Saturday, February 29, 2020

Neptune & the power of common sense: the astrology of the Coronavirus challenge

Because we’ve been talking a lot these days about Neptunian distortion and misinformation campaigns in our politics, this is a good time to consider where we can find good, reliable information. This is a daunting question at times, but the unfortunate spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus beyond China’s borders—despite aggressive efforts on their part—delivered a huge hint: how about we rely on experts and on verifiable reports and statistics that are issued by experts for our edification? 

Regarding the COVID-19 challenge specifically, how about we look to the professionals within our government who are charged with responding to exactly this type of situation—the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the National Institute of Health (NIH) and others?

As far I can tell, Trump has no expertise in public health, but unfortunately, he and his go-to designee, Pence, are the default gatekeepers for the authoritative information we need to deal with the spread of this virus. Thankfully, the CDC has been more straightforward and definitive than the  nebulous reassurances we've received from the White House briefing room: it’s not a question of whether the virus will spread in the U.S., the CDC announced, but a question of when. More info is coming out from them an other agencies and states everyday--like the virus, it's difficult to just stop it. 

Meanwhile, Trump and his cronies (Limbaugh most dramatically) have been feeding us a witches brew of distortion, understatement and denial. In Limbaugh’s case, we’re even getting conspiracy thinking and unfounded accusations—the Dems are “spooking” investors with all this talk about the virus because they’re out to get Trump. Trump and company lap that kind of thinking up, of course, as we heard in his post-Indian trip press conference and in yesterday’s (Friday’s) CPAC conference. 

Yes, the Stock Market has taken a dramatic downturn this past week, but is calming investor nerves for the sake of Trump's re-election really what this epidemic is about?!

The conspiracy-laced GOP narrative is shocking for the level of paranoia it implies: can there be no topic that doesn’t have a dark partisan underbelly? 

COVID-19 Coronavirus has now spread to many countries, including the U.S.
The fact is, Trump has good reason to be sensitive: all of this is exposing a serious blunder he made in 2018, dismantling the nation’s infrastructure for dealing with pandemics by defunding the critical agencies charged with such functions. 

From Fortune magazine—far from the typical liberal mouthpiece: 

 “The Trump administration recently requested $2.5 billion in emergency funds to prepare the U.S. for a possible widespread outbreak of coronavirus. Critics, though, are pointing out that money might not be necessary if the administration hadn’t spent the past two years largely dismantling government units that were designed to protect against pandemics.
The cuts started in 2018, as the White House focused on eliminating funding to Obama-era disease security programs. In March of that year, Rear Adm. Timothy Ziemer, whose job it was to lead the U.S. response in the event of a pandemic, abruptly left the administration and his global health security team was disbanded. Also cut was the Complex Crises Fund, a $30 million emergency response pool that was at the secretary of state’s disposal to deploy disease experts and others in the event of a crisis. (The fund was created by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton).”
Overall in 2018, Trump called for $15 billion in reduced health spending that had previously been approved, as he looked at increasing budget deficits, cutting the global disease-fighting budgets of the CDC, National Security Council (NSC), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and Health and Human Services (HHS) in the process.
That same year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was forced to slash its efforts to prevent global disease outbreak by 80% as its funding for the program began to run out. The agency, at the time, opted to focus on 10 priority countries and scale back in others, including China.”

So, deflection is essential for Trump, and his appointing of V.P. Pence to head up the nation’s response to this potential crisis is sure to keep the politics in our national response. Will Pence listen to the epidemiologists and virologists, or to his boss and those eager to mollify him? Early actions suggest the latter:  one of Pence’s first moves with the Coronavirus task force was to muzzle health officials, requiring them to funnel any public health announcements regarding the virus through him. Is this supposed to give us confidence that we'll get unbiased information when we need it? 

A lack of test kits has reportedly been a drag on the U.S. response.

Meanwhile, Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer is pushing for a much higher amount of funding to address the virus challenge than the administration is asking for, so at least we know that leaders on both sides of the aisle are starting to mobilize resources for the fight. At the same time (things are moving incredibly quickly here), experts writing for Foreign Policy are emphasizing the importance of global cooperation—simply put, this attack on the Coronavirus either succeeds globally, or it doesn’t succeed at all. 

