My writing group had an assignment to write a “2020 wrap-up in five sentences” and this is what came through me. I sent it to my newsletter list and now, considering the positive response and recent events, I thought I would post it here.
Like Eris, it started off small and grew and grew, seeding chaos as it went.
Like Pluto, it plowed through everything in its path, turning over the very ground, tilling, burying what was on top underneath, raising up what was below, a fertile reversal.
Like Neptune, it drowned us in tears until we were washed clean, purified, and could face our fears.
Like Saturn, it demanded we finish our business of seeing what reality really is and paying – on time – the price for the lesson.
Like Jupiter, its principles became crystal clear, the higher way there for all who have vision to see, and by following its guiding light, break free into the re-imagined future.
December 20, 2020
They are the two biggest planets in our solar system. On December 21, 2020, Jupiter will join Saturn. They do this dance every twenty years in what is called a Great Conjunction (conjunction means a coming together and “great” because they’re the biggest planets. Their cycle is the longest of the original planets, prior to the discoveries made possible by the invention of telescopes. So is this a big deal? In a word, YES!
There are two ways in which this conjunction is extraordinary. The first has to do with proximity. In their travel, planets go around the zodiac as well as up and down within a certain band-with. Not every time they reach the same point on the orbital racetrack are they at an equivalent vertical position, said to be “parallel.” Riding at the same elevation in the sky, they practically merge, appearing like one big star to the unaided eye. With magnification, Saturn will look like it is sitting atop Jupiter. That definitely does not happen every time the quicker giant planet overtakes its ringed neighbor. When I looked across more than eight centuries, from 1600 to 2420, there were only two other instances of Jupiter and Saturn appearing as one bright object, in 1623 and 2417. There were a half a dozen other times when they’re almost as close but are distinct: a trio of conjunctions in 1682-83, 1961, 2080 and 2140. Had you been alive in 1623, you probably could not have seen their merging because they were so close to the Sun they would be obscured by the Sun’s brilliance. If you’re young enough, you may live until 2080 and be able to check how close they are then (on March 14) – they wont be quite as close as this year. This is definitely the best viewing until 400 years from now. Maybe in a future incarnation you can see this very rare phenomenon again!
This article from EarthSky.org has a great explanation and helpful illustrations.
Though they travel near one another in the zodiac for several months, more often than not, when Jupiter passes Saturn in their dual-decade dance, it happens just one time. Rarely, they join in a series of three instances, spaced months apart. You might think this is not so rare if you only examined the past hundred years, when there were two triplets, in 1940-41 and 1980-81. In the same period mentioned above, there were only three other triplets, in 1682-83, 2238-39 and 2279. This conjunction is not a triple but it’s special in another way, having to do with the element of the sign where it occurs.
Jupiter-Saturn meetings strike a drumbeat for cultural changes and developments, and this one holds the promise for a whole new era. The 2020 meet-up heralds the end of almost two centuries dominated by Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions in signs of the Earth element and ushers in a period of over a century when Jupiter’s and Saturn’s paths cross in Air signs. This is part of a long-term cycling through the four elements, usually with seven pairings in an element before migrating to the next.
The Earth element is associated with material objects, practical concerns, and wealth and tangible assets. The Earth era premiered with a Jupiter-Saturn conjunction in 1802, but it was followed by a throwback to the prior era with a conjunction in the Fire element in 1821. The long stretch of Earth conjunctions began in 1841. Soon afterward, transportation progressed from steamships to railroads, then trucks and automobiles, followed by airplanes and space travel. Communication technology developed beyond books, letters and newspapers to telegraphs, telephones and satellites. In the 20-year period from the first conjunction in an Air sign in 1980 to 2000, the last conjunction in an Earth sign, we added personal computers, the internet, cell phones and the Apple watch, which was only dreamed about in 1946 in the cartoon strip Dick Tracy. The growth of banks and financial institutions and the amassing of great personal or family fortunes accompanied these other advancements. And in the process, the earth itself has been abused and trashed. And in the last Earth period from 2000 to 2020, income disparity and the wealth gap between the “top one percent” and everyone else has skyrocketed.
We’ve now moved past the Industrial Revolution and Robber Barons of the Earth period and we’re living in the Information Age. Communication and information are associated with the Air element, as are relationships. As with every element, there are three signs in Air. Gemini correlates with education, neighborhoods and community. Libra is about connections (who you know), cooperation and fairness. Aquarius is the sign of friendship, associations, humankind and humanitarianism. The long period of Air sign conjunctions will run from 2020 to 2159, with an extension for two more cycles from 2179 to 2218, after which the prominent element shifts to Water. Thus this 2020 conjunction is the turning point, and is known as a Great Mutation, a Great Conjunction that shifts to a different element. People will matter more than things.
For forty years, since my early years of studying astrology, I have been waiting for this time of Air sign Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions. Living through the period initiated by the 1980-81 conjunctions, I was upset that we weren’t making enough progress in equality and fairness, and that we weren’t following the example of the first Earth Day in 1970. Reagan was elected in 1980 and removed the solar panels Jimmy Carter had installed on the White House. Racial tensions have not calmed down. Women have not ascended to an equal status. I had and continue to have high hopes, although reality has not always lived up to the ideal. (Jupiter relates to optimism; Saturn to realism. There’s always a balancing act between them.) With the conjunction at the first degree of Aquarius, I thought this would be the true beginning of the Age of Aquarius, a time of “brotherhood.” Many people erroneously think the Age of Aquarius occurred in the hippie days of the late ‘60s when the associated song came out. Actually, it’s an astronomical phenomenon related to a cycle of more than 26,000 years, with periods of approximately 2,160 years assigned to each of the twelve zodiac constellations according to where the spring equinox occurs. (Here are two articles, one I wrote and one written by a colleague, describing the Age of Aquarius in more depth.)
