Tuesday, April 28, 2020

How we got here: Echoes from another Capricorn era

To mundane astrology, human societies are developed, perpetuated and eventually broken down and dissolved over long stretches of time with the help of dynamic forces and processes driven by the outer planets of our Solar system, namely, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. 

Understanding planetary cycles is thus essential if we are to truly grasp how all this works—for instance, if we want to understand how these energies manifest in both short-term social contexts, and over long stretches of time.  

Social scientist Peter Turchin[1] reminds us that human societies are dynamical systems, and he emphasizes that their economic, social, and political subsystems do not operate in isolation. His research suggests that over time, a typical state evolves through sequences of relatively stable political regimes that are separated by unstable periods marked by internal divisions—as we’ll see ahead, the U.S. is no stranger to unstable, divisive passages. The potential for long stretches of relative equanimity is also clear: we’ll examine one particularly relevant period ahead that we can learn from today.

Applying outer planetary cycles to state-related systems makes perfect sense because these cycles reflect the natural fluctuations of society-building dynamics like expansion, growth and excess, contraction, consolidation, development, maturation, limitation, competition, conflict, accountability, inertia, collective actions, disruption, upheaval, erosion, dissolution and transformation (of structures and boundaries). Factor in compulsive pressures and demographic processes (survival instinct, status-hunger, gestation, birth, death, regeneration) and the power relations inherent in all the above dynamics, and we have a complex, but astrologically-sensible reality.   

Not surprisingly, the above dynamics (including the quest for political power) often shift dramatically in response to periods of economic instability and/or hardship. The process is reflected in the modal energies at play: Cardinal energies tend to inspire ambitions, new ideas and aggressive, forward-thrusting action; Mutable energies tend to destabilize the prevailing order and produce change, and Fixed energies tend to re-impose stability of a kind.

A particularly interesting period of time for its influence today was the 1970s. From the perspective of planetary cycles, in fact, today seems to be the comeuppance period for many challenges that were introduced back then. This applies to our tortured relationship with the environment as much as it does our politically precarious reality.

UK's Financial Times is signaling concern about 1970s echoes, too.

As it happens, historical economists see a bright dividing line between that period and everything that has followed, especially in the economic and political orders that have evolved since that time. The 70s are regarded as the end of the relatively stable, post-WWII economic order that favored strong wages for the middle class over setting loose the top 1% to build the frankly obscene levels of wealth inequality that have taken over since then. It wasn’t until the 70s that wages and job security took a major turn for the worse into long-term stagnation because support for organized labor plummeted on the heels of the severe 1970s recession—an opportunity that was exploited by the openly anti-labor policies of presidents like Reagan.

In one of his many historical studies, Turchin cites a letter written by UAW president Douglas Fraser, who expressed with alarm the dynamics he was seeing when he resigned from office in 1978. It’s worth an extended excerpt for its prescience:

“I believe leaders of the business community, with few exceptions, have chosen to wage a one-sided class war today in this country—a war against working people, the unemployed, the poor, the minorities, the very young and the very old, and even many in the middle class of our society. The leaders of industry, commerce and finance in the United States have broken and discarded the fragile, unwritten compact previously existing during a past period of growth and progress. For a considerable time, the leaders of business and labor have sat at the Labor-Management Group’s table—recognizing differences, but seeking consensus where it existed. That worked because the business community in the US succeeded in advocating a general loyalty to an allegedly benign capitalism that emphasized private property, independence and self-regulation along with an allegiance to free, democratic politics… The acceptance of the labor movement, such as it has been, came because business feared the alternatives. …But today, I am convinced there has been a shift on the part of the business community toward confrontation, rather than cooperation.
Now, business groups are tightening their control over American society. As that grip tightens, it is the “have-nots” who are squeezed. The latest breakdown in our relationship is also perhaps the most serious. The fight waged by the business community against that Labor Law Reform bill stands as the most vicious, unfair attack upon the labor movement in more than 30 years. …Labor law reform itself would not have organized a single worker. Rather, it would have begun to limit the ability of certain rogue employers to keep workers from choosing democratically to be represented by unions through employer delay and outright violation of existing labor law… The new flexing of business muscle can be seen in many other areas. The rise of multinational corporations that know neither patriotism nor morality but only self-interest, has made accountability almost non-existent.
At virtually every level, I discern a demand by business for docile government and unrestrained corporate individualism. Where industry once yearned for subservient unions, it now wants no unions at all… Business blames inflation on workers, the poor, the consumer and uses it as a club against them.”[2]

