Thursday, March 19, 2020

Update: charting COVID-19'S origins

Women are always essential to any national crisis!

"Some Americans are in denial, and others are feeling despair. Both sentiments are understandable. We all have a choice to make. We can look at the coming fire and let it burn. We can hunker down, and hope to wait it out—or we can work together to get through it with as little damage as possible. 

This country has faced massive threats before and risen to the challenge; we can do it again. We just need to decide to make it happen."

--Aaron E. Carroll, The

Neptune loves a good bit of twisted irony, of course, so here's the thing: today, the less we get out and about, the less we go to work, the more we're doing for the nation's COVID-19 response! So the more passively cooperative we are, the better. I suspect that's a temporary reality, however: at some point the contributions we can all make to suppressing and outliving this virus within our borders will become more clear. As the damage to our economy crystallizes in people's lives, we'll have a better idea what's needed and how we can help. 

For today, however, I thought we'd explore more deeply the astrological origins of the COVID-19 pandemic. Astrologers expend a lot of mental energy trying to determine the most representational dates and times for critical events, and trying to cast accurate charts during this Corona virus pandemic is no exception. In fact, there are several possible “birth charts” for the COVID-19 virus, depending upon how we frame its inception. For instance, do we look to its very first actual case in Wuhan, China? Or to the first case that Chinese authorities reported to the World Health Organization? 

The first instance would reportedly be on November 17, 2019; the second on December 31st, more than a month later. The intervening time between these two instances represents the lag time during which Chinese leaders tried to cover up the outbreak. 


“The first case of someone suffering from Covid-19 can be traced back to 17 November, according to media reports on unpublished Chinese government data.

The report, in the South China Morning Post, said Chinese authorities had identified at least 266 people who contracted the virus last year and who came under medical surveillance, and the earliest case was 17 November – weeks before authorities announced the emergence of the new virus.

The Chinese government was widely criticised over attempts to cover up the outbreak in the early weeks, including crackdowns on doctors who tried to warn colleagues about a new Sars-like virus which was emerging in the city of Wuhan in Hubei province.

The data obtained by the Post, which the Guardian has not been able to verify, said a 55-year-old from Hubei province could have been the first person to contract Covid-19. For about one month after that date there were one to five new cases reported each day, the report said, and by 20 December there were 60 confirmed cases.

The virus, which is now a pandemic, has infected at least 128,343 people across the world and killed 4,702. Of those who have contracted the virus since it began, 68,324 people have recovered.”

Given this information, I’m inclined to regard November 17th as being the more accurate inception date than December 31st, some 60+ cases later, even if the Dec. 31st report to the WHO made China’s outbreak “official.” 

In fact, I’ve studied these charts and they’re both quite dramatic, as we’ll see ahead. The differences between them are interesting, too, and may explain why China announced the onset of the outbreak when it did—more on this in a bit. 

First, however, let’s consider the actual first case, reported on November 17th in Chart #1 below.

Chart #1: First COVID-19 case (actual), November 17, 2019, 12 p.m. ST (no exact time), Wuhan (Hubei), China. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. 

Obviously, it’s impossible to know at what exact time this first COVID-19 case surfaced, so we can’t be certain of the angles, houses or Moon placement in this chart.  

Saturn and Uranus co-rule Aquarius ASC; Saturn/Uranus (midpoint, Pisces) conjoins Neptune (Pisces). Saturn and Uranus pit traditional, conservative approaches to problem-solving against less traditional, innovative approaches, but the midpoint represented here reflects the government’s choice to cover-up (Neptune) the early cases. 

If the Aquarius ASC is accurate, it suggests that the government may have experienced serious resistance from its people at that juncture: Ruling planet Uranus also squares ASC from Taurus. in fact, there were protests after people learned about the cover-up and about how badly the government treated Doctor Lin Wenliang, the so-called “whistleblower” doctor who tried to warn other medical workers about the cases he was seeing. 

It’s interesting that Jupiter is in late Sagittarius here, conjunct the GC (Galactic Center): this point is often activated in whistle-blower situations, and Jupiter certainly fits the commitment and generosity of the doctor. 

Whistleblower Dr. Lin Wenliang was reprimanded for spreading "fake news."

Unfortunately, there was no happy ending in this story, however: having contracted the virus in the course of patient care, Lin died on February 7, 2020, triggering even more protests.

Grand-Square: Saturn-Pluto conjoin (Capricorn) and oppose Moon (Cancer); this axis squares Mars (Libra) opposite Eris-Uranus (Aries-Taurus). These aspects fit the situation so well that we might consider the timing to be fairly accurate. Some of the square aspects here are a bit wide, but given the heavy cardinal dynamics in play, we can allow for this. The point being made here is that the People were under great stress, subject to heavy governmental restrictions (12th house Saturn-Pluto) in the midst of a dynamic, disruptive and volatile situation (Mars opposite Eris-Uranus).  

