Kelly Surtees joins Tony Howard to talk about some of the complex planetary patterns correlating with the COVID-19 crisis. Kelly looks at the timing of shifts at various points in the months between February and May 2020 and what that might mean in terms of how we respond and what types of problems we’ll encounter along the way.
Timing and the Response to COVID-19 with Astrology Transcript
Tony Howard: Well, hello friends, and welcome to this episode of The Astrology University podcast, and today I’m really excited to have Kelly Surtees with us, one of our instructors at Astrology University. Hey Kelly.
Kelly Surtees: Hey Tony, so good to see you.
TH: And we don’t have you on the podcast very often, ’cause you are the podcast queen.
KS: I’m a little bit of a chatter-box, yes.
TH: You have the Water Trio Podcast. Do you wanna just tell people a little bit about the water trio, in case they wanna check it out?
KS: Yeah, absolutely, the water trio astrology podcast is a, every second week podcast that I do with two dear friends and colleagues, and one of us is a Cancer, one of us is Scorpio, one of us is a Pisces, which is where we got the word, “Trio” name from. We’ve all been friends for, oh my gosh, a long time, more than 15 years, but we’re also all practicing astrologers. So we get together and do a two-week overview of astrology, every couple of weeks.
TH: Beautiful. And then, people might also know you in Podcast Land from The Astrology Podcast, where you do a monthly overview with Chris Brennan and Austin Copic. You wanna tell people a little bit about what the intention is for that monthly podcast?
KS: Yeah, yeah, that’s a detailed monthly overview, where we spend about an hour, sort of dissecting all the different astrological events for the month ahead. And then we do have some conversation following the monthly forecast about topical events. So, that podcast has been running for… Oh my goodness, almost four years now.
So it’s a longer form podcast. Most of our episodes are between the 90 minute and two-hour mark and we’ve got such a dedicated following of people who are so patient and willing to go into things to the level of depth we do. So yeah, Chris, Austin and I have a great chat each month about all the happenings astro-wise. So that is the astrology podcast and you’ll find… Both of the podcast are on YouTube and wherever you listen to, your favorite podcast.
TH: Awesome, thanks Kelly. And we’re here today to talk about COVID-19. I’ve been wanting to do more podcast this last couple of weeks, because we do webinars at Astrology University but I didn’t really feel comfortable doing a paid webinar on this topic, so I’ve been having lots of our instructors and other astrologers that I know, come on the show and just… And just have conversations about what’s going on.
Each of the astrologers at Astrology University has different skills and different perspectives, but you wrote this blog post that’s getting a lot of traction and a lot of great feedback called Mars, Saturn and COVID-19, and you’re of course bringing your own approach and insights to this topic. But one of the things you say that, there in the first line of the blog post you say, “I’m not a mundane astrologer, and I don’t specialize in global astrology trends, but I do have some ideas about how the current planetary trends will describe the feelings and changes we’re all dealing with.”
Just for folks who are not astrology experts, what do you mean when you say, “I’m not a mundane Astrologer.” Maybe you can explain what that means to them?
KS: Yeah, absolutely, so mundane astrology is the type astrology that specializes on the astrology of global events. So, mundane astrologers tend to look at the astrology of countries or royal dynasties, royal families and also the sort of global economic trends if you like, would be something that mundane astrologers would look at.
So, what I was trying to do there was just acknowledge, “I totally get that, that’s not my area of specialization.” What I spend most of my time doing is, working with individuals. So I have a lot of experience and understanding how astrological cycles show up in day-to-day life and daily experience.
So, I wanted to try and comment about what’s going on astrologically at the moment, and how that might feel or go day-to-day for each of us over this next little while with this such intense developments that are happening.
TH: Yeah, definitely intense. And as we were chatting just before, there’s a convergence of many things happening astrologically, and we’ve been talking about this stuff for about a year. We did a whole summit on it a year ago, just to get a look at this year, but you go through some specific insights in your blog post, can you maybe just walk through people’s, what some of your major points are here?
KS: Yeah, absolutely. What I wanted to do was, take a look at this time frame now. So sort of February, March, April, May, 2020. And I was just looking at one specific cycle, which I know there’s so many different cycles that do need to be taken into consideration, but there was one that really caught my eye and this is something called a co-presence of Mars and Saturn. And co-presence is like a fancy word that just, a phrase, it just means, “Mars and Saturn in the same sign together.”
