Sylvia Sky, M.A., is an experienced writer-astrologer and author of "Sun Sign Confidential: The Dark Side of all 12 Zodiac Signs."
What Is the Grand Cross in Astrology?
The "Grand Cross," also called the "Grand Square" in a birth chart, is an uncommon aspect that many astrologers say is unlucky and a burden for life. The person with a "Grand Cross" in his horoscope chart is said to be hemmed in or trapped by circumstances, have a stubborn and inflexible personality, or suffers a lifetime of multiple conflicts, each crisis triggering the next.
A Grand Cross occurs when at least four planetary bodies are aligned, each of them 90 degrees apart. Another way to picture it is two pairs of planets in opposition. In the natal charts above, see the giant red "X" or cross formed in the middle of each? That's a Grand Cross! It even looks scary!
The first chart belongs to a man born to two students and given up for adoption, a self-made billionaire without a college degree, whose genius you benefit from every day: Apple Computer founder Steve Jobs, born Feb. 24, 1955. Can we call him terribly unlucky?
And below that is another Grand Cross birth chart. Remember, the Cross and Square are just different names for the same aspect. This is the birth horoscope of jazz musician Miles Davis, whose trumpet playing and musical experiments, including the invention of jazz-rock fusion, made him one of the most famous and influential musicians of all time. His birthday was May 26, 1926. Would we call his life one long crisis and a waste?
What's True and What's Not
Let's use what we know about the lives of Steve Jobs and Miles Davis to discuss the true effects of the Grand Cross. First of all, let's drop the "bad luck" definition. These men, born gifted, made themselves very rich, although neither was a particularly good businessman. They were creatives, idea people. They let others handle the business end.
Jobs had his ups and downs, at times losing billions, and once was ejected from his own company. People do point out that Jobs got a rare pancreatic cancer and died at age 56. That was unlucky, right? Yes, but it is not the fault of his natal horoscope. A natal horoscope is about the individual's life and personality and opportunities, not about death. Nothing in anybody's natal chart predicts or guarantees an early death, not even the "unlucky" Grand Cross. One-third of all U.S. citizens die before age 65, so an earlier death, while sad, is not unusual; and most can agree that Jobs more than fulfilled his life's potential. He said, "You don't design a product. Design is the product." The iPhone and iPad and its imitators, inventions everyone wants, are the graceful conveniences they are because of Steve Jobs.
The natal Grand Cross gives the individual the power to focus intently on one goal, and that is one definition of genius.
Miles Davis, an African-American, led a more conflicted life. The son of a wealthy dentist, he learned early about racial prejudice and hated it fiercely. He became addicted to drugs, then quit them, but sobriety didn't keep him from being temperamental, treating friends and fans badly and taking wild chances with his art and reputation. His friends, to this day, remark that he was an extreme Gemini, a Jekyll-and-Hyde type focused entirely on his music. An album he released in 1959, Kind of Blue, more than 60 years later is ranked #1 in the category Modern Postbebop and #2 in Bebop on Amazon.com. He is quoted as saying, "Don't be afraid of mistakes. There are none."
Davis didn't lead an easy life but it wasn't tragic. Rather it was a life of achievement, recording 130 albums and 51 singles. His Grand Cross kept him focused on the one thing that meant the most to him.
Real tragedy burdened the movie star who was born less than a week after Davis, on June 1, 1926, when the Grand Cross configuration was no longer in the sky. That was Marilyn Monroe.
The Grand Square Lends Strength
You can see from Monroe's chart how the "Grand Square" in effect at Davis's birth has, six days later, "fallen apart" at one corner. There's no square or cross in her chart. Yet hers is the more tragic biography: born to an unwed mother who had mental illness issues, growing up in foster homes, married off at 16, used and stereotyped by the studio system, cheated on by her famous-playwright third husband, and, as a fading beauty, succumbing to a drug overdose. She said, "A wise girl kisses but doesn't love, listens but doesn't believe, and leaves before she is left." Who'd leave Marilyn Monroe? It seems hard to believe, but this beautiful and famous woman dwelt mostly on her rejections and losses.
What you do see in Monroe's chart instead of a "Grand Square" is the flattened red triangle which is a "leftover" from the Grand Square. This non-equilateral triangle in a chart is called a "T-Square." It's a pair of planets in opposition with one planet at right angles (square) to both.
In Monroe's T-Square it's Neptune in Leo opposing the Moon and Jupiter in Aquarius, with the third point of the triangle being Saturn in Scorpio. Just from its shape it's clear that the T-Square aspect is a much less stable structure than a four-pointed cross or square.
Davis led an irregular life, but much of his behavior was willful. Monroe, born only six days later, struggled to develop her art and her business skills and finally let her life fall into chaos. Unlike Miles Davis, she didn't have the strong structure of the Grand Square or Grand Cross to keep her focused and hold her upright through the storms of life.
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This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2013 Sylvia Sky
Sylvia Sky (author) from USA on January 11, 2020:
Leonne Horng, my GC is Fixed also. I was told GC people have bad luck, but I do wonderfully. My confidence was built by education, meeting people, and studying logic and foreign languages.
