World on Fire

ATTENTION: Please note that the interpretations offered here are created using the 13 sign Astronomical zodiac developed by Walter Goldberg. The sign placements will differ from the Tropical Zodiac (the zodiac used by a majority of Western Astrologers), and the Sidereal Zodiac which uses the same mathematical abstract as the Tropical Zodiac does. The astronomical zodiac also uses the modern borders of the constellations as decided by the Internal Astronomers Union in 1930 and therefore the signs do not have an equal 30° range. The variance is due to the borders being re-established by observations of the portions of the constellations that fall along the Sun’s apparent path along the ecliptic or band of stars that are used as the reference point for our stellar coordinates. Another source of variance is that the Sun’s apparent path has shifted as a result of the precession of the equinoxes, due to the irregular wobble of Earth on its axis  which has shifted the frame of reference from planet Earth roughly 23° along the ecliptic. What this means is that the tropical dates for Aries for instance no longer reflect the Sun’s actual position along the ecliptic, during those dates the Sun is actually moving along the axis of Pisces.

Greetings Psychonauts!

It is a thrill to be delivering my first big & long post since a two year repose. I have received very kind messages and some very constructive criticism from my readers eagerly anticipating when I would return, and some amazing comments as well. I would like to begin by first giving a big shout out to two Astrologers who inspired my post with one directly quoted in the conclusion. My deep abiding gratitude to Urania of Star Crossroads Astrology and Tarot and also to Austin Coppock, both have authored brilliant interpretations of 2020 using the Tropical Zodiac, and no lies, I was inspired by it too and eagerly devoured their words!

A warning this post is looooong! Bear with me though because in addition to covering the year I include some historical commentary and a refreshing new vision for Virgo with a little inspiration from her sister Libra. For those with short attention spans know this is about the length of a book chapter. For those who went the way of TL,DR, I say you can skim it or skip it, and get to the parts you like. With that out of the way let’s tuck into the exciting dynamics of 2020!


The world is on fire. California is burning, the Amazon is burning, Siberia is burning, Tarkine is burning, British Columbia is burning, Africa is burning, Europe is burning and now Australia is burning. Nations are burning at unprecedented scales and are shattering records; so too the climate events that have been sparking these fires. An unfolding disaster has revealed how tactless, tone deaf and deep in denial many governments are about the ecological realities of Climate Change, which is the likely culprit for such extreme fires.

Australia is standing as a cogent example as bushfires of terrifying, apocalyptic dimensions have been raging there since December. Morrison Australia’s PM has faced intense criticism for failing to cancel a vacation as the fires began raging. He cut it short, and returned only to face a metric ton of Haterade© for abandoning his post in Australia’s darkest hour and rightfully so that he would face righteous anger. Morrison continues to downplay the impact of the fires and the influence of climate change on them, doubling down on a campaign of denial and prioritizing economic prosperity over a serious threat to the future of Australia (also for me it is deeply personal as I have dear friends there, and I have been biting my nails hoping they are not in harm’s way). All of this in the dubious belief that addressing this crisis would eat into “prosperity” failing to acknowledge that climate change will eat into “prosperity” at a far larger scale.

Climate denial it seems is trending all over the world. Trump has pulled the U.S. out of 2015’s landmark Paris Climate Accord, on economic grounds. Trudeau has approved two controversial oil pipelines in Canada despite resistance from Indigenous nations whose territory it runs through, and despite his agenda to make Canada a climate leader. The rationale of course being he would use the profits from the pipelines to build a new clean energy infrastructure glossing over the fact we need to keep these resources in the ground to avoid catastrophic climate change and that the subsidy he is earmarking could be redirected toward building said infrastructure. Bolsonaro in Brazil has opened vast swathes of the Amazon Rainforest, one of Earth’s largest carbon sinks and irreplaceable natural wonders to major multinationals to develop for profit. It seems that the power brokers of this world are more interested in burning through everything for record profits.

One fire they won’t be able to put out is the rising conflagration of public anger over the piss poor handling of this crisis. The rage is reaching a critical mass and is mobilizing those most concerned to take to the streets. These critical masses will hopefully push sclerotic systems into an evolutionary crisis that will force change. Authority is doubling down on its defense of the status quo (hardly surprising as they stand to lose everything from fortunes to credibility) even as chemistry, physics, biology and social pressure are mounting to respond vigorously. This Grind and Squeeze is definitely apt for Saturn-Pluto, the topic of the next section and what provides the front end cap for 2020.

Pluto and Saturn in Sidereal Sagittarius: A Long Strange Trip

The Basics:

Pluto moving through Sidereal Sagittarius takes transformations from an unseen shadow realm into the light of day. This transit has the distinction of making the collective unconscious available and visible to the public. Awareness (Sagittarius), the collective becomes hyper-aware of its own shadow and as a result of Saturn interfacing it forces a reckoning. Under such an intense transit it is not uncommon for underlying deceptions to be revealed causing the collapse of structures buttressed by deceit. These are the overarching themes of Pluto-Saturn conjunctions and they also lead to profound cultural and economic transformations

Governments and elites (Saturn and Pluto) encounter difficulty hiding their transactions and behaviors from the light of public scrutiny (Sagittarius). The world already experienced this when the Panama Papers were released in 2016. Very little resulted from this information leak, however it did reveal to the world once and for all that the Billionaire class has been using a variety of shady financial transactions to hid their wealth to avoid paying taxes (their fair share!).

