John Hopkins Univ. Dashboard (as of Mar 17, 2020)
Since our global situation is moving fast and the risks are high, it's worth doing a bit of real-time sensemaking to help contextualize our current moment by grounding it in some archetypal trends.
Let's start with the backdrop of the Saturn-Pluto transit and some first principles and build up the narrative from there. Then bring in Jupiter and see where we are today. Then bring in Mars and look at the coming month.
It seems to be a pretty common sentiment that 2019 was a rough year for many people and that 2020 so far has felt like an overwhelming onslaught. Given Saturn's tough hand intensified by Pluto's penchant for extremity, this is "as it should be." As odd as that is to both say and hear, at first glance.
In the words of Liz Greene, Saturn is a "symbol of the psychic process, natural to all human beings, by which an individual may utilize the experience of pain, restriction, and discipline as a means for greater consciousness and fulfillment." In other words, Saturn is "connected with the educational value of pain."
Key Timing Takeaway: We are in a rapidly changing pandemic situation, where myopic focus on day-to-day adaptation and survival is the name of the game. The choices we make today, tomorrow, next week, and next month will have unusually significant consequences for ourselves, our loved ones, and our fellow humans. Yet the underlying archetypal patterning that gives rise to this intense situation will continue to be active through the remainder of 2020. So it is also useful to prepare for the long haul, so to speak, and consider the possibility that this situation may prolong for several months.
Pluto & The Wild Power of Nature
It is useful to recall the primordial conditions from which we evolved and bring them into sharp focus. Nature "red in tooth and claw," with its merciless competition of selective pressures, savage violence and brutality, and ruthless killing off of the weak in the herd, is our primary evolutionary environment. Civilization and civilized culture as an emergent phenomenon is an hard-won, privileged, and fragile exception. Further, the last several decades of relative peacetime can be rightly considered as an outstanding anomaly in the grand scheme of things.
Pluto symbolizes these primordial conditions. That which precedes our polite cultural norms, our sense of morality, of what kind of behavior is right and wrong within the context of a civilized society. It is the deep and dark abyss, wholly outside our enlightened conceptions, ever churning and broiling, threatening to devour and destroy.
Key Takeaway: The SARS-CoV-2 virus, which likely originated from wild bats as host carriers and hopped species into humans at Wuhan's crowded wild game markets, has Pluto's signature reminder all over it.
Saturn, Senex, Separation & Solitude
Let's take a moment to explore the style of Saturnian consciousness and the archetype of the senex (Latin for old age) at its core to better understand how it manifests in a bias toward separation and a preference for solitude. In the words of James Hillman:
"Moreover, the main image of God in our culture: omniscient, omnipotent, eternal, seated and bearded, a ruler through abstract principle of justice, morality and order, a faith in words yet not given to self-explanation in speech, benevolent but enraged when his will is crossed, removed from the feminine (wifeless) and the sexual aspect of creation, up high with a geometric world of stars and planets in the cold and distant night of numbers -- this image depicts a senex god, a god imaged through the senex archetype."
In being eternally preoccupied with cosmic order -- how it can continually be brought about and sustained -- lines must be drawn and structure must be imposed, again and again, upon an effervescent and unruly chaos. The act of delineation, of drawing a boundary, of division between, creates the essential threshold condition within an unacceptably undefinable unity.
It is with this metaphysical act of defining divinity that the preconditions for individuality are given physical form. Again James Hillman, "The idea of a self, an enclosed and individual proprium, requires boundary and boundary is made by the senex."
This archetypal image lives on as the impulse to discern and define, to separate known from unknown and self from not-self, and to prefer to solely inhabit the comfortable known self to the exclusion of the uncomfortable unknown not-self.
Key Takeaway: The many public health advisories for "social distancing", "self-isolating", "not shaking hands", and "washing your hands" are all about withdrawing and accentuating boundary conditions. Whether interpersonally between people, or biologically on the surface of the skin.
