The Astrology Blog 16 March 2020
All times in GMT
“My barn having burned down, I can now see the moon.”
― Mizuta Masahide (17th century Japanese poet and samurai)
Like millions have others I’ve had to change my plans and will not be travelling to London at the end of the month. Last week here we all received a text message from the Greek government asking us not to put ourselves or others at risk, to stay at home as much as possible and that if we became symptomatic to call our doctor before turning up at surgeries or hospitals. The majority of people have heeded this and as of Saturday (14th) all bars, cafes and restaurants were closed too, and the streets here are quiet, as your own will be. One of my students sent me a photo this week of Oxford St. Eerily deserted.
In terms of personal perspective I could still travel, the airport is still due to open and flights are still scheduled but obviously that could change at any moment. But it’s a good moment to address one of the myths that has added to the fear, that we can get the virus on planes because of breathing recycled air, but this is far from the truth –
That’s because while you are on a plane, the air you breathe is being cleaned by something called a high-efficiency particulate air filter (Hepa). This system can capture smaller particles than ordinary air-conditioning systems, including viruses.
This same article explains that the air on a plane is cleaner than anywhere else, so I wasn’t unduly worried about flying either. For the tarot enthusiasts amongst you I thought this boiled down to a yes or no question, ie should I still go to London? For these type of questions you can turn one card. Contrary to what some people might think I don’t consult astrology or the tarot every time I walk out of the door! I was pretty sure that the decision was going to be taken out of my hands anyway but I was curious to see what divination would show. I turned the 9 of Pentacles, which instantly confirmed to me that I was staying put. This card is a picture of the woman who is somewhat isolated from others but safe and contented in her own garden. Spookily accurate. This is the kind of stuff we’ll be looking at in the Tarot “Questions, questions” workshop, now in August.
In terms of the bigger perspective the decision of course was in terms of the “good of the whole”, when Mercury turned direct at the beginning of last week in Aquarius, sign of the collective, ruling everything from groups to humanity across the globe. It’s just common sense and respectful not to travel if not totally necessary, and it’s not the right time to bring groups of people together, which also wasn’t happening anyway as many of my workshop students travel from all four corners of the UK and wouldn’t be able to do the journey this time. Where I would have been staying in London, the borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, currently has 5 cases out of a local population of 185,000, so I didn’t feel fearful about walking the streets. But my real concern was the risk of not being able to return home to Greece.
NO VIRUS ON LEFKADA
Lefkada is totally virus free, we’re a very long way away from Athens and Thessaloniki where nearly all the current cases are, and our airport always closes for the winter so there is minimal travelling in and out by residents. However there is a real possibility that Lefkada will go into lockdown prior to the season starting, which would be easy to do as we’re joined to t he mainland by a moveable bridge. It’s raised every hour to allow boats to enter and leave Lefkas harbor. If they decide to put us in lockdown it will be incredibly easy, just raise the bridge so nobody can get on or off the island! So the good news is that I’m living in possibly one of the safest places in Europe, at least at the moment, and I wouldn’t want to risk not being able to get home again!
Jupiter Held Captive
Astrologically it seems clear that the risk of that is showing in the looming Jupiter – Pluto conjunction, that is going to be exact on 5 April, the weekend of the now postponed workshops, and which was being highlighted by the Sun’s aspects last week, first to Jupiter on Wed 11th and then to Pluto on Sat 14th. Symbolically the Sun’s job is to illuminate, the Sun is in Pisces co-ruled by Neptune which most astrologers agree is the main significator for viruses, and things started to get clearer.
As I wrote last week, the symbolism wrapped up in the combination of these two planets is becoming somewhat depressingly clear. Jupiter is the planet of travel, wider horizons, fun, all things overseas, enterprise and anything that makes our world bigger and better. Pluto is about endings and things disappearing into black holes. Capricorn – Saturn’s sign – is associated with restrictions and boundaries. From an astrological craft point of view Capricorn is Jupiter’s sign of “fall”, his weakest sign. The tough reality of the longer term picture is that Jupiter will also be retrograde from May to September, the whole of the summer season. This in turn means that the conjunction to Pluto will be repeated, the retrograde contact falling on 30 June and, after going direct again, the third and final conjunction on 12 November.
In a nutshell Jupiter is foreign travel and Pluto is the cancellations. Pluto is the wipeout factor. The much loved astrology textbook keyword for this planet is “transformation” but I have always taught my students to work cautiously with this word. There is generally nothing of the magic wand touch going on with Plutonic changes as they are a long process and have a tendency to return us to zero. So think “transformative”, as in starting from scratch, going through endings before being able to find the new beginnings, suffering the loss first and then rebuilding. Pluto is never easy.
