A pandemic is always a heightened possibility when Jupiter conjuncts Neptune, as it is now doing in Aquarius. Neptune is connected to infectious diseases, and Jupiter expands whatever it touches. There was a Jupiter-Neptune conjunction in 1919/20 during the global Spanish flu pandemic, which is estimated to have killed 50-100 million people. It has been described as "the greatest medical holocaust in history".
In today’s news we read: A new flu virus suspected of killing up to 60 people in Mexico has the potential to become a pandemic, the World Health Organization's chief says… Health experts say tests so far seem to link the illnesses in Mexico with a new swine flu virus that sickened eight people in the southern US. Since writing this yesterday, the number of deaths has gone up to 81.
It’s worth remembering, however, that most Jupiter-Neptune conjunctions do NOT result in pandemics, and the stars are NOT saying that there will be a pandemic this time. If there is one, the sign of Aquarius and the presence of Chiron suggest there could be a man-made aspect to the virus. For example, it may be that, originating in swine, the virus is a product of the artificial and intensive conditions under which many domestic animals are kept.
The stars also seem to confirm a man-made component to the recent collapse in bee colonies. No-one yet knows why this has been happening, but the evidence points strongly to a new generation of pesticides used in farming. Jupiter-Neptune describes this widespread bee ailment, and Chiron and Aquarius point strongly to a man-made origin.
Aquarius is Science, and Chiron in Aquarius is the inherent flaw we find in science, which is its tendency to assume that the detached, ‘rational’, mind reigns supreme. There is nothing wrong with Science except for this assumption, which I think has come about due to its huge practical and theoretical successes. It’s like a country thinking that because it is big and powerful, it must be right. And that's when you start making big mistakes. It is and always will be human nature to think like this, which is why Chiron is the 'incurable' wound.
It is interesting that the word rational has come to mean narrowly logical. It comes from the word ratio, which means proportionate or balanced, which is a wonderful concept. Nowadays, something is only balanced, only reasonable, if it can be justified in these much narrower terms.
It is the triumph of Blake’s Urizen (‘your reason’). “Not a benevolent character, Urizen oppresses Orc, who embodies revolutionary passion and creativity, and who serves as a suffering saviour figure. He is also an enemy of Luvah, the spirit of love.”
Urizen seems to be a good portrayal of the shadow side of Chiron in Aquarius. The conjunction with Jupiter and Neptune will be going on for the rest of the year, so we may see a continuation of this theme of man-made ailments and diseases, which also serve as a warning about the limits and dangers of science.
It is important, however, not to go to the other extreme and be unduly suspicious of Science. It has done some wonderful things and will no doubt continue to do so. Chiron is also the healer, and a teacher of heroes: he helps us achieve what was once thought to be impossible. This triple conjunction may, for example, also result in cures for diseases like cancer and Aids. Or in the achievement of the Holy Grail of energy production, controlled nuclear fusion (the Americans will be attempting this in June).