I do think we’re headed toward more equality and harmony among the people of the world, but it won’t happen immediately. What I didn’t anticipate was the extreme fight a dying breed would put up. Power in the hands of (mostly) white (mostly) men won’t easily yield to the demographics of an increasingly multi-racial population. And the trend, worldwide, toward more authoritarianism caught me off-guard. Capricorn is the sign of authority and control and Pluto is the planet of big bucks and power (which go hand-in-hand in America even more so since the Citizens United decision in 2010). Pluto moved into Capricorn in 2008 in the midst of the subprime mortgage crisis and ensuing Great Recession. But that didn’t quell rising wealth inequality. And during the pandemic, the uber-rich have gotten even richer and the poor, poorer. Governments have clamped down on the populace, especially in places like Hong Kong and Chile, but we’ve seen civil rights violations by unidentified armed federal agents attacking protestors in this country, too.
The trio of Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto traveling together through most of 2020 brought international (Jupiter) virus and death (Pluto) as well as restrictions (Saturn) and widespread (Jupiter) economic (Pluto) hardship (Saturn). The concentration of these three powerhouse planets in one sign has been too much! Saturn and Pluto are usually very difficult while Jupiter normally has a reputation of being beneficial. As the biggest planet, it’s main function is to expand whatever it’s contacting. So it made the bad stuff worse. We’ll be happy this combination ends before the New Year and the three planets start to spread out by the end of January. Had the Great Conjunction been in the final degree of Capricorn, the ripple effects of this heavy energy would have continued over the next two decades. Instead, because Jupiter and Saturn beat their drum in Aquarius, we have a Great Mutation and the beginning of a New Age. And none too soon.
Think about this: Aquarius = Aqua (water) + r + i + us = the connecting force of water + R (plural of to be: we aRe), shifting from I (Individuals) to Us (Unity).
In October, I entered a “Mundane Challenge” sponsored by a chapter of an international astrology organization of which I’m a member. “Mundane” is used in astrology as a term for worldly matters and events in the news. It wasn’t a “contest” to determine a “winner.” The goal was to predict the election outcome – not necessarily to be right – and to “show your work,” explaining the techniques used to reach conclusions. At an event in early December, five astrologers (myself included) will present their findings. Without going into great detail here, I will share some of what I submitted and then add a little to it.
Both presidential candidates have strong career success indicators in their charts or they wouldn’t have risen to the position of running for the highest office in the land. Born at a lunar eclipse full moon, Trump has had a “larger than life” story. Biden’s more modest beginning set him on a path of building a public presence over time. In 2019, in his personal updated chart, he had a solar eclipse new moon, providing a “late bloomer” boost. At Inauguration Day 2021, the ruling planet of his career area is close to the updated position of his Sun, the leadership planet, boding well for him. Becoming the Presidential candidate, win or lose, is a crowning achievement he’s sought for decades.
The candidates’ history of winning or losing was an important consideration. Both Biden and Harris have won every election in which they’ve run. (Biden lost primaries but never an election in over forty years.) Pence lost in two consecutive attempts before a decade’s break from running and finally making it into Congress. Trump barely eked out an electoral college victory after losing the 2016 popular vote. In 2018, he encouraged people to vote in the mid-terms as if he was on the ballot; that was a resounding defeat. In 2020, Biden and Harris enjoy a repeat of a new or full moon activating their same natal planets that were similarly stimulated around the time of all their winning elections. A full moon at the career point (top) of Trump’s chart heralded his victory in 2016. This year, the new moon nearest the election is at the bottom (home point) of his chart, signaling a possible change in residence. That same new moon highlights Pence’s natal Jupiter but he has lost before with a connection to this usually fortuitous planet. Perhaps it’s time for him to return to broadcasting, ruled by Jupiter. (He gained notoriety doing a radio talk show in Indiana between his failed campaigns and his office tenures.) At the time of the certification of the vote in 2016 and at the 2017 inauguration, Trump had important highlights to his career area and its ruling planet. No such luck this time.
A key technique I used for the “challenge” was examining the chart for the moment each candidate accepted the nomination. This was fascinating! The charts were similar in many ways since both Biden and Trump accepted at nearly the same time of the evening a week apart in cities geographically close. The slower planets were in the same locations in the two charts, which had nearly identical degrees on the four crucial chart directions – degrees that are only two degrees from the same positions in the 2021 inauguration chart! The main differences were in the signs of the quick moving planets and their connections to the slower ones. The slow planets, continually indicating big change, were not aggravated by quick “personal” planets at the Democratic convention. A week later at the Republican convention, a quick planet applied stressful pressure to them. The candidate with the most favorable acceptance chart was the first one nominated for a place on the ballot: Kamala Harris. (Regardless of the election outcome, her career has taken a giant leap forward with this nomination.) There’s more to the charts than this brief synopsis provides, all favoring the Democratic ticket.
In checking the “astrological atmosphere” surrounding the election, I identified prior elections with planetary cycles similar to those happening now. A major one occurred twice in recent years, both times with significant shifts in the balance of power between the parties: the 1992 mid-terms, when Republicans had a resounding victory in the House during Bill Clinton’s first term, and the 2008 “hope and change” election of Obama and Biden. Another repeating feature mimics conditions in 1976, when the Presidency went to the Democrats following the corruption of the Nixon administration. These factors show 2020 “leans blue” and just might color results across the board.
Of course, we can’t ignore how Mercury is at a standstill ending its retrograde on Election Day 2020, exactly as it was in 2000. Al Gore conceded late that night and hours later, retracted his concession. Then recounts and court battles ensued for weeks, ending up at the Supreme Court. There’s likely to be some confusion and hub-bub this time around, too. However, I don’t think the overall results will be as close and therefore the outcome should not end up in the hands of the High Court.
The following additional comments are beyond what I submitted in the “challenge.”
Biden has a Scorpio Sun with Sagittarius rising. Thus his ruling planets are Pluto and Jupiter. These two are now traveling together and very powerful. The recent full moon with the Sun in Scorpio and Moon in Taurus echoes Biden’s natal chart signs, likely a positive indication for him. In contrast, Mercury rules Trump’s (and Pence’s) Gemini Sun and it is motionless (going nowhere) on Election Day, as mentioned above. This is an indication of weakness. Trump has Leo rising. That sign’s ruler, the Sun, is opposite Uranus now (nearly exact at the recent full moon). This shakes things up for him personally and for him as the head of state, a position associated with the Sun.