Jupiter catches up with Pluto once every 13 years. This conjunction is packing a serious punch as it reflects so many of the wider ranging issues now affecting all of our lives. Jupiter isn’t just about travel. As the planet of expansion Jupiter rules freedom, all our escape routes and the little liberties that we take for granted, and many people now are not even allowed to gather on the streets. Interestingly, while the virus numbers have stopped spiking in China, it’s now the divorce rate that is taking over –
Register offices in the country saw a rise in divorce applications with one centre recording over 300 applications for divorce since February 24. The offices said that the main reason for the sudden spike was because ‘couples were spending too much time together at home’.
Astrologically I think that this runs deeper. Jupiter rules how we look to the future, and now we’re all suddenly up close and personal with our own mortality. We realize how trivial many of our worries have been and how short life can be. Maybe separations are spiking as couples realize, or are forced to admit, that not only have their relationships been manageable because normal life means that they avoid spending a lot of time together, but that returning to that is suddenly not an option. The wakeup call is the stark truth of looking at spending their whole lives with the wrong person. Life and time are extra precious when we are lucky enough to be given the relief and gift of second chances.
Jupiter also rules plentitude, abundance, excess – and now being squashed into Saturn’s sign of Capricorn and sat on by Pluto the opposite is happening, panic buying, the belief that there won’t be enough to go around. Jupiter rules good fortune and opportunities, the things that give us hope and reveal to us the always present potential of making life better, the promise of success that is always within reach. Now many feel that these things have been snatched away. It’s the Jupiter – Pluto conjunction that symbolizes all of this and which signals the psychological as well as the physical tests that lie ahead.
WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING THIS WEEK?
It’s an important start and end to the week as Mercury finishes his current complex cycle –
Monday 16 March
- Mercury ingress Pisces 07.44
Sunday 22 March
- Mercury sextile Uranus, 3rd and final time, 4 Taurus 13.20
Mercury turned direct a week ago which always marks therefore a literal turning point for us and all our Mercury related issues. For me it was the moment of decision about not travelling to the UK, as described above. But this particular retrograde Mercury cycle has been trickier as Mercury has moved in and out of two different signs, and has also made three aspects instead of one to Uranus, planet of the collective but also planet of shocks and chaos, reflecting the spread of the virus but also the spread of information, disinformation and the waves of fear and anxiety felt by the entire world. As I always say Uranus is the “rug puller” and this one has been on an unprecedented scale.
In one of the worst ways imaginable we’re all being reminded that we’re not alone. Life is about all of us and for now we can’t act purely on our own desires. Here’s the whole of the Mercury sequence as I gave it last week but this time I’m also including the three aspects to Uranus –
- 5 February – Mercury 3 Pisces sextile Uranus 3 Taurus, 1st time
- 17 February – Mercury got as far as 13 Pisces and then turned retrograde
- 29 February – Mercury 3 Pisces sextile Uranus 3 Taurus, 2nd time
- 4 March – Mercury slid back into the previous sign of Aquarius
- 10 March – Mercury turned direct at 28 Aquarius
- 16 March – Mercury still slow but moving forwards again re-enters Pisces
- 22 March – Mercury 4 Pisces sextile Uranus 4 Taurus, 3rd and final time
- 30 March – Mercury reaches 13 Pisces for the second time, but this time carries on which means officially “out of shadow” and back up to full speed
Although Mercury is now back in Pisces as of this morning, his sign of “detriment”, the links to Uranus (who rules Aquarius) continue to give a flavor of that sign too. It’s a clear symbol for the ongoing spread of the virus through the world and the fact that nobody can talk (Mercury) about anything else. But it’s also about consequences. One of the ways that this is showing is more and more people working from home and, as Uranus rules technology, whatever can be done on line makes this option possible for a lot of the working population. Exams for schoolchildren are also apparently going to be done online as much as possible as this avoids having crowds of children in one hall. So the Uranus themes are extremely strong at the moment. From a psychological perspective the best thing we can do is to stay totally open to necessary changes. We can’t change the situation, we can only handle our own responses.
Uranus is anarchy too. It seems that a lot of Europe is rather shocked by the UK not yet closing schools but my friends in the UK who are parents tell me that half of the children didn’t turn up for school anyway this morning. Families are making their own decisions regardless of what the government advises.
