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Coronavirus: Part 1

Updated: Apr 19, 2020

"When things are shaky and nothing is working,

you might realize that you are on the verge of something.

You might realize that this is a very tender and vulnerable place

and that tenderness can go either way.

You can shut down and feel resentful or

you can touch in on that throbbing quality. "

Pema Chodron

“When will this be over?”

Clients have contacted me over the last weeks with the same question. For many, I hear within their question an underlying desire to know a date for when life will return to normal, so they can get back to doing what they were doing before the virus emerged. I tend to respond by asking, “Do we really want it to return to what it was before?”

"We must be willing to get rid of the life we planned,

to have the life that is waiting for us.

The old skin has to be shed before the new one can come"

Joseph Campbell.

For years, I have heard people yearning for something significant to change within society, with how things work and how our lives interact with the world at large. For this to occur, something had to happen to disrupt the whole mechanism. I could never have imagined the economic engine of the world shutting down overnight. Yet, it has. 8 billion people are having the same conversation. Something unprecedented is happening which correlates to the potential for an unprecedented shift in human awareness and culture.

Human society has been given a ‘time out’. The habitual and automatic way of living has been thwarted and there is a space, a spaciousness to listen and be present. In our lifetime, there has never been a greater moment for a collective paradigm shift. As I contemplate planetary dynamics that are to come, I feel this time is a gift for humanity - a time to pause, to rest, to have the quieting of human activity stir awake something deep within. This is a time of preparation for the transformation of human society that is coming.

What is the opportunity that has presented itself, that was not there before?

This is a fruitful and juicy question, and much more interesting than asking: when will this crisis be over? The astrology of 2020 indicates we are in a extended period of deconstruction and rebuilding. There are many questions and precious few answers to the questions alive within us, such as

  • What will be different when we come out of our homes and engage in social activity?

  • What will happen with the economy, with job security and the ability to meet our expenses?

  • How will the civil unrest and divisions between progressives and conservatives play out?

  • How much will the government and powerful entities use this time opportunity to instill increased measures of control?

  • What will happen with health care, the post office, air travel, the food supply, climate change…?

  • What will I be grieving – the loss of those who suffered and died, the loss of businesses that we counted on, and other potential losses?

  • How do I adapt the changes happening and adjust to what will be needed?

It is likely to be some time before we feel the crisis and the residue of its effects have subsided, and we can finally refer to the coronavirus in the past tense. Planetary alignments indicate that we are not just in for a long haul but an overhaul in the way we live and what we collectively understand as the status quo. Significant shifts are underway that will deter us from returning to life as before. Other than feeling a small measure of comfort in the life before 2020 as at least being familiar, the collective desire has for years been sounding the drum for radical change. Small adjustments that have been made one way or another have not satisfied the cry of humanity. In this landscape of fundamental change, we are called to embrace the unknown and navigate the creation of a new way of living guided by the knowing in our hearts.

Astrology has been an incredible tool for me to glean a larger perspective on current events. Planetary configurations can herald what is on the horizon. For me, there is significance in not only looking ahead but in contemplating what is currently happening with the planets to provide a context and perspective in relation to my experience of what is happening. Coronavirus Part 1 provides this contemplation, helping us to step back and see a bigger picture of what we have been inside of through the last few months.

The planets, in and of themselves, are not ‘doing’ anything to us. Within the wisdom of ‘as above, so below’, the movements of the night sky operate as a mirror. We are in a symbiotic relationship with all creation. It is only in our minds that we perceive ourselves as separate and that there is something outside us doing something to us. The planets show us what is happening and astrologers for millenia have been learning their language to interpret the signs to give words to the message they broadcast through their movements.

The Wisdom of Astrology is a Recognition of Cycles, Cycles of Becoming

To understand a singular planetary configuration, we look to what occurred during the times that configuration occurred at different points in human history. From this, we see patterns. The astrological community has been discussing the current planetary configurations with each other as we all grasp this unprecedented time when more than 1/3 of the world’s population is sheltered at home and a pandemic has swept across the globe. While we all anticipated a great disruption in the status quo of our lives, we could not imagine it would look like what is happening. Who could have predicted the shut down of our modern way of life? And yet, the year's astrology readily points to a pattern that illuminated the potential for a pandemic.

