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Physical to Digital

The other morning I heard a broadcaster on CNBC (the stock market channel) say the phrase “physical to digital.” This struck a chord with me because that phrase summarizes one of the major transitions we are now living through. The commentator was talking about a retail “bricks and mortar” company that has become an online store in order to stay in business. Its physical location is now a place in the air, in a cloud somewhere, unseen. Of course, this trend predates the COVID-19 virus, but the pandemic will greatly accelerate it.

Even for strictly brick and mortar businesses, an online presence seems essential now, not only for company visibility and sales, but as a way for customers to find information about products/services and procedures for pre-ordering, payment, and pickup.

An online presence demands complicated expertise, reflected in the growth of the technology sector companies that work behind the scenes. Behind the face of the website, there are layers of technology employed that allow one click to result in merchandise appearing on your doorstep.

It strikes me that we can no longer see all that goes on in our daily lives because so much of it has become digital. Exaggerated by the lockdown, we don’t go to a store to see, feel, and weigh something; instead we look at a picture on a magic screen and click to order it. Money has even become primarily digital — we do not see it or hold it.

When did this trend begin? We might say in January 1980 with the introduction of the first personal computer (Commodore). Or perhaps it began farther back, with the advent of radar and Wi-Fi during World War II. In any event, we are moving full steam ahead into a digital age.

Why are we moving from physical to digital reality at such an accelerated pace? Astrologers would assign it to the December 2020 conjunction of the two major cultural-trend planets, Jupiter and Saturn, as they begin a new 200-year journey in the air signs (Aquarius, Gemini, Libra). As different ideas and belief systems take hold in the collective, a new beginning in our political, scientific, economic, social, and religious lives will commence.

Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions have been seen as omens by astrologers, priests, and wise men dating back to 2000 BC Babylonia, when natural phenomena, including unusual planetary activity, were seen as messages from the Gods.

In 1802, as the Industrial Revolution was gaining momentum, there began a 200-year era of Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions in earth signs. When these planets conjoin in earth, we would expect to see the creation of substantial wealth, extensive use of natural resources, and an emphasis on the production of material goods, as was true of this period.

When this conjunction occurs in air signs, as it will in December, we might expect rapid social progress, significant intellectual and technological development, and unfamiliar concepts to enter human consciousness. The air element is about changes in communications, ideas, and social relationships that affect how we treat our fellow humans, in contrast to the accumulation of physical objects and the use/misuse of natural resources that were maximized during the earth cycle.

At this moment, we are developing our ability to communicate with each other without being physically present and how to purchase necessities without leaving our homes. Air is invisible, and some unseen forces in its realm are operating out of sight — as if by magic — to accomplish these tasks. Rather than exerting physical force, we find ourselves using great mental energy to figure out how to operate within the reality of our current, complex situation.

There is also evidence of the elemental shift in the pandemic itself, as it is spread through the air. We can trace the beginning of the present cycle to 1980 when the Jupiter Saturn conjunction in the air sign of Libra first appeared before returning, in May 2000, for the last of the earth conjunctions (in Taurus). As mentioned above, the first personal computer appeared in 1982, along with the dawn of the internet and cyber space, and the AIDS virus, which was first declared a pandemic by the CDC on June 5, 1981.

The last series of Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions in air signs was during the High Middle Ages (1186 — 1405). I see a parallel from then to our current digital and social-distancing age. At that time countless monks in their separate monasteries, hundreds of miles apart, were translating and embellishing the beautiful scriptural and ancient texts that had recently come into Europe with the Arabian conquest of Spain. The monks transcribing, codifying, and spreading the ideas contained in those ancient Greek and Latin texts led directly to the Rennaisance.

Perhaps our current forced retreats to our own private “monasteries” — alone, yet together — will produce a social and cultural movement as significant as the Renaissance. The emergence of Zoom and the fabulous success of an all-digital NORWAC conference are examples of the change from being together physically to a powerful new virtual experience of community.

On a far more difficult note: The Black Death, which killed 75-100 million people (1397 – 1351), was also part of that earlier age. Although Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions in air signs bring the circulation of new ideas and the enhancement of invisible connections, sadly, they can also bring disastrous plagues.

© 2018 Kate Plumb – all rights reserved

Bio: Kate Plumb, “cycles scientist,” is a certified NCGR counseling astrologer who teaches monthly at Joshua’s Place in Southampton and sees clients in her home office. She is also certified in Astro*Carto*Graphy. Website: Kate can be reached at or (631) 725-9133.


  1. As a fellow cycles devotee I really enjoyed reading this post, Kate! Thanks.

  2. Thanks Anne for you comment. Yes cycles are fascinating I completely agree.

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