In order to understand the full dynamics of the Cardinal Cross to which astrologer’s are referring during this time, it is important first to understand the more esoteric and spiritual meanings of a cross. Though it currently is imbued with a very limited, patriarchal tint, it has appeared in the symbology of countless cultures from pre-history to the present.
From egypt, east india, babylonia and europe, to mayan, aztec and other western indian civilizations, it has played a central role in conveying the meaning of life to millions of people, both commoner and royal alike, over millenia. It’s earliest rendition arose during the neolithic era and appeared as a a cross with arms of equal length inside of a circle. It is called The Sun Cross. It means “the center of life” and embraces all people as equals within it’s circle and upon the branches of it’s perpendicular lines. Indigenous peoples still utilize this symbol in its primordial form and honor its timeless and universal message.
Since ancient times, this symbol has been depicted in a myriad of ways, though it’s central meaning remains the same: it represents nature, the life-giving tree, the descent of spirit (heaven) onto the physical plane (earth), the center of all things, the empty vessel and the core of all creation. It has been carved into stones under the open dome of the sky and etched onto paper in quiet meditation rooms. Though it’s symbolism has been co-opted in modern times as a tool for domination by christian religious institutions in order to rob individuals of their own hearts and minds, it’s original meaning is one of unity, wisdom, humility, honor and respect.
When viewed from above and rotated, as does The Tree of Life does on it’s axis that runs through our Galactic Center, one can see the circle within which the trunk/cross is contained, thus reinforcing the ancient understanding that the linear is contained within the timeless circle. From above, the heretofore unseen energetics of the yin/yang polarity and the spiraling movement of the life/death cycle can be perceived and understood. Modern physicists are only just now beginning to uncover this information in their studies of modern cosmology. This knowledge, however, has been known by “primitives” for eons. As usual, the white folk are always late to the table.
The cross as we view it from a terrestrial perspective represents the descent of the Divine Feminine (the vertical) and its manifestation through the Divine Masculine on the physical plane (the horizontal). The masculine gives structure to the formless feminine, which we find in the mysterious black hole that lies at the Galactic Core. That core is constantly swallowing, integrating, transforming and re-birthing matter from her womb. The planetary detritus she takes into herself is the very spermatozoa she will destructure, transform and congeal into new life first at the macrocosmic level, then filtering down through the vertical channel of the cross into forms we humans can recognize on the planetary level. What we can see and touch belongs to the realm of the male, what we sense and know, that of the female.
The cross serves also as a location device, as in “X” marks the spot. From an earth-based spiritual tradition, the four points symbolize the four sacred directions and the diversity of our planet held at those four corners. During ceremony, the spiritual representatives of those directions are called in to give guidance and blessing to the ceremony or seeking at hand. In calling these forces into our center, we are asking that they come together, mix and blend to birth new, diverse and integrated thought forms.
In esoteric philosophies, the number 4 represents the earth, as well as the four cornerstones of any building, physical or metaphorical. In the tarot, the number 4 is assigned to the Emperor, ruler of all things physical. His consort, the Empress, precedes him at number 3 (the true spiritual triumverate), and is guardian of the sacredness of all life. The male aspect receives the intuitive understanding from the female principle of what she needs to make her spiritual element known to humanity and constructs the framework for her to enter into human consciousness.
“As above, so below; as within, so without”
Now we can turn our attention to the Cross casting it’s shadow in our more immediate neighborhood, our solar system. In order to do that, we need to ground ourselves down into the very mundane and practical meanings of the t-square and the compass. The t-square allows us to make linear relationships between objects in different points in space. The compass is an instrument that allows us to encompass objects within circles. Both are used daily by draftsmen and carpenters alike. Together, they allow ideas and inspiration to be translated into three dimensions. The fact that the man who allegedly died on one of those crosses was a carpenter should come as no surprise. He understood very well the earthly and spiritual implications of those instruments and of his work.
Unfortunately, the symbol of the compass and the square has also been usurped by freemasons to communicate the false idea of a secret elite that fancies itself morally superior to the masses. They imply some unfounded notion that they are the “uber-architects” of some selfishly-motivated grand scheme of things. The masculine need for supremacy has become the core sociopathy of our times.
