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(published 12/1/05)

Fixed Grand Square Bridges 2005-06:
It's Crunch Time...

by Karen Steen, Astrologer

Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune are now traveling together through our heavens in a Fixed Grand Square pattern - that is, the four planets are positioned at ~ 90 degree intervals around us; each planet is also opposing (180 degrees separation) one of the other planets; and all four planets are in fixed signs of the Zodiac (Tropical). The Grand Square, also called Grand Cross, is an intensely dynamic planetary pattern - the activity and associations of any one planet in the pattern activate and affect the entire pattern, as well as issues and structures ruled by and aspecting the squaring planets. As such, the Grand Square can be an all-encompassing experience; it acts like a transformative cauldron in our personal lives and global developments.

Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune will reach their most exact square pattern from mid-December 2005 through mid-January 2006; their separate paired contacts by exact squares and oppositions will continue through 2006 and into mid-2007. Developments associated with this Fixed Grand Square now and in the coming two months will largely define individual and global issues of 2006 - 07.

Dynamic Nature of the Fixed Grand Square

A square aspect between planets indicates dissimilar forces and needs that are bound in a common process or shared destiny. A fixed square requires development of new capacities and structures to manage the dissimilar forces and needs. The oppositions within a Fixed Grand Square call for a give and take, whether conflicted or cooperative, of values, resources, and power.

Our current Fixed Grand Square includes the following squaring and opposing forces:

  • Issues of basic survival, resources, comfort and security that characterize Mars in Taurus;
  • Limitations, standards and accountability for authority and speculation that characterize Saturn in Leo;
  • Expanded collaboration and synergistic endeavors with others that characterize Jupiter in Scorpio;
  • Dissolution of ideological barriers and issues of collective welfare that characterizes Neptune in Aquarius.

Since October 2005 and through January 2006, these forces in individual and global developments are all converging. While Mars will move beyond the Grand Square pattern in late January 2006, Saturn, Jupiter, and Neptune will continue traveling in square and opposing positions into 2007.

The basic challenge of the current Fixed Grand Square is to establish personal and collective structures needed to assure survival and leverage in a rapidly changing world. The opportunity here is to establish new capacities and structures for creating something of unique value and contribution, for collaborative endeavors, and for assuring rewards for long-term efforts. Individually and collectively, the new capacities and structures we build now and into 2006 will be used in coming years to thrive beyond mere survival and to assure our meaningful place in the global culture.

An effective response to the challenges of a Fixed Grand Square requires a deliberate, paced approach for the duration of the square and the months beyond, an approach that includes: 1) ongoing careful research of all problems and options for their range of possible results and consequences, and 2) sustained efforts that avoid willfulness and rigidity. The Fixed Grand Square can be intensely frustrating and extraordinarily productive; creative perseverance and continual integration of experiences are keys to managing it.

Correspondences to Personal & Global Developments

In our personal lives, the needs and goals now converging with this Fixed Grand Square are:

  • Assuring the continued value of our assets and resources - financial/professional, environmental/material, creative, and social - individually and in collaboration with others;
  • Responsibly expressing and directing our personal authority, gifts, and talents;
  • Integrating our hopes and ideals for our world into friendships and group and community associations.

In global developments, issues of natural resources, international trade, national and regional sovereignty, political leadership and authority, and democracy, ideologies and mass movements are converging with this Fixed Grand Square. Two global events of major import that fully correspond with the themes and timing of this Grand Square are:

  • UN Climate Change Conference in Montreal, Canada, November 28 - December 9, 2005, where representatives of 200 nations are convening to consider reduction of greenhouse gas emissions beyond the provisions of the Kyoto Protocol; and,
  • World Trade Organization (WTO) Conference in Hong Kong, December 13 - 18, 2005, where representatives of 150 nations will meet for negotiations critical to global trade and economic growth and justice.

For those readers interested in global developments and political astrology, details of sociopolitical correspondences to the current Fixed Grand Square are discussed in the section 'Converging Cycles' below.

