Friday Bite 27 March
There is only one story. COVID-19.
In the past two weeks the pandemic has claimed almost 25,000 lives and its spread has reached across continents. And given the planetary alignments to come, COVID-19 isn’t going to disappear any day soon. We are going to have to learn to live in fear, and to overcome our fears. We’re going to have to learn to live in a rapidly shrinking world in terms of the way we used to live. We are all going to be profoundly changed by this pandemic.
As you scroll down, you will see two other Friday Bite’s on the coronavirus, which makes interesting reading as we go deeper into the crisis. I looked at previous pandemics and epidemics, and it seems COVID-19 in terms of its infectiousness and fatalities bears the closest resemblance to the “Spanish Flu” of 1918-1920. And one of the astrological signatures on that pandemic was the Jupiter-Pluto conjunction in Cancer. Now, with Jupiter currently approaching a conjunction to Pluto in Capricorn (set to occur three times this year: 5th April, 30th June and 12th November), there is a clear resonance with the pandemic of 100 years ago.
I am not saying Jupiter and Pluto cause a pandemic but that this conjunction coincides with a mass experience, whatever the underlying cause. Our keyword principles of Jupiter (growth and expansion) and Pluto (elimination and transformation) match the global experience we are undergoing.
If we listen to Mr Trump, we are given to understand that keeping the world going in terms of business and the economy is the priority. “We can’t let the cure be worse than the disease.” He would love to have America “opened up and just raring to go by Easter… we have to get our country back to work. Our country wants to be back to work.” And in a Fox News interview, he asserted it would be “absolutely possible” to resurrect the economy by Easter.
It’s great to have a president who is glowing with optimism, but, given the present spread of the virus (not yet at a peak) in the United States, or in most European countries, Asia and Australia, his predictions are patently wishful thinking.
It is a difficult call. If the world grinds to a halt in terms of business and the economy, when the virus is eventually overcome getting the world going again is going to take years of pain – the Age of Austerity will look like a picnic. And if keeping business and the economy going leads to millions upon millions of deaths, who will be left to do the work of getting the world back on course.
The Jupiter-Pluto conjunction in Cancer of 1930 presided over the start of the Great Depression which lasted a decade. In this case, the cause was not a pandemic, but mass unemployment in the wake of a banking crash. In 2020, the Jupiter-Pluto conjunction is not alone; it is part of a triple conjunction with Saturn. Thus, the prospects for a speedy economic recovery once the coronavirus is overcome are even bleaker than they were during the Great Depression.
COVOID-19 is an experience we are all going to have to live through. We can’t rewind the tape and take actions that would have halted its spread. We have to work with what we’ve got. We will all suffer in one way or another, but that suffering is purposeful because we will all discover our priorities, we will all learn that the world is one, and we need to consider our neighbours. It may well have taken this pandemic to prevent humanity from hurtling to its own destruction.
Friday Bite 13 March
So, now we know. It’s official. The Covid-19 outbreak is a pandemic.
The past week has seen stock markets across the world plunge vertiginously. Markets don’t like uncertainty and their downward fall is driven by fear. Italy has shut down. In the US, Trump, in an effort to calm markets and “save” the economy, blamed Europe for introducing the virus to America, and in so doing inspired the exact opposite result. Norway and Denmark, among many countries, have closed schools and universities, Australia cancelled its Grand Prix, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned families to prepare “to lose loved ones before their time”. And we have the planetary alignments to match. A perfect cocktail of Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto.
I’m going to keep last week’s Friday Bite up since it contains details that you might find even more interesting in light of this fast-developing global crisis. (It will folow on.) But I have had a few more thoughts on the outbreak.
Although the signature on the emergence of the new coronavirus is the Saturn-Pluto conjunction, what is happening in terms of the response to it is the Jupiter-Pluto conjunction – currently Jupiter is at 22 degrees of Capricorn and Pluto at 24 degrees: they will conjoin on 4th’5th April.
Jupiter is synonymous with growth and inflation; Pluto resonates with elimination and transformation. Put them together and you get what we’ve got: a mass spread of a virus, mass upheaval and mass pandemonium.
