Anthroposophy NYC Blog
MEETING OUR TIMES
The Corona World, Part I
We Are in This Together! Earth, Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter in 2020
Author: Jonathan Hilton
By now everyone is inundated with various perspectives on the coronavirus from Facebook and various emailed articles shared around. This article will be an effort to look at the world situation arising from this pandemic, not from a medical perspective, but from a cosmological one. One could likely wonder, in these times of pandemic, what use are the planets and stars to this situation? We live in the current mythology of a materialistic world view, our object consciousness defines everything by what can be measured and evaluated through the senses. Our entire world systems are shaped by this current mythology. It is the mythology of the separate self in a universe of other separate objects; the mythology of human lordship over Nature, which should be manipulated and used to serve our needs, since external reality, including humans, has no inherent meaning or purpose of its own in our Darwinian world. It is a mythology that sees the very origin of our existence as an act of violence, the Big Bang, rather than perhaps a gesture of embrace and love out of which we have come into being. This mythology is coming to an end, but we as yet have no new world system to replace it. And that is the timely question.
However, it is being born now, and the current starry heavens reveal this birthing process that is no less than a call for a revolution in human consciousness, in which we find our place in the entire consciousness of the worlds of being, of the cosmic intelligences in the planetary spheres. This of course is not without its challenges. In our current consciousness, we consider the heavens in the same way we think of viruses: as physical entities completely separate from our consciousness, operating by their own physical laws. But this mind set is the same one that has set fire to this pandemic in the whole soul environment around the Earth. If we understand the world around us, including viruses and planets, as also an expression of consciousness, which is deeply connected to our own consciousness, then perhaps learning about the planets during these times might shed some additional light on our current situation. All of us can perhaps know how a crisis, whether it be a disease or any other life crisis, can be a door or threshold that presents as a karmic opportunity to awaken to something new in ourselves. Like the lesser guardian of the threshold, it appears terrifying because we are not prepared to cross the threshold; but if we are able and prepared, we can cross the portal to a kind of blessing and to a new stage of awareness of meaning in our lives. Karma often appears in the form of resistance and crisis, because we have prepared it so, we have chosen it as the very means of our own higher becoming. The current planetary configuration represents a kind of world threshold, a meeting with the karma of the Earth, which we ourselves have created, but also an opportunity to come to a new realization of our true human tasks. As I have worked on this article, the scope of the current planetary activity in relation to our situation has expanded. So, this article will come in two parts so it can perhaps be more digestible upon reading. We want to look at the progression of Saturn and Jupiter from January 2020 (about the Epiphany) through December 2020 (at Winter Solstice/Christmas) as they meet Pluto, and then culminate in the Great Conjunction just crossing from the stars of the Archer into the stars of Capricorn. (Also see my recent article on the Great Conjunction.)
This is a highly rare and significant planetary event. In my research going back to 1700, where my documentation ends, there has not been any meeting of these three planets together in the zodiac. In some ways one could ask if Pluto was actually relevant before its discovery in 1930, because Pluto is a planetary sphere especially related to our modern consciousness. We will go into this a bit later, but for now let us first consider the constellation in which this activity occurs: the stars of the Archer, Sagittarius, with the culminating Great Conjunction just stepping into Capricorn. What does this mean?
As we know, the “periphery” of our solar universe is defined by the twelve-fold zodiac. The line of the Archer, and its opposite constellation the Twins, or Gemini, hold a particular significance in our time when the vernal point is in the stars of Pisces, the Piscean Age. For one, these two constellations are the line in which our solstices occur, and are deeply related to this vertical line of our solar cosmos in relation to the being of the Earth, the line of above and below, of our connection with the heights and with the depths. This is a quite different Earth/Sun dynamic than the line of the equinoxes that embrace the horizontal element of our Earth. These –together with the axis of the solstices – create the form of the great cross of the world and the heavens. One could say that the vertical axis is connected with our becoming upright as ego beings, our identity as self. In many ways, each of the constellations of this axis presents a picture of duality or polarity. We have the Twins, the mortal one and the immortal one, in Greek mythology. Even in the astrological symbol of Gemini, we have this duality, with the top and bottom half-spherical curves connected by a vertical column. This is a picture of the hierarchy of the past, the divine above and the earthly below; the wisdom of the light in the heights and the dark matter of the earth below, which over time became two very separate worlds, now perhaps reflected in the division between faith and knowledge. In the Archer, we also have a kind of duality in the Centaur image, depicted in the half animal/half human, but pictured almost as if the human arises out of the animal form of the instinctual/unconscious nature. So in this line, we have the struggle between our two natures: divine/earthly, spirit/matter, and human/animal. Whereas the Twins, in the light or upper zodiac, represent more a historical picture of the evolution of duality in humanity. In the Archer, in the dark or lower zodiac, we have more the image of what is still to be worked through by humanity; the image of the human being working out from within the struggle with the duality of the higher and lower natures.
