The Optimist’s Guide to Surviving Plague, Pestilence, and Mass Death

by Thomas Canfield

The Equinox chart looked so good that I was willing to compare it to the exuberance of “My Fair Lady.” This optimistic forecast may be good for the whole Spring, because when the Corona Virus crisis clears up there will be people dancing in the streets (though maybe not with each other for a while.)  In the shadow of death, a new optimism may build up among the survivors. It reminds me of another musical, “Spamalot”, which has a song by a plague victim, who sings, ”I’m not dead yet.”

The aspects for the Spring suggest that this is not the end of the world as we know it.  The April New Moon chart begins with the Part of Fortune conjunct the Ascendant.  The Part of Fortune is sextile Saturn, and in a wide sextile to Juno. Traditional institutions, particularly political institutions, can survive the health crisis. The Part of Fortune is trine Chiron, and more medical knowledge and better procedures should come out the experience.  There is an out-of-sign square between the Part of Fortune and Ceres. Old methods of comforting and nurturing the sick may have to be discarded, and more antiseptic means will have to be put into place.

One optimistic aspect is the Pluto-Jupiter conjunction in the Second House.  A  long overdue discussion will have to be done regarding  healthcare and the expenses involved. This is not just a matter of doctor bills, but of sick days, profits lost in closing businesses, and providing the needs of quarantined people.  Jupiter is at the midpoint of Pluto and Pallas, emphasizing the need for better economic wisdom.  The conjunction of Pallas and Saturn may lead to a rethinking of old remedies and outdated testing procedures.

Mars in Aquarius may provoke major discussion of how soon group activities can resume. Mars is sextile Mercury, and there may be constant planning sessions.  Mars is trine Juno, and there may be an eagerness to start up political rallies. Mars is also trine Venus and Vesta. There may be an eagerness for wedding planning, and how soon such gatherings can take place. With Venus conjunct Vesta in the Seventh House, weddings may need to be restricted to family gatherings, and it may be necessary to have in-home weddings.  Yet, with Mars trine Venus-Vesta, there may be a desire to invite people outside the family as well.

A lot of attention may be focused on scientific developments with the Sun and Moon conjunct Uranus in Taurus. Much hope may be placed on discoveries and advancements that will end the crisis.  Saturn square the Sun, Moon, and Uranus may insist upon the tried-and-true methods of testing and there may be arguments as new procedures are prepared. Mercury conjunct Eris may indicate many squabbles as new ideas are presented and new perspectives are examined. Who is most guilty of spreading the virus? The person who has it unknowingly or the person who does not wash hands after being in public?  Those persons not dripping with hand sanitizer may be considered the modern lepers, to be avoided as “unclean, unclean!”

Neptune has had a reputation of the ruler of infectious diseases, but in the New Moon chart the planet is at the bottom of the chart, conjunct the IC. Neptune is semi-sextile Mars and Mercury, as well as sextile Pluto, and a wide sextile to Jupiter.  It is the only planet in a Water sign in the chart.  Its quarantined position would indicate that its role will not be as serious in dealing with the pandemic.  Neptune on the Fourth House cusp could also stand for the elements that will make home life bearable. For the religious, it is a good time for praying and fasting. For the not-so-religious, Netflix and HBO will be the life saving programming to keep everyone indoors. Neptune opposing the Midheaven may send the message it is better to stay home and watch TV rather than go out to work. In that sense, Neptune helps to ease a tendency towards fear and panic.

Fear and panic may not be matters of worry this Spring. Society with not break down and the living will not envy the dead. There will not be wagons of corpses being driven around, as the driver shouts, “Bring out your dead.”  Don’t worry about mass graves, mass cremations, or a mass movement of flagellants going around to practice mortification.

There are welcome signs for people who will make survival possible.  Juno opposing Chiron suggests that traditional healers will stand up against constricting regulations. We have already seen how Seattle was saved from the Corona virus by lab workers who began testing for the virus, even when the Center for Disease Control told them not to do it. In that sense, the lab workers were like the wounded healer, hamstrung by red tape, but going ahead anyway to discover the truth. More helpful rebellious actions may come to light. 

Chiron is semi-sextile Sun, Moon, and Uranus. Medical developments may be happening at this time, though it may take a while for proper testing.  Chiron sextile Saturn may keep promoting some of the classic hygiene methods,  and the out of sign sextile to Pallas may reinforce the wisdom of listening to old time practices. Chiron sextile Vesta may help with family circumstances. Some restaurants may be open for Mother’s Day, also some outdoor restaurants might be opening. Families who have been in isolation for a month might be willing to take the chance to get out.

    Those who come through the pandemic will have a lot to celebrate and be thankful for, though there may be a lot of questions of how it got started to begin with. With the Node axis approaching a square to the Aries point, we could be seeing a major realigning of values as we assess the experience. Did the business system bring about the pandemic? Was the government planning hindering local health authorities? Were medical facilities prepared for what would happen? Stories and maybe even a Broadway musical may come from the pandemic experiences, with chorus lines buying up mountains of toilet paper, cleaning supplies, and hand sanitizer, and then dancing through check-out counters. The real finale will be when people start singing and dancing in public again, and everyone will feel the bond of togetherness. (Just not within spitting distance.)

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