One cycle begins, another hasn’t ended…2020, the year of being stuck…

The moving finger writes…

The moving finger writes; and, having writ, moves on: nor all thy piety nor wit shall lure it back to cancel half a line, nor all thy tears wash out a word of it.”(i)

That opening quote from the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam has been running through my mind for weeks. It has such a fated Saturn/Pluto flavour…

The word Fate is derived from the Latin ‘fatum’…literally ‘thing spoken (by the gods)’, a dictat which is not negotiable. It’s an uncomfortable, awe-inspiring word, one with which humans throughout history have never managed to get comfortable, for all our contemporary cleverness and increasing technological sophistication.

Living within the bleak symbolic terms of reference of Saturn/Pluto as its new 33-year cycle gets under weigh,  tends to make us more contemplative of how far the writ runs of our ability to control very much at all.

I have just had a very brutal reminder of this. My husband Ian and I were married a few months before the November 1982 Saturn/Pluto cycle began, and he was felled on 12th January 2020, the very day of its ending, by a fatal stroke. I am grateful that he exited this life fast, with minimal suffering and very peacefully – just as he always said he wanted to go.

However, as well as coping with the shock, grief and loss, I have been processing a deep sense of awe in the face of what feels like Fate.

Having been born with (far too many!) Leo planets in the twelfth house, it has always been my way to seek creative perspective on whatever happens to me, mine and the wider world by setting personal dramas in the context of a bigger picture, if possible.

I wrote this column in the contemplative, twelfth house phase of what has been an exceptionally hard year for our planet and its occupants. The New Moon in Aries to me always signifies the true beginning of the year. In 2020 it occurred on 24th March, just after Saturn’s ingress into Aquarius on the 22nd March.

Along with many other astrologers, I have been awestruck in contemplating the symbolic drama taking shape and playing out in our tiny corner of the cosmos in the last couple of years in particular.

The Uranus/Pluto square separated at last with Uranus entering Taurus; Neptune’s ongoing transit through its own sign of Pisces eroded all kinds of boundaries, shattering our illusions of separateness and independence worldwide; Saturn/Pluto gradually claimed centre stage from 2019; and the last Jupiter/Saturn conjunction cycle in Earth for over 200 years is preparing to conclude, entering the Air element with a highly dramatic flourish – with Jupiter and Saturn meeting at the winter solstice 2020 at 0 Aquarius.

Astrologers have been aware for some years that we are going through a period of epochal change: a world turned upside down, right now by corona virus, as I sit in social isolation at my desk trying to make sense of it all.

I’ve been puzzling for some months over a contradictory symbolic picture: on the one hand, we are at the beginning stages of one of the most important, harshly challenging cycles, ie the 33-38 year Saturn/Pluto cycle; on the other, we are not only approaching the end of the 20 year Jupiter/Saturn cycle begun in Taurus in the year 2000, but the end of a whole era of that cycle’s moving through the Earth element.
Jupiter/Saturn Conjunction

This shift, ‘…the transition of the conjunction from one element to another – the ‘Mutation Conjunction’ – has always been considered to be of particular importance marking a major shift in emphasis and orientation in the world…’ (ii)

As most countries in the world struggle with the virus,  its effects and implications, the above symbolism in its contradictions seems to be describing our collective state with an eerie accuracy. World-wide events attendant upon the ending of the 1982 Saturn/Pluto cycle and the beginning of the new one in January 2020 have made it brutally clear to us as a human community that our cavalier, exploitative behaviour towards our Mother planet since the start of the Industrial Revolution has got to change if we are to survive. Business as usual is no longer an option.

In order to ram that point home to us so that we don’t return to ‘business as usual’ when the corona virus crisis passes, as we have done with previous viral outbreaks eg swine flu and the SARS epidemic, this particular virus crisis is different in scale and degree.

All our organisational systems from health to education to finance and business are being upended. Everyone is feeling the pain, one way or another. Anyone could die of this virus, even Trump or Bolsonaro. (Quiet, in the cheap seats!…)

That beginning/ending pattern suggests to me that our painful learning process, sufficiently protracted and purging that we will not (or cannot ) return to our old ways, is set to continue for quite a while to come. We have to get to the very end of the old Jupiter/Saturn order which began with the conjunction’s first venture into the earth element in 1802. That does not happen until the winter solstice of 2020. Until then, we remain in both symbolic and literal quarantine, in detention, one way or another – caught and penned in between a beginning and an ending.

However, as the Irish poet W.B. Yeats famously observed:

“…If Jupiter and Saturn meet,

What a crop of mummy wheat!…”(iii)

This rather melodramatic statement, typical of Yeats’ style and very appealing to a Leonine Celt like myself, is essentially positive.

The times we are living through for the rest of this tough year and beyond, are turbulent and pivotal as we shift from one great historical epoch to another. The shift looks likely to reset humanity’s ways of living with one another and our fellow creatures on Mother Earth.

But, as the Yeats quote so vividly states, out of the decay of the old order comes vibrant new growth. So – let’s all grit our teeth, be stoical, start where we are and do what we can to help effect the change that needs to come.

Saturn is now in Aquarius. Let the symbolism inspire us!