Regardless of their religious or political meanings, it is necessary to apprehend the importance of the compass and the t-square as practical tools when orienting ourselves to an astrological chart, in which angular geometries root circular celestial motions into a language we can understand.
WHAT IS THAT T-SQUARE?
The T-square is anchoring the Cross at the moment, and is formed by a triumverate. The other part of the Cross is made up of transits to the inner, personal planets during this time period. I have provided here the transits for the chart of the Philadelphia, PA, at the time that Saturn (0°25′ Libra) and Uranus (0°25′ Aries) reached their direct opposition on the morning of July 26, 2010. I chose this location as the epicenter of our american consciousness, as this is where our constitution was birthed.
At the time of opposition, Uranus was conjunct Jupiter. Jupiter (3° Aries) is in square with Pluto(3° Capricorn). These four planets make up the 3-sided t-square anchor for the Cross. At the time of exact opposition and square, they had just entered the 1st, 4th and 7th houses, which is appropros to the task we have in re-orienting our grounding as a culture (4th house) and dealing with some important issues regarding our national identity (1st house) and our relationships with the rest of the planet (7th house). The 10th house (standing in career) had no aspects at the time of opposition. I have left out all other planets save those at play in this macrocosmic and important dynamic for simplicity’s sake.
The planets directly at hand here are our larger themes in our current transition and they affect us not only as population within the american culture, but on a personal basis as well. We are collectively responsible for working with and through these dynamics. It is always helpful to remember we chose this time and place in which to be born and to live out the narratives of our individual and collective journeys. There is no american who gets to be excused from the task at hand, nor any who will be given passes to the bathroom when the classwork gets harder. We are all in this together and we are the current representatives of our ancestors and must meet the current situation with that understanding.
We will start with the initial linear, opposing relationship between Saturn and Uranus/Jupiter. In order to understand oppositions, it is useful to imagine yourself at a boisterous and primal tug of war event. On one side, we have Saturn, the Great Malefic, as some astrologer’s like to think of this planet, the representative of tradition and structure. On the other end of the rope, we have Uranus, the rebel and change maker, who, at the moment, is joined in force with Jupiter, The Great Benefic, the angel of good luck and expansion. This is a contest not of the realm of page girls and servant boys, but, rather, of the Titans. How shall the contest play itself out?
Saturn (Chronos in Greek – ruler of time) is the one who limits and tests us in order that we might come to know our own mettle. Saturn dwarfs Earth like the gas giant it is, and its energetic should be interpreted from such a contextual perspective. Though huge, it is less dense than water, emanates 2 times more energy than it absorbs from the Sun (enormously active and volatile internally), and its rotational speed generates winds in excess of 11oo mph across its gaseous surface. While its natal position and/or transitory arrival in any area of our lives may feel akin to the entrance of the Tasmanian Devil of Loony Tunes fame, its purpose is for a more sobering cause than simple mayhem. Saturn kicks the crutches out from under us, abruptly fires us from our job, cuts the rope to the dock or otherwise kicks us in the pants if we’re doing too much talk talk and no walk walk. Ouch. Not nice, unless one realizes we already healed the fracture, despised that job, outgrew the clothes or understood the navigational compass long ago. Saturn demands we let go of outworn artifice/structure and dig deeper to find and prove the stuff of which we are made. It can generate fear and anxiety in the face of unknowns.
Here, Saturn is doing his thing in a very Libran way – the topic is relationships and weighing and balancing what has and has not worked, how to ride the ups and downs of the relational justice scales and, most importantly, to recognize the need to view the world from the detached perspective of the balance pole. This can be a difficult task because Libra loves to be in love and will often delude herself, keeping reality at bay, in order to preserve the halo of harmony, compatibility and unconditional love – at any cost.
