Monday, July 26, 2021

Enough is enough: the Astrology of Pandemic-related hardship and unrest

“How convenient if truth were a shiny pebble we could pick off the beach and drop in our pockets. Stoop down, pluck it out, and it's ours.”—Brian Thomas Swimme
No joke intended, but the rumors of the COVID-19 pandemic’s demise are highly overrated. We’ve seen the infection numbers creeping back up in the U.S. of late, mostly among the unvaccinated, 

but for all the pain and loss American families and society have suffered with the virus, nothing compares to the devastation and hardship being suffered elsewhere, especially in developing nations where COVID has only compounded and magnified the precarious situations of millions, especially in regions where vaccine access has been spotty at best. The impact of unrelenting climate change on drought-prone agricultural regions and an aggressively spreading Delta variant has been disastrous, indeed. 

The Ancients were incredibly discerning when they named the primal forces of the Sky (Zeus/Jupiter), the Oceans (Poseidon/Neptune) and the Underworld (Hades/Pluto) and envisioned their essential roles in Life as they understood it: unfortunately, as profit-seeking humanity placed itself at the center of All, these forces were gradually thrown into toxic imbalance, and that imbalance has thrust disaster these days upon both developed and developing societies. Maybe I’m jaded, but I’m not celebrating billionaires colonizing space as the next frontier for humanity, despite the media hype these past couple weeks; billionaires and especially the systems that have empowered and engorged them have done enough damage to societies here below!

L-R, Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk
 Consider this recent extended passage in regards to current tensions and unrest, from Foreign Policy:

“Each country has different histories and realities on the ground, particularly in Haiti, where years of violence and government corruption culminated two weeks ago in the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse. But they all faced a perfect storm of preexisting social, economic, and political hardships, which fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic only inflamed further. And they are merely a foreshadowing of the post-coronavirus global tinderbox that’s looming as existing tensions in countries across the world morph into broader civil unrest and uprisings against economic hardships and inequality deepened by the pandemic.... History is full of examples of pandemics being incubators of social unrest, from the Black Death to the Spanish flu to the great cholera outbreak in Paris, immortalized in Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables. Underlying it all this time around is a pervasive inequality. COVID-19 has ripped open economic divides and made life harder for already vulnerable groups, including women and girls and minority communities....” 

Significantly, the article concludes that “the global vaccine shortage is fueling the instability,” which makes perfect sense: vaccine access has turned out to be an especially pernicious way of sorting the “haves” from the “have nots.” Most infuriating in light of world shortages, of course, is that largely due to the right-wing misinformation machine in this country, millions of doses are going unused here in the U.S. because far too many of our citizens refuse to appreciate the incredible blessing being offered to them. As Alabama governor Kay Ivey said in frustration over her state’s spiking COVID numbers this past week, “the unvaccinated have let us down.” 

So, what does astrology have to say about the tensions that have been erupting around the globe recently? We’ve talked at length on this site about the overall transit profile of our times, which is tense enough, but when things erupt it’s usually because a trigger event sets some background dynamics off. Great ego expressions of supreme arrogance and obliviousness rub suffering humanity the wrong way and bam! That’s what happened in July, 1967 when Detroit went up in flames—the white mayor of that time made a pronouncement that revealed just how totally out-of-touch he way with the reality of Detroit’s citizens, and this was still stinging in people’s ears when an abusive police encounter happened in the community. One thing led to another (as it does) and a critical mass of the population had simply had enough of that arrogance. Enough is enough is the usual trigger—when it comes to civil unrest, the dynamics are pretty consistent. 

From Detroit's 1967 riot or rebellion? Depends upon perspectives!
The broad outer-planetary dynamic of that late 1960s period in Detroit (and elsewhere that very tense summer) was the Uranus-Pluto conjunction in Virgo; it was against that rebellious background that the astrological “triggers” of the day’s transits played out that July 23, 1967: the Moon/Saturn midpoint opposed that Virgo conjunction, reflecting the weight of oppression felt by People, a rebellious Aquarius Moon opposed an arrogant Leo Jupiter, and an empowered feeling Scorpio Mars conjoined the So. Node sextile the late Cancer Sun, disposed by that rebellious Moon. Motivated by the arrogance of Detroit power players (including the police) at that time, the People (Moon) took power into their hands in the only way that felt available to them. Was destroying their own neighborhoods in protest a good, rational response to the situation? Maybe not, but enough was enough. 

So what’s driving incendiary protests across the globe where protests have erupted lately? The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace is tracking 230 antigovernment protests around the world as we speak, with the most significant ones happening in 110 nations. This undoubtedly speaks to the broad disruptive impact of the pandemic, but we can’t simply dismiss the unrest as being about that alone. For the sake of our exploration here, we'll focus in on one society that has been significantly disrupted of late—Haiti—still reeling from the assassination of their controversial president, Jovenal Moïse, in the early morning hours of this past July 7th. 

