The Astrology of 2020: Deconstruct, Struggle, Rebuild.These Dark Times, According to The Cosmos
It’s nearly impossible not to slip into deep feelings of despair around the world’s ills. But when times are especially dark, as they have been throughout 2020, if we consider the higher messages provided to us in the patterns of The Cosmos, we can shift to a healthier and much more enlightened perspective, finding reassurance in the knowledge that these dark times are meant to unfold just as they are.
Current cosmological patterns confirm that we are experiencing an intensely difficult period of global, national, and personal transformation, and through these experiences 2020 is opening wide a major gateway on our road to the higher awareness and collective awakening promised with the Age of Aquarius.
Let’s consider how some of the major cosmological placements and patterns of 2020 can be interpreted, to help us understand our place in human history and reassure us that we’re on the intended course.
First, the retrogrades. I understand retrogrades of transiting planets to be about reassessment, reconsideration, and gaining new perspective. A retrograde planet’s backward motion is apparent rather than actual, and in this way, too, during a time of significant planetary retrograde, we experience a significant change in the way we see and understand things. Each planet goes retrograde on a fairly regular cycle and sends its own message when it does.
Venus (relationships; what and who we love and value) is retrograde about every 18 months and the retrograde period lasts for about 40 days. Of all the planets in our solar system, Venus spends the least amount of time retrograde, so astrologers pay attention when it happens. During a Venus retrograde period, we reassess and gain a new perspective on what and who we value. This year, Venus was retrograde from May 13 to June 25. The May 25 killing of George Floyd set off world-wide Black Lives Matter rallies, engaging us in graphic and deep reassessment of who and what we value. During this time, our nation experienced a shift in perspective on systemic racism and white privilege.
A formidable trio went retrograde in mid-May and remains so through mid-September, when Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto each are not only retrograde but conjunct (within a few degrees of) each other in the sign of Capricorn (structure, foundation, containment, responsibility, authority, achievement). The Saturn-Pluto conjunction alone, discussed below, brings powerful struggle and transformation through cycles of crisis. When Jupiter joins these forces, its archetypal essence brings expansion and magnification of the crisis and attention to moral and philosophical ideals. On the negative side, though, as philosopher and historian Richard Tarnas describes in his 2006 book, Cosmos and Psyche, Intimations of a New World View, “Jupiter is connected with the tendency toward excess, inflation, extravagance, overconcern with wealth and status, self-indulgence, complacency, overconfidence, and sense of personal superiority.” Hmm, does any of this make you think of a very recent political convention? Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto together in Capricorn bring a period of magnified fear, destruction (rioting, looting, the taking down of monuments to slavery) and deconstruction (the call to demilitarize police, the dismantling of our postal system, the unveiling of weaknesses in our governmental systems), feelings of strict containment and restriction (social distancing, masks), feelings of guilt and shame (white privilege, white fragility, wedding-shaming), deep struggle, immense power struggle (law and order, left vs. right, masker—or “mask-hole” as I’ve recently been called—vs. non-masker) and ultimately regeneration, reconstruction, and rebirth. Yes, rebirth!
Just over the course of two months, we saw Pluto, Saturn, Venus, Jupiter, asteroid Pallas, Mercury, and Neptune all turn retrograde. This is not at all a usual occurrence, and it was, in fact, quite intense.
In the USA and across the world, we’ve experienced these intense and dark energies for several months, and just in case you haven’t had enough yet: they will strengthen considerably through November, just in time for Election Day. Mars entered Aries on June 28 (following the Mars in Pisces’ sense of “restless confusion” many of us felt during the later weeks of lockdown), and then goes retrograde from September 9 through November 14. The assertion and action-orientation of Mars, ruled by impatient, warrior Aries, will be extra intense. In retrograde, even more so. It will be intensely intense. During this period of time (9/9-11/14), we’ll have an innate sense that our very survival depends on taking bold, new initiative. It’ll be the time to blaze new trails. We can anticipate that protesters, anti-protesters, and other warrior-activists will engage instinctively and in full force—and, very importantly, this intense Aries Mars retrograde energy will lead us further on our way toward gaining new perspective as a country. New initiatives are a very likely outcome of Mars in Aries; but in retrograde, they will not come without a battle, and most likely an angry, difficult one.
Interestingly, through cosmological cycles, evolutionary themes are picked up where they left off the last time through. Pluto represents destruction, profound transformation, the underworld, the unconscious, and shadow. With its 248-year orbit, Pluto is again in the sign of Capricorn for the first time since the American Revolutionary War period. At that time, Pluto entered Capricorn in 1762 and completed its final full year in Capricorn in 1777 with the
Continental Congress’ adoption of the Articles of Confederation, the first constitution of the United States, on November 15, 1777. This was the time when the USA was constructing (Capricorn) itself as a nation. As a country, we now find ourselves re-examining what we stand for, questioning our governmental infrastructure, and facing the shadow of our nation’s past: the dark truth of our founding at a time when enslavement of people was legal; our establishment on lands we gained through the massacre of indigenous peoples; our serious examination of the efficacy of our electoral system, our healthcare system, our education systems, and our criminal justice system; our skepticism and distrust of authority; our president’s claim to law and order. These are all qualities of stern, structured, and demanding Capricorn—powerfully intensified now through Plutonian energy.
