“In a pandemic, self-isolation is called quarantine. In Buddhism, it is called retreat. From the cave of our home, like the meditators of ancient times, we can consciously kindle the lamp of compassion and connection.”
~ Lama Willa Miller
Before I get into the details of this Aries Season, I just need to say a few words about the Saturn/Pluto conjunction. While the conjunction took place on January 12, 2020, that doesn’t mean that it is over and done with. Transits do not flick on and off like a light switch. Transits of the slow moving outer planets can take years to develop and finally peak, then take another few years to gradually wane. That means we will be dealing with Saturn/Pluto energy for a while yet.
I think it would be helpful to quote the philosopher and historian Richard Tarnas once again, as I did in a previous article concerning the Saturn/Pluto conjunction. In his book Cosmos and Psyche: Intimations of a New World View, Tarnas reminds us that throughout history, Saturn/Pluto quadrature aspects coincide with
challenging historical periods marked by a pervasive quality of intense contraction: eras of international crisis and conflict, empowerment of reactionary forces and totalitarian impulses, organized violence and oppression, all sometimes marked by lasting traumatic effects. An atmosphere of gravity and tension tended to accompany these three to four year periods, as did a wide-spread sense of epochal closure: ‘the end of an era,’ “the end of innocence,’ the destruction of an earlier mode of life that in retrospect may seem to have been marked by widespread indulgence, decadence, naivete, denial, and inflation. Profound transformation was a dominant theme…but here the transformation was through contraction, conservative reaction, crisis and termination. (1)
It is interesting to read that paragraph again in light of what is happening now as nations all over the globe contract in response to the Covid-19 viral outbreak.
Saturn/Pluto Quadrature Aspects and Disease Pandemics
In his book, Tarnas spends some time cataloging pandemics that began during Saturn/Pluto hard aspects, including the peak of the Black Death (bubonic plague) in Europe at the time of a Saturn/Pluto conjunction in 1348-51 and the appearance of HIV/Aids in 1981-1984 during a Saturn/Pluto conjunction (2). To his list we can add some additional pandemics now, including SARS coronavirus, which erupted in 2002 after a Saturn/Pluto opposition and Covid-19 which comes on the heels of the latest Saturn/Pluto conjunction in 2020.
Tarnas maintains that Saturn/Pluto hard aspects coincide with apocalyptic themes regarding the destructive power of Nature (3). Throughout history, Saturn/Pluto hard aspects typically saw a flare in the war between man and nature characterized by “a focus on those aspects of nature that are harsh, punishing, problematic, constricting and depriving, overpowering” and “mortally threatening” (4). Similarly, there can be “the fear of nature producing a compensatory need to defend against, control, defeat, punish, or destroy nature.” (5) Today, in 2020, we have collectively targeted a virus as our latest war on nature and have projected much of our fear onto it.
Echoing the recent Saturn/Pluto conjunction is Jupiter conjoining with Pluto on April 4, 2020. This transit has been building for some months and is peaking now, giving us one more massive shake-up to remind us that the energies of the Saturn/Pluto conjunction are still alive and well. Jupiter in the sign of his fall hitting powerful Pluto in Capricorn does not bode well for the stock markets, global trade, commerce or national borders. Planets in fall signify a person or situation that suddenly falls from grace, experiences a sudden decline or plummets to obscurity. If the stock markets are bad now, they might get worse by April 4th.
