timeline of a pandemic

With some hesitation, I am sharing this [edit: on March 16] astrological timeline of what I have come to understand as the signifiers of the worldwide pandemic we face today. For now it is offered without much commentary. For the dates in the past, you can see how they correlate with landmark moments of the viral spread of COVID-19. I’m not interested so much in the birth chart of the disease, which is probably not known, but in seeing how the planets moving forward will touch off the key degrees established by Eclipses and Lunations, etc.

Some of the upcoming transits of asteroids and centaurs align at the same time as known ‘warning signs’ such as Mars-Saturn, Jupiter-Pluto, etc. For astrological overviews of the epidemic see: Astrobutterfly; Anthony Louis, who takes Evangeline Adams’ approach; and Alex Miller, whose work (via my friend at Astrokastalia) brought the importance of asteroid Koronis to my attention.

Now that President Trump has announced the obvious, that this won’t be over by summertime, I feel less wary of publishing this timeline which clearly indicates a continuation through July. I believe we deserve the most information as possible about this situation, including what the planets have to tell us of the cosmic timeline. The rubric for this timeline is the Mercury Retrograde cycle, from Pisces to Aquarius and now back to Pisces.

Therefore: [updated June 27, 2020]


The main centaurs involved are Chiron and Pholus, whose transits this year I’ve written about over at Astro.com. When Pholus conjoins the Lunar South Node, the theme of purging of consequences from the past seems prominent. Chariklo was a big factor in the Saturn-Pluto conjunction, even lending herself as “guard of personal space” to our new-found state of universal quarantine following the very Saturn-Pluto situation. Centaur Okyrhoe indicates telling the truth at danger to oneself, and Nessus of working through poison toward redemption.

Expect news of innovation – or technocratic malfeasance – when signifier Koronis meets TNO Borasisi, which is an indicator of scientific progress, often at great cost.

Chiron-Pholus: The Sandpaper of Life

Welcome to Scorpio Season! The Sun today enters a new sign and shines a positive light on Pholus, recently into Capricorn. For all our talk, the Sun’s entry into a new sign is only a ‘background radiation’ for the month. The distinct patterns of time come into focus through a look at planetary aspects.

[Please note an updated version of this article is now published through the Career Astrologer on AstroDienst]

Earlier this year, the cup-bearing Centaur of divine ambrosia, Pholus, dipped into Capricorn, only to travel again in Sagittary for many moons. This was a reprise of his time in 2016-7 on his centaury ‘home turf’. Through much of 2016- and 2017 Pholus skirted the edges of the Galactic Center, at Sagittarius 27: “Sanding and sanding a sculptor is carefully modulating and refining a curve.” (Pleiadian Degree Symbols) The symbol feels right for a centaur like Pholus: cosmic sandpaper grinds down all the karmic rough spots: it hurts, yet we become smoother for having lived through it. What curves has life been artfully, if gratingly, modulating for you?

Centaur Pholos

Chiron and Pholus have squared, first from mutables (Pisces/Sagittarius), and now cardinal signs (Aries/Capricorn). Fortunately these two are friends, vs. being antagonistic. They have similar aims: of helping us reach spiritual healing. Visionary keywords for Chiron-Pholus together, which I derived from their mutual presence in the discovery chart of each, are Celebration of Life and Renewal. So however it feels in the process, the purpose of their lessons are joyful.

Centaurs are eccentric: they weave weird webs for our world. Their sense of time is not steady, like our even-keel around the solar zodiac in twelve segments. From our point of view (geocentric), the Centaurs make paths that are both elliptical and off-center around the Sun. This makes their travels through the signs of the zodiac hard to keep track of. It’s in the ephemeris, but it’s hard to discuss in a straight line. Especially when we are looking at the relationship of two centaurs, like Pholus with Chiron.

A Little Book of Coincidence in the Solar System (Wooden Books) includes a surprise end-plate illustration of what I’m talking about, here: you can see the beautiful symmetry between say, Saturn and the outer planets, compared to say Chiron as it blends with either planet.

