19. Covid-19 and Pluto

On March 20, 23 and April 1, 2020, Mars will complete a transit of Jupiter, Pluto and Saturn in that order.  The fact that this transit can take place in a matter of weeks tells us how close Pluto, Jupiter and Saturn are one to the other. Their proximity in Capricorn is a very rare occurrence (as in hundreds of years).

The transit of Mars is energizing, for better or worse. The recent conjunctions of Jupiter, Pluto and Saturn all in Capricorn, has been world shaking given how it corresponds with the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic and the concurrent destabilization of the world-around economy. These three slow moving planets now occupy the 3d Decanate of Capricorn—Think: fear of scarcity. 

Add: the Capricorn association with the Elderly and Governments–and we begin to see  the channels that will be used to externalize this rare Pluto-denominated phenomenon.

Let’s explore Pluto’s legacy within the Western Mystery Tradition.

In the history of astrological record keeping Pluto is the first “planet” that has been “discovered” only to be soon thereafter”reclassified” (undiscovered).  On 18 February 1930 (while in the sign of Cancer) Pluto became the first trans-Neptunian object to be confirmed–meaning it’s path around the Sun was confirmed to be beyond the orbit of Neptune.  In 2006, even with its claim to five moons, Pluto was reclassified as a dwarf planet and its membership among the pantheon of planets including Mercury, Venus, Mars, Earth, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune would be forfeit.

Astrologers felt roughed up.  The declassification appeared to be the triumph of academic astronomy community over the non-academic astrology community.

A Western Mystery Tradition perspective, however, would reach a different conclusion: by reclassifying Pluto we were actually witnessing a quintessential Plutonic capability–the capacity of-Pluto to manipulate–not only its perceived standing in the Zodiac but its standing within the community of astronomy itself.

Astrologers describe Pluto as the “underworld”, “dark”, “slow moving”, with the ability to disrupt prevailing structures of power. When we consider the geo-political context of Pluto’s discovery, 1930 and what would follow, ascribing to Pluto underworld capabilities seemed to hold. To redouble the point, Pluto’s capacity to deconstruct its own discovery–would render it unpredictable–and thereby, a lead nominee for scary cosmic outcomes!

“Discovering” Pluto in 1930 was not an error–Pluto allowed itself to be discovered followed, in a few short decades, by its “undiscovery” (reclassification).

The underworld is not 1930 new.

Astrologically, Pluto is a big challenge–because its slow moving nature influences entire generations.  Covid-19 is a Plutonic agent–like world wars—Pluto’s ability to disrupt power structures can foster a fear for one’s physical survival.

Our hearts can still soar–and at a deep level we know Love remains the unsummoned quanta of all meaning–our awareness as embodied spiritual beings, gratefully, is undiminished even as it can “feel” the body’s apprehension.  Our bodies are now afraid.

To be threatened bodily, en masse, is rare.  And the fact that Covid-19 is a a natural agent is little comfort.  It might as well be an alien life form. It is no less threatening, emotionally to consider Covid-19 “of Nature”.

Nature has determined the inevitability of each body is to depreciate to dust.  Somehow, what animates life requires dust, and more dust, evidently, is requisite to animate life anew.  It is a mystery.  (Consider the “Salt Puppet” story).

Nature has also provisioned its community of life forms with a powerful urge to persist.  We have Einstein to thank for helping us understand how all matter is Energy incarnated (slowed down).  The urge to continue physically is of Nature and it is powerfully embedded as the incarnated body.

Enter: the human imagination. It cannot be separated from lived experience. Our stories and their protagonists appear throughout the narrative of one’s life in this world, however brief or enduring.  They include the likes of Icarus, Narcissus, Sisyphus, Oedipus, and many others.

These protagonists of the human imagination appear and re-appear throughout the narrative of one’s life in this world. These narratives help to overcome the “social distancing” intrinsic to human experience absent a pandemic.  “I may not understand you, but I understand the Narcissus operating through you, and, v.v.”  

The capacity to sense the Holy, the Sacred, or the Noumenous in a bodily state explains the tradition of the temple, the church, minaret and the mosque. We enter these places temporarily to reconnect with the unsommoned quanta of meaning–to worship at the altar of one’s capacity to Love. Then we leave to re-enter the world. The body, meanwhile, seems to present a problem for religion–why else does sacred literature and religious practice work so hard to regulate the body in service of the Holy? Think: Kosher, Yoga, Veganism, Jainism (rules to govern the body).

Think: Vedas, Torah, New Testament, Apocrypha, Kabbalah, Koran (sacred literature acknowledging the struggle to reconcile body and Spirit).


It is early in the Covid-19 story–but soon it will no longer be an abstraction–the story will become very personal when most people will know someone by name who has been infected. The horizons of the world will be closing in, something we would expect with a prominent Saturn in the mix.

Prior to 1930 Astrologers accounted for dark forces and big traumatic geo-political change by placing a lot of the contribution at the feet of Saturn (in the absence of a Pluto) aided, as well, with clairvoyant investigation. Heavenly discernment, astrologically speaking, was also abetted by studying fixed stars (objects far beyond our Solar System). Ptolemy more than 1,800 years ago recorded 1,025 stars by name and brightness. There are 210 stars today that carry Arabic names.

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The content of our daily lives are predominated by influences and attributes of the faster moving planets, Mercury, Venus and Mars—plus some room added for the luminary the Moon. Our appetites and attraction to shiny objects (Venus) coupled with a compulsion for unfiltered communication (Mercury) consumes a lot of energy (Mars) for better or worse. The content of our daily life, wish it were otherwise, energetically speaking, is thereby modest; we generate lots of heat and little light.  Think: we consume.

Is there a simpler metaphor for appreciating Covid-19?

Meanwhile, the higher octave planets—Saturn, Uranus and Neptune—are the source of experiences (with some training and practice) that are personally fulfilling and inter-personally rewarding–often profound, and available to us on a register that can only be described as inspiring.  Think: prana, breathing.  Covid-19 and breathing are linked–on a mundane level.  The Plutonic metaphor, in this instance, is also physical. 

Jupiter serves both realms (the fast and the slower planes of experience) -and each plane requires Hasya-–a joviality of spirit in order to keep it all going.  Seeking to answer: Is change possible? 

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We close our reflection today with some tender guidance from a poet who might have had one foot in heaven when the world revealed itself to him in verse  His name, Antonio Porchia.  If you are familiar with his work, may these moments to follow comfort you.  If you are new to his work, the occasion to introduce you is auspicious, and it privileges us to be in the moment with you.

Antonio was born in Italy in 1885 and lived in Argentina from 1900. He left this world in 1968.  He writes:

 “My poverty is not complete; it lacks me.”

“I am chained to the Earth to pay for the freedom of my eyes.”

Antonio Porchia 2 Image

“I can wait for you longer because you have arrived.”

“At the last moment, my whole life will last a moment.”


We bid you peace and comfort as we seek to understand what it means to “be safe”.

Frater A


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Should you have time to consider a musical reflection to accompany this post, we refer you to Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2, Op. 18, as performed by Anna Fedorova (2 September 2013) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rEGOihjqO9w  Key words: soaring, human imagination, virtuosity. 

A Reference of symbols, charts and definitions important to Western Mystery Tradition studies is listed as Post No. 900. Enter “900” in the Search box to be directed to this location.
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