However, before you throw your hands up in despair, let’s go back again to Tarnas who notes that positive things are also born during Saturn/Pluto hard aspects, such as
“displays of personal and collective determination, unbending will, courage and sacrifice by intensely focused, silent, strenuous effort in the face of danger and death; by a deepening capacity for moral discernment born from experience and suffering; and by the transformation and forging of enduring structure, whether material, political, or psychological.” (6)
According to Tarnus, the Saturn/Pluto complex will “press the psyche, individual or collective, towards the forging of a deeper and stronger structure of moral consciousness.” (7) In other words, we are not enduring all this trauma simply for nothing. There is something extremely stirring about humans banding together to assist each other in a crisis. Whether it is health workers on the front lines of the pandemic or Italian neighbors in quarantine throwing open their windows to serenade each other, it is amazing to see that something noble and beautiful can still be forged during the worst crises. Never forget that Pluto is the planet of soul evolution and when it comes to humans, the tougher the ordeal, the more profound and valuable the learning experience. Try to keep this in mind as you negotiate some of the more difficult things happening now.
Some Aries Season Highlights
Aries Season begins during the Spring Equinox. It coincides with the season of Spring in the Northern Hemisphere and so it is associated with new life, renewed vigor and an energetic fresh start. This energy is badly needed after a long Pisces season (which included a Mercury retrograde in Pisces) typified by the usual Piscean hallmarks: crisis, confusion, chaos, feeling victimized, weak, helpless or tired. As the Sun heads out of Pisces and checks into Aries, we are all likely to feel a bit less victimized and helpless. Aries season can bring more vitality, courage, confidence and cheer while injecting some hope into our perspective. This sense of confidence will increase even more after April 10, when Mercury enters Aries as well.
The challenging side of Aries season is that it really doesn’t mesh well with quarantines and self-isolating. So we will be fighting against the cosmic energies for a while. Aries energy makes us restless to explore new things and be physically active and outgoing. We want to cover new terrain and want to push off in new directions. We become more self-oriented and assertive, which is usually good, but when people are panic-buying and hording supplies, it can increase a me-first attitude and boost selfishness at a time when we need it the least. And the Aries energy makes us more impulsive and willing to take a risk, which is not helpful now. The last thing we need is everyone on the planet taking impulsive risks during a pandemic.
Aries energy typically makes us more brash, hot-headed, aggressive, angry or divisive, too. So we can expect tempers to flare and conflict breaking out. When people are stressed, irritated and dealing with a threat they cannot control like an invisible virus, the Aries energy can give everyone a much shorter fuse. This will especially be the case in the weeks after April 10, 2020 when Mercury enters Aries. On the plus side, some highly creative inventions will develop on how to cope with social distancing and self-isolation, since Aries represents an entrepreneurial and pioneering spirit.
After April 10, Mercury in Aries will make our thought processes and speech/written communications more clear, incisive, speedy and impulsive. And after months of coping with a sleepy Mercury retrograde in Pisces, this will be a welcome change. Email, messaging and conversations will zip along quickly without all the sluggish confusion and errors that typified the past couple of months. This energy will support home-bound people to productively work online and it will also help with online socializing. Note that Mercury is still in the shadow zone until March 29th so if you had some problems develop during Mercury Retrograde, then you will get one last chance to go back over these issues to complete or fix them.
Mercury in Aries will also increase impulsiveness when it comes to commerce and local travel. So after April 10th there might be another spike in impulse spending and hording along with a swell in local travel. Again, neither of these things is helpful for dealing with a pandemic, so please try to express the Aries energy in safer ways. Exercise and vigorous physical tasks will go a long way to help provide an outlet for pent up Aries energies.
Venus will be in dignity in Taurus until April 3 and will make some great aspects as she strikes the planets grouped in Capricorn. This can be great for love and romance. But from a health perspective, it is not so great because it will also increase the craving for physical touch, hugs or massage, which is being discouraged right now. Try indulging your 5-senses by doing typical Venusian activities that involve beauty/fashion or home decorating. Or try gardening or cooking. Build or create something with your hands. Aromatherapy, music and the arts are also highlighted. Artists and those who work with color might feel particularly inspired around March 29th when Venus trines Pluto.