In spite of the underwhelming response to the Panama Papers it represented a trend of exposures that would continue as Pluto and Saturn moved closer together. The two bodies have been in a loose conjunction for much of 2019, and as they are getting closer, the heat is on. The unprecedented bushfires that have been burning in Australia are an IRL illustration of the Saturn-Pluto vibe as it moves through the fire sign Sagittarius.

With Pluto-Saturn going thermonuclear in Sagittarius a sign encompassing religion, philosophies and myths, the underpinning for many of our modern myths and religions will begin to crack and collapse under its refusal to deal with planetary reality.

The last few decades witnessed unparalleled growth and expansion of the global economy which is beginning to show signs of cooling down. Regulations left and right that put the brakes on unrestrained growth and preventing wealth concentration had been savaged leading to an inequality and ecological-climate crisis that can no longer be ignored and is becoming a factor that will slow or stop future economic expansion. With the Saturn-Jupiter synod later in the year our collective focus will change dramatically and an impetus will build to put the brakes on inequality and unbridled economic expansion which has savaged the global environment and spurred an extinction crisis.

Saturn-Pluto: The Historical Context

2020 comes in with a heavy hand and a heavy synod between Pluto-Saturn, part of a roughly 33-34 year cycle.  We start the year off with the descending phase of a Saturn-Pluto cycle begun 33 years ago in 1982/3. The good news here is that it is an energy that is receding and represents completion, the last breath if you will. A brief history of the Synods (conjunctions over the last century period is instructive in understanding where we are.

1914-1915: Sidereal Gemini: Empires Crumble, Nations at War, The World is connected by Light waves

The 1914-1915 conjunctions presided over the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the onset of World War I. The period was also marked by a vertiginous rise of the US as an industrial power and world leader. Thermal cracking was developed to take the heavier molecules in unrefined crude oil and convert them into lighter molecules to create petroleum (Petroleum is a Pluto ruled resource as it is extracted from deep underground). Widespread electrification was catching on throughout many developed countries in the world, the frontrunners are the U.S. and U.K. the thermionic valve was developed prior to the conjunction and equipment improvements occurred under the conjunction. The thermionic valve made it possible to convert a high frequency oscillating wave into a unidirectional current capable of registering as a sound, in the form of an electromagnetic wave. The technology enabled communications across very long distances.

1947: Sidereal Cancer: A New World Order, US becomes the World’s Mother, Age of Plenty

The 1947 conjunction presided over the reconstruction of Europe as a result of damages inflicted from the Second World War. The reconstruction generated a massive amount of wealth and gave rise to modern economics and the post-war period of plenty that raised the standard of living across the world. The United Nations, World Bank and International Monetary Fund (to be fair these formed a few years prior) & the North Atlantic Treaty Organization or NATO (formed two years after, negotiations began in 1947). The world became more globally focused as a result of multi-national pacts and organizations that formed, this reflecting the Cancerian ideal of seeing the human race as a singular tribe or family. The Central Intelligence Agency formed during this time becoming an intelligence agency that would intervene in international events and take on the role of the world’s Mother for better or for worse, most often for worse as the organization is often in the pocket of wealthy elites. Multinational organizations divided the world up by creating new borders and nations. Israel was taken from Palestine, & the Kashmir region was divided between India and Pakistan. Over the proceeding years these have been areas of tension and remain geo-political flashpoints to this day. (A result of letting imperial allied powers make decisions that gloss over cultural complexities on the ground, the decisions were made for strategic reasons).

1982-1983: Sidereal Virgo: The New Right rises, corporate takeover of Culture, Neoliberalism

The 1982/3’s synod presided over the corporate takeover of culture. The singular event that defined the tenor of the conjunction happened roughly a year earlier. Michael Moore has stated that the day the middle class died was August 5th, 1981 when Reagan gave the official order to fire every single member of the air traffic controllers union (PATCO), who had defied his order to return to work. Regan declared the union illegal.  PATCO had been on strike for two days. Reagan’s actions were a blast-wave through the working class (the synods occurred in Virgo which is symbolic of the working class, recall that not all transformations are necessarily in the favor of the signs represented), especially shocking considering PATCO was one of the only unions that gave widespread support to Reagan’s campaign. AFL-CIO America’s largest organization of labor unions directed their members to go back to work crossing the picket lines of Air Traffic Controllers, which helped to break the strike. Strike breaking was quite the symbolic gesture, here it was workers and fellow union members supporting the sacking of other union workers. The PATCO sack created fertile ground for the corporate takeover that followed under both Regan in the U.S. and Thatcher in the U.K. A rightward swing in politics was noted with the rise of the New Right in the Sunbelt giving victories to right leaning candidates throughout the country and electing Reagan who gave the gears of the economy over to Wall Street and Multinational conglomerates. Regan and Thatcher go on to empower neoliberalism an economic theory that de-regulates markets and funnels profits and productivity gains to the private sector, while eviscerating the public sector and social safety nets.

2020: Sidereal Sagittarius: An Economy of expansion is running out of Steam, Society is fractured, Climate Change is accelerating

The 2020 conjunction presides over an era in which dark forces have been given wide latitude, with the negative operators rising to prominence while those of integrity have either faced a battle of epic proportions, or have been kicked into the gutter. Totalitarianism and autocracies are on the rise from the U.S. to the Philippines. The Alt-Right a shittier version of the New Right we saw rise during the 1980’s conjunction, has gone mainstream. Acts of domestic terror have been occurring in places of worship and schools all falling under Sagittarian provenance. Multinational corporations and their numerous wealthy supporters have been given license to take the global commonwealth and gamble with it creating an ever expanding Casino Capitalism (a more apt Sagittarian trope is not possible).