By the logic of epidemics and their exponential rippling effects, failures to contain the spread anywhere will impact people everywhere. There’s no place for isolationist “MAGA”-thinking in a pandemic—a Neptunian reminder of the importance of compassionate, collective focus if there ever was one. From FP writer, Priyanka Pandit:  
“An outbreak of such a magnitude often acts as a litmus test for humanity and compassion. Even the most powerful country becomes vulnerable and requires the support and cooperation of the other countries to contain such an outbreak. As such, countries with advanced public healthcare systems should actively chart out strategies of cooperation with WHO [World Health Organization] and China to contain the epidemic and find a vaccine for COVID-19.
For instance, such countries could send medical supplies to China to assist the Chinese government’s virus control efforts, generate global awareness about the symptoms of the virus, conduct joint research to find a cure for the virus, and prevent the spread of anti-China sentiments abroad.
With the rising cases in South Korea and Japan, it’s clear that no country alone can control an epidemic like COVID-19. Complicating the situation further is the multiple side effects of the virus. Apart from its potentially deadly pathogenic character, the virus leads to social exclusion and exacerbates the already existing differences on biomedical approaches to epidemic control and global health standards. So collective efforts are needed to end the differences in the battle against COVID-19, control its spread and find a cure for it.

It’s possible, in fact, that the need for international cooperation will extend to canceling this year’s Tokyo Olympic Games, despite the horrendous disruptions such a move would cause to so many lives. This would be radical and unfortunate, but the potential for spreading the virus within the tight quarters of the Olympic Village, not to mention all the public venues packed with spectators, could warrant it. Time will tell, obviously: reports indicate that this decision will be made one way or another by May. Hopefully it will be a moot point by then, but the IOC must be encouraged to do the right thing for global health, above all else. 

If we’ve had any doubt about the connection between Neptune and epidemics, here we have it: the sheer force of an epidemic’s virality demands that we to think beyond our own borders because our personal wellbeing is inextricably linked to the globe’s collective wellbeing! Arguably, this is Neptune schooling us on our universal interdependence, and on survivalism at its most primal: the more we help others, the more we are helping ourselves! 

With its preference for travel bans and border walls and for withholding aid unless there’s something in it for him, is the Trump administration up to the challenge? There are already reports that his rhetoric has inspired xenophobic backlashes against those from outside our borders. Indeed, in his press conference this past Wednesday, he suggested that those who opposed his travel bans are to blame for the current situation:
“Trump also repeatedly claimed his political opponents had initially opposed his decision to close down travel from certain areas of the world, without elaborating.
He cited “decisions that were ridiculed at the beginning” and said “a lot of people thought we shouldn’t have done it at the beginning.” He later returned to the idea that, “had I not made a decision very early on not to take people from a certain area, we wouldn’t be talking this way” — about the situation being relatively contained.”
Of course, restricting travel from impacted areas makes sense, but that doesn't mean his pre-Coronavirus travel bans were about this. And, his deliberate use of “from a certain area” is sure to spark trouble from those with “ears to hear” xenophobia in his remarks. According to

“Washington Post reporter John Pomfret writes, “At a middle school a few blocks from my house, a rumor circulated among the children that all Asian kids have the coronavirus and should be quarantined.” People in Los Angeles and Toronto have also experienced instances of xenophobic harassment, from racist comments made by TSA agents to verbal street harassment. In the UK, Chinese restaurants say they are struggling for business because of widespread misconceptions about the “cleanliness” of their food. Meanwhile, US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has touted the crisis in China as an opportunity to increase jobs in America.”
So, rather than rise to the challenge of Neptunian compassion and love for our fellow travelers on this Earth because we’re ultimately in this together, let’s sink to the lowest possible toxic response—to the point of hovering like vultures over the crises in other nations because they might increase jobs here?!  Is this what “MAGA” means? 

In fact, the Dems don’t need to even try bringing Trump down over this—his worldview pretty much guarantees that his response to an epidemic will have problems. For one thing, our medication and medical device supply chains depend on China: we have a serious vested interest in their success addressing the epidemic!  The health of our trade relations and access to all the important consumer goods we import from abroad also depends upon our partners around the world—in the wake of Wall Street carnage, this is no time to be alienating anyone we don’t have to!

The WHO is a good source for the latest information regarding epidemics.
People are often taken in by Trump’s projections and distortions, of course (his failings are always someone else’s fault), but they will know by looking at their local communities whether his toxic approach of isolationism and distortion/obfuscation is effectively addressing an epidemic. As we’ve seen, Trump and Pence are clearly obsessed with controlling the narrative, but will they be equally concerned  about giving us the facts we need to minimize the virus spread and its lethality? 