Of particular significance in 2020 has been the Saturn-Pluto conjunction, which was exact in January. We will continue to feel this powerful energy all year. This alignment occurs every 31 to 38 years. Saturn (Cronos) represents chronological time, restriction, authority, and structure. With a strong Saturn influence in our lives, time can feel like it’s slowing down. When Pluto and Saturn join forces, they bring a period of extreme crisis which leads to profound transformation and rebirth. Day by day in 2020, we are witnessing our own transformational crises globally and nationally. We’ve witnessed the transformation (Pluto) that comes with COVID lockdown limits (Saturn) on travel and the clearing of skies! Talk about regeneration! Individually, as these two planets transit the house/s where Capricorn manifests in our own natal charts, we experience a period of personal crisis and, ultimately, transformation. The more we can be present and recognize the larger potential that presents itself along with the struggle, the greater our achievement.
Uranus plays an “unnatural” but critical role at this 2020 time of crisis. This planet’s energy is like that of Aquarius in its quest for liberating, humanitarian change, and usually with a strong sense of urgency. Uranus’ risk-taking influences have led to the rise of rebellions and liberations. In the worst scenario, as we’re witnessing now, it can encourage dictatorship. What’s especially intriguing, though, is that in 2019 Uranus entered the sign of Taurus, whose energy is anything but urgent, and there it will remain until 2026. Uranus is considered to be in its “fall” in Taurus; it behaves in a way that is unnatural to it. Taurus energy is slow. It is oriented around values, and it is motivated to act only when the action aligns with its values. As I see it, then, Uranus in Taurus takes risks that are worth taking, and when a planet in Taurus takes action, its perseverance is unparalleled. I see this in the mostly-nonviolent Black Lives Matter protests that have taken place day after day, night after night, across our country. In a sense, I see radical Uranus in stubborn Taurus playing the role of the strong, silent type, encouraging empowering shifts, one after another, while holding the larger vision for the awakening of all people. I’m grateful for this unrelenting, values-oriented Uranus in Taurus energy as a backdrop of support upon which all of the transformational energies I’ve described above can rely.
The last time we had Uranus in Taurus and Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto in Capricorn was 3,800 BCE! The slow-moving and deep insurgence of earth-element energies emanating from these powerful planetary gods of change ensures that human beings are laying new and profoundly transformative groundwork for successful and sustainable existence on planet Earth. Interestingly, a quick Wikipedia search on 38th Century BC history brings forth earthy and powerful Saturn-Pluto and Uranus themes: an earthquake near a Neolithic culture at Sotira in Cyprus destroys much of the local infrastructure; Ubaid period came to an abrupt end in eastern Arabia and the Oman peninsula at 3800 BC; in Syria, mass graves at Tell Brak, dating from ca. 3800 to 3600 BC, have been unearthed, suggesting advanced warfare around this period. Keeping in mind the recurring evolutionary themes of cosmological cycles, it seems clear to me that before we won’t reach a truly sustainable existence on Earth until we will have endured and learned from the serious destruction that comes with climate change: the wild fires, floods, droughts, hurricanes, rising sea levels, famine, and so on.
How will we endure the coming months of increased intensity, and how will 2020 end? Will it ever end?
In terms of planetary influences on November 3, Election Day: Uranus (radical, humanitarian change) will be in a separating opposition to the Sun (identity) at that time. Oppositions are considered hard/difficult aspects, but they’re also ultimately about integration and balance. On November 3, we will be working toward finding a balance between what we think of as our identity (as Republican or Democrat, for example) and the needs of society as a whole. At that time, too, Mars (assertion) still will be retrograde in initiatory Aries, and it will square Saturn (obstacles), causing friction between the two. I believe these planetary placements, and those leading up to November 3, indicate that far more people than usual will take action to vote, despite the anticipated obstacles. I plan to write more in October about Election Day, so come back to this blog page to see what I come up with!
Wrapping up the year 2020, Jupiter joins Saturn in the sign of Aquarius (progressive change, big picture, radical shift, collective cause) the morning of December 19, following on the heels of the solar eclipse of December 14 and making way for the solstice on December 21. When these two planets come together in conjunction every twenty years, it’s known as the Great Conjunction. The notion of a Great Conjunction in Aquarius makes this AquarianView newsletter author very happy!! At this time, I believe we will have a strong sense that we’re on the precipice of a new era. The time of the solstice will mark our very real shift toward progressive resolution of old problems, regardless of who is slated to become our next president. The difficulties of the year 2020 will not be over, but our resolve to work together—to transform and rebuild (Pluto in Capricorn)—will have begun definitively. Even if the man at the top resists change, the people continue to rally to move things forward.
Even now, as 2020 struggles on, my conviction builds in the belief that we are very slowly and painfully coming together as a country. We are being forced to do the excruciating work that Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto in Capricorn, and Uranus in Taurus command. I realize over and over again, with enormous gratitude to The Cosmos, that my work in astrology supports this coming together through its illumination of individual life paths and each person’s place in creating and sustaining the greater good.
In our day-to-day lives, each of us plays an important role which ultimately affects change and moves us forward toward higher collective awareness. Our natal charts outline this role clearly, and when I help a client clarify their special role, usually it’s an affirmation of their innermost knowing and brings a great sense of inner peace.
If ever there were a time to put bold, new initiatives into place to ensure a successful outcome for humanity on this planet, now is the time, with Mars in Aries taking bold initiative, Jupiter-Saturn-Pluto compelling us to find our power within and to walk our talk, and Uranus in Taurus ensuring that we make values-based, slow-but-sure radical change that sustains us over the long haul.
The Age of Aquarius may have begun in 2012 according to some astronomers; others say it say it won’t officially begin until 2,600. Regardless, with the events of 2020 unfolding as they are, we can be assured we are right on course, despite, and because of, the turmoil of these dark times.