Updated: Feb 18
It was comforting to hope that Jan 1st, 2021 would mark a fresh start. But that meant having to forget that the Gregorian calendar is a relatively arbitrary marker of time. If we instead look from the perspective of astrological cycles, we can find clues as to how events that kicked off in 2020 might evolve and shift, and what new themes will emerge over the coming year.
Looking back at 2020, Plutonic energies were a major theme of the year. Before the year began, astrologers were noting many of Pluto's aspects with other planets that would be occurring, including a series of three conjunctions with Jupiter. While no one knew exactly what events would correlate with these conjunctions, a clear pattern emerged as the events unfolded. The Jupiter-Pluto conjunctions show a correlation with the growing waves of hospitalized covid cases, especially in the United States. The following graphics were created at ArchetypalExplorer.com, and used by Chris Brennan in the 2021 Year Ahead episode of his Astrology Podcast. Here we can clearly see the rise in covid hospitalizations as the conjunctions between Pluto and Jupiter became exact.
There was also a Saturn-Pluto conjunction in January of 2020, and the two planets continued to lurk in each other's space throughout the year. The two planets were in the sign of Capricorn, where Saturn has a lot of agency. Saturn likes to create boundaries and limitations, and in this pairing with Pluto (who can amplify and distort energies in radioactive ways), we saw unprecedented boundary enforcement in the form of worldwide lockdowns and social distancing mandates.
But Pluto is so 2020. In 2021 he will be replaced by Uranus as the headliner. Also, Saturn has moved from Capricorn (a cardinal earth sign) into Aquarius (a fixed air sign). In traditional astrology Saturn is the ruler of these two signs, so while Saturn still has a lot of power in Aquarius, we can expect a shift from physical boundary-making to focusing on more figurative boundaries such as those between socioeconomic groups, have and have-nots, etc. Astrologer Austin Coppock has said that while Capricorn focuses on keeping safe that which is inside the walls, Aquarius looks at the outsiders- those stuck outside the fortress.
While the flavor of Pluto served as an enhancement of Saturn's ability to control and restrict, Uranus interacts with Saturn in a very different way. Uranus is the planet of revolution, questioning, and personal freedom. So as Saturn and Uranus come into contact through aspects this year, we can expect it to be more of an argument, with Uranus resisting and asking "but why?" to all of Saturn's proposed structures that he wants to put in place. We got a preview of this energetic interaction in 2020 when Saturn dipped into Aquarius between the end of March and the first of July. At that time Saturn made a loose square with Aquarius in Taurus.
Wikipedia marks mid-April as the time when widespread protests against lockdowns started, and then came protests in response to the killing of George Floyd at the end of May. In these events we see the shift from Capricorn to Aquarius- from focusing on building the protective fortress, to focusing on what is going on "outside the castle", looking at groups who are marginalized either by circumstance or by choice.
During those protests Mars was also making a sextile to Uranus, meaning they were exactly 60° apart, which allowed Mars to connect to Uranus and fan the flames of rebellion using one of his favorite weapons-fire. And let's not forget the appearance of some strange counterprotestors (shall we call them that?) like the McCloskeys. Uranus pushes for an active response to perceived threats on all fronts.
Since Saturn firmly planted himself in Aquarius (the official ingress took place around December 17th, 2020), we have seen more examples of how this shift from Capricorn to Aquarius with the addition of a Uranian influences is shifting events. At the end of December, Spain announced that the coronavirus vaccine would be voluntary, but that they would be making a list of everyone who refused to take it, which they would be sharing with the rest of the EU. There were also ideas floated by various companies in the United States that the vaccine would be required for people to have access to certain goods and services.
Fast forward to the present, however, and the tone is a bit different. In the United States, according to the CDC as of January 12th, about 9 million of the 28 million distributed vaccines have been administered. In Brazilian testing of China's vaccine, it was found to be much less effective than originally suggested, with the ability to prevent symptomatic infection hovering around 50%. We are seeing this shift from 2020 when Pluto reinforced all of Saturn's "should"s, to Uranus now stepping in in 2021 and replying with "eh, maybe not".
This tension between "you should" and "you can't make me" is building as Saturn and Uranus move toward an exact square, which will occur three times this year. Here is another graph from Chris Brennan, originally created at ArchetypalExplorer.com. We can expect rebellious activity to flare around the times that the square becomes exact on February 17th, June 14th, and December 24th.
Mars is another key player in events that involve aggression and violence. While Mars usually stays in each sign about two months, when it retrogrades, which it did in Aries in 2020, it extends its stay in that part of the zodiac. Mars is the ruler of Aries, which means it has a lot of power when it is located here.
Mar's shift from Aries into Taurus occurred on Jan 6th, 2021, the day of the assault on the US capitol. At the time that the protestors entered the building, Mars was in the final degree of Aries. This degree is known as the anaretic degree, or degree of fate, and is often interpreted as involving events which have already been determined, and that the people involved cannot create any change around.
On that day, Mars moved into Taurus at about 5:27pm EST. At around 5:50pm, it was announced that "the capitol is secure" and that all protestors had been removed. It is interesting to consider the shift in action that occurred as we moved from Mars in Aries (the sign of the ram) where the event start with frenzied people battering down doors and windows, to the eventual response as Mars moved into Taurus (the sign of the bull) of groups of emotionally self-controlled police putting their weight behind a wall of riot shields to slowly, methodically push the protestors back out of the building.
By far the most apt representation of the shift of Mars into Taurus is depicted by 33 year old Jacob Chansley. Archetypally, Taurus, the bull, is associated with food. After his arrest, Chansley refused to eat because he was not provided with organic food. His lawyer is arguing that because Chansley identifies himself as a shaman, organic food is a part of his religious requirements. His mother is stating that he gets ill if he doesn't eat organic food.
As the diagram showing the waves of the Saturn-Uranus square cycle shows, this particular chapter of activity goes on for several years. We can think of Saturn's dip into Aquarius in 2020 as the introduction, and presently the first act is moving towards its peak of action. Change can often be uncomfortable, especially when we fight hard against it. Here's to hoping that we all come out the other side of this period of history with structures in place that can support the building of a healthier, happier global community.
SUMMARY OF KEY DATES
It will be interesting to see what sort of events occur close to these dates:
Jan 13: Mars square Saturn
Jan 20: Mars conjunct Uranus
Feb 17: Saturn square Uranus
June 14: Saturn square Uranus
July 1: Mars opposite Saturn
Jul 3: Mars square Uranus
Nov 10: Mars square Saturn
Nov 17: Mars opposite Uranus
Dec 24: Saturn square Uranus