Turchin points to prolonged periods of “economic malaise” for turning points such as Fraser described in his unhappy resignation letter. These periods of malaise “delegitimize the prevailing ideology,” he says, and the examples he provides are compelling proof. Fraser alludes to the “prevailing ideology” of his day more than once—suggesting that corporations were at least willing to cooperate with labor unions where their interests overlapped, even if they wanted labor to have less clout, ultimately.

Long-time UAW boss Doug Fraser was well-loved in Detroit.

Turchin also mentions that the one thing the “young Republicans” of the early 1980s, like Newt Gingrich, Tom Delay and Dick Armey could not abide were leaders and power brokers who were willing to compromise, and that intolerance turned out to be the lynchpin for a major transformation of power relations. 

This transformation swept over the nation with the economic “tsunami” we now know as the Bear Market of 1973-74. It influence was felt for much longer, clearly. A summary from Wikipedia will set the stage:

“The 1973–74 stock market crash caused a bear market between January 1973 and December 1974. Affecting all the major stock markets in the world, particularly the United Kingdom,[1] it was one of the worst stock market downturns since the Great Depression, the other being the financial crisis of 2007–08.[2] The crash came after the collapse of the Bretton Woods system over the previous two years, with the associated 'Nixon Shock' and United States dollar devaluation under the Smithsonian Agreement. It was compounded by the outbreak of the 1973 oil crisis in October of that year. It was a major event of the 1970s recession.”

That 1970s recession was also uniquely difficult because of the high inflation rates of that period:

“The 1973–1975 recession or 1970s recession was a period of economic stagnation in much of the Western world during the 1970s, putting an end to the overall Post–World War II economic expansion. It differed from many previous recessions by being a stagflation, where high unemployment and high inflation existed simultaneously.”

Notice that both descriptions mention the “Nixon shock,” which turned out to be a series of economic maneuvers designed to combat the inflation of that period, up to and including Nixon’s decision to take U.S. currency off the so-called “gold standard” of that time. How workers and consumers could have been blamed for all this is a mystery, yet that apparently became the means for forcing an entirely new economic order on the nation from the 1970s on.

"Dr. Nixon" shocking the economy was a 1970s "meme."

Turchin points out that the wealthy class also took some big hits during the 1970s downturn, with inflation eating away at their inherited wealth and their capital gains—what may have been unique was the ferocity with which the wealthy pushed their own agendas and advantages from then on. 

It’s interesting that Fraser wrote his letter in 1978, as Turchin points out, the “year when real wages stopped growing.” Wage levels provide signals about key cultural and social attitudes, not to mention where a society places its priorities, so stagnant wages suggest that corporate management was being seriously empowered over workers. By the time the U.S. economy clawed it way out of the 1970s recession, the stage was set for Reagan’s corporate-friendly “trickle down economics” agenda and the ensuing era of extreme wealth inequality that still ensnares us. 

As they say, the rest is history—do we need to wonder how Trump found such an impressionable audience of disenchanted, resentful working class people for his base when he decided to run in 2015? Forty-some years of stagnant wages, limited access to higher education and “making do” ‘til the next paycheck gets old for a working middle class that used to be the envy of the world. 

So, the question for mundane astrologers, of course, is what was going on astrologically during the 1970s that produced this dramatic turning point in American society? And how does that all resonate today?

Seeing as the 1970s bear market is considered a major milestone during that transition, let’s examine a chart for the Wall Street crash that precipitated it. We’ll be especially alert to how the planetary cycles function within this chart, and after considering the chart on its own first, we’ll consider it set against the U.S. Sibly chart.

Chart #1: 1970s Bear Market (Wall Street crash), January 11, 1973, 12 p.m. ST, New York, NY. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. 

