Is there a cosmic connection between Jupiter-Pluto conjunctions (meetups) and viral outbreaks? History reveals a surprising trend.
original post date 3.29.20
Throughout history, many of the biggest plagues and pandemics have coincided with a conjunction. These are meet-ups between global Jupiter, the planet of expansion and knowledge, and shadowy Pluto, which rules all things hidden and buried.
On April 4, Jupiter and Pluto will make their first of three conjunctions in Capricorn. In astrology-speak, a conjunction occurs when two or more planets align at an exact degree in the same zodiac sign. This union joins their energies—to mixed results, depending on the planets involved.
The three 2020 Jupiter-Pluto conjunctions will be at:
- April 4: Capricorn 24 degrees
- June 30: Capricorn 24 degrees
- November 12: Capricorn 22 degrees
Jupiter has been traveling in proximity to Saturn, Pluto and the South Node all year, but in April, the first official convergence arrives. In Capricorn, the sign of government, structures and the economy, this planetary alliance is already revealing its footprint. It started with a January 12, 2020, Saturn-Pluto conjunction that may now unfurl another chapter of its saga.
Jupiter-Pluto Conjunctions and Mythology: Heaven Meets Hell?
Supersizer Jupiter, the planet of global connections, expands whatever it touches. In Roman mythology, Jupiter (Zeus to the ancient Greeks), is the god of all gods—the ruler of the sky and thunder.
In mythology, Pluto (or Hades, to the Greeks) was the god of the underworld. Astrological lore contends that Pluto rules all things hidden—from viruses to government conspiracies. This shadowy sign governs death, rebirth and transformation that “rises from the ashes.”
During a Jupiter-Pluto conjunction (meetup), heaven and hell essentially come together.
Perhaps pandemic is our purgatory—that midpoint between the two realms.
Indeed we are living in a suspended state as we quarantine and wait interminably for answers, test kits, vaccine developments, medical supplies and more.
Jupiter-Pluto conjunctions occur every 13 years. These two planets last connected in Sagittarius mid-December 2007. While not every meetup is quite this eventful, some of history’s most devastating plagues indeed correlated with Jupiter-Pluto conjunctions.
The cautiously optimistic news? A couple of those plagues also peaked during these transits, and simmered down after Jupiter and Pluto parted ways. With grim headlines about rising infection rates and shortages of medical equipment and protective gear, it’s hard to hold onto hope.
What history has shown us during past astrological cycles, when Jupiter and Pluto were side-by-side as a pandemic broke out.
The 1918 Flu Pandemic: Jupiter and Pluto in Cancer
In January and February 1918, Jupiter and Pluto were traveling together in Cancer, the zodiac sign that rules the United States. The flu pandemic, which was also called the Spanish flu, broke out during this time, infecting an estimated 500 million people—one-quarter of the world’s population—and resulting in 50 million deaths worldwide.
The Spanish flu was the first of two pandemics caused by the H1N1 influenza virus; the second was the swine flu in 2009. When the first case of swine flu was detected in early 2009, Jupiter and Pluto were briefly both in Capricorn, though not making a close conjunction.
1981 HIV Outbreak: Jupiter and Pluto in Libra
In 1981, the HIV epidemic—which remains one of the world’s largest pandemics—arrived in the United States, spawning the AIDS crisis. Jupiter and Pluto made their exact meetup in Libra, the sign of relationships, in October and November 1981.
Shortly after the next Jupiter-Pluto conjunction on December 2, 1994, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved an oral HIV test, the first non-blood-based antibody test for HIV. This conjunction took place in Scorpio, which rules the sexual organs. By 1995, complications from AIDS was the leading cause of death for adults 25 to 44 years old.
Russian Plague of 1771: Jupiter and Pluto in Capricorn
From 1770 to 1772, The Russian Plague, also known as The Plague of 1771, was the last huge outbreak from the bubonic plague, resulting in between 50,000 and 100,000 lost lives in Moscow.
In December 1770, Moscow General Hospital’s chief physician, Dr. Shafonskiy, reported a case of the bubonic plague, but public health officials—particularly a German doctor named Rinder (who died of the plague in June 1771)—were at first skeptical and dismissive.
The national government was slow to respond, sending military guards to the hospital to enforce a quarantine. In late February 1771, Jupiter and Pluto united at 18 degrees Capricorn. That month, Dr. Shafonisky submitted a report that was refuted by Dr. Rinder. However, in March (is this starting to sound eerily familiar?), the disease was spreading and Moscow officials began to implement protocols—but unfortunately, they waited too long to act.
