On Sunday, when the tally of the coronavirus leapt to hundreds in Italy, food flew off the shelves in Milan. The city is ghostlike. People are pulling back into the smallest number of contacts and closing off from the outside world.
The last time a cluster of outer planets formed in Capricorn, the Berlin Wall came down. In late 1989, Saturn joined Uranus and Neptune, planets that can shatter structures or dissolve them. The Cold War was swept away. Wave after wave of connection came in the years that followed, riding the innovation of the web, born with the exact Uranus-Neptune conjunction 1992-1995. The world has become more connected. Last year more than 1.4 billion people travelled through the world’s airports.
And now, Saturn’s energy is with Pluto, concentrating, drawing inward, and many are choosing to withdraw to stay safe. Others have no choice. We are diving into the opposite sign, Cancer. The nodes are here too, telling us to go inward, to connect with our closest circle. The North Node will remain in Cancer, a sign of containment, until June 4th, when it backs into the moveable sign of Gemini. As we go inward and close off from the world at large, the unexpected happens. Mecca and Medina may now be closed to foreigners, but the holy places are always accessible inside us.
In March, feisty Mars will join Jupiter, Pluto and Saturn, heating up the possibility of crisis and peaking between the 19th and the end of the month.
Relationships and Containment
And what, may we ask, becomes of our relationships as we go inward? I try to imagine fourteen days locked in with my family of origin and break into a sweat. They are all gone now, but the imprint of a closed-in childhood was enough to power a lifetime of movement. And yet I also consider the time I spent with my mother in the alembic of hospice as one of the sweetest moments in our time together. When we accept the coming together, a rich waiting, a shared knowing, flows through us.
These days, adult children often return home for a time to get on their feet economically, to rebound after a break-up or a trauma. Or simply because. In choosing to come back, something happens. The old patterns may rise, then give way to something unexpected. Conflicts can break out; wounds may be revisited. Or it can be simply a time when emotions between the generations grow deep or find a totally different expression, adult to adult.
Of course, the coronavirus brings an element of fear to the mix, particularly questions of survival. A friend and colleague from Taiwan had flown home for Chinese New Year and his trip didn’t go anything as planned. Back in London, he mused about his cancelled travel plans to Hong Kong, Japan, and Thailand. “It doesn’t matter,” he wrote. “The whole family was eating, drinking, laughing and I feel so blessed.”
If being closed-off from others is not a choice, it can bring up great anxiety. Anthony Storr, in his book Solitude, spoke of how differently solitude was experienced when it was imposed from outside, or inwardly chosen. The prisoner and the monastic often lived radically different realities. Even the most wonderful relationships are tested by lack of choice. Let’s embrace this inward process, if it comes our way, with reverence and respect.
The Alchemy of Relationships
On March 14th, I will be giving a webinar for Astrology University on the Alchemy of Relationships. It will be the first of two.
The Alchemy of Relationships: Part I
Relationships give us wings, pull us into the maelstrom, remake our world and our sense of self. Some relationships take us under, while others reveal a whole new aspect of self. As Jung said, “the meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances; if there is any reaction both are transformed.” Even brief encounters can have this kind of power to shift us internally. And these are not limited to romantic relationships. The first stage of relationship is often fiery and we burn bright with attraction. We can also go deeply inward and close off access to the world outside.
Long-term partnerships put down deep roots; over time they go through hot and cold zones, stuck places and burnouts. And we wear out the other’s resistance, while habits give way to friction, irritation, excitement, crisis. There are times of tectonic shifts for each person individually in the relationship.
In this webinar we will use inter-chart contacts, the synastry between two people, to look at the feeling environment of relationships at a particular moment in time and the link to powerful transits for one or both partners.