by Thomas Canfield
For 2020, most astrologers have been focusing on the major aspects like the Saturn-Pluto conjunction, the Jupiter-Pluto conjunction, and the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction. There is one aspect that has not seen any attention, and that is the Eris-Pluto square. This is an aspect that has taken place only four times in the past 600 years, and it has marked a period of maximum incompetence. Eris-Pluto squares are like a fuse-lighting moment. There is no immediate explosion, but the earth-shattering kaboom takes place eventually with devastating results. The theme of this aspect can be summed up with the expression: “It seemed like a good idea at the time.”
At these times, we may seem like pedestrians in a Mr. Magoo cartoon. The vision of those in charge may be as nearsighted as that of Quincy Magoo, and they may be creating all manner of havoc, completely oblivious to the outcome. As long as no one gets in their way, no one will get hurt, at least for the time being. Just watch out for crazy old men in cars, yelling at the “roadhog” to get out of the way. (As a side note, the legendary Jim Backus, voice of Mr. Magoo, was born during the Eris-Pluto square in the early 20th century. ) History can show us the consequences of those in power who were “nearsighted” in their policies.
In 1431, Eris in Aries was square Pluto in Cancer when Joan of Arc was burned at the stake. Although she was given a church trial, the English had stacked the court against her, and would not allow any testimony in her favor from French clergy. The English expected that her death would demoralize the French, and make it easy for the English army to put an end to the Hundred Year’s War. However, the death of Joan of Arc had an opposite effect, with the French regarding her as a martyr and a national heroine. This resulted in the French rallying behind their king, and in twenty years the English were kicked out of France forever, losing whatever gains they made during 116 years of warfare. It was this defeat that caused King Henry VI to sink into deep depression, which prompted his his cousin, the Duke of York to seize the throne. The resulting “War of the Roses” brought death and chaos to England for more than 20 years.
In 1536, when Eris in Taurus was square Pluto in Aquarius, King Henry VIII ordered the closure of cathedrals and monasteries, and a seizure of Roman Catholic Church land. A popular rebellion called “The Pilgrimage of Grace” rose up, which was larger than the royal army. Henry VIII put off the rebellion by lying through his teeth, saying he was not going to seize church lands. The leaders of the rebellion believed him, and everyone returned home. Henry VIII sent in his army, seized the church lands, and executed the leaders of the rebellion. This brought about an enmity between English Protestants and the Catholic Church, which lasted about 300 years. Catholics became the great bogeymen to the British, and fear of Catholics sparked a civil war and the overthrow of the Stuart royal family.
In 1904, Eris in Pisces was square Pluto in Gemini, and it was an aspect that would last ten years. It started with the Russo-Japanese War, and the decade saw the largest arms build-up in history. Arms manufacturers were building cannons, machine guns, and deadlier forms of explosives. Navies were being built up with battleships and dreadnoughts, along with a new warship called a submarine. Even the new fangled airplane was being introduced as a weapon of war. No one stopped to think that one day these weapons would be used on some gigantic battlefields. The arms build-up continued until 1914, when Pluto moved from Gemini into Cancer. It was just after the Pluto ingress when Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was killed by a Serbian assassin, resulting in international threats, ultimatums, and displays of power that exploded into World War One.
On Jan. 26, 2020, we had an Eris-Pluto square with Eris in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn. In a chart set for Washington DC, the square is between Pluto in the Ninth House with Eris in the Twelfth House. Part of the incompetence generated may have to deal with the legal system and the deals made behind the scenes. Although the planets in Capricorn may be challenging the legal power structure represented by the Ninth House, the hidden confusion of Eris in the Twelfth House may create havoc. (Can Mr. Magoo be guilty of running you down if you don’t see his car coming?)
Adding to the square is Saturn in Capricorn, moving away from Pluto, and Juno in Libra, opposing Eris. The last time Saturn in Capricorn was squaring Eris in Aries was in January, 1990, during the time of the U.S. invasion of Panama to overthrow General Manuel Noriega. It was a quick and easy win for the U.S. forces, which had not seen major action since the invasion of Grenada. Saturn square Eris again could indicate more American military victories, but with the Eris-Pluto square the repercussions of those victories could cause trouble in the days ahead. (Is it a victory if Mr. Magoo accidentally runs over the enemy?)
Eris is being opposed by Juno, the asteroid of marriage, and ruler of those things gained by marriage, like political connections. There may be attempts at political settlements and some semblance of diplomacy. With the Moon trine Juno, there could be a sense of good feeling that all is going well. However, with Eris sextile the Moon, and Saturn-Pluto semi-sextile the Moon, all may not be as pleasant as it seems. With Eris in the 12th House, a lot of skullduggery may be going on beneath the surface, and there might be a façade of pleasantness. This may be reinforced with Venus conjunct Neptune in Pisces. Diplomats may put on happy faces, but with Chiron squaring Pallas, asteroid of wisdom, the actions of diplomacy might not be very wise. (If Mr. Magoo thinks you are smiling, is everybody happy?)
Mars in Sagittarius is making a square to Venus-Neptune, and there could be hostile faces under the masks of pleasantness. Mars is sextile Mercury, and the talking heads may be discussing war as a major option. With Juno trine Mercury, political considerations may win out over the belligerent threats. The issue of war may be postponed, but the threat of eventual war may remain. Uranus is in the 12th House, and there may be new actions behind the scenes. Pallas in the Eighth House trine Uranus might provide new ideas for weapons of mass destruction. However, the Midheaven and Sun squaring Uranus could put a damper on nuclear escalation. (If Mr. Magoo launches a nuclear missile, will it be considered a victory if it lands in Death Valley?)
Vesta, asteroid of hearth and home, is square Mercury and quincunx Mars. It may be a time of unsettling news for personal security. Threats of wars may be filling the cable news networks, and they may alarm those sitting at home watching it all on TV. Venus-Neptune sextile Vesta and Jupiter trine Vesta should help calm things down. Nothing relieves war tension than a good commercial and the promise of big sales coming up. Just because the rumors of war fade away does not mean the chances for danger have passed. Eris square Pluto will be hitting again in July, and one more time in December. (These might be good times to stay home and watch “Uncle Sam Magoo” and “Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol.”)
On a personal level, the Eris-Pluto square may be a warning not to follow events blindly like Mr. Magoo. Decisions made at this time should be scrutinized with a microscope. The fine print should be examined by a dead languages scholar to make sure there is no hidden meaning. It is also a time not to be blindly following someone, lest it be a case of “the blind leading the blind.” Remember that Mr. Magoo is a cartoon character who can walk off a cliff and survive. Personal survival depends upon watching where you are going, and getting out of the way if you hear a jalopy honking at you.