The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus a pandemic on March 11, 2020. The first official case of COVID-19 was a 55-year-old woman from Wuhan China who was diagnosed on November 17, 2019. (1)
Astrologers anticipated events of great magnitude to develop near the time of the exact conjunction of Saturn to Pluto on January 12, 2020, when it would complete and commence once again its continuous thirty-four to thirty-eight-year cycle. The aggressiveness of the insidious coronavirus conveniently reflects the combined profile of these two notoriously feared planets. Their slow orbital movement allows a wide time-orb of influence for a significant phenomenon to emerge in correspondence to their coming into conjunction aspect to each other. The illness first appeared in the news during the third week of November 2019 as SARS-CoV-2. For slow-moving planets, the two-month leeway for a manifestation of the conjunction is acceptable when comparing astrological events with their earthly counterparts.
The two formidable planets have varying speeds that create a syncopated slow dance to the rhythm of retrograde and direct motions throughout 2020. As the year progresses, Jupiter joins in as it approaches its new transit cycle with Saturn commencing on December 21, 2020. Jupiter weaves in and out of conjunctions with Saturn and Pluto during the year and will merge for its 3rd and final conjunction with Pluto at the time of the US presidential elections in early November 2020.
Saturn aligning its forces with Pluto at the January conjunction exacerbated an otherwise normal display of disease often identified by the ringed planet. As a result of this ominous partnership, the world was brought to its knees. Pluto naturally defies constraints and endows stealthy microbes with free-rein activity. The planet rules microscopic realms and its invisible characteristics have promoted numerous theories attempting to track the origin of the virus. (2)
With the number of cases worldwide topping over a million and a quarter with an accompanying 70,000 deaths (as of April 5, 2020), the result is continuous global fear, anxiety, and panic, which are all the combined negative attributes of Saturn and Pluto. As the ubiquitous virus continues on its trek across the globe an astrological picture offers revealing insights. The chart most likely to yield planetary connections with the pandemic should be one that adequately represents an entire world population. The inaugural chart of the United Nations (UN) is an appropriate candidate because the organization is comprised of 193 countries out of a global count of 195. (3) This group of nations first pledged their affiliation on October 24, 1945, and its current functioning as a representative body gives the chart validity.
There is a strong tie between the transit Saturn-Pluto conjunction on January 12, 2020 and the UN chart. Shown with a red arrow in chart #1 is an opposition aspect applying from the exact transit-conjunction to the UN natal Mars-Saturn conjunction. The transit Saturn and Pluto were also opposite natal Mercury in the chart of the United States in January 2020, however, the more powerful indication lies with the chart of all nations since it is a worldwide crisis of which the United States is only a part. The activated Mercury in the US chart does indicate why America was hit so hard with the virus. Mercury’s decision-making process, as far as simple procedures to contain the virus, has been confusing at best and has sparked controversy and polarization of approaches that confound the issue. This may be because the US has not dealt with a catastrophic pandemic since the Spanish flu of 1918 which had its origin in the state of Kansas.
Li Wenliang – the Whistleblower
An integral part of the story of the coronavirus includes the life and horoscope of ophthalmologist Li Wenliang, the physician and whistleblower who notified his colleagues in a private WeChat social media platform concerning the sudden outbreak of a virus at the Wuhan Central Hospital in Wuhan, China. Li’s concern was that patients were exhibiting severe symptoms similar to those displayed by the SARS virus that infected 8,098 people and killed 774 worldwide in 2003. Li’s leaked warnings alarmed the Chinese government which then sent police out on January 3, 2020, to reprimand and force him to sign a statement that he was making false comments on the internet. The Chinese Communist Party apparently was set to do a coverup of what only was the beginning of the coming worldwide pandemic.
Relatively soon after the reprimand, Li himself contracted the insidious illness while performing an eye operation on a patient who was later found to have been infected with the coronavirus. Li was hospitalized and rapidly succumbed to the disease on February 7, 2020.* Li’s natal chart is shown in chart #2, with his progressions and transits on the day of his death in the outer two wheels. He was 33 years old when he was officially pronounced dead on February 7th. There was confusion over the actual time of death and the procedures that led up to it. Millions of Chinese citizens had been tracking updates on his condition which when his death was announced caused shock-waves and disdain throughout both professional and lay communities.
Li’s horoscope shows that progressed Venus had been in a conjunction aspect with natal Pluto for a while, an indication that something rather deep was transpiring. His progressed Sun was leaving its conjunction with natal Venus, another indication of the finalization (Venus) of personal affairs (Sun). Other than transit Mars passing by progressed and natal Uranus there are very few traditional transits of import marking the event of death.
Transit event chart #3, however, shows a distinct connection with Li’s death by the transit Moon’s position exactly on the 8th house cusp This temporary placement of the Moon at the door of the house of transitions, with the ultimate transition being death, shows an obvious positioning of an indicator of physical expiration. The Moon, at 13 Cancer 33, sheds light on the deeper meaning of Li’s acts and sacrifice through its revealing Sabian symbol. He was a young man with an old soul on a mission that unfortunately was cut short. The words in the symbol’s description highlighted in bold give stark testimony to his contribution to society.
CANCER 14 A very old man facing a vast dark space to the northeast This is a symbol of the immeasurable reaches of past experience as a strengthening of the human spirit for its immediate destiny, and of the eternal rebirth through which man may discover that present aspiration and future achievement are without the slightest limitation in any terms of events to come. Here is an absoluteness of self as a completeness of expectation. There are no dark moments of outlook that cannot yield inspiration or assurance. The keyword is SANCTION. When positive, the degree is a highly effective enlistment of deeper and hidden elements of life for some momentary end, and when negative, lack of purpose and utter chaos in understanding.
