The Astrology Blog 29 June 2020
All times in BST
“Remember Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”
Andy’s postcard to Red, letting him know he is alive and free, The Shawshank Redemption
“I think maybe a hero is an ordinary individual who finds strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.”
“Once you choose hope, anything’s possible.”
If you think that the astrological picture has been unusually complex and tough going for a very long time, you’d be right. These days I’m reminded of this every time I sit down on a Sunday morning to write the weekly blog – please gods let’s have an easier picture so I can write about you and then go to the beach lol – but this week is no exception. The blog is usually around 2k words, this one is nearer 3.5k words, but I hope you find it readable and easy to follow. I would add that this week has several hallmarks of “the heart of the matter” and I would expect many ongoing issues – personal and pandemic related – to arrive at pivotal moments, for better or worse.
We start with the heart of the major backdrop of the entire year –
Tuesday 30 June
- Jupiter conjunct Pluto 24 Capricorn 07.23
Jupiter has a 12 year cycle and Pluto has a 248 year cycle – the slowest of all the planets – so they catch up with each other once every 13 years. This time around, because their long retrograde cycles also coincide, they link up three times rather than just once and this week is the middle one. We had the first one in April and the third and final one will be in November, when both planets will be moving forwards again –
- 5 April
- 30 June
- 13 November
Here’s a reminder of their retrograde journeys –
- Pluto turned retrograde 25 Capricorn – 25 April (will turn direct 22 Capricorn 4 October)
- Jupiter turned retrograde 27 Capricorn – 14 May (will turn direct 17 Capricorn 13 September)
As noted in previous blogs this conjunction has been and continues to be no brainer symbolism not so much for the virus itself but for the worldwide effects. Firstly Jupiter = all things overseas/long distance travel and Pluto = wipeout. At the beginning of April it became depressingly obvious that we were dealing with something serious and universal, and that foreign travel and tourism were going to be in the hard hit frontline of collapsing businesses and therefore economies. Pluto stuff is total and irrevocable – and rarely offers choices.
5 April turned out to be THE DATE that Easy Jet didn’t cancel just my Summer School students’ flights but grounded their entire fleet, and the media was speculating about airline losses running into billions. They were right. Jupiter also rules growth and abundance and we’re now in the middle of a worldwide recession.
On the subject of travel, on the BBC this morning I read that holiday bookings are now booming with the news that, “restrictions on non-essential overseas travel will be relaxed in the UK from 6 July. A spokesperson for TUI said holidays to Spain and Greece are looking the most popular. Lastminute.com said it saw an 80% increase in holiday sales compared to last week.”
Hmm. With a retrograde Mercury (information) currently in the mix I know that at least part of this announcement is wrong. Greece may certainly be a popular choice with its impressively low Covid rates (191 deaths in the entire country) but TUI have in fact just cancelled all flights into our local airport Preveza, not just for July but the rest of the season, so they’re only running a reduced schedule into a handful of other main resorts. Dates for other flights supposedly coming in change all the time. Re Summer School for September courses I’m sticking to my original feeling that the end of July, when both Mercury and Venus will be “out of shadow”, will be the time for safer decisions and more reliable information about flights and/or package deals. At the moment there’s a very real risk of at least one other major tour operator pulling out or going bust. My friends here who work in the travel industry still don’t know if they have jobs or not. They certainly haven’t earned anything so far this year.
It’s also obvious in the news that the easing of lockdown measures in many parts of the world have turned out to be premature, especially in America where many states are having to re-impose restrictions. Don’t get me started on Trump but you can read my tirade on my Facebook group page The World of Astrology. https://www.facebook.com/groups/131108987086161/
WHAT ELSE CAN JUPITER – PLUTO MEAN?
