“This is a time in which there are volcanically intense evolutionary pressures for the radical reconfiguration of all life structures.” – Richard Tarnas, “What’s Happening in the Stars Right Now,” CIIS Public Programs, April 23, 2020
The wake of the grand Capricorn stellium (oft discussed in this column), which peaked in January just as the COVID-19 pandemic was cresting in world significance, is turning out to be the mother of tsunamis after an undersea earthquake. Humanity may be itching to get back to “normal life” after six weeks (more or less) under stay-at-home orders but many places will not rush back to the way things were, and when the machine of commerce does get back in gear, things are sure to be radically different.
In the online talk referenced above, Tarnas suggests this is a time of “moral gravitas,” in that everything is on the line as if we are facing death, and on the other side of it is a potentially positive extreme rebirth. More than just a pandemic, what is being revealed is how much of our societal structures for living lack the integrity to survive this crisis. As we move forward, we need to decide how we will rebuild our daily lives. By extension, this is about who we are as human beings and what we stand for. The extreme death/rebirth process we are in is integrally linked to the hard labor of what Carl Jung called the individuation process, which is the movement to bring the unconscious to consciousness. The more we consciously choose to build a foundation of personal integrity from which our society can operate, the better it will function and the longer it will endure. Each of us has a responsibility to rise to the occasion and deepen our commitment to this process which ultimately is about restoring our collective sense of humanity so that we may live Unity.
Within the brief span of a few weeks four planets turn retrograde, meaning the planets will seemingly move backward from the point of view of the earth and retrace their movement through the Zodiac. On an archetypal level, this correlates to a process of internalization related to the nature of the planet involved. At the highest level, we can use this time to observe the thoughts that are coming up and identify what is our truth and what is conditioned behavior dictated to us by others. During this never-before experienced global pandemic crisis, the reality of being forced to stay in our own home is adding even more pressure for the truth to come out. Therefore, rather than complain about the extreme limitations of the lockdown, we have an OPPORTUNITY to go within and make an effort to gain a greater sense of what makes us tick, from our highest aspirations to our lowest forms of automatic programming, such as the kind that brought this world to its knees in such forms as racial injustice, economic inequality and corruption of the spirit.
Pluto was the first to turn retrograde on April 25 and its retrograde path is from 25° to 22° Capricorn. The archetypal King of the Underworld pivoting in the sign of Personal Integrity correlates to extreme intensification at the deepest level of how we feel about the life we have built. One way of dealing with any negativity that arises about this is to imagine how we could transform our life going forward. If we play with this idea, we could release a creative force from the depths of our unconscious that has been blocked by conditioning. Pluto will turn direct on October 4, so this process will continue as the tectonic shifts we are experiencing begin to settle into place and give us a glimpse of what the ‘new normal’ may look like.
Saturn is next to turn retrograde, on May 10. It stations at 2° Aquarius and travels back to 25° Capricorn where it will turn direct on September 28. Saturn is the traditional ruler of Aquarius (before Uranus was discovered) and the current ruler of Capricorn, so is comfortable in both signs, looking both to the past and the future for determining how best to build the present with integrity. The archetypal nature of Saturn is often perceived as negative because it correlates to the difficulties we face, but it is in the process of facing those very difficulties, and especially our fear of them, that we learn and grow. At its highest potential, Saturn guides us to develop our sense of integrity alongside our inherent talents and devote our public works to the greater good. The enduring fruits of our efforts will be won.
On May 12, Venus stations at 22° Gemini and will retreat to 5° Gemini. For six weeks, until June 24, the planet that governs our values and relationships in retrograde mode may correlate to an inner recognition that a shift needs to be made in these areas. Venus operating through the lens of Gemini could give this retrograde a flavor of inquiry. We may feel a need for more information about those we interact with and start asking questions. Relatively speaking, Venus is rarely retrograde (approximately every 19 months) and when it is, there is an intensification of the dynamic between self and other. But rather than assessing what other people are doing and whether we like it or not, we would do well to look within at the very nature of how we relate to other. We may have to admit the truth of some level of narcissism if we are very honest with ourselves, and perhaps realize that we are projecting onto “them” all the blame for our ills in life as if we played no part in it. This is quite disempowering. Venus stations in a prolonged square to Neptune, in effect during all of May with two exact passes on May 3 and May 20. This suggests we may need to put more effort into seeing the state of our relationships for what they are without idealizing or romanticizing them, setting unreal expectations or otherwise relinquishing responsibility for our role in their current state.
Jupiter in Capricorn is the last planet in this window of time to turn retrograde. It stations on May 14 at 27° Capricorn and turns direct on September 12 at 17° Capricorn. More than any other planet, Jupiter represents opportunity and, in this crisis we have perhaps the biggest opportunity of our lives. This isn’t our first rodeo with these archetypal energies, which have cyclically recurred over time millennia in periods usually marked by great wars and/or great depressions. But now, we have a real chance to bring about a paradigm shift that reignites our humanity and turns the tide on the inequities, injustices and imbalances in our society. More of us than ever are open to new ways of being and are working on some level of self-transformation. All we need is to develop the focus and discipline to reconfigure our moral values on a grand enough scale to put our mark on history. If they could do it with The New Deal, we can do it with The Green Deal.
The intense Full Moon in Scorpio opposing the Sun on May 7 is tempered by harmonious alignments with Neptune in Pisces which can facilitate a sense of connectedness and compassion for self and other as the retrograding planets turn us deep within. It also can stimulate our imaginings of a gentler future that supports creativity rather than destruction. The Sun in Taurus focuses on how we can best give form to our values, resources and talents. There is nothing taboo with the Scorpio Moon, that at its highest archetypal expression can help us walk through our collective dark night of the soul in order to be reborn, unencumbered by that which holds us back from expressing our own sacredness.
Throughout this period, Mercury, known as the Messenger of the Gods, acts as a go-between for a chorus of planetary archetypes via the following aspects: conjunct Uranus in Taurus on April 30, conjunct the Sun (Superior Conjunction) in Taurus on May 4, sextile Neptune in Pisces on May 7, trine Pluto and Jupiter in Capricorn on May 9, square Mars in Aquarius on May 11 and trine Saturn in Aquarius on May 12. Each planetary pair conveys a unique part of the overarching unified message that we are here to serve a purpose that furthers humanity’s wellbeing and the evolution of consciousness. If we can keep up with Mercury’s rapidly shifting dialog with the planets and observe the voices of the cosmic intelligences coming into our awareness, it could stimulate our imagination to co-create the future we want to see.
A recent article from the Berggruen Institute progressive think tank presents a hopeful vision of what our extreme rebirth could look like in this new era, if we are willing to face the reality of a disintegrating old order. It discussed the need to shift to a post-industrial complex and proposes refocusing global governments, organizations and the private sector to deal with pandemics and climate change rather than continuing the strategies of the 1950s that feared enemy takeover. This is radically different thinking than what is currently dominating the U.S. and other countries experiencing a resurgence of this fear of outsiders. Those leading this trend not only use fear to gain power and stay there, but actively create it and fuel it to create a mob psychology that gives the appearance of a lost sense of humanity. The article proposes replacing the current vacuum of leadership with a core group of constructive powers “committed to maintaining an effective multilateral order as a global public good in its own right, rather than as a vehicle for the realization of narrow national interests.” This could pivot the old order to a “mission-oriented collaboration on pandemics and climate action that ultimately supplants the post-war institutions.” This is the kind of radical, imaginative reconfiguration of life structures we have a grand opportunity to envision during these retrogrades.