While teaching in Taiwan, Hong Kong and China, I have met so many wonderful people, both friends and students. And I have rarely been welcomed with such generosity and respect. I can only imagine the disappointment and consternation when their most important holiday was cancelled. In some cases, families are cut off from each other, and those looking forward to vacation travel have had to resign themselves to a long wait. There is a sense of anxiety with each new report. The suffering and panic of those at the center of the epidemic, those who have lost loved ones, must be enormous. In this video we see the eerie quiet of a major world city, Shanghai, suddenly silenced by quarantine or closed businesses. My thoughts go out to everyone affected by these events. Here’s to relief and release, and a hope that this will soon quiet down.
My colleague, Rod Chang, has pointed out that the first declared case was on December 1st, 2019. At that time Jupiter was at 29° 37’ Sagittarius. Jupiter in the last degree of its own sign argues for something big, far-reaching, unconstrained. In this case, the Saturn-Pluto conjunction brings us face-to-face with unseen or unconscious forces. Each person experiencing this has to go inward and face their fears. My own recent travel in Laos and Cambodia as the news of the virus grew, meant this has been very much part of my awareness, and like so many I had to change my travel plans. I transferred planes in China on January 21st, but changed my flight home to go through Hanoi, and I am now well beyond a 14-day time period.
Quarantine comes from forty, the forty days that were initially imposed to contain the plague. Forty is also the mystical one-ninth of a circle, and the number of days that Venus is retrograde. While current quarantines have been set at fourteen days, this notion of an imposed sealing off, reminds us of the alchemical process of containment. A number of people have asked me about the archetypal meaning of the coronavirus. We are being asked to go inward, to contain something, to step back from our connections with others temporarily. Saturn rules boundaries, and particularly the boundary between inner and outer worlds. Capricorn is, after all, the 12th sign from Aquarius, and so symbolizes the group’s confinement.
In December, I took part in an OPA panel on 2020 and I remember Christeen Skinner, a colleague who specializes in financial astrology, talking about her take on the markets in 2020. “Invest in friends,” she suggested. Given the effects of the quarantine on businesses in China and supply chains for companies all over the world, it looks like she was prescient. For those who favor conspiracy theories I can’t imagine why any country would sabotage its own economy to such a degree.
Today I heard from a friend in Beijing: “Life is eerie here to say the least. I’m the only one coming into the office, since it’s only a 7-minute walk from our apartment. The streets are half-empty at best. The grocery stores are half-stocked, but still open. Our housing community of 10,000 remains free of the virus so far, but we are tightly monitored. Our comings and goings are carefully recorded, as are our temperatures.”
In January I posted an article I had written last Spring on the Saturn-Pluto conjunction. Given the quarantines happening throughout the world this phrase jumped out: “A particular destination may be sealed off, irrevocably blocked.” My heart goes out to the passengers and crew confined to their windowless cabins on a cruise ship off the cost of Japan, with more cases diagnosed every day. Princess Cruises were launched in 1965, the year of a Saturn-Pluto opposition. They were acquired by P&O in 1974, under the square, and bought by Carnaval in 2002 towards the end of the last opposition. This an example of cyclic resonance. The infamous sinking of the Costa Concordia, owned by the same company, was not connected to this cycle, but the Sun of that event was 23°4′ Capricorn on the exact Saturn-Pluto conjunction. As astrologers we follow the pulse of the cosmos, it helps us make sense of what seems incomprehensible and overwhelming, even if the underlying mystery always remains.