In astrology, a grand cross occurs when four or more planets a form two sets of oppositions that combine to form four squares. These planets are also usually related by mode (Cardinal, Fixed, or Mutable). This is a difficult configuration, but there is usually great strength accompanying it to endure and develop character.
So, there are three modal grand crosses: the mutable grand cross, the cardinal grand cross, and the fixed grand cross. How does evolutionary astrology, which examines why we are here and which lessons we need to learn, view these configurations? This article will focus on understanding the meaning of the mutable grand cross, from the perspective of evolutionary astrology.
One of the main considerations of this configuration is how to create a necessary filter relative to the information we take in from the external environment, and the significance of how we inwardly process and interpret this information. In other words, we all need to develop the ability to "filter through" the overwhelming amount of information and external stimulus we encounter everyday. How do we know what it true and what is not true?
The mutable archetypes of the zodiac are Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, and Pisces. The archetype of mutability means there in an inherent ability to adapt to change; in other words, the mutable archetypes are the better able to cope with change as it occurs. The symbol for mutability is a concentric upward moving spiral (perpetual expansion).
The mutable grand cross reflects the process of aligning with information (Gemini) that is founded in natural laws and truth (Sagittarius), and adjustment (Virgo) of outdated viewpoints and opinions that are not based on universal, timeless principles (Pisces). In other words, as we seek to understand the human journey in a holistic and universal sense, our viewpoints and perspectives naturally shift (mutable archetypes) to reflect this evolution within consciousness. It has been described as the process of moving from the microscope to the telescope. In order to understand the mutable grand mutable cross, we must first discuss each individual archetype within the cross:
The Gemini archetype correlates with the intake of information, data, and facts from the external environment. It correlates with the rational, empirical, and logical component within consciousness (left brain). Gemini reflects the function within consciousness that gives labels and classifications to the physical environment (e.g., a chair, a cup, a spoon, etc).
There is an inherent restlessness within Gemini because of the need to perpetually take in new information, facts, and ideas in order for expansion to occur. Gemini represents how we communicate with others and the nature of the information we are apt to absorb. Learning to respond rather than react to information that is perceived as treating or challenging to a pre-exiting view point of what is true and false is an important. The need to learn the difference between facts and opinions is also symbolized.
As Mercury is the planetary ruler of Gemini, we can look at the natal position of Mercury by house and sign to get information about how the Soul communicates with others. For example, Mercury in Scorpio or the eighth house would tend to communicate in a succinct way. The individual will gravitate to information that is psychological, and focuses on understanding the bottom line. A fixed or rigid mental attitude in general is symbolized by Scorpio and the eighth house.
In contrast, Mercury in Libra or the seventh house will take in information via listening to the view points and ideas of others and comparing and contrasting the differing viewpoints. Libra correlates with the need to create balance relative to pre-existing extremities (psychological extremes). In addition, taking in information that reflects extremes (i.e, taking a radical position) can also correlate to Mercury in Libra or the seventh house.
The Virgo archetype correlates with the need for self-improvement and self-purification. It symbolizes the need to serve a greater good. This archetype correlates to self-analysis, which occurs in order to enforce the necessary inner adjustments and to self-improve. There is commonly an excessive focus on lack and imperfections. An adjustment in regards to the concept of perfection/imperfection (perfection occurs one step at a time, and embracing the natural truth that the Universal Source itself is not perfect) is required when there is an excessively self-critical focus. Crisis can also be alleviated as inner adjustments are made.
Virgo is co-ruled by Mercury. Gemini reflects the external side of Mercury (the collection of facts, information, ideas, etc), while Virgo reflects the inner side of Mercury. Once the information is collected it needs to organized and mentally analyzed. In other words, Gemini collects the information and Virgo organizes the information.
A core correlation of the Virgo archetype is discernment and discrimination. Once the information is processed and organized, discernment can be used to decide which information to take in and which information to leave out. Discernment of what is true and what is not true is reflected in the square from Virgo to Gemini. The polarity point to Virgo is Pisces, which represents the need to develop a relationship with the Divine. In this way, the awareness of proper priorities and a meaningful form of service can manifest. The specific form of service performed by the individual now reflects his or her connection with the Divine.