Coronavirus in 2020 –

A Story of Deconstruction to Realign with Our Human Potential

To explain the cosmic drama unfolding

That mirrors the journey simultaneously unfolding for humanity

Let us

See the night sky as a great stage,

and its movements, a cosmic play

That comprises Five Acts.

The planets are the characters.

Their influences and actions tell a story

that reflects our own experience.

A cosmic pageant is unfolding

With complexity and multiple characters.

2020 is an epic story with intensity, intrigue

And has transformative element that is

Effectively catapulting us into the unknown

Where the status quo erodes

So new possibilities can emerge.

The Lead Actors: Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto

These three planetary giants have joined forces, occupying and traveling together in the same section of the sky. The rare and cyclic collaboration of these planets that exemplify Expansion, Manifest Reality and Transformation produces an effect akin to an earthquake. The very ground beneath our feet is shifting. All other action on the stage of the cosmic sky references or supports these main players and their combined agenda.

The Plot:

Our three main players currently reside in the constellation of Capricorn. The territory of Capricorn gives us clues to their agenda. Intense focus is being generously given to testing the integrity and agreements surrounding the structures that define our shared reality. Capricorn is our laws, institutions, governments, financial systems, and social agreements. It is the framework by which we all engage and the combined presence of these three planets heralds a fundamental change for the framework in which modern human society conducts itself. The plot is a story of mounting crisis and resolution to restore balance to the way we govern ourselves, each other and all life.

The Setting:

22 -24 Degrees of the constellation of Capricorn marks the territory in which the cosmic play will be enacted.

Act One: The Set Up (January 2020)

Lead Player: PLUTO

Agent of destruction, loss and rebirth, Pluto inspires transformative change

Since Pluto’s arrival in Capricorn a decade ago, the screws and bolts that hold the status quo together have been loosened. Pluto rules wealth and the resources that lie beneath the surface: oil, gas, coal. The Planet of power and powerlessness, its presence in Capricorn highlights and activates a transformation around the nature of power within society and the use/distribution of resources. Introducing crisis, it draws out the potential for the collective to become better aligned with universal law, where humanity participates in the dance of life through the recognition that all life as sacred. From 2012-2015, when Uranus squared Pluto, there was a destabilizing of the order that defines society. Revolutionary sentiment surged with an increase in social activism and public demonstrations around the globe. The Uranus/Pluto square set the stage for 2020 when Saturn and Jupiter team up with Pluto to move the plot along.

Lead Player: SATURN

Agent of responsibility for what has been created

In Capricorn, Saturn tests the integrity of what has been constructed, in the definitions and agreements we have made for how society operates. Saturn’s arrival in Capricorn two years ago ushered in a time of accountability. The worthiness of leaders and systems are being measured, and their effectiveness or ineffectiveness is being exposed. In some large or small way, we have each assumed leadership and responsibility and we are all being held accountable for what we have created.

If something is found faulty or lacking, restructuring is mandated. If what we are creating is sound, then it is a time of great strides forward and success in our efforts. It is calling each of us to come into our power and to take responsibility for what we bring into the world. There are those that will resist the directive and try to secure their position, seize added power or enact controls to safeguard their position, but over time this will not go well for them. The Saturn/Pluto conjunction becomes a tug of war between those that want to ensure continued benefit from the old system with others who are ready to deconstruct the norms in order to blaze a way to live in harmony with the world based on the care we provide each other.

January 12, 2020

Saturn/Pluto Conjunction at 22 degrees Capricorn

This exact conjunction is the pivotal moment from which the whole year unfolds. Their rendezvous the middle of January at 22 degrees of Capricorn heralded a disruption in the status quo announcing that life is not destined to go on as it has. The conjunction guarantees that a large enough disruption will occur that catapults us into unknown territory as the familiar way of living falls to the side. The union of these two in the sky signals a fundamental change at the heart of the laws and institutions that govern collective movement and interchange. Their presence calls for greater integrity and to act in accord with -not fly in the face of- our inherent role in the dance of life.

