TMA This Week

Reflections on Coronavirus and the Saturn-Pluto Conjunction

By Ray Grasse | March 20, 2020

This ain’t no party
This ain’t no disco
This ain’t no fooling around
“Life during Wartime” — The Talking Heads

To understand something about the astrology of the coronavirus pandemic, not to mention its impact on our world economy, it’s useful to consider the influence of the Saturn-Pluto conjunction that’s affecting our world right now. Although that aspect technically completed on January 12 of this year, an aspect of this magnitude exerts a long-term influence, months or even years beyond its exact completion. As an example, think back to the last Saturn-Pluto conjunction of the early 1980s, and how that led to such long-term developments as the AIDS crisis and the “Reagan Revolution,” among other things.

As astrologers such as Richard Tarnas have pointed out, hard aspects between Saturn and Pluto have historically been associated with dramatic world events and crises, from wars and political upheavals to famines or even plagues. But what I’d like to call attention to here is something a little different from what some others have been focusing on lately, and that has to do with what I’d call the “mood” of Saturn-Pluto.

Whenever these two planets have joined up throughout history, there inevitably seems to emerge a mood of deep seriousness — perhaps even “dread.” If you want a good cinematic expression of what I’m talking about, just check out the original movie Dracula, starring Bela Lugosi, which premiered in February of 1931 literally within days of an exact Saturn-Pluto opposition. That film conveys a powerful sense of Saturn-Pluto dread and foreboding as well as any I’ve seen — which, of course, was a mood definitely in the air throughout society at the time, as a result of the Great Depression. (Incidentally, Lugosi himself was born under a Saturn-Pluto conjunction, so he seems right out of central astro-casting to have played that part!) (See charts below.)

For a more real-world expression of that same sense of dread, though, just think back to when those two planets were in opposition in 2001. Like me, you may remember the mood in the air immediately after 9/11, when there was an almost “end of the world” sense of heaviness permeating the air, a feeling of great uncertainty and fear. Were we all about to be obliterated in some act of nuclear terrorism? I remember just a few days after the Twin Towers came crashing down, I was walking in a local park with a friend when a loud boom echoed through the atmosphere; everyone in the park stopped what they were doing to look up because we all seriously feared that a nuclear device might have just gone off somewhere, most likely in nearby Chicago. In fact, it turned out to be a fighter jet triggering a sonic boom when it scrambled overhead to deal with the possible threat of a passenger jet that had mistakenly wandered off its scheduled flight path (it all turned out to be a false alarm). I also remember how the mood in supermarkets at the time was noticeably different, too — Were the vegetables in the produce section now poisoned by random terrorists using hypodermic needles? It seems all a bit insane now in retrospect, but it was a palpable fear at the time, and it was all very Saturn-Pluto in vibe.

I’m noticing much the same general feeling now, just in a different guise. I went to the supermarket this morning, and while there wasn’t a concern over produce poisoned by terrorists, there was a similar sense of concern among shoppers. Was there going to be a food shortage? Were we about to face a killer pandemic? Is the economy about to crash? When Saturn-Pluto makes the rounds, it’s as though we’re all enlisted to act out the mythic drama of Persephone en masse, as we’re collectively pulled down into the “underworld” to confront life’s darker side.

But as bleak as all that might seem on its surface, there is actually a silver lining to it that we need to remember. To explain what I mean, think back to that time right after 911. As heavy as it was, the seriousness of it also had the effect of shocking many of us out of our superficial concerns into a deeper reflection on life itself. We were suddenly jolted into a solemn awareness of the fragility of life, and perhaps even the importance of community, with a feeling that “we were all in this together.” I’d even say there was a spiritual quality about it in some ways, and I remember how our local classical music station devoted several days to playing recordings of great seriousness, but also of great beauty, like Samuel Barber’s “Addagio For Strings,” Bach’s “Mass in B Minor,” and Mozart’s “Requiem.” As difficult as that period was, there was also an unexpected perception of beauty in that “underworld” that so many of us found ourselves suddenly thrust into.

