There are blue skies over the Great Wall of China. Bird song suffuses the silence in empty streets as a pathogen permeates the jangled air we breathe. For so many of us, Fate has intervened scuppering our travel plans, shaping the way we work, the way we touch, the way we kiss.
Like the Saturn/Pluto opposition of 9/11, the Saturn/Pluto conjunction in Capricorn (January 12th) has ushered in a year of planetary turmoil that will have an indelible effect on our collective psyche.
This conjunction is a celestial mirror of the isolation, the economic recession, the fear and uncertainty that is sweeping across most of the planet. The archetype of Saturn is redolent of prisons. Pluto is accompanied by a primal, shadowy fear that’s hard-wired in every living creature.
With Pluto we enter Jurassic Park. We learn about the cycle of life and death. We lose our innocence. We lose control.
In the final year of the carnage we now call WW1, a “Spanish flu” scythed through an estimated 100 million people. They were young, wage-earners. In 1918, Pluto was in Cancer, the sign of home and family.
Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter and Mars are all now in Capricorn, a sign associated with the Elder, with commerce and large organisations. As some nurses and doctors on the front-lines compare the outbreak of Covid-19 to war-time triage, we may be reminded that at the last conjunction of Saturn and Pluto (in Libra, November 8th, 1982) the US entered a recessionary cycle and England sent her young men and women to war in the Falklands.
Rheinhold Ebertin, in his book, The Combination of Stellar Influences (COSI) suggests that Saturn/Pluto combinations can manifest as “perseverance, as well as diseases with causes difficult to ascertain.”
This month’s super-charged Super Moon in Virgo (March 9th) has illuminated the health crisis and the necessity for assiduous hygiene.
The Full Moon fell opposite a Sun/Neptune conjunction which precipitated the sudden drop in oil price and plummeting stock markets (Neptune’s domain is oil) and a surging swell in the pandemic (viruses and pandemics that permeate boundaries are ruled by Neptune). Neptune is about suffering, sacrifice and loss and as the pandemic spreads, many more people will grieve the deaths of loved ones. The cracks and flaws in our governments, health systems and social networks will be exposed. Pluto/Saturn energy focuses our ancient survival instincts, and although there is altruism and collective compassion (Neptune), most governments appear to be acting unilaterally and independently as fear fuels panic buying and hoarding.
Mercury, the god with white wings on his sandals, was the god of crossroads. He is associated with communication, with travel. On March 10th, Mercury turned direct and will be moving through the air sign of Aquarius (humanitarian issues) until Monday, March 16th when he slips back into the boundless waters of Pisces. On Friday, March 20th, the Sun emerges from the same deep waters and blazes a fiery trail through the sign of Aries. A new astrological year is born. In the North, the Vernal Equinox marks the beginning of spring. The symbolism of spring and the urgent thrust of new life is still relevant in the southern hemisphere, as the swallows return north and the sun-bleached vegetation contracts against the coming cold.
Aries marks a point of Beginning, which may be a lonely journey into the unknown as we face into many more months of turmoil and uncertainty. In Aries we encounter the mythic motif of conquest, which always implies an act of bravery and daring. Here we meet the mythic “Warrior” who sets off on a quest, the “Hero” who personifies courage and assertiveness. The leader who makes tough choices. Aries is where we encounter our own autonomy, our ability to return to life, to find ourselves anew. The New Aries Moon on March 26th is supported by the impetus of Mars in Aries on the last day of March as Mercury clears his introverted Retrograde cycle, quickening events in our lives from March 31st.
The symbolism of the Jupiter/Pluto conjunction in Capricorn this month has cast a long shadow over our lives. The conjunction will intensify in early April. When Jupiter and Pluto combine issues of power (plutocracy) become amplified. Ebertin said that Jupiter/Pluto isn’t explicitly “success” or “good fortune” but desire for power; loss of social standing and wealth, the misfortune to lose everything.
Jupiter encompasses foreign travel, new adventures, religion, and faith. Jupiter moves into Retrograde from May 14th to September 13th impacting summer holidays and grounding flights, signifying the demise of more airlines, an end to low-cost air travel. The impact on tourism and the economy will be immense.
As the painful process of unpicking the structures of governments and financial institutions which began with the banking crisis back in 2008 continues to continue, (symbolised by Pluto’s ingress into Capricorn) we may be facing into the stark necessity of realignment of those things that represent structure and stability in our own lives. Pluto remains in Capricorn until 2023 and as we emerge from this process of break-down, we may discover that there are many ways to be brave in this world. We may find courage concealed in the small choices we make each new day―that act of will that gets us out of bed, the strength to put the kettle on, when all the colour has faded out of the world we once knew. We are not defined by external forces. We are not trapped in our his-story, the purgatory of our tribal mind. We can make new choices, as we cross this threshold into this new year. Leonard Cohen said, “To offer oneself at the critical moment when the emergency becomes articulate. Its only when the emergency becomes articulate can we create the willingness to serve.”
Tomorrow the Sun will rise again. The moon will cast her silvery light across the contours of our Mother Earth. “The grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere, the dew is never all dried at once, a shower is forever falling, vapour ever rising…” wrote the man who inspired a nation and a president to set aside land for the magnificent American national parks, John Muir.
Things may not be solved. But we can offer ourselves. We can serve with brave hearts.
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