Jupiter is the Greater Benefic, he rules everything that expands our world or way of thinking, including liberation, optimism, faith and hope. I chose Christopher Reeve for one of this week’s quotations as an example of someone who had his freedom taken away in one of the worst ways imaginable, but who somehow managed to triumph over it. The other is from the movie The Shawshank Redemption, at one level the story of a wrongly imprisoned man and how he plans and executes his escape, but the “redemption” bit is that it’s really a movie about hope. Andy’s (Tim Robbins) postcard to Red (Morgan Freeman) echoes Red’s words to him earlier in the movie, when he is alarmed, fearful and futureless – “Let me tell you something my friend. Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane.”
Receiving the postcard is the turning point in Red’s own redemption, when he stops trying “to be good”, and relinquishes the power the prison has held over him all his adult life. The closing lines of the movie as he travels to find his friend capture his transformation – “I hope to see my friend and shake his hand. I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams. I hope.”
This possibly the best image of Jupiter – Pluto symbolism. Freedom and hope, versus fear, disempowerment and the long journey of transformation or, as I prefer to say, the transformative process. I always tell my students to avoid the textbooks’ favourite Pluto word “transformation” as for me it smacks too much of magic wands and fairy tales. Pluto is the god of the underworld, his transits can be a trip to hell and back, and they take a long time rather than being an overnight sensation. As Jacinda Ardern said, when New Zealand was first announced virus free, the success story was “not a moment in time” but an ongoing effort.
In your personal life then I think there’s a big message here about not abandoning hope, or your sense of the future, whatever shifting form that might be taking. Even if you have planets or Angles at or close to the currently sensitive degree of 24 Capricorn, Pluto may do his wipeout job on you in some area of your life but Jupiter is there as a travelling companion. It can be vexing in the extreme when you’re going through the darkest of times and people tell you to look for the silver lining – often because their world is okay! – but just bear in mind that Jupiter DOES rule blessings in disguise BUT these don’t usually show immediately. However, whatever is unfolding in your life now, you may well look back and realize at a later date just how pivotal this time was. Jupiter is brilliant at sowing seeds and this lockdown and social distancing experience is not forever.
Also note that big life changes can be those imposed upon you (like losing a job) or those springing from your own deepest sense of what is right for you (especially along the lines of I can’t do this anymore, to hell with it) or changing your own life in response to a loved one’s needs or crisis.
At a universal level the correlation with racism is unmistakable. As noted Pluto is the god of the underworld and therefore linked to our psychological underworld of the unconscious, all that is hidden or repressed, the shadowy world of nighttime terrors, of fear and projection. Little wonder that Pluto’s colour is black.
In the middle of the pandemic George Floyd’s murder was the worst possible showing of the Jupiter – Pluto (humanitarian v inhumane use of power) but has been a catalyst for soaring awareness of just how deeply ingrained racism really is. It’s embedded in so many cultures, not just in the US. Back in January white actor Hank Azaria, who was the voice for Apu, the Indian-American character in The Simpsons, stepped down from the role. Other white actors voicing foreign parts have followed suit this last week, as part of the awareness campaign and the calls on the entertainment industry to acknowledge the injustice and to provide more equal opportunities. I also chose Shawkshank this week because it’s the story of inhumanity, but with redemption in the love of a friendship between a white man and a black man, about their psychological differences, not their racial ones.
RETROGRADE MERCURY … WITH BELLS ON!
Also in the first half of the week there’s an alignment between the Sun, Mercury and Uranus –
Tuesday 30 June
- Mercury 10 Cancer sextile Uranus 10 Taurus 23.14
Wednesday 1 July
- Sun conjunct Mercury 9 Cancer 03.54
- Sun 10 Cancer sextile Uranus 10 Taurus 07.08
This sequence is important for several reasons –
- Mercury has already made the sextile to Uranus once (5 June) but as he turned retrograde last week he’s now travelling back to repeat the aspect. The third and final one, when Mercury comes back again after turning direct, will be 22 July, but it’s often the middle one of a chain of three aspects that packs a punch, or at least reveals the heart of a matter – especially when unpredictable loose cannon all change (again) Uranus is involved!
