by Marilyn J. Muir, LPMAFA
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
I have been reading many of the astrological columns about the upcoming astrological cardinal cross that I personally see as a cardinal T-square. Many of those readings are dire, and under the current economic and ecological crisis can be scary to read. Please know that many of these aspects have occurred repeatedly throughout the course of world history and we are still alive, inhabiting this planet. I am not discounting the potential ramifications of this aspect or the individual stress factors. All of that is very real. However, I do think it would be a good idea to establish a premise to understand some of what is being published all over the internet.
Each author’s take on what it all means is very individual, as it should be, as no two humans are ever 100% in agreement 100% of the time. As students of astrology, we read not only the body of information with myriad details we have filed in our memory, but we also read through our own perceptions, conclusions, biases, pet theories and cultural conditioning because we are human. I thought for this article I would try to help you draw a mental picture of what is happening in the sky and describe each element individually. As you read various columns, I hope it will help you understand what is being said in the context of the overall picture. We know what happens to information when it is taken out of context and this major cardinal aspect is no exception. This is written for non-astrologers and astrologers alike, with the purely technical data placed at the end of the article. Step by step…
What is a cardinal cross? What is a cardinal T-square? I need to explain signs, cardinal, aspects and planets first.
Signs There are approximately sixty constellations that we view, ranging all over the 360-degree ball shape we describe as our “heavens”. Twelve of those constellations reside on the path on which the planets orbit the Sun, the ecliptic (the path on which eclipses occur). The constellations are much larger than this relatively fine line around the Sun. They range widely on either side of the ecliptic, which acts as the centerline of these twelve constellations. The twelve divisions are called the zodiac and astrology signs take their name and positions from those twelve zodiacal constellations. The order starts with Aries and concludes with Pisces. This is an arbitrary starting and ending point because humans need reference points to aid their understanding. Each sign has been assigned thirty degrees of contiguous space (twelve times thirty degrees each = 360 degrees).
Mental Image Stop here and draw yourself a mental picture of a 360-degree circle (Earth’s orbit around the Sun) that is divided into twelve segments of thirty degrees each, with each segment being one constellation/sign starting with Aries and ending with Pisces. The normal entry point for each sign is at the 00 degrees position and the end is 29 degrees and 59 minutes, just shy of 30 degrees which automatically begins the next sign.
Cardinal The twelve signs are divided up in various ways, again to aid our understanding. One of those various divisions has to do with the three modes of operation of a sign. Is it precipitous and active (cardinal)? Is it establishing and secure (fixed)? Is it adaptable or flexible (mutable)? The points of initiation and activation are called cardinal and the cardinal signs are Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn, in that order. The cardinal points are 00 degrees of each sign or 00 Aries, 00 Cancer, 00 Libra and 00 Capricorn. It is not an accident that these cardinal points occur at the equinoxes and the solstices of our earthly seasons.
The Earth does not orbit the Sun in an exact circle; the actual shape of our path is an ellipse, which is more oval-like than circular. At two points in our yearly orbit we achieve equal nights and days (equinox). At two other points in our yearly orbit we have the longest day or the longest night (solstice). The signs are seasonal and are matched to Earth’s orbit around the Sun.
Mental Image Mentally put the Sun in the middle with a somewhat oval-shaped orbit around it. At two points, daylight and dark are equal in duration (equinox) and at two points daylight and dark are unequal in the extreme (solstice). These points in the orbit match the first day of spring (equinox), the first day of summer (solstice, longest day), the first day of autumn (equinox) and the first day of winter (solstice, longest night). The season of birth (beginnings) is spring and that means Aries becomes the dominant of the four cardinal points. It is called the Aries Point and represents the seeding phase of a cycle, initiation.
Aspect If you take a circle (or an ellipse) and divide it in half, let us say top to bottom, you will have two points that diametrically oppose each other called an opposition. This is an 180-degree stress aspect (angular relationship), which acts as a bone of contention, a division, a point of confrontation. If you were to do another division of that same circle left to right you would again end up with two points diametrically opposed to each other with the same definition. To use both divisions (top to bottom and left to right) automatically gives you four quarters. Aspect-wise we would have the equivalent of two oppositions crossing each other creating four quarters of 90 degrees, with each of the four sections called a square. Squares act as a problem, challenge or obstacle. There are four of them in this example, each operating at full individual capacity. When combinations occur like this, they are considered major aspect patterns.
Mental Image Two points are in opposition to one another. The axis between the two is crossed with an axis of two more points that are also in opposition to one another. Because of the crossings of these two divisions, squares are created. That makes two oppositions that have in turn created four squares. That is two bones of contention, division, point of confrontation (oppositions) that create four problems, challenges or obstacles (squares). Does that not sound pleasant? Now you know why the various readings are so dire.
