The Invitation to Descent with Saturn-Pluto and COVID-19

night sky over water

In this podcast, Lynn Bell and Laurence Hillman talk about the current pandemic in the context of Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn. They invite us to consider the invitation to descent during a Pluto time, the need to “go down” and within, and the unique challenges this moment offers all of us.

They also discuss Mars and Jupiter entering Capricorn, and Saturn changing signs, moving in Aquarius for a few months this year and what kinds of changes or shifts that might suggest.

We share this with wishes for your health and safety as we move through this difficult moment in history together.

The Invitation to Descent with Saturn-Pluto and COVID-19 Transcript

Tony Howard: I’m very pleased to have Laurence Hillman and Lynn Bell with me today, and we’re gonna talk a little bit about this moment in time, which you might have noticed has just a little intensity. I thought we could just open up with this question that both of you can respond to, which is what can astrology offer us in this present moment? And we’re recording this in March 2020, and we’re in the midst of the unfolding COVID-19 epidemic, pandemic.

Lynn Bell: Well, one of the things is, I’ve been talking to colleagues in the past year or so, and a lot of us have had a feeling of a lack of joy that seemed to come with the Saturn Pluto conjunction and this was already a year ago. And, of course, I live in Paris when Notre-Dame burned, so we had a bit of a precursor to events. And it felt as, that it was very, very hard to get a lift off of the spirit in the lead up to these events.

And I think often when you’re sensitive, when you’re someone who’s paying attention to the cosmos or to intuition, or to what’s coming down the pipeline, the great archetypal forces, you start to pick them up before they’re actually here.

And as astrologers, we know about the Saturn Pluto cycle, or at least Laurence and I are old enough to have consciously lived through, more or less consciously lived through, Saturn-Pluto, and watching these cycles, have an idea of the kind of compression they bring. So I think that astrology helps us understand what we’re feeling, what we’re experiencing, and even if you’re not as sensitive and you just got suddenly woke up and said, “What?” your astrologer can give you some information about where we are, like a really good compass into the archetypal moment.

Laurence Hillman: That’s really lovely. Yes, I agree. And I also think that there’s an old astrological rule that says that the slower planet gives it energy to the faster planet. And in this case, Pluto would be working more on Saturn than Saturn on Pluto, from following that rule. And so, the question will be, what structures… Since Saturn is a great representation of structures in both inner and outer, what structures are going through Pluto’s kind of meat grinder and are deconstructing?

That would be one of the questions that I would be asking myself, not just by looking at the world, but also at my own life and my own family and my own environment, my own work place, all of it. It’s a time of deconstruction, and systems that we have counted on, like borders, no longer work with the virus. Political systems, banking systems, all these systems that we have relied on that are actually all constructs, they’re ideas, if you want, turned into material things that have material consequences.

But they are, in the end, constructs. So the deconstruction of these concepts into something different requires, first, the descent into this no person’s land where we don’t know what lies ahead, and that is very, very scary, but necessary in the process. So I find it helpful for people to have a sense of the why given the what that’s happening.

LB: Yeah, I love that sense of the why. And also, this feeling of almost the cosmic waves. One of the things I was saying last year to people was that Saturn Pluto is… We know that some of the forms that have held our world in place for a long time are going to leave. They’re no longer going to be able to sustain us or hold us, and some of those we wouldn’t want to leave. But it’s fascinating that, just as the soldiers in World War One under a Saturn Pluto conjunction were stuck in trenches, in holes in the ground and unable to move with a menace in front of them. In the beginning it was kind of jokey and then it became very serious and very grueling. There is something about Saturn Pluto that can create this compression or containment which is a sealing off for all of us, where we go inward. And we have to suddenly listen to things we haven’t listened to in a very long time.

TH: Thanks for that, Lynn. And for those of you who are maybe new to astrology, maybe, Laurence, can you just set people up with a little bit of the technical details? So we’re talking about Saturn Pluto, and maybe you can just describe for them the timing and how we’re in this particular cycle, and how it repeats over time.

LH: Right. So every planet has a certain amount of time that it takes to, what appears to be, to go around us. So it appears to us, from the Earth’s perspective that the Sun goes around us in a year. So we celebrate our birthdays when the sun comes back after having completed the cycle. The moon comes back to its cycle every full moon, so we recognize that. And other heavenly bodies, if you want, have longer periods than that. And Saturn has about a 30-year cycle and Pluto as a 248-year cycle approximately. So as these bodies move around, they align or they meet up at certain timeframes and in certain frequencies. So astrology is based on the cyclical notion of life that things come and go in cycles much like the seasons are cyclical.

We get repeat events because planets align and they’ve aligned before. And so, if we look at how things have happened in the past, we can also get a sense of well, what was going on then, so it’s not literally that because Saturn and Pluto were aligned during World War One, we’re having World War Three, but we can say that because Saturn and Pluto are aligned, we have those same things that Lynn just elegantly described.

