With the Sun having entered Scorpio just a few days ago and Halloween just around the corner, we are starting down the path of the hours of darkness outnumbering the hours of daylight in the northern hemisphere. In the ancient Celtic world this was celebrated with Samhain, the festival celebrating the end of harvest and the beginning of winter. There is a definite sense of descending into the underworld during this time. In the northern hemisphere, the days are getting darker and colder and rainier, and we can literally see the deciduous trees shedding their leaves and shutting down until spring.
Although this can seem like a dark time and a time of death, there is a beauty in the turning inward and the introspection that this time brings. Even if we may not consciously be reflecting inward, it is highly likely that we are spending more time at home under a blanket than we did during the summer when we were much more outwardly facing and social. This is a time to think about the seeds we are metaphorically developing that will blossom in the springtime. Are we the kind of person we want to be? Are we living out our values? This isn’t a time to berate ourselves (which is rarely helpful for personal transformation anyway!), but it is a wonderful check-in point to see if we want to change course or alter direction.
And in so many ways, this is what the sign of Scorpio is really all about. Scorpio is a sign that celebrates the depths, and the very beginnings of seedlings that form that will grow into something amazing in the spring.
The Sun is not particularly at home in Scorpio. The Sun thrives when it is seen, and nothing about the Scorpio season celebrates what is seen. However, if the Sun spends its time in Scorpio wisely, it is likely that what the Sun manifests when he makes his way around the zodiac to Aries will be simply amazing. There is no beautiful thing to see without much work going on in the depths and behind the scenes. And this is what the Scorpio Sun is all about. Preparing what is below so that it can burst forth into glory.
It doesn’t feel arbitrary to me that in the classic “Zodiacal Man” which correlates Zodiac signs with body regions, that Scorpio is associated with (among other things) the reproductive organs. There is definitely a pre-birth component to Scorpio that ensures that there is something to be born in the spring.
Scorpio is also a Fixed Water sign, which further gives us clues into the characteristics of the Scorpio season. Fixed signs don’t change quickly, and they represent the most stable part of the season they occupy. (For Scorpio, this is midway through the Autumn.) There is a sense that it is really Fall. Leaves are falling, the weather is getting colder, the days are getting darker; we can’t fool ourselves into thinking that we are still in the Summer the way we often can during Libra season. This is one of the beautiful things about the Fixed signs; they so thoroughly manifest the power of the season they inhabit that we can see the full archetype of that season. For Autumn in the northern hemisphere, that full archetype represents a decent into darkness. In most areas, it also represents an increase in moisture and rain (remember that Scorpio is a Water sign! It is not surprising that our Fixed Water sign heralds the coming of wet days!).
With so much happening astrologically in fixed signs in 2021, the Sun’s entrance into Scorpio also prepares it to square or oppose Saturn, Uranus, and Jupiter over the next month. That is a set of three major aspects! There are definitely many areas for each of us to dig up within ourselves that will be difficult and unexpected, but that also have so much potential to really help us in our journey through life (especially with the final major aspect of the month being a square to our greater benefic planet Jupiter). Hard times are hard; but hard times can also bring good, even though good may feel so far from us.
As I watch the rain outside of my front window today and think about what that means for the Scorpio archetype, I am reminded that pre-birth typically involves darkness and water. That could be the water and darkness that cause a seed to sprout in the earth, the water and darkness that surround a baby in the womb, the tears we may cry in the darkness before we can rise at dawn as a stronger person, or the water and darkness from which humanity collectively came eons ago. Water and darkness are the harbingers of the change of life.
This is the beauty of our Scorpio season; it is our time to go deep within the dark areas of ourselves, do our shadow work, look unflinchingly into our truest selves and prepare the correct seeds to sprout during warmer seasons. This season, I hope I can work from this place of not re-birth, but pre-birth. Which dark corners of ourselves are ripe for examination so that we can manifest something different in the future than we have in the past? Scorpio contains the magic of that work; it is a time to prepare.
We are exactly experiencing our New Moon in Virgo as I write this; both the Sun and the Moon are at 14 degrees of Virgo. Virgo New Moons are excellent times to evaluate what is working for us and what is not, and to remove all of the cruft.
This year, our Virgo New Moon is particularly potent as the Sun and Moon are exactly trining Uranus in Taurus as the New Moon conjunction occurs. Uranus in Taurus often brings disruptions to our basic living needs…. food, shelter, money, and other material goods.
With Uranus in Taurus trining the Virgo New Moon, there are many positive ways this could manifest!
With so much outside of our control in 2020 and 2021, this might be an opportunity to take control of some of the small things we can control! Take your car in for an overdue oil change, organize that closet that you just haven’t had the motivation to get to, start a practice of doing food planning or preparation on your days off of work so that you have homemade food at the ready when you need it, spend some time on personal grooming (styling your hair, plucking eyebrows, or those other things we all did frequently before covid kept us home so much!).
