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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