However, since the incarnation of Christ, I suggest that these constellations are in need of a new imagination, one which moves from duality (an old dynamic) to trinity, or to three-fold, not only as an inner reality, but also as a societal form. For now, since the incarnation of the Christ, a new capacity is present. We have the power of the true I AM in the Earthly realm, within us, not working outside from the heights of the divine world as in the past. It is a transformative force in the Earth. An additional cosmological picture can expand this thought. At the Baptism of Jesus, Saturn was in the stars of the Twins, when the words where heard, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I reveal my Self as Self.” The divine entered into the earthly. Jupiter then entered the Twins at the time of Golgotha and the Resurrection; the divine had become fully human and transformed it. The new relationship between the above and below was enacted as the seed for the whole future of the Earth. These are powerful cosmic events deeply related to the new meanings given to these constellations. In this sense, I consider the statue of the Representative of Man by Rudolf Steiner as one new imagination for these constellations. The truly human between the dual poles, uniting them. It is the I (pronounced EE) gesture in eurythmy. So, as we consider these planetary meetings in the Archer, we can see them in the light of the challenge of humanity to wrestle with the core question: Who are we as human beings? What does it mean to be a human being? What “I” is “I”? In this sense, I think we are now facing a fundamental choice for how we are to live. Will the old forms carried from the past (the body of the Archer) survive? Those specters from the past, from Rome, from old religious forms, from the time of tribe or blood or nation? In what ways do we see a world permeated by polarity and dualism? Perhaps in the USA, we all are witness to a level of polarization and disparity stronger than we have seen in the past. We will pick up this question as we proceed with the planets Saturn and Jupiter meeting Pluto in this constellation, and their passing out of the Archer, and then stepping into Capricorn together for the Great Conjunction.
So, taking the Archer as that zodiacal region that streams through these planetary meetings, let us move on to the timing of these 2020 planetary events. Please keep in mind, that in our digital age, we have lost a bit the sense of the flow of time, and tend to focus on the exact moment only. But in each of these conjunctions, we must include what is called the time of the orb of the conjunction, that period of time, especially true for these slow moving planets, when they come near to each other, then meet in conjunction, and then pass apart. Think of this somewhat like you are approaching a significant and rare meeting with someone. There is the quality of the approach, there is the meeting together, and there is the quality of departing after the meeting. This is how we must think about the times around these conjunctions.
First simply a timeline to follow:
- January 12, 2020 – Saturn conjuncts Pluto. The orb time of their meeting covers the range from November 2019 into March 2020. On January 10, just 3 degrees from this conjunction, Mercury came into superior conjunction with the Sun. The Sun then conjuncted Pluto and Saturn on January 20. Thus, we see this intensive activity with Pluto and Saturn at the end of December and start of 2020 in January.
- March 10, 2020 – Saturn briefly enters Capricorn, but turns back into the Archer by May where it remains going retrograde, and then turns direct again awaiting Jupiter to join it. Mars then conjuncts Jupiter on March 20, conjuncts Pluto on March 23, and then Saturn on March 31.
- April 5, 2020 (Palm Sunday) – Jupiter conjuncts Pluto. Upon passing, it turns retrograde and conjuncts Pluto again on June 30. It then turns direct again and conjuncts Pluto for a third time on November 12. Jupiter thus hovers around Pluto for about nine months with a triple conjunction.
- December 20, 2020 (Winter Solstice and Christmas season) – Saturn and Jupiter Great Conjunction. Moving closely together, they have just crossed out of the Archer and stepped into Capricorn. They are in the orb of this meeting in November and December 2020, and January 2021. Mars will be in a square relationship to Pluto at the time of this Great Conjunction.
Thus, we see a range of planetary activity for the entire year of 2020 around this meeting among Pluto, Saturn, and Jupiter. How shall we now understand what these gestures present to us as an expression of the higher cosmic intelligence or the beings associated with these spheres? There are two approaches. One is of course to understand deeply the nature and activity of these spheres of planetary being. The second is to look back in history at similar meetings and glean themes that can assist in our understanding.
Let us first look at Pluto, which I have spoken about in the previous article Pluto and the Great Conjunction of 2020. Pluto was discovered in 1930, after Rudolf Steiner’s time, so he never spoke of Pluto. However, he did speak of Uranus and Neptune, the new planets:
“It is to be noted that the two outermost planets now reckoned as belonging to our system by physical astronomy – Uranus and Neptune – did not originally belong to our Solar System; they came much later into the sphere of attraction of our system: they then joined company and remained with it. They cannot therefore be reckoned in the same sense as the other planets as belonging to our system from Saturn onwards…” (The Spiritual Beings in the Heavenly Bodies and the Kingdoms of Nature).