Of course, not everyone reacted that way, but then that seems to be part of the extremism that accompanies this planetary combo. When Saturn-Pluto comes around, it compels some of us to dig deeper, to be more contemplative and sensitive to life’s presence, and to reach out and be more compassionate toward others, while others are compelled to become more closed off and guarded, more selfish or paranoid. You even see that same extremism in the charts of many people born under strong Saturn-Pluto aspects, where that sense of heaviness and darkness can lead to similarly different extremes, from profound spiritual or creative depths on the one hand, to more constrictive feelings of fear or pessimism on the other.

It goes without saying that each of us has that same choice now — whether to respond to these Saturn-Pluto energies with fear, pessimism, and paranoia, or with compassion and kindness, and a commitment to using that sense of seriousness to dig deeper and draw upon those treasures of the underworld.

But it’s good to remember that while the alignment of these two planets can indeed evoke that “end of the world” feeling, the world has never actually ended any of these times, and somehow we’re still here to tell of it — most of us, anyway. Life continues on after Saturn and Pluto have their time on the dance floor, and it will carry on this time as well.

Footnotes:

(Charts with Placidus houses, True node)

(1) Bela Lugosi, October 20, 1882, 3:30 p.m. LMT, Lugos, Romania (45N2 21E54) AA data;
AstroDatabank: Bela Lugosi

(2) premiere Dracula, February 12 1931, Manhattan, NY (40N35 73W59)
Wikipedia

Ray Grasse is associate editor of The Mountain Astrologer, and author of several books, including The Waking Dream, Signs of the Times, Urban Mystic, An Infinity of Gods, and Under a Sacred Sky. His website: Ray Grasse.com

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Donald Trump and the Saturn-Pluto Conjunction

By Ray Grasse | June 17, 2019

The impending conjunction of Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn will be a global phenomenon, affecting every country on Earth to one extent or another. But some countries will feel the pressure of that powerhouse duo more than others — and the United States could well find itself at the top of the list. This is largely because of the heavily Cancerian nature of the U.S. July 4th horoscope, which will directly receive the oppositional force of the transiting Saturn–Pluto conjunction.

But to fully understand that impact for the United States, we also have to look at how it’s affecting the horoscope of Donald J. Trump. That’s not just because he is President of the U.S., but also because the conjunction will be quite closely activating a very important configuration in Trump’s own birth chart.

Donald Trump
June 14, 1946
10:54 a.m. EDT
Jamaica, NY (40N41 73W48)
Placidus houses, True node

Trump’s Saturn–Venus in Cancer

Trump was born with a fairly close conjunction of Saturn and Venus in Cancer (with Saturn at 23º and Venus at 25º). This means that the transiting Saturn–Pluto conjunction — which becomes exact at 22º Capricorn in January 2020 — will be creating a powerful opposition to Trump’s natal Saturn–Venus conjunction. While this isn’t the only astrological configuration affecting him over the coming year, I think it could well prove to be the most critical.

To really grasp how this transit might affect him, I think it’s useful to first understand some of what that natal aspect means in terms of his basic personality and psychology. I’ve come to believe that this pattern is a key emotional driving force of his personality.

On a purely material level, we could talk about his relationship with money. If you ask most beginning astrologers what indicates the potential for “wealth” in a chart, most of them will say to look for Jupiter–Venus contacts, or Jupiter in the 2nd house. But I find it fascinating how so many ultra-rich types have Saturn–Venus connections in their charts. Take computer giant Bill Gates, born with a Saturn–Venus conjunction; or Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, also born with a Saturn–Venus conjunction (as was his estranged wife MacKenzie); or Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, born with Saturn opposite Venus; John D. Rockefeller Jr., born with a Saturn–Venus conjunction; or media powerhouse Oprah Winfrey, born with a Saturn–Venus square — the list goes on.

