The Tropical zodiac is composed of twelve signs arranged in the Heavens as three overlapping crosses (or squares). The signs can also be arranged as four triangles, but the square arrangement defines the major evolutionary challenges that are programmed into the energy matrix of our planet. The four elemental triangles (on the other hand) symbolize the easy flow of creative energies through the etheric body of the Earth.
We are not concerned with the four triangles in this article because they tend to express themselves easily (i.e. without too much drama) in the lives of human-beings. For example, if you have natal planets positioned in any combination of the three Fire signs you will likely be able to combine their energies easily and creatively. But the blending of the energies of natal planets located at the corners of the three modal squares tends to be difficult.
When the archetypal energies of the signs at the corners of each square are combined we are confronted with fundamental challenges that require resolution. We are all required to face these challenges as an intrinsic part of our personal and collective evolution, but in the grander scheme of things they represent the major challenges also being faced by our Earth logos.
Example: The cardinal square includes the four signs: Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn. In order for natal planets located in Libra and Capricorn to express themselves creatively they must first overcome the archetypal challenges associated with the tension (or conflict) that exists between their respective corners of the square. To put it very simply, Capricorn planets desire to express themselves independently, but Libra planets desire to form and maintain harmonious relationships. The challenge is to establish 'positive' relationships that support the independent expression of the Self. This is a difficult paradox to resolve as I'm sure you're aware. Humanity must solve this dilemma (and the six challenges associated with every modal square) in order to evolve beyond the gravitational sphere of the Earth.
The six challenges of the cardinal square involve the following sign combinations:
The other modal squares also have six challenges associated with their four signs.
These six challenges all occur as part of Humanity's clockwise movement around the wheel of the zodiac. The squares are transformed into triangles as Humanity reverses its movement on the wheel (i.e. and in the process becomes receptive to the creative energy that flows in the anti-clockwise direction).
Symbolically speaking, the evolutionary program that has been established for Humanity (and our Earth logos) involves the transformation of the three modal squares into triangles. For individual human-beings this is a long-term process that culminates with a key incarnation in each of the three final signs of the zodiac—Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces.
Each of these three signs represents the fulfillment of the evolutionary program of one of the three modal squares. Capricorn is the sign that crowns the cardinal square. Aquarius crowns the fixed square. Pisces crowns the mutable square. This concept is illustrated symbolically in the following diagram.
In the diagram, the three modal squares have been transformed into four triangles. The three crowning signs form their own all-embracing triangle. It represents the completion of Earth's evolutionary program.
As you might expect, the three key incarnations that crown each individual's personal evolutionary journey are very rare. They occur only after many reincarnations are experienced in all four signs of each modal square. Most incarnations in the sign Capricorn, for example, will focus on overcoming the basic challenges of the cardinal square, but eventually a crowning incarnation will occur (in the sign Capricorn) that will highlight the evolutionary achievements of the individual and signal the completion of the cardinal evolutionary program. Similarly, a crowning incarnation in the sign Aquarius will signal the completion of the fixed square evolutionary process. And likewise for the sign Pisces and the mutable square.
"Pisces is part of the Mutable Cross, Aquarius of the Fixed Cross, and Capricorn of the Cardinal Cross, ... These three signs are beginning signs or final signs, according to the state of the wheel of life. They also sum up or initiate the activities of the other nine signs which are fundamentally strictly human signs and synthesize the results of experience upon the three Crosses." [Esoteric Astrology, by Alice Bailey. Lucis Press. Pg. 150.]
Master DK (through Alice Bailey) also states that the culminating signs Aquarius and Pisces represent doorways for an initiate to enter the ranks of the Spiritual Hierarchy and Shamballa respectively.
"Planetary influences are unusually potent in Aquarius during this world cycle because it is, in a peculiar way, a culminating sign for the majority of people who proceed from Aries to Pisces upon the Fixed Cross. A rare few consummate the experience of life upon the three Crosses in the sign Pisces, and so become world saviors. They know then, and only then, the highest aspect of the first ray as it expresses itself through the activity of Death. The bulk, however, of the world initiates climax their experience in Aquarius and become liberated world servers. They turn their backs upon all further progress for themselves in this cycle and on all satisfaction of their own spiritual aspiration and become carriers of the water of life to humanity, joining thus the ranks of the Hierarchy. Those who achieve in Pisces and make the higher and further grade in their development pass into that center to which we have given the name of Shamballa, but the bulk of the initiates and disciples remain attached to the second center, that of the Hierarchy of Service." [Esoteric Astrology, by Alice Bailey. Lucis Press. Pg. 141.]
Read the following and see if you can identify the major cross influences that you're working with during your current incarnation.