Throughout 2020, the planet of karma and accountability (Saturn) has been traveling across from Trump’s natal Saturn and his Venus, the planet in charge of his career and reputation area. This relationship shows strong opposition from outside oneself. Although his impeachment trial ended in acquittal, that doesn’t erase the charge and he will go down in history as an impeached (and weakened) president.
On a practical political level, in the presidential race, Trump has never polled over 50%, whereas Biden has exceeded that important threshold in multiple polls over the course of many weeks. (Per nbcnews.com, Hillary Clinton touched 50% just twice in 2016, in two-way match-ups, which did not reflect the election’s total choices.) Trump’s approval percentage has been consistently in the 40s since 2015. His base is loyal but he hasn’t been able to expand it to a majority. His “unfavorable” rate has been above 50% for his entire term (per RealClearPolitics.com), a hurdle nearly impossible for an incumbent to overcome in a referendum bid for reelection.
My conclusion and prediction: Biden wins.
It’s our country’s “birthday” and not very often is there a Full Moon at the anniversary of our independence. It’s even more special if it’s a lunar eclipse! Since eclipses can repeat after nineteen years, this has happened before. A lunar eclipse occurred on July 4 in 1936. Repeats came within a day or two of the fourth, and thus in a 1-2° “orb” (or range of influence) of our “solar return” (the astrological equivalent of a birthday), in 1944, 1963, 1982, 2001 and 2020, which is the last in this series.
With such a big deal as a lunar eclipse on a birthday, we’d expect big events to be associated with it or to occur “around” that time (possibly months before or after). Looking back, we indeed see these years have indeed been very important.
We were in the midst of the New Deal during the Depression and the three-year “dust bowl” was coming to an end. Gone With The Wind was published. African-American athlete Jesse Owens won the 100-meter dash at the Berlin Olympics. The US joined an international brigade to help fight for Spain in the Spanish Civil War.
The tide was turning in the Allies’ favor in WWII with D Day and the liberation of Guam. The gang rape of a black mother by six white men in Alabama, and the failure to indict any of them, provokes nationwide protest and activism among the African-American community. FDR was re-elected for an unprecedented fourth term (which he would not complete). A Supreme Court decision ended “white primaries” in the South in which only whites could vote.
Travel, financial and commercial transactions between the US and Cuba are outlawed. In George Wallace’s inaugural speech as governor of Alabama, he proclaims, “Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, and segregation forever!” amidst a year of major Civil Rights protests. The Supreme Court rules that state courts must provide counsel in criminal cases for defendants who cannot afford their own attorneys, and that Bible-reading in schools in unconstitutional. And of course, the assassination of JFK was the biggest story in 1963.
Amidst a powder keg of anti Asian-American animosity in Michigan, a young Chinese-American was beaten to death in a strip club at his bachelor party by two white auto-workers (a planet supervisor and his laid-off stepson), who thought he was Japanese and the cause of the declining American auto industry. An economic downturn from July 1981 to November 1982 was triggered by tight monetary policy in an attempt to fight inflation. (This was the worst economic downturn to date in the US since the Great Depression.) Democratic Speaker of the House Tip O’Neil and Republican President Ronald Reagan reach a deal to cut spending and raise taxes. After November election, the stock market soars to a new high.
The giant game-changing story of 2001 was the terrorist attack on 9/11, so you might not remember other key events. For instance, despite a recession beginning in March, a giant tax cut favoring the wealthy was passed in May and signed into law in early June, two days after Vermont Senator Jim Jeffords left the Republican Party, shifting control of the Senate to Democrats. In April, an unarmed Black teenager was shot in a police pursuit (wanted on misdemeanors like driving without a seat belt), sparking four days of protest and unrest considered the largest urban disturbance in the US since the 1992 Watts uprising. Following 9/11, the Patriot Act gave sweeping surveillance powers to the government, infringing on 4th Amendment privacy rights. The US invaded Afghanistan, President Bush withdrew the US from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, and China was granted permanent normal trade status with the US.
President Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives for attempting to withhold aid to a foreign government in exchange for information he hoped would affect the upcoming election. He was not convicted by Republican Senators, who refused to hear witness testimony. A virus pandemic enveloped the globe and the US has failed in its response, reaching record cases and deaths. Black Lives Matter marches have continued non-stop since the Memorial Day murder of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man suspected of passing a forged $20 bill. Just ahead of our birthday, news emerged of Russian bounties paid to Taliban fighters to kill American soldiers in Afghanistan, where the 19-year-long war continues. The President claimed not to know and now seems disinclined to do anything about it. And we’re only half-way through 2020.
The US was born with Mercury in retrograde and we seem to repeat some of the same situations over and over, not learning our lesson. Get ready for more of that. Mercury was ending a backtrack at the 2000 election and remember that hanging chad debacle? Mercury ends its retrograde this November on Election Day, too; don’t be surprised by unclear results or disputed vote counts.
Mercury is retrograde at our birthday, a time when the influences present extend their sway for the coming year. We should think twice before doing anything major to try to avoid what we might regret. Mercury is in a troublesome “T-square” pattern across from the Moon, both perpendicular to the duo of Mars and Chiron, which are a little over 5° apart. Mercury in Cancer inclines us to be whiny and express our feelings, although the Moon in mature Capricorn counters with a stiff upper lip. The Mars-Chiron combo adds gripes about illness or wounds. These two are in Aries, fomenting heated discussions with hurtful potential.
Mars, Aries’ ruling planet, spends the second half of 2020 in a long visit in its home sign due to a retrograde there beginning mid-September. Arguments and impatience are likely to cause trouble and the possibility of armed conflict or martial law are not out of the question, although not necessarily occurring in America. Hong Kong comes to mind as a hotspot and this lunar eclipse is accentuated on the North/South line there. The Middle East is always precarious, as well. At the summer solstice (providing indications for the summer season), Mars and Chiron lines enclosed Israel, Jordon, Lebanon and Syria. When Mars entered Aries on June 27, one of its lines ran right through the Straits of Hormuz, through which a fifth of the world’s oil travels.