The Sagittarius archetype correlates with the need to understand the nature of the universe in a cosmological, philosophical, or metaphysical context. It correlates to the intuitive component within consciousness (right brain), which just knows what it knows without knowing how it knows it. It correlates to belief systems. This is important to understand because our belief system is the determinant of how we interpret life itself. The core point within this is that we do not need a specific belief system to determine what is right or wrong. The intuition simply knows in and of itself what is intrinsically right and wrong. This is why one of the deepest correlations of the Sagittarius archetype is to natural law (natural laws are those that are self-evident in nature and do not require a specific belief system).
This archetype represents an ongoing need for expansion in regards to embracing more and more of the total truth (universal truth is reflected in the Pisces archetype). An inherent problem within this archetype is one of generalization (generalizing that one's own personal truth should be applied to all people), which can lead to the tendency to convince and convert others. The dynamic of honesty is reflected in the Sagittarius archetype. In a negative expression, exaggerations, embellishments, and outright lies can manifest. It is important to understand that this occurs as a reflection of inferiority (square to Virgo archetype). In addition, the square to Virgo archetype reflects the tension (square is a stressful aspect) in discerning which beliefs are linked with natural truths/laws and which are not. The polarity of Sagittarius is Gemini. This symbolizes the need to embrace the ideas, viewpoints, and perspective of others in order to learn that a diversity of paths that lead to the truth, so to speak.
The Pisces archetype correlates with a timelessness, universal laws, and to the totality of creation itself. These laws operate outside the spectrum of time and space (they are universally applicable and will be true regardless of the passage of time).
This archetype reflects the need in all people for ultimate meaning. Ultimately, this can only be found through a direct connection with the Divine. Relative to the square to Sagittarius, any beliefs or personal truths that have become exaggerated will need to be adjusted (Virgo, the polarity point to Pisces). Delusions, illusions, and fantasies are symbolized in the Pisces archetype. Idealization and even fanaticism can occur in this archetype because of a projection of ultimate meaning; this is why it is so important to filter information and ideas instead of taking in it in as a whole (square to Gemini and polarity to Virgo).
A culmination, or completion, of an entire evolutionary cycle is symbolized. Any external area of life that represents ultimate meaning will be dissolved or brought to completion. Commonly, an increasing sense of emptiness and meaninglessness is experienced. Anything external that we have given too much meaning to will lead a progressive state of disillusionment. In a negative expression, a variety of behavior that is linked with the need to escape can manifest. Even though disillusionment is painful, it does lead to a re-alignment with actual reality (Virgo polarity point to Pisces).
Taking the above discussed archetypes of the mutable grand cross into mind, we can then solidify these core concepts through the use of a simple illustration. If, for example, in a natal chart an individual has Pluto in the ninth house, a South Node in the twelfth house, and North Node in the sixth house, what core correlations, or core dynamics, could we determine from this natal signature?
Pluto in the ninth house correlates to a core desire to penetrate to the "bottom line" of the Soul's personal truth. Any aspect of the Soul that is not inwardly honest and not in alignment with natural laws will come under the evolutionary pressure of Pluto. The Soul will experience a metamorphosis of any beliefs that have become rigid and outdated; Pluto's polarity point of the third house will necessitate an exposure to the diversity of viewpoints and ideas of others. This experience serves to induce an expansion of limited beliefs, and an awareness of the subjective nature of the personal truth and beliefs within the Soul.
The South Node in the twelfth house reflects a susceptibility to the beliefs and teachings in the environment. The Soul may have unconsciously osmosed the belief system of the early childhood environment. The Soul may have become suffocated or overwhelmed by the teachings of others. The situation may have been created in which the individual fell prey to fictitious teachings and teachers; these teachings and beliefs may have been given ultimate meaning (South Node in the twelfth house). The experience of disillusionment will manifest at some point within the life. Disillusionment serves to promote the awareness of natural laws and truths verses false teachings and illusions.
The North Node in the sixth house correlates with the need for discernment and self-improvement. The Soul will naturally begin to analyze the deficiencies in the belief structure in order to affect improvement. In this case, an exposure to the diversity of view points, ideas in the environment (Pluto's polarity point in the third house) will manifest to induce this evolutionary change. Intellectual and philosophical confrontation may occur in order to enforce these necessary evolutionary intentions. An essential humility will take hold, and the Soul will have developed the capacity to discern what information is true and what information is false (North Node in the sixth house). These inner adjustments will lead to a progressively positive response from others to the teachings (Pluto in the ninth house) that the Soul may wish to impart.