The emotional sense of being stuck and frozen, maybe even in the ground, and now we’re quarantining, the notion of poison, which was big in the World War One as one of the great fears, is also here, that everything is poisoned invisibly with this Corona. So that’s the similarities. The archetypal eye recognizes those kinds of things that are similar and patterns even if it’s not literally the same thing, it’s going beyond the literal into sort of the pattern beneath it that we can recognize, and we can measure that pattern, if you want, through the movements of the planets.

TH: Thanks for that, Laurence. And one of the questions I’ve been getting by email a lot from students and clients and everybody visiting Astrology University is when will this end? As we talk about cycles, I think that’s an interesting question, so you can respond to that. But, Laurence, you were saying some interesting things at the beginning about that question is really reflective of our collective resistance to the descent that’s symbolized by Pluto. So, maybe both of you could speak to that a little bit?

LB: Yeah, actually, I wrote something yesterday about the intensification of the process because Mars, Pluto… Mars, Jupiter, Pluto, and Saturn are within eight degrees of the Zodiac right now. There’s this super conjunction or what we call a stellium, but with the traditional malefic planets, so a sense that there’s something we cannot resist, it’s bigger than we are, that’s symbolizing this descent that you talk about.

Now, some people say because Mars is a fast-moving planet and when you put Mars with these other planets, people’s hope is it’ll just burn it all up, like let’s have a high fever and get it over with. But that’s what I hear from some people who obviously can’t bear this idea of stasis or descent or frozenness or stuckness. And again, we’re more or less privileged in the way we’re stuck. We were all talking about that, that we have rooms and I have balconies with nature. I was watching the bees go to my rosemary flowers.

So we have these privileged environments, but nonetheless, there is this stuckness, this lack of movement. Now, I think that there’s a big crescendo at the moment and that it goes, to my way of thinking at least, ’til April 9th, April 14th, but looking at the world right now, it’s ridiculous to think it would stop so quickly. And I know that ISAR set out a newsletter saying that a date to look at is mid-May when three planets go retrograde within the space of four days, and that can often indicate a shift in the direction of energies, and that seems a more reasonable timeframe than Mid-April.

LH: I think that’s helpful, and I think that’s gonna give people some relief. And I also think it is sort of like this is a wake-up call, and if we sort of don’t get at this time, then what is it gonna take for us to get the importance of the descent. And so, even if there’s this lovely scenario and April is a big shift and May is an even bigger shift, I’m worried that the relationship to Pluto is this opportunity is kind of missed. And if I just hunker down, then I’m just really in the trenches and the bullets are flying above me, but I’m not really coming out of it with anything else than some sort of deep-seated trauma perhaps that I haven’t really worked on. And then what’s the point? And I don’t believe things happen in nature and in the universe that don’t have a point.

And the point here is to embrace the Corona sorrow with a world that is dying in many ways. This is about the environment, this is about relationships, this is about all kinds of deep things that are no longer what they were. And this is, many have said this is the tip of the iceberg of something much bigger, and I agree with that.

I think we are, and this is not about doom and gloom, it is an opportunity, this is a human experience that Pluto is part of our psyche, everybody has Pluto in their psyche. And it is the most feared, most rejected, anybody who does Astrology knows this, the most repressed, even to the point where the collective culture has denied Pluto its existence as a planet, which I find rather interesting, as a way of rejection and denial.

LH: Now Pluto is not even a planet anymore, why are you still talking about it, because it’s the most powerful, most rejected, most feared part of our psyche. And so we want to learn how to embrace that. Pluto is what we do in therapy, Pluto is what we do when we mourn somebody, Pluto is what we do when we are deeply, passionately connected to someone else and go to the deepest darkest places we otherwise fear to go to.

There’s tremendous beauty in Pluto, it is the lord of the underworld, and there is richness there, there is juicy power that comes from there, and it is just incredibly feared and rejected in our culture, but that doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with the archetype, that maybe means there’s something wrong with the culture.

TH: Thanks for that, Laurence. Lynn, did you wanna add to that?

LB: Yeah, I do because although as astrologers we’re looking at short-term movements and I’m talking about that. I actually think with this virus, of course, we don’t know, and I also feel that it could last much, much longer or come and go in waves. There is a time in the fall where Mars will interface with the Saturn Pluto conjunction, where it’s very likely we’ll see some kind of heating up of whatever this is again. So I’m not sure that there’s like a super happy scenario to, “Oh, magic wand, we’re all released.” It’s more that there’s something new that all of us deal with collectively, but it’s not a constant that’s in the form it is now for the next nine months. It will change within that period and we will change with it little by little.