If we look back through history, there are many global events – wars, pestilences, famines and eruptions, for instance – that have taken millions of lives. The “Spanish flu” of 1918/19 killed 50 million, if not more. Periodic purges are part and parcel of Earth’s story. And you could regard Pluto and its principles of death and rebirth (transformation) as playing a preeminent role in global devastations. Devastations that cleanse the Earth in preparation for renewal. Dreadful as such epic events may be, they serve to help humanity’s evolution. In this way, we see Pluto’s properties of creative destruction as a force for the good, or at least a necessary evil.
Eris – the dwarf planet beyond Pluto and bigger than Pluto – is another key part in the story of Covid-19. Currently placed at 23 degrees of Aries, she is closely squaring the Jupiter-Pluto conjunction, as she did in mid-January when Saturn and Pluto conjoined. Eris is the goddess of strife. She comes with a calling card of destruction, discord and chaos. Eris also has an affiliation with Mother Nature, and in her role as Gaia’s protector she must periodically go to war to prevent the excesses of human behaviour from destroying the Earth.
Jupiter and Pluto will meet three times in 2020: 5th April, 30th June (in retrograde) and finally 12th November. Currently, we are in the shadow periods of both Jupiter and Pluto. Jupiter’s shadow cycle began on 18th February and will end on 5th December while Pluto’s shadow period began on 3rd January and will end on the 24th January 2021. (For more information on shadow periods visit my YouTube channel (Virgo Full Moon in the shadow of Saturn) or my Friday Bite 21st February, available on request.)
The reason I mention these shadow periods is that the date for the start of Pluto’s shadow cycle came within days of the first alert of the emergence of a new coronavirus, and the beginning of Jupiter’s shadow period the realization we could be on the crest of a pandemic. And it may be that the peak points of each shadow cycle (retrograde and direct dates: 25th April, 14th May, 13th September and 4th October) will play significant parts in the narrative of the outbreak, and we can expect it to last until January of 2021.
What may have been forgotten in the fear and fever of this this deadly pandemic is that it offers us the opportunity to come together. United we stand, divided we fall. Whether in our own little lives, with family, friends, lovers and colleagues or on the global stage – country and country, nation and nation – by combining our resources, working together for the greater good and overcoming our fears, we shall make the world a better place.
Friday Bite 6 March
So, where has all the good news gone? Buried under the weight of these challenging influences, no doubt. However, we must not forget that under these same alignments beautiful babies are being born, people are falling in love, marrying and celebrating life landmarks. And perhaps because of these very configurations, such human triumphs are all the greater, all the more precious.
The past week saw Joe Biden emerge as the front runner in the Democratic Primaries – Super Tuesday ending the presidential hopes of Pete Buttigieg, Michael Bloomberg, Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar. Turkey and Russia agreed a cease-fire in the aftermath of Turkish soldiers killing 21 Syrian troops in Idlib. And stillthe devastation goes on for the peoples of Northern Syria. Thousands of migrants and refugees amassed at the Turkish-Greek border in the vain hope of being allowed into Europe. And Harry and Megan performed one of their last royal duties before they are exiled to the New World!
And then there was the coronavirus, Covid-19.
As we go to press, the spread of the virus is rampant, and although governments and health officials have not yet declared a pandemic, common sense would inform you this is the scenario we’re facing. Which has prompted me to dig into the past and see what, if any, astrological markers can be found in flu pandemics. I’ll go through these shortly, but to whet your appetite Jupiter was conjunct Pluto during the 1918 “Spanish flu” and the 1968 “Hong Kong flu”, as they are indeed now with Covid-19.
Predicting flu pandemics has been the subject of worldwide research for decades, but it seems we are as far from being able to find a reliable pattern as ever. There are just too many variables, not least the source of the virus, its structure, the speed and efficacy of the spread, the symptoms and the mortality rate.
During the last one hundred or so years, there have been three devastating flu pandemics: the “Spanish flu” of 1918-1920, the “Asian flu” of 1957-1958 and the “Hong Kong flu” of 1968. There were also SARS (2002-2003) and “Swine flu” (2009). To put the human cost of these pandemics into perspective, 17-50 million people (possibly more) died from the “Spanish flu”, two million from both the “Asian and Hong Kong” flu, and 600,000 from the 2009 “Swine flu”. SARS killed 774 people.
