2022 – Groundhog Year? Or the glimmer of dawn?
You don’t need an astrologer to tell you the obvious; that the pandemic that has had the world in its grip these last two years is not going away any time soon. As your astrologer has pointed out before, the pandemic arrived in step with the meeting of Saturn and Pluto in 2020, a 35 year cycle with a corrosive, blood-thirsty history (1914 and 1947 being two stand-out examples).
What happens under this conjunction tends to come with a long tail, and while the presence of the coronavirus will eventually fade, as pandemics do, we may have entered an era of contagion where zoonotic diseases proliferate, and masks, testing and jabs become the new norms for many societies (those that can afford it).
Twelve months ago, Saturn moved on from Capricorn, where Pluto still lurks, to Aquarius, where its conjunction with Jupiter initiated a different cycle, one in sync with the of qualities of Aquarius, a more innovative, tech-minded and socially aware sign than Capricorn. Saturn remains in Aquarius for another 15 months, suggesting that the character of 2022 will not be so different to that of 2021. That the three ‘outer’ planets – Prometheus, Neptune and Pluto – do not change sign likewise suggests continuity rather than upheaval. So perhaps 2022 will continue as a steady slog against the pandemic and its economic fall-out, but without major international conflict (though somewhere there is always a maniac poised for war – round up the usual suspects!).
Contrary to its reputation, forged in the 1960s, as a sign of wild liberation, Aquarius is fond of order, though its Saturnian strictures come with a humanitarian signature: ‘We know what’s best for you’. Prometheus, the sign’s modern ruler, links the sign to revolution, both political and scientific. Today’s equivalent of the Roman Aquarius, who built viaducts, pipelines and fountains, is the tech engineer building wind farms and rockets. (And as your astrologer suggested last year, rocketry became A Thing in 2021, whether supplying joyrides for the uber-rich or carrying the largest ever space telescope into place. In 2022, space remains glamorous).
Vaccine programmes have highlighted the tension between two sides of Aquarius’ character; the acceptance of a society wide palliative – The Urn Bearer pours his waters for all – and those who don’t fancy it, who are part of Aquarius’s non-conformist attitude.
Saturn leaves the skies of the Water Bearer just as Pluto arrives there in early 2023 for a twenty year residence, a mini ‘Age of Aquarius’ if you like, though those hoping for ‘crystal mystic revelations’ and ‘harmony and outstanding’, as the Hair anthem promised, will surely be disappointed. During its 245 year orbit of earth, Pluto seems to bring the worst from whichever sign it occupies. Its arrival in sexy Scorpio gave us AIDS, in noble Sagittarius, religious fanaticism, in earthy Capricorn the rise of the uber-rich. In Aquarius, a micro-controlled society steeped in technology looks a better fit than universal democracy and flower children handing out rainbow smoothies. But we can hope.
The nature of the Aquarian years will ultimately be determined by Generation Z, officially designated as those born between 1995 and 2010, a time span that handily fits those born with slow-moving planets in Aquarius – Prometheus between 1995 and 2003, Neptune, between 1998 and 2011 – today’s teens and early twenties. Gen Z’s Aquarian placements are currently being visited by Saturn, though it’s the transit of Pluto that will truly ‘activate’ the collective will of a generation that already seems to be brimming with prodigies. Tennis wunderkind Emma Raducanu (b. 13.11.2002) is one recent example, while thirteen year olds on stunt bikes winning medals at the Olympiad was a tasty 2021 takeaway. Politically, Generation Z look feisty and idealistic, typified by Greta Thunberg (b.3.1.2003 ).
In lock step: Saturn and Prometheus
In modern astrology, the planetary rulership of Aquarius is often given to Prometheus (aka Uranus) rather than tradition’s Saturn. The sign’s predilection for applied science fits both planets, while its prominence in futurism and science fiction – and its many space cadets – can justly be assigned to Prometheus, discovered in 1781, presaging declarations of ‘Liberte Egalite and Fraternite’ and ‘All men are equal’ that became enshrined in the constitutions of France and the USA.
There is little reason to discriminate between Aquarius’s planetary rulership in 2022. Saturn in Aquarius and Prometheus in Taurus move in loose lockstep, as they did in 2021, though the square (90 degree) aspect between the two is no longer precise. As your astrologer has previously suggested, this is an odd combination, Aquarian technology and the Taurean world of nature being somewhat at odds. The ongoing success of renewable energy shows the combo at its best, the creation of genetically modified ‘Frankenstein foods’ its dark side.
