We are crossing a threshold, or as Tom Kenyon might express it: we are experiencing a chaotic node. What we are experiencing has never happened before in recorded history, and quite rightly it has set a cat among the proverbial pigeons in many sectors of our world systems. While most of us are cooped up at home, there is plenty of time to consider the many uncertainties and wonder how what is happening now is going to shape our future. The internet is afire with predictions, some optimistic but most fearful. Some of us want business as usual, and are challenged by what looks like an unnecessary lockdown over a virus that some say isn’t much different from influenza. Others are deeply moved and concerned by the rising death toll in countries around the world. Recent events such as the intense bush fires in Australia, the locust swarms in East Africa, and now a global pandemic, set a biblical tone for the commencement of the decade beginning 2020. As individuals we are challenged with making sense of all the information at our disposal, while finding the courage to face uncertainty on a day to day basis, feeling blocked from taking action as we self-isolate to protect those vulnerable in our communities. My interest is in understanding how archetypal energy drives reality, and in so doing learn to determine what life wants from us during times of adversity and challenge. In this article I will touch on some of the key astrological symbols in play as a way to shed light on the evolutionary opportunity available to all of us, in order that we can each figure out how best to flow and cooperate with reality as it unfolds both individually and collectively. Don’t worry I am not going to bombard you endlessly with astrology jargon you don’t understand; I’m going to focus on the key themes and keep it simple.
The Pluto/Saturn Cycle
The most prominent astrological symbol in the sky, is the conjunction of Saturn with Pluto on January 12th 2020, marking the culmination of a collective evolutionary cycle that lasted 38 years. The Pluto/Saturn cycle maps the evolution of our societies and world systems, such as health care systems, financial systems, governmental systems and cultural memes. The first time we heard about Covid19 (before it was even identified) was on December 31st 2019 just 13 days before Saturn made the exact conjunction with Pluto, and the WHO declared Covid19 as an international public health emergency a month later on January 30th. The pandemic therefore coincides with the closing of one cycle and the emergence of another; it is likely to act as an agent or catalyst for significant structural change at both a cultural and societal level, nationally and globally. In UK politics the election of Boris Johnson to Prime-minister, sealed the deal over the Brexit debate that is also a reflection of the Pluto/Saturn cycle; the referendum that put Brexit into motion occurred when Saturn was in a closing semi-sextile aspect with Pluto (331˚ when the referendum date was first announced), a clear manifestation of a new emerging vision that will affect the UK for years to come, and could potentially signify the end of the EU. [I write in more detail on this in an earlier article here.] We all know that culture and society evolves, and there are several ways in astrology to track the archetypal driving-forces affecting social structures, yet the Pluto/Saturn cycle is perhaps the most fundamental, as it expresses the evolution of structures at all levels, and even without knowing the details, the closing of this cycle was likely to bring significant societal change, especially because the cycle is 30-40 years long, meaning that changes happening now will significantly influence the next 33 years (when this new cycle next culminates).
It is important to understand how astrological cycles unfold. Each cycle has an evolutionary intent or potential, which translates at many different levels, from the personal through to the global collective. To understand the collective level, we look to collective events at key positions on the cycle, such as the current pandemic occurring in the new phase. As we move into this new cycle, we are all dancing on the threshold of the old and the new, trying to come to terms with the realisation that somehow the world isn’t going to be the same. Some of us will have an easier time letting go than others. This new cycle is rooted in the sign of Capricorn, which can tell us a great deal about the evolutionary opportunity we are now experiencing. Capricorn itself is ruled by Saturn, and both these archetypes relate directly to the way society is structured; how social systems function together to make society work. In essence something fundamental about the way our global civilisation functions and has been functioning, must breakdown in order for a new structure or set of structures to take the place of obsolete ones. This cycle in Capricorn therefore speaks strongly of the death and rebirth of society.