As a matter of interest, the source of all the above flu epidemics is believed to be China, although there is some divergence of opinion over the origins of the “Spanish flu”. The current Covid-19 is a coronavirus, as was SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome). The coronavirus is mostly found in bats and passed onto animals, such as civet cats, before getting into the human chain.
Another pandemic, possibly the equal of “Spanish flu”, has been anticipated for the past few years. Indeed, by the end of 2017, concerns were already being raised of the outbreak of a coronavirus similar to SARS.
In December 2017, “after years of searching across China, where the disease first emerged, scientists reported … that they had found a remote cave in Yunnan province, which is home to horseshoe bats that carry a strain of a particular virus known as a coronavirus. This strain has all the genetic building blocks of the type that triggered the global outbreak of SARS in 2002.” The research was performed by Shi Zheng-Li, Cui Jie and coworkers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, China, and published in PLOS Pathogens. The authors are quoted as stating that “another deadly outbreak of SARS could emerge at any time. As they point out, the cave where they discovered their strain is only a kilometre from the nearest village.” THE GUARDIAN newspaper 10 December, 2017.
In my research, I came across research linking the influenza cycle with the peaks of the El Niño and ENSO cycles, to which even my non-academic mind appeared unconvincing, however, there seems to be some merit in the notion of cycles of 40-plus years.
41 years between the flu epidemics of 1847/48 and 1889.
40 years between the “Spanish flu” and the “Asian flu”.
41 years between the “Hong Kong flu” and “Swine flu”.
45 years between “Asian flu” and SARS. (Admittedly, this is a bit of a stretch.)
In terms of patterns, the astrology also proves interesting. The cycles of the planets from Jupiter through Pluto trace the patterns of the times, whether in personal or global terms, which is why I have concentrated my efforts here on the major angles between the trans-personal planets.
1847: Saturn conjunct Neptune in Aquarius
1889: Saturn in Virgo square Neptune conjunct Pluto in Gemini
1918-1920 (Spanish flu): Saturn conjunct Neptune in Leo at the start of the outbreak; Jupiter conjunct Pluto in Cancer at the peak of the outbreak – it went quiet in the summer and returned with a vengeance in the autumn.
1957-1958 (Asian flu): Uranus in Leo square Neptune in Scorpio.
1968 (Hong Kong flu): Jupiter conjunct Pluto in Virgo
2003 (SARS): Tail end of the Saturn-Pluto opposition (Gemini-Sagittarius). Jupiter in Virgo opposite Uranus in Pisces.
2009 (Swine flu): Saturn in Virgo opposite Uranus in Pisces. Jupiter conjunct Neptune in Aquarius.
2020 (Covid-19): Saturn conjunct Pluto in Capricorn. Jupiter conjunct Pluto in Capricorn.
While a sample of eight flu epidemics can hardly be considered a study, it is interesting that Saturn has been conjunct Neptune twice (25% probability) and Jupiter conjunct Pluto three times (38% probability). Saturn and Neptune combinations fit the deadly flu virus rather well since death occurs mostly through liquid overwhelming the lungs – the patient effectively dies by drowning. Jupiter-Pluto conjunctions say more about the mass spread of a virus and certainly the mass panic response to it.
By the way, the next Saturn-Neptune conjunction will be in Aries in 2025 and the next Jupiter-Pluto conjunction in 2033. Fortunately, they don’t occur in the same year. Nevertheless, plenty of time to stock up on hand-sanitizers, zinc and vitamin-C, and for the Chinese government to put an end to its wet markets.
As I mentioned in my Friday Bite last week, prior to the Saturn-Pluto conjunction of mid-January, my concern was that an “act of nature” would precipitate a global economic decline, and even if the virus quickly comes under control, a great deal of damage has already been done to world businesses and economies. More realistically, if the falling markets of week commencing 24th February and the collapse of the Flybe airline in Europe on 4th March are anything to go by, we are in the early stages of a deepening global recession.
We’ll certainly know a lot more by the beginning of April and the first of three Jupiter-Pluto conjunctions, and, if the past has anything to show us, Covid-19 may well decline in the summer but come back with a vengeance by the autumn and the third and final Jupiter-Pluto conjunction.
So much to look forward to.