Late April will witness one of the rarest celestial alignments of our, or any, era. An astrological Grand Cross in Cardinal Signs is forming, incorporating the volatile Uranus/Pluto square, the defining aspect of our times. At 13 degrees of Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn, the Cross highlights the USA’s natal Sun/Saturn square, putting America directly under the gun of this configuration, and perhaps provoking extreme manifestations which will impact the collective for a long time to come.
Cast for 3:20 PM EDT in Washington DC, the moment of the fifth exact square between Uranus and Pluto, the Cross at that time is slightly out of frame, with retrograde Mars still at 14 Libra for a few hours before passing rearward to make the Cross exact, but this slight imperfection actually grounds the chart much more closely to the US’ own, which has Saturn at that same 14 Libra degree.
The shift is significant, for the original natal square between the US Sun and Saturn indicates issues with authority, growing up and maturation, accepting adult responsibility, and a certain “tetchy” quality based in a hyper-critical attitude and a superiority complex that is more than evidenced in the nation’s history. But the transit square which overlays it, between retrograde Mars on that Saturn and Jupiter on that Sun, shifts the energy to one of outsized, excessive, hyped-up response to provocation, which could, Mars considered, include rash military action.
This scenario is daily becoming less of a stretch of the imagination, with the world poised breathless at the annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea province by Vladimir Putin’s Russia. The Crimean crisis may well prove the seminal event of this period, but the ramifications of the Grand Cross are at once transcendentally global and intimately personal. Uranus and Pluto have been forming their square, the first major aspect between them since their conjunction in the 1960s, which defined that decade, since 2012 and will continue their dance into 2015, with ramifications to last well beyond.
The basic clash is between the forces of freedom, individuation, self-determination and modernization, as represented by Uranus in Aries, and those of collectivism, conservatism, repression and entrenched power structures, as represented by Pluto in Capricorn. Early warning shots of this clash emerged with the Arab Spring in 2011, with revolutions that swept across North Africa and the Middle East, toppling governments and initiating civil conflicts that continue to this day in Syria. Without exception these nations show pivotal natal placements that were strongly impacted by the early degrees of the square. That same year in the US we saw the emergence of a similar energy in the Wisconsin union protests and the Occupy Wall Street movements, both of which fizzled for lack of celestial support.
But now that the square has progressed to the critical degrees of the US Sun/Saturn square, and is augmented by Mars and Jupiter, it may be the turn of the US to incorporate these revolutionary energies, assuming of course that the country’s undereducated, complacent, media-hypnotized population can be dragged up off their overfed asses. Short analysis here: don’t hold your breath for major, substantive change at home.
But nothing can prevent what the rest of the world throws at us, and that will have to be dealt with. The Grand Cross also highlights Russia’s 13 Capricorn Uranus exactly (“born” 25 December 1991), so we may be dealing with a volatile, provocative, mentally unstable actor on the world stage, an entity whose responses are shocking and seemingly irrational to others. We can glean some clues as to the precise nature of the potential challenges by a closer inspection of the chart for the fifth Uranus/Pluto square, specifically with an eye to the placements of asteroids likely to be key to the unfolding events.
Continuing with the theme of the Crimean crisis, we can see indicators that this could mushroom into a major situation during the spring. The horizontal axis for the fifth exact Uranus/Pluto square in Washington shows TNO (Trans-Neptunian Object) Orcus and asteroid Askalaphus at 4 and 5 Virgo, conjunct the 8 Virgo Ascendant, with asteroids Icarus and Sisyphus exactly conjoined each other and the 8 Pisces Descendant, and Neptune close beside at 6 Pisces.
Orcus relates to oath-breaking, and the consequences of this. In its annexation of the Crimea, Russia has violated not merely a common convention of behavior between sovereign nations, but very specific agreements made between the great powers when Ukraine willingly surrendered its nuclear stockpiles (the world’s third largest) in 1994. At that time, the US, the UK and Russia agreed to guarantee Ukraine’s security and the integrity of its borders in exchange for its nuclear disarmament, a solemn pledge that has now been broken.
Askalaphus is the tale-bearer, named for a gardener of Hades who informed on Persephone’s ingestion of six pomegranate seeds during her enforced sojourn there, which required her annual return to the Underworld. Askalaphus here suggests that there will be a price to be paid for Russia’s actions, perhaps the sanctions which could isolate Russia economically and politically, in much the way Persephone is isolated during her return visits to Hades.
Icarus/Sisyphus on the Descendant is a perfect description of the overall nature of the annexation, and particularly Putin’s avowed reasons for doing so. The Descendant governs our interactions with others, the relationships we form with them; Icarus represents rash, reckless actions heedless of the consequences, often taken against good advice or stern warnings, and Sisyphus is repetitive, nonproductive actions (named for a denizen of Hades doomed to forever roll a rock uphill, only to have it roll back down again, necessitating an eternal duplication of the act).
The Sisyphean sense that we’ve “been there, done that” in this crisis became especially strong when Putin averred that the Crimea should rightly be a part of Russia, due to historical antecedents, a majority ethnic Russian population which needed “protection”, and cultural/linguistic bonds. These are the same arguments used by Hitler in his annexation of the predominantly German-speaking areas of the Sudetenland area of Czechoslovakia in 1938, and Saddam Hussein’s annexation of Kuwait in 1990, which he termed Iraq’s lost “19th province.”