Donald Trump has that planetary pattern, too — in his case, the conjunction is in Cancer, as mentioned above. This can mean many things, of course, and undoubtedly fuels his drive for wealth, real estate, multiple homes, and so on. But in light of his very public behavior through the decades, I believe that it also points to an extremely deep insecurity and vulnerability, a sense of emotional wounding (perhaps rooted in childhood?) that’s caused him to erect walls around not only himself and his family, but even the country itself, apparently. Close associates have spoken over the years of his hypersensitivity to criticism, as well as a perhaps subconscious  fear of being unloved, which he seems to compensate for by surrounding himself with beautiful women and hordes of adoring supporters.

Paradoxically enough, one of the things I’ve encountered with many natal Saturn–Venus types is that they often harbor a deep-seated feeling of poverty, an inner sense of scarcity that has them believing there’s never quite enough to fill that hole in their soul — like my multimillionaire client with a hard Saturn–Venus aspect who seemed convinced that he was dirt poor. That sort of psychological mindset might also help to explain Trump’s need to compensate by amassing so many material possessions — the gold-plated furniture, the expensive cars and clothes, and so on.

My point here is that the transiting Saturn–Pluto conjunction in Capricorn is starting to pummel his natal pattern very, very hard, and will continue doing so over the next year or two. I see a few different real-world possibilities resulting from that.

One of those is that his personal finances could take a major hit during this period, in terms of losses due to bad investments, lawsuits, or failed real estate projects. It could also point to negative feedback he’ll be fielding over the financial policies he instigates for the country concerning tariff measures, tax reform bills, or military expenditures.

Pluto in particular has a lot to do with buried matters being uncovered, so these transits will likely involve secrets increasingly coming to light about Trump’s true wealth and holdings, his bank accounts, and his taxes. There could even be more revelations about his dealings with foreign governments, and investigators (like those from the Southern District of New York) continuing to probe into his real estate dealings and problems relating to his hotels.

But also — and this could prove much more problematic for him, since it hits so close to home, emotionally — the Saturn–Pluto transit may also involve his family members being put under the spotlight, since the sign Cancer is involved. This could trigger even more strongly the “circle the wagons” mentality suggested by his natal pattern. Remember, too, that the transiting Saturn–Pluto conjunction is falling in Trump’s 5th house of children (according to some house systems), which could prompt him to go into hyper-defensive “mother bear” mode and become even more extreme and dramatic in his behaviors.

Likewise, I think the Saturn–Pluto transit could well trigger a primal sense of emotional wounding that Trump has likely harbored all his life, a deep feeling that he is unpopular or unloved. Pluto being what it is, this could also involve a sense of betrayal, a realization that others he thought had been loyal are now turning on him. That’s already been happening over the last year or two, in fact, but it will likely continue to happen for quite some time.

In very general terms, transiting Saturn opposing or squaring anyone’s natal Venus — even without Pluto’s involvement — can make for a very unhappy time, with feelings  of great loneliness and isolation. With Pluto added to the mix, though, I suspect that this period ahead could become an exceptionally depressing and vulnerable one for Trump. If indeed impeachment hearings wind up being conducted, that would certainly throw a few Olympic-size swimming pools full of gasoline onto that horoscopic fire as well.

There’s one other possibility that I think is worth mentioning. To one extent or another, the horoscope of a national leader becomes that of the entire country he or she represents. Does this mean that Trump’s financial difficulties under those transits point to something ominous about the economic fortunes of the United States during this time? Much as I’d like to believe otherwise, I think it’s a reasonable possibility, and I will be watching the U.S. economy closely around the time of these transits.

Trigger Dates

Even though the general influence of these energies will be in effect for quite some time, I’d like to go over a few specific trigger dates that I believe will be especially worth noting — that is, when the transiting Saturn–Pluto conjunction will be activating Trump’s natal pattern in dramatic ways. To be clear, these aren’t the only transiting planets affecting his chart; however, for simplicity’s sake, I’ll limit my observations to just the influence of Saturn and Pluto.

