Will Coronavirus Kill Astrology?

Back in May a friend called to ask what I thought of an article in the NY Times which claimed that astrology was about to die out because astrologers had not predicted the pandemic. I hadn’t read the piece, so I checked my subscription to the Times and read a rather silly and uninformed article by Haley Phelan, who quite obviously knows nothing about astrology. Apparently Ms. Phelan is a follower of NY astrologer Susan Miller who had not warned people of the corona virus threat. Because one astrologer failed to make a prediction, Ms. Phelan assumed that no one had and concluded that astrology was about to meet its demise.

Recently I heard a podcast in which Chris Brennan mentioned this article and commented that back in 2011 the noted mundane astrologer André Barbault, now deceased, had predicted that there would be a pandemic in 2020. Here is the verbatim text from Barbault’s 8 June 2011 publication, written in French, and followed by a tranlsation into English:

“Pour revenir aux pandémies et en remontant le siècle écoulé, les quatre crises de 1918, 1954, 1968 et 1982 sautent aux yeux, les deux considérables ayant été la première, la fameuse « grippe espagnole » qui a fait, dit-on, 25 millions de morts, et la dernière où s’est installé le Sida, lequel est encore plus dévastateur et continue d’être meurtrier. Depuis, il y eut aussi une faible poussée grippale en 2009, tout contre le dernier indice cyclique le plus bas (2010). Il se pourrait bien que nous soyons sérieusement menacés d’une nouvelle pandémie au cap de 2020-2021, à la pointe la plus basse de l’indice cyclique de tout ce XXIe siècle, avec le quintette des lentes rassemblées sur une centaine de degrés, une conjonction Jupiter-Saturne-Pluton pouvant plus particulièrement, et même spécifiquement, se prêter au « tissu » de ce déséquilibre. Il n’en demeure pas moins que cette configuration puisse aussi transférer son noyau de dissonances au terrain des catastrophes géophysiques, sans épargner en dernier lieu la scène des affaires internationales, Nature et Société étant indistinctement touchées.” — André Barbault, 8 June 2011.

English Translation (bold mine):

“Returning to pandemics and looking back over the past century, the four crises of 1918, 1954, 1968 and 1982 stand out, the first of which was the famous “Spanish flu“, which is said to have killed 25 million people, and the last, where AIDS took hold, which is even more devastating and continues to be deadly. Since then, there was also a small flu outbreak in 2009, just against the last lowest cyclical index (2010). We may well be at serious risk of another pandemic in the course of 2020-2021, at the lowest cyclical index point of the entire 21st century, with the quintet of slow planets (“lentes” in French) gathered within a hundred degrees, one Jupiter-Saturn-Pluto conjunction, which can more particularly, and even specifically, lend themselves to the “fabric” of this imbalance. The fact remains that unless this configuration can also transfer its core of dissonances to the terrain of geophysical disasters, without ultimately sparing the scene of international affairs, Nature and Society being affected indiscriminately.” [Written in 2011 and translated here with www.DeepL.com/Translator]

Barbault studies the pattern of peaks and troughs of his cyclical index and associates the lowest dips on the graph with geophysical and societal disasters. The current covid-19 pandemic correlates with the “lowest cyclical index point of the entire 21st century” (à la pointe la plus basse de l’indice cyclique de tout ce XXIe siècle).

Note: Paul Kiernan has done a preliminary translation into English of the entire article just cited. The English translation can be found at this link: Apercu sur les pandamies by André Barbault. The original article in French can be found here: original article of 8 June 2011 on pandemics. Below I have reproduced Paul Kiernan’s translation of the same paragraph translated by computer above:

“The cyclical indices of the 19th and 20th centuries presented here are divided summarily into four categories of societal disruption: epidemics at the squares, wars at the circles, economic crises at the crosses, and revolutions at the stars. To return to pandemics and to the previous century, the four crises of 1918, 1954, 1968 and 1982 stand out, the two most significant being the first, the famous “Spanish Flu” which caused, it’s said, 25 million dead, and the last, in which AIDs took root, which is the most devastating and continues to be murderous. Since then, there has been a weak influenza outbreak in 2009, all against the last lowest cyclical index (2010). There may well be serious danger of a new pandemic at the turn of 2020-2021, at the lowest point in the cyclic index of the whole 21st century, with the five slowest planets assembled within a hundred degrees, a conjunction of Jupiter-Saturn-Pluto could more particularly, and more specifically, lend itself to the “fabric” of this imbalance. The fact remains that this configuration could also transfer its core of dissonance to the field of geophysical disaster, without ultimately sparing international business, Nature and Society being indiscriminately affected.”

