Astrology of 2020 — The Bridge

Astrology of 2020 — The Bridge

This essay on the astrology of 2020 is divided into three parts, each of which deals with patterns at different scales of time. The first portion looks at 2020 in the context of centuries. The second section consider 2020’s signature configurations, and the third is a month-by-month walkthrough.

I. The Elemental Era

Astrology frames time in cycles. Some are swift, such as the Moon’s quickly changing orb. Others are long, such as Saturn’ slow progress. It is by ascertaining the point in the cycle we’re at and understanding its nature that we can predict what type of events will arise.

The method of this essay, as stated above, will be to start with the biggest relevant cycles and to scale down from there.

The largest context for the year is its position at the end of a 200ish year Jupiter-Saturn cycle. This cycle, which started in 1802, comes to a definite conclusion, and certain beginning, with the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction in Aquarius on December 21st 2020. Before continuing, this is how it works:

The Jupiter-Saturn cycle is one of astrology’s longest used and most reliable yardsticks for measuring history. The two planets conjoin every 20 years, providing a tool for examining history in two decade increments. But these 20 year cycles themselves form a larger pattern. For approximately 200 years at a time, the Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions occur in signs of the same

element. This gives us 200 years of Fire, 200 years of Earth, 200 year of Air, and then 200 years of Water. The Jupiter-Saturn cycle thus offers us not only the ability to study history in 20 year arcs, but also to look at the larger spans of time enclosed by the 200 year periods.

The two planets have been making conjunctions in Earth signs since the early 19th century, enclosing and timing the waves of industrial revolution, overseeing the transformation of our relationship to the material world, and presiding over unprecedented wars for territory and resources.

The next Jupiter-Saturn conjunction, which occurs during the last days of 2020, will be in Aquarius, an Air sign. This conjunction begins another two century cycle of conjunctions in Air signs, thus bringing an end to the Earth Era.

2020 thus stretches between different historical eras, beginning in one, ending in another. It is a rickety bridge between epochs, not particularly safe or inviting, but the only way across.

II. Signature Configurations

In this section we’ll take a look at the planetary positions and relationships crucial to understanding 2020’s dynamics.

Jupiter

Jupiter spends very nearly one year in each sign, and will be in tropical Capricorn for the overwhelming majority of 2020. It is only in the last 2 weeks of the year that it enters the next sign, Aquarius.

Jupiter is traditionally known as the Greater Benefic, and its influence is like an influx of fertilizer. It promotes growth, strength, and harmony in the areas that it intersects with. Jupiter’s placement thus shows what kinds of things are likely to do well during a given period of time.

Jupiter is in a position this year which impedes its conventional growth-promoting, confidence-supporting, and harmony-producing functions. Capricorn is a difficult place for the big planet to operate within, and the big planet must share the sign with several planet which possess a contrary function.

Thus, the opportunities which present themselves are not of a typically Jupiterian quality. Here Jupiter offers gain through loss, new discoveries in old books, and optimistic outcomes

from pessimistic plans. Jupiter’s conjunction with Pluto for much of the year spotlights these seemingly contradictory wins.

Jupiter’s time in Capricorn is not good for the collective economy, but may well be fruitful for a given individual. It is important to differentiate the general effect of a transiting planetary position from a specific case.

For more on the strategies for working with Jupiter’s time in Capricorn, see “Jupiter in Capricorn: Of Dark Wings and Magic Rings.

Saturn

Saturn takes 29.5 years to complete an orbit. It is the slowest naked-eye visible planet, and is thus an important marker of time. It is the resonant drumbeat whose pattern contains the other, more frantic planetary instruments. Saturn spends approximately 2.5 years in each sign of the zodiac. Thus, many years see the planet stay within a given sign, while others bear witness to Saturn changing signs.

2020 is an interstitial year for Saturn, which spends part of the year in Capricorn and part in Aquarius. Saturn has been in Capricorn since December 2017, and starts 2020 in Capricorn, but by the end of the 1st quarter moves into Aquarius. Saturn will spend the 2nd quarter in Aquarius, then retrograde back into Capricorn in early July. Saturn will then spend the 3rd and most of the 4th quarter in Capricorn before moving into Aquarius, this time for good, on December 16th. Once within the Water-Bearer’s sign, Saturn will be there until March 2023.