T-Square: Moon-Chiron-Eris conjoin (Aries) and oppose Uranus/Neptune (midpoint, Libra); this axis squares Jupiter-conjunct No. Node-Sun-MC (Capricorn) . This t-square certainly reflects the violent feeling upheaval that ensued –the extent to which the People (Moon) would feel wounded and thrown into discord (Chiron-Eris) would be determined by the “leverage” a stingy Capricorn Jupiter would decide to wield through top-level policies (Sun-MC), which were also subject to a growing shift towards  “neoliberal” economic theories that were then afloat (Capricorn No. Node). 

Minimal government intervention in business, maximum corporate freedom to pursue free markets across the globe were dynamics that found powerful support in Washington under Reagan, to the detriment of the working class. In retrospect, this was the beginning of an elite revolution that reversed decades of labor movement progress. Labor laws were routinely violated from this point forward, with little recourse for workers in the courts (Jupiter), which began the conservative transformation (square Uranus/Pluto) that is still unfolding. 

Mars conjoins Neptune (Sagittarius); both oppose Saturn (Gemini) and trine Moon-Chiron-Eris (Aries). This aspect signals the mid-way point for the Saturn-Neptune cycle that began in 1952 at 22+Libra— the degree Uranus is restimulating in this chart. The Saturn-Neptune cycle tends to undermine and ultimately wash away outworn structures so they can be replaced with new ones that express renewed collective ideals. These energies latch onto any points of weakness that exist in social systems, and in mutable signs there is often a good deal of instability involved. That would be especially true when Mars is part of the picture, perhaps even stirring up some violence.  

Oil prices have never been the same since.
It’s worth noting here also that this Wall Street crash was exacerbated by the Arab Oil crisis later that year—Neptune rules oil, although Pluto is usually given co-rulership because of oil’s subterranean nature, as well. The Mars-Neptune conjunction (along with the opposition to Saturn) reflects that looming crisis well—the Arab Oil embargo that would compound the crisis towards the end of 1973 was a belligerent act on the part of OPEC nations who wanted to strike back at countries that supported Israel during the Yom Kippur War (6-25 October, 1973).  

Saturn oppositions can signal external attacks, (Saturn opposed Pluto on 9/11/2001), although here the opposition seems to be signaling breakthrough stress over oil (Neptune).  The shock this embargo caused to world markets prolonged and deepened the global recession, the effects of which hung on for a good many years. Wikipedia sums these up as follows:

“In the 694 days between 11 January 1973 and 6 December 1974, the New York Stock Exchange's Dow Jones Industrial Average benchmark suffered the seventh-worst bear market in its history, losing over 45% of its value.[2] 1972 had been a good year for the DJIA, with gains of 15% in the twelve months. 1973 had been expected to be even better, with Time magazine reporting just 3 days before the crash began that it was 'shaping up as a gilt-edged year'.[3] In the two years from 1972 to 1974, the American economy slowed from 7.2% real GDP growth to −2.1% contraction, while inflation (by CPI) jumped from 3.4% in 1972 to 12.3% in 1974.[1]

Notice that the Jupiter-Uranus cycle (Capricorn-Libra) is close to entering its 1st quarter square here, which would perfect later that month at 23°+Capricorn-Libra.  Growing pains in regards to new technological developments were complicated by the aggressive push for a radical neoliberal transformation of our economy—the coming 1983 cycle would launch in laissez-faire Sagittarius, so such a libertine approach to doing business would gain steam as the new order of the day, especially by Reagan advisers such as Milton Friedman and the Chicago School of economic theory he helped lead.

The 1970s recession enabled a new age of radical imbalances.

In fact, it would be reasonable to view this Bear market period as the clearing out phase for the new order that was waiting in the wings for the new 1980s cycles to launch. What followed this period was an aggresssive roll-out of the new order: even before that 1983 Jupiter-Uranus cycle noted above, Jupiter-Pluto would conjoin at 24°+Libra in November, 1981, Saturn-Pluto would conjoin a few degrees later in Libra in November, 1982 and in January, 1984, Jupiter-Neptune would join the Cardinal fray at 0°+Capricorn.  

The Cosmos was clearly hosting a gathering of forces around an aggressive, no-holds-barred economy-focused agenda, but it wasn’t done yet: these cycles were the warm-up act for Uranus and Neptune easing into their new 172+ year cycle launching at 19°+Capricorn, endowing that agenda with the aura of global “inevitability.”