If we can't count on them, where do we find good information? From the evidence of our own senses, first of all, which we should try to accept on its own merits, unfiltered through political biases. Then, from the non-Trumpified press—as difficult as that may be to fathom in these Neptunian times. Click here for a useful list of things we can do to protect ourselves—from the Washington Post. It makes no sense whatsoever to claim that the Post is somehow out to get Trump because it has published those guidelines; even hinting at such a paranoid plot suggests that the rabbit hole of delusion Trump and company are willing to throw themselves down is bottomless. 

In fact, let’s just flip the script back over to where it belongs: those who claim the press is providing “fake news” or worse are likely trying to control the flow of information for their own questionable reasons. Hint: the real “fake news” outlets are those who make praising Trump the centerpiece of every story—that’s not objective journalism, pure and simple! We need to trust, but verify the public service-minded channels of information that (thank goodness) still exist, because it will be a very dark world indeed if they disappear. 

Bottom line, check out a variety of sources, if you must, to corroborate the info, and above all, rely on expert/scientific statements of fact!. More to come on this ahead—a list of key agencies that are charged with providing these facts and have nothing to gain from dissimulating or deceiving us.

Good news: Big Tech is working to curb Coronavirus-related misinformation.
Likewise, following local news and facts on the ground in regards to the virus will be far more reliable than depending on proclamations from on high in the Administration. As always these days, the challenge is in getting people to trust the evidence unfolding before their eyes and to stop being gaslit by propaganda, which by definition amounts to information subordinated to politics. Facts matter and can save lives­—deception and denial can cost lives. Donald Trump rallied his base last night in South Carolina by calling the Coronavirus epidemic a “hoax”—a claim that could cost lives if those people in turn ignore what the health  authorities are telling them to do in regards to local outbreaks. Yet, Trump has washed his hands of responsibility and given the pan of dirty water to Pence to deal with. 

Finally, as if we don’t have enough difficulties to navigate with COVID-19, we have to also be wary of scam artists bent on taking advantage of people’s fears and eagerness to protect their families.  We know this because the Federal Trade Commission has put out a warning, which Michigan’s Attorney-General Dana Nessel relayed to the public, along with the following list of recommendations:
  • “Don’t click on links from sources you don’t know;
  • Watch for emails claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or experts saying they have information about the virus;
  • Ignore online offers for vaccinations; and
  • Be alert to ‘investment opportunities.’”
So returning to the critical issue of who we can count on for solid, credible information, in this case, the answer is clear: the experts in charge of our federal and state level health authorities: 

·         - the CDC (U.S. Center for Disease Control),
·        - the  HHS (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services),
·         - the NIH (National Institute of Health),
·         - and the WHO (World Health Organization). 

If you follow the links I’ve provided here, you’ll find abundant information about the research and responses of each agency to the COVID-19 challenge (official Coronavirus outbreak title). Despite the administration’s attempt to gag U.S. agencies, it’s likely that the information found on these sites will be far more helpful and credible than listening to the official White House “spin.” 

It’s also worth keeping in mind that every state in the Union has at least one health agency that will undoubtedly be focused on coordinating the COVID-19 response within that state and on informing and guiding the public. These agencies will work with governors and school authorities should school closings be warranted, and they will declare state emergencies for the sake of marshaling resources if needed, as well. IMHO, we need to lock arms with our local authorities and support their efforts however we can, which includes being responsible about our own health-related behaviors. The articles I’ve recommended above have plenty of information regarding helpful habits we can all get into. 

As for the astrology of the situation, this would be a good place to pause and consider the Aries Ingress chart for this year—traditionally considered a good measure of the “tone” of the coming year. We looked at this chart in reference to the various Democratic candidates’ charts in the last post, but this time we’ll consider the ingress more generally, and for what it might tell us about public health and our ability to deal with a potential epidemic. For this we’ll be particularly alert to Neptune’s placement and its interactions, but we’ll also consider the overall feel of the chart and how it interacts with our national radix Sibly chart. 

Let’s begin.

The Aries Ingress

Chart #1: Aries Ingress, 2020, March 19, 2020, 11:50:01 pm DST, Washington, DC. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node.