The common theme here is positively disrupting and “cleaning up” (literally or figuratively) some of our Taurus-based areas of life. Particularly with everything we all have been dealing with over the past 18+ months with covid, it can sometimes feel hard to muster motivation for simple, easy, benign things like tidying our house, brushing our hair, and prepping food for meals. It can feel easier to “lose ourselves” in an imaginary world brought to us by our favorite author or our favorite Netflix show than to put any thought or energy into our physical world. But it is important to remember that we are actually physical beings in a physical world. Although it might be easy during these times to pretend that we don’t have hair to brush, the very act of being present in our bodies and doing something physical and down-to-earth can actually feel like a healing ritual, particularly during the Virgo Full Moon!
A wonderful way to start is to really ground yourself in your body. Sit in a comfortable place with as few distractions as possible, and take a few minutes to really check in with your body. Take a few deep breaths in an out, allowing each inhale and exhale to be 3-4 seconds in length. Gently clear out any chattering thoughts in your mind, and just allow yourself these few minutes to really focus on your body and your breath. As you breathe in and out, you are likely to become more aware of the rhythm of your heart beating. This is your own personal rhythm…. be attuned to it and notice it!
Whether you allow yourself time for cleaning your closet, alphabetizing your spice rack, or taking a few minutes just to breathe deeply into your body, allow yourself to find something physical and material that you may have been neglecting to take care of during this Virgo Full Moon, and put some energy into that area!
Sometimes writing is about effectively communicating information. Sometimes it is more evocative such that it conveys a feeling rather than specific information. Sometimes writing is a form of self-expression. Sometimes, though, writing is about attempting to grasp higher level universal truths and fit them to the lines and curves of our primitive human language and existence.
That is where I have mentally been the past week. There is a lot to say about the skies, as there always is, because the skies are always changing in endless (one might even suggest, eternal) cycles regardless of whether or not we notice.
But that is not what is on my heart to say tonight. Tonight, with Mercury exalted in Virgo loosely opposing Jupiter retrograde in Aquarius, I want to attempt to share larger, more philosophical thoughts in a way that I only might be able to tonight – with the stars aligning as they are.
Recently I heard news that a wonderful woman and a very wise psychic and astrologer had died unexpectedly. Although I did not know her well, I had experienced firsthand the power of her readings and her connection with the other world, and I mourned what the world lost in her wisdom and what her family lost through her passing.
We speak of “losing” someone, and that is exactly what a person’s passing feels like. Like a light going out on a dark night. Like your map blowing away while you are in an unfamiliar city. Like feeling lost even though you haven’t actually gone anywhere.
And of course for those who were closest to her, they didn’t lose only a spiritual woman and teacher; they lost a dear family member.
I don’t have any adequate words to mark her passing, but I felt compelled to say something. Because everything she taught and shared and believed in is so vital. And so real. On March 31, 2020 (coincidentally??) just as the pandemic was really starting and exactly as Jupiter and Pluto conjoined in Capricorn, and Saturn and Mars conjoined at 0 degrees of Aquarius, I had my first and only live conversation with her. A friend gifted me a reading with her, and I was not prepared by how much my life would change as a result of that reading. As she went through the reading, starting with my astrology chart and then fluidly moving to messages from my guides, I feltseen in a way that I had never felt before. As we spoke over the phone, the sky outside my home grew suddenly dark with clouds, and it started pouring rain. When we got off the phone, I felt almost as though I was awakening from a trance. I knew before my reading with her that I was just taking my first footsteps onto a different spiritual path…. what would become my life purpose, but her words affirmed that and gave me some specific direction. I have come so far spiritually over the past year and a half, and a huge part of this is due to her. I had actually just contacted her about a second reading since the skies (my inner skies and the outer skies) had changed a lot since our last conversation. I never got that second reading, but I am so grateful that I got the first.
The night before she passed, one of her sons and I got together to send her reiki, and I was just blown away by an image of her face in my mind with a powerful Leo energy and immense joy associated with it.
She passed as the New Moon in Leo was forming (on August 7th), midway between the double consecutive Aquarius Full Moons that bookend our Leo season (which she had written about just a few weeks before on instagram). It is unusual to have two consecutive Full Moons in the same sign. And it is a particularly unusual time this year, because midway between those Full Moons, the New Moon in Leo occurs just as the Sun conjoins Sirius (the day each year called Lionsgate).
Although it didn’t occur to me at the time that we were one day away from the Lionsgate Portal and the New Moon in Leo, it feels so natural that this time would have resonated with her. With the warm, enveloping energy of Leo so strong, and with the intuitive portal of rebirth and moving to higher levels of consciousness wide open, this seems like it would have been exactly a time for her energy. Nothing makes it better or easier that the world lost her, but it does at least feel as though she left surrounded by energy that resonated with her.