And here, Saturn in Libra is in the first house, the house of ego and identity – of the smaller self that wants recognition in the world. As a collective, our magical mirror of self-importance and aggrandizement is going to get knocked off the wall. Saturn has a few gifts from the real world to deliver to us that aren’t so pretty. We have idled away our valuable time admiring our own beauties and counting the values of our things. Our job is to understand that the measuring stick which we have used to assess our own worth is delusionally out of proportion to the rest of the planet. Our once vaulted and deserved reputation as the defenders and mothers of the poor, the needy, the persecuted and downtrodden is already undergoing a shocking (Uranus over there across the mud pit) transformation into something a lot closer to the current truth – the Dorian Grey portrait of a pock-marked, gluttonous bully still hell bent on acquiring more things through aggression and hegemonic ideology.
Saturn in Libra requires a graduation out of the middle school mentality and a maturation into the relational process. This transition can only be achieved when we have rectified the imbalances of our internal ego image with the external need to engage in egalitarian and respectful partnerships with others. Our fabulous mirror is about to be smashed. Time for the planetary adolescent to give up his self-involvement. We should be expecting a large dose of humility and humbleness to come our way. If we have the awareness to do it ourselves, so much easier the landing. If Saturn needs to intervene, we can expect quite a painful fall of the pedestal. Grace or disgrace are the simple choices.
Aiding and abetting the process of pushing us to stand on our own two feet as grown-ups here in this configuration, is Uranus holding the rope taught in the house of relationships. Uranus is one of the ice giants, its mantle made up of a water/ammonia sea that flows on its surface. Uranus’ axis is tilted 90° in relation to our other planets – a perfect behavior for the planet chosen to represent rebellion against authority and delight in causing often blingingly bright changes on a large scale. Even its magnetic pole is odd and quirky, tilted as it is at 59° from North. It’s strangely low temperature is thought by some to be due to the fact that a large, extra-planetary impact forced much of its heat from its core. Cool and personally unattached, as this ruler of Aquarius is. It is independent, original and creative in its energetic and this planet has a highly electrically charged atmosphere – static and lightning abound within its orb. Saturn wants to limit and scare us, while Uranus asks us to aspire to our creative imaginations in a larger global community. And, Uranus’ unbounded energy is harnessed by the conservative approach of Saturn. As in every astrological situation, it is important to understand how every aspect must be understood from both sides of a dynamic. Balance is achieved through the exercise.
Uranus here is conjunct Jupiter, the largest, most massive planet in our solar system (2.5 times the mass of all the others, combined). It’s magnetosphere is also extraordinarily powerful, stretching almost to Saturn. It’s scope of influence is expansive and far-reaching. It rotates faster than any of the other planets, completing a single day in 10 hours. These factors contribute to its violent storms and its famous Great Red Spot, which is larger than our earth. It is considered to be a system unto itself, sitting in an asteroid belt and having 63 moons.
In mythology, Jupiter is considered the king of kings and overthrew his own father, Saturn (whose habit, out of fear, devoured his off-spring – except for Jupiter, whose mother hid him on Mt. Ida), to ascend to the throne. Jupiter is considered to be The Greater Benefic in astrology, as it draws us toward growth and larger meaning. It rules the 9th house, which is the house of spiritual seeking, philosophical meaning, institutions of higher learning (particularly legal) and travel. It is said to bring good luck, expansiveness and abundance.
Without the limiting influence of Saturn, however, Jupiter’s energetic can dissolve into grandiosity, procrastination and a dissolution of its beneficient forces. Saturn’s balance lends Jupiter the needed hand in sustaining focussed, purposeful growth.
Here, as with Uranus, we find Jupiter in Aries, an impulsive, instinct-driven sign when expressing only its yang elemental. Jupiter and Uranus together are going to want to make big, expansive changes in the house of relationship. This is a needed change, as our american style of interacting with others has long outworn its usefulness. We forgot that we conquered our own sea to shining sea centuries ago and our continued attitude of expanding into other regions of the world has got to go. Jupiter will want that expansion, but here is where Saturn and its destructuring and limiting of our collective sense of “I” and “me” is going to play a significant hand in how we choose to join the larger neighborhood of our global community. Jupiter, if negotiated successfully, has the opportunity to guide us all into a meaning of life and a mission that is larger than our individual selves.