The result has been a concentration of wealth, and a social and economic inequality crisis, that has hollowed out the middle class a cornerstone of democratic society, empowered the rise of authoritarian and bombastic demagogues (Sagittarius can be self-righteous and bombastic, overly blunt and downright rude, in fact I would go so far as to argue that Trump is a manifestation of the darker aspects of Sagittarius). The expansionary economics has also of late accelerated resource use and spurred a race to the bottom on fossil fuel use that will threaten to outstrip our carbon budget and of course is the reason Climate Change is biting down hard, and will become another factor that can seize a growth economics in its tracks, as the mounting costs of addressing climate generated disasters mounts.

The weight of systemic threat is massive but that is exactly the dynamic you’d expect under Saturn-Pluto (imagine being born under it like I was!). The problems are vast, democracy is faltering, the American empire is dancing with collapse, and ecological upheaval is our new status quo. The good news is that Sagittarius affords a curiosity and commitment to getting out of this mess. The archer brings awareness to the negatives, the implications and the unconscious dynamics underlying them. The work ahead will be long and hard, we will need a good sense of humor, and a realistic perspective.

All that said Sagittarius is critical mass. It takes only a 3.5% (in other estimates 25%) critical mass of a population to throw it into a new state of functioning and bring down systems of oppression. Essentially, it simply takes a small portion of population acting in integrity, marching in the streets, organizing their communities for major systemic change to then catch on like wildfire and spread. Critical mass brought down Apartheid in South Africa, ended British colonial rule in India, created the Civil Rights era in the United States and is the impetus behind every labor movement.

Sagittarius also represents, sages, priests, teachers and other thought leaders. Since Pluto and Saturn have been dancing in Sagittarius the priests of our modern religion of Capitalism have been exposed as the manipulators and charlatans that they actually are, think the Panama Papers. Sagittarius will not tolerate anything that does not serve a higher purpose nor does Pluto and Saturn will force a reckoning. Together both will demand that those serving their own egos be swept away and people of integrity (Saturn) step forward and demand the necessary changes and fight for them if necessary.

The silver lining for 2020 is that this is the ending or descending phase of a cycle begun 33 years ago and so we are mostly moving out of the heavier phases. That said, there is one final grind and squeeze motion, as both planets retrograde between roughly early April and early October, this could feel heavy and dark, and Sagittarius will be working overtime to turn negatives to positives. 2020 is also an U.S. election year so expect the inevitable campaign of takedowns and social media character assassinations to begin & the corporate media shit-show which will attempt to discredit anyone of integrity who represents real change (Saunders and Warren especially).

What about the other planets? Read on!

Mars: Grinding the Stone

Mars spends the first half of 2020 in signs were its energies are powerfully expressed. Mars is also prominent in many of 2020’s dynamic configurations.

Mars begins the year in Libra which can stoke collective anger around justice, fairness, inequality and the rights of women. Mars enters Ophiuchus in February and wears the face of the Gorgon Medusa. Ophiuchus is a potent place for Martian energy as this sign puts the fierce energy of the red planet into the ferocious defense of the political and sexual autonomy of women and all others crushed under the machinery of Patriarchy and Capitalist hegemony.

Mars joins the stellium (an assembly of three or more planets in conjunction) that has been forming in Sagittarius between Jupiter, Pluto and Saturn in March. Mars is powerful in Sagittarius and in conjunction with Pluto and Saturn can effectively fire up critical masses to act in addressing the systems of oppression which have had the lid blown off of them over the past few years of the Uranus-Pluto squares.

Mars will be in exaltation in Capricorn between April and May where it will be most potent and active. Martian energy here is all about getting serious, practical and taking actionable steps towards objectives. These months could prove to be most effective for activists and others doing the work of social transformation.

Mars moves into Aquarius for all of June. Mars here becomes the zeal of the reformer and advocates the application of ideals in a practical and realistic way, it’s all about putting your money where your mouth is. Watch out for impatience as the innovative spirit can grind against the inertia of convention and established structures.

Mars will finish the year in Pisces starting in July. Mars here is usually fairly subdued and has a harder time expressing itself; that said, it gets a gravity assist from Pluto-Saturn conjoined as Mars will be in angularity with the two in square aspect. Mars in Pisces redirects anger in the service of higher ideals and causes and can activate public anger at systems which are failing to serve the public. 2020 is an election year so there is likely to be a surplus of public outrage over the ways that perception has been manipulated to alter election outcomes ala Cambridge Analytica and collusion with hostile governments.

Mars spends an inordinate amount of time in angular positions to Saturn and Pluto for much of 2020. Mars for most of January will be in sextile with Saturn and Pluto. Sextiles bring out the best qualities in planets involved in the assembly. The energies in question work to amplify the concerns of fairness and equality and the social position of women and minorities. Mars conjoins Saturn and Pluto in March as it moves into Sagittarius fusing with the two energies and adding some extreme firepower to an already explosive union. Mars will then move into a square formation with the heavy weight stellium (Pluto-Saturn-Jupiter) as it transits through Pisces. Altogether this last transit of Mars will be angular to Saturn for six months from July to December.