This alarming event seems to have basically sealed the collapse of Haiti’s government institutions, which were badly corroded and stressed even before Moise’s rule. As in so many other places, the Haitian wealthy (especially those enriching themselves from within the government) have been getting richer while the wider population has been left to become more and more neglected and enraged, with little attention from that government. Let’s take a look at the relevant charts. 


Independent Haiti was born in rebellion against French enslavement.

Haiti’s radix chart

Chart #1. Haiti (the signing of the Act of Independence, as explained in BWH, Chart #146), January 1, 1804, 12:00 p.m. LMT (no exact time given), Gonaives, Haiti. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. All charts cast on Kepler 8.0, courtesy of Cosmic Patterns software.

Looking at this chart, it’s tempting to just say that Haiti was set up from the get-go for the difficulties it is now experiencing. This radix chart features an elevated Executive (Sun), conjunct the Capricorn MC, Chiron and Mars on one side and Mercury on the other, with Saturn (ruling Capricorn) falling square all but Mercury from Libra in the 6th house of workers and the military. Tension between the institutions can be helpful if it promotes checks on the power of any one of them over the others, but all the Capricorn energy at the top of the chart (Mars-Chiron-MC-Sun-Mercury-Juno-Venus-Pallas) evokes an Old Boys’ network at work, consolidating power, often with the help of the military (Mars). “Born” in Napoleonic times, Haiti has suffered with far too many would-be despots, living lavish lives in its presidential palace ever since. The Haitian people are long overdue for better treatment and a democracy that responds to their needs. 

Mars conjoins Chiron and both widely conjoin the Sun-MC while they also sextile Scorpio Jupiter and square Saturn. The military has been the agent of destruction for Haiti’s despotic regimes at times, as well--”Papa Doc” had to overcome an attempted military coup after being elected in 1957, but once he did that, the military was turned to his despotic advantage. 

Exploitation of the nation’s treasure at the expense of the People seems to be a constant complaint against Haitian government officials and it’s not difficult to see why. Neptune (Scorpio) sextiles Capricorn Venus-Pallas, suggesting the government was (probably inadvertently) set up to allow opportunities for such corruption. This doesn’t mean that people have to like what goes on, however: Pallas yearns for justice and a fair share of that Venusian treasure. 

It's not always clear who the Haitian military serves, ultimately.
Unfortunately, connections made by the radix Moon (the People), kept humble by its Virgo placement in the lower hemisphere (5th) struggles to challenge the Executive’s (Sun) overwhelming Capricorn power: the Moon does enjoy a nice sextile with Jupiter, which suggests opportunities may exist, but the semi-sextile to Saturn likely runs bureaucratic interference, complicating and derailing such efforts.  Interestingly, the Moon also forms trines to the early members of that Capricorn stellium, from Mars to the Sun: jobs in the military and civil service provide essential support and buy “loyalty” for the man at the top (so potential “win-win”), yet that does little to keep the general human economy in Haiti afloat.

A couple of dynamics built into this chart have probably supported the civil unrest under the “strong man” governments Haiti has experienced over its history (the dynasty of “Papa Doc” and “Baby Doc” Duvalier come to mind in the 20th century): first, the Moon’s mutable t-square with Pluto (Pisces) and Vesta (Sagittarius). Deprivation at the “hearth” will inspire volatile instability, and indeed top-level assassinations and violent overthrows of administrations are nothing new in Haiti; this speaks to radix Sun falling square the Saturn/Uranus (midpoint, Libra) and DSC (open enemies).  

I suspect that the mutable t-square made the population vulnerable to “Papa Doc’s” black nationalist rhetoric when he first rose to power in 1957, with Haiti then still under the U.S. occupation that Woodrow Wilson initiated in response to an earlier assassination. And in regards to this most recent assassination, notice in Biwheel #1 that today's ongoing Saturn-Uranus square (Aquarius-Taurus) triggered that radix Saturn-Uranus dynamic by trine and inconjunct! Maybe when Biden declined requests to send U.S. troops in to contain the chaos after Moise’s assassination, he was thinking back to this dicey history?

This would be a good leaping off point for examining a chart for the events of July 7th (Moïse’s assassination), and then setting that event chart next to the Haiti radix chart we’ve been considering. Let’s take a look at the charts below.

The late Jovenel Moise, assassinated on July 7, 2021.

Haiti & the assassination of Jovenel Moïse

One eye-opening, relevant note is worth mentioning here before we examine the charts below. In a quick look at Haiti’s radix chart progressed to the July 7th assassination, we find a progressed Leo stellium (So. Node, Venus, MC, Sun, Moon and Mercury). The proximity of the Moon and Sun indicates that the nation turned a corner, beginning a new progressed lunar cycle recently; in fact, this cycle launched at 12°+Leo in December 2020. Knowing this helps us appreciate how important human dignity and stability are to the Haitian people these days; between the devastations of Hurricane Matthew in 2016 and the pandemic, they’ve simply been through too much chaos and suffering. With this background in mind, let’s consider the charts below.