And Mars and Saturn are in the same sign together, every two years, for about six weeks at a time. But one thing that’s a little unusual about this first part of 2020 is that, Mars and Saturn actually have two of their co-presences back-to-back. So instead of a six-week period of Mars and Saturn together, every two years. We’re getting this weird 12-week Mars and Saturn period. And that I think highlights this timeframe from mid-February to mid-May, where there is more restriction, more worry, more fear, more limitation in general. And that sort of 12 week period has this kind of building in and then fading out, and that the middle part of that period is the exact conjunction between Mars and Saturn.
TH: And Kelly for our listeners, I’m gonna try to pretend like I don’t know any astrology or anything. But, when you say more restriction and more fear, are you saying that because that’s part of Mars and Saturn being co-present in any sign, or do you think that’s highlighted by being in Saturn ruled signs?
KS: I think it’s definitely highlighted by Saturn being in its own sign. So, in traditional astrology Saturn rules both Capricorn and Aquarius. So Saturn is much more Saturn-like in those signs. I think anytime Mars is with Saturn, there is a level of increased restriction or fear or worry. We’re getting a really extreme fear-based version of that with Mars and Saturn together in Capricorn.
Capricorn is probably Saturn’s most cautious worry, fearful type sign. Capricorn is very worried about preservation and protection, and its way of preserving and protect is to hunker down, to be frugal, to delay current pleasures, to put them off for the future ’cause we just don’t know what might go wrong. And I think we are seeing a lot of that with those two planets together.
TH: Definitely in some positive responses in that regard in terms of people taking personal responsibility to keep others safe and so, even though it’s not at our choosing in some ways it’s not… We’re not doing this ’cause we’re excited to…
KS: But that’s very much Saturn too, isn’t it? That idea of responsibility, and, what you do affects other people. And, I think with Mars being in a sign ruled by Saturn, and also where Saturn happens to be, there really is this sense of the Saturnian mindset of a certain tone is the dominating one. And, if you think about Saturn it’s like a father figure or an older person just reminding you that your actions have consequences, and it’s not always about you.
Managing personal frustration as represented by Mars because Saturn-Mars can be a little bit of thwarted will, you don’t get to do what you want, I don’t get to do what I want, but we’re doing something to help to preserve and protect not just ourselves, but the weaker members of society essentially.
TH: Right. Exactly. And not everybody is doing that. It turns out our Governor here in Oregon got really upset this weekend because our beaches were crowded and people were going out and not respecting social distancing. A lot of people are here in Oregon. We have a hard time speeding in Oregon, so we tend to follow the rules here as a culture, but there are always outliers and there are definitely a group of folks who when you impose those kind of rules will rebel against them, right? And certain cultures more than others; we were just talking about Australia for instance.
KS: Yeah and it’s very weird for me right now because I’m currently in Belgium in Europe and, we’ve been under quite intense lockdown protocols for about 12 days already. We’re almost coming up to our two week mark. And for the most part, people got told what to do, and they just started doing it. But yeah, in Australia, they’re a little bit behind the spread of the disease in other parts of the world, and the government both nationally and at the state level is trying to say, “Social distance etcetera.”
TH: And there was a photo up on my beach last weekend that was just packed with people. And, it’s funny how leaders sometimes can manifest the planetary energies like… I’m not saying that the Prime Minister in Australia is necessarily doing a good job, but he did seem to really express the Saturnian energy of like, “We asked you to be personally responsible and you weren’t, so now we’ve closed the beaches kind of thing.”
TH: Daddy is angry.
KS: And it’s very much like that big daddy energy. It’s very much like a parent scolding a child, which when you think archetypally Saturn is the planet associated with that father energy where it’s put a strict parenting, but often out of that desire to protect.
TH: Alright. So, you were talking about some dates in the article that at first confused some people. So, maybe, do you wanna just tell us about what that date is? And then you adjusted the blog post a few days later to clarify what you meant, so maybe you can walk us through that.
KS: Yeah. Yeah. So I identified the Mars-Saturn conjunction as the low point or the bottom point in this longer 12-week cycle. And, my reasoning for that is that’s the most intense full Mars, that is the most intense time for him, is that encounter with Saturn where he feels the restriction and the rules and the regulation really delaying him or slowing him down. Mars is the part of us that wants to do things; that’s proactive, that wants to act on instinct.