I am not able to articulate Universal Truth. Some things really are too big for the human brain, and certainly bigger than the human vocabulary. But A Universal Truth, such as I can describe it in words, seems to be that we actually never really lose a person. They go on ahead in order to be more fully found. But they continue to be knit with us through the memories in our soul, our shared experiences with them, and the fact that all life and all energy, and even all time, is intertwined. Wherever her beautiful energy and soul still exist, whatever astral planes she may be inhabiting, I send her the same wonderful vibes that she sent to everyone during her time on this earth.
Lughnasa – the final Celtic festival to celebrate the harvest. Celebrating the nearing end of summer and preparations for winter. Celebrating the last of the harvest while also facing the reality of another winter. Lughnasa falls on August 1, and this year it certainly does feel like the beginning of an end. Both of summer, which this festival marks, but also socially and astrologically.
Several days ago, Jupiter, after a brief respite in Pisces from May 13 – July 28, has retrograded back into Aquarius, leaving us wrestling with themes from several months ago that we likely thought ourselves past. Some of these are obvious and impersonal. The covid restrictions are an obvious example. As more and more people got vaccinated in the spring and early summer months and covid case numbers went down, many of us started to relax, feeling like after over a year and a half of restrictive Saturn energy (first Saturn co-present/conjunct Pluto in 2020, followed by Saturn square Uranus in 2021), we were finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Many of us started going to restaurants, started to see each other’s faces instead of just impersonal, emotion-hiding face masks. However, in the past few days, Jupiter our benefic planet retrograded out of his home sign of Pisces and into Aquarius where he spent the first half of 2021. He is no longer in a sign that he rules, and he is now back to being copresent with Saturn. What this means is that he is distinctly less able to work his “lucky” magic and the best we can hope for is a softening or a few bits of luck in our Aquarius-ruled areas of life. It is interesting to see how literally we are seeing this. Regardless of personal feelings that individuals may have about the covid vaccines, there is a very clear message from social and political leaders: Our way out of these newly-returned (Jupiter out of Pisces and back in Aquarius) restrictive measures (Saturn) is to get a vaccine (Jupiter, often positioned as a wise, benefic physician with healing remedies).
Apart from this very apparent difference we are seeing of Jupiter’s influence in Pisces versus moving back to Aquarius… what else may we expect to see due to this shift? It is partially complicated (of course!) because nothing happens in isolation. Jupiter retrograding back into Aquarius is not the only thing happening in the sky during this time! However, for the purposes of this post, I want to focus on Jupiter’s move from Pisces to Aquarius and the shift in energy that movement by itself will bring.
Aquarius is the coldest sign which occurs (in the Northern hemisphere) during the deepest part of the winter, when living things are most in hibernation mode and there is not yet a glimmer of rebirth in the frozen ground. Aquarius is also a fixed sign; there is no view yet of a transition to spring. Pisces represents a time of increasing warming and a time of change. The days are getting longer, and spring is imminent. The end of a cycle is completing and the new beginning is about to rise (quite literally) as a phoneix out of the ashes of the soil in spring.
A retrograde of Jupiter, the planet called in ancient times the “greater benefic” from the sign of Pisces into Aquarius will definitely cause a strong energetic shift. This may definitely feel like an energetic loss of optimism. Again, we may be seeing this in a literal way via the covid situation, but we also feel this on many other levels in our life. Areas in our lives where we may have felt change happening, the figurative ground of our souls starting to soften in preparation for new seeds to sprout, may now start to feel as though the change is stagnating or even reversing. We are becoming stuck for some reason we can’t define. The optimism that came so readily a few weeks ago may be difficult to find now. Particularly with Jupiter moving back to be co-present with Saturn in a Saturn-ruled sign, there will be even more of a feeling of increased restrictions, boundaries around us, and a cage (visible or invisible) that we just can’t break free of. In some ways, this may feel even more restrictive than the previous Jupiter in Aquarius energy in the beginning part of 2020, because we were used to restrictions then. Now, after experiencing the gorgeous Piscean rainfall of Jupiter on the parched ground of a Capricorn/Aquarius-dominated time, these restrictions may feel even greater, and the figurative chains on our ankles may feel even more chafing.
However, although this paints a somewhat bleak picture, there are good parts mixed in here as well! Any areas that are Aquarius-ruled in your life have been under a huge constrictive influence over the past few months with only Saturn in that sign. With Jupiter there now, you are likely to get a little luck back in those areas. Anything that has been especially blocked may get a little positive bump or nudge into an easier direction.
Also, Aquarius is the sign of social awareness and justice and the sign of technology. These are both definitely areas that could use an infusion of some of Jupiter’s benefic rays!
