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The U.S Pluto Return (Part Four)PlutoReturnImage

In this series I’ve described the kinds of transformations we might expect from the transformative conjunction of transiting Pluto to natal Pluto in the horoscope of the United States. So far we’ve covered a political transformation, an economic transformation and a transformation in our attitude toward climate change. However, there is another transformative event that is taking place in real time right before our eyes. That is the COVID-19 pandemic.

In March 2020 the arrival of COVID-19 changed everything. Large gatherings and public events were cancelled. Work places were emptied and people started working from home. Many schools also started on-line classes. Everyone (or nearly everyone) wore a mask when they went out in public and those who could avoided going out in public at all. People were scrubbing down their groceries, ordering everything from fast food to toilet paper on-line and, as much as possible, isolating themselves.

Since March 2020, we’ve seen surge after surge of the virus and, even though many of the restrictions of 2020 have been lifted, COVID-19 remains a big factor in how we conduct our lives. However, hope remains that, at some point in the near future, the pandemic will go away and we will be able to return to pre-2020 norms. We still look at the pandemic as a change, and not as a transformation.

The difference between a change and a transformation is key. Change tends to be temporary. If you like it, you can keep it, but if you don’t you can either hunker down and wait for the change to run its course or simple refuse to accept it and return to the way things were before. You can’t do that with a transformation because with a transformation (particularly a Pluto transformation) what was before no longer exists. You have no choice except to go forward with that part of your life that has been transformed.

There is evidence that at least some of the changes that COVID-19 brought us were transformative. The restrictions imposed by the pandemic revealed to some workers and even some employers the advantages of working at home. For many this has become a permanent arrangement. Also, wearing masks and social distancing didn’t just help control the spread of COVID-19, it also resulted in far fewer cases of the flu and other communicable diseases. The mask could become common attire, especially for those most vulnerable to such infection.

However, there are some other changes that came with the pandemic that we’d rather not see become permanent. In the months that followed the outbreak of COVID-19 it became possible to guess a person’s political affiliation by whether or not they were wearing a mask in public. And once you knew that person’s political affiliation you could pretty much predict if they had been vaccinated or not. This public health emergency that should have united us all and become another weapon in the ongoing war between left and right.

The fact that some people would risk a trip to the ICU or even death rather than take the advice of the CDC is indicative of the warped concept of “freedom” that has taken hold in this country. “Not only do I have the right to do what I want with my body (unless I’m a woman of child-bearing age) I also have the right to infect you and everyone else around me with a life-threatening virus.”  The transformation that comes out of COVID-19 could have nothing to do with wearing masks or how we behave at public gatherings and everything to do with this exaggerated definition of personal freedom.

Of course, this brings us back to the possibility of a political transformation. The likelihood that COVID-19 will become the transformative event we've been looking for hinges on whether or not the pandemic continues. The assumptions seems to be that there will be new variants but we hold on the hope that these new versions of the virus will be milder than even the Omicron variant. If that’s the case, then COVID-19 will turn out to just a change, a long and harrowing change to be sure, but just a change. If it’s not, then it could very well become our Pluto transformation.

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