Welcome to the most intense astrology of 2014, the Cardinal Grand Cross – humanity at a crossroads, a radical turning point in our personal and collective stories. What’s dying? What wants to be born, reborn, reclaimed?
The peak activation of the Cross (April 20-23) just happens to coincide with Easter, honoring the death and resurrection of the crucified Christ. Like all Christian holidays, Easter has its roots in a pagan holy day – the Spring Equinox celebration of fertility and rebirth (in case you were wondering what eggs and bunnies have to do with Jesus).
The co-incidence of the Cardinal Cross and the Christian holiday of crucifixion points to the bigger story of now – our transition out of the Age of Pisces (the Fish), which started around the birth of Christ. We’re working through shadow Pisces dynamics of worship, martyrdom and victimization, resulting from projecting god outside the self, and separating spirit and matter, consciousness and embodiment, divinity and sexuality. Where are you playing the victim or martyr? Where are you sacrificing your truth, denying your desires, giving away your authority and feeling crucified?
The precise alignment of the Cardinal Cross (see image) occurs at 13 degrees, the number sacred to the Goddess. Venus, the archetypal divine feminine since ancient times – known as Inanna, Isis, Ishtar, Astarte, etc. – completes five synodic cycles, forming a five-pointed star (pentagram) in the sky, every eight years. 5+8=13. The Moon, another signifier of the feminine and traditionally associated with the Triple Goddess (Maiden, Mother, Crone), completes 13 cycles in one year.
As I wrote in my previous post, Venus is extra-powerful right now – both of April’s Eclipses occur in her signs (Libra and Taurus), and she’s in Pisces, the sign of her exaltation. The symbol for Pisces is said to come from the Vesica Piscis/Pisces (literally, “the bladder of a fish”), an ancient geometrical figure (see image). The Vesica Pisces has been associated with the Goddess for thousands of years, and more specifically, with the feminine power of giving birth – the almond-shaped figure in the center symbolizes the vagina.
Derek Murphy, in the brilliantly titled article Mary’s Vulva: Jesus Christ, Vesica Pisces and the Christian Fish Symbol, explains:
“In the mysteries of Ephesus, the Goddess wore this symbol [Vesica Pisces] over her genital region, and in the Osiris story, the lost penis was swallowed by a fish which represented the vulva of Isis. Likewise, in many examples of Christian art, Jesus Christ is proceeding from this symbol, representing his birth from the Goddess.”
Murphy goes on to show how the Christian Fish symbol comes from the Vesica Pisces – which you can see in the center shape plus the lines of the tail. (Now when I see the Fish on the back of someone’s car, I think: Mary’s vulva.)
Why am I spending so much time on this? Who cares? One of the major themes of the Cardinal Grand Cross is transforming, healing and breaking free from the old, disempowering “origin stories” – signified by Jupiter in Cancer opposite Pluto and square Uranus. Whether or not you were the direct recipient of religious conditioning, we in the modern West are steeped in the Judeo-Christian paradigm of “original sin.” Sex is dirty and evil, women’s sexuality is especially evil, and so we’re all, so to speak, screwed from the beginning.
Can we all just pause for a moment and imagine what adolescence would have been like, what our intimate relationships and sex lives would be like, what our relationship with our own bodies would be like, and what the whole freakin’ world would be like, if we’d grown up with a sexual Jesus, a lover of women? With a Mary Magdalene who was Jesus’s spiritual equal and partner in sacred sexuality? With a Mother Mary whose “divine birth” of Jesus had nothing to do with chastity and everything to do with the sacredness of ALL life, as if the ability to create another human in one’s body were a divine miracle in and of itself?
Mars, the Sacred Masculine, is the most “personal” planet involved in the Cardinal Cross, i.e., the planet closest to Earth and therefore the most accessible entry point. Mars in the Cross is about shedding old, distorted versions of masculinity, which we see living large in the culture in the form of war, rape and planetary destruction. The masculine becomes distorted without the balance and integration of the feminine, and this is the agenda of Mars Retrograde in Venus-ruled Libra – the re-wedding of opposites, the restoration of the Sacred Marriage. We transform the origin stories that have distorted the masculine and excised the feminine by embodying our own divinity, by divinizing our bodies and sexuality.
Support for this healing and transformative process comes in the form of a Grand Water Trine (which looks like a big triangle – see image) that’s happening simultaneously with the Cardinal Grand Cross. Venus conjoins Chiron in Pisces – signifying healing the feminine through dissolving the false separation between spirit and body – and they trine Saturn in Scorpio (shadow work) and Jupiter in Cancer (origin stories, the roots of religion).
While a Grand Cross holds the energy of maximum friction – and, let’s face it, friction is usually what it takes to motivate us into action and make a change – a Grand Trine is an alignment of ease, flow and harmony, and requires more intention and awareness to access its power. In the Water element – the uber-yin, invisible realm of feelings, intuition and dreams – this Grand Trine is about FEELING and BEING, though, with Saturn (structure, boundaries, discipline) involved, this being-ness wants to happen in a structured way. This could look like: setting aside a specific time to let yourself cry it all out, grieve, really feel everything – and then come back; or committing to a consistent practice of meditation, yoga, sacred sexuality, dancing, making art, communing with nature – whatever activity (or non-activity) helps you connect with that feeling of expansion beyond the “little self,” the feeling of union with all life.
The optimal use of the Grand Water Trine is to help us dissolve the false polarities and dualities that keep us stretched between opposites, and return to the truth of our wholeness, our embodied divinity. This is the consciousness that can support us in following the call of the Cross – stepping into our authenticity, authority and power. The unconscious, shadow expression of this Grand Water Trine brings a feeling of poor me, it’s all too much, I just want to check out/escape/go back to sleep. Again, balancing the yin and yang is key – there’s a time to soothe and nurture and comfort and rest, and a time to take a risk, step outside your comfort zone, and do the very thing that terrifies/excites you.
- Emily Trinkaus