Venus has been in the sign of Taurus since March 4th and it has been demanding that we get more in touch with our physical bodies and slow down. Please take time each day to shut off all your devices and mental activity and just sit down or lie still. Open up to your body awareness with full attention. What does your body really need? More sleep? A warm bath? A brisk run? Certain types of food? An afternoon on the couch with a book? Don’t think of it as being lazy or unproductive; if you can’t take care of yourself during a pandemic, when exactly can you?
Hunger for in person social interaction will increase after April 3, 2020 when Venus enters Gemini. Normally I would say that it’s a good time to socialize, meet new people, network and interact more. Unfortunately, this is the last thing we need when dealing with a pandemic. Your increased desire to connect in person will have to be consciously curtailed now due to the pandemic, leaving you extremely restless. However, this energy is terrific for online communications, so there is likely to be an explosion of online virtual connecting now. Reading and writing, games and puzzles are also highly favored now. So if the kids are driving you nuts, break out the old-fashioned board games. You might be surprised how quickly they take to them.
Financially, we might decide to take some new risks and diversify a bit. Rather than repeating the same old routine we have been doing for a while, we might get interested in diversifying our holdings, making a change for change’s sake, and going in a new direction or perhaps many new directions at once. I can’t see anything wrong with that–diversifying makes sense during uncertain economic times.
We are now preparing for Venus retrograde, which begins in Taurus Season on May 13th, 2020. Venus enters the shadow zone on April 9th at 5 degrees Gemini. For the next few weeks, pay attention to what is happening in your relationships, your creative/artistic projects and with your finances because issues that arise at this time might repeat again over the next few months.
Cultivating Group Awareness: Saturn enters Aquarius
Saturn enters Aquarius on March 21, 2020 and will remain there until July 1, 2020 when he dips back into Capricorn again. Then he will enter Aquarius once again in Dec. of 2020 and reside there for two years. Meanwhile, Mars enters Aquarius on March 30, 2020 and will remain there until May 12, 2020.
Aquarius is group-oriented rather than self-oriented, so for the next 2.5 years, the focus will be on society as a whole and on group behavior. The focus will be more on the concept of “us and ours” instead of “me and mine.” Global group awareness is being cultivated. The best case scenario is that Saturn in Aquarius will bring in a new spirit of social responsibility or social obligation and the desire to create what’s best for the society we live in and for the world in general. Wherever Saturn is shows what we need to work on, and in Aquarius the lesson is how to work together with other people, how to function as an effective group. Saturn will be in Aquarius for 2.5 years, which suggests that even if the pandemic is brought under control quickly, the socio-economic effects will not be leaving us any time soon. It has much to teach us about how to improve our collective interaction.
Saturn represents our social conditioning, which will start to shift away from a self-oriented perspective to a more altruistic one. The new message coming at us from society will be: “Consider other people. Consider what is good for your whole city or nation or what is good for the entire globe.” And this message is not just a temporary one. It will get stronger in the following decades thanks to Pluto in Aquarius. In today’s world where selfishness and egocentric behavior have become the new religion, it is almost impossible to conceive that the trend will soon swing the opposite direction. But it will. Consider the current call-out culture already happening on social media that is publicly shaming hoarders for buying more supplies than their fair share. This is just one example of a new altruism that is starting now and will grow rapidly over the next few years.
Aquarius rules groups and societies and Saturn’s placement there will challenge us to re-examine the collectives we belong to. Aquarius rules abstract mental concepts, such as social norms and social mores–the invisible rules that everyone abides by in a society. Socio-economic systems are also abstract mental constructs, and they can get out of touch with reality. Our current systems are completely out of alignment with what Evolutionary Astrologers call “natural law.” Therefore, it doesn’t take much for societies to collapse when nature produces things like tsunamis, hurricanes, forest fires and Covid-19 viruses. Saturn in Aquarius is a wake up call to re-examine all our abstract human-created systems and bring them into alignment with nature and ecology.
