The Solstice and the Grand Cross
The Sun’s ingress into the sign of Cancer is always a very important power point in the solar calendar, marking the June Solstice*. This year’s Solstice chart is a very powerful one indeed because it picks right up on all the main action!
Cancer, as many of you will know, is one of the cardinal signs, the others being Aries, Libra and Capricorn. Since 2008 most of the outer planets, which represent collective moods, feeling and developments, have been moving into the cardinal signs. First Pluto moved into Capricorn in 2008, next Saturn went into Libra in 2009, and finally in March ’10, Uranus moved Aries.
The chart for the Solstice picks up all these outer planets very strongly. You can see this very clearly, marked out in red lines in the chart below. The Sun, to the left of the chart, connects with Saturn at the bottom (currently in Virgo after a retrograde period, but back in Libra by July 21); Pluto in Capricorn on the right and Jupiter and Uranus in Aries at the top. These connections form what is known as a grand cross.
Before considering what this grand cross means, think about how things have been for you the last three months or so. How are you feeling now? For me, the last few months have been pretty hard-going. Flux, overwhelm, emotional and mental fatigue and the constant need to adjust to new energies. On top of all that, a sense of losing momentum and the urge to withdraw, retreat and lie low for a while. Frankly, it’s been exhausting.
Your experience might be similar, or completely different, but consider your own experience as you read on, because we all start from the place that we’re at, if you know what I mean. For sure, we’ve all been living through some challenging planetary aspects these last couple of years, particularly those of us with natal planets or angles in the late mutable signs and/or early cardinal signs (you can get your chart for free at www.alabe.com if you want to know if you’re affected). Many of us have had to deal with big changes over which we’ve had little control and many more of us are having to work hard to set healthy boundaries as we try to balance conflicting commitments and maintain our poise as we juggle what we must do with what we want to do.
So, what’s next? Well, the Solstice chart can be used to make a general prediction for the coming three months, so let’s take a look at it. First of all, the grand cross stands out. A grand cross symbolises conflicting energies, opposition, tension, competing priorities. There is the danger of stalemate, working yourself into a corner, or the feeling of being buffered about from pillar to post, but not really getting anywhere fast as you try to balance everything and everyone in your life. Primarily in cardinal signs it urges us to do something, to take action. The time for procrastination is over. However, as I have said on this blog before, we have to take correct action, with clear and positive intention. Before stepping on a path, we should ask ourselves if we are taking positive, empowered steps forward or are we merely reacting to circumstances. The gift that a grand cross brings is tremendous energy and the opportunity to find stability and balance. The trap that a grand cross brings is inflexibility, re-action rather than action and a whole heap of tension.
So what can we do, to ensure that we are able to use energies of this grand cross for the highest good, for the best possible outcome? Well there are a number of ways and here are just a few ideas and I’m sure you’ll have some ideas of your own.
Using the energies of the planets involved wisely and to the highest good is a sensible place to start. Remember though, that when we are communing with the planets, tapping into their energies, it's a bit like communing with the gods, because the planets were named after the old, great gods. We should hold that thought and respect it.
Saturn in Virgo reminds us to take a reality check and helps us to remember that sometimes it’s the small, practical, carefully thought out things we do that make the difference, not the grand gestures. When Saturn goes back into Libra, it reminds us to find balance in our lives, to set healthy boundaries in our relationships, to act justly and to opt for fair compromise.
Uranus in Aries, here in conjunction with Jupiter in Aries, reminds us to have faith, to think big, to be creative, to experiment, to express our individuality and authenticity, to get excited, to grab opportunities and to jump right in and initiate change.
Pluto in Capricorn reminds us to own and use our personal power wisely and responsibly. We’ve collectively worked hard to get to this point and we are ready to learn that having and holding power doesn’t have to, and shouldn’t, mean taking the power away from someone else. Pluto (along with Saturn) can also help us to keep things in perspective, to act properly under pressure and not to let fear blind us from seeing things clearly.
Finally, the Sun in Cancer reminds us to care and to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe and nurtured. It asks us to remember our roots and to listen to our instincts. Look again at the chart above. See the blue triangle that starts from the Sun in Cancer and picks up the Moon, Neptune and Chiron? This formation, a grand trine, provides us with an opportunity to find some gentle release from the tension of the grand cross and sprinkles a little bit of magic-dust idealism over our outlook. It reminds us that sometimes we need to just simply go with the flow. Falling in air and water signs, the grand trine speaks of the need to find the head-heart balance as we go about our lives.
And finally, here are a few other suggestions of things to do to nurture ourselves during these testing times:
Learn to follow your feelings and your instincts
Ask where you are meant to be and listen for the answer
Act from the heart, for the highest good
Practice being in the moment
Spend time in nature
Follow your creative urges
Sing, dance, play, celebrate, make some noise
Just a few days after the Solstice, on June 26 there is a Lunar Eclipse, with the Moon joining the grand cross dance. More on this, plus how to use the Eclipse energies to do some releasement work in a few days time.
The grand cross described here is a temporary alignment, but Saturn, Uranus and Pluto have been making a t-square together for some time gone and some time to come. To find out more and to access some amazing coping and healing techniques, see the Cardinal T Square Blog-A-Thon
There are two Solstices and the two Equinoxes each year. These important power points occur as the Sun enters one of the cardinal signs of the zodiac - Aries, Cancer, Libra or Capricorn and astrologers use the charts for these events to make predictions for the following three months ahead.
The first Equinox of the year occurs when the Sun moves into Aries, the first sign of the zodiac, around March 21, marking the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere and the beginning of autumn in the Southern Hemisphere. At an Equinox, day and night are of equal length.
The first Solstice occurs when the Sun moves into Cancer around June 21. In the Northern Hemisphere the Solstice marks midsummer, the longest day of the year and in the Southern Hemisphere it marks midwinter, the shortest day of the year.
The second Equinox, around September 21, when the Sun moves into Libra, marks the start of autumn in the N. Hemisphere and the start of spring in the S. Hemisphere.
Finally, the second Solstice of the year occurs around December 21 when the Sun moves into Capricorn, marking the shortest day (midwinter) in the N. Hemisphere and longest day (midsummer) in the S. Hemisphere. The further away from the Equator you are located the more pronounced the Equinoxes will be. For example, very Northern locations will experience twenty-four hour darkness at the winter Solstice and twenty-four hour sunlight at the summer Solstice. If you are located very near to the Equator, day and night are more or less of equal length all year round.
The Solstices and Equinoxes have been important and much celebrated festival days for many thousands of years and are today still celebrated by modern Wiccans, Pagans and Druids.
Stonehenge image from: http://www.stonehengetours.com/html/summer-solstice-tour.htm The ancient stone circle of Stonehenge near Salisbury, England is a major focal point for celebrating the summer Solstice, with thousands gathering each year to watch the Solstice sunrise align with the stones.
The chart pictured is set for the moment the Sun enters Cancer on 21st June 2010 and uses Solar Sign houses.