And Saturn is of the psychological peace that says, “Have you done a plan? Have you thought about this? Do you know what your consequences are?” So any time Mars and Saturn come together, there’s this juggle between doing things now versus having to wait for a better moment.
I had a couple of people clarify or question, does that mean that by early April things will be great again? And I was like, “Oh no. Maybe I wasn’t clear in the blog post” that it’s a fade-in, fade-out. In the same way that things didn’t just get intense the day before of the Mars-Saturn conjunction, they won’t get instantly better the day after.
And in fact, I did try to identify that the Mars-Saturn conjunction on March 31st, it really has a plus or minus of seven days before and after, where we’re essentially in the thickest part of that Mars-Saturn conjunction. And, being in the thickest part is like being in the darkest part, being in a place of a lot of restriction or limitation, a lot of worry, a lot of fear for the future if you like, and really being held in place, of having to stay put or stay isolated. So, I think that clarifies.
TH: You were explaining that in the context of the 12-week cycle as well. Can you break that down for folks?
KS: Yeah. So the 12-week cycle starts mid-February, and runs until mid-May. So soon as Mars moved Capricorn where Saturn was, we started to see some of the tightening and some of that increase. Oh this virus is going around the world. It’s not just connected to China or certain parts in Asia. And… So, from that point in mid-February, we’ve seen spread and development.
And then we’re going to get to this late March period when Mars and Saturn change signs. But they do kinda hold hands a little bit as they change signs or they stay together and they continue moving through the same sign together until May 13 and that’s when Mars leaves Aquarius and moves into Pisces. And at that point, for the first time in 12 weeks, Mars won’t be ruled by Saturn or in a sign where he’s existing in the same space with Saturn. So that was sort of the 12-week period.
TH: And again folks that was May 13th, when Mars moves into Pisces in case you did miss that. And that peak date that Kelly was describing again was March 31st. And then I was gonna ask you Kelly, do you foresee a shift in energy? Saturn’s already just changed signs and moved into Aquarius. As Mars moves into Aquarius too, what kind of energetic shift do you see? You still have Mars in a Saturn-ruled sign, but it is a different sign at least.
KS: It is a different sign, yeah. And Mars is very different in Aquarius. We have these technical gradings of the planets, and Mars and Capricorn gets an exaltation sort of term, which is really empowering for Mars. But Mars loses that when he comes into Aquarius. I wonder if that reduces some of the resistant to the rules elements that we’re dealing with in various countries. But I also know that Mars coming into Aquarius…
So I have a positive outcome that I’m hoping for and I also have one that could be a little problematic that I’m being mindful about. And so, the positive outcome Mars coming into Aquarius with Saturn is more effort goes into genuine overhaul of systems and structures, so that there is more of a focus on the fact that everybody should have… That there are some basic human rights about access to healthcare or a level of financial stability that might mean someone doesn’t have to worry about their house or feeding their children in a situation like this. And I hope that we start to see the seeds of that.
And what also makes me a little bit positive is that the Mars Saturn combination which will run from March 30 until May 13 is a precursor to a Jupiter Saturn combination which starts later in the year, about December 18 I think. And some of the problems and the weaknesses systemically and collectively that are highlighted now, basically late March all through April and first half of May, we are going to see solutions for that, or supports, as Jupiter steps in with Saturn later in the year. So that gives me hope, even if not in the immediate short-term.
The thing that I worry a little bit about, is that Mars in an air sign can disturb the mind, and that can increase symptoms that might be associated with mental health concerns, like worry, stress or anxiety. And so, one of the concerns that I want to not make people afraid of, but just highlight as something we all need to attend to, is that the longer we do spend in these social isolation situations, which are totally necessary for global health reasons, there are going to be some negative mental health consequences that we all need to try to work with as best we can.
Humans are social creatures, they do well when they interact with other humans. Even introverts, like you and me Tony, who spend most of our time at home working alone, we do still benefit from that dinner out with friends or catching up for someone with a walk in the park. And even though it might normally only be a few hours a week, it does make a big difference.
