When you get an astrological reading, you might well be introduced to new words and phrases that mean absolutely nothing to you. Some that sound ominous might actually be benign or even straight-up positive, and vice versa. For instance, I felt equal parts special and scared when I learned I had a Grand Cross in my own natal chart. Because what even is a Grand Cross in astrology? Something magnificent or a burden to carry? Nervous but hopeful, I sought to find out.
“A Grand Cross, also known as a Grand Square, occurs when four planets are all separated from one another by a square aspect 90 degrees apart, caused by two opposition aspects 180 degrees apart, therefore creating a cross configuration in the chart,” says astrologer, Reiki master, and sound healer Ambi Kavanaugh. “Each planet will be in the same family of zodiac types—cardinal, mutable, or fixed—and will fall into each of the different elements of air, water, fire, and Earth.”
As a quick refresher, cardinal signs, mutable signs, and fixed signs are groupings known as the quadruplicities, and they refer to how a person directs their energy. The elements are more about general temperament. That means when you have a Grand Cross on your chart, with four planets from the same quadruplicity, you have a lot of a one specific energy.
Given that square and opposition aspects being tense aspects already, when they appear in a Grand Cross configuration, you can expect extreme tension. And while the Grand Cross aspect is rare, when it appears in a natal chart, it’s a sign someone may experience more challenges than others. (Not sure if you have one? You can get a free natal chart here, but a session with an astrologer would be most helpful for making sense of your unique profile.) Below, get details on what it means if you have Cardinal Cross, a Fixed Cross, or a Mutable Cross in your chart.
There are 3 different ways a Grand Cross in astrology can show up in your chart—here’s what each means
“With a Grand Cross in your natal chart, you will experience a considerable amount of tension between the contrasting aspects of your personality,” says Kavanaugh. “This can make you feel pulled in multiple directions, which is discombobulating and creates internal struggle that can lead to great frustration that spills over into life.”
“[Having a Grand Cross in your chart means you] will have to work extra hard to find balance within to be clearheaded in decisions and actions.” —astrologer Ambi Kavanaugh
But in practice, this situation doesn’t have to manifest as the nightmare of a situation it sounds like. If someone has a Grand Cross, Kavanaugh says, it doesn’t mean that they won’t achieve in life. “What it does mean is that they will have to work extra hard to overcome the internal struggles, to integrate the contrasting parts of their personality, and to find balance within to be clearheaded in their decisions and actions,” she says.
And that’s true whether you have a Cardinal, Fixed, or Mutable Cross in your chart. Get specifics on each below:
1. Cardinal cross
Cardinal signs—that’s Aries, Libra, Cancer, and Capricorn—are natural-born leaders, as they each lead into one of the four seasons. That means that with a Cardinal Cross, you have a lot of go-getter energy…but you may not know exactly what to do with it.
“This is probably the most challenging of the Grand Cross configurations. When a person feels pulled in such powerful and yet different directions, they are disorientated—almost like having multiple strong personalities that refuse get along with each other, each fighting to take precedence over the other,” Kavanaugh says.
Those with a Cardinal Cross can feel a tug-of-war between satisfaction and self-expression…it’s a perpetual power struggle.
Those with a Cardinal Cross can feel a tug-of-war between satisfaction and self-expression, the need for autonomy and the need for others and relationships, domestic needs and the unquenchable desire to establish a prized place in the world. In short, it’s a perpetual power struggle.
“Understandably, this can lead to a lot of unrest and conflict,” says Kavanaugh. “However, this can also give way to the drive and passion to live large, achieve in multiple areas of life, and to really ‘have it all.’ And that is essentially what the person with the Cardinal Cross wants.”
2. Fixed cross
This takes place with a combination of all four fixed signs—Leo, Aquarius, Taurus, and Scorpio—which are so set in their ways that they’re prone to holding patterns. And with a fixed cross, a person can end up similarly stuck with the more troublesome qualities of a particular sign.
“With a Grand Fixed Cross, the person can get stuck in one of the planets’ qualities without balancing the other planets,” says Kavanaugh. “This results in a fixed position where they cannot benefit from the themes and positive traits of the other planet or sign.”
“A theme here is very much a resistance to change, so learning flexibility is very important with a Grand Fixed Cross.” —Kavanaugh
A Fixed Cross aspect can also impact a person’s ability to seamlessly roll with the punches. “Another theme here is very much a resistance to change, so learning flexibility is very important with a Grand Fixed Cross,” Kavanaugh says. “Otherwise, the person could find themselves staying on track with a course that doesn’t truly serve them, and get stuck.”
3. Mutable cross
Finally, a Mutable Cross takes place between the signs Virgo, Pisces, Gemini, and Sagittarius. And after all the doom-and-gloom learnings that Grand Cross in astrology has offered thus far, it’s easy to assume a Mutable Cross would bring more of the same. But since mutable signs are known for being adaptable, flexible, and handling transitions seamlessly, this aspect is actually not so dire.
“This is probably the easiest of Grand Cross configurations to have in one’s chart, as these folks are so adaptable,” says Kavanaugh. “But still, this placement has its challenges when it comes to maintaining focus and precision and clear communication. The person can be a little scatterbrained.”
Plainly put, while a Grand Cross can be pretty heavy to bear, it doesn’t have to break you. In fact, those who have a Grand Cross in their chart are often quite formidable as a result of having to work so hard to be who they are. “Grand Crosses are motivating with the potential to be character building,” says Kavanaugh. “Just don’t let the energies overwhelm you, and instead channel any tension into productive action.”