When the Sun changes signs, we can count on Mercury and Venus being amongst its closest traveling companions. That’s because Mercury and Venus are the planets nearest to the Sun, so the three bodies travel is close proximity. That being said, this year’s solar entrance into Scorpio is unusual. When the Sun moves into astrology’s 8th sign on October 23rd, it will be accompanied by Venus, a new Scorpio moon and solar eclipse. Along with Saturn, the Sun, Venus and new moon form a brief stellium. A stellium is a grouping of four or more planets in one sign, a condition that amplifies the themes inherent in that sign. In the case of Scorpio, these include emotional intensity, death and regeneration, sex, ritual and purification. This dramatic start marks the beginning of a cycle that will include a second eight-day-long stellium in November and the beginning of Saturn’s foray into the most extreme degrees of Scorpio. Saturn has not traversed this terrain for nearly 30 years. Add some mutual reception to potent Pluto, and the Scorpio cycle ahead promises to be an interesting one.
Saturn represents the karmic lessons we signed up for, the soul agreements we made prior to this incarnation. When we’re living in accord with them, Saturn’s presence may only need to iron out a few wrinkles. When we’ve lost touch with them, the wakeup calls sound like fire alarms and life as we know it is severely disrupted. After all Saturn, the Universal taskmaster, is the planet charged with keeping us track and on time. Since October 2012 Saturn has been moving through Scorpio, a transit that will be complete in September of 2015. During the unfolding Sun through Scorpio cycle, Saturn will move from 22 to 26 degrees, and during the following Sun through Sagittarius cycle it will move from 26-29 degrees. The consensus in astrology is that as the planets move through the later degrees of each sign, from 20-29 degrees, the characteristics of that sign become their most pronounced.
Saturn And Ebola
When Saturn initially passed 20 degrees of Scorpio late last December, the number of infections and deaths from the Ebola virus was in the low hundreds. As Saturn forged its way to 23 degrees, before turning retrograde on March 2nd, the number of deaths and infections steadily rose. While Saturn was in that retrograde (moving backward), the world outside of West Africa largely ignored the spreading outbreak. On July 20th Saturn stationed at 16 degrees and began moving forward, and on September 26th it reached 20 degrees for the second time. Four days later Thomas Eric Duncan became the first patient in the United States to be diagnosed with the disease. On October 27th Saturn will cross the 23 degree mark, moving beyond the point at had gotten to in March before turning retrograde. Astrologically, this means that we are moving into uncharted territory. Comparison’s are being made between Ebola and AIDS/HIV. Both are transmitted via bodily fluids, and like AIDS/HIV in its early stages, Ebola is presently lethal. Saturn’s last Scorpio transit was from August 1983 through November of 1985, with its critical 20-29 degree period beginning in late 1984.
During that transit, Saturn first hit 22 degrees of Scorpio on December 5, 1984. Ryan White was diagnosed with AIDS/HIV that month. During its 1985 retrograde, Saturn moved back to the earliest minutes of 22 degrees on June 29th. A formal request to re-admit White to school was submitted on June 30th. Saturn remained in Scorpio until November 17th, and on the 25th, with Saturn at 1 degree of Sagittarius, an Indiana Department of Education officer ruled that White must be allowed to attend school. White was the teenaged hemophiliac who contracted the AIDS/HIV virus through a blood transfusion, and who was subsequently banned from attending his local middle school. People on his newspaper delivery route canceled their subscriptions for hear of becoming infected, 151 of his 360 classmates stayed home when he was readmitted to school, and a bullet was fired into his living room. His case ultimately inspired international compassion, and he became a celebrated spokesman for the disease until his death in April of 1990. Now Saturn is poised to journey through the late degrees of Scorpio for the first time since then. If the previous generation left a template for the current outbreak, it was given by White’s mother who said this in an interview with The New York Times.
“Ryan always said, ‘I’m just like everyone else with AIDS, no matter how I got it.’ And he would never have lived as long as he did without the gay community. The people we knew in New York made sure we knew about the latest treatments way before we would have known in Indiana. I hear mothers today say they’re not gonna work with no gay community on anything. Well, if it comes to your son’s life, you better start changing your heart and your attitude around.”
Whether or not we have a pandemic is not the point. Saturn is asking what lessons we learned from the last crisis. When studying the correlation between AIDS/HIV and astrology, most astrologers would correctly point to another, and far greater factor, Pluto. It was in Scorpio from 1983 until 1995. Presently Pluto, the planet of evolution, is in mutual reception to Saturn. Mutual Reception means that two planets are in each other’s signs of rulership. In this case, Saturn rules Capricorn where Pluto is and Pluto rules Scorpio where Saturn is. Under this condition, the two planets share characteristics and work toward corresponding purposes. Capricorn deals with institutions, government and systems, and similarly Saturn is the planet of structure, order and discipline. Scorpio is associated with loss, power and metamorphosis, and Pluto is the planet of death, change and transformation. However the Ebola outbreak plays out, we’re already seeing a coalescing of these energies as NGOs, the UN and governments stridently work to find solutions. On a personal level, this mutual reception gives us the opportunity to apply form and structure to goals and objectives. It’s also working to weed out the things in our lives that are out of sync with our life purpose. Though Saturn and Pluto have been in mutual reception since 2012, during this Sun through Scorpio cycle, all of the personal planets will strengthen it, bringing its influence closer to home. On October 26th Mars will move into Capricorn, fueling Pluto, and on November 8th Mercury will move into Scorpio, joining Venus and supporting Saturn.
Mercury’s entrance into Scorpio forms the cycle’s second stellium. This one will last until the 16th when Venus heads into Sagittarius. On the dark side, Scorpio is associated with secrecy, envy, obsession and deceit. During this stellium, we are being asked to examine our darkest fears and to pay careful attention each time an emotional button is pushed. Scorpio is astrology’s shaman, and its hallmark is honesty. What is repressed cannot heal, and this eight-day period gives us time to look inward, trace emotions back to their origins and release the unhealthy patterns they’ve encoded. Mars will encourage us to face our shadows, fears and true desires. Prayer, journaling and meditation are ways to work through this celestial purification zone. Saturn will depart from Scorpio on December 23rd of this year, return to it from June 16th through September 18, 2015, and then leave the sign for another 29 and a half years. This is the last time when the Sun and Saturn will connect in Scorpio until then. Shortly before his untimely death, Dallas native Stevie Ray Vaughan recorded his last studio album. The project gave him the chance to fulfill a long-held wish to work with his older brother Jimmie. Their track “Tick Tock” has a title befitting Saturn and a message hauntingly relevant to the challenges before us.