Learn to sense and follow the inner motivating will of your own soul/monad. Avoid trying to impose your will upon the sovereign will of others. Know that if you act faithfully according to your own inner will that other similarly aligned souls/monads will naturally follow you (or follow your example). Avoid being distracted by the influence (i.e. desires and expectations) of others.
Develop a sense of confidence and security that's based on the supportive power of your own soul/monad. Learn to be self-nurturing. Find the right balance between your own needs and the needs of others. Build a foundation that supports the unfolding purpose of your soul/monad. Learn to identify the other members of your soul/monad family. Understand that it's part of your purpose to give support to, and receive support from, your soul/monad family.
Establish a loving relationship with your own soul/monad. Learn to relate appropriately with other souls/monads. Learn to detach yourself from individuals who don't resonate with your own soul/monad vibration. Understand that establishing inner harmony between your own soul and personality leads to outer harmony within your life and relationships. Learn to not compromise the integrity of your own soul/monad in relationships.
Identify (and give expression to) the unfolding purpose of your soul/monad. Understand what is necessary for the fulfillment of your soul/monad purpose. Learn to confidently express the inner authority of your own soul/monad. Avoid compromising your soul/monad purpose. Develop a strong sense of independence based on your consciousness of your soul/monad purpose. Prevent others becoming overly dependant upon you. Avoid becoming overwhelmed by the needs of others.
Discover, honour, and express the deepest values and desires of your soul. Seek ever to fulfill your soul's desires. Sense and develop the inner resources of your soul. Learn to recognize and effectively manage your most valuable resources. Learn to unlock the abundance of your soul. Learn to love your soul—i.e. your essential Self. Free yourself from 'materialism' (i.e. the 'love of matter'). Develop a 'spiritual' value system—i.e. establish a system of values that transcends purely 'material' considerations.
Become consciously centered within your Self. Learn to harness and express the creative energy of your Self. Do not allow the expression of your Self to become distorted (or inhibited) by the influence of others. Avoid emulating the creative works of others. Seek not to please others with your creations. Learn to lose your little self in the act of divine creation. Overcome the retarding influence of your little ego and become expressive of your higher Ego.
Identify the true value of your own soul. Combine your soul's resources with those who share your deepest values (and who have a similar sense of soul purpose). Express and assert the full power of your soul. Do not allow the influence of others to cause you to compromise the values and desires of your own soul. Do not try and control the resources of other souls. Avoid valuing other people's resources above and beyond the resources of your own soul. Know that you will naturally and easily attract people whose resources perfectly complement your own soul's resources—i.e. without the need for compromise).
Participate creatively with other individuals and groups whose light complements, enhances, and reinforces the creative light of your Self. Free your Self from those individuals and groups whose expressions do not resonate with the true nature of your Self. Learn to differentiate your Self from the other selves around you. Recognize (and honour) the differences between your own Self and the selves of others. Build (and be the center of) your own community (or network) of people who you recognize as being in harmony with your own vibration.
Free your mind from its prejudices and biases. Reconcile any conflicting ideas that inhabit your mind. Learn to express your own understanding of truth. Develop mental skills that enable you to accurately communicate your thoughts. Practise honesty. Help others to understand your own perspective more clearly through right communication. Realize that the perception of the rational mind fosters fear because it's only able to see surface appearances—i.e. it's unable to perceive the deeper super-rational (or metaphysical) influences of the soul.
Understand the soul-mind-body relationship. Develop mental discipline. Strengthen the link between your soul, mind, and body. Discover and follow your own unique path of health and healing. Learn to read and rightly interpret the signs that manifest within your mental, emotional, and physical body. Learn to apply your mind (and your knowledge) to the practicalities of life. Develop skills (based on your own practical experience) that are useful in service to self and others. Seek ever to follow your soul's guidance as it leads you on your true path of work/service.
Follow the inspiration of your soul and thereby educate your mind. Follow your own unique path of knowledge. Deepen your understanding of life. Seek after the wisdom that is the essence of all knowledge. Develop a vision that reflects your own knowledge and understanding of truth. Learn to express your wisdom, and discover the 'right way' to share your knowledge with like-minded souls. Free yourself from the conditioning belief systems of other people and groups.
Become conscious of (and free yourself from) the illusion and glamour that distorts your vision of Reality. Free yourself from your own expectations (and the expectations of others). Sense the inner Spirit that seeks to move you. Develop (and learn to trust) your intuitive mind. Avoid sacrificing your Self for 'unworthy' causes. Sacrifice your self upon the altar of your own soul/monad. Learn to trust in the divine providence of the 'Great Spirit' that infuses our world and the Universe.
(Updated: February, 2011)