This year, we can’t get away from the Jupiter-Pluto conjunction in Capricorn, which promises big changes in finances, governments, laws and international relations. Pluto also happens to rule viruses and death. The second of three occurrences was on June 29 (the first being April 4 and the last coming November 12). Throughout their alignment, both are square Eris, the dwarf planet of discord and rivalry. Mars joined in the fray around the time of the spring equinox as it passed through Capricorn and will add to the trouble when it joins Eris in Aries three times: August 17, October 3 and December 22. Seeing this coming down the pike and noting the lunar eclipse at our birthday, last fall in my 2020 Highlights, I remarked “Holy Uncle-Samoly!” not knowing what all would develop. Current events are even more dramatic than anything I could imagine, and who knows what’s coming next. Enjoy the fireworks!
With Mercury Retrograde, it’s an appropriate time to revisit something written earlier. So I dug up my post from three years ago and found it’s still interesting reading and rather prescient. See what you think.
July 3, 2017
Uncle Sam’s Foreboding Birthday
The USA was born of rebellion and to this day, protesting is in our blood. Somebody’s always fighting about something somewhere – we’re a rowdy bunch. In the nation’s birth chart, we see this signaled by our Moon (one’s emotional nature and what one feeds on or hungers for) in the sign Aquarius. (While the Moon is important in any chart, it’s especially so when the Sun sign is Cancer, ruled by the Moon. Born in early July, the USA has the Sun in Cancer.) Aquarius is the sign ruled by Uranus, the planet of the common man, and is the sign positioned opposite Leo, the royal sign. We united in opposition to the crown and declared all men to be equal, as the most egalitarian sign, Aquarius, would be prone to do! Uranus, said to rule revolution, was discovered in 1781, about midway between the revolutions in America (beginning in 1774) and in France (1789). Some charts for the USA (including the one I usually use) are based on an early morning time when Uranus was rising at the eastern horizon, which is a key position in any chart and indicates what is being manifested. I think this fits well with our national character, but since there is not a definitive, agreed-upon time for the USA’s birth, I will restrict this analysis to apply to July 4, 1776 in general, no matter what time.
A key planet related to fighting is, of course, Mars, named for the god of war. At our inception, it was in Gemini, a sign of communication. “Them’s fighting words,” old Westerns used to say, although sometimes we battle with more than our tongues. Gemini is also a sign of siblings and neighbors. In some instances during our Civil War, brother fought against brother and neighbor against neighbor. Gemini’s ruling planet, Mercury, is named for the messenger of the gods, who also carried a moneybag. Astrology associates Mercury with commerce. In America, business has long been a bone of contention. In fact, our first act of war was heaving the Brits’ tea into Boston harbor. Mars is situated in the USA chart about halfway between Uranus and Venus at their “midpoint” (which blends their influences). Venus shows what one loves; we love to rebel and we do so with our words and wits (Mars in Gemini).
The Sun in a country’s chart represents its leader, even if not a king; there’s a regal or high-ranking implication (the Sun rules Leo). At the USA’s birth, the Sun was in a 90-degree angle (indicating friction) relative to Saturn, the planet of rules and the law. Saturn was in Libra, the sign of equality and justice. Our tenant is no one is above the law, not even our President. This Sun-Saturn abrasion also represents limitations (think of Saturn’s rings) that affect our leader or even our nation as a whole (the Sun in a chart indicates identity, one’s very being).
The USA is blessed to have the two planets most favored by ancient astrologers, Venus and Jupiter, paired only 5 degrees apart at the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Big and bright and the easiest of the planets to spot in the night sky, they were dubbed “benefics” (good do-ers), and indeed their combination often yields positive results. They herald the bounty and riches of our nation. Our “bread basket,” love of country and “family values” are consistent with the sign Cancer, where Venus and Jupiter joined. The iconic American Dream is to achieve abundance, usually thought to include home ownership (Cancer rules real estate).
Three Presidents of the modern era were all born relatively near a solar eclipse in the summer of 1946 at 6°49’ Cancer, only a degree away from Jupiter’s position at the USA’s birth. This solar eclipse was 7 degrees from George W. Bush’s Sun, 2 degrees from Donald Trump’s Mercury, and less than a degree from Bill Clinton’s Midheaven (the important top point of a chart, indicating career and status). All three men present Jupiter’s qualities of hope, humor and homespun philosophy, which America found appealing enough to put them in the White House.
However, also in the summer of 1946, Chiron, an asteroid nicknamed “the Wounded Healer,” was traveling in Libra, teamed up with big Jupiter, which magnifies all that it contacts. Both Jupiter and Chiron came to the USA’s Saturn degree, 90° from the USA’s Sun. This can be interpreted as each of these men, born with their natal Jupiter and Chiron activating the USA’s Saturn-Sun abrasion, present the potential for big harm to the respect (Saturn) of the country’s highest position (Sun). Of these three Presidents, Trump’s Chiron is closest to the USA’s Saturn and thus the injury he can do may exceed the wounds of the other two. Thus far, we have seen Clinton nearly thrown out of office over a lie and Bush taking us into the prolonged and basically unwinnable Iraq war based on a lie (that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, which were never found). Will a lie, or perhaps his many lies, also be the undoing of Trump? Time will tell. And the time may be upon us before long. To add a little spice to this stew, consider that Vladimir Putin’s Sun is in Libra only a degree from the USA Saturn and exactly 90 degrees from the USA Sun. He is not a friend to America and he may well play a role in the unfolding drama.
The USA’s 2017 Birthday
The Moon at our birthday is in Scorpio, the sign of transformation and evolution, a water sign signifying deep emotions. The Moon is a key indicator of the people, and as our country’s Sun-sign ruler, it definitely signifies the populace. We are shifting and our feelings are an important part of the process. Women, also related to the Moon, will play a key role in the coming changes.
