The Spanish flu epidemic is the one most often mentioned as a comparison for Covid-19. Though the present death rate of just over one million is a blip against the 50 million plus who died of the flu in four waves between 1918 to 1920. The second wave was the deadliest though again that doesn’t look to be the case now. What exacerbated the spread of the influenza back then were troops returning from World War One.
It took hold in March 1918 on a Saturn Neptune conjunction (in Leo) which is a classic epidemic signature. Both planets were still in Leo though not conjunct by the third wave in early 1919. The third wave was less severe than the second wave but still more deadly than the first. The fourth wave in spring 2020 was in isolated patches but still with high death rates.
When it started to recede and then disappear in 1920 Saturn had moved from Leo into Virgo and was in an economically restrictive and unstable opposition to Uranus – the global recession of 1920/21 fitted the astro-pattern. And a similar effect will be repeated in different signs in 2021 as Uranus in Taurus squares Saturn in Aquarius. What followed the recessionary dip was the Roaring Twenties with Neptune in Leo bringing a period of economic expansion and prosperity, most obvious in the USA, lasting until the 1929 crash and the Great Depression following.
Nothing ever repeats exactly and the planets are in different signs but the parallels are interesting nonetheless. The Saturn Pluto conjunction which was the bringer of the plague this time round will separate by sign late this December and Saturn will move onto the square to Uranus for the economic pain which is undoubtedly coming in 2021.
See post on previous historic plagues: March 22 2020
Previous Saturn Neptune conjunctions this century were in 1989 in Capricorn and in 1952 in Libra.
In the USA, the 1952 polio epidemic was the worst outbreak in the nation’s history, and is credited with focusing public awareness on the need for a vaccine. Of the 57,628 cases reported that year 3,145 died and
21,269 were left with mild to disabling paralysis. The vaccine had an immediate effect and since 1982 there have been no domestically acquired polio cases in the UK.
1989/90 saw a small spike in influenza deaths, a localised USA measles outbreak and more cholera deaths in Africa though not at pandemic level.
Previous Saturn Neptune conjunctions in Aries were in 1703 and 1056. There was an outbreak of Yellow Fever in New York in 1702 and smallpox in Quebec in 1703 – though they were localised epidemics. Easier in those days when travel was relatively limited.
1703 had Saturn Neptune in Aries square Uranus in Cancer and trine Pluto in Leo – and was the opener of a century that ushered into the Enlightenment as well as expanding slavery.