For individuals, organizations, and nations, the challenges and opportunities of this Fixed Grand Square are further specified by the areas of the birth or inception chart occupied by the squaring planets.

  • In angular houses (I, IV, VII, X), the challenge is present oriented and calls for establishing a new identity and presence in relationships and the world.
  • In succedent houses (II, V, VIII, XI), the challenge is future oriented and calls for establishing new structures for stability and effectiveness in pursuing long-term goals.
  • In cadent houses (III, VI, IX, XII), the challenge emerges from past developments and calls for purposefully dispersing energy and adapting to changing relationships and circumstances.

Also, natal and transiting planets that trine (120 degrees) and sextile (60 degrees) the Fixed Grand Square planets indicate creative outlets and substantial opportunities for the challenges of this configuration. Now and through summer 2006, Jupiter and Uranus are traveling together in a waning trine. As detailed below - especially for those with natal planets, angles, or lunar nodes at 7 - 14 degrees water or earth signs - expansive enterprises and innovations from 1997 and 2003 can now be developed and broadly implemented. Also, beginning now and through April 2006, transiting Saturn/Leo will trine the Moon's North Node at 11 - 4 degrees Aries; especially for those with planets, angles, or nodes at these degrees of fire or air signs, this corresponds to new authority and leadership in our public lives and in global politics from developments of the Fixed Grand Square.

Converging Cycles

The current Fixed Grand Square includes planetary pairs whose cycles together began in 1989 (Saturn/Neptune), 1997 (Jupiter/Neptune), and 2000 (Jupiter/Saturn). We can look to those years for the root issues and seed potentials of current developments associated with the Fixed Grand Square. Considering the remaining phases of these planetary cycles, we can also anticipate the nature and timing of developments into 2007 and beyond. In our personal lives, knowing the location and significance in our birth charts of the 2000 Jupiter/Saturn conjunction can effectively direct our efforts now and in the coming months.

Saturn/Neptune Cycle 1989 - 2026

The recurring 36 years cycle of Saturn and Neptune corresponds to historic developments in democracy and socialism, as well as stealth programs and liquid petroleum products. Saturn and Neptune conjoined in our sky and began their current cycle together in 1989, a year highlighted by these momentous developments:

  • Mikhail Gorbachev enacted fundamental political and economic reforms in the USSR, the Berlin Wall came down peacefully, and democratization began in Eastern European countries
  • Populist uprisings occurred in Central and South America against US backed Contra rebels (counterrevolutionaries)
  • US Supreme Court granted states specific rights to restrict abortions
  • US launched the B-2 stealth bomber and secret military missions in space
  • Exxon Valdez oil spill in Prince Wm. Sound, Alaska, demonstrated devastating ecological consequences of global oil dependency.

While a culmination in the current Saturn/Neptune cycle will not occur until mid-2006 through mid-2007, critical issues in this cycle are now emerging with the Fixed Grand Square. In recent weeks, we've seen civil unrest and riots in impoverished immigrant communities in France; the first woman President in Africa was democratically elected in Liberia; a member of the Bush Administration was criminally indicted by a US Grand Jury; and secret US-CIA prisons in Europe were revealed. With the writing of this article, the UN Climate Change Conference is convening in Montreal, Canada, to address control of global fossil fuel emissions; and the US Supreme Court is considering whether a parental notification requirement for teenagers' abortions is constitutional. With the Fixed Grand Square tightening through December 2005, contentious elections will be held in the emerging democracies of Iraq and Bolivia; regional authority and control of oil and gas resources in these countries are critical issues in both elections.

These culmination of the current Saturn/Neptune cycle on 2006-07 will be discussed further in the forthcoming "Astrological Highlights of 2006".

