Just as Mercury turned direct in Aquarius last week, there was a major shift in public opinion and reaction to the Coronavirus. As the confusion started to lift, it became clear the global crisis was going to affect everyone in one way or another. This extraordinary event is rocking my world in ways I have not experienced in my Baby Boomer lifetime: the corporation I work for is instituting “WFH” (working from home); my mom is in lock down at her assisted living home; I’m seeing mostly empty shelves in the grocery store due to panic hoarding; and Sher Astrology has joined the ranks of schools going to online only classes. This “Social distancing” has become a moral duty for all citizens of the world. What happens, my tech team contemplated in our last systems meeting, when a billion people try to teleconference online? We don’t know what the future will bring, or how long this crisis will last, but it seems clear that it is exposing extreme weaknesses in our governmental/commercial structures and social safety nets. The extreme disruption and uncertainty are resulting in a high degree of anxiety and fear that is adding to the extreme intensity we’ve already been experiencing that correlates to the rare Capricorn stellium of Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto.
The high probability is we will persevere. Hopefully we will learn the lessons of this experience and make greatly needed structural changes that will benefit the greater good. The potential is there, as the archetypes unfolding over this next period indicate, but effort is needed to actualize it. March 19, the Sun in Pisces forms a sextile to Saturn in Capricorn at the critical last 29th degree of the respective signs. Known as the “Anaretic” degree, it symbolizes an archetypal sense of urgency at the threshold of endings and beginnings. Something must die so that something else can be born. The Sun in Pisces symbolizes dying to our ego, releasing old memories and taking only the seed essence of what we learned into the next cycle. Saturn in Capricorn represents the need to face our fear of uncertainty. It also asks us to eliminate all distractions so we can focus on working towards building our collective structures in ways that protect the dignity of the human spirit.
Also on March 19, the Sun enters Aries, initiating a new annual cycle around the Zodiac. The chart for this moment, which incorporates the aspects described herein, charges the coming season with the bold and brave energy needed to go forth and conquer that which threatens the foundation of our way of life but also our very right to exist. But more importantly, occurring simultaneously with the significant Equinox moment, Saturn ends its 2.5 year stay in its home sign of Capricorn and enters Aquarius on March 21, where it will remain temporarily and retrograde back into Capricorn on July 1. Saturn’s relatively brief initial stay in Aquarius will give us a feel for what the full transit may bring after its return next summer. In Capricorn, Saturn is the archetypal master poking at and finding all the fault lines in the structures that contain and organize our daily life. In Aquarius, Saturn will be tasked with testing the very truth of our collective and whether or not we maturely use our power in service to the greater good. Saturn’s transit in Aquarius, which includes three critical passes over the Capricorn/Aquarius threshold, is likely to bring changes that will endure into the future. Hopefully we will witness the mass acceptance of burgeoning ideas in the political realm that put leadership power back in the hands of the people through direct online citizen engagement in the law-making process. These programs represent a systemic overhaul of how democracy works that is archetypally linked to the “crisis of action” phase of the agitating Uranus/Pluto cycle, which peaked 2012-2015 but has only recently reached the distant edges of its orb of influence. The ‘power to the people’ movement of the 1960s that occurred at the Uranus/Pluto conjunction is going digital (Aquarius ruler Uranus governs all things electronic).
March 20 to 21, the drive to pursue our desires is expanded and empowered when Mars in Capricorn conjuncts Jupiter and Pluto, which are only two degrees from their own conjunction that will occur on April 4. Depending on our mental state, the archetypal energy generated by these alignments could spark anger, frustration or violence. But its highest manifestation could propel us to respond to the Coronavirus crisis with superhuman strength. Capricorn is concerned with the public welfare and how to build the best systems for living. The Jupiter/Mars planetary pair here boosts our collective motivation to fix the problem. Mars/Pluto archetypally unleashes the sheer force of a globally united will to do what is necessary no matter how severe the actions may seem. Acts of heroism may unfold in big public displays as well as in the back channels of power. It is not just the trillions in lost market value at stake. On a metaphysical level, it is about how we are choosing to live together on this planet. At a systems level, massive global cooperation is needed but it is also an opportunity for us to take individual responsibility and step up to the needs of the occasion with great personal integrity.
Mercury’s extended stay in Pisces due to its recent retrograde (February 3 to March 4 and March 16 to April 11) correlates to the explosion of the Coronavirus crisis. Pisces, the sign that relates to the boundless cosmos, rules such things as viruses that do not obey physical boundaries. It also represents the deep existential crises we experience when we are not courageously facing the reality of life on earth that seems especially harsh for the most sensitive souls among us. Mercury, the planet of communication, rules the lungs. In body symbology, when the lungs are afflicted, it relates to grief. The Coronavirus, which directly attacks the lungs, could therefore be symbolically relating to a kind of soul sickness. Each of us seems to be tasked with facing where we are experiencing some kind of loss or trying to hold onto something that needs to die so we can move on to a new cycle of growth. On March 21, Mercury forms a sextile to Uranus in Taurus that may awaken us to the truth of our mental and material attachments that are at the root of all suffering. Concurrently on March 21, Venus in its ruling sign of Taurus, the sign that teaches non-attachment, sextiles Neptune, the ruler of Pisces, which ordinarily correlates to an idealistic, romantic mood, but under our current grave circumstances, could lead to an experience that makes us more deeply value our soul connections with each other as a true form of healing.
With the concentrated planetary activity unfolding in the space of a few days, it is clear the intensity will continue to be heightened. If we embrace Saturn’s esoteric nature, which relates to how we handle the everyday pressures of life, we can take this opportunity to grow and develop a stronger ‘container’ that is able to hold the tremendous cosmic energies we experience at times like this. Just as the Sun’s sextile to Saturn wanes, the Moon enters Aries on March 23, forms a sextile to Saturn, then hours later on March 24 conjuncts the Sun to form the Aries New Moon. Saturn’s stabilizing force thus linked to the new lunar cycle commencing in this impetuous self-determining sign could help us keep calm and direct our creative energies towards realistic solutions. The challenge of Aries is to adapt the creative process so that the fruits of our endeavors will endure for humanity. As we go about in self-preservation mode during this crisis, the Aries New Moon challenges us to also support others.
Venus segues from its soul-touching moment with Neptune to an empowering trine with Jupiter and Pluto in Capricorn March 27 to 28. According to modern Astrology pioneer Dane Rudhyar, Venus represents our ability to discriminate between that which has value for our individual growth and that which is valueless or potentially destructive. Ordinarily we feel it on an emotional level in the duality of attraction and repulsion. However, once on the ‘Illumined Path,’ says Rudhyar, we undergo a deep metamorphosis and experience a shift from ego judgements to an identification with the quality and purpose of Soul. Venus’ harmonious contact with Jupiter and Pluto has the potential to compel an internal change of heart about our values that can result in an external change of new and greater values that are are soul directed.
This potent archetypal period ends with Mars entering Aquarius on March 30 and forming an exact conjunction on March 31 with Saturn, still at the significant zero-degree mark. Aquarius is the sign of the Activist and is powered by radical ideas for change that will lead to a better future. The planet of action is disciplined by Saturn’s influence so the planetary pair’s focus here could manifest, for example, by energizing a coordinated and unified plan for action that embraces both the youth and seniors, the outer spectrums of society that are the most vulnerable to the crisis at hand. This activation at the threshold of Aquarius, which Saturn will cross three times, also suggests the democratic nominee for the U.S. presidency, likely to be an elder statesman, will select a younger running mate to represent the concerns of the youth. Such a pair will be fully cognizant that the very future of humanity is at stake.