None of us were prepared for the effects of COVID 19: not our health care system, nor our schools and businesses. When last year's quarantine was announced, we all needed to comply. This event was hard on everyone—but did the quarantine take more of a toll on some than others?
As the months rolled on, I saw that some students I knew adjusted quickly and well to the prospect of remote learning, while others struggled. Every teacher I knew was frustrated at the limitations of online technology, particularly when students shut off their cameras.
I know friends who lost jobs, such as Ash, a photographer. All of a sudden, you couldn't be close to people anymore. Others had their businesses boom, such as friends in high-tech, who brought collaborative online technology (Zoom, etc) to businesses.
I wanted to explore the effect of the pandemic on us all, but to do it by astrological signs, divided into elements. My first book with Llewellyn Worldwide, The Astrological Elements arranged explanations of the twelve signs of the zodiac by the four elements: Fire, Earth, Air, and Water. And with life "as we knew it" so radically different, I knew there would be distinctions among my commentators.
I put out a variety of queries on email asking people how they were doing, how they were coping, what aspects of their life had changed, how their health was. I even asked if they'd made any crazy purchases during COVID! ("Add to Cart" is a poetic line of consolation for so many). Here's what I found.
ARIES (March 21 - April 19)
The first sign of the zodiac is ruled by Mars. During the early months of COVID, those born under the sign of the Ram were finishing up a complex, multi-year astrological transit. Jupiter (planet of generosity and expansion) and Saturn (planet of hard-won achievements) were concluding their journeys through Capricorn. Since that sign makes a difficult angle to Aries, our fire sign friends have had a couple of years of extreme challenge, thanks to Saturn, which "doubled down" in 2019 and 2020.
Talking to Aries folks about their experiences, I found a few commonalities. One, that Aries people who put together a routine were better-adjusted than those who didn't. Yes, that's pointing out the obvious, but remember that Aries is a sign who loves "new stuff," whether it's exploring a new passion, nurturing a new relationship, or moving quickly to the next event. The lockdown conditions of enforced conformity made the days blur together for a sun sign who thrives on novelty.
However, some Rams created new routines. Dorianne of Arkansas suffered a double blow early in the pandemic when her mother passed away after the lockdown.
"Some of the malaise that I've experienced (which was a lot more than I expected) might be attributed to her passing." Dorianne found solace by learning four languages on Duolingo and "beefing up my math skills on Khan Academy—mostly to model learning at any level and age."
For Kristen, who lives in Ontario, Canada, the pandemic gave her an opportunity to connect with "a naturopath via video conferencing who helped me lose 20 lbs through blood test monitoring, supplements. and minor dietary changes."
Johanna of Massachusetts found that her "mind and spirit became sharper. I speak up for myself more readily now than in the past." She had worked in the social service field previously, while working towards a degree and in a situation where she had frequent social contacts. The best part of the quarantine was that she stopped "blaming myself for every difficult interaction with others, realizing that something may be wrong with the others or the situation. This insight has helped me to problem-solve, feel much more confident, and get my needs met."
LEO (July 23 - August 22)
Leo, Taurus, and Scorpio faced a seven-year challenge, as Saturn (planet of limitations) opposed their sun. Saturn helps us stretch ourselves and also throws big challenges at us. If we think we're going to go along—lah de dah, life unchanged—well, this big gas giant makes sure that we're on our toes (and often on our knees).
In April and May of 2020, Leo also had Mars (planet of taking action) opposing their sun. These two oppositions brought some Lions to their knees. Carla of Massachusetts had a personal scare during those months: "A nasty lung infection—it wasn't COVID, but it was hard to knock out, and it scared me."
Leo is generally a highly social sign, and though they can adapt to just one other person in their "pride," that loss of group was devastating. Carla was let go from her library job, and missed her work friends. By summer, when outdoor activities were possible, she enjoyed a "carefully distanced outdoor show at a fairgrounds and danced in the sunshine." (Ruled by the Sun, Leo loves a sunbath, and my neighboring state of New Hampshire had less stringent rules about gatherings outside.)
For Sherrye, also of Massachusetts, the quarantine conditions prevented her from continuing a very successful fitness program at the Y.
"My muscle mass gain from strength training and water exercise at the Y is mostly lost, and my body is more 'saggy' than it was a year ago." However, she continued her walking program with her spouse (they married at the start of that year). "I think our walks together over time have strengthened our bond. We have had no one but each other most of the time during the pandemic," she wrote, adding that sharing a positive physical activity is another great way of strengthening a physical bond.
So Fun of Boston is an enthusiastic cook. She experimented with recipes, ingredients, and eating plans, which for her was deeply satisfying, especially once the farmers' markets were in full swing. As Mars moved forward, and then retrograded in Aries (finally completing its orbit at the end of the year), So Fun experimented with her diet by eliminating gluten. She immediately noticed several effects, including better digestion, clearer thinking, and weight-loss.
SAGITTARIUS (November 22 - December 21)
In my experience as a longtime astrologer, I've seen Sagittarius hit the lowest lows, pull themselves together, and soar—along with rescuing a few other folks on the way. This is a sign you cannot underestimate, and when COVID hit, Boston-based Sadge Marilyn was right in the firing line.
"I had returned from a retreat in Ecuador the week before. I had never been so sick in my life." Her recovery from COVID left her with brain fog, but she walked two to three miles every day, which helped. Previously, her job involved a lot of travel, visiting health care facilities (Sagittarius rules long trips), but now she was deskbound.
"My boss gave me new projects involving reformatting 260 documents. When I began, I was not very good at this but ended up being quite proficient."
Astrologically, Sagittarius had more positive planetary alignments than difficult ones, but this determined fire sign, ruled by Jupiter (planet of generosity) definitely looked out for others. Marilyn looked out for elderly neighbors, providing "meals and homemade treats once a week," as well as helping them sign up for vaccines.
For Shane Mudge, based in Northern California, frustration came from others not taking the pandemic seriously.
"I never go out anyways and I don't overworry, except for when my boyfriend had family get-togethers, which pissed me off and we got COVID from his mom."
Fortunately, Shane's only symptom was a loss of smell, and he's been vaccinated. Carla, of Kentucky, didn't find the quarantine conditions too difficult at first.
She lives in "a rural location and had more than enough food on my shelves and in my freezers. I did not feed into the hysteria and made sure my parents, children, and grandchildren were taken care of."
For Kristin, in Massachusetts, the quarantine ended up reflecting changes that were already afoot in her life. She sold her business as the lockdown was unfolding—partly because "subordinates were causing a lot of grief!" Sagittarius is a social sign—as all fire signs are—but that willingness to be a maverick is also a strong influence. "I embraced the change, but the transition work was overwhelming," she says.
As much grief as fire signs experienced, their ability to pivot, adapt, and boldly go forward was a saving grace. Looking for other elements? Come back next week, and see how the earth signs, Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn fared!