At our birthday, Jupiter is in Libra, close to the exact degree of the USA’s Saturn and Trump’s Chiron (both 9 degrees from the square to the USA Sun). Jupiter closes in on that degree about a week later, around July 12 (the exact date depends on the unknown USA birth time but it’s within a day or two, at the most, of the 12th). Jupiter is famous for bringing things out into the open. Keep your eyes on Putin’s and Trump’s first face-to-face meeting as world leaders on July 7 or 8 (details to be determined) at the G20 Summit in Hamburg, midway between our July 4 birthday and the July 12-ish Jupiter visit. Whatever these two do or do not discuss may not seem tremendously significant at the time, but I suspect it will set some wheels in motion that will turn out to be very important. It probably won’t be a love-fest since Venus is in a rough relationship with Jupiter at the USA’s 2017 birthday. Although these two had a good relationship at the nation’s birth, the current connection isn’t likely to deliver the wished-for goodies since it activates the difficult link between the natal and birthday Sun with natal Saturn. Venus is the planet of values. Russia’s clash with America’s, but whose will Trump tout? So far, he hasn’t criticized Russia or Putin on any issues. But an altercation may be in the offing. Mercury and Mars are conjunct at our birthday, roughly 6-7 degrees apart, echoing the USA natal Mars in Mercury-ruled Gemini. Lots of heated discussions are in store, as is our wont. We love our fightin’ words, which is where we started this discussion. And oh, by the way, Trump’s Sun is at the degree of the USA Mars. He exemplifies our pugilistic nature. And rather than making American great again, it’s more like he’s at war with the nation he was elected to lead.
Most of the time when we have eclipses, there’s a pair, one new moon and one full moon, in either order. Not as often, there’s a trio, like we have in 2020. When there are three, none of them is likely to be total, and indeed, none of this trio is. The first eclipse is a lunar eclipse full moon on June 5. Next is a solar eclipse new moon, exactly on the summer solstice – and that combination is very rare and extremely potent. Third is another lunar eclipse full moon, this one on Uncle Sam’s birthday July 4-5 in the overnight wee hours. When there’s a full moon on a birthday, it points to a big year and an important crescendo, even more so when it’s an eclipse!
Eclipses by definition occur near the path of the North and South Nodes (which are an intersection of the Moon-Earth orbit and the Earth-Sun orbit). They form an axis of opposite degrees which slowly moves backward through the zodiac at a pace of about eighteen months per pair of signs. The Nodes have just left Cancer-Capricorn and moved into Gemini-Sagittarius. The North Node shows us the direction for growth even if growing pains are part of the process. The South Node shows what it would be beneficial to shed or put in the past. The South Node also shows what comes easily, which we can fall back on or use as a springboard to go toward the hard things the North Node is calling for.
The new instructions beckon us to bring out the best of Gemini: curiosity, education, communication and community. Using Sagittarius associations in positive ways will help us in that regard, such as higher principles or religious beliefs, freedom, the media and the internet, and international contact. The old slogan “Think Globally, Act Locally” expresses it best. Negative Sagittarius traits might hold us back, such as not being serious enough, being easily sidetracked and pontificating. We’re finishing a period of moving in the direction of Cancer energy: caring concern and a love of home, family and nation. What we should have been leaving behind are negative Capricorn affiliations: judgment, authoritarianism and repression.
The June 5 full moon eclipse is in Sagittarius highlighting the South Node newly into Sagittarius. Laws relate to this sign and there are some old ones that could stand to be changed. A key feature of this eclipse is the Moon and Sun forming a T-square pattern with Mars, the planet of anger and action. We see this shown by the protest marches around the world. Mars in Pisces isn’t usually outwardly angry, but Pisces is the sign of the underdog, so that’s who people are fighting for now. Mercury is in Cancer, indicating emotional communication, and Mercury is riding high in the sky, beyond the Sun’s range that defines the normal planetary path (said to be “out of bounds”). Voices are loud and will not be silenced.
In two weeks, summer begins the afternoon of June 20 and less than nine hours later, the new moon solar eclipse in Cancer kicks off the new season with a bang. What happens at the time a season changes reverberates throughout the following three months. The Moon and Sun at the first degree of Cancer are a little more than a degree away from the North Node at the end of Gemini, emphasizing our new marching orders to look around, listen, learn and speak up. Because Cancer is a water sign, we put feeling into these endeavors.
The eclipse chart set in our nation’s capital has Uranus on the rise, less than three degrees from the horizon (Ascendant). This could bring rebelliousness and surprises. Uranus in Taurus can literally mean sudden movement of the earth, such as earthquakes, not necessarily that one will happen in the DC area (but it’s not unheard of – there was one in 2011). Mars is still in Pisces, close to this sign’s ruling planet, Neptune (adding even more emotion and sympathy). Its square with the Sun, nearly exact on June 5, continues, now about five degrees from exact. This would mean its effects are dissipating somewhat except that this eclipse is at the season change, so the fiery feelings persist throughout the summer season, reinforced by the Moon being exactly square Mars at the solstice.
The most difficult of the trio of eclipses is apt to be the third in early July. By then, Mars is the sign it rules, Aries, having entered on June 27. Mars spends the remainder of 2020 in Aries, a long time in one sign, because it’s retrograde here from September 9 to November 13. This powerful planet at its strongest can bring impatience, decisive action (whether wise or rash), selfishness and war or military involvement. At this eclipse, Mars is approaching Chiron a little more than five degrees away (they join July 14). Chiron can show where a weakness needs to be strengthened or a wound needs to be healed. Mars wants us to take action to cure what ails us. This eclipse is also very near the second of three conjunctions of Jupiter and Pluto (June 29), which portend big changes, extremes in economic matters, and the potential for high death tolls. Covid-19 is not going away any time soon, unfortunately, and the economy is still in serious danger.
This is a precarious time! On the individual level, improving communication and maintaining perspective and humor are in keeping with the Gemini-Sagittarius nodal shift. The robust Mars energy can be utilized for physical activity and competing. Be careful of temper and try to find ways to channel anger into constructive action.
Gemini, the sign of the twins, hosts the New Moon once each spring (between May 21 and June 21, approximately) when the Moon passes by the Sun. This year, their pairing comes early in the sign, at 2°, on May 22. The ruling planet of Gemini, Mercury, is also in this sign, teaming up with Venus at the exact same degree, 20° Gemini. That’s a lot of 2s in 2020!
Two is the archetype of duality: two sides to a story or a question, two poles at either end of a spectrum. It’s also the number of partnering, combining, moving past solo to a twosome, from single to married. When we double the two, as in 2020, we get 4 energy, which is stabilizing and provides structure and guidelines. Four is the number of manifestation and the material world. Thus 2020 is a great year for laying a foundation for cooperation. It’s a little difficult to imagine that something good will come of the current pandemic, but I believe it will set us on a new path of less competition (“1” energy) and more teamwork. We all affect one another and depend on one another.