Saturn makes two very important conjunctions this year, one in Capricorn at the beginning of the year, and one in Aquarius at the very end. These two pairings, Saturn-Pluto and Saturn-Jupiter, are very different in tone.

Saturn-Pluto

On January 12th, 2020, Saturn perfects a conjunction with Pluto at 22 Capricorn. Saturn-Pluto conjunctions happen only every several decades, with the last one occurring during the early 80’s, the time before that in the late 40’s, and the one before that in the nineteen teens.

The time around Saturn-Pluto conjunctions is laden with heavy themes. Historically, we see ruthless power games being played out on the big board. Last time the two conjoined was the beginning of the Reagan/Thatcher years, and the start of the corporate takeover of culture. The time before that was the end of WWII, where the world was carved up by pens on a map. The time before that was the outbreak of WWI. As is likely obvious, Saturn-Pluto years tend to provide rather unsettling stories. For those interested in hearing them, regardless, Richard

Tarnas’ “Cosmos and Psyche” spends dozens of pages recounting and analyzing the archetypal formations of Saturn and Pluto.

In practice, Saturn and Pluto have been close enough to initiate these themes since the beginning of 2018. The Saturn-Pluto themes of walls, prisons, power, borders, autocracy and other forms of totalitarianism, are well under way. That Saturn and Pluto complete their conjunction this year may, at least, make clear what we are dealing with on a collective level.

On an individual basis, the Saturn-Pluto conjunction may still bring difficulty, but it is much easier to solve problems at a personal level than it is to solve a world’s problems. Personal manifestations may include crisis-provoking confrontations with deeply rooted patterns. These may prove to be powerful turning points in retrospect, but difficult ordeals at the time.

The good news is that after January, instead moving deeper into the dynamics of the conjunction, as we have been for years, we will begin the slow climb out of it.

Saturn-Jupiter

Jupiter and Saturn conjoin on December 21st, 2020, in the very first degree of Aquarius. This conjunction resets the tone in a way that can be felt on a yearly level, but also marks a two-century shift into an era that will take us to the end of the 22nd century.

As detailed in Part I, this Jupiter-Saturn conjunction shifts us definitively from the Earth Era to the Air Era. We have been in the confused no-man’s land between elemental epochs since the early 80’s. Since that time, we have experienced a mixture of the power-patterns of the two eras. Earth prioritizes control of land, resources, and inclines toward centralization and static fortification. Air prioritizes control of information, is mobile, multi-polar, contradictory, and favors the network over the hierarchy. The growing relevance of the Air pattern since the early 80’s is quite clear, and the December 2020 Jupiter-Saturn conjunction in an Air sign, Aquarius, crowns it. For more information on the long-term implications of the Air era, see “The Jupiter-Saturn Cycle: Elemental Eras.”

On a shorter timescale, the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction in Aquarius re-centers the collective focus on the problems of the present and oncoming future. Most of those being the price of the current phase of digital capitalism, such as environmental damage, social and economic inequality, the incoming wave of unemployment, digital surveillance, and the unsustainable boom-and-bust of markets.

This pivot towards the present/future will pull the emphasis away from the past orientation of the last several years, which has drawn people toward the past to investigate, to romanticize, and to demonize.

It is important to note that while at this current point a pivot toward the problems of the present/future is an improvement, the shift from an Earth era into an Air era is a lateral move. It is not damnation or salvation. It is a shift from one set of advantages and disadvantages into another.

Together, the Saturn-Pluto conjunction at the beginning of the year and the Saturn-Jupiter conjunction at the end give 2020 a very unique between-ness. It contains both last gasps and first breaths.

Mars

The red planet features heavily in 2020’s most impactful configurations. Mars spends much of the year in signs where it is powerful. It will be in its place of exaltation, Capricorn, for the second half of the first quarter, and in Aries, it’s place of rulership, for the entire second half of the year.

