Aspects and Planetary Trends in 2020
The Play’s The Thing
One great way to understand astrology is by seeing it as the drama of life, being acted on a stage. The planets of our solar system are characters in the play. These characters are universal archetypes, of the sort you have seen a million times in stories for adults and children (The Lover, The Hero, The Innocent, Death, The Magician, The King, Mother Nature, The Healer, The Trickster and so on).
Have you ever been in love and felt like your passion touched the universal? Have you ever won a battle, felt like a hero and known that your battle was won for all humanity? Have you ever been wounded, cut to the quick, and known, for an instant, the suffering of all beings everywhere? This is archetypal experience.
Like every human being, you contain all these universal archetypes. Sometimes they are active and other times they wait in the wings for their moment. The characters are eager to be experienced by human beings. Each one has something it is trying to say, teach or accomplish, using your human experience to do it.
The year of 2020 has an interesting set of dramas in it. Now imagine yourself in a grand theater. The lights are dimming. There is a spotlight on center stage. You are about to meet the characters.
Meet Pluto. Pluto-type characters might be: Death, Dracula, The Magician or Sorcerer.
Pluto says: “I’m the agent of transformation. Whatever I touch dies and is reborn. Most people find this to be an uncomfortable, even painful process, because they don’t like death. But the butterfly doesn’t care that it once was a caterpillar, does it?”
Here’s Neptune. Think of Neptune as the Fairy Godmother, the Dreamer or the Visionary. Sometimes Neptune appears as a ghost from beyond the grave or the spirit of an ancestor. Neptune says: “I represent the worlds of spirit and the unseen. Things in my realm cannot be measured, yet when people have an experience of me, they know it, even though it cannot be proven. When the spirit leaves the body, everyone agrees the body is dead, but no one can say what has gone.”
Up pops Uranus. Uranus tends to appear as a force for change and progress. He’s the Experimenter, the Revolutionary, the Voice of the People. Uranus says: “I’m the rule-breaker, the radical. I bring revolution and sudden insight. I descend upon you with the Eureka!-Aha!-lightbulb-going-off-over-the-head experience. I alter your perspective so radically that you can no longer see things the old way and you have to change.”
Now Chiron steps forward. He’s limping, because he’s a reminder that everyone has a broken place inside, and that as human beings, we are an uneasy union of the animal and the divine. Chiron is The Broken One, The Walking Wounded, the Healer and every character who has ever touched greatness through suffering. Chiron says: “I’m the wounded healer. I remind you of old, stuck pain from the past. This may sound painful, but it’s actually an opportunity for healing deep, ancient wounds and recovering your human birthright. My gift is accelerated evolution.”
Now it’s Saturn’s turn. Saturn is the Elder, Judge, the Police, the Old Guard, the Traditionalist. In more modern terms, he’s the CEO, the Corporate Executive. His life is lived in bottom lines. Saturn says: “I’m the heavy. I remind you of all the things you should have done and been. I make you feel guilty, but behind that is a powerful drive to succeed and accomplish great things. I won’t be satisfied until you are the best you can be. Think of me as your own personal drill sergeant.”
And finally, Jupiter takes the spotlight. Jupiter is the Sage, the Storyteller, the Explorer and Adventurer. He’s also the Perennial Student and the Seeker, always on a quest. Jupiter says: “I’m all about growth and expansion. I know what greatness you’re capable of and I fill you with the hope and confidence to begin it. I’m the one who encourages you to make the promises Saturn forces you to keep. I play good cop to his bad cop.”
Each planet has a simple, pure nature but rarely gets to express itself purely, because whatever sign it happens to be in will limit and shape its expression. The sign a planetary character is in is like a costume he is wearing. The costume may constrict or enhance his movement and he may or may not be comfortable in the costume he finds himself in. Each character has a costume that belongs to him, but he is not necessarily always wearing it and may be wearing a costume that belongs to a very different character (imagine the Hero wearing the Mother’s apron, or the Lover dressed up like the Businessman). Some characters will wear a given costume for many years at a time, deeply exploring its comforts and discomforts, while others will pass through signs quickly, changing their costume every year for new ones.
The six planets I’ve listed above are passing through four signs this year: Aries, Taurus, Capricorn and Pisces.
Aries is a bold, adventuresome Fire sign. An appropriately Arian costume would be a military uniform or a superhero outfit. Impulsive Aries wants to get things done—or at least started, so any planet in Aries is dressed for active duty, armed, streamlined and ready to go. The Aries costume belongs to the planet Mars (another way of saying it is “Mars rules Aries”).
Chiron, the Wounded Healer, is wearing the Aries costume. Chiron in Aries reminds us of the Wounded Warrior within. There may be a wounding and healing of the masculine principle, in other words, men may feel wounded as men and those who move toward healing instead of blaming forces outside themselves can release a huge load of past pain. We will be called upon to be honest with ourselves and each other, and to assert ourselves in positive ways. It’s time for the grizzled, war-torn and hyper-vigilant inner Warrior to come home, heal that PTSD and become a hometown Hero. The world is not your enemy.
A Fixed Earth sign, Taurus is solid and reliable, and very close to the land. Taurus is about all things sensory and sensual and loves to be in the company of pets small or large. The Taurus costume must be something comfortable to wear indoors and out, something you might find on a hippie chick who does yoga wherever she finds herself. Or it might be the beat-up old blue jeans of a farmer or the flour-dusted apron of a baker. The Taurus costume belongs to Ceres, earth goddess and Mother Nature.
Uranus in Taurus places the Rebel in a sign famous for stubbornness. This suggests a time of passive resistance and digging in the heels. “If change happens at all, it will be MY way,” calmly states Uranus in Taurus, “and no other.” Yet Uranus has been known to bring tremendous innovation to areas of life according to the sign it’s in at the time (think Uranus in Cancer / 1950’s / invention of domestic appliances), so who knows what changes may happen in industries connected with food (such as farming and food processing) or money (such as banking or finance)?
