US becomes center of pandemic as Mars conjoins Saturn

(30 March 2020)  The coronavirus pandemic took a new turn over the weekend as the US became the country with the largest number of active cases. While Italy, Spain, and China are all listed as having more deaths, the US has the unfortunate distinction of having the most cases in the world at 163,000.   New York City is by far the worst hit area with almost half of the cases (69,000) in the US.  In light of the continuing spread of infections, President Trump extended the nationwide shutdown until April 30. 

The US has been slow to respond to the crisis with the CDC, the FDA and President Trump all coming under intense criticism.  The richest country in the world has been caught flat-footed by the pandemic as its fragmented medical system is showing signs of buckling under the stress.  And yet, there are signs of hope.  Social distancing is now being widely practiced in most areas of the country and is slowing down the rate of infection while testing is becoming more available.  Equipment shortages are still a major problem, however, although things should improve on that front over the next week.

Given the trajectory of most other countries, it seems very possible that the number of US cases and deaths could peak sometime in mid-April.  Italy, Germany and the UK have seen their number of new cases peak and start to decline in recent days so it seems likely that the US will follow that pattern fairly soon. 

In astrological terms, it is possible that this week could be pivotal in the fight against COVID-19.   The two malefic planets, Mars and Saturn conjoin this week in early Capricorn and could represent the most painful moment yet in the pandemic.  In some ways, this Mars-Saturn conjunction may be interpreted as a symbolic "eye of the hurricane" of the coronavirus.  Mars in conjunction with Saturn represents the most intense level of negativity and planetary affliction so it is possible that once Mars begins to separate from Saturn over the weekend, there is reason to be more hopeful for the future. 

As I have noted previously, this Mars-Saturn conjunction hits the US and Trump very hard.  In President Trump's chart, the Mars-Saturn conjunction sits exactly on his equal 6th house cusp.  The 6th house represents health and illness so this double affliction is a very apt planetary signature for this unprecedented level of national suffering and anxiety.  

Interestingly, the Mars-Saturn conjunction exactly hits the Sun in the Inauguration horoscope for President Trump.  The Inauguration chart (January 20, 2017, 12.00 pm) is a kind of planetary roadmap for the upcoming four years of each president's term in office. 

The Mars-Saturn conjunction occurs at 6 Capricorn, which was also the precise location of the Sun at the time when Trump was inaugurated.  This can be taken to indicate two things.  First, the double affliction represents intensely negative situations afflicting the nation and national vitality (=Sun).  Second, it symbolizes the personal and political difficulty of President Trump himself since the Sun represents national leaders in mundane horoscopes. 

As I have suggested, this Mars-Saturn conjunction does not only reflect national pain and stress, it also signifies Trump's personal difficulties at this time.  He is fighting for his political life here as he tries to fend off criticism that his delays and obfuscations cost the US several weeks to prepare for the inevitable onslaught of the virus. Trump may also be more vulnerable to physical stress and exhaustion at this time since his personal horoscope is also under significant stress.  

Overall, I think this week's Mars-Saturn conjunction could well represent 'peak anxiety and despair', at least for the US.  Other locations which have yet to experience widespread outbreaks such as India, Africa, and South America may have their respective peaks in the coming weeks.  

And yet it is worth noting that Saturn is due to station retrograde on May 11th at 7 degrees of Capricorn and thus will remain in very close proximity to the Sun in the Inauguration chart.  This suggests that the US (and Trump) will continue to be severely weakened by the virus for at least another 4-6 weeks.  While Saturn will remain within range of the Sun into June, it is possible that Saturn's negative effects will begin to recede shortly after the retrograde station in mid-May.  In other words, I would not be surprised if the shutdown is extended beyond April 30. 

Weekly Market Forecast

As expected, stocks moved higher last week after Congress finally agreed on the stimulus package.  This bullish outcome was in keeping with the mostly positive planetary influence as Venus aligned with the Jupiter-Pluto conjunction. Monday's session was also higher as Jupiter entered the first degree of Capricorn and tightened its conjunction with Pluto. 

Further gains are not out of the question tomorrow (Tuesday) although downside risk is growing this week as the oversold bounce is likely to run out of steam.  Not only does Mars conjoins bearish Saturn tomorrow but both planets will form a 45 degree alignment with Mercury on Wednesday.  These energies usually don't blend well so some downside seems more likely.  Moreover, the Moon opposes Mars-Saturn on Thursday so that is another worrisome combination.  To make things even more volatile, Mars aligns with the Lunar Nodes, Rahu and Ketu on Thursday and Friday.  It all adds up to the likelihood of some significant downside.  Bulls should be very careful. 

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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