Mars also spends an unusual amount of time strongly configured to Saturn this year. On average, Mars spends 1/3 of its time angular to Saturn, whereas this year Mars will be angular to Saturn for approximately 9 months. Mars will be in the same sign as Saturn, the strongest relationship between two bodies, for a full three months. It will then spend almost six months in a sign-based square with Saturn during its retrograde through Aries.

Together, Mars and Saturn stir up a wide variety of challenges. Canonical texts credit their pairing with all manner of natural hardship and human antagonism. Mars’ grinding against Saturn will be especially hard on worn-out systems, and may push them into crisis. Impatient Mars thinks as Nietzsche wrote in Thus Spoke Zarathustra, “That which is falling, deserves to be pushed!”

Though certainly capable of churning out misfortune, the more common lived experience of Mars-Saturn periods is of busy, no-slack, nose-to-the-grindstone times. Though the combination of the two is not cause for celebration, it is also a part of life’s cycle. This year just happens to have more of that part.

Retrograde

The most challenging point in Mars’ journey this year is the red planet’s retrograde, which stretches from the beginning of September until mid-November.

Mars is brightest and closest when retrograde, and the vermillion planet’s fire is intense but erratic then. Mars’ retrogrades dissolve the filters that people usually put their anger through. There is a raw-nerve quality to these months which make it easy to err on the side of wrath.

Seen from a safe distance, Mars’ retrograde, which occurs every two years, facilitates a process that begins with getting in touch with our anger. This then leads to a deep, felt assessment of what is, and is not, worth fighting for. This process then moves into a review of the tools and tactics we’ve been fighting with, and to what degree they have and haven’t been in effective relative to our goals.

This is the boxer’s crucial mid-fight adjustment. In Aries, this tactical change-up will likely have to do with how direct we are. The straightforward may have revelations about the possibilities that open up when you deal with conflict in a less head-on manner. There are many angles of approach to any opponent, any situation. Meanwhile, the evasive may realize that sometimes the safest place to be is directly in front of your opponent, and the shortest distance between oneself and victory a straight line.

Though there is an abundance of martial instruction to be had on a personal level, on a collective one this period is unlikely to seem terribly educational.

The Head and Tail of the Dragon

The first set of eclipses straddles the end of 2019 and 2020. An annular solar eclipse in Capricorn occurs on the 25th of December, 2019, followed by a penumbral lunar eclipse in Cancer on January 10th, 2020.

The next set of eclipses is centered on the June solstice. A weak penumbral lunar eclipse occurs in Sagittarius on June 5th, followed by an annular solar eclipse in Cancer on June 21st, and then another weak penumbral lunar eclipse in Capricorn on July 4th.

The year’s final eclipses are a penumbral lunar eclipse in Gemini on November 29th and a total solar eclipse in Sagittarius on December 14th.

The eclipses shift signs this year from the Cancer-Capricorn axis to the Gemini-Sagittarius one. This change is foreshadowed by the movement of the Dragon’s Head and Tail— the lunar nodes— from Cancer-Capricorn to Gemini-Sagittarius in May.

The shift of the Head into Gemini and the Tail into Sagittarius pulls the eclipses away from the Cancer-Capricorn axis. The Crab and the Goat both had rough traffic in 2018 and 2019, and so it is a small blessing for those tied to those signs for the eclipse cycle to move along, though it will take until the end of 2020 for that shift to be complete.

The Head in Cancer and Tail in Capricorn period has had, as a general theme, the clearing away of material matters in order to address the mental and emotional ones underlying them. In addition, Saturn’s copresence with the Tail activated issues surrounding ancestry and family history for a number of people, telling both literal and figurative ghost stories.

The Dragon’s movement into Gemini and Sagittarius engages an entirely different set of issues, and catalyzes its own distinct set of shifts. Here the Dragon heads into the multiplicity inherent to the Twins, while its Tail can be seen escaping the Archer’s aim. These eclipses, which will run through the end of 2021, will drain some of the excessive Sagittarian moralizing and questing, and push in a more critical, analytic direction. In the most positive cases, it will be movement from vision to articulation. In less positive ones, it will be movement from unity, however tenuous, into a more divided, fractured state. Regardless of how well it is done, the upcoming series moves energy from the spiritual, moralizing, and unitary toward the rational, critical, and divided.