Such was born the age of globalization, which, in keeping with Neptune’s heavy influence, eroded national boundaries and public ownership of resources, washing away labor and financial regulations and basically unleashing multinational corporations and their trade agreements. 

In retrospect, it appears logical that the Bear market helped corporations make the transition to this later globalized agenda because the deep 1970s recession handed them a pretext for downsizing, belt-tightening, adjusting their labor forces and planning ahead. As the Reagan administration crippled labor strikes like PATCOs (air-traffic controllers), pushed for less corporate regulation and the deregulation of public utilities such as telecommunications and electricity, more and more chaos was absorbed by working Americans, while those at the top enjoyed the windfalls that were pried loose by declining union power and privatization.  

Economic and cultural transformation, hand-in-hand.

There was much more of this to come over the 1980s and 90s, of course, decades during which the lucky “Yuppies” (young, upwardly-mobile urban professionals) prospered, but during which the wealth inequality gap also grew by leaps and bounds.

The wealthy also suffered losses during the Bear market, of course, but as Fraser’s letter cited above seemed to indicate, they took that opportunity to place blame and pressure on the basic economic truisms by which American society operated at that time—especially on unions and the more worker-friendly principles of Keynesian economics that had ushered the nation through the Depression and post-WWII decades to that point. Regulations that worked to constrain the most ruthless impulses of capitalism were the other casualties of this period—in fact, economic policies began to reflect that government was then regarded as the “enemy” of business, as opposed to being its necessary partner, for the sake of all. The GOP has embraced this basic premise ever since.

It’s not difficult to see how events of that period colluded with those who were pushing this anti-government agenda, of course: the Nixon administration’s corruption, the resulting Watergate crisis, the Vietnam War and the threats implied by the Oil Embargo/crisis may have merely capped off an entire decade of civil chaos (high-level assassinations, Civil Rights movements, etc.), but they were very “present” issues during the economic downturn and people were looking for serious change.

This desire opened the door for what turned out to be a major sea change in how our economy operated and, in concert with exponential increases in college tuition costs since the 1970s, for whom it operates best—changes we’re still dealing with today.

With all this in mind, this would be a good place to begin considering Chart #1 next to the US Sibly chart, below.

Biwheel #1: (inner wheel) USA – Sibly chart, July 4, 1776, 5:10 p.m. LMT, Philadelphia, PA; (outer wheel) 1970s Bear Market (Wall Street crash), January 11, 1973, 12 pm (noon, no exact time), New York, NY. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. 

Bear Sun-MC-Jupiter-No. Node (Capricorn) conjoin Sibly Pluto, oppose Sibly Sun-Mercury (Cancer), square Sibly Saturn (Libra) and trine Sibly Neptune (Virgo). Such clusters of heavy Saturn-fueled, finance-related dynamics are bound to pack a punch—I’m sure financial astrologers would have more to say about the contractionary impact this Capricorn invasion had on U.S. currency (Sun-the dollar was devalued during this event) and on the economy in general. As we can see here by the web of aspects, every branch of the U.S. government was touched, anticipating perhaps the coming two years of turmoil in the Nixon presidency, which was still trying to find an exit from the Vietnam War and a cure for abnormally high inflation rates.

The Watergate investigation uncovered serious new facts during 1973 and turned quickly into an impeachment process that ended in Nixon’s resignation. Our constitutional checks and balances worked as they were designed to do by the founders—Nixon was given an ultimatum by GOP Senators, who would have voted to impeach him, despite party allegiance, so in August, 1974, he resigned.  

Nixon flashing his iconic "Victory" sign on his way out of D.C.