- Pay special attention to what happens on this middle contact, especially as it coincides with the Sun (illumination) making the same aspect, and also with the Jupiter – Pluto conjunction which is also the middle of three. Uranus is the planet of the collective so for some communities it will be a backpedalling on the relaxation of at least some lockdown measures.
- Whenever Mercury is in a retrograde period there’s always an exact conjunction with the Sun somewhere roughly in the middle. This is when Mercury is said to be “cazimi” – when he’s conjunct the Sun to within 17 minutes of arc (ie just over a quarter of a degree) and therefore in “the heart of the Sun”.
- The symbolism of this is about Mercury drawing strength from that heat instead of being burned up by it. It’s a window of opportunity – it doesn’t last long! – but it’s the stuff of light bulb moments, vital information or having the chance to get your point across exactly in the right way and at the right time. In that hot spot is a golden nugget of truth or a lifeline of help. (The last one was 4 May, we were still in inter island lockdown but it was exactly when I got the info about the ferry service that would bring my rescue dog to me as “cargo” from Cephalonia!)
- This cazimi lasts from approximately midnight (0 hours Wednesday) to 8am BST (2am to 10am in Greece) so for many of us it’s in our sleeping hours but even so look out for that Mercury moment, especially things that shine a light into your understanding, help you to make a decision, negotiate a deal or find the right words to get an important conversation started. Write down your dreams and don’t ignore your instincts.
- And last but by no means least – Mercury is retrograde!! So expect twists and turns to all of the above.
Mercury is retrograde three times a year for three weeks at a time, his times for wearing his Mischief Maker hat. And as he rules everything to do with communication and travel it’s hardly surprising that all the “rules” around UK tourism to Greece are changing every five minutes.
In terms of local travel I recently took my car in for an MOT, priding myself on having organized this before Mercury switched direction. They passed it. Last week an alarming rattle started so I took it into our local garage, and a problem from last year had reappeared, namely a faulty brake fluid cable. Nothing serious then …
But by far the worst moment was last Tuesday when my new rescue dog Lola was flattened in the garden by my other much larger and stronger dog Zindzi, which I didn’t actually witness but I heard the roughhouse and the yelp. Having been chained up all her life before coming here Lola has no idea of how to play. Later in the evening I realized that she was having a problem sitting down and that she couldn’t wag her tail. We have a fantastic orthopedic vet here, known him for years, but guess what, he was away on a trip to Athens. The other vet advised painkillers and no walking for a week.
I took Zindzi out by herself the next day, mainly in an attempt to run off some of her boundless energy. When we got home Lola met us at the gate, and for the first time ever squeezed past me – and bolted. So much for being injured! I’ve never seen a dog take off so fast, it was 0 to 60 in about 3 seconds flat and she was gone. I was nearly sick. I jumped in the car and drove up to the main road but no sign of her. I then drove back down into the village, dumped the car and went to the boatyard – and there she was, in 100% exploring her freedom mode. Apparently this is another problem with dogs who’ve been chained, they never lose their Houdini instincts, even after being in a loving home for weeks. Fortunately someone working on the boats down there helped me to corner her. I had no lead with me and had to carry all 10 kilos of her back to the car in over 30 degrees of heat. I strained my back but I didn’t care. I was just so lucky to find her. She’s chipped, but I’ve now found out about GPS tags for dogs!
Apart from travel and lost animal mayhem you’ll find at the end of the blog a reminder of the main points to look out until Mercury turns direct again in two weeks time.
And if you were hoping for a calmer second half to the week, don’t hold your breath. We have two more major events to come, starting with retrograde Saturn returning to Capricorn, followed by the final Eclipse of this season –
Thursday 2 July
- Saturn ingress Capricorn 00.40
Sunday 5 July
- Full Moon/Lunar Eclipse 13 Capricorn 05.46
Saturn entered Aquarius on 22 March but only got as far as 2 degrees of that sign before turning retrograde. So he’s now sliding back into the preceding sign of Capricorn, will turn direct at 25 degrees of this sign 29 September, and will re-enter Aquarius properly at the end of the year, 17 December. So this is another feature that rather resonates with the current retrograde Mercury, in the opposite sign of Cancer, the going BACK to things that are still not properly sorted, and probably back to stricter social distancing as both Saturn and Capricorn rule boundaries. More of this in the coming weeks.