TH: Some of the things their saying about the virus is that there’s a potential for it to go a bit dormant in the summer as temperatures heat up. Obviously, this is a new virus, so they don’t really know until it happens, but it’s one of the projections. And another projection is that even if that does happen, that it can come back in the fall. I find that kind of interesting timing since Saturn moves into Aquarius in just a few days on March 22, and then it goes back into Capricorn, basically towards the end of the summer.

So what do you make of that movement of Saturn kind of changing signs and then going back into into Capricorn where it will stay through the end of the year, and what that might tell us? Obviously, kind of plays into what you were saying, Lynn, just about a shift or a change, but what type of change might that be?

LB: Well, already we’re longing for connection, and, of course, more connected here, we all work like this, so we’re honoring our connections. But in our daily life, and I think of young people who are always on their phones, I think of the longing that people have as social animals. I was in Laos in February with Giles, my partner, we did this Buddhist ritual with this little bamboo cage which we bought and took up to the top of a monastery and released these tiny birds to be free. And when I heard the Italians out on their balconies singing the other day, I thought, “Oh we’re singing from our cages.”

And although this is a philosophical metaphor, of course, but I believe that one of the things that will come out of this is that the closed self, the harder edges of the ego that can be an unenlightened Capricorn archetype, we’re pushed into that and the longing and the desire for connectedness with our fellow human and other people will emerge in a whole new way during, in the great mutation, in the Jupiter Saturn conjunction that we will be, we will want to be with others differently. And I think this could be something that comes out of this crisis.

LH: I read a line this morning on a tweet from John Hegel, which I thought was really good to answer your exact question, is it’s funny it’s coming up two days before the transit into Aquarius. He said, “Why social distancing? Why not physical isolation and social connection?” And I just think that’s a lovely reframe of an Aquarian nature.

TH: Right, because we have the ability to be connected online. And what’s really interesting is in previous times when Saturn has been in Aquarius, they correlate again and again with more global connectivity, especially through exchange of information. There was one cycle where these lines were laid across the ocean floor that enabled the first communication from one part of the world to another part of the world in seven minutes. WWW was birthed during a Saturn and Aquarius cycle, and there are many, many other correlations about connecting us through information, and, obviously, we have this rich resource of connectivity.

I’ve been seeing yoga studios doing their classes online, a local music venue in Portland about three hours from me just launched a project where they’re doing virtual performances, so they’re gonna keep having musicians come and play on the stage and you can pay to watch the virtual performances from your home.

So all that’s kind of being created right now and will be launched under Saturn and Aquarius more and more, I think. But yeah, interesting timing. So we get a little preview of that and then Saturn goes back into Capricorn for the fall. And along with Mars retrograde in Aries, and Mars is gonna spend, I think it’s about six months in Aries, isn’t that right? A long, long time.

I just wanted to say something for folks ’cause Lynn you mentioned the great mutation and in case you haven’t heard that term Lynn’s talking about, Saturn and Jupiter conjunct at the end of the year. So, that’s coming at the end of December.

LB: And it’s the great mutation because it’s the beginning of a whole new elemental cycle in the 20-year Jupiter Saturn conjunctions.

TH: Yeah. And if you wanna learn more about that, we’ve talked about that a lot in our 2020 Summit, which we just rebroadcast for a whole week. Yeah, so I think most of you have probably seen it by now, but in case you haven’t, there’s a lot of material out there about that and coming up at the end of the year. But go ahead, Lynn.

LB: Yeah, well, when you said WWW, even if you put three Ws together, it looks like Aquarius.

TH: Oh, my goodness. Oh, that’s amazing! Oh, stop it astrology! Oh God… That’s ridiculous. I hadn’t thought of that. Oh my goodness.

LB: So there’s this hope, but then, again, Saturn, Pluto in Capricorn. Well, right now, Mars is exalted in Capricorn, Saturn rules Capricorn, so it is with Pluto I’m calling it the activation of dinosaur consciousness. So, basically, certainly when we look at the political structures in the world; who has power, who controls the land, the resources, the money, the banks. Dinosaur consciousness is risen up and swallowed the world on a certain level, and we have to hope that this is temporary.

There’s no way of knowing ahead of time if Aquarius will really be a whole new world or if it’s that desire that eventually brings in forms. But, for me, I participate in a couple of women’s groups in Paris. One is a dream group and another is a woman artist group. One met on Zoom the other day, 16 people, and another will meet on Zoom in a couple of days. And so, we’re continuing our dialoguing with each other. It’s something very precious. And so there are ways to make that happen. Imagine if we didn’t have that.

LH: And we’re finding out what communities we belong to and we are participating in lots of different communities as we can in ways that before has been a little bit more scattered or in Facebook groups or things like that, but now with video conferencing and with FaceTime and so forth, and FaceTime just came up with a new feature very recently that allows for group video chat in FaceTime.

