The Natal Grand Cross / Grand Square in Astrology

Natal chart: Steve Jobs, Feb. 24, 1955, 7:15 p.m., San Francisco, CA, USA.
Natal chart: Steve Jobs, Feb. 24, 1955, 7:15 p.m., San Francisco, CA, USA. | Source
Miles Davis, May 26, 1926, 5:00 a.m., Alton, Illinois.
Miles Davis, May 26, 1926, 5:00 a.m., Alton, Illinois. | Source

The Grand Cross or Grand Square as a Supportive Structure

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 chart at the upper right, see the giant red "X" or cross formed in the middle? That's a Grand Cross! It even looks scary!

Whose birth chart is that, anyway? It 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 is another Grand Cross birth chart. This one is more easily visualized as a Grand Square (marked in red). Remember, the Cross and Square are the same. Who could this suffering soul be? This is 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 what 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, who was 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 music. An album he released in 1959, Kind of Blue, more than 50 years later is ranked #287 on 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 a tragic one. 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 later, on June 1, 1926, when the Grand Cross configuration was no longer in the sky. That was Marilyn Monroe.

Marilyn Monroe, June 1, 1926, 9:30 a.m., Los Angeles, CA, USA.
Marilyn Monroe, June 1, 1926, 9:30 a.m., Los Angeles, CA, USA.

The Grand Square Lends Strength

You can see from Monroe's chart at right how the "Grand Square" that was 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 case 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.

Sylvia Sky, experienced astrologer, reviews online horoscope and psychic sites for quality and accuracy. Copyright 2013 by Sylvia Sky. Sylvia does not select or endorse the ads appearing on her pages.

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Comments 6 comments

karthikkash profile image

karthikkash 3 years ago from India

wow!! impressive analysis of the birth chart. My birth chart has an almost upward spike.. I wonder what it means..

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SylviaSky 3 years ago from USA Author

Thank you, karthikkash. Coming from you, that is a great compliment. Is your birth chart anywhere available online?

karthikkash profile image

karthikkash 3 years ago from India

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 :)

twilight 20 months ago

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?

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SylviaSky 20 months ago from USA Author

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.

Elle 17 months ago

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!

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    Sylvia Sky, M.A., astrologer and Tarot professional, author of Sun Sign Confidential: The Dark Side of All 12 Zodiac Signs

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