One fortunate thing about this shift into Gemini-Sagittarius is that it moves the eclipses away from the other planetary action for a while. One of 2019’s difficulties was that the eclipses were overlaid on top of Saturn and Pluto— already enough trouble by themselves.

Venus

Venus’ retrograde through Gemini is the defining feature of 2020’s second quarter. Venus goes retrograde for about 6 weeks approximately every year and a half. Each time Venus goes retrograde, it is in a different span of degrees, but all Venus retrogrades have several common characteristics.

Venus’ retrograde is akin, in many ways, to the better-known Mercury retrograde but with some important differences. Mercury is the planet of communications, and when Mercury is retrograde, communications often go awry. At the same time, Mercury’s retrogrades also oversee particularly key thoughts, communications and plans- the kind that require the extra weeks of ambivalence. Venus’ retrograde operates on the same principle, but instead of disordered thoughts, it is the emotions that go awry. Deeply felt contradictions surface, and the passions’ compass is set spinning. Yet, the confusion is a prelude to new connections.

When retrograde, Venus dwells in the same span of degrees for months at a time. The back and forth motion digs deep into the foundations of the patterns symbolized by each set of degrees, unearthing hidden layers of meaning.

This year’s Venus retrograde occurs in Gemini, and will thus dig deeply into our contradictory multiplicity of desires, as well as the words we use to name and discuss them.

This Venus also retrograde intersects meaningfully with the movement of the Head of the Dragon into Gemini, indicating this particularly journey through the heart’s underworld is likely to be an intense, with a greater impact on culture at large.

Mercury Retrogrades

The Mercury retrogrades this year all begin in Water signs. Thus, on an inner level, the emotions and the contents of the soul will be the subjects for rethinking and rewording. Externally, it will be literal water which shows up in a complicating way during the retrogrades. Examples include travel by boat, plumbing issues, and precipitation problems.

The first Mercury retrograde takes place between February 16th and March 9th. Though the bulk of this retro occurs in Pisces, the last bit sees Mercury regress back in Aquarius. This one will likely be classically messy, with mistakes aplenty, but it is not particularly malefic.

The second Mercury retrograde is also a mess, but due to Mars in Aries, it is a considerably hotter mess. This one runs from June 17th until July 12th. There are a number of big moments and lurching shifts during this period, which includes a pair of big eclipses.

The third and final Mercury retrograde of the year starts on October 13th and continues backward until November 3rd. This installment has Mercury start in Scorpio but return to Libra for the last third. Like the second retrograde, it is difficult, as it is connected to both Mars and Saturn.

III. Monthly Walkthrough

What follows is a quick walkthrough of 2020’s celestial landmarks. There is plenty of scenery and detail aside from what is described here, but the following attempts to map out the configurations worth planning your trip around.

Yearly Summary

The first quarter of the year is especially ponderous and weighty, due to the sheer number of planets in Capricorn. It is a good time to solidify foundations and craft master-plans.

The second quarter’s entrance of Saturn into Aquarius gives us a sneak-peak at 2021-2023’s dynamics. The season’s centerpiece, though, is the recalibration of relationships brought by Venus’ retrograde through Gemini, which dominates May and June.

Mars in Aries is the star of a hot, busy, and frictive third quarter. The red planet stations retrograde in a hard square with Saturn in September, which has the worst skies of 2020.

The first half of the 4th quarter is hot and chaotic, but things slowly become more orderly in November. December finishes out the year with the great conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius, ending things on an epoch-shifting note.

January

The year opens between the solar eclipse on 2019’s Christmas and the lunar eclipse on January 10th. The first half of January is dominated by the eclipse dynamics and the perfect conjunction of Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn, which is exact on the 12th. This first couple weeks of the year lays out both the personal and collective challenges quite clearly.

The second half of January gets progressively lighter, with Venus’ ingress into Pisces on the 13th, Mercury’s escape from Capricorn into Aquarius on the 16th, and the Sun doing likewise on the 19th. The movement of the Sun and Mercury into Aquarius takes the focus off the heavy situation in Capricorn, allowing us to peak beyond this current set of troubles. The New Moon in Aquarius on the 24th is in a tight square with Uranus in Taurus, which adds a few surprises, not all of them convenient, to the next few weeks. Nonetheless, the New Moon takes us out of the eclipse cycle, and away from the ultra-density of the Saturn-Pluto conjunction.