In September 1771, Jupiter and Pluto united at exactly 17 degrees Capricorn—which brought the very peak of the plague. That month, the outbreak killed an estimated thousand Moscow residents a day and 20,000 were confirmed dead that month alone.
By then, three-quarters of Moscow’s population had fled the city. On September 15, 1771, the Plague Riot broke out, as residents revolted against the state and authorities, convinced that it was a government conspiracy.
As COVID-19 rages most fiercely in densely-populated cities, we must learn from history’s pandemics. This time around, we have the benefit of technology to share news through social networks and websites. We have advanced medical technology and the ability to share developments or deliver supplies quickly once they become available.
The Black Death of 14th Century Europe: Jupiter and Pluto in Aries
From 1346 to 1353, the Black Death swept across Europe. Approximately 50 million people—at the time, 60 percent of Europe’s population—died from the bubonic plague, an infection that circulates among rats. As the rat population started to dwindle from this disease, their fleas began biting humans and infecting them as well. As the plague reached its peak in 1347, the Jupiter-Pluto conjunction was in Aries.
In 1346, Jupiter pivoted between Aquarius and Pisces, as it will again in 2021. Aquarius rules large populations and Pisces is associated with hospitals and illness. The crucial error that caused the bubonic plague to spread—like most pandemics—was a slow response or recognition time. The faster we can address an outbreak, as we now know, the better we’ll be able to contain it.
The Plague of Athens (430-427 BC): Pluto in Capricorn
The devastating Plague of Athens in ancient Greece killed around 75,000 to 100,000 people during the Peloponnesian War. Originating in a shipping port and believed to be typhus or typhoid, it raged in waves for five years and ravaged the population. It also sparked uprisings, lawless behavior and chaos among citizens, resulting in rigid government enforcements—and the collapse of Athenian democracy.
Although Jupiter and Pluto were not conjunct during the Athens Plague, it’s noteworthy that Pluto was traveling through its final degrees of Capricorn and early degrees of Aquarius during the peak of the plague—just as it will be throughout the 2020s.
For context, it takes Pluto roughly 247 years to return to each astrology sign. Pluto was last in Capricorn when the United States was founded. It returned here for the first time from 2008 to 2024, a time that’s brought massive, Plutonian transformation and shakeups to Capricorn-ruled areas of government and economy.
On July 4, 1776, as the United States became a nation, Pluto was at 27 degrees Capricorn. And on February 24, 2020, as stock markets crashed and the U.S. government recognized that the coronavirus was indeed a pandemic, Saturn transited through the same 27-degree point of Capricorn, making an exact conjunction with Pluto in the United States’ chart. The bearing down of weighty (transiting) Saturn on Pluto is like activating a dormant volcano. Tangible Saturn’s connection with intangible Pluto made our fears into a reality.
How 2020’s Jupiter-Pluto Conjunctions Could Play Out
On April 4, Jupiter and Pluto make their first of three conjunctions. Two possible scenarios could ensue.
Jupiter-Pluto Conjunction Possibility 1:
Global Jupiter expands, magnifies and spreads. Pluto governs the invisible realm and anything hidden in the shadows, like viruses. It’s also the ruler of death. On this date, we could see a spike in COVID-19 cases in areas that haven’t yet been hard-hit.
Jupiter-Pluto Conjunction Possibility 2:
Optimistic Jupiter exposes what’s hidden, uplifts us and gives hope. We may hear a surge of positive information, such as progress toward a vaccine, deliveries of medical supplies to healthcare workers, or the re-opening of certain small businesses (Jupiter rules entrepreneurs). However, we guard against overconfidence, a temptation of Jupiter.
At their second alignment on June 30, both Jupiter and Pluto will be in powered-down retrograde. Inner planet retrogrades (Mercury, Venus, Mars) have a reputation for creating chaos. But when the slow-moving outer planets turn retrograde, it can actually bring improvements. We get a break from whatever they govern—and we could certainly use a reprieve from Jupiter’s wildfire growth and Pluto’s shadowy hand.
Late June has other potentially positive transits. Venus, the planet of love and social gatherings, ends a six-week retrograde in Gemini on June 25. Gemini is an interpersonal air sign and when Venus turns retrograde on May 14, friends and couples will struggle with separation (or post-separation) strain. Gemini rules the lungs and hands—two areas of the body that have been central to the COVID-19 crisis.