Mars grating against Saturn can force decaying systems into a state of emergency. Systemic crises often become fertile ground for emergent systems to take root and begin deploying as redundant passthroughs for when the bigger systems crash, and the rest of us need something stable to migrate to. Shock, paralysis and suffering are the experiences of the aftermath of systemic crises and so is mobilization of new approaches to old problems. Sometimes that which is falling deserves to be shoved, or so the Martian logic goes.


 Mercury: Transmission Error

*February 17th-March 10th in Sidereal Aquarius *June 18th-July 12th in Sidereal Gemini *October 14th-November 3rd in Sidereal Libra

2020 has three Mercury retrogrades and all of them are in the air triplicity (because the Multiverse likes a theme). Mercury retrogrades have a tendency to cause communications to go haywire. All the wrong things are said, or the meanings become mangled resulting in crossed wires, awkward miscommunications, and a serious case of foot in mouth disorder.

Thankfully they are all like standard retrogrades because they are all happening in air signs, they won’t pack a punch as they have in the past few years. Do be mindful of all things Mercurial, commerce, contracts, automobiles, transit systems, travel, communication and all the sundry related. Allow for extra time, make sure to dot the “I’’s” and cross the “t’s”, and always be on the lookout for zeroes on the wrong side of decimal points!

Mercury retrogrades are also great times to re-center into the three “R” no I don’t mean the ones for waste management, I mean Re-assess, Revise, Revisit. Attention must be paid to what you are investing your energy into, is it leading to diminished returns? If so is it time to re-align with pursuits that feed you instead of taking everything out of you?

Venus: Venus Envy

*May 13th-June 23rd in Sidereal Taurus

Venus retrogrades share many features with Mercury retrogrades with the exception that instead of communication going awry, it is our emotions, feelings and subjectivity become energized. Venus Retrogrades occur roughly every 18 months, so there are some years where they don’t occur, 2020 is not one of those years.

Venus will languish in one of their home signs this year Taurus. Taurus is a fairly stable sign so this retrograde will not be filled with peaks and valleys like other sign types. Taurus however will test our loyalties, finances, and value systems. Venus will challenge us to question our allegiances and whether they align with our values or not. Inevitably this is usually a transit when the ex will text out of nowhere; not the ex that followed the campsite rule and left you better than they found you but the one that did you dirty. The question will be how do you respond? In most cases an undecipherable meme or even the caustic commentary from Grindr, Tinder et al will do the trick.

Venus in Taurus will also bring up questions of finance and it is certainly a fertile time to review these matters, all the better if you have a money savvy friend in the wings who can help you navigate this most confusing of all topics. A question of values, and what is valuable will very much be on your mind. It could be as mundane as do I value the convenience of ride sharing apps to stomach the inevitable sticker shock that comes with it when the credit card bill arrives? To, is my life aligning with what I really truly value or I am reproducing the shallow, surface level values of too-late Capitalism? Status is not everything, and none of us have the expense accounts to keep up with the Kardashians, and given the environmental cost of maintaining our current status oriented consumption perhaps it’s time for a collective reset on what really brings value (it’s not the latest Instagram sensation).

Mars: Grinding the Stone

*February 17th-March 10th in Sidereal Sagittarius

Mars retrogrades occur roughly every two years and are an opportunity to revisit what gives us vitality, what expresses our sexuality, and what makes us angry to the point of action. 2020’s Mars retrograde joins a cast of heavyweights in Sagittarius, and forms a stellium with Pluto-Saturn and Jupiter, this one packs a punch!

Mars retrograde through sidereal Sagittarius brings issues surrounding foreign affairs, education and religion to the forefront. There is currently a glut of collective anger around the student loan crisis, confusion regarding an increasingly multi-polar world generating outrage, and an overheated economy running of out of steam and pummeling the 99%. Tapping into this collective rage is a worthy objective of this retrograde as it works to grind down a system that is failing most of us, that which is crumbling, deserves to be kicked. #martianlogic

Jupiter: Aion Fluxx

*May 14th-September 13th in Sidereal Sagittarius

Jupiter retrograde in 2020 is definitely going to be interesting as it will be the last gasp of the fire era we are leaving behind when Jupiter will conjoin Saturn in Capricorn later this way inaugurating a new 200ish year cycle.

We leave behind an era of expanding empires, big egos and the myth of ‘progress’ predicated on endless growth and expansion, all Jupiterian qualities and enter an age of limits to growth and a more realistic approach to planetary systems. The era began with Napoleon expanding an empire, the British gaining global dominance through expansionist zeal, Manifest Destiny expanding the American empire westward on a wave of settler colonialism, indigenous genocide, and plantation economics enslaving Africans wrenched from their homelands, all in the name of Empire, with a capital ‘e’.

We complete the era with the British Empire a memory, the American empire faltering in a more multi-polar world, an overheated economy running out of frontiers to exploit, and resource constraints and climate change as twin threats to the future of civilization. Our collective house is on fire and most of us are sleepwalking through the apocalypse. Prometheus is face-palming at our profligate misuse of his technological endowment, and few of us know the way forward.

As Jupiter passes back over Sagittarius and we plumb our remaining workable philosophies and truths, we are afforded an opportunity to encourage a radical dis-census and explore all the novel ways we can address the inter-connected crises we face. It won’t be one idea or plan that solves this it will be a myriad of different agendas all colliding and cross fertilizing that will get it done. Let a thousand flowers bloom!