Venus’ time in Pisces, Jan 13th-Feb 8th, is nice, as the evening star is exalted there, but Venus does spend virtually the entire time in a square with Mars in Sagittarius. Venus-Mars squares can be passionate, even erotic, but they are not particularly peaceful.

Summary: The first half is heavy and intense. The second portion is easier, but not quite as easy as one might hope.

February

Mercury enters Pisces on February 3rd, setting the stage for the planet’s retrograde station in the middle of the month. Though possessed of a certain poetry, Mercury in Pisces does not make for expertly dotted “I”s and carefully crossed “t”s. This punctuation warning begins the first week and gets increasingly dire as February continues.

The middle of the month contains two important pivot points. Mars enters Capricorn on the 16th, and Mercury stations retrograde the same day, with plans to keep it in reverse until March 9th. This is scheduled to be a classic retrograde— no better, no worse. Expect the standard sitcom plot of mixed up plans, missed messages, annoying do-overs, and digital delays.

Mars’ entrance into Capricorn puts the red planet in the same sign as Saturn, Pluto, Jupiter, and the Tail until March 30th. Though there is a hard edge to this combination, there are productive possibilities if you’re willing to grind.

These two factors— Mars being a hardass in Capricorn and Mercury being retrodrunk in Pisces, are what define the second half of February.

Summary: Mercury is drunk all month, but its not enough to ruin the party. The second half sees intoxicated Mercury turn retrograde, which increases the potential annoyance. Meanwhile, Mars in Capricorn adds a pitiless but productive influence.

March

March starts out as February ended, with harsh Mars in Capricorn and slippery Mercury retro. However, during the first week, Mercury slides back into Aquarius in preparation for the direct station on the 9th. Meanwhile, Venus enters Taurus on the 4th. Though not perfect, Venus’ time in Taurus, which runs until April 3rd, is the only point in 2020 that Venus will be a place of strength without being harassed by an angular Mars. If you get the chance for a luxury, then take it.

The second half of March is increasingly intense. In the days just after the Sun makes its equinox move into Aries on the 19th, Mars conjoins Jupiter and Pluto in Capricorn in an intimidatingly powerful pile-up. If it’s on your side— fantastic. If it’s on the other team— oh no. While Mars rolls deep with Jupiter and Pluto, Saturn takes the opportunity to slide into Aquarius.

Like Capricorn, Aquarius is a powerful place for Saturn, but in a different way. Whereas Saturn in Capricorn emphasizes adaptation to the rules of the environment as it is, Saturn in Aquarius focuses on designing different circumstances. It is similarly rule-bound, but significantly more pro-active. Saturn will be in Aquarius until early July, when it retros back into the Goat’s sign.

This transition is highlighted by Mars, which follows Saturn into Aquarius on the 30th. The two make a harsh conjunction on the 31st.

Summary: Venus in Taurus pours some sugar on March, offering fun and making it easier to connect, even while Mars in Capricorn pushes relentlessly, with a peak in cranky badassery from the 19th-23rd. Saturn and then Mars enter Aquarius toward the end of the month, starting new stories, but harshly.

April

April begins with Mars and Saturn conjunct in Aquarius, and the first part of the month is very much colored by their rough pairing. Mars moves from conjunction with Saturn to a square with Uranus on the 7th, adding an unstable, disruptive ingredient to the mix.

Meanwhile, Venus dances into Gemini on the 3rd. Venus will be in chatty, oversharing Gemini until August this year, due to the May-June retrograde.

The New Moon in Taurus on the 22nd reactivates the new tension between Saturn in Aquarius and Uranus in Taurus. This configuration highlights the maxim that Necessity is indeed the mother of invention, as it points toward the need to mutate and adapt with a rather stern finger. We’ll be seeing much, much more of this dynamic in 2021, when its volatile themes take the main stage.

