TWH – I talked with Diotima Mantineia about astrology and how its practice can help us to make more informed choices as we move forward and what the “new normal” might be like.
Diotima Mantineia has been a professional astrologer and tarot reader for almost thirty years. She writes for Witches & Pagans Magazine and is the author of Touch the Earth, Kiss the Sky: Allowing the Rational Mind to Welcome Magic and Spirituality.
Her passion for science led to a degree in crop and soil science as well as graduate work in the field. She has broad, multicultural training in various styles of magic and shamanism. Her spiritual path is rooted in the Western Mystery Traditions, the principles of Yoga, and a profound connection with the natural world.
TWH: Welcome to The Wild Hunt again! You’ve written several times on your blog, Urania’s Well about a focus being on structure this year — everything from infrastructure to communications to the structure of laws and ideas that keep our society running.
I expect peak chaos around the coronavirus from pretty much now through the end of April/early May, and a great deal of money will be thrown at the problem in an effort to stabilize the economy and public opinion.
So while what you wrote is definitely reflected and corroborated in the current scientific prediction models as far as the peak, how does the astrology understand an end to the pandemic around August?
DM: By “peak chaos” I meant the fear, confusion, and disruption that has resulted from both the virus and the appallingly weak and impotent federal response to it. While I don’t expect leadership to improve, I do think that people outside of the government will begin to take matters into their own hands as much as possible, and we’ll see new systems and ways of managing the situation. There will also be less panic and more ingenuity and solutions to new problems.
While I would not use astrology to do what medical modeling does better (timing viral outbreaks) I will say that I think this virus will be dogging us pretty much all year. There will be lulls and attempts to get “back to normal”, but the lessons we need to learn this year are about finding a new normal. A new normal with health care for all, federal and state pandemic preparedness, and an awareness of just how closely we are all connected and dependent upon each other.
I think we will find a workable treatment for this virus sooner rather than later. The astrology suggests to me that the treatment may have something to do with blood.
TWH: Initially, we saw grocery store shelves extremely depleted, if not completely stripped. You mentioned in your last blog post on March 20, that food security would become more of an issue, as well as supply chains. While that may not come into play this year, or at least not in the U.S., what does the astrology suggest we can do to prepare for the future?
DM: Supply chains are already badly disrupted. Further disruptions are probable. But we must realize that super-large-scale, fossil-fuel-dependent farming that has become the norm is simply not sustainable on a number of different levels. Resource depletion and climate change will be the primary problems for agriculture in the years ahead, with pollution and diseases not far behind.
Food security means supporting local food sources. It means doing what our ancestors did as a matter of course until very recently – growing food in household gardens. Sure, we’ll still get coffee from South America or Africa, citrus from Florida, etc. But we need farmers raising food all over the country, not large corporations controlling our food supply, and often abusing both farmers and farm-workers in the pursuit of profit above all.
Can you explain which astrological aspects inform on this?
As for the astrology, it’s really too complex to go into a lot of detail. As a mundane astrologer, I’m currently looking at the following charts as I answer your questions:
- The natal chart of the USA (I use Sibly – 7/4/1776 5:12 pm LMT, Philadelphia, PA) with current solar arcs and transits
- The Aries, Cancer, and Libra ingress charts set for Washington, DC (mundane charts are set for the capital of a country)
- The eclipse charts of January and June also set for Washington, DC
- Aspects between transiting planets
DM: My focus here is on the USA, though some of these predictions can be applied globally. I would direct astrologers to look particularly at all the planetary activity in Capricorn, which will be repeatedly squared by Mars as it retrogrades through Aries in the last half of the year. (I expect war. And not just against a virus.)
Also watch Uranus in Taurus, which will be squared by Mars this week at the full moon, and itself squares the nodal axis of the USA’s natal chart from the south bending in May and November.