Leonne Horng on January 03, 2020:
Hi, glad yo have read this Grand Cross article, somehow my couch told me not to take great care about the Grand Cross as I have a Fixed one, I felt panic of life but don't have courage and focus and achievement as you mentioned, what's wrong here ?
Sylvia Sky (author) from USA on September 12, 2019:
Denise Hofft, count only planets in a Grand Cross. Vertex, Lilith and nodes are not planets but "points of interest," a few among several dozen possible "points of interest" in a chart such as the Fortuna, East Point, asteroids, Royal Stars, and more. These points of interest do not have the same power and impact as planets do.
denise hofft on September 06, 2019:
Hi, Thank you for this article.This is an amazing read !. I have a Grand Cross between Mercury (Capricorn, 6th house), Vertex (Aries, 9th house), Lilith (Cancer, 12th house) and North node (in libra, 3rd house). What does it mean ?.
Sylvia Sky (author) from USA on June 15, 2019:
Kouoko, I would not count asteroids as one of the corners of a Grand Square. Accept a 5-degree orb for the Grand Square on 3 corners, and if the last corner happens to be a little bigger, 6 or 7 degrees, it counts. Of course the more exact the square, the more powerful it is.
Kouoku on May 27, 2019:
I like the post about grand square and that of Tsquare. I'd like to know how much obs to be allowed between plates so as to be a grand square. And should astroids be counted as one or members of the corners?
Sylvia Sky (author) from USA on March 31, 2019:
If you would like a chart reading, contact me via my email address, not the comment section. There is a fee.
John J Stewart on March 29, 2019:
Is there anything you can tell me about my chart. I indeed have this grand cross. At 16, my father's business partner and son were indicted on federal charges for embezzlement. My father was the Director Of Operations and owned 4 car lots. After that happened, I was arrested for something that had nothing to do with me and was later cleared of any wrongdoing. In 2012 my best friend was murdered. Needless to say after my father's business collapse him and my mother separated due to infidelity issues. I am born Feb 17th 1993 and am an Aquarius Cap Leo with my Mercury Sun and Saturn all in the 8th house. Thank you very much for any insight. My e-mail address is email@example.com
Link to natal chart: https://www.astro.com/tmpd/cg4dfileiLdtsq-u1553851...
John J. Stewart
Belinda G on February 06, 2019:
When I was 27 I had just started doing my chart online after years of doing it by hand. I came across a website that said "In your mid 30's you will have an accident pertaining to your blood. Problems finding the cause. If you survive you will live a long life." I was freaked out. I pushed it as far as I could to the back of my head and kept living. At 35 yrs old I was struck in the face with a phone. My nose was broken so I broke it back into place myself and crazy glued the skin that was hanging off my face. Went to the hospital where they took X-rays and said they didnt know if I should be certified or certifiable lol but I did a great job and sent me home. The next day I threw up blood and something let loose and blood was squirting out of my face (squirting a sign of an artery right?) Was one pint of blood away from death. They gave me two blood transfusions and 2 days later still no one knew the artery was severed. Until the coagulated blood released and the blood was spewing from my face at an alarming rate. Rushed into surgery then put in a medically induced coma for 2 weeks so that I wouldnt blow the staples out of my nose. PS I woke up right after they closed my face on the OR table and pulled the tubes out of my mouth. So it was all true. How do you explain that? And didnt Nostradamus predict his death and the deaths of several of the queens children? There are lots of accounts of ancient times where death was predicted.
Elle on May 23, 2015:
Well, there are a few things going on here.
Marilyn Monroe has different house placements and planetary placements.
She has a grand water trine involving all malefic planets (Pluto, Saturn, Mars). Her Mars is in Pisces, kind of a weak Mars sign, in the 8th house. Her 8th house is ruled by Neptune.
Drugs (Neptune) + overdose (accident, seems like Mars)
4th house ruled by Mars. Saturn placed in the 4th house. Home life wasn't great. Malefics all around that.
But under normal circumstances, someone with that many difficulties wouldn't rise to the prominence she did. Or at least a lot more trying events that might delay.
The grand cross could have made things even more tumultuous, but the basic oppositions in combo trine sort of balanced things out to some degree. Ultimately publicly tragic but then again the trine is full of tragedy-inducing planets.
I personally have a natal grand cross!
Sylvia Sky (author) from USA on March 03, 2015:
No, it does not. Nothing in astrology "means death." Read the above. Whoever has that cross is going to have a very supportive structure as he or she goes through some times which will require courage and focus.
twilight on March 02, 2015:
I want to ask you about .in a solar return chart for a specified year e.g 2016. I saw the grand cross.Does it mean death?
Karthik Kashyap from India on March 22, 2013:
I checked mine using a free online software. Actually, my DOB is 04-11-1984, time 9:30 am (time zone is India). So, if you plug these data in, you should be able to get my natal chart :)
Sylvia Sky (author) from USA on March 22, 2013:
Thank you, karthikkash. Coming from you, that is a great compliment. Is your birth chart anywhere available online?
Karthik Kashyap from India on March 20, 2013:
wow!! impressive analysis of the birth chart. My birth chart has an almost upward spike.. I wonder what it means..