COVID Turns Two
It’s hard to believe, but January 7 marks the second anniversary of the day the Chinese government announced it had identified a new coronavirus that was ravaging the city of Wuhan. It was also the day that asteroid Apollo, named for deity noted mythically as the bringer of plague, conjoined asteroid Koronis, closest celestial match to coronavirus. And just five days before the Saturn/Pluto conjunction, with its theme of “pervasive structural change.”
From such tiny acorns do mighty oaks grow, and COVID-19, as the new disease came to be known, has since gone on to wreak havoc across the globe, with some five million deaths (approaching a million in the US alone) and 285 million diagnosed cases. COVID is now in its third major iteration, termed the Omicron variant, and continues to devastate lives and economies worldwide, with no end in sight. Highly transmissible, thankfully Omicron seems to be somewhat less virulent as well (at least for the vaxed and boosted), but the US just smashed a global record for new infections in a single day, with over 1 million reported on Monday the 3rd of January (India held the previous record, with some 425,000 infections).
The global mortality rate was previsioned by a conjunction in its “birth” chart, of centaur Pholus with asteroid Wuhan, named for the city where the virus originated (and termed by some “the Wuhan virus”). Pholus relates to mass casualties, by whatever cause, and has certainly lived up to this reputation in connection with COVID. Here’s an excerpt from my original article on the new coronavirus:
“Asteroid Wuhan is in an especially vulnerable position; at 29 Sagittarius, Wuhan conjoins centaur Pholus at 2 Capricorn, with Jupiter also within orb from 8 Cap. Pholus relates to mass casualties, by whatever cause (be that mass shootings, bombings, natural disasters such as typhoons and earthquakes, or epidemics), and Jupiter acts to inflate or increase whatever it touches, intimating that this contagion may well become difficult to manage or contain, resulting in many thousands of victims globally. Wuhan/Pholus in the virus’ “birth chart” is a stark indicator that, at least for the city of Wuhan, the death toll is likely to be extreme. Having the Saturn/Pluto conjunction also in that chart suggests this may become something deeply entrenched with a high mortality rate, difficult, if not impossible, to eradicate.
A Grand Cross from Wuhan/Pholus to asteroid Nemesis at 26 Virgo, TNO Chaos at 25 Gemini, and centaur Chiron at 1 Aries indicates the potential for a major health crisis (Chiron, also with its undertones of “incurable”) causing major confusion and turmoil (Chaos), resulting in ruin or downfall (Nemesis). Nemesis is also stationary, about to turn retrograde at this degree 10 days later, making it an embedded factor in the chart and highlighting its propensity to act as a spoiler, antagonist or archenemy.”
Obviously, I seriously underestimated the “breakout” role of Wuhan/Pholus, defining it much too narrowly as descriptive of the virus’ effects in that region alone. For the rapid, global expansion we can doubtless credit Jupiter. Use of the term “incurable” looks prophetic in hindsight, though I’m sure no such outcome suggested itself to me at the time, when I related it to the inability of the mythic Chiron to cure his own wound. From today’s vantage point, however, COVID does indeed seem to be ineradicable, and will likely be something that requires yearly vaccinations to control, like the flu – endemic, but not pandemic.
What I also failed to understand in advance was the extent to which this offspring of the Apollo/Koronis conjunction, coming so close within the window of the Saturn/Pluto union, would be utilized by the latter as its chief handmaiden in its ultimate quest of “pervasive structural change.”
Think about it – whole countries on lockdown for weeks, even months; businesses closed (more than 100,000 restaurants in the US alone have gone under during the pandemic, just as an example); disrupted global supply chains; employees working from home, with shuttered offices; Zoom meetings as the norm; remote learning for children; mask mandates; vaccination passports to enter many businesses or participate in sporting events. This all represents structural change on such a massive scale as to be almost incomprehensible, certainly unimaginable just two years ago. There is virtually no aspect of institutionalized life that has not been affected by this virus.
As a health crisis of global proportions, and the disruption and disorder this has caused, both Chiron and Chaos have more than lived up to their potential in this configuration, as has Nemesis, with the coronavirus bringing ruin and destruction to so many, on so many different levels.
A second stationary point in COVID’s birth chart was asteroid Hygeia, exactly conjoined TNO Sedna. Let’s take another look at my first read on this combination:
“Also stationary is asteroid Hygiea at 27 Taurus, exactly conjoined TNO Sedna. Together, these may be providing the best medical advice we have at this stage for preventing the virus’ spread. Hygiea relates to sanitation, and frequent handwashing, carrying and discarding of soiled tissues from sneezes and nose blowing, etc, is crude but effective defense. Sedna relates to isolation, and quarantine of the infected, allied with the avoidance of public spaces and the use of a face mask when exposure is unavoidable, will also help to limit the contagion. Hygiea/Sedna combines in a Grand Trine with Nemesis and Saturn/Pluto, defining the stakes if we disregard this practical guidance.”