Finally, anchoring these massive planets into our collective first chakra in the 4th house, is a small, but very meaningful object, Pluto. As everyone knows, Pluto was declassified as a planet in 2006, though many believe this is due not to its size but, rather, to the meaning it holds. Pluto is the dark planet of high density that holds our secrets and lies, our primal motivations that can lead us into criminal activities, sexual obsessiveness and sado-masochistic desires. It is our shadow, ruler of Hades and the underworld of all of our souls. The western brain has not yet achieved the maturity to work with such elementary elementals, focussed on and driven as it is by the superficial, material world. It is no surprise, then, that “scientists” would seek to ban Pluto’s meaning from our larger consciousness. This action is more an expression of a lack of an ability to integrate the darker parts of ourselves on the part of that scientific community (representatives of our culture) than it is about the truth of that planet.
We ignore its influence at our peril. For a more in-depth discussion of the meaning of Pluto, please refer to my previous entry on “The Love Parade: Pluto Arrives in the New Age Movement.”
Here, we will focus on Pluto’s placement in the 4th house and in Capricorn. Certainly, the fact that this very small planet is anchoring the southern pole of the grand cross is significant. It speaks to how deeply buried and inaccessible we have made our collective darker unconscious. The 4th house rules our root chakra and is our grounding for our lives. It forms our understanding of our innermost self and is the place to which we return for solitude and refreshment when the activities of the mundane become too busy – and we have made them extremely busy in these last decades. This placement here indicates a great need on the part of all americans to take out our spiritual flashlights and shine the light on the secrets we hold as a nation in that house, which we have turned into a closet of rotting bones in our wake. The stench of it is seeping our from under the door and the time has come for us to open it.
Saturn demands a kick in the pants to our self-image, sitting there in the 1st, and it is anchored into Pluto in the 4th house. Both require courage in sifting through the detritus of a past we have made. Once we have undertaken this process, we can move on to the higher requests Jupiter and Uranus are making of us in our global relationships over there in the 7th house.
Pluto is in the sign of Capricorn, whose greatest ambition is the quest for power. Rules by Saturn, Capricorn’s view can often be limited by success within established structures and will pursue its goal of ascension without regard to anyone else’s needs. It oversees government and finances. This is where our achilles heel is going to be found as a collective. While a drive for success is important as a motivator for growth, when it is allowed to be the primary conductor, it rules with a fearful heart and a basic lack of compassion for others. We find this characteristic expressed through the “Wall Street vs. Main Street” discussion made popular in the media. Our collective demand that the plutonic secrets and lies that have been used by the powers that be – the governmental/financial complex currently in charge of the reigns – be brought to light is essential in forging a new path for ourselves. Manipulations, deceit and cover-ups are not the traits of a mature ruler. Our root chakra structure of power needs a serious overhaul. Pluto will ensure that this happens, no matter our protestations. Pluto always wins and we have only one choice – to go willingly into those dark caverns and bring our deepest selves to light in order that a new structure can be formed by our own hands or, well, it will visit us from external sources.
THE SHAPE OF THINGS
I have drawn here the shape of the larger themes at hand above us. The planets involved are very slow-moving and shape a generation. Saturn, Uranus, Jupiter and Pluto will continuously move through the houses and come into contact with the inner, personal planets as we make this voyage, but these larger themes apply to us all. These gas giants playing out their themes above us are taking place in the Cardinal signs (thus the moniker of Cardinal Cross) and therefore we can times their influence by 100. Individuals with these planets in their own natal cardinal signs will feel their dynamics that much more acutely.
The theme in any cross in a chart is Awareness. That is what we are being asked to do – to seek awareness of our own dynamics and bring that awareness into a more creative and expansive relationship to others. That can only be achieved through uncovering the unconscious and negative motivations of our root chakras.
It is important to remember that, when we extend lines between the points of a cross, we get either a diamond (if the arms are equal) or, as in the conventional christian cross, we get a kite.
Pluto is not only the sign of secrets, but also of hidden treasures. It is a planet that cleanses. We may reap those gifts only after the work and courage of traversing the dark passages of our selves and our country has been accomplished. Only then may we bathe in the temple waters. Once we restructure the masculine aspect of function and form, we may invite the Divine Feminine to imbue those forms with new meaning. That is the gift at hand.
©2010 Amelia A. Free