The Moon-Sun dyad is one-third of the sky away from (“trine”) Saturn, the primary planet of form and matter. This helpful connection keeps us grounded, which is good considering half the planets are now in the Air element (the four in Gemini plus Saturn in Aquarius). Communication is emphasized with a prominent Air influence and Saturn’s participation gives us goals and a focus. We’re not just all talk; we want a purpose.
Venus is the planet of values and resources, which are both bound to be topics of discussion: what’s most important to do, in what order, with the resources at hand. This is a concern for individuals as well as the collective. Venus is in her backward Retrograde trajectory, so we may be re-visiting prior discussions and reconnecting with people we’ve drifted apart from. Gemini is the sign of siblings, neighbors and school chums, so it’s a good time to be in touch with these folks.
Mercury and Venus traveling together usually is a favorable indicator, aiding in harmonious communication, flattery, negotiations and reaching agreement. They’re having some trouble, though, because they’re in a friction position (90° “square”) relative to Neptune, a planet of cloudiness or confusion, sometimes even of deception. We have to look carefully, and probably twice, at situations to see the truth or to get the whole picture. Neptune is also related to compassion, and these are times that reveal who has it and who doesn’t. Neptune is in Pisces (the sign it “rules” or is most strongly associated with), where we also find Mars only a degree away from Ceres. Mars spurs action and is most tender in Pisces. Ceres offers Great Mother nurturing energy. Their blend calls to us to take steps to help those in need. These two are about a sign behind (in a harmonious “semisextile” with) Chiron, the “repairman,” offering innovation, solutions and improvements. One sign further along in the zodiac (also in a cooperative link with Mars, Ceres and Chiron) is Uranus, which likes to sound the alarm and contributes unpredictability as well as inventiveness. Things get shaken up but could end up in better condition. So much depends on outlook and expectations. Mercury and Neptune are the two most potent planets at this new moon: all the planets’ sign location’s rulers trace back to either Mercury or Neptune. Since Mercury and Neptune are square, getting a clear picture is very difficult, and while the power of positive visualization would be a constructive use of this duo, it’s hard work to bring out their best. It’s a important time to pay attention to symbols and signs; they will speak volumes. So will dreams.
The distribution of the planets around the zodiac is very lopsided now; they’re all occupying only one half of the circle. This usually intensifies a certain sector of a chart. Beyond the edges of the planetary cluster, forming a boundary, are the Moon’s Nodes, the North Node and (always opposite, by definition) the South Node. The Moon travels fully around the circle in a month, but for about three months now, all the other planets have stayed on one side of the Nodal axis. Such a condition is described as presenting “dense” energy, and isn’t it interesting that the virus transmission has been worst in dense population situations? Perhaps we’ll see a decrease in new cases as this condition shifts in the coming weeks when Mercury and then the Sun move into the empty half, on May 28 and June 19, respectively.
The North Node of the Moon is now at 0° Cancer. Since the Nodes move from higher to lower degrees of each sign, the North Node is ending its approximately one-and-a-half-years visit to Cancer, with the South Node ending its time in the opposite sign, Capricorn. They’re heading into Gemini and Sagittarius, respectively, and that’s where eclipses will occur beginning with the June 5 Full Moon Lunar Eclipse in Sagittarius. The Nodes signal trends in how we connect with one another to work out our karma. The Cancer-Capricorn axis oriented us to deal with needs and duties, how we take care of one another or have power over one another. The Gemini-Sagittarius pair puts the spotlight on communication, knowledge, news, truth and transparency, the big picture and the pieces of the puzzle.
The North Node’s 0° Cancer position at this Gemini New Moon is where the next New Moon will be in a month, foreshadowing developments to come. That New Moon is an eclipse on June 21, the Summer Solstice, which is rare and powerful! The Full Moon of that cycle will also be an eclipse. These are the last eclipses in Cancer and Capricorn for seven years. The Full Moon Lunar Eclipse is right at the USA’s birthday – holy-Uncle Sam-moley! A crescendo is building in America and Independence Day will have quite a display of fireworks. More on that next time.
© 2020 Janet Booth for AstrologyBooth
The earth is so old we don’t know when it was “born.” Obviously, it has no real “birthday” but you could think of Earth Day as Mother Earth’s birthday. It always occurs at the beginning of the Sun’s annual month-long visit to Taurus, a sign of the earth element. Appropriately enough for this year’s golden celebration, the Moon is also in Taurus; by evening of April 22, it passes the Sun, the defining moment of a New Moon. There hasn’t been a New Moon on Earth Day since 1974 and there won’t be another until 2058, with two more in this century, in 2077 and 2096.
This year on Earth Day, conditions on Mother Earth are very different than they have been for decades – as a result of a virus of a type termed “novel corona.” Using keywords, “novel” means “new” and “corona” denotes a “crown,” specifically the “Sun’s crown” or “aura.” This correlates with a new Sun sign, highlighted by a new Moon cycle.
With less road traffic, fewer air flights and industrial operations curtailed, air pollution has declined significantly and rapidly. Waters are clearer, too. Mother Earth is likely happy about this! With no visitors to America’s National Parks, animals are reclaiming their natural habitat instead of sharing it with humans. People have been less violent to one another since the virus has forced them to stay home; crime rates are down. So is energy consumption, and oil currently costs less than hand sanitizer! When life returns to “normal” (or the “new normal,” whatever that might be), will we be more conscientious about humanity’s impact on the planet we share? Let’s hope so!
Meanwhile, Mother Earth’s children are suffering terribly. Beyond the immediate loss of life of victims of this “invisible enemy,” this pandemic has not only exposed (once again) but exaggerated the disparity between “haves” and “have-nots.” The economically disadvantaged have experienced a higher rate of infection. Hunger and the need for human services and financial assistance have skyrocketed, and the economic landscape has been altered for years to come. If a more equitable sharing of resources and opportunities is the outcome in the long run, at least we will benefit in that regard.