Saturn-Pluto & Draconian Quarantine
In summary, we have a Plutonic deadly infection vector that has entered human society, requiring a precautionary and vigilant Saturnian response. Yet, advisories for voluntary social distancing is not an effective enough countermeasure to address the virulency of the contagion. So, Plutonic and Draconian extremes of Saturnian and authoritarian restriction must be imposed across entire populations: quarantine.
Below is the full Saturn-Pluto world transit again (2019-2021). Next we'll be zooming in to the first half of 2020 to show Jupiter's impact.
To recap a brief timeline of events:
- Jan 2019: Saturn & Pluto enter within 10 degree conjunction.
- Nov 17, 2019: the first case of COVID-19 is detected in Wuhan, China.
- Jan 12, 2020: the Saturn-Pluto conjunction reaches exactitude.
- Jan 23, 2020: China puts the city of Wuhan under quarantine.
- Jan 30, 2020: W.H.O. declares the outbreak a "public health emergency of international concern."
- Jan 31, 2020: Jupiter enters within 10 degrees of Pluto.
- Feb 15, 2020: Jupiter enters within 10 degrees of Saturn.
- Mar 08, 2020: Italy quarantines the Lombardy region.
- Mar 09, 2020: Italy imposes national quarantine.
- Mar 11, 2020: W.H.O. characterizes COVID-19 as a pandemic.
- Mar 13, 2020: U.S declares the COVID-19 outbreak a national emergency.
- Mar 17, 2020: Today.
Below is a dual timeline comparison, from Jan 2020 - June 2020. The top timeline shows the increase of total COVID-19 cases worldwide. The bottom timeline shows the transit exactitudes among the triple conjunction. Of particular note is Jupiter's ingress (in orange) in tandem with the rapid spread of cases worldwide.
Jupiter symbolizes expansion and growth, the tendency to synthesize together into greater wholes, and is generally considered beneficial. Although, within the context of Saturn-Pluto and the foothold of a COVID-19 epidemic, which is by definition geographically limited, Jupiter's inflationary influence exacerbates the unfortunate situation into a worldwide pandemic.
Important Note: All one can takeaway from the above dual timeline comparison is that there appears to be a provisional correlation between Jupiter's ingress into the triple conjunction and the escalation of COVID-19 cases worldwide. It is unclear how close the trend will remain, and it is unlikely that there will continue to be a direct 1:1 ratio. The correlation is synchronistic, not causal.
For added perspective, here is the traditional horoscope view of the Saturn-Pluto-Jupiter conjunction:
This concludes the sensemaking exercise and situational assessment of our current moment. Now, what to do about it? How best to respond?
Given the archetypal-astrological assumption that there are gods operating in the soul of the world -- with specific intent and agendas, modes of being and characteristics, unique telos -- how can we be advised?
- Focus on practical, realistic solutions.
- Stay grounded and sober, remain calm and steady.
- Exercise discernment and scrutiny with your information sources.
- Take on responsibility, bear what burdens you can.
- Be careful, fear is a "wisdom of the body."
- Do the right thing, take a stand.
Now is not the time for lofty idealism, idle speculation, panicking, paranoid conspiracy, extravagant luxury indulgences, reckless or negligent behavior.
- Trial by fire is a purification.
- Allow this moment to strip away your masks.
- There is unfathomable power to be unleashed within you.
- It will probably hurt, but you can and will overcome this.
It is futile to cling to your superficialities, your games of playing small, and who you think you are. You are becoming, and it's happening.
- There is always hope, and cause for optimism.
- You are the descendant of an unbroken lineage of ancestors, victorious despite the ravages of the world.
- You got this.
Do not let the weight of the world get you down, this too shall pass.
In addition to the Saturn-Pluto-Jupiter triple conjunction, Mars has ingressed and upped the ante to a quadruple conjunction.
Some possible manifestations:
- Now is the time to take decisive action to "flatten the curve."
- Being alert and ready makes for quick adaptation to rapidly changing conditions.
- Courage and encouragement is needed to adequately face what's already here and what's fast coming.
- Agitation, irritation, inflammation, and frustration are all likely.
- If supply chains and economic conditions continue to break down, there's a real possibility of violence.
These are exceptionally consequential times. Be safe out there!