  • Even though the effects of the Saturn–Pluto conjunction won’t technically climax for Trump until 2020, there are several “sneak preview” triggers taking place before then, one of which has already happened. I’m referring to the Saturn and Pluto retrograde stations that occurred in late April and early May of this year. Among other things, this manifested as the furor over Attorney General William Barr’s testimony about the Mueller Report (and his subsequent refusal to return for a follow-up hearing), but was also reflected in surprising news about Trump’s taxes and financial losses that came out in early May.
  • Transiting Mars will soon be acting as a trigger when it opposes transiting Saturn and Pluto, so I’d suggest watching Trump’s affairs closely during the period from June 15 through the 20th. (Editor’s Note: This article was written and submitted to TMA in early June.)
  • Transiting Saturn will be exactly squaring Trump’s natal Jupiter on July 6, so I would expect some major judicial-related frustrations for him from roughly the 3rd to the 9th.
  • Both Saturn and Pluto will be stationing again (direct) from mid September through early October of this year, 2019, and will create a strong hit to Trump’s natal Saturn–Venus conjunction, giving us another sneak preview of what’s ahead for him in 2020. It may be worth paying attention to the dates around the planetary stations: for Saturn, September 18, and for Pluto, October 2.
  • The Saturn–Pluto conjunction actually becomes exact for the first time on a global scale on January 12, 2020, but that entire month could be especially turbulent for Trump, since just a little over one week later, on January 21, transiting Saturn will be precisely opposing his natal Saturn. The fact that the global pattern of the Saturn–Pluto conjunction is occurring so closely to the time when transiting Saturn will be triggering his natal Saturn shows just how close that collective pattern appears to be linked to his personal destiny.
  • Then, on February 6, 2020, transiting Saturn opposes his natal Venus for the first of three times. Again, there may be a growing sense of social isolation and feelings of rejection, but it could also involve the spotlight being cast on his finances and real estate holdings, as well as those of his family members.
  • On February 13, Pluto opposes Trump’s natal Saturn precisely, activating his chart in a major way.
  • This same energy comes to a boil during the next station of Pluto, which goes retrograde on April 25 at 24º59’ Capricorn, very closely opposing Trump’s natal Venus and Saturn.
  • On July 12, Pluto again opposes Trump’s natal Saturn exactly.
  • On September 6, Saturn opposes Trump’s Venus for the second time.
  • Then, on September 29, Saturn stations direct at 25º20’ Capricorn, activating his natal Saturn–Venus by opposition.
  • Several days later, on October 4, Pluto stations direct at 22º29’ Capricorn, opposing his natal Saturn–Venus and prying open more previously buried secrets about his finances or personal life.
  • A few weeks later, on October 21, Saturn exactly opposes Trump’s natal Venus for the third and final time.
  • While these turbulent energies continue for him well into 2021, I want to point out an important trigger that will be occurring around December 20, 2020, when Pluto exactly opposes his natal Saturn. This is especially significant because it coincides closely with another transit that is affecting everyone: Not only is it close to the winter solstice, but transiting Mars will at 22º Aries, squaring the degree of the Saturn–Pluto conjunction (22º Capricorn) of January 2020. Mars aspects often serve as triggering mechanisms for other celestial patterns, such as eclipses, stelliums, or major outer-planet aspects. It’s safe to say the holiday season of late 2020 could be a particularly dramatic one for Donald Trump. Note, too, this will be shortly after the next presidential election, so it’s likely that whatever turbulence this energy stirs up for him will be in response to the outcome of the election.

In short, while it’s impossible to know specifically what will be happening for Donald Trump over the next couple of years, there’s no question that it will be a roller-coaster ride for him, both professionally and emotionally, and that these highlighted dates will warrant special attention.

Bio: Ray Grasse is associate editor of The Mountain Astrologer magazine, and author of several books, including The Waking Dream, Under a Sacred Sky, and Urban Mystic. His website is www.raygrasse.com

 

 

 

 

 

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Ready for Your Close-up, Pluto?