It is also important to be aware that Jupiter is retrograding into Aquarius; we have seen what Jupiter in Aquarius looks like between December 19, 2020 and May 13, 2021. Jupiter in Aquarius is not new to us! There is nothing in this energy that will likely feel new. Jupiter is retrograding through a path it has already recently traversed. So this is less about experiencing new restrictions than about a final opportunity to really close out some of the older themes in a productive way. If we just “got through” the first part of 2021 but didn’t really learn how to “be” in that restrictive space and deal with the increased boundaries in a positive way, this is a chance to go back and re-integrate some of that. If we had feelings around social justice, better uses for technology in our new air-centric world but didn’t really do anything about those feelings, this is the time! Whenever we have retrograde planets, there is a sense of turning inward rather than outward. So start with your internal work first before rushing out to make positive outward changes; this is the real wisdom that Jupiter retrograde into Aquarius can bring us.
Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom – Aristotle
People travel to wonder at the height of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars; and they pass by themselves without wondering. – St. Augustine
There has been so much change across the world over the past several months that it almost feels unbelievable that there could be much more change. However, May 10-15 was a significant week on the astrological front and, while nothing as prominent as the Saturn-Pluto conjunction happened over that week, there were still subtle but distinct shifts in energy that all of us will feel more or less, depending on natal chart placements.
Let’s start with Saturn, which stationed retrograde at 1 degree of Aquarius on Sunday, 5/10 in the Pacific timezone. There was a little relief when Saturn departed from Capricorn so that it was no longer co-present with Pluto and the South Node. Now Saturn is headed back for its last set of interactions in Capricorn for almost three decades, and there will definitely be a theme of closing things out. Although Saturn won’t actually enter Capricorn until July 2nd, its retrograde slows down any momentum that it has been gathering in Aquarius and moves it closer to revisiting its conjunction with Pluto. Wherever Capricorn lies in your natal chart, expect a brief return to some of those recurring, perhaps more difficult, Saturn/Pluto themes from the past 2 and a half year as those energies become fully integrated in your life and head towards their final chapter.
One day later, on May 11th, Mercury moved into Gemini. Moving from the slow, plodding fixed sign of Taurus into its home sign of Gemini will be a move that greatly strengthens Mercury’s power, and communication will see an energetic boost. This is one of the more positive movements in the month of May, and any boost we can get to communication (particularly given that the majority of it is now done via video conferencing for most of us!) will be welcome.
One day later, late, on May 12th, Mars finally departed Aquarius for Pisces. While Mars in Pisces is not particularly inspiring as the Piscean dreaminess is antithetical to the Mars “get things done” attitude, this will be the first time since Feb 17th that Saturn and Mars won’t sharea sign. Putting a sign boundary between them should definitely provide some relief from the Mars/Saturn tension from the earlier part of the year. Mars in Pisces will likely be all about “doing”, but will direct that “doing” based on Piscean/dreamy intentions that may or may not be reflected in objective reality, so some of this Martian action may not result in the intended consequence. When Mars departs Pisces for Aries on June 28th, we will likely see a much more aligned, effective energetic push towards movement and accomplishment!
A few hours after Mars departed Aquarius, late on May 12th, Venus stationed retrograde in Gemini. While a retrograde Venus certainly doesn’t make relationships easier, it provides an excellent opportunity to revisit aspects of your relationships that may or may not be working and provide the chance to really evaluate what is serving you in your relationships, and what could benefit from an overhaul.
Then, two days later on May 14th, Jupiter joined Pluto, Saturn, and Venus in retrograde motion as it stationed at 27 degrees Capricorn. All of these retrograde planets will definitely lead to a collective “slowing down” with less forward motion than we would typically like, and a lot of revisiting old ideas/thoughts/evaluations in our minds over and over as we look for better solutions, and generally experience delayed gratification, particularly since both benefics – Venus and Jupiter – are among the retrograde planets.
Bottom line: there was a lot of planetary action starting the week of May 10th, and much of it related to planets moving retrograde!
In fact, we saw three planets station retrograde during that four day period. The word retrograde comes from the two Latin roots of gradi (meaning “to walk”) and retro (meaning “backwards”). So the word literally means to walk backwards. And that is exactly how retrogrades tend to feel… as though we have taken the proverbial two steps forward and one step backward, unable to make the forward progress we are trying to and likely feeling somewhat frustrated in the attempt. This will be felt in nearly all areas of our charts that these four planets touch. Mercury will join the retrograde party on June 18, just a few days before Venus stations direct on June 24/25. We will be dealing with this general planetary retrograde motion for several months, as the various remaining outer planets move into retrograde (Neptune on June 23, Uranus on August 16, and Mars on September 10). As can be seen from the rough diagram below, all of the planets will spend some amount of time retrograde in 2020, and some of them (particularly the outer planets) will spend a significant portion of the year in retrograde.
What do all of these retrogrades mean? How “bad” are retrogrades? Although the idea of taking two steps forward and one step back doesn’t sound appealing to most of us, it seems as though it is already a strikingly accurate description for the way the after-effects of the giant Saturn-Pluto conjunction that coincided with the worldwide covid-19 pandemic are playing out. This is true on both an individual level and on a collective level.