Saturn: Limits to Growth

*May 11th-September 29th in Sidereal you guessed it Sagittarius

Saturn retrograde in 2020 attenuates the expansionist zeal of Sagittarius and gives it safer parameters to operate within. Nothing can grow forever without destroying the host or running out of fuel. The logic of endless growth is the textbook description of a malignant tumor and we all know what happens with that.

Saturn retrograde applies some brakes and sense to a senseless system run amok. On the individual level it is where we each determine the parameters of our lives and whether they are supporting us in reaching our objectives. Yes, we can dream big, but taking steps to get to our expanding vision requires actionable steps and parameters to operate within. The big questions are do we have the resources to move into the next phases or do we need to revisit our big visions and bring them back down to earth? Our endlessly expanding economy certainly could use this analysis, as it needs to work within planetary frameworks or it will eat itself alive (it already is!).

Uranus: Not in Retrograde!

*August 15th-January 1st, 2021 in sidereal Aries

Uranus is not in retrograde WOOOOOOOOTTTT!!!!……..Just kidding! It isn’t in retrograde right now but it will be in mid-August. Uranus entry into Aries roughly coincided with some of the more impactful demonstrations and street theatre of Extinction Rebellion. Interestingly enough there was media commentary about whether or not Extinction Rebellion was going to declare itself anti-Capitalist or not and at this juncture that debate is still hanging in the big blue sky. If Extinction Rebellion does make a declaration it will be a deciding factor in whether it is a force of radical departure from current trajectories or if it will choose to not make a statement and become inevitably co-opted by the ever protean Hydra that is too-Late Capitalism (think Green-washing).

Here we are at the dawn of the Capitalocene and we really can’t dither any longer, the clock is ticking and public anger is accelerating around the obvious inaction of our global power-brokers. It’s kind of a perfect theme for Uranus in Aries if you really look at it spherically. Personally it is an opportunity to examine all the ways we break with convention and consensus reality to advance a progressive agenda and moving through the sign of the Instigator, we are encouraged to strategize all the ways in which we could spark much needed rebellion. General Strike anyone?

Neptune: Science Fiction Dreams

*June 23rd-November 29th in Sidereal Aquarius

Neptune passes over the sign of power to the people, the canon of modern technology and the repository of all our sci-fi utopias. That said, it is also the Promethean warning that misuse of said technology can incur the wrath of the Godds. As it stands our technologies are still in the service of profit motive and zombifying the failed elements of Capitalism. We have witnessed the last few years of how our social media has been used for perception management (manipulation).

The Cambridge Analytica (CA) scandal comes to mind as it occurred under this transit. CA was a data mining company that was able to bypass privacy controls and collect data on millions of Britons and then tailor media on their social media feeds that swayed their political opinions to the center right position and had a hand in the approval vote for Brexit. The whole scandal had the cover blown off and we got our first taste of how the mis-use of technology could warp the collective unconscious and empower the basest instinct. There is an even scarier interface when considering what the military-industrial complex wants to do with A.I. it is too terrifying to consider and yet, it continues unabated and with many of us ignoring the man behind the curtain.

Neptune retrograde is an opportunity to examine all the ways in which technology designed to emancipate us is enslaving us, and to not be swayed too much by the techno-optimists who minimize the downsides. This is by no means an argument against modern technology, it is instead a warning at the ways it can be used to deceive. More personally, this counsels we take regular breaks from social media, but not before reading this blog, and we collectively re-examine our relationship to technology. It is too easy to mystify it and turn into a divinity, but we mustn’t let technology become our Godd, we must remember it is a tool and handmaid (I feel creepy writing that) in service of a bigger vision.

Pluto: F@*k not Again!

*April 4th-October 4th in Sidereal Sagittarius

Pluto retrogrades are always doozies because they cut to the bone and can feel like being in a crucible. That said, this one is all about transforming expansionary tendencies into realms other than the material one. Further, the planet of the unconscious is traversing a sign dedicated to awareness so unconscious motivations are easier to reveal. Pluto going back through the satyr provides impetus to shine a light on corruption and purge and purify. We have been entreated to all the ways in which wealthy elites have taken positions of power since 2016 when the US lost its damn mind and elected a dumpster fire into the highest office. I won’t name names, except to say that Dolores Umbridge currently heading the Department of Education (Sagittarius institution), has suggested removing Obama era protections for student loan holders and has suggested eliminating the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, defunded public education and wants to privatize it to a network of charter schools with voucher programs.

Needless to say we can’t let that happen, that is clear corruption and it has to be rooted out at every turn, and the deal is it isn’t just the department of Education. Personally this is a chance to illuminate all the areas in our lives where we are engaged in hypocrisy especially as it pertains to our own philosophies. It is one thing to proclaim a philosophy and quite another to effectively embody it. Unconscious drivers we are unaware of can derail our best efforts at living in alignment with our ideals. Here’s a chance to look at your personal garbage dump and find all the buried treasures, it’s easier than ever to have awareness of them and to bring yourself into integrity.

