LOCKDOWN in the UK was announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson on the evening of Monday 23rd March, at Equinox Dark Moon. The Spring equinox usually brings a burst of activity, as Aries month delivers fire energy and sense of independence after the Winter journey, but in 2020 the activity is turned inwards. Much of the world is under instruction to STAY HOME, we are forbidden from mixing with friends and family outside of our immediate household, and when in public we have to engage social distancing protocols.
Just prior to the Equinox, Saturn made the shift from Capricorn to Aquarius – the water bearer is the sign of group consciousness, but Saturn is the planet of restriction, teaching and structure. Just as the teacher and restrainer arrives in Aquarius we are all told to avoid our social connections. This is leading to an expansion of online interaction (which is very Aquarian) and it is likely that through this pandemic crisis humanity will learn to make much better use of the technology it has recently developed.
Back in January, the conjunction of Saturn with Pluto in Capricorn had been long anticipated by astrologers as a crunch moment in our collective evolution, a dangerous and challenging conjunction last seen as the Reformation split Christendom in the 16th century. Pluto represents the Dark Lord, the mysterious forces in consciousness that invisibly affect and even direct our experience here on the Earth. During the past 2+ years while Saturn has been in Capricorn, our species has become acutely aware of the harm we are doing to our planet, its eco-system and its inhabitants. The desire for change has grown, but our ability to make the necessary changes was questionable. Then as Saturn joined the Dark Lord Pluto in the sky the Coronavirus epidemic hit hard in China, and a few weeks later the whole world is thinking of little else but COVID-19. Commerce has all but stopped, so has international travel – pollution levels are falling, CO2 emissions dropping – and humanity is getting a hard and fast lesson in community over commercialism, in compassion vs capitalism.
As we enter Spring, Mars energy comes to the fore – he is the ruler of fire sign Aries. But this year Mars is also part of this Plutonian shutdown – he travelled through Capricorn from February 16th until March 30th and was in CONJUNCTION WITH PLUTO on MARCH 23rd, THE DAY THE UK LOCKDOWN WAS ANNOUNCED. The Dark Lord has Mars in his grip and is directing his energy internally rather than the usual external, expressive, active spirit of Spring. Mars arrived in Aquarius on March 30th, bringing fresh air into the mix, and will now stimulate our mental and spiritual faculties until May 13th, encouraging us to find novel and creative ways of dealing with, and sharing about, the new experience humanity is having.
Lockdown began in the UK at Aries Dark Moon – ie at the start of the new astrological year, as the planet’s annual journey pushes us to experience our individual, independent energy. This is often a tricky transition for many people, but Aries New Moon offered a helpful mindset here, ie the ability both mentally and practically to engage and adapt to a brand new reality. In the first week of Lockdown, the moon moved through fire, earth and air – through Aries, Taurus and Gemini. The Taurus moon (Thursday afternoon to Saturday night) gave a practical, earthed spirit which could help us accept the shift in circumstances and slow down as we adapt to it. Gemini moon brings a communicative spirit – people are sharing more about their experiences during this crisis, and views about it that are ‘alternative’ to the mainstream media reports are starting to spread.
During the second week of Lockdown the Moon will progress from air Gemini through the watery, and naturally home-loving, family focussed Cancer and the generous, playful, summer energy of Leo. The moon energy is waxing, ie building towards an emotional peak at Full Moon in Libra on the 8th April. This means that we feel more emotionally connected and aware as the days go by – and yes that could be challenging if our mental attitudes and practical circumstances are not supporting our well-being. If we can find our inner peace within this strangest of storms then the moon’s vibrational input to our emotional experience of our existence during this second week of Lockdown could be rather enjoyable.
However, on March 31st Mars will be conjunct with Saturn in Aquarius, and we are warned this is one of the most destructive alignments of the year, and could bring the darkest moment of the pandemic. On April 4th Jupiter and Pluto will be conjunct for the first of three times this year. Jupiter is the planet of joy and generosity, but Pluto of death and destruction. Let’s brace ourselves.
However, supporting the chances of JOY, even in this time of restriction and adversity, is the Goddess of Love and Money, VENUS. From March 4th Venus has been in her home sign Taurus, where she (and the feminine in all of us) feels very sensual and pleasure-focused. Venus in Taurus supports tangible expressions of love and romance – this is an area of life that is well aspected right now, so it is likely to be where many of us are finding happiness at this time. For those self-isolating, this love force still applies, both in how we interact with others through the internet and in how we choose to give pleasure to ourselves. A positive mindset is one of the greatest tools we have to get through these crisis times, and pleasure is a key tool we can use in creating positivity. This isolation experience may teach many people that the pursuit of pleasure can be a much more simple, and less expensive, activity than we have been accustomed to. Focused on our homes, our bodies, our loved ones, this time of retreat for humanity will bring about a realignment in how we relate to each other, to ourselves and to the planet.
The Spring will see the big players in this drama losing some of their dramatic power as their retrogrades begin – Pluto from April 25th, Saturn from May 10th and Jupiter May 14th. Astrologers are suggesting this is when the pandemic will become less deadly and less disrupting to our lives, but also warning of frustration and gloom in the Autumn as Pluto goes direct again (October 4th) and his returning power reminds us this virus has not finished with us yet.
Astrologers were extremely concerned about the effects of January’s Saturn-Pluto conjunction, and it seems they had good reason. Equally they are very excited about the conjunction in Aquarius of Saturn and Jupiter at the Winter Solstice 2020, seeing this as a a huge reset for our species and our world. We have known for years that Pluto’s task while in Capricorn is to shake up and destroy political, commercial and industrial institutions that are not serving the well-being of planet and people, but it was not clear really how this would come about.
2020 is reminding us that humans do not get to set the agenda on this planet after all. There are greater forces at work, even if they appear invisible, subtle and small to us. We as a species can survive by adapting and attuning ourselves to the planet and her natural rhythms. Many astrologers have for a long time been anticipating a huge change for human consciousness and in the way we live. It has been hard at times to imagine how that might come about – but in the first few months of the third decade of the third millennium we are learning LIFE CAN CHANGE VERY QUICKLY.
Astrology gives us tools with which to analyse and interpret the vicissitudes of life, it reminds us that we are part of a whole, and that existence is an eternal cycle of patterns and rhythms. Finding our place in the whole removes much of the existential fear of being a human alone in the universe. In this time of social isolation humanity may well discover just how fundamentally connected we really are.