Scorpio rises; ASC sextiles Mars-Jupiter-Pluto conjunction (Capricorn) and inconjoins Eris (Aries). Mundane tradition suggests that a vernal ingress applies to the entire year that follows if a fixed sign rises, so even though we won’t be too rigid about this, we will keep it in mind. Considering we still have important outer planetary cycles beginning this year, it’s not too surprising that the Aries ingress would be significant looking. It looks even more so here because both ASC rulers, Mars and Pluto (Capricorn) fall conjunct in the 2nd house of finances, along with Jupiter (Capricorn). And wouldn’t you know it, as I write this, we’re experiencing the most serious disruption on Wall Street since the 2008 financial crisis, with several days of over-sized (Jupiter) losses! 

In fact, the last time Jupiter transited Capricorn was in the last months of 2007 and throughout 2008! After pumping the Market up (to somewhat artificial feeling highs) while transiting its home sign of Sagittarius, growth naturally becomes overblown—if it hadn’t burst for the coronavirus uncertainty, then it would for something else. As we’ll see in a bit, these points tie very tightly into our Sibly Pluto (Capricorn), so investor freak-out regarding the uncertainties of COVID-19 is hardly surprising. Hopefully this “correction” will level off quickly—chances are the Fed will need to get involved. In the meantime we have to listen to the administration blaming everyone except themselves for the problem!

This Mars-Jupiter-Pluto convergence expands to take in Saturn, which rules Capricorn and thus dominates the “tone” of this 2nd-3rd house gathering. That would reflect the losses on Wall Street, of course, but it would also reflect the political trend towards holding the plutocratic elements of our society (as Sanders would say, the “billionaires!”) accountable for paying their fair share in our economy. Saturn in the 3rd house suggests that current the economic disruption will impact local economies and commerce, but it also points to restraints on needed information. This, as we’ve discussed, could impact how we address the coronavirus challenge. A fight is likely to ensue on behalf of public health efforts (Mars rules Aries 6th house and squares Eris, with Eris at that house cusp, inconjunct ASC). 

The Aries Ingress marks spring in the Northern Hemisphere and fall in the Southern.

Watchdogs are needed to make sure resources are distributed equitably to all states (we know Trump has tried to withhold grants to cities that offer sanctuary to refugees, and the Courts have unfortunately been siding with him lately).  

In fact, as alluded to earlier, word has it tonight that medical organizations are already experiencing drug and medical device shortages related to COVID-19—the active pharmaceutical ingredients in such drugs come from China for the most part, and devices such as ventilators may as well. Not surprisingly, given their own crisis, China’s production capabilities are more than stretched at the moment.

Uranus (Taurus) sextiles Mercury (Pisces) from 6th house and squares Saturn (Capricorn). Disruptions to public health are certainly implied here, which is no surprise—we’re already seeing them! We could also see disruptions to the flow of information (check, Pence in charge), and more gnashing of teeth and dramatic partisan hand-wringing than usual. Both sides are in battle mode, with relations sure to become even uglier than usual over the course of this year. 

This may be par for the course in an election year, but the extra tension in that waning Saturn-Uranus square reflects the friction caused by the Coronavirus. There’s a lot at stake in the current “blame game,” meaning it could ignite into even nastier tactics than usual, although that’s hard to fathom. Historical note: the U.S. Civil War erupted in 1860 with a waxing Saturn square Uranus (Virgo-Gemini); tensions have a way of exploding during these transiting moments. Saturn seems to feel particularly repressive these days, with so much Capricorn influence afloat, and that can only stimulate rebellion. If Mitch McConnell’s Senate doesn’t deliver on some critical Coronavirus-related or election-related bills, that could inspire a backlash that fits the picture here.

On the other hand, Venus (Taurus) trines Mars-Jupiter (Capricorn), suggesting that public health resources (2nd-6th house trines) will be more readily available than we might fear. Not without some wrangling (that Saturn-Uranus square’s still lurking in the background), but resources shouldn’t be a problem. It’s an election year, after all!

Arming ourselves with facts is the best antidote to Neptunian panic.

Neptune (Pisces) occupies the 4th house and sextiles Mars-Jupiter (Capricorn) and Venus (Taurus). The 4th house is an unnerving placement for Neptune, especially as it transits in less than stable-feeling home sign, Pisces. Unfortunately, when a nation is fighting a potential epidemic situation, Neptune can spark fear and panic, thus undermining our ability to act constructively. Conspiracy-mongering, misinformation (information subordinated to political purposes) and a host of dirty tricks that undercut efforts on the ground are to be expected, but they needn’t win the day. Those who are tuned into the more fact-based Capricorn energies here can perhaps guide us towards a consciously compassionate response to whatever Coronavirus outbreak we see. 

