These are my notes from a talk i gave for at the Women’s Art Institute for the Pink Hats on January 30 2020. I decided to post it without much editing because the year will be over by the time i get to proper editing… and i don’t expect many people actually read things that are only words and no pictures. . .
Astrology is a universal language. Every culture has some version of it. Astrologers are translators of this language. When people ask me to talk about the history of astrology I like to say, we stood up, we looked up and astrology came into being.
The essential astrological view is ‘as above, so below’. Astrologers look at the apparent movement of the sun, moon and stars around the earth and use it as a way, a context in which to understand what we experience down here on earth. You can think of it as a great circle or a mandala. Carl Jung saw the mandala or great circle as an organizing principle for the human psyche. Life is cyclical yet events are random. To allow ourselves to contemplate life through a mandala helps us to understand ourselves and the world around us. Astrology is a cosmic mandala.
Down through history, try as they might, astrology has never left the awareness of humans. As long as the sun rises and sets, the moon waxes and wanes and the planets, the wanderers, appear and disappear at different times of the year, and as long as the shadow of the sun hits the stone on solstices and equinoxes we will have astrology.
It’s an awesome way to look at the year.
Diving into 2020:
Thus far, into the first month of the year, I think we can say that 2020 is a bit scary. Already we have had the assassination in Iran, the destruction of the plane and the innocent people on it, the fires burning out of control. Even the seismic activity on the planet. Not to mention the uneasy feeling of climate changes – not to mention the possibility of a pandemic. We might want to run for cover, but there is really no place to run. So we might as well con-sider. Con means ‘with’, sider means ‘star’…
A good way to proceed through this material is to first take a bird’s eye view. To step back as if we are studying the situation from outside. As if we are from another planet perhaps. Astrologers do this as a matter of course.
Our astrological mandala is rich with layers of different cycles we can consider for our investigation.
Most outstanding when looking at 2020 is the Jupiter/Saturn conjunction. Called the great conjunction. Then there is the Saturn/Pluto conjunction. These wider cycles (wider than a day or a month or even a year) help us to see things through a wider social/political perspective.
Jupiter/Saturn: HERE Every 20 years. But also every 200 years. We happen to be fortunate enough to be standing on the cusp of one great age ending and another beginning. So there is the 20 year conjunction but also the 200 year passage. We can also throw in the notion of the Age of Aquarius. That is a 24,000 year cycle. It’s a big year.
Jupiter and Saturn live between the personal planets (name them) and the transpersonal planets (name them). They are the interface between our personal lives and the cosmic forces that sweep through culture. The trends. Therefore they are seen as indicators of social, cultural, political and economic realities.
For the last 200 years or so these conjunctions have mostly been in earth signs. (There are always a few exceptions toward the end of the 200 years when it happens in the next element.) You might see the earth period as the rise in capitalism and the increasing appetite to treat the earth and her resources as things to use. Rape. I don’t think humans have done well with this cycle because we have allowed greed and ambition on a personal level to dominate this rise. That is my opinion of course. Earth element has everything to do with how we use and misuse our resources. (Nobody gets to blame a particular generation here in the sense that we are one, evolving species and many misuse resources there are many others doing their best to alter the trajectory and still are. it’s a tension that never lets up. So millennials don’t get to point at baby boomers or vice versa. We all have our generational mandate and we live into it as best we can.)
The last conjunction in earth signs was in 2000. The next one, the air segment, begins on December 21, 2020.
Significant for our investigation is that in 2000 this conjunction was in Taurus (earth) and made a stressful aspect to Uranus which was in Aquarius (air). The next conjunction is in zero degrees of Aquarius (air) and it will make the same stressful aspect to Uranus which is in Taurus (earth). This looks to the astrological eye like bookends.
Uranus is a chaotic planet and the ‘ruler’ of Aquarius (along with Saturn as they fight for it). It is the bringer of revolution and revelation. It was discovered at the beginning of the industrial revolution, in the time of the American and French revolutions. It’s the planet of the people, the great chaotic swarm of people, the collective. In 2018 it entered Taurus for the first time since 1940s indicating the transition from the great depression to the boom in mass produced food and products etc. Uranus in Taurus is most definitely about the upheavals of the earth, the fires floods earthquakes etc.