Collective Retrograde Effects
As a collective, it would be hard to think of another time in recent history in which we have spent so much time agonizing and re-agonizing over decisions, trying to find the correct path forward. The news the past few weeks is rife with economic re-opening plans that are continuously re-evaluated as more data becomes available. Expected economic re-opening dates are announced, and then get pushed out farther. Re-openings start to happen and then are brought to a halt again. Restaurants are poised and ready to open and are continuously reviewing all guidelines for a safe re-opening over and over as more as the guidelines start to formalize.
Personal Retrograde Effects
And then, on a personal level, even for those geographic areas and industries where the economy is starting to re-open, everything looks very different than before and there is a feeling of having “retrograded” from the freedom that we experienced in January. Going grocery shopping takes longer than usual and requires extra vigilance to keep six feet between yourself and others. Even an activity as simple as walking down a sidewalk requires attention to detail and frequent detours to the road to keep from inadvertently passing too near another person. Buying simple items like flour or toilet paper may require trips to multiple stores.
Retrograde Effects by Planet
Yes, we are certainly seeing classic retrograde symptoms in our world already. And if we look at the four planets currently in retrograde (Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto), how would we expect to see this manifested in particular?
Venus is retrograde in Gemini, which at a surface level would indicate that communication in our relationships would be delayed/frustrated during this time. YES!! Has anyone not been struggling to communicate over Zoom, with family, friends, and coworkers during this time! Has anyone not experienced Zoom fatigue on multiple levels over the past few months? Is there anyone whose communication has been been overall easier and more understandable and concise recently. (If so, we should talk; I would love to see your natal chart! 😉 )
Jupiter & Pluto
Jupiter and Pluto are retrograde in Capricorn, which would lead us to think transformation (Pluto) and prosperity/growth (Jupiter) would experience delays/frustration in many of our erected structures (whether political, social, governmental, etc). YES!! All of the boundaries which we have erected based on social distancing/flattening the curve are slowing down prosperity/growth on a global as well as a personal scale. In addition, our efforts to transform the structures around the ways we work has been painful and difficult for many of us. Finding our new daily routine, adapting to life without physically spending time with friends, family, or coworkers, figuring out how to either manage being unemployed during this time or how to continue working effectively from home…. this has required a transformation for all of us in all of our daily habits and routines.
Saturn is currently retrograde in Aquarius (and soon to be Capricorn) before it goes direct. That would lead us to look for delays relating to boundaries and new and potentially revolutionary technologies as well as humanitarian efforts. Again, we are certainly seeing struggles in those areas. As we attempt to find a balance between providing support for those affected either physically or economically by the virus, we are all caught in a macroscopic and microscopic struggle to find new ways of working, new ways of helping others, new ways of slowing down the virus, etc.
What can we expect next? Neptune is the next planet to go retrograde in Pisces (its home sign) on June 23. All of this collective energy of dreaminess may result in assumptions based on fantasy rather than reality that further slow down our ability to move out of this massive covid-19 time. Or, since Neptune is in its home sign in Pisces and hopefully exhibiting its more positive qualities despite the retrograde, maybe the Piscean collective dreaminess and knowledge that we are all together in this will result in some creative (although potentially delayed) solutions?
Regardless, while this is a long stretch with a variety of planetary challenges and we find ourselves re-evaluating decisions over and over as more data becomes available and conclusions we made last week may now be irrelevant, it is important to find the areas where these configurations can counter-intuitively set us up for success and help us move forward in the longer-term.
We have all been given a unique opportunity to evaluate what really has a purpose in our lives versus what has just “been there” but doesn’t reflect an energy we want to cultivate. This could be a habit we want to break, a person who doesn’t contribute to the energy we want to surround ourselves with, a job that doesn’t fulfill us, a lifestyle choice that we have outgrown, a routine we don’t have job in following. We can all pay particular attention to the houses in which these retrograde planets fall for us for pointers on which areas of our lives could benefit from a second look. (Certainly the Capricorn house in each person’s chart will have been particularly activated over the past several years and especially in the first half of 2020.)
Essentially as some of the largest cyclical motions in our solar system have temporarily ground to a halt and slowly reversed directions, a pause button has effectively been pressed. We all have the opportunity to step back, evaluate the direction of our lives, and make any needed changes so that we are ready as the pause button is released. When fairer skies come in the future, they may be even fairer based on our ability to evaluate the areas of our lives that need to be transformed and on our motivation to put in the work (whether physical, psychological, spiritual, or emotional) to do just that.
So much of the energy of 2020 has been heavily dominated by Capricorn and Aquarius – strongly Saturn-ruled signs. That has led to a heaviness, a darkness, and a sense of time dragging on and on while we hope, perhaps in vain, for better days to come soon. But let’s take a step back from all of our intense Capricorn/Aquarius energy, and look at the New Moon cycles of 2020, since we are hitting our fourth New Moon of 2020 today.