If Mars does indeed rule the 3rd and 10th houses from the 9th, we can see how fraught communications and travel became all of a sudden, as restrictions began surfacing as soon as the government took control of the narrative. In retrospect, the government’s heavy-handedness appears to have helped “flatten the curve” of the epidemic within Chinese borders

Of course, hard aspects between Mars-Pluto and Mars-Uranus are bound to be volatile—the only thing moderating the situation here might be that Mars isn’t at its most potent in Venus-ruled Libra. It entered its home sign Scorpio a mere three days later, however, so the situation became more intense and “martial” by then. By the time China officially announced its first COVID-19 cases to the WHO on December 31st, it’s likely that the control mechanisms and systems were in place to put the nation in virtual lockdown. 

Year of the Rat got off to a very difficult start this time!

And all this just a month before Chinese New Year, a time when millions of Chinese travel back and forth for family celebrations!  

Grand Water Trine: Mercury (Scorpio) trines Moon (Cancer) trines Neptune (Pisces). In November the Chinese people were still being kept in the dark about the dangerous situation developing—we see the spread of delusion designed to manipulate the public in this grand trine, but also the potential spread of the virus itself—Neptune rules epidemics, and the infection numbers were multiplying exponentially from day one. Propaganda and willful downplaying/deception only enabled the spread—we experienced that here in the U.S., as well, in those early weeks when Trump was trying to downplay the seriousness of the problem. 

China made heavy-handed use of a police presence in its COVID-19 response.

Venus (Sagittarius) conjoins Jupiter (Sagittarius), squares Neptune (Pisces) and inconjoins Moon (Cancer). The Sagittarius points here may have protected the people somewhat, by inspiring them to accept the situation philosophically and to follow their leaders’ guidance. That made for very frustrating times (inconjunct), undoubtedly, however it’s possible that the death toll could have been much worse than it was. 

Nodal Axis (Cancer-Capricorn) squares Chiron (Aries)-opposite-Juno-Part of Fortune (Libra). If accurate, the 6th-12th house placement of the Nodal axis certainly fits the health-related situation that surfaced with this event (Saturn-Pluto in the 12th speaks to the heavy institutional framework China set up to deal with the outbreak). Chiron speaks to the wounds about to be inflicted on the Chinese people—perhaps especially on relationships and wives (Juno). 

A paper published by the Chinese Journal of Epidemiology reported that there was a gender disparity in mortality rates:  the probability of men who contracted the virus dying was 4.7%; while the same for women was 2.8%. This squares with the 8th house Juno, although the Chiron-opposite-Part of Fortune points to a more general pain and loss and possible economic disruption. 

Check out WHO guidelines for the COVID-19 virus here.

The official COVID-19 announcement

Chart #1 was fairly heavily focused on the stresses on the Chinese people (Moon), whereas the December 31st chart for the announcement privileges the government’s position and the challenges it faced in protecting its population. Cover-up attempt aside, we know that the Chinese government is very deliberate in its actions, and astrology is well-respected as a planning tool there, so perhaps they did some electional work to determine an optimal day for their announcement. We don’t know if they elected to make their announcement at noon, however, so again, it’s difficult to take the angles and/or houses and Moon placement too seriously here.  

 With that said, let’s consider Chart #2 below.

Chart #2: COVID-19 Announcement (China), December 31, 2019, 12 pm ST, Wuhan (Hubei), China. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node.

Sun conjoins So. Node-Jupiter-Mercury (Capricorn). If the timing is more-or-less accurate, this potent Saturnian gathering happens at the top of the chart and pulls in the Capricorn MC. China did project an authoritative, if not brutally authoritarian approach to its COVID-19 response, and the messaging (Mercury) went from being murky and manipulative in November (Scorpio) to disciplined and demanding (Capricorn) by the end of December. 

Jupiter’s involvement here may have been well-timed for the success of their message (conjunct Mercury) and their response in general. Reports have highlighted how organized and step-by-step their approach was to identifying the potentially infected and exposed, and then how swiftly they took action to quarantine such individuals in specially designated or constructed quarters—all effective, if heavy-handed Capricorn tactics. 

China's Xi recently visited the Wuhan epicenter.

Xi Jinping’s government has been quick to crow about its effectiveness, comparing their “strong” use of power to America’s less centralized and less organized approach. As we’ve seen in the Trump White House, the powers-that-be in China haven't hesitated to take political advantage from this crisis, as well. Even so, the facts reflect that Beijing was able to scale up its efforts to meet the scope of the challenge in pretty short order—a feat that does look instructive, considering where the U.S. is at right now. 

