Thursday, March 26, 2020

The Astrology of Boomers & COVID-19

"In an unsettling reversal of my teenage years, I am now yelling at my parents for going out."

                                          --Tweet, dated Mar. 15, 2020

It’s impossible to read the latest news in regards to COVID-19 without being reminded that seniors – anyone over 60,, that is—are the most vulnerable to its viral “charms.” This creates an intriguing dilemma—while it’s been pretty well-established (although not 100% scientifically proven) that younger people and children are far less likely to fall seriously ill with the virus, the key to “flattening the curve” probably depends upon the willingness of these younger age groups to modify their own behavior for the sake of the older individuals around them. 

Not that all Millennials have been ignoring the extent to which they can be passive carriers of the virus to those around them: I’ve personally benefited from conscientious young people who seem to have fully embraced CDC and local guidelines, and as the tweet cited above suggests, many of them are actively trying to protect their parents from themselves! Boomers are famously slow at admitting they've aged into being "seniors," but the inescapable bottom line reality is, everyone needs to take responsibility for protecting themselves because by doing so, they’re protecting everyone

In fact, I can’t think of a better example about how we’re “in this together” than the horrifying news being reported today (Wed.) about the viral fall-out from Mardi-Gras in Louisiana. Louisiana went from zero cases to over 1200 since that time: it’s now documented that the virus was celebrating right along with the people in the streets of “NOLA,” and that many of those partiers of all ages returned to points unknown, carrying it home to other states. This should be fair warning for anyone wanting to loosen restrictions on large gatherings right now—no matter the economic fall-out. 

Then there are those like newly-tested positive Senator Rand Paul, who could be the poster child for reckless indifference to his colleagues’ wellbeing. Was he not aware that 48 of our 100 senators are over the age of 65? Paul has reduced lung capacity due to underlying issues, so we wish him well, but we also need Congress to be available to do the nation’s work right now—not in quarantine or worse! He was a medical doctor before running for office; he should have known better than to swim in the Senate pool and work out in the gym while he was waiting for test results! Astrologically, his case reminds us that we need to monitor the health outcomes of that 1960s Virgo generation cohort born with Uranus conjunct Pluto—a story for another day!

Sen. Rand Paul tested positive for COVID-19, sparking a furor.

For now, however, let’s stick with the precarious relationship that Boomers have with COVID-19, considering they’re more likely to have underlying health issues: I thought it would be interesting to see how this reality shows up in their generational chart, cast for Pluto’s ingress into Leo in October, 1937. Logically, it should show up as a challenge to the generation’s vitality—as a factor that accelerates our aging at least, if not worse. Little did I know the virus would spark a sizzling discussion, laced with death threats, about the value of the “unproductive” senior population—more on that to come! 

Just so we’re considering it from a couple different angles, Triwheel #1 below places the generational chart—for the moment Pluto first ingressed into Leo in October, 1937—against both the progressed generational chart and the COVID-19 origins chart discussed in the last post here. And since I’ve set this generational chart for Washington, D.C., the COVID-19 origins chart represents the virus’s first appearance in this country, as well. 

Please note that what we see in these charts in no way reflects a prognosis for individual Boomers—generational charts are demographic exercises, so they represent a broad trend rather than individual characteristics or experiences. We already know from the medical experts that Boomers are at increased risk—this exploration will hopefully tell us something we don’t already know! 
Let’s begin.

Triwheel #1: (inner wheel) Pluto Leo ingress, October 7, 1937, 6:42:08 a.m. ST, Washington, D.C.; (middle wheel) Pluto Leo ingress, progressed to December 31, 2019, 12 pm GMT, Washington, DC; (outer wheel) COVID-19 in U.S., January 20, 2020, 12 pm ST, Washington, D.C.. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. 

COVID Jupiter squares Pluto in Leo (PL) Sun, conjunct PL ASC (Libra); Progressed (Prog) MC conjoins PL Sun. This suggests that as a generation, Boomers are at a crossroads when true maturity and leadership are being demanded; happily, these qualities should be supported and even be rewarded (COVID Jupiter), although Jupiter has a little less vigor than usual in Saturnian Capricorn—it’s “aged,” a bit. No surprise, the Leo generation’s urge has always been to shine forth (sign ruler Sun at ASC), and its reputation as the “Me” Generation certainly fits the image here. Today, that image has a thinning shock of silver hair!

