Have you been hearing about the astrological grand cross that will occur in its strongest manifestation in the third week of April? This same configuration manifested in January 2014, when it was not exact but was within close range. It slowly starts again now in late March as Mars is within a 10-degree orb of aspect and the new Moon in Pisces joins Uranus on March 30.
The grand cross will continue getting stronger through April and then slowly start to dissipate through the first few weeks of May. You could say this pattern helps define certain dynamics that we are experiencing in the first half of the civil year and especially starting now. Western astrologers who use the tropical (seasonal) zodiac view the grand cross in cardinal signs, but sidereal astrologers who follow the starry sky (like me) are tracking it in mutable signs.
In mid-April and most intensely in the third week of April, retrograde Mars will move into position in sidereal Virgo to form the grand cross with Pluto in Sagittarius, Jupiter in Gemini and Uranus in Pisces. These are tension squares (90-degree aspects) and also t-squares between all four of these planets forming a grand square — Mars and Jupiter, Jupiter and Uranus, Uranus and Pluto and Pluto and Mars. In addition, Mars opposes Uranus and Jupiter opposes Pluto, thus completing the grand cross.
A grand cross is a square with oppositions. In sacred geometry, the square represents the yang (outgoing) expression of form and order in the physical world. The grand square represents potential for difficult karmic “lessons” as it can signify certain frustrating, inharmonious and limiting dynamics which are accentuated by the oppositional part of the grand cross. The planets will form the exact grand cross when they are at 19 degrees of their respective constellations. The number 19 = 1 + 9 = 10 = 1 is a number of surrender which is associated with big endings and important new beginnings, which is a perfect vibration for springtime!
Let’s break down this grand cross further:
- Pluto squaring Mars can be forceful and reckless.
- Mars opposite Uranus can indicate scandalous or unthinkable events.
- Mars square Jupiter can point to extremism or fanaticism.
- Jupiter square Uranus reflects rebellion against the established order.
- Uranus square Pluto is a generational transit foretelling revolution and significant political and societal changes.
- Pluto opposite Jupiter can trigger judgmental attitudes as well as the revelation of truth that leads to disruption of organized systems such as spiritual and religious orders.
- Mars opposite Uranus is a combination for angry emotions and explosive events including criminal acts as well as volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and wars.
A mutable grand cross is a very unworldly and potentially creative pattern but also one that can be indicative of instability and extreme anxiety or nervous energy. It is a strong configuration that shows some greater than usual strain, sensitivity and impatience. I recently heard an astrologer say that a mutable grand cross can be like a windmill in a wind storm. These things have been known to break down or even explode if not maintained well and handled properly.
The mutable grand cross can show some tendencies for difficulty with communication and focus, and this will certainly be truer for some people more than others (depending on their natal horoscopes) so in general, we can take special care so slow down, avoid impulsive actions, and remain calm, mindful and considerate of others. Especially avoid making big decisions until the fog clears (perhaps in May it will be better).
Not to be undone by one powerful grand cross are two eclipses occurring in April: a total lunar eclipse on April 15 in sidereal Libra, and a solar annular eclipse on April 29 in sidereal Aries. Having eclipses at the same time as the coexisting grand cross intensifies all astral effects. This Aries-Libra eclipse axis is about balance and relationship. More specifically it is about developing a strong sense of inner knowing that can be mirrored into the world for right relationship.
The full Moon lunar eclipse of April 15 will fall in Chitra nakshatra. Chitra nakshatra is associated with illusions and facades, and the lunar eclipse falling here will dispel some of those. The energy of the total lunar eclipse in Libra (with Moon and the Moon’s North Node Rahu) is agitated by the flanking of retrograde Mars and Saturn on either side. Ruled by the celestial architect Vishwakarma, Chitra is a creative section of the sky, so perhaps this eclipse will stimulate that impulse for some of us as it reflects the mysterious power of creative energy. The lunar eclipse will align with the fixed star Arcturus in the constellation of Bootes. Arcturus is associated with stormy weather.
