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This winter has been a tough one for many people, and not just those who endured precipitation that rivaled Disney’s blockbuster Frozen. Have you been feeling irritable, spread thin, or at odds with key people in your life?

It’s not just you.

Since February, three planets—Jupiter, Uranus and Pluto—have been forming a tense formation called a T-Square. This happens when two planets are opposite each other, and a third one wedges itself in between at a right angle to both. Below, a visual diagram:

t-square

All year long, the tension has been building. From December 27, 2013 until May 14, 2014, all four planets are within 8 degrees of each other, which means we can already feel the push-pull vibrations. Since mid-February, Jupiter, Uranus and Pluto have moved even closer together. Like three people crowded into a cramped elevator or space, the closer they get, the more we feel their friction.

The gift of squares is that they force us to deal. Whatever’s been stuffed down or ignored will come up, and if you courageously confront it, your life could transform forever. You could think of it as an astrological juice cleanse. The detoxing part is no fun, but when it’s over, you’re glowing, light and free.

The Grand Cross: A 4-Way Showdown

By mid-April, a fourth planet (Mars) will enter the mix, creating what’s called a Grand Cross in astrology: two planets are 180 degrees apart (opposite), and all four planets  form harsh right (90-degree) angles to each other, like so:

grand-cross-blue-tint

The Grand Cross

The apex arrives on April 23, when these four cosmic players will be all be stationed at exactly 13 degrees. It’s sure to be an eventful day—a breaking point of some kind. The rising energy will be impossible to ignore, and it can force us into action, ready or not. But breaking points are also turning points, and this is the hidden gift of a Grand Cross.

In truth, this tension has been brewing for more than a year. Pluto and Uranus have been in 90-degree square formation on an off since 2012, and will continue to be until 2015. You can read our post here explaining the effect of this battle.

Photo via Cinzia Meneghello

Photo via Cinzia Meneghello

What are squares & oppositions, anyway?

In astrology, predictions are based on angles (called “aspects”) between the planets. There are soft, or easy, aspects and there are hard or challenging ones. Squares and oppositions are the two major hard aspects. The effect is like  countries locked in a political battle who are being forced to broker a peace treaty. Each will have to compromise, but none of them really want to give in. The negotiation process can be long and exhausting. (We like this Wikipedia explanation of the Grand Cross, too.)

Cardinal Signs: Home, Work, Self, Relationship

The planets involved in the Grand Cross are in cardinal signs, which are leadership and identity-driven. Cardinal signs touch the major aspects of our life, so during a Cross, we’ll feel stretched between events touching all of these primary areas at once. There are four cardinal signs in the zodiac, each one in a different element:

Aries (Cardinal Fire): The self, the ego, individual concerns

Cancer (Cardinal Water): Home, family, roots, security, the emotional foundation

Libra (Cardinal Air): Relationships, interpersonal matter, mutuality, compromise

Capricorn (Cardinal Earth): Work, career, public life & image

Learn more about the qualities of signs in our post here.

 The Planetary Players:
Jupiter, Pluto, Uranus, Mars

grand-cross

Our best attempt to sketch out the Grand Cardinal Cross.

Four rather hotheaded and impetuous heavenly bodies will be involved in the Grand Cross. Here’s what they represent.

Uranus (in Aries):

Power to the people! Uranus is the celestial liberator and rabble-rouser. It incites radical change and rails against anything the feels like suppression. In autonomous Aries until 2018, Uranus is sparking a quest for individual rights and freedom, but it can be rash and destructive in its quest.

Jupiter (in Cancer):

Jupiter is the planet of expansion, luck and abundance. Open to new and worldly influences, Jupiter is exalted (in its “happy place”) in Cancer. Visiting  until mid-July 2014, Jupiter in domestic Cancer is expanding our concept of home, family and compassion.

Mars in Libra:

Warrior Mars is in peacemaker Libra until July 25, 2014. Sound like a contradiction? It certainly is. Libra is the sign of relationships, so much of the conflict during this period will be around negotiations, interpersonal dynamics, and perhaps having to stand up to a bully or two.

Pluto in Capricorn

Penetrating Pluto, which rules our shadowy unconscious impulses, hidden power dynamics and all things of such intrigue. Nestled until 2024 in Capricorn, the ruler of structure, systems and the “powers that be,” transformative Pluto is revealing corruption and the need for from-the-ground-up change in governments, corporations, family systems and all the other “pillars” of our society.

The Two Oppositions: How They’re Affecting You

Jupiter vs. Pluto

When expansive Jupiter and controlling Pluto oppose each other, growth comes at a price. The cost of your evolution? Well, shadowy Pluto will make you deal with the hidden, buried stuff you’ve swept under the rug. Since they are in Cancer (the home) and Capricorn (career), there could be some intense work-life rebalancing to do. Issues related to your mother (Cancer) and father (Capricorn) may come up, perhaps through the way you deal with authority figures, or events related to security and your living situation.

As Jupiter and Pluto play tug o’ war, you could find yourself doing a lot of emotional and mental processing. People have reported restless sleep with stressed-out dreams, or just a general sense that something’s “off,” even though they don’t know quite why. It may be your unconscious offloading some buildup. Like we said, this is sort of like an astrological detox.

How to cope? Let those icky or uncomfortable feelings flow out. Try to observe them, Power of Now style, without judging. Much like you might observe your emotions or physical responses to a cleanse, you might journal what comes up for you this spring.

Mars vs. Uranus

Anger management alert? Mars and Uranus are two of the most rash and brash planets in our solar system. Mars is the warrior and Uranus is the revolutionary. Since Mars is in Libra (relationships) and Uranus is in Aries (self), you might feel like your own rights are being trod upon by other people’s demands. Those acting selfishly at the expense of a relationship will need to get better at compromise. And people who are being doormats in relationships could grow a pair, standing up for their rights.

13

Degrees: Transformation

death-tarot

Since we are followers of numerology, too, we were intrigued to see that the four planets become exactly aligned in a Grand Cross at 13 degrees. In the Tarot deck, the major arcana card number 13 is the Death card. While of course this sounds scary taken literally, Death is also the card of major transformation.

There are always parts of our life that are ready to metaphorically die. The message we’re taking from this Grand Cardinal Cross? It’s time to let it go. (Cue the Oscar-winning song from Frozen. Does Disney know something we don’t?)

So while we won’t be predicting any doomsday events, government meltdowns or natural disasters—and here’s hoping none occur—we do see an opportunity for a radical life change. In today’s world, it’s gotten harder than ever to “have it all.” (We speak as people trying to balance a business, parenthood, homes and offices in three cities, marriages and a family scattered across the country.) Balancing time between the cardinal-ruled life areas ain’t easy, but it’s forcing us to prioritize and make hard but necessary choices.

And if all else fails, the cosmic skies look so much kinder after May. It’s gonna be a great summer (wait, thanks for yet another prophetic song, Frozen…and the Walt Disney illuminati?). See you on the other side!

Other Grand Cross Posts We Like:

http://discoveringwisdom.com/2013/12/27/cardinal-grand-cross-20132014/

Listening to the Silence