Which is really cool. So I think family and who we’re connected to, both in the literal sense and in the broader sense, is paramount for people again to have that comfort. It’s family that we look to for descent. When we mourn, when we have sadness, it’s usually in some kind of a family or familiar setting and this is a time for that. And so I think also the to counterbalance it, to not get morbid and obsessed with endings, we need a lot of art, we need a lot of humor, we need a lot of good food, we need a lot of these things that actually take time and that we now have more time for than we ever bargained for.

So there’s an opportunity in this descent as well, and I think that people need to be reminded of that, that think of a funeral parade in Orleans. It’s a feast, and there’s something with that that’s so not typically western culture, but there’s something very rich about celebrating the end of what is no longer necessary or what has died.

LB: And yet the irony of that, Laurence, is one of the things we’re reading about is how actually people can’t celebrate funerals in Italy, how people are not allowed to go. There was a priest arrested for presiding over a funeral recently. And how painful that is for people who are very close. So, in a way, we have to hold that celebration, that connectedness in order to see what we’re missing, what is it that really matters to us. I think everything is going to be those choices, what matters, what do we want to bring with us? What doesn’t matter as we leave behind, or and in some cases, we have no choice about it. We have to accept that things are going.

LH: Right. There’s also an idea in astrology that’s very ancient, that there is a way of cooperating with the planets or rejecting the planets, what I have called ‘you do the gods or the gods do you.’ And so we could ask the question if this is a time of descent or a time of endings or even death, how much can we cooperate with that so we don’t have to experience it in the most literal sense? And that would be including cleaning out, cleaning up, giving away, downsizing, minimizing all these things that have been popular anyway for quite a while maybe especially through the Pluto Saturn time. How can we bring those ideas into our very intimate, small lives right now and keep doing that as a ritual, as a way to honor this descent energy and not make it the ultimate most literal need for actual death in our lives?

LB: Well, Laurence, interesting you should mention this giving away, decluttering, et cetera, because in Paris, it’s been forbidden. You can put ordinary garbage out, but normally when you throw furniture out, you have to make an appointment with the city who will then pick it up, and it’s all been suspended, so you can’t actually get rid of anything. You can get rid of your food garbage, but you can’t throw out a big refrigerator or a chair.

And there are always people in Paris who make their rounds of the garbage and look for things of value and then resell them. And I saw one of these people and the guardian, the concierge, this was down the street from Marlow, came out with a mask and gloves and a spray bottle and said, “No, no… It’s forbidden with the virus. You can’t go through the garbage.” And sprayed the garbage can and wiped it down. And it was fascinating to think that all, even that, we can’t just get rid of things. We have to hold on to what we don’t want.

LH: That’s funny, that would be a way of Saturn working on Pluto, stopping the descent.

TH: Good point. Laurence, do you mind explaining that to folks just a little bit about how the planets can act on each other in both directions?

LH: Right. So if you have two people dancing, who’s leading? And the logical rule says that whoever dances slower leads the faster dancer, that’s just an old rule that I find very useful. But in this case, we have the faster dancer Saturn dances faster than Pluto through the sky, so we have the faster dancer, Saturn, stopping. One of things that Saturn does well which is stop, arrest, arrêt, arrest, stop, french for stopping, the transformative descent that we just talked about that is such a Pluto experience of cleansing out, cleaning up and so forth. Saturn and Pluto also perfectly explains why people are stocking toilet paper, just a little bit because Pluto rules all things we no longer need including our own excrements.

TH: Yeah, good point because people have been asking that question. It turns out folks, astrology has the answer.

LH: Again, it has a perfect answer for the why. To me that’s a symbol of a fear of what’s coming out of us, so to speak.  What if we can’t handle what is dead and what is now leaving us, so to speak, the dead matter we no longer need, what if we can’t handle that? Let’s buy the thing that protects us from that process. Like we don’t have to deal with it in any way, shape, or form. That’s the psychological fear, in my mind.

LB: Yeah. I like the way you elaborated that, Laurence, that is wonderful. The fear of not being able to handle what’s dying, what’s no longer useful.

LH: Right. And this is a technical term, what some people would call ‘old shit.’

LB: Yeah. But it’s true that this is a perfect opportunity to clean up your closets but you can’t get rid of stuff for now, for us anyway, here. And I also had to clean off one of my balconies because they were going to put up a scaffolding at the beginning of this week for three months, which would have blocked the view and they started to put it up and then they took it down. And so I was saved from double quarantine, thank goodness. But in the mean time, I’d seen all these things I didn’t need or I wanted to get rid of, but I don’t know what to do with them.

LH: And just to show the archetypal eye again, for those who aren’t used to that kind of thinking, to me that’s a beautiful example of Pluto dancing with Saturn because scaffolding is a classical Saturn word and Pluto of taking it down is a deconstruction of the construction. There it is right there. We can see it in everything that’s going on when we develop this and then we have an understanding of the why.