There will be plenty of ways in which we can help each other, too – families will be really stretched for assistance with child care if schools have to close, and our local food pantries might need more donations, given that school kids won’t have the benefit of meals in school. If it will help to muster the needed esprít de corps, perhaps it would help to picture ourselves in a state of war—we have a common foe, the virus, and we’re all in this together! Party lines and all that divisive labeling need to disappear—there will be no “red” or “blue” victims of this epidemic on the CDC rolls—only American victims! Wouldn’t it be nice to tap into the upside of Neptune for a change?

The friendly-looking Venus-Neptune sextile could indicate creative solutions to some of the challenges ahead, as well. If nothing else, it suggests that tangible outcomes mean more than nebulous promises and should be better trusted—in other words, “put your money where your mouth is!” Indeed, the administration (or any public institution) deserves to be judged by what it does, not by what it says it will do or has done (Trump keeps saying his administration has done a “spectacular job” with the virus, as if the job is done!).

It’s worth noting that Venus, Neptune and Saturn are dignified in their home signs here—an unusual situation, but one we’re likely to feel in the coming year. Finances could continue being more unstable than we’d like, precisely because getting clear information that investors can count upon to protect their investments will continue being elusive. In fact, WH Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney just claimed at the CPAC conference that people should “ignore media reports about the coronavirus” because this coverage aims to pull down the president

Not to be outdone, “Don Jr.” is suggesting that the Dems want a pandemic to come to our shores because they want to get rid of his dad. Really?!  So better to ignore and muzzle the facts on the ground and leave American lives up to chance? Unbelievable! Even if this claim had any shred of truth to it, what are Don Jr. and others saying?  That Trump’s re-election is more important than the potential thousands of lives that could be lost under his watch?

This is a good place to shift gears and consider the Ingress next to the U.S. Sibly chart. Perhaps this will tell us more about how all this is playing out in terms of the dynamics within our institutions and via public discourse.

The Aries Ingress & the Sibly chart

Biwheel #1: (inner wheel) USA (Sibly) chart, July 4, 1776, 5:10 p.m. LMT, Philadelphia, PA; (outer wheel) Aries Ingress, 2020, March 19, 2020, 11:50:01 pm DST, Washington, DC. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node.

Interchart T-Square: Ingress Mars-Jupiter-Pluto-Saturn (Capricorn) all conjoin Sibly Pluto (Capricorn) and oppose Sibly Mercury (Cancer); this axis squares Ingress Eris (Aries). Notice that Sibly Chiron (Aries) opposed to Sibly Juno (Libra) are also pulled into this configuration, with Sibly Chiron conjunct Ingress Eris, however some orbs in the Capricorn points are too wide for comfort, so I wouldn’t quite call this a cardinal grand square. Even so, there’s a clear sense that old wounds (Chiron) are being ripped open anew for the sake of a new “battle” (Eris). 

More specifically, Sibly Pluto is the focus of intense pressure, up to and including transiting Pluto’s return to that point in less than 2 years now. It’s no wonder that our very system of government is under fire these days—when Pluto first occupied this position in 1776, we were fighting to defeat the British monarchy—“Mad” King George III—and replace it with democratic self-rule. 

We talk less about the Adam Smith-style capitalist economy our Founders favored, but they did make conscious choices to embrace this system and reject others. Even that seems to be up for review during this Pluto return, however, with current Democratic front-runner Bernie Sanders favoring an economic system that moderates some of the worst excesses of corporate capitalism in favor of more working class power. Socialism, in other words. 

A shift of this magnitude has seemed totally impossible until this election cycle, but young voters seem particularly unphased by the Socialist “bugaboo” and even some older voters are setting aside old biases against it because they believe in Sanders’ agenda. If it happens, this shift would amount to a fundamental transformation of our long-held assumptions about how government and business function together—a shift worthy of a Pluto return, perhaps.

Is the U.S. facing such a dramatic transformation?

The Soviet Union experienced something of this magnitude in 1991 when internal and external pressures forced it to adopt a more open, capitalist market economy. Saturn, Uranus and Neptune were conjunct USSR Sun in Capricorn and opposite USSR Pluto (Cancer) when that happened, with Uranus and Neptune about to start the new cycle we’re still living under, also conjunct USSR Sun. It was a shift that turned eastern Europe on its head overnight, throwing over the economic/political status quo like a magnitude 9 earthquake. 