Christmas Day, 12/25/19, heralded the beginning of an eclipse season with a foreboding eclipse at 4 degrees of Capricorn, the sign in which Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, and the South Node were all clustered. Five days later on 12/31/19, China alerted the World Health Organization of the virus that would come to be known as covid-19. Eclipse seasons often kick off a series of related events that continue throughout the next six months, and in this case the series of events it kicked off was both epic and tragic.
Our first full lunation cycle of 2020 was off to a rough start with a New Moon at 4 degrees of Aquarius on 1/24. On 1/23, one day earlier, China began lockdowns – the first of what would become many caused by the pandemic.
Our second New Moon of 2020 occurred on Feb 23rd at 4 degrees of Pisces. This corresponded with Italy’s lockdown and the realization that not only had this spread well beyond China, but we also had a global pandemic on our hands and would need to take serious measures.
Our third New Moon of 2020 occurred at the 4th degree of Aries on March 24. This was the Monday, interestingly, in which many states issued a “stay at home” order . And we definitely saw the Aries New Moon bring the proactive energy of the warrior to the strange mix of world events. It ushered in a cycle of people aggressively headed to the stores in droves and emptying shelves of rice, beans, hand sanitizer, and pretty much all forms of cleaning products. The Aries warrior energy was also evident in very literal fights over toilet paper and other perceived necessities.
This energy all leads us to our fourth New Moon of 2020: A New Moon at 3 degrees of Taurus. Maybe I am naive or superstitious (or maybe both?), but I am hopeful for this New Moon cycle. There is a certain heaviness associated with Taurus, but it is not the oppressive heaviness of Saturn; it correlates much more readily to the heaviness of lethargy. And that may actually be where many of us are mentally and physically at this point. No motivation to get off the couch, because, really, where are we going to go? Many people I know (myself included) who were voraciously reading all news and statistics related to coronavirus in the earlier days of 2020 are now suffering from serious coronavirus news fatigue, and a bit of whiplash trying to follow the latest thoughts on how contagious it is, how deadly it is, how soon it actually started spreading, etc. Rather than the more hectic, panicked pace we were all keeping earlier this year, now many of us are making friends with the four walls of our houses, working on home projects, and planting gardens (This is causing a huge shortage of seeds! It’s hard to imagine a more Taurean response!)
The April New Moon is also the first New Moon of this cycle not happening in the 4th degree of a sign, but rather in the 3rd degree. In China, the number 4 is considered an unlucky number since it is pronounced nearly the same as their word for ‘death’. Not particularly auspicious during a global pandemic! Three is generally viewed as a much “luckier” number. Again, I acknowledge that I am very possibly a superstitious person, but the third degree definitely seems “luckier” than the 4th, and we need all the luck we can get in 2020!
So what could all of this mean for the April Taurus New Moon? For some (especially those on the front lines fighting the virus!), it has to continue to mean a highly concentrated and highly exhausting effort to treat people with the virus. For those of us who have the option of taking a deep breath, though, now may be the time to do so.
As the moon slips from the last degrees of Aries into the 3rd degree of Taurus that the sun occupies, maybe a lethargic darkness will quietly settle over the world. Maybe this next lunar cycle will give all of us the desire to look inward rather than outward. Maybe we will focus less on scrolling through endless news feeds and browsing graphs of statistics and will instead focus on the more earthy, grounded experiences right in front of us. Maybe we will improve our homes, our gardens. Maybe we will improve our family relationships over shared homemade dinner. Maybe this will give us the opportunity and desire to connect with the earth in a very real way (in a way we may not have connected with her in months, or even years!). New Moons are generally viewed as excellent times to set new intentions; times to evaluate the past monthly cycle and prepare for a new cycle ahead. Maybe it is time for many of us to do exactly that, focusing on what we can control rather than what we cannot control. We cannot control the health or the economies of the world, but we can control the state of our own minds, and maybe this Taurus New Moon is a call to do exactly that. We can ground ourselves in the sturdy energy of this most fixed sign, and find peace in focusing on the earth, our families, our gardens, homemade dinners with all of our comfort foods. While coronavirus will be a reality for all of us across the world for the foreseeable future, maybe this lunation cycle can be a call to take a deep, full inhale, and a long, slow exhale and allow ourselves to come down from our adreneline rush.
Saturn has been such a big part of the energy of the past few years, and with about six years of Saturnian energy where Saturn is in signs that it rules (Capricorn from 12/20/17 – 4/22/20 and Aquarius from 4/23/20 – 3/7/23) (retrograding back into Capricorn for several months from 7/2/20 – 12/17/20), we are looking at about five and a half years of Saturn in its own rulership. (Although though we have had a tough time of Saturn in Capricorn/Aquarius, a good part of that is a series of unfortunate conjunctions with the Tail of the Dragon, Pluto, and Mars…. not exactly a cocktail for fun and games!)
