Covid variants complicate pandemic recovery

(3 February 2021) As the world enters its second year of the pandemic, progress is very much a mixed bag.  On the plus side, several highly effective and safe vaccines are now being rolled out in most countries around the world.  While there have been significant bottlenecks in production and distribution, there is a widespread expectation that herd immunity through mass vaccination can be achieved by the end of 2021 in some countries.

On the other hand, several new and more dangerous variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus have emerged in recent months. The new variants from the UK, South Africa and Brazil are more transmissible and have somewhat higher rates of mortality.  However, the current second lockdown seems to have helped to limit the spread of the virus so that new case numbers are starting to decline.  

It is difficult to say at this point if the current lockdown will be enough to contain these more dangerous mutations of the virus.  Outside their place of origin, the variants are not yet the  dominant strain of the virus.  Therefore, it is too soon to tell if current suppression measures will be sufficient to keep the pandemic under control until full vaccination is reached.


Planets of illness: Saturn and Neptune

Unfortunately, the astrological influences suggest the very real possibility of more disruption throughout this year.  There are three potential trouble spots.  First, malefic Saturn is due to conjoin the South Node of Neptune from April to June at 19 degrees of Capricorn.  Saturn is due to station retrograde on that degree in late May and thus the conjunction will last for an unusually long time.

The combined symbolism of Saturn and Neptune is decidedly difficult.  Saturn represents obstacles, disappointment and suffering, while Neptune symbolizes illness, weakness and liquids.  This is a very appropriate combination for pandemics as Saturn also conjoined the Neptune node in June 1918 during the first wave of the Spanish flu.






The second potential problem is that Saturn (12 Capricorn) is due to form a significant 45 degree alignment with Neptune (27 Aquarius) in September and October.  Here again, Saturn will station at 12 Capricorn and thus provide an unusually long time period for the negative energies of both planets to resonate.   We will recall that a similar Saturn-Neptune aspect was prominent in the New Year's horoscope for 2020 and may well have foretold the pandemic

Thirdly, the horoscope of President Joe Biden is heavily afflicted by the Saturn retrograde station in May. As president, Biden's chart takes on a special significance for the US as a whole, and by extension, for the world.   Saturn (19 Capricorn) will station in an exact square with Biden's Mars at 19 Libra.  Like all planets, Mars has both natural and temporal significations.  By its intrinsic nature, Mars represents conflict and war, of course, but Mars' rulership over the 1st and 6th houses in his chart also offers other possible meanings for this Saturn-Mars square.  The 1st house represents the nation as a whole, including its well-being, while the 6th house symbolizes health and illness.  Thus, the Saturn affliction of Mars greatly increases the possibility of suffering and disappointments from illness. 





To be sure, it is possible this health concern could pertain to Biden himself rather than the nation as a whole.  However, the simultaneous conjunction of Saturn to the Neptune node is one reason why we could have a pandemic setback.  We can also see that transiting Rahu will conjunct Biden's Saturn during May.  This is another indication of problems and hardship, either to do with Biden himself, or more likely, with the US generally. 

Taken together, these three configurations in 2021 suggest the road back to normal is unlikely to be a smooth one.  There are several possible manifestations of these alignments, perhaps including a new, and even more dangerous variant, or a variant that is resistant to vaccination which further postpones the end of the pandemic.  


Weekly Market Forecast

Stock markets have been mixed over the past week as the uncertainties raised by GameStop saga appear to have faded for now.  Stocks have rallied thus far this week after declining around last week's Full Moon and the Venus-Pluto-Saturn Node conjunction.   

Thus far, we haven't seen any bearish fallout from this week's Sun-Mars alignment.  Since tomorrow's square will be punctuated by a 90-degree alignment with the Moon, there is an elevated downside risk there.  Friday's Venus-Saturn conjunction is a bit of a wild card, however.  Saturn is usually associated with declines but this conjunction with Venus also aligns with Uranus and Chiron.  These additional influences could mitigate the negative bias of Saturn but I am open-minded about outcomes.  Next week is looking much less positive as Mars is again front and center through its alignment with the Lunar Nodes.


For more details, check out my weekly subscriber newsletter which is published every Saturday afternoon (EST).   I outline the key technical and planetary influences for US and Indian stocks for the short and medium term, as well as currencies, gold and oil.








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