Once again, I seriously underestimated the extent to which this dynamic would dominate the ensuing two years (and counting). Isolation and quarantine (Sedna) for health-related reasons (Hygeia) became a major theme for millions, and was a solid plank in Saturn/Pluto’s platform of structural transformation. Nemesis often relates to self-undoing, punishment reaped for actions which are one’s sole responsibility. This connection played out most strongly among those who have refused to follow medical advice: not cooperating with mask mandates, declining to be vaccinated, choosing to believe disinformation for political or cultural reasons. These now constitute the vast majority of those with major complications and severe outcomes from COVID infection. Though Omicron has proved extremely successful in bypassing the immune system barriers raised by vaccination, when it does break through, most cases are mild among those who followed medical protocols.
How has the ongoing passage of Koronis through the heavens dovetailed with major turning points in the spread and treatment of the virus? Pretty closely, actually.
It was “full steam ahead” for COVID following the Apollo/Koronis conjunction, with global lockdowns and cases spiking into the millions by the spring of 2020. But scientists and researchers began the effort to combat it promptly, and by the time Koronis slowed to her first station in late August 2020, we were well on the way to developing a vaccine. In fact, three vaccines – from Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson. After Koronis turned retrograde on August 29th at 0 Taurus, this process moved ahead more quickly, with accelerated trials and applications for government approval.
Right on cue, just as Koronis turned direct again on December 3, 2020, at 17 Aries, the first general population vaccine was given, to Margaret Keenan in the UK, on December 8th. Two days later, the US FDA granted Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer vaccine, which began to be administered to hospital workers in New York on the 14th.
Score one for science, but COVID was fighting back. The Alpha variant appeared in the UK in late November 2020, just as Koronis came to station, and new variants emerged regularly as the asteroid proceeded in direct motion: Beta in December 2020 in South Africa, Delta in India that same month, followed by Gamma in Brazil and Mu in Colombia, both in January 2021.
It became a race against time, to vaccinate enough of the global population to render COVID impotent as a major source of mortality. To this point, roughly 55% of the global population has received at least one injection, though numbers of those completely vaxed and boosted lag well behind, and in undeveloped countries, percentages of the vaccinated can dip as low as 6%.
By late autumn 2021, Koronis was again slowing to its station, but it had one more monster variant in its arsenal: Omicron, first noted in South Africa on November 9th, and identified on the 22nd. With a transmission rate much higher than previous variants, Omicron had spread globally in a matter of weeks, and was first identified in the US on December 1st, just before Koronis came to station retrograde at 14 Leo on the 10th.
But closely paralleling this development was another therapeutic breakthrough, with Pfizer’s Paxlovid, an oral antiviral medication with a high success rate in reducing severity of COVID symptoms when administered promptly after infection. Pfizer’s initial trials were so successful that the studies were terminated November 5th, as placebos could no longer be given in good conscience to suffering patients. FDA EUA approval came on December 22, 2021, less than two weeks after Koronis’ station.
Whither COVID? Just as vaccines were developed and distribution begun under the prior Koronis retrograde, we can expect that additional therapeutics and wider availability will ensue as the current retrograde proceeds, hopefully granting a three-month reprieve in worsening conditions.
But COVID isn’t done with us yet, and after Koronis turns direct on March 17, 2022 at 1 Leo, we may see a rise in new variants, just as we did after the last direct station, some of which may be resistant to current medications. COVID will have almost a full year of Koronis in direct motion to craft a counterattack, until its celestial referent once again halts its forward momentum on 3 March 2023, at 14 Scorpio.
When will it all end? Difficult to say, but the next union of COVID’s “parents”, Koronis and Apollo, seems as good a guess as any. This will not occur until their conjunction at 7 Aries on 27 April 2025.
Regardless, we’re in this for the long haul, as COVID enters “the terrible twos”.
3 comments, add yours.
Wow, this is a terrific, comprehensive piece, Alex. And kinda depressing!
Thanks for this retrospective, Alex. I think you did a great job early on of picking up on the overall tone of the pandemic and also identifying how important hygiene and self-isolation would be. I have marked March 17th in my daily planetary guide as the date Koronis turns direct and I’ll be watching to see what happens. Keep up the good work!
Brilliant work Alex and enlightening to learn of asteroid Koronis. 2025 looks pretty apt considering Pluto/Saturn’s work before WW1 and the ensuing Spanish flu.
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