The Sabian symbol for Jupiter at 14 Capricorn 55 which lies at the other end of the dynamic polarity is also revealing. The symbol literally describes a hospital scene that literally reflects Li’s actual workplace. The sentence in bold explains the randomness and capricious nature of the native’s sacrifice, and the positive of the degree reveals his heroic potentials.
CAPRICORN 15 Many toys in the children’s ward of a hospital This is a symbol of the inescapable richness of life in any normal manifestation of itself, here given emphasis through its ample rewards on the social and ideal side. There are physical and psychological limitations which come to all humankind without apparent reason, and which often seem a travesty of divine justice, but they are always an unrealized opportunity for a deeper fellowship. Experience is real in its fruits, rather than in the means to its ends. The keyword is ABUNDANCE When positive, the degree is man’s ability to develop the real potentialities of himself and his fellows despite every transient accident of circumstance, and when negative, hypocritical sympathy and childish self-pampering.
Transits Saturn and Pluto
The Saturn-Pluto conjunction clearly identifies Saturnian individuality within the Plutonian collective. Saturn’s capacity for drawing boundaries created the measures that each country dictated to its citizens that included closing bars and restaurants and instructing residents to stay home and avoid large social gatherings with which Pluto is associated. Social Distancing became the moniker of the times with Saturn marking boundaries within the extended social arena. Each citizen was called to be responsible for the care and welfare of all. More than ever before, we are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers. The stressful and unprecedented times called out from all citizens of the world a deeper understanding of the requirements of Saturn as the planet of individual self-conscious awareness and of Pluto as the representative of the greater collective of which we are all a part.
This powerful and extremely tense Saturn-Pluto configuration will remain effective throughout 2020 as these dominating planetary actors station (4) to go retrograde, a reversing of direction and meaning from time to time during the year. The effects of what Saturn and Pluto brought to humanity with their conjunction in January will continue to manifest throughout the remainder of 2020, and for the United States until 2023, while Pluto completes its 248-year cycle return in the US chart.
Pluto stationed to go retrograde on April 26, 2020 at 25 Capricorn. Saturn will do the same on May 11, at 1 Aquarius 57. Transit stations indicate an intense release of planetary energy that requires a compulsory and critical regrasp of the immediate situation. Station’s readdress astrological trends and the present high number of COVID-19 cases can reverse along with the retrograde, and bring with it the possibility of remission in some areas of the US. (5) As well, cures for ailments are often discovered during retrograde periods, especially while Mercury retrogrades.
Pluto was slowing down for its station in late April synchronous with a decrease of cases in the state of New York, the area with a higher death rate than any other place in the world. It is tempting to read premature positives into changes in planetary directions, and the late Marc Edmund Jones reminded us that Astrology is the science of probability. Stations are markers for imminent change on the horizon near the particular dates upon which they fall, yet they are suggestions, not predictions.
Chart #4 is the inaugural chart for New York City. (6) It reveals that the high number of coronavirus cases and fatalities was due in part by the Moon degree’s close association with the January 2020 Saturn-Pluto conjunction occurring at 23 degrees Capricorn. The City’s natal Moon, circled in red, is located within orb of that point and is also conjunct the US natal chart’s Pluto which was in its return to its natal placement at the time.
As Saturn slows to station-retrograde soon after Pluto, the reminder to shelter in place and keep at a social distance continued for the United States. Saturn is the planet that pointed to the cover-up and condemnation of whistleblowers by China, the slow to declare a world crisis by the World Health Organization, and in the US, the Trump administration’s months of denials that the virus was a real threat and its slow response to hospital requests for testing, personal protective equipment and ventilators. Containment and mitigation are Saturn’s methods of controlling Pluto’s otherwise unstoppable spread of the disease. Although “herd immunity” has been suggested by some experts as the natural way to ultimately conquer disease, very few individuals were willing to risk their health or their lives by participating in that method of control, considering the aggressiveness of the virus.
Transits Venus and Jupiter
The US economy is also due for more fluctuation, with transit Venus coming to station-retrograde two days after Saturn on May 13th at 21 Gemini 50. The station will be conjunct President Trump’s natal Sun and will set off its natal opposition with the Moon. This will intensify the tension concerning his personal yet public image, and also will put pressure on his hopes to open the US economy by putting people back to work. The issue of his own finances takes front stage as well when on May 12th the Supreme Court will hold a hearing concerning the release of his tax returns and financial records.
In an interview on April 10th with MSNBC’s news anchor Brian Williams, the respected director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, (7) stated that he hopes that November could see some normality return. That projection parallels with the Jupiter transit making its final conjunction with Pluto in the early part of that month. The Greater Benefic may manifest in a more positive manner in November, than when it first made its rendezvous with Pluto in March, when it greatly expanded the number of those stricken with the virus, especially in New York and other hard-hit cities and states. In other parts of the world, Jupiter had a kinder effect by lessening the spread, with some countries attempting to normalize and go back to work.
Resources and Links
4. Stations are when planets appear to stop in the movement to turn retrograde or back to direct.
6. Source of New York Horoscope, https://www.astrotheme.com/astrology/Manhattan,_New_York_(New_York)
7. A member of the White House coronavirus task force. Discovered the AIDS virus, and participated in the development of the cure. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthony_Fauci
* February 7, 2020, is the date of Li Wenliang’s death from the coronavirus. The first death from the coronavirus in the United States was on February 6, 2020, in San Francisco, California. Sara Cody and other health professionals were monitoring the new virus and were the first to pronounce the “Stay at Home” order in the US. Their first initiative was to keep crowds down to less than 100 persons.