2020 is definitely a year for the books. So far, it's brought us the coronavirus pandemic and the largest global civil uprising perhaps ever calling for justice for Black lives and police reform. The even wilder news? This year is only halfway over. We've still got to navigate the 2020 presidential election, the second (or third?) wave of coronavirus, and with six more months to go, who knows what else is in store for us. So, yeah, 2020 is officially nutzo — but the astrology of 2020 might explain why everything has been so chaotic, intense, and nonstop action-packed. In fact, astrologers have been warning us about 2020 for years, as this year delivers a number of rare, intense, and life-altering planetary moments that are shaking our foundations personally, politically, and societally, and forcing us to adapt to an entirely new sense of "normal."
Our daily lives as well as the global landscape have changed drastically since we rang the New Year bells, and that theme will continue through the rest of the year, as we're ushering in an entirely new astrological era. "The astrology of 2020 has been a hot topic in the astrology community for years. And not only astrologers, but leaders of many different cultures have referred to this year as a portal — a threshold humanity will cross in order to begin a new era," astrologer Narayana Montúfar tells Bustle. "Astrologically speaking, the cycles of many different planets are coming to an end, bringing drastic changes that will unfold over the next 30 years."
Astrologers have long known that the rare and epic celestial happenings of 2020 sprinkled throughout this year would bring large-scale changes, cataclysmic events, and full paradigm shifts — but no one knew exactly how these energies would play out in real time.
Read on for the mid-year scoop on some of the major standout planetary events that have made 2020 so absolutely crazy so far — and what cosmic chaos is yet to come. Bustle had some astrologers weigh in on why the astrology of 2020 is so intense.
The Epic Conjunctions
A conjunction in astrology is a planetary aspect that describes two (or more) planets hitting the same degree of the same sign in the zodiac at the same time, which causes their energy to combine and often intensify. Conjunctions are common, but when they involve certain slower-moving planets, they become much more rare and a lot more powerful — and there are actually three major planetary conjunctions on 2020's agenda, all involving the social and transcendental outer planets and bringing major changes in our lives. "At the center stage of this year’s rare transits are conjunctions involving Saturn, Jupiter, and Pluto," Montúfar says. "The three of them are meeting with each other in Capricorn with the broad purpose of deconstructing and reconstructing the basic structures of our lives, all for the sake of our personal and collective evolution."
Let's start with the astro happenings of January, because 2020 began with a cosmic bang and gave us zero time to adjust. We kicked off the year with Capricorn season's lunar eclipse full moon on Jan. 10 — but this celestial event paled in comparison to the effects of the rare and intense Saturn/Pluto conjunction in Capricorn that it heralded in on Jan. 12, which was the first of three major conjunctions.
This planetary meet-up began to turn things upside down on a personal and global level. It marked the first time Saturn and Pluto (which represent restriction/structure and destruction/transformation, respectively) met up in the sign of Capricorn since 1518 — more than 500 years ago, if you're counting. And this is significant, because any time these two cosmic players meet in any sign, we experience serious global shifts (you can read more about some of those here).
And global shifts were experienced indeed: Within just a few short days of the eclipse and the Saturn/Pluto conjunction, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced a mysterious coronavirus-related illness spreading in Wuhan, China — an illness we now know is COVID-19 — and as we can see via hindsight, this was the beginning of the massive shift and a global unraveling of power structures that were about to emerge along with the global pandemic. Astrologically, it's easy to see how this intensity was propelled forward by the planetary energy.
Because this conjunction marked the first of three major ones to occur in 2020, the ominous "things are just beginning" energy of this planetary meet-up makes sense. It was the first big astro-quake of the year — the aftershocks of which have been felt since.
The Capricorn Stellium
When multiple planets cluster together near the same degree of the same zodiac sign, it's known as a stellium. The Saturn/Pluto conjunction of January was actually part of a larger Capricorn stellium, as a slew of other planets joined them in the same area of the zodiac, causing a huge flux of energy focused on the traditional, patriarchal, power-oriented energy of this zodiac sign — and some of the major planets continue to dominate in this zodiac sign through the year.
"The Capricorn stellium forced us, especially those of us in the USA, to come face to face with our karma and how it’s impacted the infrastructure of our nation," astrologer Shawnte Cato tells Bustle. "The authority and power of our government is under review. Think what happens when you’re in trouble with your mom and she threatens to tell your dad." Some astrologers liken the sign of Capricorn (and its ruling planet Saturn) to the energy of a stern, tough-love-driven father figure — and this year we're grappling with fighting the ultimate father figure: the patriarchy. This has been more than clear through the civil uprising and global protests that have taken place around the globe through the summer.
Planets have and will continue to cluster in the traditional and authoritative sign of Capricorn through the rest of 2020, giving us a lot of time to reckon with energies related to these traditional structures and rigid institutions. This one smells like revolution.
So. Many. Retrogrades.
Even if you're not deep into astrology, you're probably aware that retrogrades don't have the best reputation, as they can cause all sorts of mishaps, confusion, trip-ups, and general messes. But these regularly-occurring backspins aren't actually bad — they're all about reviewing the past, reckoning with decisions, and being forced to slow down and take stock of everything from your beliefs to your goals. It comes as no surprise, then, that virtually every single one of the major planets will be retrograde during 2020 at one point or another — even those that retrograde less frequently, like Venus and Mars.