And pay close attention to Saturn, as it rules both Capricorn and Aquarius. It conjuncted the USA’s natal Pluto in late February, and will do so again in early August, and again in November. Pluto is in the 2nd house of finance and money and co-rules the 12th of epidemics, hospitals, crime, secret enemies of the nation, oil, and a bunch of other currently pertinent stuff.
The three Jupiter-Pluto conjunctions this year are also notable, as is Venus retrograding in Gemini, stationing on the USA’s natal Uranus, traveling over the Descendant three times, and stationing direct on the USA Mars.
TWH: You also mentioned the potential for flooding this year to have an impact on crops.
DM: As for the floods, among other indicators, I particularly note Neptune in Pisces in the 4th house of both the Aries and Cancer ingress charts, and Jupiter, co-ruler of Pisces, in fall in Capricorn and playing footsie with Pluto, Saturn, and Mars pretty much all year.
TWH: There has been a huge surge in digital interaction, which has also attracted more attempts at hacking. Recently, in the news, there have been reports of “Zoombombing” (Zoom is an online platform for video-conferencing.) where people who do not have access to various Zoom meetings and events have managed to gain access and disrupt meetings. Astrologically speaking, was this type of behavior indicated? And if so, can you talk a little about the aspects in play here?
DM: It’s abuse, pure and simple. Abuse can be indicated by Uranus, Saturn, Mars, and Pluto, all of which were having a bit of a party under Saturn’s watch when this became a thing back in mid-March. It intensified as first Saturn and then Mars moved into Aquarius, the sign that rules technology, and squared Uranus, the co-ruler of Aquarius.
There will be an increasing focus on technology this year and next, as first Saturn, then Mars, then Jupiter move into Aquarius and square Uranus at least once. Mars won’t be there long, but Saturn will be there through March of 2023, and Jupiter through 2021. Technology and security will be ongoing issues.
TWH: One takeaway that has been expressed by several other astrologers is that we are on the cusp of a new paradigm and how we respond to the COVID-19 crisis, and the choices we make will set the tone for how we move forward.
There was a Jupiter-Pluto conjunction in Capricorn, exact at 10:44:55 pm EDT on Saturday, which was the first of three similar conjunctions–one in June and the last in November. There is also a full moon this week. How do these aspects come into play?
DM: Oh, this is going to be quite a week indeed. Jupiter – the largest planet in the solar system – makes everything it touches expand. Touching Pluto, which indicates a force majeure, it blows the COVID-19 and the economic crises up into even larger messes. All this is happening in the USA’s second house of the economy, finance, and money, which is another indication that the economic fallout is going to be severe and ongoing.
Pluto, the planet of death (and rebirth), rules the USA’s 12th house of epidemics, hospitals and other institutions where people are separated from society (prisons, religious retreats, etc.), as well as criminal endeavors and espionage. Additionally, Jupiter rules religion, and, as we’ve seen, the insistence of some churches on holding large gatherings in the middle of a pandemic endangers not only themselves but anyone they come in contact with.
Additionally, this Full Moon chart features an aggressive Mars square rebellious Uranus, which suggests some fairly major blowups, and may indicate failures of infrastructure, particularly technological infrastructure, as well as sudden and destructive political/social events. At the least, there will be considerable restlessness, and pushback against lockdowns, as well as growing anxiety on the part of the public.
There is no question we are entering a new paradigm. This year gives us the endings/new beginnings of several outer planet cycles – Jupiter/Pluto, Saturn/Pluto, and Jupiter/Saturn. The Jupiter/Saturn conjunction, always an indicator of major social change, is even more profound this time around, as the element of these conjunctions now switch to the Air signs. That change of elements happens every 200 years, and this change presages the building of new social structures on the rubble of the ones that are being brought down by the ongoing passage of Pluto and Saturn through Capricorn.
It’s hard to find fun and lightheartedness in this sky. There is so much pain and suffering right now that we simply can’t ignore, and we are all affected by it, even if it doesn’t touch us personally. But I do see growing compassion and a sense of connection that is too often missing in our world. There are gems to be found in this darkness and even joy.
