutal place! In a sense this is also a challenge, because once we’re in the thick of suffering it can be easy to forget we can take a step out of it, moment by moment, and just be with what’s happening rather than having to do anything with it. This part of the process is just as important as the rest of it. So if we’re in the middle of it all right now, we need to remember to schedule a tea break, take a walk, watch the sunset, or our pets sleeping. Jupiter reminds us that even in the greatest of intensity, the present moment, the very second right now in which we live and breathe, is still one of peace where we can be renewed and replenished on our journey.
The Cardinal Cross is exact on 23rd and 24th April, but its influence has been increasing throughout the past few months and will continue to be felt in the coming weeks, though less intensely as it begins to dissolve.
Later on today I’ll post about the oppositions and their influence in the whole picture.
See you then!
If you’re interested in studying astrology with me, using your own chart as a tool for your personal and spiritual development, check out my on-line astrology course.