We might take this to suggest that these 40 years from the conjunction in 2000 to the end of the period of the conjunction coming are chaotic, unbalanced and full of the changes we must deal with as we enter the Age of Aquarius. There is no precise date for that cusp but I think we are in the transition. And for reasons I won’t deal with here I think we began in the 1960s. when a year is 24,000 years long a day might be 100 years…
So we are looking as socio economic chaos which is really change, up close and a little too personal.
Cycle number 2 for 2020 is the conjunction of Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn that was exact on January 12th. I think the exact date is not as important as the fact that it was there at the beginning of the year. it is like a seed that will sprout and grow over the year.
Last time was AIDS the time before was partitions: India Pakistan, Israel/Palestine. The general carving of the world’s borders post WWII. Havoc.
This time it is the crisis in leadership. The impeachment farce. The steady move toward totalitarianism. (All Capricorn things.) We see it, feel it and seems as though there is very little we can do to stop it. Underlying is the transformation (Pluto) of hierarchy (Saturn) into sustainability (also a Capricorn keyword). I think in this year we probably won’t see the kind of change we need. Capricorn itself is going through a massive reinterpretation. The dominator version suggests that the entrenchment of the hierarchies of government and industry will hold as tightly as can be to their structures even in the face of food shortages, migration and climate change changing the very ground on which we stand. And the virus! Pluto, however is relentless.
Pluto entered Capricorn in 2008, just in time for the subprime mortgage crisis, riveting our attention to the rot in the financial accountability corner. It will be there, after Saturn and Jupiter leave, until around 2025.
People born with Saturn Pluto do not trust hierarchy. They are sort of allergic to the misuses of power. Although some become the problem.
Tucked away in the Saturn Pluto journey is Jupiter which joined them in Capricorn on December 2, 2019. Jupiter will be in Capricorn for most of 2020. Jupiter moves faster than the other two and so can kick things into play. Like a vulture, picking through the leavings Jupiter will show us what to use and what to discard if we are willing to see. Those who are blindly attached to the status quo will use the Jupiter energies to inflate their positions.
Integrating this cycle of Saturn, Pluto and Jupiter will take some doing for individuals. The old fear too much change. The young resent that they don’t have as many opportunities as they were led to believe they would have. Those in the middle are aghast at what they are expected to accomplish. Jupiter accelerates the transition we are in as if it is saying, there isn’t time to fear or resent or even to be overwhelmed. This time is for figuring out what to use and what to leave. Pressure. We all feel it.
So now we have the overarching cycle of the Great conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn. As well as the slightly lesser conjunction of Saturn and Pluto happening in 2020. It is possible to divide the year into three segments. The first being about the density of Capricorn themes with 3 planets there. To add to the intensity a fourth planet, Mars will join with them from ? to ? when it, too will travel through Capricorn. Mars is energy, for better and for worse. It’s the warrior as well as the terrorist (one man’s warrior is another man’s terrorist…)
March – July, 2020. This part of the year is largely about the air element. It has been sorely lacking in the heavens so it might be a good thing. Air is rational, communication oriented, but it is also detached and theoretical to a fault at times. Still it is about understanding the big ideas.
Saturn will enter Aquarius on March 21st for its first dip in a new sign and Venus will be retrograde in May-June. Both these events are in air signs. As you already know we are headed to a 200 year journey through air so this is a glimpse, probably of the work that will have to be done to make air work. Air is the mind, all communications, the way we think. The planetary picture has been weak in air for a while. Look what we have done with communication! By monetizing the net, or allowing it to become mostly a commodity, a source for making or spending vast sums of money. In so allowing that to happen we have missed or misplaced the potential of air. We might say that this is because we have allowed earth to dominate in its lowest form: All the abuses of privilege, entitlement, colonization. It has been said and rightly so, that the latest frontier of colonization is the colonization of the mind. (podcast by Rushkoff. Once we get going on the air front that will become a greater source of conflict. I think we are still reeling with the enormity of it in 2020. The lies, the algorithms that control our children not to mention their parents and grandparents as well as their teachers…
Saturn in Aquarius especially at the start when Mars will conjunct it (date) gives us a glimpse of the challenges. The need for responsible leadership around these things. Aquarius is about knowledge, archives, libraries. But until Jupiter joins it in December it’s an idea whose time does not quite come.