"This year’s retrogrades have a rare nature, as many of them are performing unusual astronomical movements," Montúfar says. Some months of the year so far have brought upwards of five retrogrades taking place at once — and if we want to look at current real-world 2020 events, it's important to consider that both Mars and Mercury will be retrograde during the time of the 2020 presidential election (which has never happened before in history). Mercury retrograde brings confusion when it comes to thinking, timing, and information sharing, which casts a shadow of concern over thing like vote-counts, people making logical choices, and the transmission of accurate information. With Mars retrograde 2020, we're dealing with the potential for repressed rage to come bubbling to the surface, as well as a general lack of initiative, stamina, and passion — circumstances that could also have unsettling or at least notable influences on the energy of the election.
The Firepower Of Mars In Aries
Mars entered Aries on June 27, which is notable because Aries is the warrior planet's home sign, and Mars is at its most headstrong and aggressive while it's here. Mars rules over things like war, violence, and even the physical body, so this placement is intense to say the least — and could have all sorts implications for everything from continued civil unrest, abuses of power, or even the spread and toll of coronavirus. "Mars in Aries is explosive, no getting passed that," Cato says.
But it's not just the explosive energy of this placement that we have to keep in mind — it's the fact that Mars will be in this zodiac sign for a very extended stay this year, due to the fact that Mars retrograde 2020 takes place right in the middle of its journey. "The extended Mars in Aries transit will put us in prime position to direct our energy head first into change," Cato says. "But, it will also inspire impulsivity, violence, and certainly rumors of war." For the entire latter half of 2020 (Mars doesn't move out of this sign until early January 2021), we'll be dealing with the rage-y, impulsive, primal energy of Mars in Aries, which could prompt anything from bad tempers to straight-up wars.
The Cancer/Capricorn Eclipse Cycle (& That July 4th Eclipse)
Eclipses in astrology (which happen in series that take place about twice per year) represent sudden changes, endings, beginnings, and revelations that align us with our fate — so they're always intense. But the eclipse cycle on the Cancer/Capricorn axis (which began in summer 2018 and just came to a close on July 4, 2020) hit us especially close to home on both a personal and collective level, as it had us all dealing with issues of our security and safety, comfort zones, traditions, and relationship to authority.
Eclipses have been one of the major forces dominating the flow of 2020. We began the year with full moon lunar eclipse in Cancer on Jan. 10, which was both chaotic and transformational, and as mentioned, took place within a day of the WHO's announcement of a coronavirus-related illness spreading in China.
Fast forward to the summer, which heralded the next eclipse season: A full moon lunar eclipse in Sagittarius took place on June 5, which coincided with the national uprising calling for police reform and racial justice in the aftermath of George Floyd's death. Because this eclipse was the first of a new eclipse cycle on the Gemini/Sagittarius axis, it had the energy of a fresh start. This fight is just beginning.
The following month brought two more eclipses: a solar eclipse new moon in Cancer and a lunar eclipse full moon in Capricorn. Both were intense, but the full moon eclipse happened to fall on the fourth of July, aka the United States' birthday. This shook things up deeply in relation to the power structures and authority figures that run this country — and we'll watch this play out through the rest of the year.
Wrapping Up The Year With The Great Conjunction
Remember the major conjunctions that are blowing up 2020? Well, the final one is set to be perhaps the most intense. On December 21, Jupiter and Saturn (the greater benefit and greater malefic planets in astrology) are meeting in a conjunction aspect in the airy sign of Aquarius. These planets both deal with large-scale issues of authority and leadership in different ways, and when they meet, it's known as a "great conjunction" — this only happens every couple decades. "The Great Conjunction in December will be the first one in 20 years, and the last one that was in the sign of Aquarius was in 1623," astrologer Lisa Stardust tells Bustle. "We can expect to have a lot of ambivalence and confusion around what the next steps are that we need to take in order to evolve or move forward." In other words, both our brains and our hearts will be getting mixed signals, and we'll be unsure what to prioritize or focus on.
This confusion is likely to span into a societal and political level, too. "We can expect another outbreak of coronavirus or confusion as to the precautions to take, as we'll be told different things," Stardust says. "But it will also be a time of upheaval and revolution — which will create a better life down the road over time." 2020 definitely doesn't sound like it'll have a Hollywood ending, according to astrology, but all the messiness, pain, and confusion is simply clearing the way for something better.
So... What's Next?
Knowledge is power — and we should trust that all this intensity is necessary for our collective growth, and to help us embrace a totally new way of being. "Ultimately, all these transits combined are set to prepare us for a whole new era, the Age of Aquarius, which will be in full swing once Saturn, Jupiter, and Pluto are all in Aquarius," Montúfar says. "This is extremely significant because for the last 200 years, Jupiter and Saturn have been meeting in earth signs, focusing our energy on material gain and security. But as the age of Aquarius begins, instead, humanity is set to focus on the innovative and socialist ways that only the air element can generate for us."
2020 has shaken us all to the core and helped expose the cracks in our society's foundation. We've all experienced a shift in the way we relate to power and safety, so we should think of this year as the training wheels for a revolutionary couple years to come that could change the way we relate to our communities and what we value in society.