Summary: The first week is rough and volatile. The rest is easier, but the same dynamics are reactivated on scattered days later in the month. Venus isn’t nearly retrograde yet, but keep an eye on it once its in Gemini, as that is the relational territory due to be renegotiated.

May

The Nodes, the Head and Tail of the Dragon, change signs in early May, backing into Gemini and Sagittarius for the next 18 months.

May’s primary them, though, is the retrograde of Venus through Gemini. The first weeks lead up to Venus’ station on the 12th, after which she will wander backwards, through the underworld and out the other side, until the end of June. Venus retrogrades are periods of emotional uncertainty and reconfiguration. Confusions of desire and uncertainty within relationships are common themes. Mars enters Pisces the same day that Venus stations retrograde in Gemini. Mars will be square to Venus for the entire retrograde, adding additional heat, passion, and conflict to the emotional recalibration process.

The last ten days of the month are especially manic and social, as the Sun, Mercury, Venus, and the Head will all be in Gemini. Expect the month to conclude on a busy, potentially frantic, note.

Summary: The lead up to and commencement of Venus’ retrograde is the centerpiece here. Focus on handling those dynamics well and the rest will take care of itself.

June

The month begins with Venus’ retrograde in full swing, but is packed with a number of other important events. A Full Moon in Sagittarius, with just a whiff of eclipse about it, gets the month moving on the 5th.

The middle of June is complicated by Mercury’s retrograde station in Cancer on the 17th. This retrograde will last until July 11th. The first part portion of it is tolerable, but it gets more difficult as we get toward the end of the month.

The solstice on the 21st. hosts an annular solar eclipse in the first degree of Cancer. This intense lunation, the last eclipse in Cancer we’ll see for most of a decade, leads a late-June parade of significant shifts. Venus stations direct a few days later, on the 24th. This closes out the ambivalence of the retrograde period, providing a place to move forward from. This is convenient, as the set of dynamics now coagulating will require plenty of bandwidth. Perhaps the most important of these is Mars’ entry into Aries on the 27th. The red planet has plans to set hearts ablaze and skies afire for the remainder of the year.

Summary: The emotional recalibration process of Venus’ retrograde dominates the first half of the month. The second half is subject to a succession of significant shifts. There’s a lot closing out and shaping up here— pay attention.

July

July begins with Saturn’s regress into Capricorn, ending the near-future expedition with a return to the same themes which have plagued the last several years. This return is followed by a penumbral eclipse in Capricorn on July 4th, the USA’s birthday, which further emphasizes Saturn rejoining Jupiter and Pluto in the Goat’s sign.

Over the next week, Mercury rolls toward a direct station on the 12th. Forward movement is good, but Mercury’s about-face takes place in a tight square to Mars. As a consequence, Mercury and Mars will be square for the rest of the month, inflaming communications and troubling travels.

The middle of the month, during which the Sun opposes Pluto on the 15th and Saturn on the 20th, is particularly brutal, though the Sun’s entrance into Leo on the 22nd is a considerable improvement. The end of the month is by far its most tolerable portion.

Summary: One of the top 3 hardest months of 2020, though the last third is not so bad. The Saturnian themes must merely be endured, but the Mercury-Mars square will tempt people into unnecessary conflicts. Do not engage in fights that offer no rewards for victory.

August

The Sun’s time in Leo, which runs until the 22nd, lights the way across a serviceable set of circumstances. August is relatively light on drama, at least compared to its neighbors, July and September.

Venus, in Gemini since early April, finally leaves the sign on the 7th, putting retrograde matters firmly in the rear-view.

For the first half of August, Mars in Aries is an asset. Though fiery, it will push a productive pace. Mid-month, though, Mars gets to the latter part of Aries, and begins grinding hard against Pluto and Saturn in Capricorn. The friction intensifies the last week, sparking irritations and misfortunes.

Summary: August is thoroughly workable, except for the week or so. As July and September are both giant pains in the ass, it’s important to take advantage of what August has to offer.

September

September begins rough, and stays that way. The first week has Venus in Cancer in a harsh configuration with almost-retrograde Mars in Aries, as well as Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn, putting a huge strain on relationships and moods. Venus escapes into Leo on the 6th, improving things for the morning star’s children, but not the month as whole.