Saturn-Jupiter Synod: The Balance of the Heavens

Jupiter-Saturn synods point to periods of new social development and work with the expansive and contractive energies of Jupiter and Saturn which establish the rhythm of cultural change. Jupiter exerts a heating, expansive, and mobilizing force. Saturn exerts a cooling, contracting and crystallizing force. Jupiter is inclusive and embracing, while Saturn is regulating, in tandem the two complement each other and maintain equilibrium. Jupiter compels a reclamation of wisdom, mobilizes and clarifies what Saturn concentrates and solidifies, and magnifies the limits Saturn imposes. Saturn encourages confronting fears, demonstrates and validates by manifesting what Jupiter expands to incorporate. 2020’s conjunction is of particular portent as it represents a collective reset for society.

The Saturn-Jupiter cycle is one of Astrology’s most ancient techniques for determining the themes of a given era of cultural development. Conjunctions between these planets occur in 20 year increments and depending on what sign they fall in can determine the cultural developments in that time frame. These conjunctions occur within a larger cycle that last roughly 200 years (there is some variation). A central feature of these 200 year cycles is that when a new one begins there is a shift into a new elemental triplicity, in which all future conjunctions in that period will occur in signs of the same element.

In 1980/1 the Saturn Jupiter synod occurred in Virgo an earth sign and represented the switching over to a new elemental triplicity. The world passed from an era dominated by the fire triplicity beginning in 1802 which placed an emphasis on the flow of energy, an economic model based on the expansion of empire and colonization, the search for truth, and heated philosophical debates between socially privileged elites reflecting the fire triplicity tendency towards leadership and elites. The era also witnessed an accelerated burning through cheap energy resources and an ever expanding economy which is now approaching its theoretical limits as climate change begins to bite down hard.

2020’s synod will signal a final phase transition from the era of fire to one of earth. A building momentum represented by the Capricorn synod in December will move into full power and take us out of the liminal space of the past twenty years. A variation of age transitions under these synods is that there is period where one occurs in the prior triplicity. The one that occurred on May 31st 2000 was a split conjunction with Saturn in Aries and Jupiter in Taurus. It has meant we have been navigating the paradox of two overlapping ages. Capricorn will crown the lateral move into the new elemental age.

Collectively there will be a focus placed on the flow of land and resources, already evident in the various land and water sovereignty movements that are emerging all over the world. Another focus will be placed on stable state systems such as circular economies which promote re-use of material resources to cut down on exploiting raw materials & unsustainable waste streams. Another earth facet is solidarity and the emergence of movements which mobilize the masses to address compounding ecological crises like Extinction Rebellion. A final tendency could see the emergence of a global commons in which the resources and essentials for survival exist in common in a way in which nations can access them equitably (our existing technologies could facilitate this if they can pass from the private sector into the public domain).

An Age of Paradox: An Aeon of Combination

Confusion arises when considering that we are energetically transferring into an earth era and at the same time we are surrounding by an information age moving ever more towards an information standard, more reflective of an air standard. There are two underlying factors to consider as the emerging age won’t entirely be dominated by an earth elemental energetic, but in fact will be an age of amalgamation between air and earth elemental modes as the triplicity phase shift overlaps with a shift in the fixed Dawr period towards an air pattern. Additionally, there are a number of historical transits that occurred in Virgo before the 1980/1 conjunction that radically changed the meanings and domains of the sign, and so this is not an earth energy that fits the classic definition, it is decidedly more progressive in spirit.

Virgo was the leading edge of the triplicity shift as it began in 1980/1. Considering Virgos traits this seems contradictory to the age we are accelerating into. To clear up the confusion it helps to understand some of Virgos mythic backstory which will be summarized below later. Another facet to consider is that the Virgo that led the shift was not the Virgo we are familiar with it had undergone a series of mutations that allowed it to crown the information age.

The modern Computing/ Information Era is said to have had its beginnings between the years 1968-1969 leading up to the ascendancy of the personal computer by the late 1970’s and early 1980’s (when the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction occurred). The early 1980’s saw the establishment of the infrastructure for the Internet which would facilitate the emergence of the public form of it in 1991. This era saw many astrological configurations most occurring in Virgo with a latter transition into Libra. Starting with the period of 1968-1969 there were three conjunctions between Jupiter and Uranus a signature often correlated to technological advancements. All three of these conjunctions occurred in Virgo and left their expansionary and innovative signature on the Virgo archetype. December 11th 1968 was the first conjunction and was witness to the development of Boeing’s 747 aircraft, the isolation of the first restriction enzymes which would revolutionize biotechnology, the patenting of Dynamic Random Access Memory (DRAM), the founding of Intel, and the groundwork for personal computers, the computer mouse, hypertext links, navigation, graphics, screen windowing, video conferencing and word processors.

The next Uranus-Jupiter conjunction occurred on March 11th 1969 and that year saw the emergence of UNIX an operating system which would transform computing for large institutions. The Soviet Union launched Soyuz 5 and NASA launched Apollo 9, the Venera probe landed on Venus, the first APRPANET message is sent along with the first permanent ARPANET link between Stanford and UCLA (this would become the Internet), and the structure of insulin is determined. The last Jupiter-Uranus conjunction occurred on July 20th, 1969 the day NASA landed on the moon for the first time in human history, and declared the U.S. the frontrunner in the space-race.

Uranus continued its fevered passage through Virgo and into its sister sign Libra (the scales of Libra were once part of Virgo). The transit of Uranus through Libra began in late 1976 and coincided with the Saturn-Jupiter conjunctions, when Uranus finished its transit of Libra in 1981. The period witnessed the formation and incorporation of Apple computers, the development of WordStar an early word processor and the launch of IBM’s Acorn the first personal computer.