Chart #2. Jovenel Moïse Assassination, July 7, 2021, 1:00 a.m. DST (time cited by news for when “first shots ring out“), Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. All charts cast on Kepler 8.0, courtesy of Cosmic Patterns software.

It’s not difficult to see the drama and volatility in this chart: Leo Mars rules Aries ASC from 4th house (grass roots and the “end of things”) conjunct Venus (Leo), opposite Saturn (Aquarius) and t-square Uranus (Taurus). This configuration spans the 1st-4th-10th houses, all houses sensitive to government infrastructures and the levers of power.  It’s beyond my insight to know whether Haiti needs a complete institutional overhaul, but this powerful t-square is probably forcing that issue. Not surprisingly, this t-square plays a prominent role when we place the two charts next to each other below. 

Notice that the Cancer Sun (the nation’s leadership) is conjunct the lowest point in the chart, the IC.  Widely opposite that Sun, Pluto (Rx, Capricorn) is calling attention to itself at the top of the chart, square the Aries ASC, but inconjunct Mercury (Gemini)—one of an amazing four co-dispositors of this chart.

Dispositors are planets placed in signs they either rule or co-rule: here that means Mercury in Gemini, Jupiter in Pisces, Saturn in Aquarius, and Neptune in Pisces. This is significant and reflects the divisive energies that seem to be driving events these days. In this chart, for instance, the rulership networks and aspects fall in such a way that Saturn and Uranus don’t really “talk” to Jupiter and Neptune, a situation that feels a lot like today’s politics-and-media “silo” effect we're seeing in the U.S. as well. Happily, Mercury (Gemini) provides a bridge between those factions with its square to Neptune here, but there are blind spots enough to go around. As far as I can tell, the most notable polarities at work in Haiti are between those who approve of or have a stake in the strong-man type governments that have characterized Haiti for decades, and those who want to find a path forward for the nation’s moribund democracy. 

There’s an interesting series of sextiles arrayed like a string of pearls through this chart that I think offers up possibilities for significant change: Venus (Leo) sextiles Moon (Gemini) sextiles Chiron (Aries) sextiles Saturn (Aquarius) sextiles Juno-So. Node (Sagittarius)--economic possibilities, healing possibilities, for both People (Moon) and Government (Saturn) and the dignity and sovereignty of the nation-writ-large (Juno). Arrayed this way, of course, this sextile chain contains some helpful trines (Moon to Saturn, Uranus to MC and a grand trine between Venus-Mars, Chiron and Juno-So. Node) as well. When opportunities presenting themselves are supported, helpful developments can follow. All these aspects taken together suggest that it’s quite possible the world will respond to Haiti’s emergency with healing resources, necessary military assistance, and a renewal of alliances that have been allowed to stagnate.

Now that we’ve seen the highlights of this chart, let’s move on to see what this chart looks like, set against Haiti’s radix chart.

Biwheel #1. (inner wheel) Haiti (the signing of the Act of Independence, as explained in BWH, Chart #146), January 1, 1804, 12:00 p.m. LMT (no exact time given), Gonaives, Haiti; (outer wheel) Jovenel Moïse Assassination, July 7, 2021, 1:00 a.m. DST, Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. All charts cast on Kepler 8.0, courtesy of Cosmic Patterns software.

Assassination Saturn-Haiti No. Node (Aquarius) oppose Assassination Mars-Venus (Leo); this axis t-squares Assassination Uranus (Taurus). Clearly, this fixed t-square triggered something in the Haitian body politic (note how the radix Nodal axis ties into this configuration) that has been crying out for serious change. As noted earlier, Assassination Saturn trines the Haiti Saturn/Uranus midpoint-DSC (Libra) and Assassination Uranus inconjoins that same point, which in turn squares Haiti Sun (Leader). We have to condemn the killing, of course, but it’s not difficult to see how planetary dynamics like this triggered it.  

Amazingly, the Saturn-Mars-Venus connection here also happens to tie into that progressed Leo stellium (So. Node, Venus, MC, Sun, Moon and Mercury) mentioned earlier. The new progressed lunar cycle now in progress is probably going to be largely concerned with rebuilding the Haitian people’s trust in their government, and that can’t be done by perpetuating the miserable status quo. IMHO, they may even benefit from a totally new chart! 

