July 1, 2020 525 PM
“The vice is tightening, the pressure is increasing. The year 2020 is a crossover point in history… It’s either Evolution or Revolution. In fact, it is probably both, for with Saturn and Pluto conjunct in Capricorn, [societal] structural changes are very likely, even if forced. And such changes will require a period of rebuilding, and that is where the forces of evolution will take hold.”
These words, by astrologer Ray Merriman in his Forecast 2020 book, were written in November 2019. At that time, the novel coronavirus was barely a twinkle in the eye of a Wuhan marketplace vendor; the U.S. unemployment rate was 3.5%; and George Floyd breathed free. Two previous columns this year have discussed the Capricorn stellium, that rare and potent cluster of three outer planets (Jupiter/Saturn/Pluto) conjoining in a single zodiac sign (Capricorn) within a single calendar year (2020). We said it would be a truly challenging time. We said it was serious business. We said “oy vey.” Now we say it again – only louder. We need to broadcast it from the rooftop of the Glenn Garcia press box at Martin Field. We need to chime every church bell in town. We need to enlist the hidden regiment of bullfrogs on the Marfa Plateau to croak out the message.
Make no mistake. This isn’t over. With Saturn moving back into Capricorn July 1, with Neptune turning retrograde June 22 until November 28, with Mercury turning retrograde June 18 through July 12, and with the second passage of Jupiter conjunct Pluto June 30, the dark hat trick of pandemic, economic recession, and social unrest will persist. With a little luck, we may well have the therapeutic and preventive solutions to defeat COVID-19 by February 2021, give or take a few months. The return to economic health and social equilibrium will take longer. Astrology works with probabilities, not inevitabilities. It makes forecasts, not predictions. Human decisions and behaviors will always influence the duration and intensity of the outcomes of these challenges.
As this column goes to press, there’s a pile of geocosmic activity happening in late June/July. We’ve just had an annular solar eclipse on the summer solstice in the cardinal sign of Cancer. There are a total of six combined solar and lunar eclipses in 2020. In an average year, there are only four. The thing about eclipses is that they intensify and hasten change. In a solar eclipse, the Moon (the past) blocks out the light of the Sun (the future). Saturn, which symbolizes a kind of societal karmic accounting (think of the worldwide Black Lives Matter protests, the Hong Kong protests) is about to re-enter Capricorn (itself ruled by Saturn). The implication is that humanity must address its past social injustices to create a healthy path forward. The same goes for confronting past ecological transgressions, which are legion. This intense Capricorn stellium magnifies these issues and sets the stage for their eventual resolution.
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Is anyone else missing those early, heady days of complete quarantine? Well, don’t despair. COVID-19, which never went away, has clearly come out to extend its party until we figure out how to spike the punch with a potent vaccine. The retrograde planetary activity dominant now echoes the treacherous pattern of viral spread we saw in the early spring. While a return to full quarantine is neither expected nor desired, there is a way to reopen cautiously and responsibly. And yet, there are still those who have chosen to opt out of this lonely masquerade we must play.
So let’s talk masks. Some have framed the issue as a choice between social responsibility and personal freedom. Gimme a break. In addition to reducing the spread of disease, masks effectively reinforce the message that these are not normal times. Science and the abundant Saturnine energy strongly concur: Wear the damn mask! Trust me, as an ER doc was quoted, if you don’t like wearing a mask, you’re really not going to like wearing a ventilator.
That being the case, let’s try to have a little fun with it. Personalize the mask. Pretend every day is Halloween – you can appear as Jason Voorhees for all we care. If abstract art is your thing, consider the Rorschach mask. Not to mention that Far West Texas has a rich and proud tradition of bandanna-wearing cowboys and vaqueros. Nothing sissy about that. Clint Eastwood wore one. Then there’s the impressive pantheon of Marvel and DC comic book characters. What’s more American than masked superheroes and supervillains? You get the gist, so don’t resist – the mask. You might even save a life or two along the way and become a real hero.
Do Marfa and her tri-county neighbors have what it takes to weather this onslaught of medical, social and economic chaos? You betcha – and we’ve got the Marfastrology to prove it. The answer lies buried within the 12th House of her natal chart – the house of seclusion, mystery, the subconscious and hidden strengths. These particular house guests include Saturn, Chiron, Neptune and Pluto. They are demanding guests indeed and have prepared us well.
Saturn imposes limitations, and is driven with an urge for security and safety. Pluto is obsessed with transformation and the desire to create long lasting reform. As astrologers Marion March and Joan McEvers state: “Where you find Pluto in the chart … is where you will have to solve problems alone and unaided.” Marfa has been doing just that for over 137 years.
Having already built a respected, diverse, enduring, and innovative culture in the middle of the Chihuahuan despoblado, surely we can outlast Covid-19 and its fallout. Marfa’s 12th House is in the sign of Taurus, associated with qualities like patience and practicality. Her natal Sun is in the sign of Capricorn (disciplined, hardworking, serious). The proactive decision-making of our mayor and city council, and our county judge and commissioners, proves the point (Governor Abbott, not so much). Early community-wide fundraising efforts through programs like Marfa Steps Up, Marfa Solidarity Bonds and various Go Fund Me drives also validate our strength and generosity.
Last year, Presidio County crafted a comprehensive mass gathering permit. Now, we’re crafting language for masked un-gatherings. Crazy world, no? Like we’ve been saying, Uranus is afoot. The balance of this year won’t be easy, but hope and help are on the way. A dedicated scientific community is developing antibody cocktails, multiple vaccines and other remedies to bring COVID-19 to its molecular knees. Astrological support will arrive with the final planetary conjunction of this 2020 Capricorn stellium. In December, around the time of the winter solstice, Jupiter conjuncts Saturn in the air sign of Aquarius. More on that later. But for now, let’s just say that it might be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
P.S. – Once again, as I write this column, and as you read it, the trickster Mercury (communication) is retrograde. So don’t believe everything you read.
Jack Copeland is a retired busboy radiologist and an actively inactive Judd Foundation tour guide. Sources for this column include: (1) “Forecast 2020” Book and the “Weekly Forecast Columns” 6/6/20, 6/12/20, and 6/22/20 by Raymond Merriman @https://www.mmacycles.com. (2) “Learn Astrology Vol One” by Marion March and Joan Mc Evers. (3) Notes from astrologer Tom Brady.