An overview of the planets that give edges to our confines
By Aleksandra Panic
December 1 last year, I celebrated my birthday with my family on a Caribbean island. At sunset, I went down by the water to practice in honour of Jupiter, as the planet was moving on from the constellation of Sagittarius into Capricorn.
In Astrology, we see Jupiter as a planet of abundance and growth, good health, and good luck. It magnifies and expands everything it touches. However, in Capricorn, Jupiter is in its fall, the place where the great optimist of the universe feels trapped, walled-in, or, to use the most hashtagged word on social media right now, “quarantined.”
Because of the peculiar transit of Jupiter and Saturn in my chart, I expected that 2020 would be a challenging year for me. The year in which nothing would be in my control. The year in which the verb to plan would make little sense. Therefore, I decided to celebrate Jupiter’s magic. In Seattle, I offered my first yoga + astrology workshop, Jupiter’s Flow to Abundance, to honor Jupiter’s celestial authority but also to provide some overview of the coming year. I told all my friends to prepare for dealing with boundaries and restrictions that meetings of Jupiter and Saturn in Capricorn would inevitably bring to whatever area of their life the joined planets touch. I also told them to let go off the planning and take 2020 one day at the time. I told them to remember and honor the importance of the breath.
And I must have sounded terribly pessimistic. I always search for a healthy middle between dark and light because it is either/or for me. The light or the shadow. The Moon or the Sun. And it was around the Full Moon in Gemini in mid-December of 2019 (Gemini rules the lungs) when the moonlight illuminated the looming threat in the form of a new virus. The world didn’t know about this until January 12, 2020, when Pluto, the planet of Death and Transformation, came to the scene and met up with Saturn in Capricorn. Pluto is, when afflicted, a catalyst for viruses (A Pluto-Saturn conjunction occurred in World War Two’s Spanish Flu, then again when the world found out about AIDS), and Saturn creates restrictions. Jupiter was in the mix as well, to magnify, to spark the spreading. Since then, the world has lost too many lives (and counting) to a virus (Pluto); people are dying alone, separated from their families (Saturn), all is happening quickly, and the whole world is affected (Jupiter).
In Astrology and the body, we connect Capricorn to the bones, but also the skin. The plausible way to catch the new virus is to touch contaminated surfaces, then, face – mouth, nose, eyes. The significance of the “do not touch” concept and prolonged life of the virus on various surfaces was magnified by Jupiter in Capricorn. Also, Jupiter in Capricorn represents our elderly, who have been the most endangered. By orbiting together with Jupiter this year, Pluto, as a generational planet, affects entire generations of our parents and grandparents.
Unfortunately, come late February, other planets would add to this confusion. Mars, who directs energy and incites action, touched the New Moon (also in Capricorn). The New Moon relieves emotions and sets the mood for the upcoming month. During the dreamy New Moon in Pisces, exposed to the fire of Mars, the pain and fear escalated. And with already so much going on, the Sun met with Neptune in Pisces. Pisces rules vapour, those tiny droplets in the air inside of which the virus lingers before transmission. Pisces represents the infinite pools of water that are edgeless. Everything touched by Pisces overflows. Neptune, meanwhile, rules pandemics, and it was during March when the spread of the virus rose to another level. Every year, the peak of the common flu season is during this Piscean month. And this year, no one could tell the difference between the symptoms.
Adding on, Mercury stationed retrograde in late February, also in Pisces. Mercury has two to three retrograde movements every year; with each, the planet is forcing us to review specific areas in our lives. Usually, Mercury retrograde is to blame when we lose things, when our plans, communication, and wire transfers are messed up, when our travel is delayed or canceled. Also, Mercury retrograde can bring false information, more “fake news,” fabricated facts.
In early March of 2020, our dear Mercury did all of the above, and not just on a personal level to the unlucky few, but to the entire world.
At this time, I attended AWP, the annual writers’ conference in San Antonio, Texas. After the conference, I flew to Seattle which was, at the time of my arrival, the epicentre of the virus outbreak in the USA, and eerily desolate. At the same time in Belgrade, my husband attended Fest, the annual film festival. No one yet feared the virus as they should have, even though it already raged in northern Italy, and their people were praying for attention and help.
My fear intensified in days leading to the Full Moon in Virgo (March 9, the same day that Mercury stationed direct again), and I decided to find a seat on an earlier plane and come home. What I feared the most was that conjunction of Jupiter and Pluto that could leave me on the other side of a border and separate me from my children.