Venus is the planet of love, beauty, art and desire. At the deepest level Venus tells us about our values. In Gemini she is flirtatious and whimsical. Here is charm but also deceit. She aligns with the trickster.
During the retrograde period (May 13 – June 25) we will need to be careful what we believe about what we hear. Are we to be manipulated because we want to believe rather than that we should. We might be (even more) overwhelmed with lies (undoubtedly worse for Americans leading up to USA election).
I divide this Venus period into two parts. The first part is the descent of the most beautiful evening star. (May 13th – June 3) The goddess making her way to the underworld. (a religious cult also referred to as mystery religion, for 3000 years… some cult) only to be killed and hung out to rot. But inevitably rescued, in the way of the astrological dance, to return as the morning star. Determined to get where she is going, to retrieve what belongs to her, but only if it matters.
This is a time for all of us, each of us to look at the lies we tell ourselves. The distractions that eat away at the things we know matter and to follow the clues to the things we really want to learn or think about. The issue of how the internet corrals us into seeing what we already believe is of great interest here. Gemini is about gossip, curiosity, the messenger. How is it we feel (and act) as if we have no control over which rabbit we chase down the rabbit hole? Curiouser and curiouser says Alice.
The last period to watch in 2020 is from August – December and it is dominated by Mars. By this time Saturn will have returned for its last fling in Capricorn. So we will have the three together again. Mars, the warrior or and the terrorist will enter its own sign of Aries and inhabit the territory of the retrograde from July 26th – January 4, 2021 (although it will only actually be retrograde from September 9th – November 13th). It will make challenging aspects to the Capricorn planets. Very challenging. Remember that in the first part of the year these planets are about the entrenchment of the status quo. Now, as the US election draws near, there is a lot of Aries (the anger of individuals. Or, if not anger simply energy) aimed in a challenging way at Capricorn. Anger? Identity? Aries raise your hand. The core issue of Aries is to actualize the self, the identity of the individual. To be able to say, ‘I AM’. Aimed at the use and misuses of power. This could easily be about too many having too little in the face of too few having too much.
On one hand we can say it’s about the election in USA but from a purely astrological perspective it is the lead up to the Grand conjunction of December 21, 2020 which takes us forward, one more step into the Age of Aquarius.
There are so many, too many things which undermine democracy, starting with the lack of fairness. The injustice of the fact that 1/3 of people in prison in Canada for example are indigenous.
Even as economic growth continues the gap between who benefits and what it costs those at the bottom widens and trust in the system weakens. And of course there are those who see, loud and clear that economic growth endangers life on the planet. This is beyond the notion of paradox. It’s a recipe for chaos but it’s also an indication of the need for change.
It’s about racism and the legacy of colonization and slavery. It’s about women’s rights. The difficulty our civilization seems to have in acknowledging that women are in fact human, too. We fear the handmaid’s tale. As the sense of outrage grows Mars is the perfect symbol of that. Mars loves a good fight and in its own sign is essentially fearless. It may seem wild and unpredictable to those who have some sense of balance in our lives. This period of the year may be marked by eruptions of anger, righteous or otherwise.
And then, of course we get to Saturn Jupiter conjunction (square Uranus) and away we go into 2021.
It may be a social reality that the murky foundation of democracy requires slavery or at least haves and have nots. The industrial revolution strengthened this as it eroded the notion of the commons. But the agricultural revolution was worse! Or the beginning of it all.
Check out Noam Chomsky Requiem for the American dream. On UTube.
By 2025 all the outer planets will have morphed into yang signs.
Personal look at 2020