Bear Saturn (Gemini) conjoined Sibly Mars/Uranus (Gemini) at Sibly DSC. Considering that this Saturn disposes all the Capricorn points transiting the Sibly 2nd house here, we can see that the economic impact of all this also had serious security implications for the nation (Saturn in Sibly 7th). Midpoints expert Michael Munkasey offers the following options for Mars/Uranus, and either one could have well been relevant:

“[positive] Reforming a military organization; changes within the armed forces of the nation; modernization of basic energy or steel industries; groups formed to use or exploit energy resources; unplanned military actions.
[negative] Malice or unrest accompanied by violence; using security forces to control strife; radical movements within the military; rebellions against modernization efforts; sudden attacks or outbreaks of hostility.”[3]

Obviously, there was turmoil in the Middle East at that time that could have fit Munkasey’s descriptions, and the Arab Oil crisis later that year revealed how precarious taking sides in the Yom Kippur War could make us. It wasn’t long after that that U.S. energy independence became a big security issue. Wikipedia reports, in fact, that “starting in 1973, massive hydraulic fracturing was used in thousands of gas wells in the San Juan Basin, Denver Basin,[44] the Piceance Basin,[45] and the Green River Basin, and in other hard rock formations of the western US.” Fracking, as this practice became known, was basically employed to modernize our domestic oil industry and to exploit harder-to-reach resources. We’ve been trying to balance energy independence needs against protecting the environment ever since—Happy Earth Day #50!

Bear Mars conjoins Neptune (Sagittarius) and opposes Sibly Uranus (Gemini)-Bear Saturn (Gemini). This completes the picture forming in the last instance, with Saturn transiting the Sibly 7th, complicating security concerns of that time with the “fog” of a still-unresolved Vietnam War. Amazingly enough, the U.S. first ceased fire just four days after the date of this chart, but it took another two years to withdraw completely, and there were a couple false end points which may have been influenced by this Mars-Neptune conjunction opposite Sibly Uranus.  

Because popular support for doing anything but pulling out was absent and the recession was overtaking the U.S. economy at this point, our support for the South Vietnamese government was compromised going forward, and the end result for the South Vietnamese showed as much.

Bear Uranus/Pluto (midpoint, Libra) conjoins Sibly Saturn (Libra), squares Sibly Sun (Cancer); Bear Pluto squares Sibly Venus-Jupiter (Cancer). Munkasey has some useful insights into the Uranus/Pluto midpoint as well, as follows:

“[positive] Helps modernize and improve secretive agencies; new devices to allow the collection or analysis of secret information; revolutions in industrial management or practices to improve production, trade, or goods.
“[negative] Violent upheavals or rioting which brings changes in government; intruders who cause disruptions of processes, strikes and labor movements which are intent on forcing changes; sudden new criminal acts.”[4]

Anti-war protests were still happening during that period, although they had peaked some time before that when hostilities ceased and the military draft was abolished. The impeachment investigation and trial certainly did bring change, thankfully nonviolent. New checks on the Executive Office were inspired by all that—checks that Trump has been challenging in the with his refusal to answer subpoenas from Congress.

Between these midpoint aspects and the Pluto transit to Sibly Venus-Jupiter, every branch of the government (Sibly Sun, Saturn, Jupiter) was implicated in one way or another. This latter set of Libra-Cancer squares were particularly targeted at the economy, but the corruption of the Nixon administration had come home to roost in dramatic fashion, challenging the entire government to respond.

The pandemic encompasses crises within crises.

Cycles of cycles

Clear parallels exist between what the U.S. went through in the 1970s and what we’re experiencing today, only today’s deep recession peril is folded into a global pandemic as well. In an astrological sense, it seems to me that today we are experiencing the culmination of dynamics that were put into motion in that post-JFK era, and we may even be experiencing a “comeuppance” of sorts in regards to how those energies have been deployed over the years. Boundless, unscrupulous ambition and yes, greed, have ways of ricocheting and putting societies so out of balance that there’s no going forward in peace.

Indeed, this may be the trap we have fallen into over the past 40 years of intense cardinal cycles, encompassed by and directed on the macro-level of civilization unfolding by the nearly 200-yr. long series of Capricorn Uranus-Neptune cycles. The amazing resonance of all this with the themes we’ve been expecting to deal with during our impending Sibly Pluto return makes it even more probable that we will emerge from our present quarantine cocoon a changed nation. The nature of the change is far from clear, but for those who are listening, the environment is making some strong suggestions. 

