Astrology of Now: The Stress Test

Wednesday April 15th 2020

Head of Hades, from Morgantina, Sicily. This head was excavated in the 1970s, stolen, and returned to Sicily eventually in 2013.

The conjunction of Pluto-Saturn-Ceres in January set up a stress test for the entire global system — government, health services, international co-operation, financial markets, capitalism in general. That was the Lord of the Undeworld, Father Time, and the goddess of human-nature relations getting together to see how they could test structures.

One teeny-tiny morsel of life, now named COVID-19, was the vehicle for the test. This reminds me of how in Hindu mythology, Ganesh, the elephant god and remover of obstacles, rides a mouse.

During February and March, Mars got the test going — distributing it around the world. And now Jupiter is making that test go large. The virus will break through any boundaries set by Saturn.

At the same time, Saturn, Lord of borders, was powerful in his own sign — and human borders closed. He continues to be just as powerful in Aquarius from March 22. People are “self-isolating”, imprisoned in their own homes, flights are cancelled and we are told “social distancing” is the thing. That is Saturn acting in the sign of society and the invisible threads that bind humanity.

Saturn in Aquarius demands order, discipline, boundaries — and a plan.

Mars left Capricorn on March 30, having thrown around the accelerant and given the stress test the fiery start it needed. Then, the god of war made a conjunction to Saturn, kick-starting his presence in Aquarius. This is a harsh conjunction, and it’s brought in more draconian measures to enforce social boundaries, it’s also brought in some of the talk of “battles” and a “war”. Saturn-Mars always has a military feel. But it’s still more useful, I think, to see this as a stress test, a test of our humanity, than as a war.

The important thing to keep in mind with the coronavirus and its effects on the way we live now is that this change is not temporary. The planets involved and the size of the stellium in Capricorn show that this is part of a permanent system change. In other words, it’s big, and it’s not going away. We don’t know how it’s going to turn out, but things will never be quite the same again.

We will look back at 2019 and say to each other, “That was the last year when things worked that way.”

The Warrior Planet in Aries

Furthermore, there will be more conflict later in the year when Mars goes into his own sign Aries on June 28. This is Mars at his most fiery and unrestrained. Aries is also a sign which is about individual action, so there may well be unrest in parts of the world.

Mars will be making hard aspects to planets in Capricorn for the following six months. This is very aggressive energy — and it may not be lovely. The stress test will continue — and other, as yet unknown, factors may be brought into play.

Zeus-Jupiter-Amun, Naples

Zeus-Jupiter-Amun, Naples

Jupiter makes three conjunctions with Pluto in 2020 — 5 April, 30 June, 12 November. The first one — just one degree from the January conjunction of Saturn-Ceres-Pluto — made the stress test much, much bigger.

The end of June and beginning of July looks like a critical period. Venus will come out of retrograde, Mars will go into Aries, Saturn will turn back into Capricorn — and we get the second Jupiter-Pluto conjunction, which will doubtless be another punctuation in the story.

The Jupiter-Pluto conjunction, among other things, speaks of debt, and that is reiterated three times this year. This would be global debt, government debt — and personal debt.

Saturn — and Saturn’s signs — expect reality, and this is one of key themes to keep in mind. What is realistic? What is sustainable? Many people will find that their jobs will no longer exist, because they were not providing a real livelihood.

The future must be sustainable — the question is: how do we get there?

Further Ahead

Looking deeper into the future, Jupiter will be trapped in Saturn’s realistic signs — Capricorn and Aquarius — until May 2021 — and then for the second half of 2021. This does not look especially freewheeling. It’s a real reality check, and an end to the relentless expansion that fuels capitalism. Indeed, the world economy will contract a lot.

On the other hand, Jupiter’s sojourn in Pisces, his own sign, (May-July 2021 and Dec 2021-May 2022, October-December 2022) could see a tremendous flourishing of the arts, spiritual awareness and compassion.  At the same time, Saturn will be in happily in Aquarius, laying down foundations for the new world we’re moving into.

Head of Demeter, Etruscan,

Head of Demeter, Etruscan,

So, the best advice is strap in for a long haul on this one. You’re going to need stamina.

This is not just a stress test for the global system, but also for each of us personally. Many of us are already grieving from the losses we’ve had, or anticipate. This is reasonable, and in times like these, it’s important to “be here now”, to engage with your feelings and acknowledge them.

It’s also important individually and collectively to strengthen the human bonds of friendship, neighbourliness and love. Your mental health may depend on it. Saturn in Aquarius helps us do that.

Contrary to the dystopian fantasies we’ve been watching for years, we won’t get through this by rugged individualism — despite where Mars in Aries may lead — but as a human family. Both Saturn and, later in the year Jupiter, in Aquarius show us that.

The presence of Ceres at the conjunction of Saturn and Pluto shows us that our relationship with nature is also at the heart of the problem. It was after all, a virus jumping the species barrier in a market that started the pandemic. And one of the wonders of the lockdown is the rapid cleansing of the environment. Nature got to work immediately.

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  1. Lis says:

    I appreciate when you said, “this change is not temporary.”
    The reality of that is oddly soothing, like my path is clear and there are no other options to distract from it.
    For me, the way forward now is just to plan for the worst and celebrate when it isn’t.

    I live in New York city and each day has the potential to devastate me. It’s a massive effort to keep calm on top of juggling my responsibilities and relationships. So I want you to know that I deeply appreciate this post, because it felt like soft water cooling my overactive brain.

    • Zumi Vance says:

      Well put.