Why do we need this change? Capricorn is both the foundation and teacher of this new cycle. Marianne Williamson captured the essence of why, in a recent vlog she posted, explaining that as a culture we have been careless, reckless and irresponsible; these are the words of Capricorn as teacher; we can be sure that learning to take responsibility both personally and collectively will be the prime lesson of the next 33 years. Caroline Myss said in a recent vlog something equally pertinent, highlighting the fact that many of us have been expecting something like this to happen, and that the atmosphere has been pregnant with anxiety for some time, because of a sense that something was going to give. I can certainly agree to this in my own life; the main conversations with others over the last few years has definitely centred around the anxiety over the consequences of the modern western lifestyle and of capitalism in general. In recent months in the UK there were several key docu-series on mainstream t.v. highlighting the severe problem of plastics clogging up the oceans, with graphic images of plastic rubbish mountains and community incentives to try and change things. We have also seen the rise of the Extinction Rebellion movement with many young people expressing their fears for their future, in the face of a capitalist consumer society that gives no indication of ever stopping or changing. Many of us have been frustrated with the apparent status quo within our way of life, and increasingly distressed by the fact that no matter what we do as individuals, any movement toward healthy sustainable systems is few and far between; supermarkets are still supporting the use of unnecessary plastics, organic farming is still under-supported, the valuable rainforest is still being cut down, animal farming is still largely in-humane and industrial meat unhealthy to eat, chemical fertilizers are still in dominant use, pesticides are still over-used, EMF pollution and its adverse effects on insects, birds, and human health is still largely unaddressed, and the state of our oceans ignored, to mention just a few of the very real challenges that if avoided will negatively affect our future. The pandemic as a ‘teacher’ is now highlighting to all of us just how fragile our global systems are, and how the interconnected nature of our systems and how they are nested together means that when one is affected e.g. our health care systems, there is a knock on effect that significantly influences the others e.g. the financial system, the business sector i.e. loss of jobs and businesses, etc. For example, Air New Zealand in a recent newsletter announced that their normal annual turn over was around $5.8 billion and has now fallen to just $500 million due to lockdown; they are now faced with streamlining their work force due to a flight reduction of 95%. Another key astrological symbol to bring in at this point is the Moon’s nodal axis in Capricorn/Cancer, which represents the collective karmic lessons and key areas of development needed at this time. The nodes moved into Capricorn/Cancer in late 2018 and will stay on this axis until early May this year, punctuating the need to engage our internal subjective and emotional world in order to emotionally come to terms with the changes we need to make at this time.
The South Node in Capricorn - our current systems are a problem we need to solve Modern culture has become increasingly corporatized and money orientated, with the effect that many are more socially isolated than ever before with the knock on effect of chronic anxiety and depression. In fact there has been a recent move on the part of celebrities to de-stigmatise mental illness and highlight it as a cultural crisis. Capitalism in its current unregulated form has widened the divide between the rich and the poor, and we have been seeing the loss of the middle class and a world-wide increase in poverty e.g. food banks are much more commonplace in western countries than before and form vital support to low-income groups, and there has been a significant rise in homelessness. Despite pro-capitalist propaganda, it is clear to many now that something is going wrong. The North Node in Cancer - community matters The emergence of an industrial consumerist society may well have delivered a wide array of products at ever cheaper prices, enabling many in the modern west to achieve a lifestyle status that in earlier times would be akin to royalty, but it has come at a cost. All too many of us are easily able to distract ourselves from vital inner self-reflective awareness, through the pursuit of materialist and sensual escapism, in whichever way that happens, whether it be through binge watching on Netflix, food addiction, drug addiction, habitual shopping, social media apps, or over-socialising. The result of this tendency has been the gradual loss of connection, community, a sense of belonging, care for self and others, and emotional awareness and wellbeing. At its essence the Cancer archetype calls us to develop inner emotional self-reliance, which can only be accomplished when individuals give quality time to themselves in order to process emotions. When we are emotionally aware we are more able to take actions toward emotional fulfilment, instead of trying to fill the ‘hole’ with ‘things’. At this time, especially during lockdown, we are all given the opportunity to reconnect with our inner world and get reacquainted with what we are really feeling. This can however lead to intense emotional processing periods, which many will instinctively resist. This is because it is commonplace for individuals to have avoided emotional processing for many years if not decades, and yet in my experience evolutionary forces will at times set up conditions that essentially force individuals to face up to the backlog of feelings and deal with their fundamental emotional reality. For some this may feel cataclysmic as a world literally falls apart, while for others who perhaps have engaged their interior world more frequently, emotional catch up will be more run of the mill. In an outward mode, we can put energy into nourishing our community and sense of belonging, by making sure friends and neighbours are ok, and if necessary dropping food to people in need. At a collective level we can improve the world significantly if we can realise just how important and stabilising a positive coherent community can be, and yet each of us forms part of the social matrix, and it is the quality of love and care we are able to give ourselves that eventually overflows to be felt by others.