TWH: The current crisis has certainly exposed the cracks in our various systems—from medical to governmental. Much of how we have been living and doing business is unsustainable. Is there any good news in all of this?
DM: The good news is that we will come to understand the need for sustainability and do something about it. As I wrote in my Spring 2020 blog post:
…an economy based on growth is not sustainable. An economy that allows the hoarding of immense wealth by a few people is not sustainable. An economy that ignores the environmental consequences of human actions is not sustainable.
There is no way that we go from an extractive and uncontrolled capitalist economy based on unlimited growth to a sustainable, compassionate, creative one without a certain amount of pain, displacement, and even tragedy. But that has always been part of the human condition. “Good news” is relative to our values and our values change as we grow in awareness and understanding. Finding and holding a vision of the society we want to live in, working magically to support that vision, and doing what we are called to do to create it is the good news. We have the opportunity to do what our souls came here to do – experience, grow, create, change the world.
Unlike some, I have high hopes for the future of the Pagan community. We are, as a whole, oriented towards working with Nature instead of against it. We are generally animistic, inclusive, and creative. We are mostly open to the ideas of magic, and a somewhat smaller percentage of us actually practice it. Science alone cannot extract us from this mess we are in. Arguably, it created much of it. We need an underlying philosophy that guides the trajectory of science, that supports the natural world, and an understanding of reality that encompasses the creative forces of Consciousness to build a world we would like to live in.
We can begin to create that world. We can create the good news. And I think we will, by working with each other, with Nature, and with our gods and spirits. It’s not only the cracks in our various social systems that are showing. There are huge cracks in the materialistic foundation of our culture, of science, and Consciousness is peeking through.
TWH: You also recently had your first book released, “Touch the Earth, Kiss the Sky.” What kind of impact has the current crisis had where your book is concerned? Did the astrology surrounding the release date prepare you for where we now collectively find ourselves?
DM: I’m not overly concerned about it, because of how the book came to be. I spent four years writing it, finding time when I could, and the spirits I work with were encouraging me every step of the way.
When the time came to publish it, I got a tarot reading, not an agent. That tarot reading led me to contact a friend, and within a matter of weeks, I had a publisher (Llewellyn – and, as another little blessing, they turned out to be wonderful to work with). I didn’t even do any specific magic for this. I knew it was going to be published, and I’d be guided when the time came. I’m equally sure that the book will get into the hands of the people who need the ideas and information it contains to support their own journey through the crazy times we live in.
It’s a book for these times, so it’s appropriate that it has a chart to match. The difficulties (that stellium in Capricorn is a heavy load) are far outweighed by the benefits. The chart’s Sun has a strong spiritual focus (conjunct Neptune in Pisces), and the Venus-Uranus conjunction in Taurus highlights the book’s focus on animism and breaking through old ways of thinking about the world, as does Mercury in Aquarius. Mercury was stationary, just about to turn direct, but still retrograde. So yes, I anticipated delays, probably outside my ability to influence. But Mercury’s opposition to the Moon in Leo suggests that the book won’t be forgotten.
TWH: If there is one thing you would want our readers to know, what would it be?
DM: Just one? Because there’s a lot I could say about the current astrology, like: It’s a new world. Be willing to consider alternative options. Stay flexible. Remember that some losses can be hard, but necessary. There is a need to grieve what is lost. There is also a need to move on. We will all need to find how to do both those things. Actively look for what brings you joy. Remember to ask for guidance from those whose guidance you trust. Ask for help when you need it. Give help when you can.
But if I had to choose just one thing, I’d say this: Find your vision and hold on tight. These are challenging and dangerous times, but full of opportunities as well. The choices we make now are critical. When things fall apart we need to rebuild, but do we build from our vision of a better world, or do we build on a foundation of fear? Find your vision and hold on tight. Our collective vision will create a new world.