And so, finding ways to have those moments of connection even if you have to do it over a video call or Facetime. We did that. Just this past weekend, we spent an hour chatting to my parents and then we did this weird three-way phone call with our friends back in Canada, and we had three couples on the WhatsApp video call and it was fantastic just to have that kind of camaraderie. And even if you all like bitching and moaning about whatever you’re frustrated about, you’ve got that sense of not being alone. So there’s a few different things I think, with Mars coming into Aquarius that we’ll need to be mindful of.
TH: Right. Okay, so I’d like to hear you talk a little bit more about Mars moving into Pisces. But before we go there, there’s a little bit more to flesh out about this current moment. And one of the things that not as many people are talking about, in part because there are more dramatic things happening astrologically. But during this whole moment that we’re in right now in, what is today, March 23rd? Mercury is in Pisces.
We just came out of a, a very confusing Mercury and Pisces retrograde cycle that… Some interesting things to say about that including the shift in the Bernie Sanders campaign that was pretty dramatic. But Mercury is back in Pisces now, and we still have Mercury in Pisces through April 11th.
Mercury has to do with information and communication. And you might have noticed that even at the government level and at the news level, the news is changing daily and the information, the story is changing daily. And there’s a lot of confusion around information, there’s a lot of confusion around Mercury. It has to do with connecting this person to that person and distributing or dispersing information.
And at that level things are just breaking down and not operating quite as smoothly as they could be. And in addition to that, the internet is always full of misinformation and confusing information. But it’s kind of confusing to get the right statistics, the right numbers in and we can’t even get the right numbers ’cause we don’t have mass testing yet. So really, in this Mercury and Pisces soup that’s coloring our whole experience, do you wanna say more about that?
KS: Sure, there’s so much to say because I think you’re right, this is a completely under discussed or it’s like it’s sort of being neglected, but not because people don’t know it’s important, but just because there are larger, more dramatic things going on.
So the Mercury retrograde period, Mercury was retrograde moving backwards from about mid-February to early March but there’s always this shadow period, that’s before the retrograde starts and after, and if we look at that Mercury shadow period and Mercury’s not up, he’s off his game the whole time he’s in the shadow period, that basically started about the 2nd of February and it continues till about the 30th-31st of March.
So, I secretly suspect and now it won’t be so secret ’cause we’re talking about it publicly, but I don’t think there’s been clear information coming out that entire time and I agree completely. Mercury has some technical challenges in the sign of Pisces, very good for poetry and creativity and music, but not great for science and data and clear factual information.
We’re seeing this, I think in almost every country, well, I shouldn’t say every country, the three countries that I watch a lot, Canada, Australia and the US, the government, someone in a leadership position gets up and says something and the next day it’s like a 180 turn or, “No, that’s not happening, something different is happening.” So there is very unclear and confusing messaging coming out. While Mercury will leave its shadow at the end of March, Mercury unfortunately meets Neptune around the 3rd of April, which is not gone to bring clear information. In fact it’s gonna make it a very confusing 24-hour period potentially in the new cycle then.
It’ll be a April 3rd and probably April 4th if you’re in Australia, so that 3rd, 4th period, Mercury on Neptune. I mean honestly, take a tech break over that 24-hour period, just get off the internet, watch a movie, read a book, have a bath.
If you are in a position where you’re allowed to go outside, do that, but there will not be information coming out then and we do need to really wait until Mercury dries out when it enters the fire sign of Aries on April 11, and that is going to be when we start to get clear, succinct, direct facts.
On the same day that Mercury moves into Aries, it will make a sextile to Saturn in Aquarius and that is going to be very concrete and very clarifying. So unfortunately, we’re all in this Pisces soupy puddle together, and we’re trusting our instincts, parts of the US and parts of Australia, people are just being told, “If you wanna take your children out of school, do that, but we’re not making a decision about closing the schools, even though we’ve already told you have to social distance.”
So there is not a lot of logic or rational clarity, if you like, coming from leaders and I do think unfortunately, Mercury and Pisces has to bear some of the responsibility for that.
TH: Yeah, one of my hopes with Saturn moving into Aquarius, and I just saw a headline that kind of backed this up a little bit in the New York Times but, and then as Mars joins in Aquarius, is that we start listening to the scientists a little bit more?