One Boomer who's been "OK" with Millennials.

The fact is, Boomers have held the reins of power in this nation for a long time (10th house PL Pluto trine Saturn in Aries have something to do with that)—perhaps even too long. Since the Clinton presidency, and then the G.W. Bush presidency, Leo administrations haven’t always lived up to that challenge very well, either—denigrating the dignity of the presidency, basically dismantling the middle class and enabling the onset of radical wealth inequality, not to mention getting us into “forever” wars that have done little that is constructive, but have certainly fed multinational corporations.  

Pluto in Leo favors ostentatious wealth, although as a generation it took awhile for us to reconcile with our parents’ post-WWII materialism (the “Establishment”) and to fully embrace our own drive for big money and the power associated with it. 

As our children’s generations have struggled with the economic crunch caused by globalization and other wage-suppressing policies, we (as a general trend) have remained a prosperous generation.

In fact, the Clinton and Bush, Jr. Boomer administrations presided over the breakdown of important support systems underpinning not just our economy, but American democracy itself, paving the way for the megalomaniacal fix we’re in today. When allowed the chance, Leo leans towards ego-driven, authoritarian-style control—a style that’s been “growing on us” for some time and one that we’re seeing on full display with the Trump White House. 

Trump is our third Boomer president, of course—one who is determined to ignore health care experts and the mounting dangers of the COVID-19 pandemic for his fellow Boomers so he can get “his” economy back in motion. It’s apparent that he believes “wealth = power” is the winning equation for Election 2020, and he never misses an opportunity to remind us how many “billions” it cost him to get elected.   

COVID Saturn-Pluto (Capricorn) conjoin PL Jupiter (Capricorn) and oppose PL Pluto (Leo). These “Saturn-heavy” aspects (Saturn rules Capricorn) highlight the aging of the Boomer generation—indeed, almost everyone in leadership positions in DC today is over 70 years old—a reality that can feel like part of the problem, not the solution.  Our two Democratic challengers for the presidency are in their late 70s, House Leader Nancy Pelosi turns 80 this week, and Senate Leader McConnell isn’t far behind! 

Obviously, these are “productive” players in our democracy (I’ve seen Pelosi speak for hours, standing at the House podium in her high heels to promote an important bill), but we might also argue that Boomers have, overall, had too much of a strangle-hold on the nation’s democratic institutions. 

The power of big money in politics is nothing new, but Boomers have excelled in it.

PL Jupiter (Capricorn) squares PL Sun-ASC (Libra), too—Big (or “Dark”) Money in politics has become the modus operandi under Boomer rule, poisoning our democratic processes and leaving the nation open to grandiose abuses of power. Somehow the progressive hopefuls who have tried to run campaigns that resist this abusive culture run aground—this PL Jupiter also trines PL Neptune (Virgo)—there’s a subtle, but very powerful “undertow” at work with money and politics that has so far prevailed. 

We’re seeing this inertia manifest in clear view these days, under the COVID-19 threat, of course: Trump made a show of calling for a national state of emergency, but he’s clearly regretting the action and hoping to reverse it soon, as soon as Easter Sunday (he wants “packed churches”), even though health experts are cautioning that this would be a very reckless move because the pandemic is likely to continue spiking in the coming weeks, not declining. 

Nevertheless, Trump has clearly recruited the Fox network to plead his case—using older commentators like Glenn Beck, they’re promoting the message that older Americans surely prefer to die rather than allow the economy to continue being shut down for everyone else, in their words, “killing the country.” So this is the new partisan divide, it seems—we’re now supposed to blame the elderly for not getting out of the way so the rest of the country can get back to business as usual? Maybe older conservatives in high places would like to lead the way over the cliff for the rest of us “lemmings?” Who dreams up these insidious ways of dividing the American people?!  

