You don't need an astrologer to let you know that 2020 has been a doozy so far — but if you consulted the stars, then you probably had a heads up because the astrology of 2020 delivers a whole bunch of rare and life-altering planetary aspects and transits that were bound to change our personal lives and the foundation of our society at large. And so far, this has most definitely been the case, from the coronavirus pandemic to the mass protests and civil uprisings against systemic racism. But if you thought the first half of 2020 was intense, wait until you hear about the astrology of the second half of 2020 — because the cosmic chaos isn't slowing down anytime soon.
Astrologers have long understood that 2020 was going to be a year for the history books, although no one knew exactly how the tumultuous energy would manifest as far as real-world events go. The first half of the year served up an intense Capricorn stellium, some life-altering eclipses, and a barrage of disorienting planetary retrogrades, among other rare and significant aspects between the planets. The planets offer us a bit of a reprieve from the intensity during the first few weeks of August, but use this break wisely — because things are picking back up full-steam as we approach September, and it'll keep getting wilder from there.
Here's what's in store as far as the astrology of the rest of 2020 goes — and why things will feel so intense.
An Aggressive Mars Retrograde
While most of August will be fairly chill, don't let your guard down — because aggressive planet Mars is going retrograde on Sept. 9, and it'll rage on through Nov. 13. "Astrologically speaking, the second half of 2020 is set to be intense for one very simple reason: This year’s Mars retrograde," astrologer Narayana Montúfar tells Bustle. "Out of all the retrogrades, Mars' is the most intense because of the themes that Mars rules — [we'll see] aggression, control issues, and repressed anger coming to the surface."
Mars in astrology is a driven, courageous, and animalistic planet that rules over our most primal urges: war, anger, self-defense, sexuality, and more. Mars only retrogrades every couple years (much less frequently than most planets), and when it does, it can be a frustrating time. We can expect to deal with a lot of repressed rage, as well as feelings of weakness and inertia — but we'll also collectively struggle to figure out healthy ways to express these frustrations, and this could lead to people acting out in an immature, defensive, and aggressive manner.
It's also important to note that Mars will retrograde in Aries, the headstrong fire sign that the planet calls home. "In its current position in Aries — one of the signs that it rules — the intensity of Mars is at its highest, putting its fiery power at an advantage," Montúfar says. In Aries, aggressive Mars is at its most impulsive and fearless — which can be great if you harness it for conquering your goals, but disastrous if left unchecked or used for destructive motives. Mars will be in Aries through January 2021, so we'll be dealing with this energy through the rest of the year.
A Fatefully Timed Mercury Retrograde
Mercury retrograde periods can be annoying, but they're not rare — in fact, the planet of thinking and communication takes a backspin at least three times per year, for about three weeks at a time. However, the Mercury retrograde period that kicks off on Oct. 13 is a significant one for several reasons.
Firstly, this backspin fully overlaps with the intensity of Mars retrograde, which will make trying to accomplish things doubly frustrating and cause serious arguments due to miscommunications and bubbled-up rage. Secondly, the retrograde will kick off in the dark and intense water sign Scorpio, which rules all sorts of subterranean matters. During Mercury retrograde in Scorpio, we can all expect to see some dark secrets coming out into the open — and while this could certainly rock our personal lives, it may also have major implications on a larger scale.
But perhaps the most concerning and noteworthy twist of fate in this retrograde's timing is that it will mar the crucial three weeks leading up to the 2020 presidential election (Mercury actually stations direct on the morning of Nov. 3, which is election day). While the retrograde technically ends on election day, we'll still have the post-retrograde shadow period to deal with throughout the weeks following. Because Mercury rules over logistical matters of communication, timing, clear thinking, information-sharing, number-crunching, transportation, and much more, having any major election during a Mercury retrograde period is unfortunate. But given the high-stakes nature of the Nov. 3 election, this spells drama. Things like vote-counts, sharing accurate information, making logical choices, and getting mail out on time could be affected by this transit.
More Fiery Mars Drama
We know that Mars is officially the hothead of the zodiac's planets, so it's not just its retrograde period that will be stirring up drama throughout the latter half of 2020. "One of the main reasons why Mars’ retrograde will be intense is because it will form several squares with the two malefic planets that correlate to this year’s life-changing, challenging themes: Saturn and Pluto," Montúfar says. From late August through late December, Mars will be forming a series of frustrating square aspects with some of the most influential trascendent and outer planets in astrology — and these are likely to bring recurrent bouts of aggressive power struggles, intense structural changes within society, internal and external conflicts, and difficulty accomplishing goals.
In astrology, everything happens in cycles — so in order to understand the implications of a particular transit, we can look to the last time it happened and examine what was taking place in the world. In the case of Mars squaring off with restrictive Saturn and extreme Pluto, we only have to look back to the beginning of 2020. "Mars met up with these two transformational and challenging planets back in January, which was the trigger of what became a global pandemic that has shocked our world," Montúfar says. "As these squares repeat again in the fall, we will revisit this year’s themes of fear and isolation — but this time, they might come with their fair share of aggression, social unrest, and even war."
There's no telling what the consequences of these transits may be, but look out for frustration and difficulty reaching your goals in the final week of August, as well as September, and try to check yourself when it comes to power struggles and confrontational situations in mid-October and late December.
The Great Conjunction & The "Age Of Aquarius"
People have been talking (and singing) about the dawning of the Age of Aquarius for decades now, and many astrologers believe that the monumental "great conjunction" talking place on December 21, 2020 is the cosmic event that's officially heralding it in. On that date, the two largest planets in the solar system, Jupiter and Saturn (which are known as the greater benefic and greater malefic planets, respectively) will align in the sign of Aquarius for the first time in nearly 400 years. Both Jupiter and Saturn represent social issues in our lives and relate to authority and leadership, and they only form a conjunction aspect every couple decades — so when they do, it's a big deal, which is why it's known as a great conjunction. This is the standout cosmic event of the latter half of 2020, and it'll catalyze some serious shifts.
"In December of 2020, we are in for the beginning of a new age, [as] Saturn and Jupiter will be aligning in the sign of Aquarius," astrologer Aaya Samadhi tells Bustle. "This alignment is so significant because it means we’ll continue to have these two planets come together in air signs until 2059." This alignment is in contrast to the intense Capricorn stellium that took place back in January (and kicked off the rise of global pandemic), during which Jupiter, Saturn, and several other significant points and planets were clustered together in rule-oriented Capricorn.
But the energy that these planets will express through an air sign like Aquarius differs greatly from the traditional and authoritative vibe they brought forth in Capricorn, which is the sign they resided in during the start of the year. "Air signs represent intellect and ideas, and Aquarius is the sign of innovation, technology, and revolution," Samadhi says. While this alignment is unarguably going to be intense, the Aquarian focus on collective well-being, logical thought, and innovative growth feels like a breath of fresh air — and it could deliver some much-needed glimmers of hope for the future.
"This great conjunction will spark the beginning of many new advancements in technology, medicine, and ideas — and we’ll also see a spotlight on more humanitarian issues, since Aquarius is the sign of the humanitarian," Samadhi says. "If you thought humanitarian issues came to the forefront in 2020, you can expect a lot more after the Saturn and Jupiter in Aquarius alignment this December."