The new Moon solar eclipse of April 29 will fall in sidereal Aries in Bharani nakshatra at ~15 degrees sidereal Aries. The eclipse is not a full one so the eclipsing body of the Moon’s South Node (Ketu) is quite far away from the Sun and Moon in Ashwini nakshatra at ~ 4 degrees sidereal Aries. Ketu rules Ashwini nakshatra so this is a strong and favorable placement. The energy of Ashwini nakshatra is directed toward lightness of being, spontaneity, quick changes, healing and new beginnings. Bharani nakshatra is not nearly as sweet and lighthearted as Ashwini. Its nature can be primal, turbulent, extreme and explosive. The Sun and Moon in Bharani nakshatra conjoin the fixed star Schedir, Alpha (α) Cassopeia, associated with the High Priestess of the Tarot. Her message here at this juncture is to avoid unpleasant confrontations.
Eclipses always reveal a change in the astral weather. They occur a few times a year and entail an electromagnetic shift that can provide some disturbance but also some necessary cleansing and rejuvenation. Transiting astrological aspects to both of these eclipse sections in Libra and Aries will have a significant impact before and after the eclipse and astrologers will be observing them carefully for some time to come, particularly the Aries points.
The April 15 total lunar eclipse begins a tetrad pattern in which parts of North America will see four total lunar eclipses taking place in a row over the next two years. The lunar eclipse tetrad has been called a Blood Moon which I wrote about extensively in my March 16 blog post titled Lions and Tigers and Blood Moons, Oh My!
In April, and especially the second half, during the two weeks from eclipse to eclipse, relationships can be more strained than normal. Many parts of the world may feel really off balance with military, socioeconomic and political tensions rising (Aries eclipse and Aries relates to war and aggression). Remember that you can make a difference by simply minding your own inner state, taking good care to be peaceful and not over-reacting. Again, avoid pushing if matters are unclear and you feel undecided.
Eclipses can show the astrologer how and where some of the important events and changes will be taking place. Astrologers look to see where an eclipse falls zodiacally in relation to natal and mundane horoscopes, and this offers a great deal of useful predictive information. An eclipse, especially a solar eclipse, can resonate for months before and after it occurs. Though eclipse energies affect the whole world, the effects can be especially strong in the area where it actually falls; in other words, an eclipse is like shining a spotlight on a certain geographical location on earth as well as a zodiacal section of the horoscope.
The annular solar eclipse of April 29, 2014 will fall partially in Antarctica, the southern Indian Ocean, the southern edge of Indonesia and all of Australia. Note it is over the South Indian Ocean where a massive search is underway for the missing jetliner and passengers from Malaysia Air Flight 370, which are purported to have gone down in this area. It is a south node (Ketu = losses) solar eclipse in sidereal Aries (accidents and mass catastrophes) occurring on the Imum Coeli (heartland) of Australia. The international search and recovery effort is being led by Australia.
In the above chart for “birth” of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 on March 8, 2014 at 00:41 AM in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Neptune (planet of mystery and confusion) is exactly conjoined the Imum Coeli (representing the “heart” of the matter) which can indicate that the plane went into the ocean (Neptune) through an act of a) criminal deception or b) some kind of toxic gas or smoke emergency. Neptune here can also indicate that the mystery may never be solved, though I have some hope that it might be at least partially solved by the time the March 30 New Moon rolls around, because the lunation exactly conjoins Uranus in the take-off chart (Uranus governs airplanes and air travel).
The world can certainly be a wild ride sometimes! It helps me when I remember it is a grand lila (play) and that perhaps the most important “real” thing worth cultivating is loving kindness. In Autobiography of a Yogi, Paramahansa Yogananda said, “You have come to earth to entertain and to be entertained.” Or, to borrow Pierre Teilhard de Chardin’s well-worn phrase, “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience” (Le Phénomène Humain, 1955). It truly does help to keep this perspective.