By Ray Grasse | April 6, 2015

I’ve written a number of times over the years about the striking synchronicities that have occurred in tandem with our first close-up views of the planets Uranus and Neptune. In much the same way that the discovery of any astronomical body is widely seen as signaling the emergence of a new state of consciousness into the collective, so our first close-up looks at those planets via hi-tech spacecraft seem to bring their energies into even sharper focus than before.

For example, during the period of the Voyager II fly-by past Uranus in January of 1986, there were news stories underscoring the challenges of high-technology and the legacy of the Industrial Revolution, including the tragic explosion of the space shuttle Challenger the same weekend as the fly-by (the tragedy occurred literally within hours of the photos from the fly-by being processed) and the Chernobyl disaster (occurred not long after the fly-by, on April 26th of that year).

And when the Voyager II spacecraft flew past Neptune, media outlets showcased the mounting sense of dread over the escalating drug crisis taking place in both North and South America, as drug lords openly declared war on the Columbian government the very same day as the fly-by, while President George W. Bush asked American TV networks for air time to address the growing crisis. On a more artistic front, that was also the period when James Cameron’s blockbuster film “The Abyss” had just been released, with a storyline set deep in the ocean. (1)

With that in mind, it’s worth taking a moment to speculate on what we can expect this July, perhaps even all summer, when we’ll get our first close-up look at the distant planet Pluto, by means of NASA’s “New Horizon” spacecraft (scheduled for closest approach on July 14th). Can we expect a similar flurry of synchronistic news events in connection with this planet’s presence? Let’s look briefly at a few possibilities.

On the upside, I’d keep an eye out for breaking news about important discoveries by scientists or historians, due to the “uncovering” aspect of Pluto and its tendency to disclose what had previously been hidden. Archeologically, it could usher in important findings concerning our history as a species or a civilization, or scientific breakthroughs in physics and astronomy. It’s possible we could see the discovery of previously unknown species of animals in remote regions of our planet, or the rediscovery of supposedly extinct “living fossils,” like the coelacanth found by fishermen in 1938. Because Pluto is so remote from the Earth, one wonders whether there is even a chance its close-up could symbolize an important breakthrough by scientists of intelligent life far out in space. (Curiously, a press conference has been announced for May 5th to showcase recently uncovered photographic slides from Roswell, New Mexico, allegedly showing a dead alien body. Whether that turns out to be legitimate or not, the symbolism of the event is certainly fitting, considering Pluto’s association with death.) (2)

On the downside, Pluto also awakens turbulent forces deep in the collective psyche, so the days and weeks surrounding the fly-by could well see a dramatic escalation of the violence and terrorism that has been inflaming the world scene in recent years. Whether that involves ISIS soldiers in the Middle East, home-grown terrorists in our own first world nations, or simply criminal acts of an especially dramatic sort (abductions and hostage situations are particular favorites of Pluto), it’s likely we could see some very unpleasant headlines stoking our collective reptile-brains in a big way. And, of course, since Pluto is in Capricorn, don’t be surprised if we see more sex scandals in the news involving prominent celebrities or politicians!

Whatever the outcome, I’d suggest focusing your attention on the July 10th – 20th period in particular. Stay tuned!

Footnotes:
(1) I discuss the synchronicities of the Uranus and Neptune fly-bys in considerably more detail in my book, Signs of the Times, Hampton Roads, 2002; pgs. 62-64, 156-165.
(2) UFO International Project
 
Bio: Ray Grasse is Associate Editor of The Mountain Astrologer magazine, and author of The Waking Dream (Quest, 1996) and Signs of the Times (Hampton Roads, 2002). His websites are Ray Grasse and Ray Grasse Photography

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A Heavenly Deluge: Notes on the Planetary Line-Up in Pisces

By Ray Grasse | March 11, 2013

One of the more interesting celestial events taking place right now is a celestial line-up in the tropical sign of Pisces that involves Neptune, the Sun, Mercury, Venus, Chiron, and Mars — with that group now being joined by the Moon as well (throughout most of Sunday, March 10th and Monday, March 11th). With Uranus hovering nearby in adjoining Aries, this makes for a truly interesting meeting of the planetary minds!