Jupiter/Neptune Cycle 1997 - 2009

The recurring 13 years cycle of Jupiter and Neptune corresponds to trends in speculation and inflation, and developments in utopian philosophies, religion and religious law, and mystical spirituality. Jupiter and Neptune conjoined and began their current cycle together in 1997, corresponding to these salient developments:

  • Bill Clinton began second Presidential term (US), pushing forward his programs for free trade and a global economy
  • The Asian economic meltdown began, marking the beginning of the first crisis in the emerging global economy
  • Deng Xiaoping, the last of Communist China's old guard, died and a new generation of economic and political reformers assumed leadership
  • 39 members of Heaven's Gate community (US) committed suicide so as to "be transported to a better world"
  • The fundamentalist Islamic Taliban secured their rule of Afghanistan by uniting the country after eight years of civil war.

The current Jupiter/Neptune cycle culminated with these planets moving into opposing positions in 2002-03. I discussed the nature and correspondences of this opposition in my Fall 2002 article, "Jupiter Opposes Neptune: Will Wisdom Emerge from Experience?" Major developments during this period were:

  • Giant international corporations --- World Com Inc., MCI, Adelphia, and United Airlines --- declared bankruptcy
  • Members of the European Union agreed to expand to include ten Eastern European countries
  • The International Criminal Court opened in The Hague
  • US war against the Taliban in Afghanistan and invasion of Iraq
  • Mideast "Roadmap" was proposed for Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations and creation of a Palestinian nation
  • The Vatican issued formal statement on the New Age movement
  • The Global Oneness Foundation launched an eight year project to transform the planet through increased spiritual awareness.

Within the current Fixed Grand Square, Jupiter and Neptune are approaching their waning square together that will begin in January and carry through 2006. Their waning square will correspond to critical tests and necessary adjustments in developments from 1997 and 2003. Early indicators now of such crises and adjustments now are:

  • Beginning of global inflation due to skyrocketing oil prices
  • Surge in humanitarian and socially conscious financial investments in Silicon Valley (US venture capital center)
  • Waning confidence in the European Union and diminished enthusiasm for the Euro throughout Europe
  • Mounting public challenges in the UK and US to the Iraq War
  • Ariel Sharon's new centrist party in Israel --- named Kadima (Hebrew for "Forward") --- that prioritizes Israel's security and recognizes the creation of a Palestinian nation.

Further details and a forecast for this Jupiter/Neptune square will be discussed in the forthcoming "Astrological Highlights of 2006".

Jupiter/Saturn Cycle 2000 - 2020

The recurring 20 years cycle of Jupiter and Saturn has been recognized since ancient times as a basic cycle of historical change. This cycle corresponds to themes of structured expansion in politics, business, and economics. Details of the Jupiter/Saturn cycle and the beginning of their current cycle in Taurus are given in my Spring 2000 article, "Twenty Year Planetary Cycle Begins Anew".

Emphasizing structured expansion in Taurus-ruled values and natural and economic resources, the current Jupiter/Saturn cycle began in 2000 with these major developments:

  • Vladimir Putin was elected President of Russia; Vicente Fox was elected President of Mexico; and George W. Bush was appointed President of the US by the US Supreme Court
  • Iranians voted in record numbers and elected reform minded representatives
  • Middle East Peace Process (Camp David Summit) collapsed and heralded the beginning of the continuing Palestinian Intifada
  • North and South Korean heads of state signed declaration of peace and eventual reunification
  • President Hugo Chavez (Venezuela) visited Saddam Hussein in Iraq
  • Huge public demonstrations occurred in Washington, DC against International Monetary Fund/World Bank policies
  • US normalized trade relations with China, opening way for China to join WTO
  • Swiss National Bank began largest sale of gold reserves in history
  • Denmark rejected adoption of the Euro currency
  • Record US trade deficit as price of crude oil reached 10-year high ($35/barrel)
  • US stock market reeled and heralded the beginning of an economic recession
  • Grass-roots revolt in Bolivia against privatization of water
  • US Congress approved plan to restore Florida everglades
  • Panel on climate change reported ice covering the North Pole for 50,000,000 years is melting.