(i) This line originates in English in Edward Fitzgerald’s translation of the poem ‘The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyam’, 1859

(ii) Baigent, Campion and Harvey in “Mundane Astrology” (publ. 1984, 1992,1995), p185, who also describe the conjunction as ‘…the ground base of human development which marks the interaction between perception of ideas, potentialities (Jupiter) and their manifestation in the concrete world.’( Saturn) (p184)

(iii) This quotation is from the first verse of  ‘ Conjunctions’ from one of W. B. Yeats’s most obscure collections of poems, the “Supernatural Songs.”


(This post is a slightly edited version of my 28th Not the Astrology Column featured in the May/June 2020 Issue of the UK’s Astrological Journal, edited by Victor Olliver.)


1150 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2020

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see About Page 

19 thoughts on “One cycle begins, another hasn’t ended…2020, the year of being stuck…

  1. Thank you! I have been wanting to hear from you and I am so sorry that it was such a big loss that has occurred. Stay well. Thank you for your writing. I always gain so much.

  2. This is a brilliant post Anne, very true regarding being in detention, in between realities and the discomfort that that usually brings. Sending you much love and positivity in this intense and transformative time.

  3. Hello, please accept my sincere condolences on the loss of your husband.
    I came across your website by chance, and find it very insightful. It is especially relevant to me as I have Pluto in Leo in my twelfth house and that has had a profound effect on my life.
    Many thanks for such interesting information about the long cycles of the solar system, which are not always pointed out. Much to ponder here!

  4. Via Facebook:
    Kathy Higgins:
    I’m so sorry for your loss. Love blesses us by its presence and devastates us by its loss. The sweet memories of the life you shared live forever in your heart, as will Ian.
    I always look forward to reading your astrology posts. So often they help me make sense of the sometimes incomprehensible events in the world and my life. This thoughtful post is very meaningful to me on both levels. Thank you.

  5. Kathy, thank you so much for this: “Love blesses us by its presence and devastates us by its loss..” Very true…and what you say about my posts is so very affirming – keeps me going ! Blessings to you 🙏

  6. Via Facebook:
    Leslee Masten:
    I’m so sorry for your loss. Thank you for this thoughtful post. Yes, astrologers have been writing about these cycles for a long time but wow the effects are astonishing. And ongoing. May we grow wiser with them!

  7. Thanks for your kind words, Leslee. And yes, as you say, those cycles are awesome to contemplate ( in the non-trivialised sense of the word…) and offer us helpful perspectives with which to navigate periods of extreme turbulence especially.

  8. Dear Anne,

    Thank you so much for this intuitive and poetic commentary. You have such a gift with language and focusing on what is essential. I am so grateful that I bumped into your post several months. Also, I am so sorry about your husband. A sad loss and then this virus and isolation on top of that. You are in my heart.

    Sending so much love to you.


    Pamela McIntyre, Ph.D. (Amrit Nam Kaur) 508-272-9577 “…there is no place where divine light is any more present than where you are. And there is no one who is any more privileged to radiate that light than you.” Eric Butterworth

    1. Pamela, how kind of you to be so warmhearted towards me. I really appreciate that greatly. Thanks also, for letting me know that you value my work and find it useful. Blessings to you! 🙏🏼

  9. I’m so sorry to hear of your husband’s passing. What a day to do it! I’m curious about his chart.

    I always love your perspective. I have Sun/Pluto conjunct in Leo in the 12th with Leo rising. So your super abundance of 12th house Leo planets really resonates with me. My husband/soulmate had Sun/Moon/Jupiter/Pluto exactly conjunct in Leo in the 6th house, born 5 days after Mick Jagger. So I’m familiar with Leo energy but often it’s so close up that I have trouble with perspective.
    At the end of 1980/early 81, Jupiter and Pluto were conjunct in Libra. That was the beginning of the extreme conservative takeover in the USA with the election of Ronald Reagan. Since the conjunction was in air then, do you think that cycle might be on its way out with the upcoming Aquarian conjunction? Or was it an indication of the worst is yet to come? Or something else?

    1. Hello Sharon, thank you. I am still reflecting on the absolutely Saturn/Pluto defined nature of the beginning and ending of our time together…He had a fascinating, contradictory, highly creative, pragmatic and loving nature. His chart reflects all that complexity very well – as you might expect… yes, you and your husband had quite a dose of Leo to deal with between you indeed!

      There is a great deal to say about the current shift from the Earth era which began in 1802, to the upcoming Air epoch whose first flag was waved with the Jupiter/Saturn conjunction falling in airy Libra in 1980/81 (Nov 1981 saw Jupiter conjunct Pluto at 25 Libra) and which doesn’t fully begin until the Jupiter/Saturn conjunction at 0 Aquarius on 21st December 2020. The cycle then continues through the Air element for nearly 200 years…I’ve written about this quite extensively, as have other astrologers. If you haven’t seen this article, it might help to make things clearer for you…

      At the end of any era, we have the kind of turbulence and disruption we are seeing now. Hopefully the new order arising out of the chaos of the end of this one, will bring new energy and a new generation of people with sounder values than ours!

  10. Via Facebook:
    Leah Whitehorse:
    Wonderful post Anne. And yes, I very much agree that this feels like an in between time – like the moment that one door has closed but the other has yet to open. When here in the dark, wondering what on Earth is going on! It was a given that this year would be a history maker. Like you I hope that it turns out to be on the right side of history.

  11. So insightful and well explained, Anne! As astrologers, we serve a delicate mission, that of shedding the light of knowledge and reason in a world that seems to beautifully reawaken to the most authentic side of Existence!
    Thank you

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