Thankfully, religious leaders like Russell Moore, president of the SBC’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, are calling out the false choice and ethical pitfalls at the heart of such arguments:

“The economy is, of course, important in terms of human life and flourishing, but human life is paramount,” Russell Moore, president of the SBC’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, said Tuesday.
“He said he’s concerned that some people seem to be talking about human lives as expendable, while others are talking about rationing health-care resources. Such ideas go against basic Christian tenets, and Americans must uphold the dignity of every human life, Moore said.
‘We cannot define people in terms of their age or their perceived usefulness,’ Moore said.”
Hopefully such leaders will get that message across to Trump and his Fox mouthpieces, but this discussion opens up some important points about the transits we’re seeing in this chart, as well. Saturn is all about developmental cycles and aging, so its alliance with Pluto here, transiting the generation’s 4th house (the end of things) opposite our generational Pluto (Leo) could reflect the precarious situation Boomer-aged seniors are in right now overall. 

What's wrong with this picture?

That we’re seeing discussions about seniors that pit the value of their lives against the nation’s economy is not entirely surprising, either. It’s certainly reflected by Saturn-Pluto’s tightening conjunction to Sibly Pluto (Capricorn)—our national chart’s chief signifier for the (big “E”) Economy. And it’s true that Saturn-Pluto may end up “culling the herd” by the time this all ends, but to consider that  an “acceptable” loss disregards the fact that everyone is vulnerable to COVID-19. Hospitals are seeing deaths from this virus from all age groups, even if the odds of severe illness in younger individuals is still considered lower than in older populations. 

Even more importantly, however, as a society, we’re receiving a very loud wake-up call here about our national values. This issue of “productivity” is a gnarly beast: in our capitalist system, a lot of people doing wonderful things for our collective good aren’t considered “productive” because they aren’t earning a wage: stay-at-home moms or dads (who are worth their weight in gold, if you ask me); those who volunteer (many of them seniors) in thousands of organizations across the country; those who offer childcare and/or elder care to family members (again, many over-60 types here), and so on. Yes, the wheels of our consumer economy need to be greased with consumer dollars, but that doesn’t negate the value of these alternative contributions to society. 

This discussion is worth a digression, in fact, because it segues with the very important passage represented by our looming Pluto return (exact in February, 2022).  Former Harvard Economics professor and the president of Living Economies Forum, David Korten, attributes these skewed value judgments to the cultural “story” mainstream economics has imposed on society over our history. He calls it the “Sacred Money and Markets” story, and is summarized briefly below:

“Time is money. Money is wealth. Material consumption is the path to happiness…Economic inequality and environmental damage are a regrettable but necessary and unavoidable cost of growing the GDP. GDP growth in turn eliminates poverty, drives technological innovation to free us from our dependence on nature, and brings universal and perpetual prosperity for all. There is no viable alternative to a profit-driven free market economy.”[1]
Korten also points out that by surrendering to this “story,” we’ve compromised what is best in humanity and have related to the “Earth as if it were a dead rock for sale.” We don’t need experts like Korten, of course, to know that this “sacred story” isn’t working out very well for millions of people. It has never delivered what its proponents promise—poverty is never “eliminated” and “perpetual prosperity” is a mirage. 
Similar to the Happiness Index.

There’s no becoming less dependent on nature, no matter what the story, and being solely focused on the GDP as an economic barometer in the face of the human and environmental destruction such focus often produces is deeply flawed and counter-productive. The so-called opioid epidemic was a net GDP positive, while taking care not to infect each other during this pandemic would be considered GDP negative. Maybe it’s time, as Korten says, to “change the story” that directs our economy, and our Pluto return may be forcing that need on us. If so, it could be a very productive exercise!
Bottom line, if Boomers can provide a reason for society in general to slow down and seriously reconsider that toxic “story” that directs our lives (Sibly Mercury opposes Sibly Pluto), that’s a worthwhile contribution!
PL Mars squares PL Saturn (Aries); COVID Uranus trines PL Mars (Capricorn) and sextiles PL Saturn. These aspects point to ways in which Boomers have been part of the problem, too: Mars and Saturn are in mutual reception here (inhabiting each other’s ruling signs), so the square between them powerfully reflects the drive Boomers have always had for prosperity and success. The transiting influence of Uranus could be disruptive, although the “soft” aspects suggest that any damage may be manageable. 

There’s a bit of dissonance, however, between these soft aspects and the COVID Uranus (Taurus) square to Prog PL Jupiter (Aquarius). Even if stimulus packages help, there are bound to be financial ups and downs for Boomers who depend upon the stock and/or bond markets for their retirements.  