So we can be rational say, “Well, of course, if they took it down because nobody can do any construction right now,” but that to me is not as interesting as saying it is a manifestation, it is a practical example of a Pluto Saturn transit. It’s much more interesting way for me to look at life because it gives me a why.

LB: Yeah. And it’s fascinating, Laurence, last spring, I wrote an article and I started with the images of Saturn and Pluto dancing, and Saturn dancing with its scythe and cutting down the over growth.

Yeah, just seeing the scythes swing through the world and saying, “Whoa, where is this going?” I think this is cutting down the overgrowth, the environmental materialist… I mean, everyone is terrified. It must be terrible to be in America without medical insurance. I cannot imagine what that feels like.

TH: Well, it’s, with projections, it’s of people who need ventilators, it’s gonna be terrible even if you do have insurance because hospitals already, my local hospital already doesn’t have enough. We have some crazy small number of beds in my town for the number of people they’re expecting to come in and no supplies to deal with them. Our hospital has already been putting out calls if you have this or that thing stocked up, these are some of the things that we need because we can’t get them.

But this takes me into a little bit of talk about the maybe, Lynn, you can continue by talking a little bit about the role of Capricorn because one of the things we’re seeing in this Saturn and Pluto conjunction has been in Capricorn. And as you were pointing out earlier, Jupiter has joined that, I don’t know if we wanna call it a party.

Jupiter’s has joined that group and Capricorn and Mars as well. So a lot of Capricorn happening right now. But what we’re seeing rise up as a really strong correlation is the role of government, what is the role of government, what can government provide for us in our, as an ideal, but what is government actually providing for us. And then governments, we’re seeing governments have different, very different styles and approaches, and sometimes fighting with each other and… So what do you make of all that?

LH: So when you say government, where are you seeing government in the Jupiter, in the Saturn, in the Capricorn, in the Pluto, in the whole thing? Just to know how you’re seeing it.

TH: Yeah, well, astrologers ever since Pluto went into Capricorn, people have been talking about Pluto making us more aware of government’s role in our life and potentially Pluto can break down. So, the breaking down of these structures.

One of things were witnessing right now is we’re seeing the result of the flaw in the system, which I think Capricorn can do, but especially Saturn, to me, correlates with taking stock of, or reckoning in this case, with Pluto. And so we’re seeing the result of the actions that our government took before this moment for better or for worse. And we’re seeing that same thing in other governments as well. But I feel like that’s enhanced by those planets being in Capricorn, but maybe you can just share any thoughts you have too?

LB: Yeah. Because Capricorn and Cancer are on axis, of course, and we know that Cancer has the ability to create something which holds us on the most intimate level and Capricorn hold us over time through time and history and cycles of development in a collective. Let’s say, it’s the collective building of time, especially if you live in an old city where buildings have been built hundreds of years apart, and then there’s the how does the new come in? Somehow Capricorn rules that, those structures. And I remember studying these things when Pluto first went into Capricorn, that mega cities were built for the first time in China, as I remember, this whole planned universe.

So Capricorn is this desire to create a structure in which things can continue over time, not just our time, but to continue in the future. However, the issues of control, who decides how they continue, who takes advantage of those things that have been built, the power issues inherent in the control of the collective structures that hold us all together have risen up as Pluto has moved through Capricorn, as it does in any sign.

So this notion of, do our actual rulers handle power well? Let’s put it that way, let’s see. Government is, do our actual rulers handle power well. And for some people, there is a desire for more and more power to break the old structures and concentrate power in the hands of one person to get rid of descent.

In Russia, they’re voting on the Constitution to see if Putin, for example, can have another two terms as President of Russia. They’re going through a structural process, but, essentially, it’s a seizing of power. In China, the draconian measures, the control of the city, the control of the polis, allowed them in some ways to contain the virus.

So sometimes control/enclosure is necessary, but who do we wanna give this power to, who’s worthy of it? And this is something archetypally, again, the archetypal eye that Laurence is talking about, that we’re in the process of and we don’t know who will win. We don’t know what will dominate, okay? Is it one person controlling everything and no longer listening to others? That seems unlikely, but it temporarily it could certainly look that way.

TH: Laurence do you wanna add anything to that?

LH: Yeah, and I think there’s a self-correction in these systems too, which is kind of interesting because just looking at American politics, you have the Aquarian reality of instant information and of everybody being a reporter with a video camera has really changed the landscape of power and has decentralized power just as much as it has been centralized. So while you can be watched electronically… My friend is in Spain, and he went out for a walk and a drone showed up in front of him with the police voice came out of the drone and said, “Get back into your house.” I mean that’s RoboCop literally.  And I’m like, “Let’s all go out with baseball bats and start hitting drones.”

It’s a really bizarre reality. On the one hand, we can be watched and the networking allows Amazon to listen to us at home and turning… Alexa can be turned on, we can all be sort of big brothered and watched, but on the other hand, we can watch the watchers. There really is an equal exchange of power, it’s just that the methods are so powerful that we forget that the individual has a lot of power too.