Saturn and Pluto both herald endings, and before we see a new order emerge, we will go through an unsettling process of deconstruction, loss and uncertainty. This major conjunction on January 12 was akin to a rock being dropped in the middle of a pond. The initial splash ripples out and further out unsettling the whole pond of humanity. It is the striking of the first domino that initiates a chain reaction.

January 11 is the date of the first reported fatality of Coronavirus - in effect, the first domino. China had announced its first case on December 31, yet in the week following the first fatality many of world’s leaders received briefings with scientists outlining potential scenarios for how the virus would spread. The virus had announced itself as the catalyzing agent for the disruption, deconstruction, and transformation portended by the Saturn/Pluto conjunction in Capricorn.

Lead Supporting Player: ERIS

Agent of Disruption

Center stage at 22 Capricorn, Saturn, Pluto, Mercury, Ceres, Chariklo and the Sun have come together for a big ol’ Capricorn party. For the entire year, Eris stands at the corner of this stage. At 23 Aries, Eris squares the convention of planets in Capricorn, creating a stressful relationship between her and them. She is in effect, not invited to the party, but crashes it, introducing the catalyzing elements that unravels order. Eris is characterized as destructive and reveling in chaos. Yet her actions are not without purpose. They are motivated by a sense of poetic justice, a compulsion to right a wrong that can restore a balance that was lost.

Eris was discovered in 2005, in the nether regions of our solar system, beyond Pluto. She has been dubbed the 10th planet in our solar system, but officially she is given a less lofty status as a dwarf planet. With a 560-year orbit around the sun, she moves at a glacial pace. Hovering at 23 degrees Aries throughout 2020, Eris is a constant presence in the year’s cosmic play as she continually squares off with the center stage players: Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto.

Eris is the Greek Goddess of Discord, renowned for being the trigger point that ignited the Trojan War. Once upon a time there was a wedding that took place in Greece. All that gods were invited, except Eris. Feeling shunned and excluded, she crashed the party. She didn’t make a big scene. She simply stepped into the banquet hall and offered her gift - an apple that was labeled: for the fairest. Three Olympian goddesses each believed the apple was a gift for her and so a contest between these fair goddesses lead to a 10-year war. The apple was the rock whose splash rippled out to effect everything in its path.

Her gift in 2020 is the virus – an apple with a different label. Perhaps its label reads: for what is most valued. The debate over the value of a human life, of sustaining life on the planet, of the economy, of science, of human connection…is creating a shit storm. Her gift is perfectly designed to highlight the weaknesses in our modern way of living and instigate a chaos intended to restore a balance by having us recover something that has been lost.

Cameo Appearances: CHARIKLO AND CERES

Agents of Compassion and Care

Ceres, a dwarf planet and Centaur Chariklo found themselves center stage January 12 grouped in a tight conjunction with Pluto, Saturn, and Mercury. Their presence broadcast nurturance and kindness as a way to find one's grounding, one's bearings. Both these celestial bodies emanate feminine strength. On this pivotal day, Ceres reminded us to extend care to all we love, especially our planet. She drew our attention to our food supply and consideration for the well-being of our planet and all who live on it as an integral part of the year's focus.

Chariklo brought a stillness and the power of witnessing. Her superpower is in her loving presence, not her actions. Amid turmoil, Chariklo faces the storm without flinching, not shaken or thrown off balance. She is a gentle and yet powerful reminder that witnessing may be a powerful and effective action in a crisis. It is not weakness or cowardice, but takes great fortitude and strength to be a witness as a powerful medium to transmute confusion and fear into healing and resolution.

"Destiny is not something over which you seek to take control......

learn to dance with it...

lead it across the dance floor of time."

Alberto Villoldo.

A Global Meditation on April 4

An announcement spread wide and far for one million people around the globe to meditate at the exact moment of the first Jupiter/Pluto conjunction, a potent moment for fueling our intentions and our experience. Wanting to support this bold initiative, I took part. However, I felt uncomfortable with how part of the meditation was framed. Everyone was invited to collectively visualize the virus disappearing from our planet. While this was noble, it may have been misguided. Yes, of course, I want to see an end to the pandemic. I do not want to see anyone fall victim or suffer because of the virus, see the strain on hospital personnel, or the stress it is putting on our economy.

