At the Cardinal Crossroads

The Astrology of the Cardinal Cross

What is the
Cardinal Cross?

An Introduction to the Cardinal Cross

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When several slow-moving planets come together in a dynamic alignment, astrologers sit up and take notice! Throughout 2010 and beyond, the eyes on the sky are watching the "Cardinal Cross." The cast of characters includes Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Pluto, forming a planetary configuration called a T-square. This aspect pattern brings energies together in a way that is conflicting and challenging, yet dynamic and motivating. Get ready to be stirred and shaken!

We are at a momentous crossroads! We have only to look around us at the intense conflict, controversy and challenges that are daily fare in the media. Our planet is undergoing a critical time of perilous crisis and exceptional potential. The state of our planet and its inhabitants will be decided by the decisions and actions we make collectively over the next ten years.

Additionally, what we do collectively will be influenced by what we do individually. As the saying goes: The personal is political, and the political is personal. To heal the world, start with yourself. To heal and develop yourself during this time, the Cardinal Cross can be used to open yourself to trans-personal energies that are active right now. Increase your self-awareness by watching for the "mirror at the crossroads" in what the world reflects back to you. Don't just take it at face value (no pun intended), but dig deeper to see what you can learn from that mirror—about yourself, about others, about human nature, about the world and about our times.

Being able to identify the planetary energies in what happens around you is also a powerful tool for this journey. Below is an introduction to the astrology of the Cardinal Cross. More articles will be posted that expand on how we are all affected by this dynamic alignment. If your path through the crossroads starts to become murky, confusing or upsetting, don't be afraid to reach out for some personalized insight, clarity and extra support. Contact me for a personal reading.

Why is it Called the Cardinal Cross?

I don't know who first coined the term to refer to this specific aspect pattern. There are a few probable reasons why it's being called by that name though. For one thing, it takes place primarily in Cardinal signs: Jupiter and Uranus in Aries, Pluto in Capricorn, and although Saturn is still straggling back in Virgo, it will soon be back in the Cardinal sign of Libra.

Occupy Wall Street:

Uranus square Pluto
In Action!

As astrologers, we have a unique perspective on world events. Watch for the similarities—and the differences—between the 1960s (Uranus-Pluto conjunction) and current events like Occupy Wall Street, the Arab Spring and the US Tea Party movements (during the Uranus-Pluto square).

Occupy Together

Many of these events began in 2008, as the Cardinal Cross began to form. "What's the Cardinal Cross?"

The four main planets form a T-square aspect pattern ("What's a T-square?") which is sometimes called a T-cross. This could be where the "Cross" part comes from. A T-square pattern typically joins planets that are in signs of the same modality (Cardinal, Fixed or Mutable), and so they are often referred to by the modality they occur in – hence Cardinal T-square or Cardinal Cross.

Another reason for the name is probably because the Lunar Eclipse on June 26, 2010 combines with the T-square to form a Grand Cross aspect figure ("What's a Grand Cross?"), sometimes also called a Grand Square. At the Lunar Eclipse, the Sun fills in the 4th "leg" or "corner" of the cross pattern. (See diagram at top of page to see the Grand Cross at the Lunar Eclipse.) At various times in 2010, the Moon, Mercury or Venus also pass through that 4th corner to form a Grand Cross aspect pattern.

What's so special about the Cardinal zodiac signs? Cardinal signs are very dynamic in their energy! They tend to be goal and action oriented, initiating new directions – sometimes quite forcefully! Since we have a powerful aspect pattern taking place in signs known for their motivated, enthusiastic energy, and involving trans-personal planets, this planetary combination seems destined to activate significant change in our world.

Meet the Cardinal Cross Planets

Let's start at the beginning and get to know the planets, the aspects and the events inspired by this group of planets in recent history. Each of these planets represents a rich spectrum of energy:

Jupiter symbol

Jupiter governs knowledge, encounters with foreign lands and cultures, religion, philosophy, principles and beliefs. It turns raw information into meaningful knowledge and also disseminates that knowledge. As much as this planet can be used for assessing and understanding, it can also be used to judge or blame. It is also the planet of expansion, which often needs a boundary or limit to balance it out and keep it from becoming too much of a good thing.

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Saturn symbol

Saturn rules structure, authority and governing through rules, expectations and consistency. It represents what was called the "Establishment" in the 1960s. Although Saturn is often regarded as a killjoy or as boring, its goal is to manifest something through a slow process of development. When its energy is used in a healthy way, it supports our growth and gives it stability. When it's overdone, it can become conformist, rigid, oppressive and overcautious.

Uranus symbol

Uranus is connected to mass media, communication and technology. It is involved with groups, clubs, organizations and causes. It is a crusader for humanitarian ideals, an advocate for anything that breaks away from the ordinary, and believes in rebellion to solve most problems. It is associated with uniqueness, as well as the qualities that can leave us feeling like outsiders. It is often called the Great Awakener, since its purpose is to bring us out of simply following the crowd into a state of consciousness and awareness.

Pluto symbol

Pluto is the agent of transformation and rebirth. It is connected to death and it can sometimes lead us to encounter and deal with death in the world. However, physical death is just one of the many layers of meaning in Pluto. It is about endings that reach so deep they spawn a regeneration process. Transformation is the transition of change between the old and the new; between death and rebirth. Pluto's endings are a necessary end to what was, in order to release energy which then fuels the transformation process and then facilitates the rebirth into a new form.

Cardinal Cross Planetary Aspects

What animates and drives the Cardinal Cross pattern are a series of key planetary aspects.

Saturn-Uranus opposition

The first is the Saturn-Uranus opposition (180°) which does a long, slow dance from 2008-2010, and returns briefly in June 2011. This transit creates tension that brings out a number of contrasting qualities: conventionality versus rebellion; the past versus the future; commitment versus freedom; order versus chaos; predictability versus spontaneity; and results versus potential.

Saturn-Pluto square

Another aspect is the Saturn-Pluto square (90°) which is with us from 2009-2010. These planets are like huge iron cogs in a giant machine, grinding together and creating heat and friction. However, like machinery, they also have the potential to generate progress and productivity if you keep the temperature, speed and energy well-balanced.

Jupiter-Uranus conjunction

The Jupiter-Uranus conjunction (0°) of 2010 combines two energies that are both about expansion, freedom, inspiration, vision and the dissemination of knowledge and information. This pair of planets can bring renewed hope and faith, although it could also bring too much too fast and result in chaos and becoming overextended. (Read more about Uranus in Aries.)

Uranus-Pluto square

The Uranus-Pluto square (90°) is a very long term alignment whose influence began around 2008 and continues for about another 10 years, becoming exact between 2012 and 2015. This transit is especially significant because it marks the first major turning point in the 140 year cycle that began with the Uranus-Pluto conjunction in the turbulent 1960s. At that time the world saw enormous change on every level of life, from politics to civil rights to social norms to fashion and the arts. This time was marked by strenuous clashes between those who saw a radically new vision for the future and those who wanted to ensure that the traditions and conventional wisdom of the past was not lost. Now, 40-50 years later, the Uranus-Pluto square brings us again to the crossroads of change and challenges us to re-establish a balance between these factions as we advance through the next 50 years.

In this series of articles about the Cardinal Cross, we'll explore how this planetary alignment is affecting us globally and collectively, as well as how you can work with it personally to use the energy to create positive change in your own life. Check back here in the next few days to read more about the Cardinal Cross, or you can subscribe to receive notifications of updates.


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