So, are we experiencing sufficiently disruptive planetary dynamics in this Ingress chart—enough to foresee a similar upheaval?  

There are certain parallels that could be significant: the Jupiter-Pluto cycle is about to begin anew in April, and will be the only Capricorn cycle since 1771. The cycle that was in force during the American Revolution, in other words!  Jupiter isn’t particularly strong in Saturn-ruled Capricorn, so we could be looking at a period of slower economic growth ahead, and a period of reform for the powerful finance sector.  Inextricably bound up with the Pluto return we’ve been discussing, this 12-year Jupiter-Pluto cycle would also then contribute to the overall economic transformation portended by that return event. 

It’s difficult to imagine how that would play out in real terms, but it’s likely that our current “winner-takes-all,” low-tax, regulations-free corporate order may no longer hold as much sway. Great power could be invested in a leader (Jupiter-Pluto) who, in fact, favors a strong regulatory framework for corporations and the Stock Market. Elizabeth Warren’s proud achievement, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, was “born” in July, 2011, under a nice Jupiter-Pluto trine (Taurus-Capricorn), but it was instituted to address abuses within the finance sector that triggered the 2008 financial crisis, when Jupiter was in Capricorn. 

Notice that on July 5th, (a day after Independence Day), we will see a lunar eclipse that stretches between 13°+Capricorn and13°+Cancer, conjunct Sibly Sun (Cancer) and creating a t-square with Sibly Saturn (Libra). Mid-cardinal sign eclipses tend to pack a wallop, so it’ll be interesting to see how this one plays out, falling very close to this summer’s political conventions. 

Did you know there's an American Dream mall?

Neptune’s transiting presence opposite Sibly Neptune at the same time as Pluto is returning to Sibly Pluto is another major factor in the transformative power of these times. We underestimate the power of this passage at our peril, in fact: the very ideological ground of our being as a nation is up for grabs here, and Neptune being Neptune, the way in which it’s being challenged has crept up on us with little warning, forcing us to disabuse ourselves of some long held illusions like the “American Dream.”   

Here’s where an epidemic with even a modest reach could provide a cruel wake-up call for so many working families we hear about, who can’t handle even a $400 emergency without major disruption. What will they do if they’re quarantined for weeks on end, have to relinquish all those days of work and pay, and have to deal with the expenses of serious illness?  

Of course, Neptune’s capacity for compassion and an attitude that says “we’re in this together” will help us pull through any such events. Tax payer dollars are going into the research needed to develop a vaccine, so we should all have access to the vaccine once it’s developed, right? Even so, cultivating that inclusive attitude will take leadership we don’t seem to have at the moment—Health and Human Services chief Azar reportedly refused to confirm this week that the COVID-19 vaccine will be affordable for most when it becomes available. Huh?! 

Even more disturbing (if that’s possible)¸will we be able to avoid the more toxic, fear-based responses to widespread crisis that Neptune is known for, such as xenophobia, hate crimes, racist demogoguery and scapegoating? Clearly, the majority of Americans reject these tactics; nevertheless, at this moment, the potential for this kind of darkness is real.  

Did Napoleon foresee information itself being the enemy?

Notice the pressure that’s being applied to our communications media (Sibly Mercury-Cancer) with all the Capricorn oppositions. Trump and company have made mainstream media outlets their whipping boys for all the evils of the world, and yet brave journalists just keep doing their jobs of keeping us informed. Trump’s gripe isn’t simply with opinion writers and those who express opinions in various formats—he’s at war with information itself! 

This is reflected in how tightly his natal Saturn-Venus (Cancer) conjunction (chart not shown) ties into the crossfire between Cancer and Capricorn in this biwheel. He reacts to information that he finds unflattering as if it’s a personal threat to his survival. It’s been reported that he has a long history (even before any political involvement) of working to manipulate press messages about himself, and here we see why. It seems that in his mind, if media accounts don’t actively praise him, they must be biased against him; if they don’t actively support his thinking or biases, they’re simply banished to “fake news” oblivion. How do we even process such thinking? It’s like Trump has been sentenced to solitary self-focused confinement—a very sad, dangerous state of affairs.  