This scalability was perhaps another way in which Jupiter supported Beijing's efforts. Of course, well-led democracies are more than capable of mobilizing against a crisis too—it's not that autocracy works better; it simply makes issuing orders less complicated because choice and human rights have been eliminated from the equation. Competence shouldn't have an ideology, should it?

Mercury (Capricorn) trines Uranus (Rx, Taurus). China's WHO announcement was shocking news, obviously, but the fact that there were cases of an unknown virus in China was already reported by that time, so the key point here is that other aspects of Chinese life were about to get the shock treatment: transportation, communications, working life, commerce, and so on. 

Mars (Scorpio) widely sextiles Saturn-Pluto (Capricorn). These aspects enhanced the government’s ability to crackdown on human rights for the sake of the virus fight, of course – we shouldn’t minimize how difficult life must have been for people under this heavy-handed approach. We also shouldn’t minimize how the virus unleashed an even more oppressive surveillance (Scorpio) state than normal over there, and it also fostered xenophobia and anti-foreigner sentiment.   

Time magazine reported that foreigners have been treated like scapegoats in China—especially if they had been traveling—much  as Trump is trying to frame COVID-19 as a “Chinese virus,” unleashing anti-Asian demagoguery. Is he just trying to “punch back” and oblivious to how his actions are impacting Asian-Americans? He’s been asked repeatedly about his insistence on using that racist label, but thus far he refuses to take the point and back down. 

Moon widely conjoins Neptune (Pisces) and sextiles So. Node-Jupiter-Mercury (Capricorn) and Uranus (Taurus). Again, we’re not certain that this Moon placement is accurate, however given the 13 degree range of the Moon in any given day, it can’t be too far off. It would have moved quickly into closer conjunction with Neptune as the day went on, too, which probably reflects the vagaries of quarantine and possible unclear messaging regarding new measures being imposed as the government developed its response.  People who had traveled were immediately quarantined in commandeered hotels and were fed three meals a day—much like prison (the 12th house placement makes sense here). 

The shock (Uranus) delivered to Chinese daily life is certainly represented here, but the people (Moon) seemed poised to respond to the impacts on the economy and travel, education, commerce and so on (Mercury) with relative ease. This Moon also trines No. Node (Cancer), which suggests a level of cooperation with the prevailing trend—we’ve discussed the benefits of the collective focus of Chinese culture in a previous post—this seems to be reflected here. 

Chiron (Aries) squares Nodal Axis (Cancer-Capricorn). There’s no denying that COVID-19 has been a brutally wounding phenomenon and it’s far from over, although China reported its first day without a new infection in Hubei province today (3/19), so there’s progress, and that should make us all hopeful. Yes, it’s possible to get beyond this dismal passage in human life (Nodal axis)—now, if we could stop falling back into default scapegoating games designed to pump up leadership egos (So. Node conjoins Jupiter and Sun (Capricorn) and just accept that we’re all in this together! 

The mask is a powerful symbol for these times.

Final thoughts

I began this piece talking about the different ways the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic could be charted, depending upon the context and frame we give it. One question we didn’t get to is about the virus's origins in each country where it has spread since manifesting in China in November 2019. Would those more local charts tell us something important that we can’t get from the origin charts? I plan to attempt a chart for the first U.S. case, however I don’t expect too much original information from this. Each outbreak could take on a local “flavor,” I suppose, but it’s essentially the same pandemic. 

Besides, the word pandemic itself tells us that this is a worldwide phenomenon, even if we can pinpoint where it all began. So maybe it’s better to simply keep that globalized mindset—that we’re all (and I mean all) in this together.

This situation changes and evolves by day, so my plan for this site is to focus more on short, quickly-addressed and easily illustrated topics that might just help us keep pace with those changes. I also plan to cover some topics and individuals who are getting short shrift these days--did we just have the strangest election primaries, or what?!  History is filled with lessons for times such as these, of course, so we’ll spend some time thumbing through dusty old tomes to harvest whatever nuggets of wisdom have broken the surface. 

Let’s not forget that spring is upon us, whether we’re sheltering in place or not! Nothing says we can’t enjoy walks in nature, bicycle rides, gardening (I see a “victory garden” in my own future), leisurely breaks on a park bench with a good book, etc.—as long as we’re abiding by local recommendations for social distancing, etc. You may not have a balcony and a piano you can roll out onto it to serenade your neighbors with (as in Spain, I hear), but I’m sure we can all imagine small ways to lighten someone’s load! We’re in this for a number of months ahead – we’ll take a stab at wondering how long in the next post! 

Stay tuned!

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.