Clearly Haley Phelan of the NY Times didn’t do her homework or she would have known that back in 2011 a highly respected expert in mundane astrology had predicted a pandemic during the period 2020-2021. The NY Times could do better than to publish such poorly researched and misleading articles.

How did Barbault make such a prediction? He used what he called the Cyclical Index, which is a measure of the relative proximity of five outer, slow-moving planets: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. Any two planets can be paired and studied in terms of their cycle with respect to each other. The cycle is said to start at their conjunction and then to wax until their opposition (the “evolutive” period), and finally to wane (the “involutive” period) until the next conjunction, which completes the cycle and starts a new one. When these five outermost planets cluster together and go through a period of being within orb of conjoining one another, human history undergoes major upheavals which may include pandemics, natural disasters, and significant political and societal restructuring.

Because some readers may not be familiar with Barbault’s work, I recommend reading his classic article Planetary Cycles and their Interferences, published in “Cahiers Astrologiques juillet-août 1946“, in which he describes his methodology. The original is in French, but at this link there is a translation of the original into English by Beatrice Boucher. It is a fascinating read and worth the effort.

Let me conclude by showing a graph of Barbault’s Planetary Cycle Index with some key years highlighted, as described in the paragraph from June 8, 2011 above. This graph was prepared using Regulus Pro Platinum by Juan Saba of Cathar software.

For comparison I have included below the Planetary Cycle Index for the 14th century which hosted the Bubonic Plague or Black Death in Europe. According to wikipedia: “The Black Death, also known as the Pestilence and the Great Mortality, was the most fatal pandemic recorded in human history, resulting in the deaths of up to 75–200 million people in Eurasia and North Africa, peaking in Europe from 1347 to 1351.” Note the similarity of the overall patterns in the two graphs and the fact that the deepest trough in the graph occurs at the start of 1347.

Addendum (5 June 2020):

Juan Saba called to my attention that astrologer Boris Cristoff in 2015 also predicted a pandemic in 2020. Here is a link to the video interview in which he makes his prediction, starting at about 3:50 minutes into the recording (which was posted in April of 2016): Boris Cristoff entrevista completa. Having studied prior pandemics astrologically, including the AIDS epidemic of the early 1980s, he goes on to comment about a future pandemic in 2020.

Here is my transcription of what he said along with a translation:

“… en este siglo ahora pronto en 2020 … con el 2020 volverá otra pandemia quizás peor”

Translation: “in this century, very soon, in 2020 … with the year 2020 another pandemic will return, perhaps worse [than AIDS] …”

Astrologer Boris Cristoff died in 2017 at age 91. He was the author of a book about the astrology of the early 1980s:

Useful references:




About Anthony Louis

Author of books about astrology and tarot, including TAROT PLAIN AND SIMPLE, HORARY ASTROLOGY, and THE ART OF FORECASTING WITH SOLAR RETURNS.
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9 Responses to Will Coronavirus Kill Astrology?

  1. Ron Squibbs says:

    Very interesting, Tony. Thanks for sharing.
    I was curious about the translation “quintet of nits.” Using my French-English dictionary I was able to verify that a “lente” is indeed a “nit” (so in that respect the translation program was accurate). More commonly, however, “lente” is used as an adjective: it is the feminine plural form of “lent” (slow). In context it appears that “lentes” in the original text is an abbreviation for “lentes planètes”–“slow[-moving] planets.” This, of course, is consistent with your description of these planets in your commentary.

  2. Ron, thanks. Unfortunately, I don’t know French and could not personally critique the translation done by machine. Your explanation makes sense, and I’ll modify the computer’s translation accordingly. I’ll also add Paul Kiernan’s human translation of the same paragraph for comparison.

  3. new desert says:

    A wise prediction, indeed, and an excellent translation!

    Are you French by birth?


  4. No, I’m not French by birth and sadly I don’t speak the language. I have to rely on computer translations or those done by other humans.

  5. MC astro says:

    In French language, when an astrologer speak about “lentes”, he means “planets going slowly”, that is Uranus, Neptune and Pluton. (PS : I am from France)

  6. giselarod18 says:

    Fascinating! I wonder what mitigating factors were present for the graphical troughs that did not have pandemics?

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