And as if all of this isn’t enough the end of the week brings another Eclipse, which always happen in pairs or sometimes in threes as is the case now –
- 5 June – Full Moon/Lunar Eclipse 15 Sagittarius (interestingly the same day as the first Mercury – Uranus sextile)
- 21 June – New Moon/Solar Eclipse – 0 Cancer (day of the Summer Solstice)
- 5 July – Full Moon/Lunar Eclipse 15 Capricorn (the opposite degree at which Mercury turned retrograde)
Eclipses steal our light and throw shadows. We find out after the Eclipse, sometimes immediately but sometime at a much later date, what happened in the dark, what happened when we weren’t looking. They change the order of things and have a way of sorting out winners and losers. This time around two Lunar Eclipses flank the more important Solar one but if you have personal planets or Angles at any of the above degrees then you are almost certainly in a period of flux and change to life as you currently know it.
Until next week, hope Mercury doesn’t drive you nuts …
with love from Greece
RETROGRADE MERCURY SURVIVAL …
- Assume nothing. No matter how certain a situation might seem nothing is written in stone and there’s a good chance that it will morph into something else over the next couple of weeks – the “x” factor is at work …
- Know that there are things you don’t know – yet – or that others aren’t saying – yet. Mercury in Cancer is a mute placing even when not retrograde!
- Adopt the “belt and braces” approach – an English saying which means take all extra precautions wherever possible. Like buying dog gps tags!!
- Guard against trying to construct situations or distressing yourself with regard to anything beyond your control. Forcing any kind of round pegs into square holes won’t be worth the effort and could cost you dearly
- Adopt the mantra of one day at a time … going too far ahead creates anxiety, especially with problems which have no clear or immediate answers
- Try to operate by “re” words – review, revise, research, reappraise, rethink, repair, redress the balance and so on. Also remember rest and relaxation, give the brain some time off and try not to put yourself under unnecessary pressure
- Expect cancellations or rescheduling of appointments or personal/travel arrangements
- Buy yourself time wherever needed – keep options open
- When in doubt, check it out – second hand opinions are a dead cert for getting hold of the wrong end of the stick – and don’t believe everything you hear
- Write things down and double check everything – forgetfulness, being distracted, inattention etc can be a troublesome theme
- Back up all your computer work
- Don’t delete any documents – you may need them at a later date
- Getting back to ideas on the back burner
- Getting back in touch with those who’ve been neglected or important to you in the past – let them know how much they matter
- Keep a close watch on all belongings – especially keys or anything linked to communication such as phones, laptops, tablets, cameras etc and don’t even think about buying new ones for the time being
- The same for cars – never buy any mode of transport under a retro Mercury – or ignore problems with the transport you’ve already got!
- Plan any journey with extra care, don’t trust to luck, don’t travel unless you have to and make sure tickets are covered on your insurance
- Kill your speed when driving – allow extra time for getting there slowly but safely
- Take extra care with form filling/signing on dotted lines – paperwork and admin of all kinds are a minefield
- Decide to ease the pain or cool the resentment. Write the letter you can’t send or you’ll never send – whether it’s to someone you’ve lost or to someone you want to strangle it’s great therapy
- Stop trying to fix others – just focus on yourself. Changes starts with us, and within us, from the inside out, not the other way around
- Reserve the right to change your mind/keep an open mind. As you start to see something from a different angle the truth, reality or logistics will evolve in a way that you couldn’t possibly have planned or expected
- KEEP A SENSE OF HUMOUR 🙂