The authors of Mundane Astrology (Baigent, Campion, Harvey) point to the 1821 inception of this long cycle in Capricorn as being about the “growth of Capitalism, and to the interaction between capital (Uranus) and labour (Neptune), between the forces of authority/conservatism and liberalism, Capitalism and Communism…and to the process of industrialization which was gathering momentum in the western world.”[5] Is it fair to say that we’ve worn these Capricorn themes out beyond their usefulness to our survival on this planet?

Perhaps the pandemic is forcing us to take a long, deep pause to consider how we might re-focus this rich Earth cycle around a more workable, even sustainable relationship between economic activity that fills human needs (especially those our system has historically short-changed) but doesn’t destroy the earth that provides for us?

Thankfully, dramatic times such as the 1970s stand out because they don’t happen very often, however they do have a long reach, and we are definitely still working through the issues raised so powerfully at that time. Specifically, we are still working our way through the intense cardinal energies that became so prominent back then, and they are now forcing us to (among other things) choose human life over economic activity. Or to take responsibility for the consequences of flipping those priorities—there’s nowhere to hide for those who want to force the nation to “re-open” economically before sufficient testing infrastructure is in place. Our “essential workers” should not be treated like society’s sacrificial lambs.

Testing and vaccine development are the solutions scientists are focused on.

So, where’s the “light at the end of the tunnel” we’ve been hearing about? It depends, of course, on whether we’re looking for short-term relief (important, but incomplete) or a newly life-affirming, long-term direction. Whether we’re looking at today’s Wall Street numbers or a longer-term chance for families to regain the ground they’ve lost during this pandemic and then some.

This has already been an eventful year for planetary cycles, with the new Saturn-Pluto and Jupiter-Pluto cycles beginning at 22°+Capricorn and 24°+Capricorn respectively, between January and April. Appropriately for the shut-down nature of life as we know it right now, both Jupiter and Saturn will be stationing retrograde within days of each other in May, not turning direct again until September (again, days apart). When they do make that direct turn in September, it will be to quickly complete the 20-year cycle they began in May, 2000 at 23°+Taurus and to start their new 2020 cycle at 0°+Aquarius.

Incredibly, Jupiter and Saturn will be finishing out not just one cycle, but a long series of eight Earth-sign cycles, dating from 1842, with one anomalous cycle in air sign Libra mixed into the series in 1980, adding to the intense web of cardinal energies at work during those times.

I suspect that the period during which both Jupiter and Saturn are retrograde will heavily influence how we re-emerge from COVID-19. Economic growth and the ability of our institutions to address the needs of the American people could be sluggish at best until these two turn direct in September, and we can probably expect Congress and the Courts to revisit key issues that may now seem settled.

The fact that these retrogrades will be playing out during the balsamic period of the Jupiter-Saturn cycle suggests that we shouldn’t expect “new” developments during this period. Rather, it will be a time for intensely scrutinizing our national ideals and values, letting go of old and outworn ones and challenging ourselves to adopt a renewed vision for American “exceptionalism.”

It’s a little difficult to capture today’s challenge in one comprehensible snapshot for discussion, but it occurs to me that the solar eclipse on June 21st, the Summer Solstice and the Sun’s Cancer ingress may tell us something useful—especially since it directly counters the weighty Capricorn legacy we’re challenged to process and transcend. At a time when American life is fraught with major difficulties for so many, can we embrace the nurturing potential of Cancer as a collective?  Eclipses at the 0° “world points” (along the natural cardinal axes) are considered more potent and significant that most, so this one is worth deeper consideration.

Let’s begin.

Chart #2: Solar eclipse, June 21, 2020, 2:41:19 a.m. DST, Washington, DC. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. 

Eclipse point (Cancer Sun-Moon conjunction) conjoins No. Node (Gemini) in 2nd house. This is a so-called “Dragon’s Head” eclipse, with the new Moon falling tightly conjunct the No. Node, despite the sign difference. Expert Celeste Teal says that “the closer an eclipse aligns with the Dragon’s Head or Tail, the more intense and profound the potential is for changes to occur in the months of years following the eclipse, both in the way of the world and for an individual whom the eclipse touches.”[6]

This suggests that we’re in for a season of intense change that could feel disruptive at times, and since the eclipse falls in the 2nd house, it’s likely that it will impact resource- and finance-related areas. Being at such a potent degree of water sign Cancer, however, it’s likely to be focused on public concerns, changes that will impact and nurture families, and on those that reflect public sentiment. Human-centered values will drive whatever change we see.

