Synastry Studies: The Fixed Cross and the Urge to Merge (Part One)

There were a lot of good entries in the 8/5 Birthday competition. Thanks to you all for taking the time to enter. The winner is Brian Middleton, who showed a real understanding of the way the fifth and eighth house are interconnected, both sexually and psychologically.

The fixed cross (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius, or the 2nd, 5th, 8th and 11th houses) is given much importance in esoteric astrology. It represents a system, a method, a sequence of making an individual entity a vehicle of the divine. It is considered sacred. A path of the deepest mystery. We ordinary Western astrologers don’t think of it that way, usually. Or do we? I wonder.

We tend not to think in terms of crosses but in terms of polarity. Leo/Aquarius is the battle between the heart and the higher mind. Taurus/Scorpio pits ownership against what we are willing to fight for, and die for. Leo/Aquarius pits individual urges against the greater good. Taurus/Scorpio challenges our conflict between staying with the known or relinquishing it for dangerous territory, to face the deepest darkness, the untested, the taboo. The goal of the Leo/Aquarius test lies in Pisces, for the one to become the all. The goal of Taurus/Scorpio test lies in Sag–to transcend singular values for universal ones, for universal law. (The secret lies in the two inconjuncts between Leo/Pisces and Taurus/Sag.)

Polarities are fine for chart interpretation. But each of the modalities (cardinal, fixed, mutable) are telling an important story about our spiritual self-development. They cover the three main paths of spiritual discovery. The mutable story tells us how information becomes knowledge, becomes wisdom. The cardinal story teaches us about interaction with ‘other’ and the transformation of the inner world to the outer, the way we interact with and perceive reality. The fixed story is the story of the way the individual ego merges with the collective and becomes the servant of something greater than itself.

The fixed signs are noted for their, well, fixity. We think of them as trenchant, stubborn, willfull, unwilling to change. (Those of you who think Aquarius shouldn’t belong in this pattern, think again. Try and get an Aquarian to alter something it believes is true. Scratch the surface of Aquarius and you can discover a dictator.) Squares between fixed signs are especially problematic, bouncing back and forth between the two points and driving the person who has them a bit mad. Squares between two charts often indicate the very things a couple will fight over, and how. Our word ‘fix’ comes from the Latin figo, which means to fasten, to transfix. But in an odd quirk of linguistics, (and with a little bending of the lexicon, forgive me, Latin scholars) it’s also a variable of the Latin fugo, to put to flight.

Like all the modality stories, it takes us on a journey from the lesser to the greater, from the individual “I” to gradual interaction with others. We begin with the instinctive, infantile grabbing of Taurus and end with the humanitarianism and ‘equality for all’ impulses of Aquarius. There is something highly dramatic about this. Something intensely transformational. The mutable story is about the gaining of wisdom and the cardinal story is about how the development of conscious awareness and how we use it. But the story of the fixed signs is about sacrificing the individual to a greater, divine intent. In terms of the outer planets, the conflict is between the ego and desire focused Venus/Sun (Taurus, Leo) and the greater impetus of Uranus/Pluto (Aquarius/Scorpio). Uranus asks us to work in collective, rather than individual, terms; Pluto is all about the death of what is unserviceable in the ego. The conflict can often be brutal.

Planets that make aspects with their polar counterpoints are often the most powerful, both within and between charts. This is particularly true of the fixed signs. Ask anyone with a conjunction of Sun/Uranus, who may feel abandoned in the early years and then hijacked by an energy that impels them to live a lonely life of difficult choices, always an outsider, always going against the grain. Ask anyone with Venus/Pluto, who may have suffered the early deaths of those they loved deeply, or who have had their self-worth stomped into the mud time and time again; love can become a test of power and survival, rather than an expression of feeling.

In Part Two we will look at the sequence of the fixed cross and explore how difficulties in any of the fixed houses affect our relationships.

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