It is a time where a single person can make a heck of a difference in the world, much more than perhaps ever before, because a single kid in her basement can take down a government online if she’s good at it. The power goes in all directions. And so, I’m not so convinced that a single person can so quickly take over the power even though I’m fully aware of what happened in Wuhan and locking down everybody and even what’s going on now with the Mayor of New York trying to decide if New York should go into lockdown. They might already be in lockdown ’cause this was being discussed literally this morning.

So these are really interesting times for these kinds of power dynamics to be recognized and I’m curious what happens when Saturn goes into Aquarius because of that. That’s another side of it, in my mind, the whole power dynamics of who gets to decide what the clamp-down is really about.

LB: I think as Saturn goes into Aquarius, it becomes much harder for one person to decide. It feels as though the collective will start to find solutions, they may not be operative immediately, but people will join together with what they have and say, “How do we do this?” And the other thing that came to mind as you were talking Laurence, in terms of the Saturn-Pluto dynamic, is right now there are rules in place to protect people, and the drone seems pretty extreme.

But the rules are there to say, “Stop. Think about this. You may be a vector. You may be about to give this to someone, et cetera.” So it’s a moment where literally we’re obeying the rules because somebody could die if we don’t. Not just us, but somebody else. That in other words, not being able to pay attention could have very, very powerful consequences.

And I do wanna talk about something else, Tony, which is… You mentioned government, but, of course, if anybody is on Facebook or Twitter, the amount of paranoia running through collective dialogue right now is enormous. And, of course, some of that paranoia may be justified, but it is fascinating to see that as our lives…

As we feel out of control, how powerfully we project the dark, destructive shadow on to governments, on to the collective; it’s the Chinese who did it, it’s the Americans who did it, it’s the new technological invention that is changing the cells in our body. I’ve heard many different things. And I don’t wanna say that there’s no truth in any of these because none of us know really. But the way we’re talking… We’re talking about this in a different way, we’re talking about the fact that we’ve never in our lifetimes experienced anything like this. Never.

TH: And you’re doing such a good job of conveying the complexity of this moment too. Which we know… We describe contacts with the outer planets in this way. Whereas with Saturn sometimes there is a way to sort of get it right, so to speak, or there’s a way to address the problem, even if it’s really difficult. We can see the problem, we can name it, we can then roll up our sleeves and get to work on it. Whereas with the outer planets, they tend to correlate more with forces that are outside of our control.

And so it’s really interesting to have Saturn and Pluto, which both have been associated with control. And we’re seeing a really complex narrative evolve around the issue of control. But it doesn’t mean that there’s a way to figure it out or there’s a way to do it right so that can all be fixed and, “Okay, we’re done with that. We’re done with that Coronavirus and now we can move on to the next problem.” It’s bringing up these deep layers of… I don’t know if we wanna say problems or just material in our psyche that we need to look at and think about and wrestle with ourselves.

LH: Exactly. Ultimately everybody’s faced with their own dark crap and that’s what this brings up. And some people do better than others.

LB: Hence the toilet paper.

LH: And I think it’s our job as those… If we’re asked, as those who maybe have some answers for people, to help people face that part of themselves. And to show them that every single good story has a dark moment, has the dark night of the soul, has a walk into the forest. Every good story has that, we’re in that story. You come out at the other side, but you don’t go around the forest. It’s not how the story works. And if we’re just like, “Well, this is gonna be over soon. And we’re just gonna go play on the beaches of Miami and do spring break anyway,” we’re ignoring the fact that we’re in the forest.

And that to me is just very disconnected from reality and is an endangerment of others, and, therefore, it’s unacceptable. And that’s where I think the Saturnian lockdown is appropriate. This, literally, becomes a decision that we make, that can affect other people’s lives. Which is sort of like, “I don’t really care if you don’t put on your seat belt because you wanna kill yourself, that’s fine. But if you’re gonna kill me without putting on your seat belt, then I’m gonna be upset. Then I want you to put it on if that’s gonna affect me.”

So there’s that collective responsibility that this is also bringing up. And I think people have their own sort of dark crap around that as well. And this is what’s getting… What it’s getting pulled up.

LB: When I listen to you, Laurence, I almost get the feeling that you kind of would rather last longer so that people can really get something out of it.

LH: I think that’s too macabre, but I don’t want people to miss out. I believe nothing is an accident. And I believe that this is an opportunity. And I think that if people don’t take it, then round two… So that’s the way I understand the planets to work. If round one doesn’t wake us up, round two is just… Is a little stronger. And round three is yet stronger, until we get it. That’s kind of how the universe teaches us.