Simultaneously. I cannot help but recognize that the virus has been an agent, an apple, that led to worldwide shut down, gifting humanity a pause in activity. The meditation was in effect telling the virus it was uninvited. We can easily understand why the Greeks did not invite Eris to a wedding feast. Who invites Discord to their wedding nuptials? And yet, discord and chaos are part of the natural order. For centuries, as human’s have worked to control nature and keep chaos at bay, we have distanced ourselves from chaos, from the living world, from our own nature. Her presence reminds us we need to embrace her gift, not push chaos away because it is uncomfortable, scary, or painful.

"The work we do on ourselves,

whether it is psychological or spiritual,

is not meant to get rid of the waves in the ocean of life

but for us to learn how to surf."

Ken Wilber

What if the virus is not the enemy, but a gift? Yes, the cost for this gift is great. But if we don’t make room for it, we may be inviting greater wrath from goddess of Discord. Chances are we have batted away her gifts over the years, thinking we can keep Eris at bay, and so the disruption needed to restore balance needed to be as great as the imbalance humanity has created. To welcome her gift, is to welcome the opportunity to wake up from a global hypnotic spell that has us destroying our home and our humanity in the name of racing after material security and control over uncertainty. And still, we can take appropriate actions to stay at home, wash our hands, social distance and boost our immune system. During the April 4 global meditation, I opted to voice a prayer that we learn the lessons the virus has to show us so that we experience the least amount suffering possible.

Act Two: Moving the Plot Forward. (March / April 2020)

Supporting Player: MARS

Agent of Battle and Dynamic Action

Mars is not typically spoken of as a major planet when looking at planetary transits. As a faster moving planets, its transits typically last a week or so and its effects more fleeting. However, in 2020 it will be retrograde from September 7 to November 13 and occupying Aries in the night sky for 8 months. Because of this, it emerges as a key supporting player.

March 18-24 Mars came center stage joining Jupiter and Pluto. The fire and passion of Mars served to fan the flames of the virus during the period of time that the virus spread like fire around the globe. Mars fueled the desire for battle, naming the virus an enemy and Trump declared himself a wartime president. For those who feel unduly restrained at home or are uncomfortable without their habitual distractions and activities, their frustration begins to fuel violent or rash impulses.

Mars returns in the fall, during its retrograde period, to form a hard aspect to Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto. This dynamic shows the potential for a resurgence of the virus. More on Mars’ role later in the year will be discussed in Part 2 (the next blog).

March 22: Saturn enters Aquarius

People worldwide Stay at Home

Saturn brings restriction and boundaries.

Aquarius, an air sign, rules the internet and worldwide connection, social connection and isolation, technological advancement and humanitarian vision.

Saturn in Aquarius thus brings restriction to ‘air’ and all Aquarius exemplifies.

As Saturn moved into Aquarius, air travel became restricted as an illness spread that restricted the oxygen flow of the lung’s airways. Stay at Home was implemented in countries around the globe. This led to increased online connection coupled with an increased feeling of isolation. We felt ourselves a global community while also seeing an increased bolstering of international borders, regionalism between states and differences between countries emphasized.

Saturn will be in Aquarius through 2022 (except for a brief return to Capricorn from July to December this year). We will contemplate issues of isolation and what connects us to each other. As Aquarius rules both technology and humanitarian vision, there is a dynamic tension that challenges us to utilize technological advancement to not mechanize humanity but to enliven the Aquarian ideal of serving the soul and heart of all people.

Lead Player: JUPITER

Agent of Expansion

Jupiter entered Capricorn the end of December and has slowly made its way to join the transformation party happening center stage at 22 – 24 degrees Capricorn. As a lead player, it enters our story in the Second Act, arriving on the scene to fuel what is already underway. The agent of Expansion, Jupiter serves to inflate, even exaggerate, what is already happening. The leap in the numbers of reported cases and deaths from the virus correspond to the days that Jupiter arrived center stage and joined forces with Pluto.