Mars stations retrograde on September 9th at 28 Aries, beginning a hot, bright journey backwards through the Ram’s sign, which will take until November 13th to complete. Mars will be in a tight square with Saturn all month, distributing frustrations and churning out misfortunes. It’s not good, but it’s not all day, every day.

Jupiter’s direct station in Capricorn on the 12th and the Sun in Virgo’s mid-month trines with Jupiter and Saturn are helpful in a low-key practical way, given you keep out of the ambient drama.

Mercury wanders into the teeth of the Mars-Saturn square during the last week of September, pulling communications and other Mercurial matters into the ordeal.

Summary: September’s configurations make it a contender for the worst month of 2020. The harsh Mars-Saturn square holds all month. There are moments of truce, but not peace.

October

October’s theme is the Mars retrograde, which holds steady all month. The Full Moon in Aries on the 1st spotlights the red planet, ramping the heat up significantly for the first few days. After that, there is a slight decline in difficulty as Mars retrogrades out of the tight, frictive square with Saturn, easing the pressure someqhat.

Mercury stations retrograde in Scorpio on October 13th. With both Mercury and Mars retrograde for the rest of the month, there may be some serious confusion as to what the right move is. Yet the temporary rudderlessness may be exactly what is most useful for understanding the situation. Sometimes a lack of movement is the way we make the most progress.

Towards the end of October, the Sun enters Mars-ruled Scorpio and Mercury retrogrades back from Scorpio into Libra. The last few days of the month are another peak of intensity, as the waxing Moon conjoins Mars once again in Aries before attaining perfect fullness in Taurus, precisely conjunct shocking Uranus. It may not be exactly what people think of as an October surprise, but its in October, and this Full Moon certainly has the unexpected in store.

Summary: October is consistently volatile. Come into it ready to maneuver and make adjustments, including delays, as it is it is an unpredictable slice of time.

November

The first significant change that November brings is Mercury’s direct station on the 3rd, which ends the retrograde period and reduces the chaos quotient a bit. A week and a half later, on the 13th, Mars’ retrograde also comes to an end. Though the planet will remain bright, hot, and contentious during its rest-of-the-year stay in Aries, it will do so in a more orderly manner from this point on.

The middle of November exists in the turbulent wake of the powerful Mars retrograde, and we will undoubtedly need to spend much of that time sorting out the consequences thereof.

The very end of the month brings something new to the table with the beginning of a proper set of eclipses in Gemini and Sagittarius. There is a lunar eclipse in Gemini on the 29th, during which the Sun will be conjunct the star Antares while the shadowed Moon is closely conjunct the powerful royal star Aldebaran, the Red Eye of the Bull. This lends the lunation outsized impact, and suggests that it will comment meaningfully on matters of leadership and dominion.

Summary: The first half of November sees both the Mercury and Mars retrogrades come to an end. Some of the uncertainties of the last few months start to shake out here, though the eclipse at the end of the month gives the pot one final stir.

December

A total solar eclipse in Sagittarius arrives on the 14th, lending the middle of the month an appropriately portentous atmosphere. This eclipse fully initiates the set of changes promised by the Gemini-Sagittarius eclipse cycle.

Saturn enters Aquarius on December 16th, bringing an end to its time in Capricorn. Two days later, on the 18th, Jupiter follows Saturn into Aquarius. On the 21st, the two make one of the epoch-defining great conjunctions. As explained in the initial portion of this essay, Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions are the planetary yard stick of history, and this one brings to an end two hundred years of history and begins another pair of centuries.

How much of that will be clear at the time is uncertain. What is clear, though, is that Saturn and Jupiter’s movement into Aquarius is a significant shift. With their conjunction we move from looking back to staring forward, into a complicated set of futures.

Summary: Although December holds a momentous long-term shift, as well as a total solar eclipse, its skies are actually less chaotic than those of the last several months.

Austin Coppock is a writer, esotericist and astrologer based in Ashland, OR. He published paperback Almanacs from 2011-15 but began posting his prognostications online last year, referring to his collection of weekly, monthly, yearly essays and daily delineations as “The Online Almanac”. This work is made possible by his supporters on Patreon. Austin was President of the non-profit organization “Association for Young Astrologers” from 2012-2016. His most recent book is “36 Faces: The History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans”, published by Three Hands Press.