And the first time there’s a feather on the door, we’re in there vacuuming with headphones, we can’t hear it. Second time there’s a knock on the door, we might pay attention, but probably not. Pounding on the door, maybe. Probably, maybe not. Finally, the door gets kicked in.

What is it gonna take? But it’s still a lesson that we collectively have to learn because these cycles are about lessons and about evolving of the soul. And this is a different time. This was talked talked about way back when, when it was said that, “Unless mankind evolves rapidly into some whole new level of consciousness, we’re not gonna survive.” A lot of people have said that. So I think this is a deep moment of opportunity to make that evolutionary jump. And how better do that, then starting with individual?

LB: Now, yeah, I think absolutely. And that story about the door, I heard Richard Iderman tell that story probably on the last Pluto conjunction in Switzerland.

Yeah, sort of kind of interesting. One thing I just wanted add in terms of… ‘Cause we’ve been talking about the Saturn-Pluto cycle, but a lot of traditional astrologers not only look at the Aries ingress chart, and today is the Aries ingress, and, of course, this Aries ingress chart is incredibly powerful with the pile-up of planets in Capricorn. But if you put those planets on the map of the world, if you do an astrocartography for that moment, Pluto is rising in London and Paris and Spain.  But Pluto, in particular, is right on the ascendant in London.

And it’s kind of interesting to use that astrocartography map to see for the next three-month period where events are gonna be extremely powerful. And so I want to say that although the larger archetypal quality of what’s going on is clearly Saturn-Pluto, as we hone in to the details of the eclipse cycles or the ingresses we start to get more information that’s also extremely valuable.

LH: So, Lynn, for those who might be scared by what you just said, so if I live in London what does that mean for me?

LB: Well, London, if you think about London, London in the middle of Brexit. It has a new government that’s trying to find its footing. So, already, you knew if you were English, that things were not going to be the same. It’s exactly what you’re saying with Saturn-Pluto, we’re no longer part of Europe, we’re changing the boundaries. You know London did this well before everybody. The English actually aren’t counting cases. I have a friend who almost certainly had the virus. He went to the doctor and he said, “Should we test?” and they said, “No.” So, in fact, they’re taking another approach to this, following another system of rules, trying to establish what they call herd immunity, letting the virus loose among the population and seeing what happens.

So, there’s this idea, we’re not gonna do it the way everybody else does it that you’re part of, but that, in a way, it was chosen collectively by the people of that country when they voted for Brexit. It’s sometimes, you think, “Oh, I have a choice, and then I can change my mind again in two months or in six months.” But the choices we make under Saturn-Pluto can be long, more permanent choices, or have a different kind of consequence… “Oops, can’t take that one back, can I?”

Yeah, I would… So if I’m talking about the UK, and, of course, I live in Paris, and we, Paris, France and Spain are where cases are multiplying the most right now. Some people think that Macron waited a week too long so that we could have the first round of municipal elections. In France, you vote for the mayors of all the cities and all the towns on one day, you have a first round and then a second round. And they’re different from all the other elections, so it’s that you’re only voting for your mayor. And they didn’t wanna postpone them, they would’ve been attacked for postponing them and attacked for not doing it. But, there may have been a precious delay there in terms of containment.

LH: It’s so interesting, again, if we just translate all these stories that we’re hearing all the time and just look at it with an archetypal eye, things start to make so much sense, everything starts to make so much sense. Every story immediately somehow fits into this dance. It’s quite extraordinary, which, of course, is what astrology can offer to come back to your original question.

TH: Well, what I thought we could end with is we’ve been talking about personal responsibility a bit in some of the stories here, and I see that as a part of the correlation with Saturn being in Capricorn and taking responsibility for our own actions here in the United States where we had a very confused response on the part of the government, a lot of local governments then took responsibility, and then in the absence of local governments taking responsibility, individuals have been taking responsibility.

Because of the internet, one person’s good idea can now spread around the internet without it having to come from the top down, it can come from the bottom up. And so, one person can say to their friends, “Hey, I think it’s a good idea that we social isolate. I read this thing on the internet here are all the reasons why,” and then a group of people can make that choice and they have the information to be able to make an informed decision and make that choice.

And so Saturn and Capricorn does have to do with personal responsibility and taking responsibility for our own actions.

And then I’m thinking a bit about I thought maybe both of you could on the end note here speak a little bit to the Capricorn-Cancer polarity where we’re seeing people take personal actions that are not just protecting themselves but are protecting others and we’re actually seeing people taking kind of Saturn in Capricorn, making Saturn in Capricorn gestures of taking care of someone else’s basic needs financially, maybe other in other ways.

TH: I’ve heard of people in the United States, myself included, who have gone around to the restaurants that we like to visit through the internet, sent them money basically to help tide them over, or to those service people that we work with to buy gift certificates from them, et cetera, to help provide for their basic needs.