Jupiter in Sagittarius is a joyful placement. Jupiter loves wearing his own costume, which gives him a lot of freedom and space. While Jupiter traipses through Sag (say it “Sadge”) we might feel the urge to wander, ramble, roam, travel, explore and adventure—in both physical and metaphysical spaces. There may be an increase in tolerance around the globe and a relaxation of religious differences because Jupiter whispers, “those who have true faith do not need to press it upon others.”
Imagine a three-piece business suit, well-tailored. Or a uniform of any kind. Any planet in the sign of Capricorn is expressing itself in a businesslike, serious way, disposing that planet toward structure and order. Capricorn is ambitious and demands that something be built. Capricorn reminds us to be self-disciplined and professional, and to be aware of our reputation.
Capricorn is the costume that belongs to Saturn, but right now three planetary characters are wearing it: Pluto the Transformer, Saturn the Judge and Jupiter the Explorer.
Pluto in Capricorn is kind of like the figure of Death wearing a business suit. Pluto is destroying the old and birthing the new through business and discipline. Pluto in Capricorn says: “I won’t be happy until everything we know about how to run a business or government is destroyed and rebuilt. What is ‘order’ really? What is ‘structure?’ What is ‘discipline?’ I must get to the essence of these things and to do so I may have to burn away everything on the surface until what is true underneath is revealed.” Pluto will be in Capricorn until 2023—plenty of time for big changes to be made.
Saturn is happy to don his own costume and travel through the sign of Capricorn, as Saturn rules Capricorn and has maximum scope for his abilities here. Saturn in Capricorn strides forward with a very no-nonsense air. It’s all about self-discipline and achievement and Saturn is not very forgiving in his own sign. But, although a tough master, he is one worth following because that way lies real excellence. If you want to become truly accomplished and a Person of Substance, just ask Saturn the way.
Saturn and Pluto will form a conjunction in Capricorn just once, in January of 2020 and it’s a good possibility that this turns out catastrophic for authority figures and other people in power who have been abusing that power.
When Jupiter is in Capricorn the big planet is ready to go to work. Jupiter brings a sense of expansion and enthusiasm to every sign he occupies, which can result in growth and leadership. Jupiter also brings ethics and morals, so these properties can appear in the business sector. Wouldn’t it be nice if the world’s business leaders show some ethics? In Capricorn Jupiter reminds us that even big institutions like businesses, governments, military-industrial complexes and religions can organize themselves in ways that benefit many people and allow room for the growth of the individual human.
Pisces is oceanic, spiritual and boundariless. Imagine a Piscean costume as the garb of an Illusionist, one who spins dreams, illusions and fantasies—or the messy, paint-smeared smock of an artist, someone who manifests a vision in reality. And yet another Piscean costume might be the garb of a monk, someone who cares nothing for the physical world and has no possessions beyond a begging bowl. Neptune is the owner of this costume.
Neptune herself is wearing Piscean garb this year, donning her own favorite costume and thus becoming the dreamiest Dreamer she can be. “What magic I can make!” says Neptune in Pisces, dancing and casting sparkles everywhere. “What dreams I will spin, what fantasies and imaginings! I will feed the imaginations of artists, visionaries and poets everywhere. Let me enchant you with the possibilities your life holds.” Neptune will wear the Pisces costume until 2025.
The Scripts They Are Playing Out
Characters in a play do not stand about doing monologues. Instead they interact with each other. In the same way, the planets do not operate in isolation and the most interesting parts of the drama of 2020 will be the ways the planets dialogue with each other.
Planets in the sky form specific relationships with each other. They assume roles toward each other and play out a script. Some of these scripts are harmonious (astrologers call them trines and sextiles) while others are stressful (squares and oppositions). And there is a third kind of script that brings two planets together in a neutral way, neither stressful nor harmonious, to ally themselves and have a meeting of the minds (conjunction).
Jupiter conjuncts Pluto: Hope In The Darkness
After the difficult Saturn-Pluto conjunction in January of 2020, Jupiter comes along to pour oil on troubled waters. Jupiter brings hope and positivity to the darkness and oppression generated by Saturn and Pluto, reminding us that it’s possible to grow bigger than our problems and to solve them from a place of ethics. Jupiter in the sign of Capricorn the Builder reminds us that together we can win and we can rebuild. Jupiter’s connection with Pluto reminds us that there is light at the end of even the darkest tunnel and might even offer those who have behaved in a corrupt way to let go of those ways and choose to do the right thing instead—and with minimal pain. This begins in April and ends in November of 2020.
Jupiter sextiles Neptune
During 2020, Jupiter in Capricorn forms a harmonious sextile with Neptune in Pisces. Neptune is of course the planet of spirituality, dreams, fantasies and illusions while Jupiter grows and expands everything he touches. This may hearken back to a time just 2 years ago (2018) when Jupiter was in Scorpio and trined Neptune and like then, it’s likely to feel like a blissful time when dreams expand and fantasies grow. But it can also be a time when religious zealotry is supported to expand without end. Will it be a time of immense creativity or collective delusion? This begins in February and ends in October of 2020.
I’ll be posting the further adventures, dialogues and conflicts of these characters throughout 2020. If you feel a strong resonance with one or more of these characters, it may be triggering your own birth chart (this page might give you a clue). To find out more, you may want a full reading of your birth chart (for a list of my services, look here).
To find out more about other astrological events happening in 2020, such as eclipses and pivotal days, see this: Transits in the Year 2019.
The gorgeous woodcut-style planet icons on this page were created by Betelgeux whom I found on deviantart.com and who appears to not be there anymore.