    • Kristine says:

      I so agree… reading that made me feel better somehow. Like finally hearing bad news that you were dreading come to reality. This is big and it is not going away. I also like the comment about the rapid cleansing of the Earth by Mother Nature. Seeing that made me hopeful for our planet. It will never be like it was again.

    • Christina says:

      I’m glad my words helped.

  2. Dora says:

    ‘The conjunction of Pluto-Saturn-Ceres in January set up a stress test for the entire global system’
    I deeply appreciate this opening sentence . . I have been reading here and there about the conjunction in terms of the virus but it always felt to me that the virus was more about Neptune and Mercury in Pisces rather than saturn/pluto, but a stress test to the system feels so much on point! The comment on the elephant riding a mouse is also brilliant, opens up a whole train of thought about how things actually work in the larger scheme. This is a dense text and it will take me time to process it all but, in the meantime, I wanted to express my appreciation for what I have gleaned from it thus far. So thank you and take care! I will be devoting more time into studying here

  3. helena says:

    Thank you, Christina! That was very helpful. Do you have any thoughts on the effect of Rahu & Keto in all of this? It seems like there was a whiplash effect from all the Capricorn planets & South Node that seemed to boomerang us all into Cancer. Neptune in Pisces made an easy bridge between the nodes. It was the highly contagious (Jupiter-Neptune trine) aspect of COVID which forced the Capricorn energy to shift into Cancer in order to contain it and showed governments the way to do it. Capitalism and business were forced into the home for safety. EVERYTHING is now home-based, health-based, food-based, caring-for-the-sick based. That is the only real solution. Capricorn values (the economy and non-essential–ie. life-sustaining–business) must take a backseat to Cancerian values in order for individuals & the planet to survive. It’s extraordinary the dominance now of Cancer and the home. And the easy aspects of Neptune to the nodes shows that though this is tough on humans and the economy it’s also healing the opposition of Capricorn and Cancer on a global scale. So it will be VERY interesting to see what happens when the nodes shift. There will more more fire to add to the Mars retrograde in Aries.

    I would just add to what you already noted about the coming Mars retrograde period that Mars retrograde often brings stuck weather patterns, so I’m concerned about a prolonged drought that could make for a very intense fire season in the northern hemisphere.

    • Christina says:

      That is very well put & I agree with everything you write here. The North Node has sucked up all the energy into Cancer (the home) including Capricorn business. It’s quite extraordinary.

      The nodes change signs on May 5 or 6 (can’t remember), moving into Gemini-Sag — the information axis. I hope to god it doesn’t meant more lying! It certainly bodes badly for some media organisations — some will fold, making way for new ones. In this country, it’s been interesting to hear press conferences broadcast on the BBC instead of the usual pre-digested “lobby” briefings. In fact, it’s been one of the refreshing aspects of the crisis. Although they seem to have stopped doing that now too. I’d be pretty worried about freedom of the press in certain countries.

      Gemini will host the North Node, which is the “mouth”. I wonder if “youth” will be given a greater voice. Of course, this axis will be squaring Neptune the whole time, so I worry again about lying, illusions, falsehoods (but excellent film scripts).

      I’m thinking also of Sagittarius as the realm of great, big ideas (and hot air sometimes), like, say, Brexit or building a wall, versus Gemini which likes actual data and numbers, individual stories, stats. Then, of course, the are the blond bombshell Geminis on either side of the Atlantic…

      As for Mars in Aries — indeed I think the burning will continue — in the North and the South, since it goes right through to January.

      • Helena says:

        Yikes. My natal sun is at 21 degrees Gemini, which is currently being squared by Neptune & is the degree at which Venus stations so I will be paying close attention to the nodes when they change signs!

  4. Denise says:

    Truly excellent – thank you. You have tied together and made sense of a lot of things that have been floating at the edges of my consciousness.

  5. Isy says:

    I had quite a different reaction to the Jupiter-Saturn longer range forecast..

    Jupiter in:
    Capricorn – more work
    Aquarius – bigger networks
    Pisces – bigger dreams; more drugs. I could definitely see a lot of people coping as hard as they can for 14-24 months, when the neurochemistry of emotion shifts from “current challenge” to “crap this’ll never end”… and how do they navigate that change? A lot of disabled people drop off the branch if they fail to figure out a “new normal”; when the bulk of the population is forced into similar kinds of life-limits, without an actual disability to soak up some of the mental effort, I can see, sorry, a significant population drop.

    Saturn in:
    Capricorn
    Aquarius – our networks get thinned. Those who don’t really matter, don’t really show up for us, and don’t survive the coming changes, will not make the cut. Yes, stronger foundations. Also, a lot of legitimate mourning.
    Pisces – reaper, or the calcification of whatever idées fixes we’ve cooked up in the meantime.

    There seems to be a heck of a Darwinian element, if Darwinism can be applied to behavior. The radical righties, the ones who’d never speak out against fossil fuels, are screaming to be allowed to mingle, and an unseemly part of me says, “let ’em.”

    • Isy says:

      Saturn in… Capricorn: harder work. Yup!

      • Christina says:

        All good points Isy. A theme of the moment really does seem to be “reality check” — and that includes not putting up with unsatisfactory (one-sided, all give and no take) relationships, of all kinds. I noticed at the beginning of the year, quite a few people being ejected from “groups”, too. More later. I am supposed to be building my strength — Saturn tr 6th — so forcing myself to go running.

  6. Thank you so much ! So true a drastic change not only in our lives but also our thoughts!
    It is much needed ! Hoping for a better world!