10 Comments

  1. Robert Walker 5 months ago

    This is just brilliant, from beginning to end. Thank you. I’m turning into an enduring fan.

  2. Jen 3 months ago

    Will it certainly is not the Jupiter in Sag year we had last year! Thank you for this re-cap – one day at a time eh?

  3. Kimberly Spratt 3 months ago

    Thanks Austin, I really appreciate your analysis, it definitely has a lot of meaning for me and what have been going through and probably many others. Look forward to reading more. Many Thanks Kimberly

  4. Asraiya 2 months ago

    Fascinating to have read this in Jan with a political lens due to impeachment/election year but then re-read it now in March overshadowed by the pandemic and seeing the polar pattern from the Spanish flu outbreak of 1918-19

    Always a pleasure, Austin! Cheers ~

    • Elizabeth Fasolino 2 months ago

      Amazing to read for the first time as March is ending. I found your comments on a Spotify podcast & was glad to fine more info here.

  5. Shaina 2 months ago

    I think the July portion will be, at least in America, the handoff of power from P to VP. I don’t think 45 will survive his Saturn-Venus conjunction in Cancer crushed by the same opposition that decimated Italy’s Saturn in Cancer (detriment).

    The Mars rx during Sept will likely be a return of covid, maybe in a different form (following the unfortunate symbolism of revisiting prior issues during an rx)? I see so many parallels to the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918-1920. Not just in concrete events, such as the seasonality (covid seems to prefer cooler temps). But also in the way that when you consider how much was packed into that time period, it’s almost like… a warp in time. March 2020 has been like being caught in a k-hole. While also having done salvia.

    https://www.history.com/news/spanish-flu-second-wave-resurgence?fbclid=IwAR3AIaVIVzVV-OFDOyxzlbYX4qbmmLo-dy9GcqugeYkbhM8g0yKBeLPnl1Y

    About December, Uranus will be rx at 7 deg Venus, which seems significant to me. We’ll be hitting that degree first in May. I think it will likely be the completion of a vaccine which is announced in May, and it will become available February 2021 when Uranus makes its final pass across that degree.

    As always, lovely storytelling, Austin. Your words seem to act as catalyst for me to see further. If you take a look at your 2019 review, I pretty much nailed this covid crap with my horary prediction (got the bit about children backward) – I wonder whether it had started circulating earlier than we are hearing reported. Or maybe that was when it made the jump between mammals, and Christmas’ dark eclipse of 2019 was when the spell really took hold.

    Anyway, point being: I find a real synthesis with your work. It has allowed me to see further and warn a lot of people to prepare for all of what we’ve uncovered of 2020 so far. Thank you for that.

  6. mary v becker 2 months ago

    Austin – Have been a fan of your clear and symbolic larger-picture insights on the Astrology Podcast. When you’ve mentioned the 200 year Conjunction of Kings cycle in Earth it jogged me b/c I thought I’d remembered one in Libra on my list. Looking at my reference sheet (actually just googled as well) am seeing 1981 – Jupiter-Saturn in Libra – AIR sign. So am I missing something ?? b/c this doesn’t fall into your 200 years of Earth. When googled, it also looks like 1821 was Aries – FIRE. Keep up the good work!

    • Author
      Austin Coppock 2 months ago

      I can see why you’re confused. There is back and forth around the edges of each of the 200 year periods. You also have to take into account the relationship between the visible and mean cycles. I’ve gone on at length about it several other places, but I wanted to keep the framing simple for this already very long article.

  7. Ryan Keisling 4 weeks ago

    I don’t think it made any jump. This was clearly orchestrated by mammals alright, but disinformation abounds, especially on the internets. Look to Neptune for the obscurantism and obfuscation

  8. Ryan Keisling 4 weeks ago

    Your writing is superb my friend. I really enjoyed reading this. As soon as I get some cash, some of it is yours. Really nice work, you deserve remuneration…

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Astrology of 2020 — The Bridge

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