Saturn gets a bad reputation as a malefic in traditional astrology, and so this extra dose of Saturnian energy (particularly given its momentous, world-defining conjunction with Pluto in January 2020) is generally not welcome. Frankly the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020 isn’t giving people much incentive to think of Saturn as anything more than a malefic to be avoided as much as possible either. I straddle the line between traditional and modern astrology, so the idea of Saturn as a malefic resonates with me, but at the same time, what would our planetary charts be without Saturn, our old, wise, teacher, forcing us into the discipline that we would never learn given another option?
Saturn: The Teacher
Saturn’s teachings are not for the faint of heart, certainly, but they definitely have something that our modern world seems to be lacking.
Most of the really great things in each of our lives are things that we worked hard for. Things we overcame obstacles for. Things that cost us very little tend to be valued very little. Very similarly to the lone sea-goat represented by Capricorn steadfastly climbing a mountain without a clear finish line in sight, keeping fixed on the goal and turning aside neither to the right-hand nor to the left, but climbing ever up and up, Saturn, more than any other planet, gives us the opportunity to really work towards something difficult, maintain discipline, and prove to ourselves that we are stronger than we thought and can hold on to the end. Saturn gives us that ability to face ourselves in our mirrors, staring into our own eyes and seeing a new version of ourselves, more disciplined and somewhat harder and stronger around the edges than we were previously.
Hard-working diligent patience is undeniably associated with Saturn. No quick wins, no instant gratification. Saturn frowns upon these, and wastes no opportunity to remind us that anything easily gained is easily lost. Saturn believes in doing everything the right way, regardless of how long that takes. Boundaries, structures, and rules (definitely concepts in sharp focus during this Covid-19 crisis!) are all within Saturn’s well-worn wheelhouse. And it’s important to remember that despite the way the current environment feels, it’s reasonably safe to say that none of us would thrive very well in an environment with no rules or boundaries, and chaos would likely ensue. Certainly it’s hard to produce anything of real, lasting value without at least an awareness of structures and boundaries and a solid grasp on reality. Saturn is, at the end of the day, a teacher. A hard teacher, and one whose lessons are typically unwelcome, and yet one whose lessons are worth learning. The plodding nature of Saturnian endeavours also forces us to really think about what we are striving and working for. In a “quick win” situation, we aren’t spending much time thinking about what something is worth to us, because our investment is small. But when we are investing in something that requires months or years of investment, we will absolutely put the time into considering whether that endeavor is worth our effort at all. In this way, Saturn helps to ensure that we are focused on the correct things in a way Jupiterian optimism or Venusian temporal appreciation will not. Saturn is about sacrifices, and inherent in this is the idea of whether or not what Saturn is asking you to do is worth what you are giving up to do it.
A Series of Conjunctions
Saturn is in the middle of a series of conjunctions in the two signs that it rules, so let’s break these down.
12/26/19: New moon eclipse at 4 degrees of Capricorn (note that eclipse cycles last about six months… and this eclipse has definitely heralded a string of events of literally epic proportion that have extended significantly beyond December 2019!
01/12/20: Mercury conjoins Saturn as Saturn conjoins Pluto at 22 degrees of Capricorn
01/13/20: Sun conjoins Saturn at 22 degrees of Capricorn
03/31/20: Mars conjoins Saturn at 0 degrees of Aquarius
12/21/20: Jupiter conjoins Saturn at 0 degrees of Aquarius (The winter solstice!)
Definitely some intense Saturn energy going on, particularly at 22 degrees of Capricorn and 0 degrees of Aquarius.
Capricorn & Aquarius: Structures & Society
Certainly the areas we saw the initial largest effects from Saturn’s transits are areas of structure (hospitals, government, economy, businesses). We are definitely seeing that the next ripple of waves are very related to community/society – present even in the name of the new phrase in our lexicon: “social distancing”!
Even the term “social distancing” is a joining of the Aquarius focus on society and the Capricorn focus on boundaries. Keeping a six-foot boundary (Capricorn) around yourself when in society (Aquarius). The astrology here is a little difficult to ignore!
I absolutely love the decans, and find their significations to be uncannily accurate, even by astrological standards. Therefore, let’s consider the decanic potential of these two degrees.
22 degrees of Capricorn falls into the third decan of Capricorn. Ruled by the Sun and Mercury. This decan carries a large responsibility for decision making, power, authority, kingdom.
0 degrees of Aquarius falls into the first decan of Aquarius, and is ruled by Venus and Saturn. It is the decan of the individualist, the person who trods new ground. It is also indicative of the person exiled from their homeland; there is an inherent loneliness in this decan.