Notice also that this COVID Uranus falls trine PL Prog Sun-Mercury (Capricorn): maybe the disruptions we experience getting through all this will inspire a productive change of hearts and minds. Again, this could impact perceptions of that economic “story” we’ve all perpetuated. 

PL Pluto in 10th trines 6th house PL Saturn-Eris-COVID Chiron (Aries). Clearly, generation Leo has fully embraced its power and authority over the past few decades, but that power, exercised as public servants (6th house Saturn-Eris), appears to now be “wounded.” It’s hard to say if this will be reflected in the COVID death toll, or if it’s more about a loss of trust in Boomer leadership. More on this in a future, election-related post!

Yes, this is an election year, isn't it?

This Chiron also squares PL Mars, reflecting the hit that Boomer vitality is taking, so this wound could work both ways. It’s instructive that the one leader everyone seems to trust these days is New York Governor Andrew Cuomo—a member of that early 1960s Virgo generation alluded to earlier with Senator Rand Paul, with Pluto conjunct Uranus and both opposite Chiron (Pisces). 

Interestingly, Neptune (Pisces) is now opposing Cuomo’s Jupiter/Pluto (midpoint, Virgo, chart for Dec. 6, 1967 birth not shown)—it’s no wonder he’s faced with the seemingly insurmountable task of dealing with both the pandemic (Neptune) and the vagaries of a Neptunian White House response that talks a good talk, but never quite gets the job done. He’s challenged to calmly exercise the highest form of public service and political power (Jupiter/Pluto) in the midst of overwhelming circumstances.  
COVID Chiron (Aries) conjoins PL Saturn-Eris (Aries) and squares PL Chiron (Cancer)  both the radix aspects and the transiting Chiron-Chiron square reflect the love/hate relationship Boomers have had forever with the so-called “Establishment”—except, they became the Establishment and Chiron is now ripping open old wounds. Wounds related to the tortured relationship this generation has had with authority and the right (as opposed to the arrogant) uses of power, with our responsibility for leaving the planet in better shape than we found it, and so on. 

The criticism lurking behind the “OK Boomer” phenomenon probably has something to do with these reopened wounds: despite some accomplishments that younger generations wouldn't want to do without these days (cell phones, the internet, open heart surgery, etc.) we do owe future generations better than we’ve given them to date—hopefully there will be time to work on that! 

Let's not hold back, Millennials! 
COVID Neptune (Pisces) opposes PL Venus (rules chart) conjunct PL Neptune (Virgo-rules 6th). Remember all those pot-smoking Hippies holding “Love-ins” and calling for “all natural health food” diets once upon a time? Well, we’ve come full circle with broad societal acceptance of “food-to-table real food” diets and marijuana (in Michigan, our Governor deemed access to marijuana delivery an “essential need” in her pandemic response). This radix Venus-Neptune conjunction in earthy Virgo certainly had something to do with that signature Hippie ethos, although the dark side of that was the potential for serious drug abuse, as well. 

This potential still exists among aging Boomers, of course: whatever happened to the so-called “opioid epidemic” that was in the news so heavily until recently? Folded in there is an awful lot of prescription drug abuse by Boomers and non-Boomers! When the dust settles from this pandemic, perhaps we’ll be able to sort through these various Neptunian issues more clearly. 

PL Venus also trines PL Uranus (Taurus). The Boomer generation also manifested in Radical Anti-War Peaceniks, like the Chicago 7: There were, of course, more strident rebels who were willing to lash out violently to make a point (such as the Students for Democratic Society (SDS) and the Black Panther Party). 

We see that potential here with the PL Mars-PL Uranus trine.  This aspect makes me wonder how invested the Boomer generation has been in the “death” industries that profit from violence and terrorism—great fodder for GDP and stock market growth, of course! I do believe the generation’s early anti-war sensibility lives on in some form: it surfaced during the run-up to the Iraq war, although the priorities of Boomer-led corporations like Halliburton heavily outweighed any protests. Obviously, this generation has expressed itself in a multitude of ways and continues to do so. 