Simultaneously, Jupiter brings vision, leadership and innovation which is why the April 4 date for a meditation was a powerful moment to provide a collective prayer. Its presence can introduce a new approach, a way to move that was previously not seen. The shadow of Jupiter her can exacerbate arrogance and pomposity in leadership that leads to overconfidence in a vision or knowing of how to best move the crisis to resolution.

April 4, June 29 and Nov 12 - Three times Pluto and Jupiter is in Exact Conjunction

The week of the April 4 correlates to the spike in reported coronavirus cases worldwide. Its close proximity and alignment with Pluto throughout 2020 indicates that we may see a resurgence of the virus when the two pair up later this year. Their conjunction also promises to bring to the surface hidden truths and revelations about what is going on behind closed doors. As their pairing fuels progressive vision and the grab for power and control, there is a tug of war between those who want to line their own pockets and protect their own interests versus those who have a vision of compassion, respect and sustainability for all that all our planet home.

A Pattern of Pandemics is Easily Identified when Saturn or Jupiter is conjunct Pluto

A Saturn/Pluto conjunction occurs every 34 – 48 years and a Jupiter/Pluto conjunction happens every 13 or 14 years.

Historic pandemics such as the Black Death (or Bubonic Plague) where an estimated 200 million died and the 1771 Russian Flu which at its peak claimed 1,000 lives a day both happened during a Jupiter/Pluto in conjunction in Capricorn.

The 1819 Cholera Epidemic in Asia/Europe, The 1851 Cholera and Yellow Fever Epidemics in North America, the 1883 Cholera Pandemic (Asia/Europe), the 1947 Polio Epidemic in the U.S. and the 1982 outbreak of the AIDs epidemic each occurred during a Pluto/Saturn conjunction.

In the U.S., frequent references have been made to the 1918 Spanish Flu as the last world pandemic. This pandemic began in 1915 when Saturn and Pluto were conjunct and became a pandemic with the 1918 Jupiter/Pluto conjunction in Cancer. Cancer is the sign of families. The death toll devastated families.

2020’s Jupiter/Pluto conjunction is in Capricorn. It is designed to disrupt business as usual. It’s target is on rocking the boat of economic, financial and dynamics of governance. Keeping in mind the initial agenda of the 2020 astrological cosmic plot line, the pandemic has been a means to disrupt the status quo, halt business as usual, and effect a deep shift in the way we live, work and socialize as human beings.

"Some of us think holding on makes us strong

But sometimes it is letting go."

Herman Hesse

Both Saturn and Pluto usher in endings. They can herald the loss of lives and have a way of taking the pruning shears to what we may believe has value but is no longer serves us. In a culture that rewards continuous growth and expansion, times of contraction inspire fear. We can easily forget that endings are never final. They are doorways to new beginnings. Just as we prune a rose bush so that future growth is assured, we can welcome a time of contraction as part of the natural cycle of life and renewed life. Our job is to lean into the pause, the inactivity. It is a time of emptying out so we can receive something new. If we are full of activity, full of ourselves, full with dreams and plans, the miracle that awaits has no room to enter our life. There is an opening up for each one of us through this crisis that awaits us if we are not hellbent on getting back to something known and familiar, if we can welcome the unknown and a potential that is not yet visible or definable.

May you awaken to the mystery of being here and enter the quiet immensity of your own presence. May you have joy and peace in the temple of your senses. May you receive great encouragement when new frontiers beckon. May you respond to the call of your gift and find the courage to follow its path. May the flame of anger free you from falsity. May warmth of heart keep your presence aflame and may anxiety never linger about you. May your outer dignity mirror an inner dignity of soul. May you take time to celebrate the quiet miracles that seek no attention. May you be consoled in the secret symmetry of your soul. May you experience each day as a sacred gift woven around the heart of wonder. - John O'Donohue

Act 3 – 5 of the Coronavirus Story which takes place from May to December will be discussed in the next blog: Coronavirus Part 2. Coming Soon.


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1 Comment

Gina Roberts
Gina Roberts
Apr 20, 2020

Loved this reflection, Olivia. It rings so true for me every word you've uttered. Beautifully written too! Thank you! Miss seeing you about Durham.

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