As we think about the significance of these two decans, we see an interesting juxtaposition of intense responsibility combined with intense individualism and solitariness. On one side, we have a ruler responsible for an entire group of people within his/her realm of authority, and on the other side we have an individual who is completely responsible for only themselves without an area to even call home. What does this interesting set of Saturn conjunctions in these two degrees look like? Although there is much more that could be said for these specific conjunctions based on the other planets involved besides Saturn, I would like to focus on Saturn and these two degrees. Interestingly, there is much about the current Covid-19 crisis that mirrors these two dichotomies. We have on the one hand, an entire world of leaders all forced into the difficult decision of making life-and-death decisions for their respective countries/states/cities while trying to balance extreme economic hardship versus sickness and possibly death while having very little information about this new virus to even use for assessment purposes. There are no easy options here, and clearly with our malefic Saturn transiting the 22nd degree of Capricorn, this brought out all the difficulties inherent in decision making, power, and authority. It is definitely not all fun and games when crises like these rock the very core of our world!
Meanwhile, at 0 degrees of Aquarius, most people are left feeling like their sense of security, safety, and their understanding of their “home” has been betrayed. In some way, then, all of us are somewhat exiled from any previous states of relative security and safety. And there is no clear sense of when (or if!) that sense of security will return and if there is a clear path back to the “home” from which we have been forcibly exiled.
While it is hard to imagine what the end of this Saturnian-influenced time may look like, when we emerge from the other side of this, we will likely be amazed by how resourceful we all have learned to be and will have found somewhat new identities, not only as individuals but also as a part of our local communities that have struggled through this time together.
I feel Pluto in the air each and every day these days. I feel a deep heaviness which falls deeper into my body than the Saturn heaviness. I know that Saturn (rightfully!) is getting a lot of focus in the current climate, but let us not forget that Pluto has also been traversing Capricorn since November 26, 2008 (synchronistically, a time of economic recession in the United States) and will be there until January 21, 2024. Let us also not forget that is was the highly visible Saturn and Pluto conjunction in mid-January that kicked off many of the events in this subsequent cycle. Also for reference, the last time Pluto was in Capricorn was in 1762-1778 (also a time of great upheaval!). Pluto has a long transit cycle, and I think that is part of the point of its power. Pluto has been almost synonymous with “transformation” among astrologers, and true transformation doesn’t happen quickly. Transformation may be catalyzed in an instant or in a single event, but the resulting change that leads to lasting transformation grinds away slowly over the following months. That is the type of transformation I feel happening within myself, and also within in the world. I will call out that I am going through a Pluto square with my natal Pluto, which is probably making Pluto’s energy appear all the stronger to me. But still, when I observed how quickly Mars skipped through Capricorn (Feb 17th – Mar 31st – about six weeks) and then compared that with Pluto’s long, agonizingly slow trek through the same sign (about sixteen years!), Pluto’s transit feels almost unbelievably long.
Most people’s worlds have been turned upside down quickly (about the time Mars passed through Capricorn, lighting a match and activating Pluto and Saturn in quick succession and likely catalyzing many of the February and March events), and yet the actual transformation that will result in people’s lives as a result of this crisis has only begun to unfold. There is still so much to be experienced and suffered and learned before the last vibratory notes signal the end of this epochal time. People’s sense of security has been shaken to the core; people are finding that trust in their finances, their health, or their government may have been misplaced. There is a sense of betrayal that the entire world can have come to this state, and even people’s own day-to-day autonomy is no longer theirs to command, as the United States (and many other areas around the world) are insisting on social isolation, the closure of businesses, and only emerging from your house for critical reasons.
That sense of betrayal in safety and security is where much of the real Plutonian transformation will occur over the following months and years. People will likely no longer feel as confident in the economy. Or in their job (or even in their industry). Or in the way they have been able to rely on friends and family (much harder when you can’t leave your house to see anyone!) Most of the people living through this time are still in a state of shock and are more focused on how to stay healthy, find canned beans and toilet paper, and get through the acute phase of this ordeal than they are in thinking about any longer term changes in their psyche.
However, the interesting thing about transformation is that it is typically what happens internally in our deep psyche while we’re focused on intense circumstances instead of on our psyche. In fact, we often aren’t aware of the full extent of the transformation until we come out the other side and reflect on the naivety of our previous self; that self that had a more limited set of experiences and fewer scars. In that way, transformation is very like the shadow that we often associate with Pluto; hidden from view, obscure, and representing an absence of light or attention. Even in the light of the current astrological flurry relating to covid-19, the primary focus is on Saturn, while the large, slow gears of Pluto’s quiet, merciless transformation continue to turn.
What does this mean for us in the throes of the acuteness of coronavirus?
Maybe there is no work we can consciously do. Maybe there is nothing but a shadow, and it is hard to work with something so ephemeral that it is defined merely as the absence of light. Or maybe it means that it is time to take a deep breath and consciously start our inner Plutonian work. Start excavating those dark craters of our life that we have been neglecting but in which insecurity has arisen as a result of our world being shaken. Maybe proactively embracing Pluto in Capricorn’s iron will to deconstruct an entire structure and erect a new one will make this process less painful.
Capricorn reigns during the winter solstice, the darkest part of the year in the northern hemisphere, leaving plenty of darkness and shadows in which Pluto can do its work. And until the shadows clear and the sun emerges, it may be difficult to see what the shadows have wrought.