Pisces line-up

Line-ups like this (also called “stelliums”) not only indicate a heightened emphasis on the zodiacal sign involved, but more broadly serve as celestial “engines of change,” marking important periods of transition in society, as well as in our personal lives. Think of the term “revolution,” which is essentially astronomical in origin. When a planet makes a full circuit around the solar system to a given starting point, we say it’s come full circle, it’s made a full revolution. So when we see an entire group of planets coming together, it conveys the sense of one chapter closing off and a new one opening up.

This is something poets and filmmakers have long intuited. In Stanley Kubrick’s movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, for example, each of the major evolutionary leaps the film depicts are shown accompanied by skyward shots of planetary line-ups. Likewise, in the movie Dark Crystal, a similar planetary line-up is shown accompanying the shift in consciousness that occurs in the film’s climax.

However the full effects of any line-up aren’t always obvious right away, and can take months or even years to fully materialize. This makes perfect sense when you think of the symbolism of a conjunction, which has a “New Moon” quality — in contrast to the opposition, which symbolizes fulfillment. Like the old saying goes, “What the New Moon promises, the Full Moon delivers.” In that spirit, you might well describe a stellium as an industrial strength, super-duper New Moon! Unlike a typical New Moon, which reveals most of its effects in just a few weeks, the seeds planted by a stellium are far more dramatic and last vastly longer.

For example, prior to the year 1524, some European astrologers were predicting that the world would be destroyed in a great flood because of a large planetary line-up about to occur in the sign of Pisces. As it turned out, those fears were unfounded — in any literal way, that is. In the years which followed, a great flood did sweep over the world, but a more symbolic one, and it involved a revolution in the Christian world, with the rise of Luther and the Protestant reformation. Just as Copernicus decentralized humanity’s view of the universe by displacing the Earth as the hub of the world, so Luther “decentralized” European culture by challenging the supreme authority of the Catholic Church.

As it turns out, we find ourselves once again in the midst of another major line-up in the sign Pisces — and lo and behold, what do we see taking place in the religious world? A historic shake-up in the Catholic Church, not only with the shocking resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, but as a result of growing publicity about scandals involving the church itself.

On a more personal level, look to see where these planets are falling in your own horoscope for a sense of what areas in your own life are being affected. Is it in the 6th house? If so, then perhaps it involves health or work. Or the 2nd house? Probably money or resources. The 4th house? Home or family — and so on.

A few more thoughts. It was Manly Palmer Hall who first pointed out the correlation between planetary line-ups and major wars or conflicts on the global stage. For example, both World Wars, the Civil War, the Spanish American War, and many others, began in tandem with major stelliums. Does this mean we might see a major conflict take shape in the coming days, weeks or months, in the wake of this current line-up? It’s worth noting that North Korea’s current leader has been engaged in some major saber-rattling lately, to the point of threatening the United States with his nuclear weapons. The Middle East has been heating up notably in recent days as well. One can only hope this connection fails to materialize this time around; after all, the mega-line-up of early 1962 didn’t give rise to an actual war so much as the serious threat of one, in the form of the Cuban Missile Crisis. (1)

On a more positive note, Pisces has long been associated with fantasy and imagination, so it’s probably only fitting that the big-budget reboot of the The Wizard of Oz, Sam Raimi’s film Oz the Great and Powerful is hitting theaters precisely in conjunction with this line-up in Pisces. In a subtle way, this may be telling us this is a time when we have easier access to the contents of our imagination and to the collective unconscious, as the veil separating the conscious and unconscious grows more diaphanous now. Or for those who are more spiritually inclined, it’s likely that meditation or contemplation could yield important insights and benefits during this period. And if nothing else, this is sure a time to watch your dreams!

(1) Editor’s note: There were six planets in Aquarius in early February 1962.

Ray Grasse is associate editor of The Mountain Astrologer, and his website is RayGrasse.com

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