Astrology Update: The Cardinal ‘Grand Cross’ Reveals the Energetic Potential of our ‘Shadow’ Selves

Astro5th October 2013

By  Kate Knodel

Guest Writer for Wake Up World

The light is diminishing and the shadows are growing long. Here, in the eastern USA, we are in the middle of hurricane season, and storms can erupt out of nowhere. Sometimes they are hugely powerful and destructive, and other times they swirl for a bit before diminishing and harmlessly moving up the coast, watering the ground as they go.  

As above, so below. As without, so within.  

The Cardinal Grand Cross

We’re in another potent time during this on-going Cardinal Grand Cross between the continuing T-square that includes the Pluto-Uranus square, some form of the Jupiter-Lilith conjunction, and the parade of personal planets through Libra. It began with Venus in August, continued with Mercury in September, and now ignites once again with the Sun’s movement through the early-mid degrees of Libra. The cross intensifies with the Sun-Moon conjunction at the Libra new moon, which began at 8:34 pm EDT on October 4.

I like to look at this Grand Cross in layers. The core is the radical transformation that is being called forth by the energies of the Pluto-Uranus square. The heat and pressure of these energies are working us like coal undergoing its transformation into the clear, sparkling, strong diamond. Jupiter brings something fortunate, optimistic, and generous – as well as intensification. When Jupiter shows up, everything becomes bigger.   Jupiter is currently out of orb for this incarnation of the Grand Cross, and Black Moon Lilith now supports that leg of the cross.

Lilith and the Shadow Self

This energy shifts our focus to working around our Shadow. Each personal planet that moves swiftly through and activates the cross brings its own energy to bear and gives us some clue about how we can best work with the energies and have agency in the transformations that we are experiencing during these times. One of the best ways I can think to do this right now is by cooperating with the Lunation Cycle that begins with the new moon. This one has a decidedly Underworld theme. We may be taken into the Underworld of our own soul, or choose to go there willingly, and see what treasures are hiding beneath the surface that we can bring back with us into the light.

Some of the questions for us to consider over the next few days are – what kind of seeds do we want to plant and cultivate over the next month? What kind of harvest around our own transformations do we want to initiate now? This requires us to look ahead, while remaining firmly rooted in the present moment. What kind of personal transformation can we work on now, using the unique talents and skills through which we shine out in the world, that will bear fruit in the near future? What have you been putting off until tomorrow that can begin today? And, what do I need to confront in myself to be able to do it? Or what rejected parts of myself do I need to recover in order to courageously step into this transformation? How can I come more fully into consciousness around who I am at my core and how I support or undermine my own life journey and vitality?

When I talk about the Shadow Self, I am referring to the parts of ourselves that we have rejected – parts of ourselves that when brought into conscious awareness can be strengths, but which, when hidden deep within the unconscious, can undermine us. This is the energy that Lilith points to. Think for a moment about the myths around Lilith. She is the powerful feminine, the equal partner rejected by patriarchy. She is defined as a “demon” who lives at the edges and spawns more demons. She flees because her partner refuses to honor and welcome her equally, trying to suppress her and asking the Divine and the angelic beings to make her obedient to an unnatural imbalance of power. Some of the cultures who tell this story create amulets to protect themselves and their babies from her. She is said to be the cause of unexplainable deaths among infants, so healthy creativity is negatively affected with her demonization. In this myth, she is one part of a wholeness that can be complete only when the two parts are in harmonious union. Because the two cannot seem to find a way to live together harmoniously, they grow farther and farther apart and become fixed and rigid toward the other. This is a powerful archetype for examining our own wholeness.  

Do we acknowledge and love all the parts of ourselves? Are there parts of us we reject because we have not yet learned how best to manage those energies or qualities? Do we reject parts of ourselves because we think it is too difficult to align the parts that don’t make sense to us or that feel too difficult to work with? Are there parts of ourselves we reject because we haven’t yet figured out how they are strengths? Have we allowed the opinions of others, rather than the authentic voice of our most true Self, to determine who we are? How can we bring together all the parts of ourselves – those we love and those we have rejected as unworthy, unlovable, unacceptable – so that we can be our authentic, whole Self? How can we transform those parts that we have interpreted as enemy into ally?  

The ‘Shut Down’ Effect

It is fascinating that as this energy is emerging, the United States is in something of a mythic battle between the parts of itself; against itself, really. Both parties in the government would like to reject the other and control the entire agenda around American life, but wholeness for America will come only when both parties (which each bring gifts and strengths to the whole) accept each other and begin to work in harmonious union. The extreme example of refusing to do this is a shut-down. There is heat and pressure to transform radically and the American political system is having to look at its Shadow Self in order to bring its Shining Self back into balance.  

In order to get an idea of how such a dynamic can affect an individual, consider the suffering this shut-down has created for the life of the nation. It is a painful example of the current energies, just as the transformation from one season to another is a beautiful example of the same energies.

There, really, is nothing seamless about such transformations – they move in fits and starts, sometimes bounding ahead and at other times pulling back before the right balance is found. And such energies can be managed beautifully, even though they might be challenging, or they can be managed un-skilfully and destructively and cause unneeded suffering. The Self knows what to do to allow transformation, but the ego with its fear-based concerns can undermine the whole process and, in the worst case, can be destructive. We see this in individuals as well as in systems – like families, institutions and cultures.

Look to the house in which you have Libra in order to see the area of life you may wish to focus your efforts, reflecting upon or assisting your own personal transformations. Do you have any planets between 8 and 14 degrees in the cardinal signs (Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn)? And in what houses in your natal chart are they? These will be the areas to which you may want to pay attention and the instincts you may want to employ.

The T-Square and the Grand Trine

Highlighting the conflict between the archetypal masculine and feminine is the current Venus-Mars square that forms a tight T-square with the Ascendant in the birth chart of the New Moon. Supporting all these hard aspects is a Grand Trine in Water, which includes Lilith, Chiron (wounding and healing), and Saturn (boundaries, discipline, truth). This is what brings ease to the challenges. Pluto completes a Kite with the Grand Trine, adding dynamism to this aspect.

Being conscious and skilful around transformations, shedding what no longer serves, welcoming death and rebirth is the focus of the ease brought by Chiron, Lilith, and Saturn. These aspects also demonstrate that everything is connected right now.      

One final note about this time: Uranus, a major player in the Cardinal Grand Cross, is at its closest to Earth in its wanderings. That means the energies are particularly intense and that everything is very “Uranian” – fun, playful, electric, perhaps a bit radical and shocking. I would say we might want to be prepared for anything, especially the unexpected. As I write this I am smiling. I am simply not feeling this as a challenge, but as a gift.

The New Moon is a great time to begin again. We have come out of the Mercury expression of the Cardinal Grand Cross, which took us deep into our thoughts and the shifting movements of all the energies symbolized by the cross. We may have felt somewhat overwhelmed, not knowing what to think, say, or do. The sun symbolizes consciousness and vitality. The sun and moon, now conjunct, symbolize harmonious union of masculine and feminine as well as the opposing forces within us.

There is so much possibility right now. Our willingness to shine from our center with conscious awareness and expression of what must no longer remain hidden within us will enable us to move more fully into wholeness.

Previous article by Kate:

About the author:

Katherine Cartwright KnodelKate Knodel is an explorer of the landscape of poetry, myth, and our fractured, expanding and healing selves. She is a speaker and workshop leader, writer, empowerment coach and transformational training designer.

In her work around personal myth, she uses the symbols of astrology to help people to dialogue with their personal stories, and to discover the mythic landscapes of their life’s journeys.

Visit her on  Facebook  or  her website  for more information.


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