Interchart T-Square: Ingress Neptune (Pisces) opposes Sibly Neptune (Virgo); this axis squares Sibly Mars (Gemini). The addition of Sibly Mars into this Neptunian passage describes the serious risks we’re taking as a nation by empowering delusionary thinking. Importantly, this Sibly Mars ties in tightly with Trump’s natal Sun-No. Node-Uranus (Gemini, chart not shown), another indication of how defensive his thinking is. His administration has weaponized (Sibly Mars) its duplicity and corruption, so it’s no wonder that we’re seeing misinformation campaigns designed to serve his re-election unfold and creep into our social media (Gemini) and into the public discourse surrounding the Coronavirus, the Census, and so on. 

Unfortunately, we probably haven’t seen anything yet. 

The lack of any truly factual basis for attacking and killing Iran’s General Suleimani fits into this t-square dynamic as well: there was reportedly an “imminent threat” posed by Suleimani, but nothing that can ever be nailed down and verified. The troops who suffered brain damage from Iran’s bombing response to the killing suffered only “headaches,” nothing serious—subtext, they’re expendable anyway, right? If we’ve been following the many stories that have been woven into the administration’s fabric of lies and distortion, one theme remains constant:  everyone is out to get Trump (his Sun falls over Sibly 7th) and it is a matter of national [his] security that they be muzzled and stopped. 

Interchart T-Square: Ingress Sun-Chiron conjunction (Aries) squares Sibly Venus-Jupiter (Cancer); this axis squares Cancer-Capricorn Nodal Axis. This configuration adds to the cardinal tensions and raises anxieties about the economy, which relies heavily on trade relations and allies (Sibly 7th).  

One of several public health agencies that need our support and protection.

Sibly Venus rules Sibly 6th house of public health, so this wounding square could reflect the CDC’s warning about the looming Coronavirus threat. It’s not a question of if, but when. Looking “weak” isn’t Trump’s cup of tea, of course, but Ingress No. Node (Cancer) is hovering over Sibly Venus-Jupiter as well, suggesting that the public’s focus will be on the economy this year, so any weaknesses in its performance will be noted.  He won’t be able to deny the losses to people’s IRAs as easily as he does other realities, although we know he will try to blame the Dems for plotting against him and his followers. Whoa, are they clever! Let’s not even dignify that ignorance with a response.

Final thoughts

We’ve considered a host of ways to find good, reliable information about the potential spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus, and clearly in situations like this, information saves lives, so we must take care to “trust, but verify” the facts we consume. We don’t often think about how personal the energies of Neptune can be, but in some ways it is the most personal of any of the outer planets because its erosive, boundary-dissolving impact can compromise the structural integrity of all the institutions we rely on for health, safety and welfare. If we haven’t appreciated the role government institutions play in our lives in the recent decades, this Neptune passage has been a major wake-up call. 

Our forefathers weren’t naïve—they were wise enough to know that the most enduring, democratic governmental system would incorporate Nature’s natural resilience: where one set of defenses might falter, others would fill the gap with countervailing forces. Well, they may not have foreseen the faltering of numerous institutions at once as we’re seeing now, but I believe they would have trusted the People to use what scientist Marilyn Ferguson refers to as “radical common sense” to fill the gap. Her words provide the perfect final thoughts here:

“Radical doesn’t mean ‘far out,’ it means far in. When we get to the radical, we get to the essence—to the root of the problem. True common sense is body, mind, and heart, sensed in the moment.
It’s time to reclaim these essential concepts of ‘radical’ and ‘common sense’ in tandem. There is not a more convenient term to describe multisensory perception. Data plus history plus instinct. Solutions arise out of an inner reading, a polling of our various senses reviewed in the light of experience. This sense/insight is too quick for thought. It is a gestalt, whole-seeing, whole-feeling.”[1]
In other words, to access the light side of Neptune in today’s political atmosphere, we must dig deep and learn to trust our own inner lights above the incoherent and divisive “babble” that aims to confuse and sap our confidence. We will get through this Coronavirus challenge because we will use our common sense to follow experts who know what they’re talking about—not because someone from on high waves a magic wand and banishes all talk of the virus from our public airwaves. “Our senses have been the pawns in a foolish game,” Ferguson writes, adding, “When we radicalize our common sense, our intelligence will flourish.”[2]
Sounds right to me -- stay tuned!

Common sense has always been the answer!

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]Marilyn Ferguson, Aquarius Now: Radical Common Sense and Reclaiming our Personal Sovereignty,” Weiser Books, Boston, MA, 2005, p. 28.
[2]Ferguson, p. 29.