Saturn’s Ingress into Aquarius Although Saturn made a conjunction with Pluto in Capricorn, it has since moved into Aquarius on March 22nd 2020. Already within the unfolding of this new cycle, we are entering into what might be called revolutionary structural change. I felt this shift personally, when the full ramifications of the lockdown established on March 23rd in the UK (and in other countries all over the world, within a similar time frame), began to sink in. I could feel the emotional shockwave throughout the community as people began to realise that life would not be the same, even after the crisis has passed. Saturn has an uneasy relationship with Aquarius because the changes Aquarius often brings, means uncertainty and that always makes everyone uneasy and insecure. If we resist necessary evolutionary change, then this archetypal energy can and will result in shocks or at the very least surprises; the structures that we have invested in and which give us a sense of external security, may suddenly be swept away leaving individuals, groups, communities or whole nations in disarray. This is why the development required by the North Node in Cancer toward inner-emotional-security is pertinent; the more we find security in non-external factors, the more resilient within change we can become; we need to learn to trust in the subjective feeling-based intuitions that guide us in life; we need to learn to flow with life rather than always trying to control it.
Moving Forward As individuals there are a few guiding principles we can garner from the current archetypal picture. First, that change is normal and natural, and that if we ever want the world to become a better place for everyone, then we have to get used to change. The prime evolutionary opportunity is to step up and take more responsibility for yourself and your choices than you have so far in your life. Self-reflection is a valuable process through which clarity of self becomes possible. We each of us need to ask the pertinent questions:
Where am I acting weakest in terms of responsibility and self-determination? What do I need to experience in order to learn what is real and important in life? Will I gain more by hoarding or by sharing with others? On what outer things do I invest personal security, and how can I learn to be more in the flow with life, such that the things I cling to don’t matter quite so much? How much am I willing to evolve as an individual vs how much am I compelled to resist change? In my view the crux of the matter is simply this: too many of us are acting like children and we need to grow up. I see this in the way its common for many to complain about what leaders are doing or not doing, while never thinking to step up and do something themselves; we look to leaders to take care of us and parent us, rather than strive to be leaders within our communities as well. In the UK the approach has been to ask the population to self-isolate, rather than to impose laws and regulations, but notably many have acted much like children, keen to make the most of extra free time and ignoring the reality of the virus. It's been the same with food and panic buying; too many people operating with too much self interest, with the result that limits are imposed and fines if social distancing measures are ignored.
While we are stuck at home, what can we do that will help us psychologically? Maybe we can tidy up the house including all those cupboards full of clutter. Maybe we can get creative in the garden and grow some food. Maybe we can read those books we hadn’t previously had time to read? Maybe we can study something and learn something new. Maybe we can sit still and either meditate or just get more familiar with what we are feeling, and what is most important to us. Maybe we can sit with household members and cultivate quality connection. Maybe we can hold appreciation for all those others who are working tirelessly on our behalf to keep the essentials like food and medical care flowing.
There’s really lots to do, while we are stuck wondering what to do :) I will finish with an insight from Caroline Myss she recently shared: “What is born from this experience, is going to come from us.” Other related articles: Realities Crumbling
If you would like to understand more how the new Pluto/Saturn cycle affects you on a personal level, you might consider a one-2-one Evolutionary Astrology reading with me.