And that not only are we listening to them more, but they start to have more data, and it makes me think, I wonder if we’ve got testing problems really bad in the United States, we just don’t have enough testing kits and we don’t access to them, the ones that and the ones we have access to since they’re limited in supply or just going to worst case scenario kind of situations, but there are testing problems in other countries as well, and sometimes it has to do with access to the test, and sometimes it has to do with different approaches from the government about who should be tested and how many and all that, and in the conditions where we have socialized medicine, those decisions are made in a slightly different way.
So lots and lots of different approaches and responses, but it makes me wonder if we’ll get more access to some good data so that scientists can give us some good advice and then maybe Mercury being in Aries will help some of that move forward more quickly as well right after, and that’s after April 11th.
KS: Absolutely. Yeah, I mean I even saw a post come out of the Australian sort of milieu recently where they were sort of taking aim at the phrase social distancing, because it’s a new term, people don’t really know what it means. And there was one of those memes that said social distancing, it’s unclear, what does it actually mean, who’s meant to do it?
And there was something about, they changed the phrase and of course I’m having a Mercury-Pisces moment ’cause I can’t remember the exact wording, but they… It was more specific. Like keep your distance of two meters, don’t leave your house unless to get groceries or only go to the grocery store once a week. It was much more succinct and clear and I think that type of change is what we’ll see.
I think you’ve made a really good point Tony too, about the lack of messaging is partly because of the lack of data, which is sort of par for the course in the early stages of a pandemic. It takes a while to get data, the testing is a huge thing and so I really think Mercury coming into Aries is going to help that.
TH: If nothing else, it’ll help things speed along at a faster, faster pace.
KS: Yeah, it’s very clear. Mercury in Aries is directed to the point is much more succinct. Mercury in Pisces could be a bit waffly, a bit long winded which can also lose people.
TH: Yeah, it definitely has the potential to be less confusing. What you see is what you get with Aries.
I like that. And then just to wrap things up, maybe you can just elaborate a little bit more about Mars shifting into Pisces. So we’ll have this period with Saturn and Mars and Aquarius while Mercury is in Aries. So it looks like, after April 11th, we start to get a bit of movement and a different kind of energetic in this whole, in this whole situation, but then, Mars moves into Pisces, May 13th. So at that point, Mars isn’t co-present with Saturn anymore, but it’s in Pisces, so then we’re back in Pisces land again. What do you think about that?
KS: Yeah. So I think a few things. Different planets handle the energy of a sign differently and Mars is not as adversely affected in Pisces as Mercury is and we don’t rely on Mars for information and communication, which is so critical right now.
Mars being in Pisces will be ruled by Jupiter which in the best case scenario, there is a freedom of movement or a more optimistic mindset that comes through. The concern I have is that while Mars in Pisces does not deal with the extreme restriction fear or worry that Mars in the Saturn ruled signs does Mars does have to deal with Neptune when it’s in Pisces. And so, there is some loose boundaries with Neptune and I’m just not sure whether this is gonna bring us the best case or whether there will be some confusion.
I know that Mars in Pisces… I mean the fact that it’s a little hard to describe is very appropriate for a planet in Pisces, but it does have more of a freedom or a flowy kind of room to move tone than Mars in the Saturn ruled signs does.
A part of me wonders about spending getting a little bit upturn then, you know right now people are sequestered in their homes. There’s different varying access around delivery options and international mail is being impaired and interrupted in places. I wonder if we do get a little bit more of that global infrastructure back or whether people are spending a bit more money at that point which leads me to think they have places to spend it or there is a little bit of a loosening of the tight hold that’s going on now.
TH: Well, thanks for that, Kelly and thanks for taking time out of your schedule to chat with us today. And if you like what Kelly did Kelly does a really wonderful as an addition to the podcast she has a wonderful monthly subscription where she goes into great detail all herself. So it’s the Kelly show basically every month and she puts together five videos for folks, she does a month overview video and then she does a video for each week where she talks about all of the cycles coming up for that week.
So if you liked Kelly’s approach today head over to her website at kellysastrology.com. It’s Kelly-S-astrology.com and look for this information about her monthly subscription and you can email her help team if you have any questions about that, they’d be happy to help you out. But I highly recommend it. I refer friends to it all the time and they love it. So it’s one of my favorite monthly look at the month ahead kind of astrology subscriptions out there. So Kelly’s really great at what she does as you just heard. So thanks for joining us, today.
KS: Thank you so much, Tony.
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