Following the first Earth Day, President Nixon signed an executive order to create the Environmental Protection Agency. Clean-up of the nation’s air and waterways was already underway, and proceeded and succeeded. Air and water quality improved. But regulations were a thorn in the side of the energy-producing industries, who lobbied to roll back protections, which has been enacted in the most recent and the current Republican administrations. We risk returning to more unhealthy conditions and for what? More profit for an economic sector that has already accumulated massive wealth at taxpayers’ expense, health be damned?
Public health is now front and center, and with it, the need for better health care for huge numbers of Americans has become painfully obvious. Improvements in the environment and health care could be positive outcomes of the enormous sacrifices we are making in the wake of Covid-19. That would indeed be a good gift for Mother Earth.
On March 13, 2020, I wrote the following paragraph for a short article in the Astrological Society of Connecticut, Inc. newsletter [brackets indicate subsequent edits]:
Four major planets are now in Capricorn: the two “prime malefics,” Mars and Saturn [which has now moved temporarily into Aquarius, but will return to Capricorn], as well as a planet the ancients likely would have characterized as a malefic, Pluto. The lone benefic, Jupiter, is known as a magnifier and thus is not always a good influence. Keywords point to rapid (Mars) restrictions (Saturn) facing a mortal threat (Pluto) that is international (Jupiter). All the planets in Capricorn take turns being square to Eris, the dwarf planet of chaos and disruption, in Aries, a sign of fighting for survival. Capricorn relates to systems and governments, and the Mars-Saturn blend points to slow responses. This virus apparently affects the elderly (Saturn-ruled) the most. [A peak of the panic came] roughly around the full moon March 9 in Virgo (a health-related sign) when the Sun was conjunct Neptune in Pisces (the planet and sign associated with communicable diseases, fear and the unknown). The stock market (Pluto) was drastically (Jupiter) reduced (Saturn) very quickly (Mars). With hindsight, it is easy to interpret the signs. Did anyone see this coming?
After writing this, I added some more keywords: laws (Capricorn or Saturn) mandating enormous (Jupiter) expenditures (Pluto) were passed quickly (Mars).
Until COVID 19, I had not thought about what planet rules viruses. Usually for diseases, especially communicable ones, I think of Neptune. Right now, it is powerful in the sign it rules, Pisces, but it is not in any exact harsh aspects (angular relationships of influence). The important term there is “exact” because it is still “in orb” (in the range of potency, only a degree or two from a perfect angular relationship) of the semisquare with Uranus that had five occurrences from 2018-2019. Such a combination can mean an unusual (Uranus) illness (Neptune). This virus which has never before invaded humans certainly fits that bill. The Rulership Book by Rex E. Bills (1971) shows the ruler of viruses as Pluto (although it is listed in parentheses, meaning there is not agreement about it). This situation seems to confirm the role of Pluto.
Pluto, ruler of viruses, is in the middle of the main action in 2020. It receives three conjunctions from Jupiter, one each from Saturn, Mars and Ceres (the dwarf planet related to nurturing and support, as well as harvests and food production), and it makes five squares to Eris. Quick Mars contacts all these slower planets near the time of the spring equinox, significantly impacting the entire season.
The only astrologer I have encountered (though I have not searched them all) who mentioned a virus epidemic as a potential with the current Pluto aspects is British financial astrologer Cristeen Skinner in her January 2020 newsletter. In her March newsletter, she points to the April 7 full moon (the peak of the cycle which began at the March 24 new moon) as being very difficult for the USA chart with transiting Pluto opposite the USA natal Mercury. This aspect is in place for over a year, so this it is not only this full moon that is problematic. However, this full moon does make a wide Grand Cross with the USA natal Mercury-Pluto opposition, as did the full moon last October 13, which was in a precise T-square with transiting Pluto. (Transiting Pluto does not return to its natal position in the USA chart until 2022 but some astrologers think we are already feeling the effects, or at least the beginning of the major peak of economic issues and shift of structures, laws, etc., that the USA Pluto Return portends.)
Skinner did not point out how transiting Pluto – and its conjunctions by transiting Mars (March 2020), Jupiter (April, June and November 2020) and Saturn (January 2020) – is also opposite the natal Saturn-Venus conjunction in the chart of Donald Trump. Adding in Eris, there is an ongoing T-square, filled into a Grand Cross by the Moon in Libra at the April 7 full moon. The President is under tremendous pressure, obviously, and this may impact his health. The health-related asteroid Hygeia in his chart at 21° Aries is in a T-square with his Venus-Saturn conjunction at 23°-25° Cancer and his Vertex at 23° Capricorn, all accentuated by the current transits. For instance, Eris is at 23°-24° Aries for years. Ancient astrologers used the chart of the leader of a land to forecast what happened in the country. Following that tradition, we might expect the contraction, control and restriction features of Saturn, as applied what is associated with Venus (wealth, resources, peace, happiness), could be thrown into chaos (Eris), necessitating the rapid (Mars), big (Jupiter) changes (Pluto) in travel and international relations (Jupiter), affecting immigration and trade policies. Prior to the current pandemic, we already had a shake-up in trade from Trump-instituted policies and even without the virus, we would have been examining their progress and feasibility with the Jupiter-Pluto conjunctions of 2020.
Most of the astrologers I have encountered who discuss the Capricorn planets in light of the current economic and virus are focusing primarily on the Jupiter-Pluto conjunctions (the first of the three occurs on April 4) and sometimes throwing Saturn in, too. Based on this, they speculate that by the end of the year and the final Jupiter-Pluto conjunction on November 12, this virus will be mostly behind us. The only person I read mentioning Eris is Steven Forrest (see his ForrestAstrology blog). Like me, he thinks the squares from Jupiter and Pluto to Eris are significant. If that is the case, the Pluto squares extend into October of 2021, so I do not think we are “out of the woods” any time soon. Also frequently mentioned is the Saturn-Pluto conjunction, which occurred just once on January 12, followed quickly by the Saturn square to Eris on January 16 and the first Pluto square to Eris on January 26. As the ruling planet of Capricorn, Saturn casts its dark shadow on the dire circumstances signaled by these planetary connections emanating from Capricorn.
In a YouTube presentation as a guest of Lada Duncheva, discussing the virus and the economy, Lee Lehman examined the seasonal charts beginning last fall and going forward for two years. She see evidence of some kind of epidemic being present into 2022, whether it is COVID 19 or something else.