Crypto currency and Taurus
Taurus, being about resources, has long been considered the sign of economics and banking; conservative, steady as she goes institutions. Although Bitcoin and crypto currency predates Prometheus’ arrival in Taurus in 2018, what’s striking is the way crypto currencies have proliferated in the last couple of years – there are now scores of them – and their reluctant acceptance by mainstream finance, brokers and banks. This is clearly an ongoing revolution; Gibraltar’s bourse will shortly become the first stock exchange to deal in crypto. ‘Fintech’ companies, bringing technologies like Artificial Intelligence, blockchain and algorithms to financial markets, are growing at a phenomenal rate. Governments remain busily formulating their own versions of crypto – Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), which is how many of us can expect to be paid in the future.
Likewise, crypto’s sibling, NFTs (Non Fungible Tokens), are becoming more popular. NFTs are unique chunks of data that are most commonly images/works of art. They can be reproduced but copyright remains with the owner. Unlike crypto currency, NFTs are not equal and interchangeable, but, like conventional paintings, one-offs that can command high prices. Last year Sotheby’s, that bastion of the art world, held its first NFT sale.
The USA’s Pluto Return
Pluto’s 245 year orbit round the Sun means that none of us experience its return to its position at our birth. We may get one, two or three Saturn Returns (at 30, 60 and 90) and perhaps one Prometheus Return, at 84. Only long-lived entities that can claim a birth time – most notably countries – get a Pluto return. In 2022 astrological eyes are on the Pluto return of the United States (b. 4.7.1776) whose much-studied national horoscope has Pluto at 27 degrees of Capricorn, where the far-out planet spends all of 2022.
The astrological consensus is that a Pluto return marks a point of reckoning. North American astrologer Michael Lutin was concerned about the USA’s as far back as 2006, when he penned an article for Vanity Fair magazine warning that Pluto would ‘challenge the nation as we have never been challenged before’. The article’s slightly apocalyptic tone seems to have scared the horses, as Michael’s singular monthly forecasts sadly vanished from Vanity Fair not long afterwards.
Another Stateside astrologer, Ray Grasse, has looked to the UK for clues, pointing out that Britain’s three Pluto returns – using the horoscope set for the Norman takeover of 1066 – have all brought national crises, specifically involving the acquisition or loss of power. In 1315 a Pluto Return saw Scotland separate to become a nation in its own right. That of 1558, coinciding with the ‘golden age’ of Elizabeth 1, brought both the acquisition of the British Empire and the formal institution of slavery to ensure its function – the UK finally abolished slavery in 1807, during its third Pluto Return. UK astrologer Marjorie Orr cites similar events for many other countries, including Spain, which finally finished with fascism under its Pluto return of 1973, when the dictator Franco surrendered power.
What then, to expect for the United States? A showdown between the nation’s neo-fascist right wing and its liberal counterpart is on the cards in the wake of 2021’s bloody occupation of the Capitol building, while the country’s foundation on genocide and slavery remains a hot topic. Expect a further escalation of these issues.
Culture Wars: the UK horoscope in 2022
Like last year, the UK horoscope (1/1/1801) is under assault from two heavy planets. Mars in the nation’s financial zone has Prometheus passing it, spelling more economic uncertainty. Venus, which represents the arts and a nation’s joi de vivre, is being sat on by Saturn – a ‘no fun’ transit if ever there was one. Expect cultural dissent to be given a repressive response and an escalation of tiresome culture wars. A good time for protest poets.
Prime Minister Johnson faces an ambiguous moment in May – shortly after the local elections – when Prometheus transits his birth chart Jupiter, which can be considered as either ‘a lucky break’ or something more disruptive, Prometheus being ‘a throne toppler’. If Johnson survives, he has several months of warrior Mars back and forth over his Gemini planets; expect our fancy-dressing leader to show up in tin hat and arctic convoy duffle coat.
Leadership hopefuls Rishi Sunak (Taurus) and Liz Truss (Leo) make an uncomfortable fit for their party. It’s been a long, long time since the Tories were led by a Taurus or a Leo (after all, the country already has a monarch). Outside bet Jeremy Hunt (Aries) makes a better fit. Sir Keir Starmer has both a transformational Saturn Return and a ‘lucky’ Jupiter Return to help maintain his new popularity.
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