There’s no point in going through the usual tempo of the month for May this year. It’s obvious that we’re all going to be tuned into the challenges of Covid-19, with much of the world either shut down or – perhaps – inching back to normal. A few celestial events during these months are worth our attention, and in fact it is a very significant period astrologically. But a little context is needed.
Astrologers knew that 2020 was going to be a significant year. With the Saturn/Pluto conjunction at a full moon and Uranus station in January, the eclipses of last December, and Jupiter’s ongoing meetings with Pluto throughout the year, it was a given that we would have major political upheavals and economic challenges. In fact, all astrologers focused on such things saw that a major financial shock was waiting for us, and predictions of a stock market crash were essentially built into the forecast for the year.
What only a few astrologers saw – and I wasn’t one of them – was that the agent of change would be a virus. Most of us expected that the U.S. presidential election, Brexit, immigration in Europe, political instability in South America, China’s debt bomb, and climate change (e.g., Australia’s wildfires) would be the foci of our attention. We did expect great changes, and we did expect that they would be in some sense overwhelming. Shutting down the world in less than a month, however, was certainly not expected. Astrologers by and large anticipated a hurricane, but the world got an earthquake.
One of the key elements in the astrology of the Covid-19 pandemic is the movement of Saturn into Aquarius, an Air sign. A few astrologers picked up on the threat of airborne illness over the next few years, although few predicted a pandemic of these proportions. Indeed, the virus began to be a news story as Earth-Mother Ceres crested from late Capricorn into early Aquarius at the end of January, and the Western world began to lockdown when Saturn made the same passage a few weeks later. Mars, always ready to add fire to any fuel, also traversed the same ground in late Mars and early April.
Airborne illness is only one potentiality of Saturn in Aquarius, but it’s one that may bring out the darker side of Saturn’s passage through the sign of the water bearer. Aquarius is about the collective and group ideals, rationality, mass communication, and societal issues. Saturn is the voice of authority, and in Aquarius can represent a strong sense of social justice, but also social control. While Aquarian energy is often assumed to only be open and free, there is an authoritarian side to the sign that comes out when Saturn is prominent. We can easily lose personal freedoms for the collective good, and although that may be justified in some instances now, we could also see some trends developing that could be hard to reverse. Some of the keywords of the past few months reflect Saturn in Aquarius: social distancing, and the more ominous term lockdown are two examples. That we are brought into communication with others through the internet and social media are another, more hopeful, side of Saturn in Aquarius.
One of the most significant aspects of the Saturn/Pluto conjunction in Capricorn, as I’ve said before, is an erosion of trust in our institutions. The question that arises is, whom do you believe? There are suspicions around the media, social media, politicians, and with the advent of Covid-19, we don’t know who to get our information from about a deadly virus. Initially, we heard that it wasn’t easily transmissible – then it was. We heard that we shouldn’t use masks – then we should. We heard that it was just a little more deadly than the flu – then it was a lot more deadly. We heard that the elderly and people with pre-existing conditions were the ones really at risk – then healthy 30 and 40 year olds started dying. Even scientists and medical experts seemed to be a risky source of information – were we to believe health officials who said that all we needed to do was wash our hands, when we could see the streets and buildings of China being sanitized by crews in hazmat suits?
Lack of trust, lack of solid information (or perceived lack of it), and the need to respond to a crisis situation. All of the above make for a very uncomfortable time. Just as we need to act, we are at a loss to know where we are and where we are going. In May, we have a number of planetary aspects that are quite powerful, and which may make it challenging to act with certainty.
The Scorpio Full Moon on the 7th promises to be a tense time. This annual full moon is rarely a fun fest, as the high-energy emotionality (lunacy) of the full moon combines with the cutting, incisive energy of Scorpio. On both the personal and collective levels, we’re likely to feel that we’re reaching a boiling point. Trust issues could be very prominent at this time, again on both the personal and collective levels.
From May 11th to 14th, we have three retrogrades, as Saturn, Jupiter, and Venus all station to turn around in their path across the sky. Saturn’s station on May 11th is likely to be a time that feels particularly heavy, and during Saturn stations resistance is often low and diseases spread. Generally, it’s minor things like colds or stomach bugs that go around, but this year is obviously different. Keep up your immune response around this time, and it’s probably a very good idea to practice social distancing regardless of official advice.
Jupiter’s station on the 14th is a little less intense, although it’s likely to feel like “more of the same,” as he’s in Saturn’s sign of Capricorn. Hopefully, his reversal at the last degrees of Capricorn may stop the expansion of the coronavirus, and we can look to mid-May as the potential beginning of a period of reprieve.
Venus’ retrograde begins on the 13th, in the sign of Gemini. Those with long memories might look back to May and June of 2012 for clues as to how this aspect may affect them, but of course circumstances are very different this time around. Usually, Venus retrograde is a time when we may revisit past relationships, and it is generally not considered a great time to start a new romantic relationship. It’s also not a great time to have things appraised or otherwise make decisions about values and valuations. Those things still hold true. In the sociable sign of Gemini, the retrograde may be about reconnecting with those friends and neighbors from whom we’ve been isolated in recent months.
We are also very likely to be thinking about what we really value. Having been through (and still in the midst of) a very tumultuous time, we are naturally inclined to focus on what really matters to us during the 40 days of Venus’ retrograde (she goes direct on June 25th). Certainly, nothing about our social and romantic lives is likely to be ordinary during this time.
Two more changes of direction happen in May, as truth-teller Pallas Athene stations to go retrograde at the very beginning of Aquarius on the 17th – a time when we may get to hear a bit more reliable truth than we’ve been getting. Then partnership asteroid Juno goes direct in Venus’ second home, Libra, on the 26th, potentially giving the green light to go forward with existing relationships, even if new ones are on hold.