These synods and transits occurred against the backdrop of Pluto traversing through Virgo and mutating it into the symbol of a radical social transformation facilitated by technology. Pluto stayed in Virgo until 1988 a decade which witnessed the rise of personal computing and laid the foundation for the next phase of the information revolution the Public internet.

Transition to the Information Age

A Uranian energetic signature along with Pluto providing the impetus for transformation and colored by the energies of Virgo-Libra, emphasizing data and analysis along with information, culture and social networking assured these developments would fundamentally alter society, and become new mediums through which cultural shifts would occur. Saturn and Jupiter crystallized these energetic mutations of Virgo as they conjoined in the 1980/81 conjunctions.

The signifier of these conjunctions was a Virgo with Libra tendencies particularly concerned with the pattern of the air elemental, emphasizing the flow of information, multi-polarity & polyvalence, mobility, paradox and contradiction, and favoring the decentralized network over the centralized hierarchy.

Since 1980/81 when Saturn and Jupiter conjoined in a Uranian infused Virgo, there has been an intensified emphasis on abstract information. Personal computing and computers rose to prominence throughout the 1980’s along with a transition from physically based media to digital (information) based media. Profound transformations have been the result of developing communications and social networking technology; Social media to web browsers that locate desired information. Miniaturization of physical technologies continues at a revolving pace increasingly requiring less mass, transitioning to wireless formats, and depend on wireless transmission (waves of energy that travel through the air, like radio waves).

Social transformations like these are consistent with elemental air modalities and seem contradictory to the earth elemental orientation of Virgo. Paradox is likely to be a dominant theme of our era that said, considering a few things about Virgos backstory could help to clarify this more air-like characteristic. Virgo’s sign mode is mutable meaning unlike fixed or cardinal modes, Virgo is all about synthesis, recombination and permutation. Given the protean nature of our technologies and their inborn capacity to mutate, Virgo’s signature is written all over these technological innovations.

Keep in mind that many of these technologies went on to empower the service economy, ecommerce, labor enhancing functions (and the negative labor saving which is driving waves of technological unemployment) created new classes of jobs and workers for a technologically enhanced economy and revolutionized healthcare delivery and management. All of these sectors of human activity fall under Virgoan influence.

Virgo the Cyborg

Another important feature of Virgos backstory is the considerable overlap she shares with her sister Libra. The thread goes back to the ancient Greeks, and one of the origin myths for Virgo. Astraea was a Greek virgin goddess of justice, innocence, purity and precision. Astraea was one of the remaining immortals that lived on Earth when the Iron Age began, one of the ages of humanity discussed in Greek religion. She left Earth when she became disgusted with the inequities of humanity and now watches from the sky as the constellation Virgo. Astraea was also said to carry a set of scales which she used to weigh the rights and wrongs of any dispute; it is these scales that now shine along with Virgo as the constellation Libra. The Ancient Greeks did not have a constellation for Libra and so the territory that now belongs to Libra was part of Virgo and shared a border with Scorpio.

When Ancient Greece fell into decline, the Romans became heir to their culture and 3,500 years ago created the constellation Libra by dividing up the scales of Astraea into the constellation Libra. The Romans created Libra by assigning the two claws of Scorpio as the scales of Astraea, and linked Libra back to Virgo, as Astraea was known among the Greeks. It is unclear why the Romans created this new constellation. Speculation suggests that it was observed by the Romans that the Autumnal Equinox occurred in this sector of the sky, and it became the reason it was called the Libra Point; albeit even in the time of the Romans the point began slipping back into Virgo due to the precession of the equinoxes. Virgo once encompassed what is now Libra.

Libra is the only sign to not be neither human nor animal but is a machine, device of calculation, of balancing, of weighing variables, if this is not an apt metaphor for a computer! From this angle Virgo becomes the technician programming the Libran computer. Considering that we live in the age of the computer, internet, artificial intelligence and biotechnology, it comes as no surprise that all of these technologies had their inception under Virgo and Libra transits, Transits which revolutionized the archetypes behind these signs and carried their qualities into new iterations of technology and social relationships.

Background Radiation: The Fixed Dawr-Jupiter-Libra Era-Information Aeon

Mundane Astrology provides another way to characterize the emergent aeon we find ourselves in utilizing a concept from Persian astrology called the Dawr. Dawr translates to period or time frame and is another way to describe cultural shifts. There are 84 Dawr periods each 360 years each and follow the Chaldean order of planets; Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Venus, Mercury, Moon and then the cycle repeats beginning with Saturn. The sign follow the zodiacal order of Aries through Pisces.

The Dawr is one of the more subjective secular cycles since there is no set date at which the Dawr periods are said to begin, other than a suggestion the Dawr tracks with the date of a great cataclysm, typically the Great Flood as described in the story of Noah’s Ark (note that this myth appears in many other cultures). Imagine that the Dawr is a background radiation that infuses an era with its energies and sets the tone of the entire period.

