Welcome to my astrological thoughts covering the major cosmic events of October-December 2009, and beyond.
One of the most significant transits of this period will be the passage of Saturn into Libra on October 30, after two years in Virgo. This is the first in a series of planetary shifts that epitomize our period in history: Pluto in Capricorn (November 2008) – Saturn in Libra (October 30, 2009) – Jupiter in Pisces (January 2010) – Chiron in Pisces (April 2010) – Uranus in Aries (May 2010) – Neptune in Pisces (April 2011, and, for good, February 2012).
Libra is the Sign of Saturn’s ‘exaltation’, a lofty position for this earthy planet, and a real opportunity for all of us to become more responsible and adult like in our relationships. Libra is the Sign of Justice and Equanimity, so that the laws of the lands could now begin to reflect more faithfully the democratic and equalitarian principles exemplified by Libra, with its innate respect for others. Libra Saturn, representing the implementation of the law, will strive toward a more democratic social order.
Saturn has not quite finished with Virgo yet. It will re-enter the Sign in retro motion on April 8 and make it back into Libra for good in July 2010. Saturn will then transit Libra until October 2012, a time of grounding, concrete success, as well as tough confrontation with insecurities and fears for all Librans. Ask your Virgo friends who have just spent the last two years in the company of this ponderous planet and they will tell you about the unavoidable tribulations and well deserved triumphs of their close encounter with the mythical ‘Lord of Time’. You would not want to miss it.
Difficult Saturn’s transits at the end of 2009 and in the first half of 2010 will, however, make the path a rough and difficult one for many, at least for a time; with a right angle to Pluto (November 16, first pass, February 1 and August 21, 2010, second and third passes); and renewed oppositions to Uranus in 2010 (exact April 27 and July 27).
The birthdays in direct line with these transits are, again, the early season Libra (22/25 September), Aries (20/23 March), Capricorn (21/24 December) and Cancer (21/24 June). The austere and sobering ray of Saturn is added to the intense Pluto atmosphere, and the electrifying impact of Uranus. These transits exemplify a breakage from the past. There will be an unprecedented drive for change, or unavoidable changes will have to be met, willing or not. Deep down you know that they were over due, really, and that you have been procrastinating. This may seem, at times, to shake badly the sense of personal and/or material security you might have built and thought quite solid and permanent. It will certainly be a lesson in impermanency, and an opportunity to re-invent yourself, starting your life on new foundations.
Collectively the situation has both implosive (Pluto) and explosive (Uranus) potentials. A 90 degrees angle between Uranus and Pluto is now in its incubation stage, becoming exact between mid 2012 and the end of 2014. Saturn is stimulating that transit into early activity. The so called Techno-Punk’ generation, born between 1963 and 1969, who had the Uranus-Pluto conjunction signature in their birth charts, are now experiencing the mid-life crisis defined astrologically by the opposition of Uranus to their birth Uranus-Pluto, and the right angle between their Neptune and the transiting Neptune. This is an important spiritual and existential crisis, enacted in everyone’s life from the early to mid forty years. These people will be the next generation to yield positions of power on the world stage, the ones who will need to deal creatively with this unprecedented crisis. The emergency itself has a lot to do with the use and abuse of our planet’s resources (Pluto) and of technology (Uranus).
The triple conjunction of Jupiter, Neptune and Chiron will be exact again, for the last time, between December 2009 and January 2010. These conjunctions have permeated the whole of 2009, helping to raise our spirits during the global financial crisis. At the time of writing (early June 2009) Obama has been visiting Egypt to show a friendly hand to Palestinians and Muslims in general, making historical speeches of reconciliation. He is also campaigning to have Guantanamo Bay shut by the end of 2009, a brave move, hopefully coinciding with the last pass of the Aquarian conjunction, in December.
All these events exemplify to me the progressive spirit of the Aquarian conjunction, with its idealism and humanitarian principles, as well as the downside of the same, as chimerical hopes of easy solutions, and social/political naivety. Obama himself has Ascendant and Jupiter in Aquarius and became officially President at the time of his Jupiter’s return in early Aquarius, in January 2009, while his Moon’s South Node, part of his ‘axe of destiny’ is conjunct the historical conjunction Jupiter-Neptune-Chiron in late Aquarius.
Neptune can embellish every picture, but has the potential of being also deceptive, elusive and unrealistic. Jupiter on his part tends to exaggerate, usually accentuating the promising parts rather than the problematic issues. Finally mysterious Chiron portends the potential for collective healing of old wounds or, negatively, karmic illnesses. Chiron is physically and symbolically the go-between the known world (Saturn boundary) and the Uranian vision of a new world, forever reminding us of the painful limitations of our human condition (Saturn), while igniting the spark of our godlike genius (Uranus).
We see a Jupiter conjunct Neptune every twelve years or so, not a rare event, after all. But we experience a triple conjunction Jupiter-Neptune-Chiron only once in a while, the last in 1945, at the end of World War Two. Even rarer is the same triple conjunction in the same zodiacal position, Aquarius, which occurred the last time in 1843. This was a period very close to the ‘discovery’ of Neptune in 1846, considered historically, philosophically and literarily an idealistic era. Many proletarian, grass root revolutions also started then (Marx’s Communist Manifesto was published in 1848). On the religious front it was a messianic period, when many Christians awaited the second coming and the advent of a new world order of peace and enlightenment.
