I cast a horary astrology chart to ask the same question I posed to the tarot yesterday: What are the chances for a global pandemic of the COVID-19 coronavirus? In keeping with John Frawley’s recommendation, I used the Regiomontanus house system. A quick disclaimer: there is no reason to believe that my work is any more reliable in its predictive accuracy than a chart another horary astrologer might cast on the same subject tomorrow or next week, but the “moment in time” that inspired its creation should count for something since that’s basically how horary works. However, if you like, you can just approach this as a demonstration of the principles and techniques.
There are a number of significant indicators in this chart. But first I should mention that, because this is a horary map and not a natal horoscope, I elected to use the “derivative house” method, in which the house of the “quesited,” or object of the reading, is considered to be the 1st House of the figure, a process known as “turning the chart.” I also used the traditional rulerships of the planets instead of the modern ones, which is common in horary practice. Once I did that, everything snapped into place.
I chose the 10th House of “global consequences” as the “home base” of the quesited and “turned” the chart accordingly to treat the 10th-House cusp as the Ascendant. (I was originally thinking of this as a “health” chart and was going to use the 6th House cusp for this, but the ramifications of the situation go far beyond physical illness and recovery, and adversely impact all kinds of international connections – governmental, financial, commercial and societal.) The “turned” Ascendant is occupied by the “scientific” sign Aquarius; its traditional ruler (and thus the “Lord” of the Ascendant and of the horoscope as a whole) is Saturn, the uncompromising planet of restrictions and limitations, which is in the eleventh house from the first in this “turned” chart. This is the house of broader social implications and Saturn in Capricorn, its other sign of rulership, dominates here. As we will see, Saturn is even more prominent in this chart since it “disposits” every other planet. It was historically considered to be the “Greater Malefic,” of which no good can come, and there is a “stellium” of four planets in this sign with Saturn as the “kingpin” at the root of the “dispositor tree.”
In the “turned” 11th House, Saturn is not in an auspicious location for the public good. As the “Lord” of the surrogate Ascendant and thus reigning over the “global stage,” it also signifies the potentially draconian measures being contemplated by national governments to deal with the threat to worldwide social and economic stability. Even more critically, it disposits three other planets in Capricorn: Mars, Jupiter and Pluto. Using traditional rulerships (which exclude Uranus, Neptune and Pluto as sign rulers) to pursue the branching chains of disposition, Mars disposits the Moon and Venus in Aries, Jupiter disposits the Sun, Mercury and Neptune in Pisces, and Venus disposits Uranus in Taurus. This means that all of the planets can be linked back to Saturn as the “sole dispositor” in this chart, bringing its harsh testimony to bear on everything else. There is another interesting phenomenon in the Capricorn “stellium” of four planets: Pluto sits nearly at the midpoint between Jupiter and Saturn. Of this “planetary picture” (Jupiter/Saturn = Pluto), Reinhold Ebertin says “Violent changes, separation, restriction;” the impact would be on public safety, security and mobility.
According to Cornell’s Encyclopedia of Medical Astrology, the Sun afflicted in Pisces is associated with pneumonia, which has been confirmed as the fatal terminus of most advanced COVID-19 infections. Rex Bills ascribes Pisces to colds, phlegm, mucous discharges, pleural serum (associated with pneumonia), tissues of the body, water in the body and all obscure or hard-to-diagnose diseases; he assigns flues to Neptune (ruling the accumulation of fluids) and pneumonia to Mercury (ruling the lungs via Gemini), both of which are implicated here. The Sun is in Pisces in this chart (we will look at its degree of affliction in a moment), and its placement in the “turned” 1st House brings an immediacy to the situation. It is closely conjunct Mercury, suggesting rapid transmission of the infection, but Mercury’s retrogradation implies that its progress could be difficult to trace and intercept. Mercury is “combust” the Sun ( within 8-1/2 degrees), and John Frawley says that “there is no greater affliction to a planet than this.” On the plus side, Mercury is separating from its conjunction with the Sun due to being retrograde, so the speed of dissemination may be somewhat delayed. For its part, Neptune in Pisces suggests the symptoms that accompany the disease.
The Sun’s placement in Pisces in the “turned” 1st House and its subservience to Saturn indicate weaknesses in global front-line defenses against proliferation of infectious diseases. Its close conjunction (and “combustion”) to retrograde Mercury suggests that lax travel controls are a major contributor; think “blinded by the light” of unchecked pan-globalism. There are few challenging aspects in this chart, and none to the Sun other than the combustion of Mercury affecting transport of the virus. However, the Moon (symbolic of unsettled conditions and rapid change) is in a T-square to its nodes and square to Mars, which is conjunct the South Node; according to an old lecture I attended given by astrologer Rob Hand, the Nodes have to do primarily with the making (North) and breaking (South) of connections, and the stressful contacts of the Moon and Mars suggest that a breakdown of boundaries (e.g. “borders”) and international treaties or protocols may exacerbate the situation. The nodes lie in the 4th-House/10th House axis of the “turned” chart, implying serious consequences for “homeland security” in the affected nations. Venus in Aries is square to Pluto in Capricorn and also ties in by square aspect to the Jupiter/Saturn midpoint, with which it is “applying to perfection.” Ebertin has this to say of Jupiter/Saturn = Venus: “A lack of endurance or tenaciousness; discontent.” With the involvement of Pluto, I suspect that last one is a glaring understatement. Venus is intercepted in Aries, the sign of its detriment, and is therefore stubbornly resistant to showing its usual harmonious benevolence as the “Lesser Benefic.” Small victories may be all that are possible in the overall scheme of things.
When interpreted using the “derivative house” method, there is not much to like in this chart as it relates to the “quesited.” It looks to me like the ship is going to be steered onto the rocks, and there isn’t much to change its course in the near term. The “science” of Aquarius may yet come to the rescue, but reports are that it could be six weeks before a viable remedy is even close to formulation. It reminds me of the response to a nuclear attack that was taught to school-children back in the early 1960s: sit with your back to the corridor wall, put your head between your knees and cover it with your hands. The unspoken addendum to that guidance was “and kiss your ass goodbye.”