The Dawr is also said to have fixed and relative variants. For the purpose of the contemporary period the fixed cycle will be used. Our current phase is Saturn-Virgo beginning in 1660 and ends this year.  2020 marks the beginning of a new Dawr that of Jupiter-Libra

Saturn-Virgo: Industrial and Scientific Revolutions

1660-2020 the age that currently prevails witnessed the inception of the Industrial Revolution and modern science. The modern scientific revolution is widely considered to have come of age in the 17th century as the period was beginning. The era is characterized by a dramatic and bewitching transmutation of Nature. Occam’s Razor and other concepts of limitation have commanded the collective focus for most of this epoch; a focus which guided a period of materially productive metamorphosis of science and philosophy. Saturnine philosophies have been ascendant: physicalism, materialism, reductionism, scepticism, individualism and a restrictive scientific method. A Saturnine age defined by the planets themes of land, resources, raw materials, physical tangibility, rejection, limitations, restriction, doubt, administration , alienation and the atomized, solitary person. Virgoan themes of the era reflect a Mercury planetary rulership of Virgo, where it is in domicile (planetary home) placing an emphasis on physical science and commerce. Recall our era also saw Capitalism become the dominant economic paradigm.

Jupiter-Libra: Information and Quantum Mechanics Revolutions?

2020 is the inception of a new era which will carry us until the year 2380. The aeon will be infused with Jupiterian energetics signifying tolerance, fellowship, generosity, latitude, opening, spiritual expansion and prospect. Libra is the sign of the epoch and places an emphasis on abstraction, ideas, communication, social relationships and culture. Venusian values are also reflected as it is the signs ruler, these include aesthetics, beauty, love, unions, partnerships, science, fairness, justice and equality. Libra’s cardinal mode of action emboldens a direct and brash change of direction. The paradigm will shift away from a purely materialist intellect to an information based standard, mentalist view of reality.

There are already some indications of a paradigm shift in progress to a mentalist framework for instance the idea of observer dependence in quantum mechanics in which the observer or measurement instrument can influence the behaviour of a particle. Entanglement is related to observer dependence due to the way in which sub-atomic particles behave non-locally, and in perfect unison. Manipulating the behaviour of one particle causes its twin particle to exhibit the same behaviour. Another related concept is super-position in which a quantum system can exist in multiple states simultaneously. Together these concepts are the basis for quantum computing which can operate a computer beyond the confines of Boolean logic (Binary code). Another portent of a shift is Max Tegmark’s declaration that consciousness could be a fourth state of matter. The premise is that certain arrangements of atoms can give rise to complexity and function in molecular systems, and function is dependent on arrangement. The same mathematical pattern could be applied to consciousness, this is not to suggest there are some molecules of consciousness lying around so much as to suggest there is a pattern of arrangement that gives rise to consciousness. Elucidating this perception over the next 360 years could prove wildly interesting. Another possible frontier is the idea of Panpsychism which postulates that consciousness exists as a spectrum that pervades the Universe and that even subatomic particles may have some rudimentary consciousness.


“I advocate staying with the trouble, not flight or transcendence, but remaining with our messy bodies and transgressing them.”-Donna Haraway, ‘The Cyborg Manifesto’

2020 Astrologically speaking provides a reset, appropriate for the beginning of a new decade. We collectively grapple with transitioning into a new era focused on ecological and informational concerns. 2020 may also land for people as a year of occupying an interstitial space between new aeons, as we say goodbye to an era with the descending phase of a Saturn-Pluto conjunction and hello to a new one with the Saturn-Jupiter conjunction. Saturn will provide a helpful historical context, a background prism through which we can situate ourselves in the greater arc of time. Jupiter will provide a reset of collective focus on the present and future and the issues at hand which have great implication for the future of civilization. Capricorn will provide an impetus for us to get real, serious and pragmatic about the many converging crises we must confront fearlessly, and will provide us the endurance to get down to the work of turning the negative of crisis into the positives of social evolution. Astrologer Austin Coppock provides a summary that sets the mood of the year:

 On a shorter timescale, the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction 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. The 2020 Saturn-Jupiter conjunction is a new iteration of the cycle. 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. -Austin Coppock, 2020: The Bridge

The conjunctions more earthy focus as a result of occurring in Sidereal Capricorn combined with a renewed focus on information as a result of the shifting Dawr period is more aptly summed by cultural theorist Donna Harraway:

Haraway suggests that we re-conceptualize our era not as the Anthropocene but instead as the Cthulucene, our epoch is essentially one in which the human and non-human are inextricably linked in tentacular practices or more simply we are collaboratively entangled with the non-human world. Haraway goes on to suggest that our epoch requires us to think in a new way and to utilize sym-poiesis, or making with, rather than auto-poiesis, self-making. Learning to stay with the trouble of living and dying together on altered Earth a perception which lends itself to building more liveable futures. -‘Staying with the Trouble’, 2016

We are learning in our new Aeon how to hold two incompatible energies and drives in the same coordinate of space-time, and how to work with them to restore a world we have allowed empowered elites to savage launching all of us into the Capitalocene. Our age will be one of contradiction, polyvalence (multipolarity), Contrast and Upheaval, in the end though we will all be okay, we were born for these times and the future can yet still be a very beautiful place.

Humanity is outgrowing its adolescence and moving into adulthood and is recognizing slowly that we must accord with the non-human world, our future as a species depends on it and this sets us up for the next astrological transmutation as Pluto, Jupiter and Saturn begin their journey into Sidereal Capricorn in the years ahead. May we all be midwives of the new Era!

I’ll see you all of you Psychonauts next time, same frequency, same amplitude.


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2 responses to “World on Fire

  1. Phew, you covered a lot of ground! Thanks for the comprehensive insight — it aligns with other related posts on what’s going on. Exciting times 😊

    • Thank you! It’s a long read but yes it does align well with other commentaries and I was definitely hoping to do that. Exciting times for sure!

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