Haiti's "founding Father" Jean-Jacques Dessaline
Notice that Haiti has also been experiencing a long, drawn-out transit of Pluto (Capricorn) over its radix chart’s powerful stellium in that sign, and this transit is not done yet, with radix Venus-Pallas yet to go. It’s simply time for Haiti’s Napoleonic “Soul” to undergo a transformation that bends toward Justice, economic and otherwise. Haiti’s economy has probably been in dire straits for ages, but here’s a look at its current situation (as of April, 2021), according to

“Haiti's economic and social development continue to be hindered by political instability, governance issues, and fragility. With a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita of US$1,149.50 and a Human Development Index ranking of 170 out of 189 countries in 2020, Haiti remains the poorest country in the Latin America and Caribbean region and among the poorest countries in the world.

The Haitian economy has been battered by multiple shocks since mid-2018. Even before COVID-19 hit, the economy was contracting and facing significant fiscal imbalances. Following a contraction of 1.7% percent in 2019 in the context of the political turmoil and social discontent, GDP contracted by an estimated 3.8% in 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the already weak economy and political instability.

Past marginal gains in poverty reduction have been undone by the recent shocks, with current estimates pointing to a poverty rate of nearly 60% in 2020 compared to the last official national estimate of 58.5% in 2012. About two thirds of the poor live in rural areas. The welfare gap between urban and rural areas is largely due to adverse conditions for agricultural production.”

This last point undoubtedly speaks to the impacts of climate change, which have decimated agriculture in many vulnerable regions, setting up a very unfriendly feedback loop of economic deprivation, food insecurity and increased inequality. These impacts can’t help but inspire anger and unrest. No surprise, Saturn disposes that Capricorn Pluto from its volatile position opposite Assassination Mars and Venus in Leo here and t-square the impatient, change-oriented and Venus-disposed Uranus in Taurus. 

The radix Nodal Axis (Aquarius-Leo) that ties into all this stretches across the radix chart’s 11th-5th axis (sorry, a bit difficult to see in this biwheel), so encompassing the nation’s influencers and change-makers on one end, and the everyday families just trying to enjoy their lives on the other. Trying to recover the joy and dignity of the Haitian people while bringing them all forward into a new Aquarius order that acknowledges today’s unique challenges seems to be the order of the day. 

Haiti deserves a better future for all its children!
Assassination Jupiter (Pisces) conjoins Haiti Pluto (Pisces) and trines Haiti Jupiter (Scorpio); Assassination Neptune trines Haiti Neptune (Scorpio). In this particular event chart these watery, flowing aspects probably refer to the “flowing” of the People into the streets to protest and demand change, but we might also wonder if this beleaguered island nation will have to deal with a literal/physical inundation of some kind as well. The conditions look right for unleashed fluidity in some form or another (economic “flows” count here too), but the Jupiter-Pluto aspect also speaks to the unleashing of “Big Power” as well. A new administration is taking shape, so it’s probably important that any outside players who get involved (World Bank, United Nations, etc.) are listening as much to the needs of the People as they are to the desires of new leadership. My hope would be that the recovery of the Haitian economy would be engineered to “lift all boats,” not to buy a few spectacular “yachts.” 


Outbreaks of disease have always inspired unrest.
Final thoughts

The dynamics are fairly simple and universal when it comes to social unrest, and they translate pretty readily into the astrology of such situations. People have needs; when those needs are ignored and/or trampled on by the greed and abuse of those in (supposedly) responsible positions, leaders the people should be able to trust to do the right thing for everyone, things can get volatile. In extreme cases, laws can be broken and the social fabric can be shredded when people feel aggrieved enough to hit the streets en masse. The key is to figure out what is causing the upset and to do something about it--not just to err on the side of controlling and repressing people's behavior. 

Although sometimes related, I suspect that assassinations are a different phenomenon that can, at times, piggyback on popular uprisings (as a convenient scapegoat at times), but are often motivated behind the scenes by more opportunistic power plays. Will investigations get to the bottom of this latest one in Haiti? Time will tell. Meanwhile, the Haitian people's voices deserve to be heard and taken seriously. 

To accomplish any of this, however, it seems to me that we need to start framing our thinking about social upheaval and change in the broadest possible context: simply put, we need to start acknowledging that this turmoil is unfolding in the midst of increasingly aggressive changes to the climate and severe challenges to human life on this planet (cue this pandemic and others like it), and that limiting our thinking to our own narrow needs just isn't going to work going forward. 

Here’s a convenient truth we can “drop in our pockets,” as Brian Thomas Swimme puts it: those primal “gods” of the Ancients will hold sway over human affairs, whether we’re paying attention or not! 


"Primal Forces: in Black & White," Anne Doris-Eisner

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, U.S. history, culture and media, the astrology of generations, and public concerns such as education and health. She’s published articles on these topics in several key astrology journals over the years, including most recently, the TMA blog. See the Publications tab on this site for a list of Raye’s recent E-books on current topics.   

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© Raye Robertson 2021. All rights reserved.