That’s very Capricorn to me and Saturn in Capricorn. But we’re also seeing caring happen as well. We’re seeing people take actions to, in a Cancerian way, to care for each other, to care for the elderly.

There’s a beautiful story here in Bend that I keep telling where a woman was in a parking lot and there was an elderly couple in a car, and they waved her over, and this was at a store. And they cracked the window and said, “Hey, we’re scared to go in the store. Can we give you $100 and our shopping list and will you get our groceries for us?” And she said “Sure.”

And as she was doing that, she thought, “Gosh, I bet there are other people like this as well, that are scared to go in the store,” and so she’s created, through Facebook basically, she’s created a group to connect people in need with people who can go help take care of their needs. So there are some beautiful responses in the collective as well. Maybe you could speak to that a little bit.

LB: Well, it all sounds very Aquarian to me, Tony. Everything you’ve said.

TH: We don’t have Aquarius planets yet.

LB: No, we don’t.

LH: It’s also a breakdown of rules because there are rules that you don’t do that. Everybody stay to themselves and take care of number one, and these kinds of things are going by the wayside as well. It’s the same thing but on the positive side of the scale. And just because I can’t do X, I can instead do Y, and it’s now still under the same archetypal story, but it is a positive thing to do. That’s a great example.

And there’s also elements of trust in there; the woman could have ran away with the money. And so there’s all kinds of beautiful pieces about that are quite lovely. So we do need to pay attention those things. By the way, about the environment and the suffering of the world, maybe you’ve seen the satellite photos of Wuhan.

Before and after. It’s extraordinary, that’s worth looking up, if someone hasn’t seen that. Or the canals of Venice, a crystal clear suddenly and swans are swimming in them and dolphins… Nature has a beautiful way of quickly reclaiming once humans stop behaving the way we do. So this is a wake-up call.

So yes, it’s very important to also recognize the great things that are happening and the personal responsibility that we can take for that, but to me, personal responsibility really means staying with the descent and not essentially using these happy stories to avoid the descent and essentially be dreaming about the Phoenix that we’re hoping is gonna come sooner that later; if we can just get through this bad time, everything will be back to normal. That’s not getting the point.

That’s the feather on the door we’re not paying attention to. And so, I would much rather see people take personal responsibility to think about what it is in their own psyche, in their own lives, that really needs to die and really needs to go away and really is no longer necessary, where they can declutter not just their physical lives, but also their psyche. And what it’s gonna take to do that and who they can connect with to help them do that and who else might be doing that.

Maybe they talk the best to their dog or their cat or their other pet, and who is it that can help them in this process of descending and how are they going to be transformed and deeply rejuvenated if they dare walk into the forest. I think that’s what people need to take responsibility for because it is an individual call and we have to hearken it and maybe the call is… If we’re very comfortable with such work…

Maybe the call is to help others who are not and to walk with them and support them into this process of entering the forest. And it can be done with humour, it can be done with art, it can be done in lots of different ways, but we’re still facing the reality of a descent and we’re still in a dark forest and unless we get that lesson, this whole thing has been a waste of an opportunity.

TH: Thanks for that, Laurence. Lynn, do you have anything to add before we wrap up today?

LB: Yeah, I do, because I think, paradoxically, one of the results of this is where we’ve given up on waiting for Big Daddy to fix it for us.

TH: Oh yes, I was gonna talk about daddy issues with Saturn in Capricorn.

LB: Big Daddy to fix it for us or not fix it. Basically, people are taking, they have to eat some of their projection. You can still project on, as I said, on outside world forces that are doing this horrible thing to us, but at the same time, all of your examples were about people taking things upon themselves and not waiting for somebody else to do it, saying, “Okay, they should do it, the system should take care of that. I’m gonna be angry about this,” but basically, it’s like, “This is a really difficult situation. What can I do?” Rather than just complain that somebody who should be doing it, isn’t doing it.

So that’s the undermining of the Big Daddy archetype that we all want to save us on some level or do it right or get it right or finally come in, but we all know, we all know that no one person can solve this.

We all know that each of us, and I think this is the Capricorn-Aquarius borderline, let’s say, that each of us has a personal decision to make about how we handle this crisis. I don’t know about you, where I’m now in day five of confinement, right? And we can go out and buy groceries and do exercise with a note, but not very much.

And so, it still feels a little normal, but as it goes on, it probably is not going to feel normal and what will start to happen is within our own psyches and our own structures, things will start to bubble up and they’re not all going to be pretty.

And that’s where we have a responsibility when we’re with others, how do we deal with that? And for those who aren’t with others, how do we reach out to them? For those who are going through this crisis on their own, isolated, stuck in small places. So there’s… I think that’s so important that we all have things to find within ourselves that we give to the world outside, even if we’re not seeing the people we love.

LH: Cabin fever is a very Pluto-Saturn word. Cabin standing for Saturn and fever standing for Pluto, for those who don’t know the language frame.

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