In Evolutionary astrology, Aquarius rules fragmentation--large monolithic structures breaking down into separate fragments, or large nations dividing into smaller groups. That is a reasonable thing to expect when people are self-isolating to control a pandemic. And globally speaking, it is a fantastic survival strategy because it builds strong local networks and makes us less dependent on long distance supply chains which break down more readily during a crisis. We will also learn a lot about who our true friends are. In our personal lives, we will form new social groups–smaller ones, composed of people that are more in alignment with who we truly are while forming personal networks that are more adaptable to local conditions.
In Evolutionary astrology, Aquarius rules mental trauma, so yes, unfortunately, the next 2.5 years will be challenging. But they will be less challenging for those of us who are ready to adapt and change to a new normal rather than striving to bring back the past. The past is what got us into this mess. It is time to create new systems that are more in line with Nature, that withstand the test of time (Saturn), and that are aligned with the future (Aquarius).
Saturn’s knee jerk reaction to a challenge is defensiveness, so while in Aquarius, this reaction will be applied against groups. Essentially, it is a time of social (Aquarius) contraction (Saturn). We can expect elements of self isolation to linger on over the next few years. On the national scale, this means that borders could remain somewhat sealed or become much more guarded. Collectively, we will all feel a strange conflict during the next few years: there will be a strong sense of wanting to socialize but also feeling defensive or threatened by it at the same time.
For some people who are especially caught up in Saturnian fear, defensive isolation will seem like the only logical solution so expect to see an increase in the homesteading and prepping movement over the next 2.5 years. While I can understand the temptation to stockpile goods and squirrel ourselves away in the woods, this is not the best way to deal with Saturn in Aquarius. Remember what Saturn is driving toward: the future is Pluto in Aquarius, arriving in 2023/24 and together their message to humanity is clear: learn how to live together as a group. We will need each other in order to survive. Transform the prevailing global social structure into a more healthy and practical one. The result could be more personal as well as global coordination happening as we all finally understand that “we are all in this together” and that we have to act more as one.
Amidst all the challenges, there will be positive things happening, too. We will likely see a resurgence in the popularity of Aquarian-ruled domains: science, fact-based knowledge and objectivity. Makes sense when medical science is perhaps the one thing standing between you and a pandemic. Ordinary folks will be coming up with ingenious and practical solutions to every day problems that are brought about by this pandemic.
Saturn turns retrograde on May 8, 2020 and re-enters Capricorn once again on July 1, 2020. During this time, things might seem a bit more normal, or like things used to be. Collectively, we might take a break from worrying so much about the future and go back to our focus on career and material life. This suggests that we are getting somewhat used to the pandemic, or that it recedes every so slightly, as viruses tend to do during the summer months. However, Saturn enters Aquarius again in December, suggesting a re-resurgence of our concern over the effects of the corona-virus for the next two years.
I will give the last word once again to Richard Tarnas who reminds us that throughout history, Saturn/Pluto in hard aspect coincides with themes of apocalypse. (8) This doesn’t mean that there will be an apocalypse. Rather, it means that an apocalyptic feeling comes to color the general Zeitgeist. This feeling is simply an emotion that comes with regularity during a particular planetary cycle. And humans have survived these periods, brutal as they may be, over and over. I don’t know about you, but I take a strange comfort in knowing that apocalyptic feelings are actually a routine thing for humanity and can be accurately predicted. This is not meant to minimize the collective trauma that is occurring now, nor is it meant to detract from the herculean task that is before us. There is much work to do in order to bring the pandemic under control. And there is even more effort required to change our world and our environment in order to make it a safe place for all species who dwell here. Get ready to work hard. ♥
I’ll see you next month for the forecast for Taurus Season.
So how are you using astrology to help you cope with the pandemic? Inspire us! Leave a comment below.
- Tarnas, Richard. Cosmos and Psyche: Intimations of a New World View. Plume, 2016, New York (209).
- Ibid p 217
- Ibid p. 253.
- Ibid p 254.
- Ibid p 210
- Ibid p 285.
- Ibid p 252.