Unfortunately, there’s a potentially “dark” side to water-sign eclipses that we need to be wary of. As Teal puts it:

“A Water-sign eclipse may signify increased mortality among common people, widespread unrest, treasonous acts, drug-related problems, excessive rain, tidal waves, accidents by sea, or the destruction of fowl and fish and things living near the water. The Water signs are emotionally motivated.”[7]
The emotional motivation brings our focus back to the human issues at stake this year, as nations around the world work to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic with minimal destruction.

Notwithstanding, this eclipse could reflect a potential “second wave” down the road. Solar eclipses are thought to remain sensitive to transits—especially by Mars and Saturn—for  about 3.5 years; in the case we’re considering here, Mars will restimulate the eclipse point by transit in April, 2021. This could be an important timeframe to watch for possible second waves, although the wave could have come and gone by then and other changes could certainly be in the works.

This eclipse is interesting for the relative isolation of the Sun-Moon conjunction from the rest of the chart. Aside from the Nodal Axis, only Saturn (Rx, Aquarius) forms a traditional Ptolemaic aspect, and it’s an inconjunct, which suggests frustrating clashes between public sentiment and the development of structured technological approaches to societal needs. Will companies be allowed to freely automate more human workers out of jobs at a time when people are still recovering from the pandemic/recession? Technologies that the public feels are overly-intrusive and controlling could be a factor, although technologies in general—like the kind that help produce vaccines—will be appreciated more than ever.

It does, however, seem unlikely that a successful vaccine will be rolled out before some time after both Jupiter and Saturn turn direct in September. Unfortunately, the Trump White House will probably be pushing for a rapid roll-out, whether the vaccine is effective or not—science needs to rule, here!

Thankfully, developing a vaccine is a global effort!

Final thoughts

It seems to me that as a collective, we’re experiencing a significant turning point that parallels the 1970s and 80s, even if it doesn’t quite feel like it yet. Hopefully our budding leaders have learned something from the globalized dis-order that was created during that earlier period to fundamentally change the rules of the economic game in this nation. Perhaps the task going forward this time is to re-engineer our society around not just new rules, but a new game, entirely?  

The coming Aquarius Jupiter-Saturn cycle will pose some questions to us all. Such as, What really matters in our collective life? Put differently, what really makes a nation great? With all the stress from Saturn-ruled Capricorn these days, it helps to remember that neither Capricorn nor Aquarius give a pass to mediocrity:  Aquarius also demands accountability, great effort and a structured approach to building and managing society according to brilliant ideas and standards of excellence.

Does anyone doubt that we need this kind of competence and intellectual rigor going forward? That seems perfectly clear, if we are to recover from and ultimately make progress after COVID-19. If we’ve learned anything in the course of this Neptunian pandemic, it’s the value of expertise, truth-telling and of fact-based approaches to human problem solving. Thankfully, we have a new Jupiter-Saturn cycle launching in late December that will support this approach—not a moment too soon!

More specifics on this cycle in the next post!

Many thanks to our essential workers!

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: robertsonraye@gmail.com.

© Raye Robertson 2020. All rights reserved. 

[1]Turchin is the founder of a new transdisciplinary field of Cliodynamics, which uses the tools of complexity science and cultural evolution to study the dynamics of historical empires and modern nation-states. http://peterturchin.com/.
[2]Peter Turchin, Ages of Discord: A Structural-Demographic Analysis of American History, Beresta Books [E-Book], Chaplin, CT, 2016, pp. 218-219.
[3]Michael Munkasey, Midpoints: Unleashing the Power of the Planets, ACS Publications, San Diego, CA, 1991, pp. 236-7.

[4]Munkasey, pp. 316-7.
[5]Michael Baigent, Nicholas Campion, Charles Harvey, Mundane Astrology: An introduction to the astrology of nations and groups, Thorsons (Harper-Collins), 1995 ed., pp. 179-180.
[6]Celeste Teal, Eclipses: Predicting World Events and Personal Transformation, Llewellyn Publications, Woodbury, MN, 2006, p. 12.
[7]Ibid, p. 20.