Cardinal T-square or Cardinal Cross If all four cardinal positions are occupied by planets for an aspect, it is called a cardinal cross. If only three cardinal positions are occupied by planets for an aspect it is called a cardinal T-square. The cardinal cross is considered more problematic than the T-square because all four points demand immediate attention and there is no clear space in which to respond. T-squares have an empty point that can be used for solution of the problem. I own two of these T-squares in my own wheel, so I would never under-estimate their impact.
Planets Some planets are quite pleasant, even when they run into problems. Other planets do not need an excuse to be nasty; it seems to be in their general disposition to be that way without any outside assistance. There are ten bodies, but I am going to limit this explanation to the five planets that can be involved in this particular cardinal aspect. Before we blame the planets for our troubles, remember that they are locked into orbits that are observable, measurable and repetitive. The planets do not make free will choices for us, they just provide the energy for our lessons.
- Pluto is named for the ruler of the underworld, powerful or powerless, hidden, big agendas, manipulative, psychological, big brother, circumstances over which you have little if any control.
- Saturn is the planet of form, organization, responsibility, duty, obligation, the maker of the rules, traditional and conservative, limiting.
- Uranus is the planet of the future, change, rebellion, individuality, uniqueness; it does not like the status quo, ever.
- Jupiter is the planet of expansion and enlargement, speculation, risk-taking and can wax very philosophical.
- Mars is the planet of action, assertion, and aggression. It is also the planet of war.
Now we can look at the planets in major cardinal aspect in action.
Pluto was the first planet to enter this 00 cardinal arena on January 26, 2008, but did not have any playmates at the time. Instead Pluto activated in individual wheels all over the world for people, corporations, countries and more. For example, our country was hit hard in the economy/financial pattern. Pluto activated 00 Capricorn and has moved past the 00 point but is still close enough to participate in a major cardinal aspect. The closest it will come to this group aspect is on September 10, 2010, and then it will start to move away from direct participation. Because Pluto is so slow-moving, it can continue to participate as the major aspect forms but it has already played its own cards.
Saturn entered 00 Libra on October 30, 2009, the point of the square to Pluto, Saturn went further into Libra and then retrograded (moved backward, an optical illusion caused by Earth’s perspective of the planets). It touched that 00 Libra point again at the end of March and the beginning of April, 2010. It will make a third and final connection to 00 Libra at the end of July, 2010. Saturn is moving to complete its activation during this major cardinal aspect as is Pluto.
Uranus and Saturn have been having a 21-month Virgo/Pisces argument, one that has kept our world and our country and its citizens in one heck of a mess for the duration. Just look around you or watch the news as change and conformity battle it out. This opposition is just finishing that particular argument, but is moving with Saturn into 00 cardinal, first Uranus into Aries then Saturn into Libra. They will maintain this opposition in the sky for a brief time longer, but the nature of the problem changes from the Virgo/Pisces lesson to a much briefer Libra/Aries lesson. Just after this happens, Saturn will move forward, slowly moving out of aspect with Uranus, and we can allow this period of great stress to become part of history – no longer current,
Mental Image We already know that Saturn in Libra is squaring (challenge, problem, obstacle) Pluto in Capricorn (see two points at a right angle to each other). Now we must add Uranus to the mix. Uranus has been and still is opposing Saturn (bone of contention, division, point of confrontation) and is also squaring (challenge, problem, obstacle) Pluto. For this mental image drop the visual of the mental square to redraw the pattern. Try to mentally see Saturn and Uranus opposite each other with Pluto in the middle at right angles to both, the square point. If it is easier for you, see Aries opposite Libra with Capricorn at the square position. If you draw mental lines between the three, start with the opposition line between Saturn and Uranus, then place the squaring point at the center of the opposition line. It should look like a large T in your mental image, the T-square.
Jupiter enters 00 Aries in just three days (June 6, 2010) as I write this article. There it will join Uranus. Just what we need, more stress! The principle of expansion and enlargement is teaming up with change, rebellion, revolution just so they can contend with Saturn and Pluto. Thank goodness these aspects have relatively short time spans of power.
Mental Image Place Jupiter with Uranus on the mental T-square you have already constructed. Let us see, that would be four of ten planets on or near the critical 00 cardinal points, with two in Aries, one in Libra and one in Capricorn. This is what all the articles and commentaries are talking about. This is major and not nice. What could it mean?