Saturn, which rules boundaries and barriers, will leave air sign Aquarius on July 1, not to return until December 2020. With this restrictive influence lifted, we may literally and figuratively feel like we can “breathe again.” (This lines up with research indicating that many flus recede during warmer months.)
Communal Aquarius is the sign of groups, friendship and social settings—Saturn (the planet of boundaries) here is the ultimate signature for social distancing. As Saturn’s gates lift for a few months, public gatherings may resume. But we should NOT get lax with our prevention, as Saturn will return to Aquarius from December 17, 2020, until March 2023.
The final Jupiter-Pluto conjunction arrives on November 12, 2020. Both planets are both in direct (forward) motion once again. With aggressive Mars making an extra-long trip through Aries from June 27, 2020, to January 6, 2021 (and retrograde from September 10 to November 13), people may be exploiting their independence and disobeying warnings to distance. At its worst, the double dose of self-interest from Mars in Aries could bring out people’s “Lord of the Flies,” survival-driven nature. A lack of resources might breed an “every person for him/herself” mentality. We expect a sharp rise in gun sales in the second half of the year.
Given that this November 12 grand finale is a week after U.S. presidential elections, anger and frustration could reach a boiling point. No matter who wins the 2020 election, there are certain to be outraged people on both sides. Similar to the Plague Riot of Moscow, which coincided with the peak of the 1771 Russian Plague—citizen uprisings could run rampant if this final Jupiter-Pluto conjunction isn’t managed correctly.
Here’s hoping the world leadership handles this crisis appropriately enough to circumvent such worst-case scenarios. Let’s learn from history—and astrology, too—and handle this crisis to avoid civil unrest and devastation. But we must be prepared to protect ourselves on many levels.
So, is there any hope in a Jupiter-Pluto conjunction (Answer: Yes.)
Now, as for getting out of this place—and when it will be over…
We don’t want to spread feelings of doom, even though the world is in a dire place, from public health to the job market to the economy. But on the upside, science and technology are at a point of unprecedented progress now. As we write this, the FDA has just approved a 15-minute COVID-19 home testing kit made by healthcare technology company Abbott Labs. Production is set to begin the exact week of the April 4 Jupiter-Pluto conjunction, with a hoped-for output of 50,000 kits per week. And Johnson & Johnson announced a potential vaccine that will start trials in September for release in early 2021.
With structured Saturn in communal Aquarius from March 21 to July 1, 2020, the stars support working together in an organized, systematic way. The transformation of convention halls into field hospitals (like New York City’s Jacob Javits Center), though a grim picture, is an example of this kind of modern mobilizing.
Saturn rules authorities and government, and we’re already seeing heightened intervention levels. Last week, Donald Trump invoked the Defense Production Act to compel automaker General Motors to produce ventilators. Quarantines are being enforced around the world, some with stronger police and military presence (and in some places, a rise in police brutality). Military medical workers are being asked to join the front lines.
Jupiter will leave its challenged position in Capricorn and enter cutting-edge Aquarius on December 19, marking a time of global innovation that will last throughout 2021. And on December 21, 2020, Jupiter and Saturn will unite in Aquarius, forming what’s called the Great Conjunction, a once-every-20-years alignment that can bring tremendous progress. But we must take things slow and steady, as cautious Saturn reduces the reckless speed that Jupiter prefers.
What might December bring?
Well, the last Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn was on May 31, 2000. It took place in Taurus, which rules the economy, right as the dot-com bubble burst and a recession was beginning that spanned through 2001. That year, the Federal Reserve increased interest rates several times to shield the economy from inflated tech stocks.
What lessons did we learn about excess, balance and growth from this last Great Conjunction? As the new wave of Jupiter-Saturn meetups shifts from material-minded earth signs to communal air signs, we’ll need to apply the past (Saturn’s domain) to our future (an Aquarian hallmark), as we attempt to recover from the devastating toll of the 2020 pandemic.
Interestingly, the Jupiter-Pluto conjunctions that coincided with the major plagues were in authoritative cardinal signs. These pandemics delivered crucial lessons about leadership and planning wisely for the future.
Jupiter-Pluto conjunctions can also spawn major moments of innovation and resourcefulness. Pluto governs our resources, and with generous Jupiter here, we are already being called to be more communal, to put our powers and innovative minds together for a common solution.
For pandemic coping strategies, check out our post Zodiac Sign Guide to Navigating Family Dynamics.
Photo credit: Jessica Sharmin via Stocksy