Grand Earth trine: PL Venus-Neptune trines PL Uranus (Taurus) trines PL Jupiter-Pallas (Capricorn). This just reinforces what we discussed earlier: as a broad aggregate, the Boomers have been the wealthiest generation since the late 19th century Robber Barons (Pluto in Taurus), and while Boomers benefited from the frugality and diligence of their Pluto in Cancer parents, they also benefited from the Reagan years, which swayed many to adopt a more conservative or “centrist” ideology (their Capricorn Mars and Jupiter), in the case of those who supported moderate Bill Clinton. This very prominent generational wealth factor assured that Boomers would be influential on the Supreme Court (Jupiter-Pallas) as well. 

Is Trump taking COVID-19 seriously?

Final thoughts

In the last post here, I mentioned that we might attempt to take an educated guess about when the COVID-19 pandemic would wear itself out and subside. In fact, I’ve rethought that idea since and am convinced that trying to predict anything about this could be irresponsible and hazardous to people’s health, so we won’t even go there. It’s more important at this point that we listen to the guidelines that health experts are putting out there and that we err on the side of extra caution. 

Why would Trump decide to name an arbitrary date like April 12th on which he’d like to see the country back up and running, despite protests from the health community? Because he has a vested business interest in seeing things up and running—a business interest that frankly, may overwhelm whatever true dedication he has to the health of Americans (anyone heard any condolences from him at the podium?). This conflict of interests illustrates exactly why former presidents have always voluntarily divested themselves of business interests: the American people shouldn’t have to wonder just which priorities are driving a president’s decision making. 

And we certainly shouldn’t have to listen to presidential mouthpieces telling us how seniors should be willing to get sick and die for the sake of the economy—the fact that anyone would even say this out loud in front of cameras suggests that there’s no limit in some minds to how ruthless our economic system should be to preserve and perpetuate itself. Boomers (and other generations, for that matter) have seen this before—especially those who fought in Korea and/or Viet Nam and were treated like expendable materiel. 

Countless examples come to mind, in fact—our history is littered with examples of people being treated as meaningless ciphers (or even property) for economic priorities.

Could it be that this long toxic history is coming home to roost during these Capricorn Saturn-Pluto times? The good news is, thanks to Neptune demanding our attention, we’re being forced to act more as a united collective, capable of subsuming short-term priorities to the long term collective good of mitigating the spread of the pandemic. Of course, we haven't done this for the sake of mitigating the other great challenge of our times--climate change--and it's high time that we design an economy around doing just that! These are choices we can make!

So I hope that people will simply ignore Trump’s call for everyone to “get back to business” until the health experts say it’s safe to do so. We’ve been seeing that phrase “the cure is worse than the disease” perpetuated by Trump and the right-wing media, but thankfully there are others calling out the false choice implied by this phrase. From the New Yorker:

 “Is it the disease or the cure that Trump doesn’t understand? In his briefing, he said that one of his motivations for rushing to reopen the country is new research into the mortality rate—this is ‘a big factor’ for him. And he doesn’t think that the numbers on the table are that big. There had been talk that the rate might be three, four, or five per cent; now it looked like it might be one per cent, or a little less. He might do the math on what one per cent amounts to in a country of more than three hundred million. Think of whatever group of a hundred or more you like—your office, your school, your wedding-invitation or holiday-card list—and now imagine yourself or someone you love as the one. And that number may not even be right, not even in ideal conditions of limitless medical resources….What he [Tucker Carlson, speaking on behalf of Trump] was suggesting is not decent; it is not too strong a word to say that it is barbaric. It is the bullying instinct of Trumpism taken to its extreme. Such an approach would cost the country something that, unlike restaurant sales, could never be regained.”
Enough said—our hearts go out to those who have lost loved ones to COVID-19. Please, be well, be safe!

Raye Robertson is a practicing astrologer, writer and former educator. A graduate of the Faculty of Astrological Studies (U.K.), Raye focuses on mundane, collective-oriented astrology, with a particular interest in current affairs, culture and media, the astrology of generations, and public concerns such as education and health. Several of her articles on these topics have been featured in The Mountain Astrologer and other publications over the years.

She is also available to read individual charts—contact her at:

© Raye Robertson 2020. All rights reserved. 

[1]David Korten, Change the Story, Change the Future: A Living Economy for a Living Earth, Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc., Oakland, CA, 2015, pp. 23-24.

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