Neptune in the mix indicates Putin’s duplicitous stance and deceptive dealing in abrogating the prior treaty concerning Ukraine, as well as the hyper-patriotism bordering on fanaticism and zealotry showcased in the “welcome back” spectacles staged in Moscow after Crimea’s referendum vote to join Russia.
Additionally, both asteroids Russia (#232) and Moskva (#787, Russian for “Moscow”) are in strategically strong positions in the chart. Moskva (which made its station direct the day before Russian invaded Crimea) at 17 Cancer is conjunct Jupiter at 13 Cancer, indicating the territorial expansion (Jupiter) of the Russian state, augmenting Moscow’s sway, and tying directly to the Grand Cross. With asteroid Moskva sitting atop the US natal Sun, Moscow is in the catbird seat, with the ability to dominate America’s response. Asteroid Russia itself at 23 Scorpio conjoins the chart’s Saturn at 21 Scorpio, a strong defensive posture for the country, rock-ribbed and with a backbone of steel, the authority in the situation with the executive capacity to call the shots.
The US is represented in the transit sky as well as its natal connections to the Grand Cross itself. Asteroid Washingtonia at 27 Gemini pairs with asteroid Panacea at 29 Gemini, and is in an exact square with transit asteroid Crimea at 27 Virgo. Besides the obvious symbolism of a crisis (square) in the US capital regarding Crimea, this square overlays another primary marker in the US natal chart, that of natal Mars at 21 Gemini to natal Neptune at 22 Virgo. Washingtonia/Panacea shows a desire by the administration to find a workable solution, a cure-all as it were (Panacea), to the crisis, and conjoined the nation’s Mars, a military solution, or at a minimum some saber-rattling, is certainly on the table. But with Crimea conjunct the USA Neptune, this is a situation too fluid and incorporeal to get a good handle on. Realistic options are limited, and Mars square Neptune can hamper any US military response, lending vacillation, confusion, disarray or betrayal to any effort.
Additionally, the exact Washingtonia/Crimea square is in exact opposition and square to the Galactic Center at 27 Sagittarius, indicating a situation with global import garnering international attention, and forming a T-Square with transit asteroid Karma, reaping the results of our actions, also at 27 Sagittarius. Karma on the Galactic Center involves the karmic comeuppance of many nations at this time besides the US—it encompasses the collective responsibility for centuries of geopolitical interaction and conflict on a global scale—but its direct and exact interaction with celestial referents for the US and the disputed Back Sea province brings this energy home very specifically to that conflict. To reinforce the diplomatic crisis nature of the event, transit asteroid Simferopol (#2141, named for the Crimean capital) at 5 Cancer is exactly conjoined the US natal Jupiter, ruling diplomacy and foreign relations, and also broadly within the context of the Grand Cross.
To return to the square itself, that Mars at 14 Libra which exactly conjoins the US natal Saturn is accompanied by asteroids Achilles and Hybris at 8 and 11 Libra, and TNO Typhon at 15 Libra. Saturn is of course the US president as well as the higher echelons of its government and legislative bodies, and with Mars here, they will certainly be spurred to action. But with Mars also retrograde, this may prove nonproductive or even counter-productive.
The minor planet modifiers are not encouraging either. Achilles represents weakness, a charge often levelled against President Obama, as well as vulnerability, an inherent flaw leading to one’s undoing. Hybris, from which we derive our word “hubris,” represents excessive arrogance or pride, in classical terms also leading to the downfall of a hero due to character flaws, a fatal misstep spurred by a haughty conceit and sense of superiority. And Typhon, named for a mythic Greek Titan storm god (from which we derive our word “typhoon”), represents an overwhelming, uncontrollable and inescapable tempest, a maelstrom of destruction and ruin with an awesome power of devastation.
Even transit asteroid America colludes in this negative celestial prognostication. Relatively isolated from the chart at 10 Taurus (which conveys a certain symbolism in itself), America is traveling with asteroid Phaeton at 9 Taurus, named for the youthful son of the Greek Helios, who rashly took on more responsibility than he was prepared for, in driving his father’s chariot of the sun, leading to his spectacular end in a fiery conflagration after creating havoc across the planet when the reins of power failed to respond to his commands.
While the Crimea crisis fingerprints are all over the Grand Cross, other global hot spots have not been ignored. North Korea’s Moon square Mercury/Neptune is highlighted (at 10 Capricorn and 11/12 Libra), as is Syria’s Sun (9 Capricorn) and Iran’s Sun/Pluto opposition (at 11 Aries and 18 Libra). Any or all of these could become focal points for the Uranus/Pluto square’s energy, but none has the sort of dramatic tie-ins seen to the US chart.
On a personal level, anyone with planets or angles between 8 and 18 degrees of the Cardinal Signs Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn will be most affected by the Grand Cross. The precise nature of the manifestations will depend heavily on the point (or points) being aspected, but the incoming energies revolve around transformation, transition and crisis, with an accent on clearing out the dead wood so new conditions may arise and flourish (Pluto); sudden, unexpected change and the shattering of boundaries, with an accent on increased freedom of choice or action and self-realization (Uranus); increase, expansion and growth, with an accent on social interaction, networking and positive engagement (Jupiter); and conflict, struggle, dominance and aggression, with an accent on one’s will, force of character, and pro-active stance (Mars).
Whether the square impacts you directly or not, we’ll all be feeling its effects, and facing the ramifications of if its fallout for years, perhaps decades, to come. When it comes to powerhouse configurations dished out by the cosmos and the Cardinal Grand Cross, you ain’t seen nuthin’ yet!