In Willi Sucher’s pioneering work in astrosophy and his collaboration with Dr. Elizabeth Vreede, he came to the conclusion that these outer planets, though not incorporated into the human being as are the classical planets, Saturn down through the Moon, they are connected with higher processes in humanity, related to our evolving consciousness. They exist in a sense in the auric sheaths around the human being. He wrote that they are indeed outliers, but now brought into human evolution, and can be connected to “stumbling events or revolutions,” but also to the higher faculties now in seed potential in humanity. He relates these spheres to the new capacities to be developed in humanity through the spiritualization of our being: Uranus with Imagination, Neptune with Inspiration, and Pluto to the highest spiritual spheres, to that level of cognition named Intuition by Rudolf Steiner. This sphere is also then related to the culmination of human spiritualization of the material world, and the physical body into that future physical non-material body, Atman, or Spirit Human. On looking at the dates of their discovery, one comes to a remarkable connection between Uranus and the discovery and uses of electricity; Neptune with the development of electromagnetism and radio; and Pluto with the development of the first “atom smasher,” induced radioactivity, and nuclear development. Willi Sucher relates these planetary spheres in their “fallen” aspect with these three realms. Just as the sphere of Pluto reaches the highest, it also descends into the lowest sphere associated with the beings called the Asuric beings. Rudolf spoke very little of the Asuras, and only in the context of the “approaching age” where they will work against the human ego. As Lucifer works in the human astral and in the fallen light, and Ahriman in the etheric and fallen life, so will the Asuras work in the very core of the human being, the “I”, and in the destruction of the physical vehicle necessary for ego development. These Asuric beings have a particular relationship to Saturn in that it was on Ancient Saturn that they went through their “human” stage. As Rudolf Steiner states:
“Into your bodily nature there has been instilled ever since Saturn the sum of forces which stamps you as an independent being, cutting you off from all other beings. To this end had the Spirits of Egoism, the Asuras, to work.”
In Pluto, we find immense forces of transformative will, which, if taken up by human beings in a spiritually positive way, will lead to the highest possibilities of transformation, even ultimately in the physical realm. In its fallen nature, it can cause immense destruction, even down to physical annihilation, such as possess the force of nuclear destruction. In either case, Pluto works to “shake up” the world. It is historically associated with revolutions or catastrophes. These can either be a source of transformation and creation of the new… or the source of ever powerful destruction in that it calls forth desperate efforts to preserve the old that must pass away. It is I think this tsunami call for the world change that underlies the deep fear spreading around the globe in the guise of this coronavirus. It is of course tied to the fear of death, of physical bodily death, which in our modern world equals the death of the self, but has within it also the fear of the great changes we will face.
So let us briefly explore the nature of Saturn and Jupiter, and how their meetings with Pluto can be understood. They are the two great keepers of the cosmos connected with our past and future development.
Saturn is our cosmic memory, who preserves the past since our very beginnings, remembering, and recording all. Thus the Saturn beings preserve and ensure that the evolutionary divine plan for humanity is maintained and remembered. They are intimately connected with world karma and implementing the karmic consequences and adjustments needed to maintain our plan. One can see in Saturn the law, the strict insurer that the law or plan of the Father is maintained. Saturn can often appear as a harsh judge of humanity that has abandoned its place in the evolutionary plan through its own egoism and separation from the divine. Saturn reminds us, sometimes brutally, of that primal Will that objectively preserves the through line of evolution’s intentions and goal. Saturn works towards formation, structure, even into mineralization, which we see in the human skeleton and cranial formation, and in the beautiful mineral forms of crystals. Without a spiritual perspective of evolution it can become on Earth the effort to hold onto old forms – social, legal, political – whose time has passed.
Jupiter is the visionary idealist looking to the future of humanity. Rudolf Steiner calls Jupiter the “thought king.” These beings work to develop this plan into our future becoming, the wisdom and life of our unfolding towards our future goal in spiritually creative thinking and creative activity. In this sense is Jupiter more connected with the Sun forces, which seek the creative renewal and expansion of human spiritual life towards the future when the Earth will be transformed completely into a new non-material existence in the distant future. As Saturn has more a formative structuring quality, so Jupiter carries the primal Life and Wisdom that seek to expand creatively into the future.
So what does this all mean in relation to 2020? Part II will expand on this. Click here to continue reading…
April 5, 2020
Jonathan Hilton is currently the President of the Council of New York City Branch of the Anthroposophical Society in America. He has been working with anthroposophy in various ways for over 40 years. His work includes a new approach to star wisdom, arising out of anthroposophy, as developed by Willi Sucher, with a particular focus on the cycle of the year as a path to the new Sun mysteries. astrosophy.com
This article is available in the PDF format for the followers of astrosophy.com.
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