Similar hopes in a redeeming time ahead are alive and well in 2009. We may at times feel we need a Saviour or a miracle to overcome the huge obstacles ahead of us; but hope alone will not save our troubled world.
The H1N1 influenza virus that spread from Mexico in April 2009 have raised the interest of many Astrology’s students because some of the transits active in 2009 and 2010 are similar to those that were active at the time of the infamous Spanish Influenza that struck Europe and the globe between February 1918 and April 1919. That H1N1 virus (another Swine Flu) allegedly killed 20, 40 or even 100 million people worldwide, according to different sources. The number remains uncertain because the infection spread rapidly during an extremely unsettled period of our history, toward the end of the First World War that also killed and displaced millions. Many soldiers leaving the trenches spread the deadly virus on their return home. At the beginning of 1918 the war was dragging on when the initial strain of the Spanish Flu made its first appearance. This was a mild strain, a common flu from which most people recovered quickly. Around August of the same year a second strain, a mutation of the original virus, started killing people instead, a catastrophe comparable only to the endemic pestilences of earlier centuries. I am not surprised then that normally indifferent governments have been taking extraordinary steps to try to stop the virus from spreading. The memory of that pandemic is engraved on the collective psyche, where it has remained hidden, repressed, for a long time.
Astrologically the similarity with present transits is undeniable: Saturn was opposed Uranus in 1919, the same as it has been throughout 2009 and will be for a good while in 2010. Jupiter was also conjunct Neptune in 1919, as is happening in 2009 (last pass in December). Another transit that connects our time with that distant past is the recent passage of Pluto into Capricorn. Pluto has a lot to do with collective karma and mass deaths, like those caused by natural disasters, wars or industrial and mining accidents. Pluto had entered Cancer just before the First World War, portending the mass destruction of families during the two World Wars. It has reached Capricorn, 180 degrees away from his 1918 position, and now lies on the opposite Solstice point. These points, together with the Equinoxes, are the most active of the whole Zodiac, enhancing in great measure the power of Pluto.
A crucial difference is the fact that in 1918 Saturn was separating from a conjunction to Neptune, a powerful signature for a natural disaster such as the Spanish Flu pandemic. When ‘afflicted’ in a personal horoscope Neptune can portend death by drowning which was the manner of death from the deadly strain of the N1H1 virus (the lungs becoming filled with fluids). Jupiter, by becoming conjunct to Neptune after Saturn, acted as a cosmic carrier, spreading the contagion even further. Jupiter, in the picture even now, is spreading perhaps only the fear and not the reality of the contagion!
Many scenarios are indeed possible. According to medical experts, this strain of influenza and its possible mutations will stay with us for a long time. Astrologically the more critical periods could be between November this year and September next year.
Due to the fact that Aquarius is the Sign of science and innovative technologies, some astrologers have even suggested that this virus could be a man made product, purposely or accidentally released into the environment. Apart from these speculations the Aquarian connection suggests to me that a program of universal inoculations presents also many hidden dangers. A sad story of a mass vaccination gone terribly wrong is the one that occurred in 1976 in America, when ‘Swine’ flu vaccinations had to be suspended after the death of numerous people who suffered irreversible adverse effects (Guillian-Barre syndrome); while the feared spread of the virus did not eventuate. At that time Jupiter was in opposition to Neptune! So, we have been warned.
To conclude; yes, the planetary configurations active in 2009 and 2010 could manifest in a pandemic. On the other hand a serious but rather common outbreak of flu could be taken for a plague of biblical proportions, due to the inflating tendency of Jupiter and the deceptive nature of Neptune. We may found ourselves under the spell of prophecy makers who seem to believe in the unavoidable end of the world as we know it.
The media interest in a possible pandemic tends to glamorize the issue and make it look exceptional and dangerous, another Neptune’s effect. The reality is that influenza pandemics are not rare events. In the last five century more than thirty have been recorded. In First World countries one is more likely to suffer serious ill health due to harmful habits and lifestyle, heart diseases, cancer or accidents. Concentrating just on the possible dark side of influenza is part of Neptune’s morbidity. Collectively we are more gullible, fanciful and impressionable. Perhaps we are using this fear of pandemics to distract ourselves from the real threats, like global warming, pollution, man’s inhumanity to man, racism, sexism, inequality etc. To keep a firm grip on reality is more than ever important. In case of a serious outbreak it will be the weak, old and poor of the world who will be more at risk, as usual (see the transits of Saturn, archetype of old people, those of Neptune, archetype of the feeble, those with low immunity and the underdogs, and Chiron, archetype of people with chronic illnesses).
Whatever you do, keep positive; help the planet recover from its many illnesses, because we will all be healthier in a healthier environment. Sky stories are fascinating but can be read in many different ways and the ending is always open to review; it is not a black and white, ready drawn picture. It is partly up to us. Happy transits, everyone.