For the last five decades I’ve been listening to stories about the end of the world. From New Agers to survivalists to Ayn Randers to conspiracy theorists to indigenous myths of Native Americans to predictions by the elders of the Andes—every culture has a narrative about how this world will end. I don’t poo-poo these myths as fairy tales nor do I subscribe to any particular narrative. I think end-of-the-world myths are in reality teachings about how to live—they are instruction manuals about what could go wrong; reminders of the transitory nature of existence; and above all, they impart the wisdom that in the realm of the temporal, all things must end. It doesn’t matter whether that end is a bang, a whimper, a nuclear holocaust, a tidal wave, or an insidious pandemic. We have always told ourselves stories about the end so that we can live more fully in the now. This is also why we consult oracles of every kind when times get tough: we think we’re asking about the future, but what we are really seeking is information and comfort about the present.
I don’t think COVID-19 is going to end the world and wipe us out as a species. That being said, it’s easy for some of us to imagine that we’re currently living through one of those end-of-the-world narratives. Seen through that lens, it might be wise to also imagine what we are being taught about the future. We are learning important life lessons—a wisdom that must be learned if we are to emerge from this experience and survive. Some of these lessons are political, financial, and social—and many of us have been aware of what these lessons are and what needs to change for quite some time. Nevertheless, the deeper lessons of our current existential crisis are spiritual; they speak to our essential interconnectedness and fundamental interdependence because thanks to this virus, we can no longer pretend that we are separate, even though, ironically, we are being asked to separate.
Astrology is a language of symbols and symbols speak to us multidimensionally—they speak to the head and the heart, to our intellect and our intuition; they speak to our wholeness. Yet even though astrology has the power to open the mind to a wealth of wisdom, I am very clear that the planets do not bring us to life; we bring the planets to life.
One of the challenges of using astrology as an explanation of human events is remaining true to the idea of symbols and their metaphorical meanings rather than succumbing to the limitations of literalism. So although what I write about the Saturn/Pluto conjunction sounds concrete—literal—what I am actually writing about is the combined potential of these two stellar symbols and how that potential is likely to manifest, knowing that that manifestation is dependent upon an individual and collective response to their presence. We have always looked to the sky to better understand life on Earth—and we still do—but it is important to remember that when astrology began, in all of its many manifestations it was always based on the unity of heaven and earth. Our ancestors knew that we are not separate from the sky; we co-exist with the planets and together we weave the whole cloth of life. We are co-creating reality with every thought, word, and deed, all of which emanate from within.
So when I write about the many astral configurations and their possible manifestations, I am writing about archetypal patterns that have repeated themselves from the beginning of time, long before we noticed them. I am also relying on the information we’ve gathered about those patterns throughout history because knowing how they previously manifested provides us a more informed response to those patterns now. As many have come to recognize, power is always in the now, but only if you are determined to discard habituations and integrate learned wisdom. As we also know, the past creates the present just as the present creates the future.
Saturn/Pluto contacts are all about social organization and reorganization. Saturn signifies limitation; walls are going up, but COVID-19 is revealing the uselessness of those borders. Pluto represents the process of transformation and the truth that we are not in control; COVID-19 is teaching that lesson in every way.
On March 21, moments before midnight EDT, Saturn entered Aquarius, a position that is sure to shift the angle of our perception ever so slightly. (Saturn stays in Aquarius until March 2023, when it enters Pisces.) Saturn is a co-ruler of Aquarius, which means it is likely to be just as mighty in Aquarius as it is in Capricorn, and that translates into a serious and sober attitude that is most concerned about community and searching for ways to concretize creativity. That’s something we can use right at this moment because one of the beneficial side effects of this pandemic is the need for innovation, which is the Aquarian gift. We are being bumped up to a new frequency and we need tools to help align with what is not only for our greatest personal good, but also for our greatest collective good, including tools for healing, growth, and righting the wrongs of the old paradigm. Necessity is the mother of invention and invention is the Aquarian strong suit.
Jupiter is currently in Capricorn conjunct Pluto—that conjunction is exact and separating on April 4—and because Jupiter symbolizes the global dimensions of daily life, this is the week we could experience the beginning of a global reorganization among the many governments combating the virus, specifically in how we share information and supplies and start a cooperative plan for the future. There are two additional Jupiter/Pluto conjunctions: June 29 and November 12, so there’s plenty of time to sort this out.
In 2012, when a large number of our fellow travelers were concerned (some convinced) that the world would end on December 12, 2012, the final day of the Mayan Long Count calendar, I wrote about “cosmophobia,” a term coined by NASA to define an “irrational fear of the cosmos,” especially the notion that a catastrophic event was imminent. Now is not the moment for cosmophobia to make a comeback; COVID-19 is not going to lead to our extinction. But it is likely the end of the world as we once knew it. All our weaknesses are exposed and we’re in a situation that requires all of us to work together toward a common goal, caring for each other with kindness and compassion. That requirement will also continue to surface all the places where fear motivates action, but it will eventually lead us to a new way of arranging the regular routines of daily life and to a new way of being with ourselves and each other.