Another cycle is drawing to a close as the Sun reaches the end of his month in Pisces and aligns with Saturn who is also poised to change sign, which happens approximately once every two and a half years –
Thursday 19 March
- Sun 29 Pisces sextile Saturn 29 Capricorn 23.51
This again is not an easy picture. The degree of 29 Pisces is the last degree of the zodiac and is the position of a Fixed Star called Scheat which is malefic in nature and is associated with misfortune, sorrow and suffering. It clearly reflects the struggles of self isolating – Saturn rules boundaries and endings, ultimately death. This could be an especially bleak day for many. I’m not naïve enough to think that it could show endings of the virus, but I do wonder if the flip side to this coin is evidence to show that countries closing their borders and restricting the flow of human interaction will be showing results. Let’s hope so.
THE SPRING EQUINOX
Well we all certainly need some brightness and on that note the Sun’s change of sign indicates a lifting of spirits –
Friday 20 March
- Sun ingress Aries, Spring Equinox 03.51
- Mars conjunct Jupiter 23 Capricorn 11.36
The Sun is said to be “exalted” in Aries, his best sign, and as the planet of life itself this is a powerful moment of rebirth. Again let’s hope that it will be a showing for containment strategies showing evidence of working. Otherwise it is still a very powerful symbol for rediscovering our individual sense of purpose and also for embodying the qualities of this very positive and proactive fire sign. For many life is changing beyond recognition but working on how we can make fresh starts, stay optimistic and focus on what really matters is the way forwards.
Aries is also known for having great sympathy for those weaker than themselves and many people born under this sign are to be found in the helping and caring professions, such as social work. So looking out for those who are especially vulnerable may be an increasingly important theme too.
Aries is ruled by warrior Mars who catches up with Jupiter once every two years, and this conjunction happens just a matter of hours after the Equinox. (The next one will be at 3 Aries on 29 May 2022). There is a huge survival and campaigning spirit wrapped up in the combination of these two planets and it favours those with a “can do” attitude and the confidence to “find a way”. It’s also a great aspect for meeting people, in spite of current social restrictions, and for any kind of event that energises or that brings out the best in us. Relationships that had been stuck on the starting blocks could now take off and new connections made at this time hold huge potential. Whatever your current desires, put some energy into them and see what happens.
SATURN’S NEW CYCLE
Saturn changes sign this coming weekend –
Sunday 22 March
- Saturn ingress Aquarius 03.58
Again this is going to be a bit of a complex journey as Saturn will get only as far as 2 degrees of this sign before turning retrograde (11 May) and will slide back into Capricorn again (1 July), turn direct again at 25 Capricorn (29 Sept) and will reenter Aquarius for the second time at the end of the year (17 Dec).
The implications of Saturn in Aquarius – co-ruled by Uranus and all those associations with the collective/groups/humanity as already flagged up – are immediately obvious in terms of the pandemic. This picture of stops and starts, of Saturn starting a new journey only to be turned back again, suggests that there’s a steep learning curve yet to come and that all kinds of regulations are going to swing in and out of the picture.
On a more personal note just bear in mind that whatever is starting for you at this time, especially in the way of work, responsibilities or commitments, may not follow the expected path. Prepare for the scenic route, but let’s see how this plays out between now and May.
Finally, Venus the love and money planet is reentering the picture after a fortnight of sitting quietly in the background. Venus is strong in her own sign of earthy Taurus and will harmonise with Jupiter next weekend (28 March) and also makes her presence felt this weekend by aligning with Neptune, an aspect that will be exact in the early hours of next Monday morning –
Monday 23 March
- Venus 19 Taurus sextile Neptune 19 Pisces 03.10
So this is a romantic combination and wonderful for your love life. It’s also the carrier of compassion, empathy, using your imagination to find workable solutions, job offers or financial help of all kinds. It’s great for stabilizing anything that’s been out of control, from anxiety to practical arrangements. Hopes and dreams that may have fallen by the wayside during these tough times can now be retrieved, in one form or another. Don’t forget that this coincides not only with Saturn’s change of sign but also with that final Mercury – Uranus aspect, so this coming weekend is also lovely for spending time with those who matter to you, for discussions, problem solving and definite decisions, whether you can make these yourself or whether they relate to matters now out of your hands. The picture is positive for more clarity and finding out where you stand. Finally it’s also a time for lots of self care and good quality sleep, for anything that fuels your resilience and resourcefulness.
Until next week, with love from a locked down Greece!