I found a seat on a plane flying from Oakland, New Zealand, via Los Angeles (where I boarded), to London. When the plane took off, I watched the long strip of the beach down in Los Angeles, and as we ascended, I watched the beach give away to the ocean. Then I watched the ocean. The beautiful, dark blue waters of the Pacific. The peaceful. The strong. Uncontainable. Just like Pisces. I knew that it might be a while until I see it again. I had that same feeling inside my ribs on the day of my birthday. The feeling that they now describe as shortness of breath. The premonition of peril. My chest tightening to mirror the tightening of our borders.
And the anger.
Social distancing. Loss of real connections.
Quarantine. IS NOT INSIDE OF A MANSION WITH A POOL.
And more. Jupiter’s fall. And the inevitable economic downfall.
Will the spreading of the virus slow down and eventually stop? Certainly. But how will we cope with the consequences?
That birthday evening in Antigua, I filled my lungs with the healing scent of the sea and saluted the Sun and the Moon that appeared in the sky together. I held the Humble Warrior as a sign of appreciation for everything I was blessed with. Tonight, as I finally find silence inside my house, I am still looking for a hint of equilibrium inside my ever-narrowing borders.
I want to offer you something bright to hold onto. A smile from the 6-feet-distance is a good start. A tight hug would be great but now impossible.
How about the beautiful Moonlight of the Full Moon in Libra, shining brightly on the nights of April 7 and 8?
Full moons are with us every four weeks to put things we are concerned with or afraid of in focus. To heighten our emotions. To illuminate our need for love and connection. Full moons show us what we are good at and what we can give to the world. The Full Moon in Libra, also called the Pink Moon, is begging for connection. The moonlight is here to provide us with some balance, some relief. To deepen our breath.
I wish the studio was open, and I could offer you a balancing, lunar practice. I wish we didn’t learn the term “social distancing.” But here we are. Each inside our walls. All experiencing shortness of breath. A tightening in the chest. All concerned about the future.
I wish I could tell you it’s just a few more weeks, or another month.
Here is what I can tell you: Jupiter and Pluto will meet two more times in 2020 (at the end of June and again in mid-November). Saturn has just entered Aquarius but will station retrograde (May 10) and return to Capricorn again. Jupiter and Pluto will station retrograde as well (May 14, and April 25). The planets will shortly lose their utmost powers while in retrograde, and the virus will slow down, then it will come back again. We all know this. We read history. We know a thing or two about pandemics.
The scientists will develop a vaccine and then perfect it in the years to come.
Both Saturn and Jupiter will move on to Aquarius, where they will conjunct in December 2020. The pair in Aquarius will help implement unexpected changes around the globe. The new age of Aquarius will inevitably come opening us up for intellectual freedom. The decade of illumination. As we learned many times in history, that liberation would not exist without the previous confinement.
But, until that happens, we must find ways to embrace this new squared normal. We must discover shapes within our bodies in which we can soften our edges and breathe more fully. Take things one day at a time. Perhaps, we will learn to paint across those walls we are stuck within, adding unexpected colours to our space. Find ways to grow within the boundaries. Stretch within instead of out. Reach inside. Look into your own heart. I bet you’ll find some answers.
The great thing about all these planets, especially Saturn, is that they are our teachers. Everything that happens during 2020 will give us valuable lessons. It is upon us whether or not we will be willing to learn.
As I finish this letter, still sad and mad because I can’t offer in-person workshops, I acknowledge the lyrics, “I walk through the valley of my own shadow.” My current isolation and the heightened emotions around it cannot be darker than my own shadow.
The best I can do every evening is to return to that perfect shape within my body in which I can fully breathe. The shape in which I find answers to my questions. The shape where I acknowledge the tightness of my cocoon and visualize the liberation. The freeing of the butterfly.
Instructions for the reclined butterfly pose:
Find a long, rectangular pillow, or take any blanket from your home and fold it into a burrito roll. Place the pillow/blanket on the floor and lie over it so that the end of the prop touches the small of your back and your head is held by it. Your entire back and head should be supported.
Put the soles of your feet on the floor close to your pelvis and point the knees up toward the ceiling. You can let your knees touch and simply stay there or let your soles touch one another in front of you and open the knees to the sides. The soles of your feet can come close to your groin if your hips allow for the deep opening, or you can push your soles away from you, letting your legs form a shape of a diamond.
Once you find your shape, place one hand on your belly and the other close to the heart and stay here, breathing peacefully, for at least four minutes.
Maybe you’ll put on music and enjoy stillness a bit longer.
Take care and stay safe,