You might want to read the March 22 post by Anne Ortlee “We’re All in This Together” on her website and I have permission to share with you this excellent newsletter from Kathy Rose. And here’s another, from Tad Mann:
Like so many other astrologers, they do not allude to Eris. I do like their positive suggestions, though, for this challenging time when it is so important to not succumb to negative energy.
Our “new reality” is a huge departure from our old lives, one in which we will have to deal with the need to have better health care practices in place and take better care of ourselves and of one another, even at the monumental expense of government in its role to “provide for the common welfare.” One pundit I read remarked how ironic it is that to save capitalism, we need to employ some socialism. My dear friend, numerologist Sally Faubion, since 2000 has been talking about how 2 is the number of cooperation and it is replacing 1, the number of competition, in every date of every year of this century, compared to the last century. It is now time for “we” and “us” instead of “I, me, mine.” Wow, has that hit home since we entered the year with two 2s after a decade of “1” in every year number (2010-2019).
I also think it is important to remain positive and I believe that contributes to a strong immune system. A resilient approach to life will also be a key to sanity and survival now. We need to find humor amidst the craziness, and focus on love rather than fear. The nature of Jupiter is philosophical and optimistic, and I hold onto that now.
Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.
© 2020, Janet Booth
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Many years ago as I wrote my Janet’s Plan-its calendars, I noticed that from the fall of one year to the spring of the next, the degrees where the New and Full Moons occurred would repeat across consecutive signs. Then for the next six months or so, the degree of each New and Full Moon decreases by an average of 1-1/2 degrees per month until the next round of repetition ensues. The repeating degrees shift from one groove to the next, dropping down about 11 degrees lower in the zodiac than where they were a year before. I hadn’t heard other astrologers mention this phenomenon. There certainly wasn’t a name for it, so I coined the term “moon groove.” It might not be have been that easy to spot with a superficial glance since the groove pattern spans over two calendar years.
Such an emphasis extends the usual time frame for the influence of a New or Full Moon. A plain vanilla New Moon impacts the following four-week lunar cycle. We feel the effects of an ordinary Full Moon for about a week centered on the date of the Full Moon. The groove degrees receive attention for six months. And somewhere in those six months, there is at least one New Moon Eclipse and at least one Full Moon Eclipse. Eclipses are more powerful and long-lasting versions of New or Full Moons. These are the peaks of the groove’s power.
From October 2019 through March 2020, all the New Moons are at 4-5 degrees of whatever the current Sun-sign is, while the Full Moons are all at 19-20 degrees of whatever sign is opposite the current Sun-sign. Check your natal chart for anything affected by these grooves. You can use an orb of plus/minus 2 degrees and consider aspects beyond conjunctions.
The influence will express in a manner associated with your natal planet’s sign, house location and any house(s) ruled by the planet. (And you might have multiple planets in your chart affecting you at once, which would mean the natal aspects between them are being triggered.) The repeating New Moon degrees signal a six-month period to expect or initiate something new in the area of your life related to the affected planet(s). The Full Moon groove gives you six months for a blossoming or culmination in the areas of your life related to your affected natal planet(s). Sometimes, Full Moons also mean something comes to an end; you’ve had enough, you’re done with it.
Within the six-month period, some of the New or Full Moons will be more significant or have a stronger effect, usually when they make a “hard aspect” (conjunction, opposition, square) to your affected natal planet(s). Mark those on your calendar and see what use you can make of “the power of the groove.”
As an example, let’s look at football great Tom Brady, who is still playing at 42 years of age. Will this season be his last? From his chart, I think so. He’s climbed to the top of his field, has broken records and received every award and honor, etc. What more could he want? He loves to play. No one wants to quit what they love. Brady has Saturn, the planet of ambition and achievement, elevated and in a place of honor near the top of his chart in the Tenth House, where it is said to be “dignified.” This points to his great success, not only due to talent but also to (Saturn’s favorite) hard work. His Saturn is at 19 degrees of Leo, receiving the Full Moon groove, a sign for finishing something. The groove hits his Saturn exactly at the February 9, 2020 Full Moon, less than week after the Super Bowl. That’s close enough to signal the end. And he’ll probably go off on a high note.
There is a chance that injury or illness will take Brady off the field first. I say this because he has other chart factors in the neighborhood of 19 degrees receiving the Full Moon groove. His Ascendant, which begins the First House of health and bodily matters, is almost 18 degrees of Libra and his Vertex (associated with accidents and run-ins) is at 18 degrees of Taurus in his Eighth House, representing transformation and possibly destruction. The current/upcoming position of the ruling planet of his other health house, the Sixth, is Neptune, moving through 16 – 17 degrees of Pisces. This planet and sign together rule feet and the immune system, either of which could be problematic. Neptune is forming two Finger of God triangles with his Ascendant, one with Saturn, the other with the Vertex. This type of configuration indicates something strange leading to something else weird and finally turning out okay. The November 12 Full Moon hits Brady’s Vertex, making it a vulnerable time for him around then.
He also has his North Node at his Ascendant. This means a life lesson is to focus on himself, his body and his health. The Lunar Eclipse Full Moon on January 10 is square to his Ascendant and North Node, at the same time as it hits the exact top of his chart, his Midheaven. A Full Moon, especially an Eclipse, at one’s Midheaven is a sure indicator of a major blossoming in one’s career and potentially a change. It’s even possible his team will be knocked out of the play-offs close to that Eclipse and then he could announce his retirement after the Super Bowl.
Is something new brewing for him? Brady has no planets at 4 or 5 degrees receiving the New Moon groove. The closest is his Moon at 6 degrees of Aries in his Sixth House, a position related to employment and service. The Moon rules his Tenth House of career. Aries is the main sign for athletics and competition, so he’s likely to remain in the sports world. The dispositor (ruler of the sign placement) for his Moon is his Mars in Gemini, a sign of communications. My best guess is he goes into sports broadcasting and possibly as soon as next spring. The last New Moon in this groove is March 24 at 4 degrees of Aries, conjunct Brady’s Moon. Time for new work.
Now see what you can do with the Moon Grooves if they hit your chart.