Remember that we are in the middle of a major ecological disaster that is centered for the moment in the Gulf of Mexico, but will be spreading via the Gulf Stream around the tip of Florida and up the east coast of the North American continent. From there it will spread broadly into the Atlantic Ocean. Many of the weather functions on our news stations are showing excellent educational projection maps for this oil spill. I live in an area where the Gulf Stream is common and well known to the citizens. It is a major environmental factor. At last report, 37% of the Gulf of Mexico is closed to shipping. 37% of the Gulf… enormous and growing, plus it is headed for the Atlantic. This is an international horror show. If you think this does not affect you personally, remember that our oceans provide much of our food. Think “hungry”. Think “ecological disaster”. Think “economic disaster”. This is not just a United States problem. This is a world problem. Each person should check their own wheel to see if they will be personally involved. Look for positions at 00 cardinal in any sky map.
If the oil spill is not a good enough example for stress, look at the Israeli ship-boarding trauma/drama, the recent destruction of the South Korean vessel allegedly by North Korea, the constant terrorist activities, and countless other international events. It seems as though the world has taken leave of its senses, doesn’t it? Just bear in mind that such activations have a specific duration – they do not go on forever. We just have to do the best we can with the lessons provided and know that we will work our way through them, hopefully successfully. It would be lovely if we just learned from each experience instead of repeating the lessons we have not learned!
Mars Our fifth planetary contender is Mars. Since this is the planet that represents war, thank goodness it is really fast-moving. This translates to a shortened activation period. It tends to act like the second hand on a clock and can time a specific activation in a prolonged period of stress. Mars will not retrograde while this 00 cardinal activation takes place. Again, retrograde is an optical illusion produced by our Earth perspective, which tends to expand activation periods. In this instance, less is best. However, because of its speed, it can activate this cardinal T-square on three different dates during the year:
- Mars joins Saturn in 00 Libra on July 30, 2010.
- Mars joins Pluto in 00 Capricorn on December 8, 2010.
- Jupiter and Uranus are traveling together. Mars joins Uranus at the end of January, 2011, but Jupiter is moving quickly out of this T-square picture at that time.
- On August 3, 2011, Mars enters 00 Cancer, which sets up a brief and different T-square because both Jupiter and Saturn are out of the picture and Uranus and Pluto have moved past the 00 cardinal T-square.
One last point Any faster moving planet or eclipse that occupies 00 Cancer can turn this major T-square into a grand cross. The grand cross is more difficult than the T-square for the reasons already given. As I said, I own two T-squares in my own wheel so I would never under-estimate their power to activate stress. The grand cross is more stressful than the T-square. A faster moving planet can act like a clock’s second hand trigger as can Mars or an eclipse point. I would not ordinarily be concerned about the Moon acting as a trigger but it is possible. Faster moving reduces the time of strongest impact. Yes! They may activate but they will not last very long, more like a headline than another disaster. Just be aware of the potential of it being a lit match that may be all it takes to tip the scales set by the whole pattern.
For die-hard astrologers, here is the technical data affecting 00 cardinal:
Pluto entered 00 Capricorn January 26, 2008, turned retrograde May and June of 2008, entered 00 Capricorn November 27, 2008 (just after the USA election) for a sixteen-year stay, and went retrograde and direct during August, September, and October of 2009. Pluto stations direct at 2 Cap 47 (close but not exact) in September of 2010. Pluto is already finished with its contribution to 00 cardinal. The other planets involve Pluto in their activities through orb of aspect.
Saturn entered 00 Libra October 30, 2009, retrograded at the end of March – beginning of April, 2010. Saturn goes direct the end of July, 2010 and will be shortly finished with this major cardinal aspect.
Uranus entered 00 Aries at the of end May, 2010, stays briefly in 00 Aries, then retrogrades through mid-August of 2010 back into Pisces. Uranus re-enters 00 Aries in March of 2011 for a seven-year stay in the sign. Astrologers keep watch here because Uranus and Pluto stay in their square position beyond this 00 cardinal aspect. Uranus as the faster moving planet will be the one to decide when the square to Pluto is finished. Other fast-moving planets can set up short-term T-squares.
Jupiter enters 00 Aries on June 6, 2010, retrogrades at 00 Aries in September of 2010 and finishes the 00 Cardinal passage at the end of January, 2011. It ceases to be a factor in this aspect pattern.
Mars entered 00 Cancer August 26, 2009 prior to the formation of the 00 cardinal aspect, then enters 00 Libra Jul 30 2010 but does not retrograde, then enters 00 Capricorn Dec 8 2010 (and does not retrograde), then enters 00 Aries at the end of Jan, 2011 (and does not retrograde), and finally Mars enters 00 Cancer August 3, 2011 (and does not retrograde).
There is also a Lunar Eclipse on June 26, 2010 at 4 Capricorn 46, widely square the 00 cardinal point and within aspect to each body in question. Since I only allow five degrees orb for an eclipse, this is at the outside edge of allowable for me, but I wouldn’t trust it one bit!
Published on EZine online June, 2010, republished with slight editing.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.