(John Martineau)

As it happens, the 20th and 21st Centuries are host to especially weird centaur cycles. If we are trying to figure out the current Chiron-Pholus cycle (of healing ancestral karma), this is important. Where does the cycle (that now reaches an opening square) begin? And its history? Pedigree of a cycle: Checking out Robert von Heeren’s deep research is an ideal start. He’s plotted the paths of each centaur to the other – www.kentauren.info for the win. What a funny plot the Chiron-Pholus is:

via kentauren.info

We can see that historically, there have been many Chiron-Pholus squares (see all the curves running through the 90° line.) Most of those are in the 17th and 18th centuries on this 450-year plot. Actually, check out the 180° line at top — so many years have hits there: these two centaurs spend a lot of time at odds, at opposite zodiacal poles.

So, in a broad stroke we can see that much of our ‘Medieval’ and early modern history is colored by the Chiron-Pholus opposition. More recently, they also opposed in the 19th and 20th centuries several times.

In a 500 year period they can reach opposition about a dozen times, while actually conjoining only half as many times. The conjunction then, marks a mini-epoch in human history. For all the weirdness, their total cycle is of a (near-) regular 100 years: they meet every century, give or take a couple years, then do the whirly-gig dance of healing from then out.

But, to return to the point: check out this 100 year chunk, from mid 20th to mid 21st c. There was the conjunction of 1956 (in Aquarius), and then in the 1990s there was a close-but-no-centaur conjunction, before stretching way up to an opposition in a short few decades:

via kentauren.info
  • 1939 Opposition, mid-Cancer/Capricorn
  • 1956 conjunction in Aquarius, in the lead up to which they span 180 degrees in a few years;
  • 1956-2019 waxing into the slower opening square we find ourselves in today.

In the 2040s, Pholus will live out his stay in Capricorn that we are now entering. This exit won’t happen without lots of action, though, in the form of reaching two phases in their cycle:
Chiron and Pholus wax to their next opposition by 2041, in the last degrees of the Cancer/Capricorn axis (Aug 2041). Then, by late Aug 2048, Pholus and Chiron reach the waning square of this cycle.

Our present Chiron-Pholus cycle concludes in 2060, at the end of Aquarius. So this centauric “Age of Aquarius” begins and ends in the sign of the Water Bearer, which is a worthy symbol of Pholus, holder of visionary ambrosia. The Centaur’s function in both myth and reality is to safeguard what is most potent and valuable for when the time comes to pop the cork on that emergency bottle and drink deep from life’s mysteries. Times of sudden initiation, breakthrough, and spiritual crisis.

Square aspects, especially in the waxing phase that we find ourselves in, are never easy. Often the best solace we can take is seeing how the part fits into the whole picture. It is notable how the cycle begins in the ’50s, when the “Aquarian Generation” of Boomers took birth. We have inherited their crises, as all generations do from the prior one. This waxing square is the deep work of ancestral healing – even healing those ‘ancestors’ who still live. We heal the part of them that is in us: in our genes, habits, thought patterns. It’s the “Harmony is Strife” phase of the cycle, as warned by Heraclitus.

Pholus may have ‘died’ in Chiron’s [a cave], at the sharp end of Herakles’ arrow, but I can assure you that the wisdom-being inspiring that tale lives today, in his aquarian realm. Likewise, Chiron the Master Teacher and Healer exists in a crystalline presence as close to you today as any other dream-mentor. If that sounds inspiring to you, please just reach out to learn more.

This year (2019-2020) is conditioned by two major Centaur aspects: the Chiron-Pholus square, and Chariklo’s conjunction with Saturn-Pluto. Saturn has recently been dredged by a long dalliance with the South Lunar Node. Karma karma karma.

For the year ahead: first in late 2019 we experience a final Chiron-Pholus square, then the Saturn-Pluto conjunction of Jan 12, 2020. This is actually an exquisite realignment stellium of Pluto-Saturn-Ceres-Sun-Chariklo-Mercury, all within a day. My next article will focus on this grand astrological occurrence, which may be kinder than the rumor-mills have led us to believe…

If you would like to see how these Centaurs are playing out in your journeys through life, please contact me for an astrology reading and/or centaur energy healing attunement.