Within the Fixed Grand Square now, Jupiter and Saturn are moving into waxing square positions that will continue from December 2005 through October 2006. This waxing square tests developments since the Jupiter/Saturn cycle began for their fit and resilience in proceeding to the cycle's culmination in 2010 (Jupiter/Saturn in opposing positions). Also, transiting Mars within the Fixed Grand Square is now retracing the degree of the 2000 Jupiter/Saturn conjunction, reactivating with focus and intensity the root issues of this cycle. Developments associated with this Jupiter/Saturn square are therefore dominant in current events now and through this coming winter 2005-06. These associated developments in recent and coming weeks include:

  • Failed Americas Summit/ FTAA agreement between 34 North and South American nations (affecting 800 million people); President Hugo Chavez (Venezuela) has proposed his own alternative trade bloc
  • Major corruption and scandals revealed in both US Chambers of Congress and the Bush Administration
  • Oil prices are nearly double those of five years ago, and certain to put brakes on global economic growth
  • Scientists recently identified world land use --- the conversion of natural landscapes to human use --- as the top environmental issue
  • The UN Climate Change Conference is currently convening in Montreal, CA to address reducing greenhouse gas emissions beyond provisions of the Kyoto Protocol
  • The December national elections in Iraq and Bolivia both highlight regional divisions regarding natural resources
  • World Trade Organization (WTO) Conference in Hong Kong, December 13 - 18, 2005; 150 nations will meet to address barriers to global commerce and fair trade between developed and developing nations.

A central goal of the WTO, and especially for this conference, is to fully integrate developing countries into the global economy. This conference is an opportunity for fundamental reform of global agriculture. This reform has been delayed for two years, owing to impasses between developed and developing nations regarding agricultural and investment rules. Progress now depends largely on whether developed nations will acknowledge global interdependence with fair trade concessions to developing nations. Considering contacts between the WTO inception chart, the Grand Fixed Square, and the auspicious Jupiter/Uranus trine during the Hong Kong Conference, I expect the negotiations will succeed in establishing an agreement that will be implemented later in 2006.

A forecast for further correspondences to this Jupiter/Saturn square in 2006 will be discussed in the forthcoming "Astrological Highlights of 2006".

A Word About the Grand Square & Capricorn Ingress

Finally, the location of the Fixed Grand Square in the US Sibley chart at the coming Capricorn Ingress is consistent with President Bush implementing his declared "Strategy for Victory" in Iraq. In fact, mundane charts suggest that President Bush's strategy may go beyond Iraq and include an ultimatum to Iran regarding its nuclear program.


Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune are now traveling through our heavens in a Fixed Grand Square pattern. They will be in tightest square formation from mid-December 2005 through mid-January 2006. This Fixed Grand Square corresponds to major personal and global developments from 1989, 1997, and 2000, especially developments in business and global politics and economics. The World Trade Organization Conference in Hong Kong in mid-December, 2005 fully expresses the character and potential of the Fixed Grand Square as regards global developments.

The opportunity of this Fixed Grand Square is for substantial progress in long-term goals through perseverance and collaboration with others. The risks associated with this planetary configuration are for inflexibility and frustrated ambitions to cause impasses and loss of opportunities that have been long in the making. While business and economic developments dominate the coming months, political developments and social justice issues become forefront as we progress into 2006.

A detailed analysis and forecast for 2006 will be provided in the forthcoming article, "Astrological Highlights of 2006".

Copyright 2005, Karen Steen. All rights reserved.

About the Astrologer
Karen Steen is a consulting and teaching astrologer at Water Bearer Astrology & Consulting, Bellingham, WA. She has practiced astrology since 1984, professionally since 2000.
Karen is NCGR Level III Certified (Astrology), and holds a Master of Nursing in Primary Care from the University of Washington and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Louisiana State University. Information about Karen's astrology practice and services is available at her web site

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