What is the connection between 2021 and 1976?

Astrology is a powerful predictive tool. It uses the natural cycles of the planets for prediction. Nature operates in cycles and these cycles repeat over time. We often say that history repeats itself and this is because cycles repeat themselves.

We have just emerged from a very difficult period globally. In fact astrology predicted that in 2020 there would be war and or financial meltdown. It was hard to imagine how this would unfold and yet it did. Nobody could have imagined….  We have ended up in war with a virus which travels unseen and doesn’t respect our man made borders and boundaries. Our enemy is everywhere and invisible. The world stopped. The economies have been shattered around the world as lockdowns persisted. Our response to the pandemic was to lockdown and this has created enormous economic damage. The big planetary players for 2020 were Pluto, Saturn and Jupiter. All 3 of these planets came together in the sign of Capricorn in 2020 creating a very difficult situation. Pluto is associated with viruses, death and dying, debt and taxation. The problems are immense and nobody was spared. Everyday life was disrupted as businesses and schools closed and only essential workers were allowed to operate. Countries closed their borders and the virus spread regardless. That is what viruses do – they replicate themselves as fast as possible. Covid-19 has been extremely hard on the elderly and those with comorbidities. Death in these groups has been much higher globally. Some countries had more resources than others to support those who were unable to work with lockdown restrictions. Others faulted including our own. It has been incredibly hard for many people across the world and this may well be the chance for humanity to realise that we are as strong as our weakest link. If the virus is still active in poorer countries, no country is safe no matter how wealthy. The same applies to households and this period has highlighted the great divide across the world between those with resources and those not. Covid-19 is shining a bright light on humanity. We are on a path that is not sustainable on every level. Whether you think about energy, pollution, land pressure on the wild animals across the world and our own well-being as a species. We need to rethink our impact on this planet we call home. We are destroying the planet that supports us and we have to make significant changes going forward. We have literally run out of runway. There is no where to hide. All our problems are out in the open. There can be nobody who does not realise that we are in trouble if we don’t significantly change.

The situation has shifted significantly since the end of 2020 and according to the planets the peak of the pandemic concluded at the end of Nov 2020 with Jupiter conjunct Pluto on 12 Nov and Saturn conjunct Pluto on 24 Nov 2020. This was a period when infection rates were climbing across the world. Even as SA entered our summer season when traditionally we would expect these viruses to subside, the infection rates climbed in communities that had little exposure in the first wave. SA had to contend with a new variant as the virus mutated and became more transmissible. The communities that were able to self-isolate and social distance in the 1st wave were harder hit by the 2nd wave as the virus found new ways to penetrate and infect these communities. The virus had an easy time infecting people as families were gathering for the holidays. The Western Cape reached its peak on 7 Jan 2021 and we have seen a steady decline in infections since that time here and across SA.

But now we need to take stock of the current situation and look forward. We need hope and it is often difficult when we are all dealing with some kind of trauma or grief even if we have not lost any loved ones. So where to now?

We need to understand that we (humanity) have been in this before – many times actually. Some will remember times from the past and the thing to realise is that we will get through this difficult period. We have before. But the message is loud and clear – we have to find new ways of operating. We cannot continue doing the same things expecting different results.

Saturn is square Uranus in 2021 and this is the dominant theme for the year. This creates tension and conditions for change. Astrology is a predictive tool and excels when predicting points of change. Change never happens when things are easy. None of us like change – it is difficult. You have to step out of your comfort zone. But change is essential and necessary and part of natures way. Nature works in cycles – initiating, stabilising and breaking down. This process happens all over the world each and every day. Death and dying is a natural process.

Saturn is currently in Aquarius and it is very comfortable in this sign. Saturn teaches us about our responsibilities and duties. Saturn likes order and process. Saturn is patient and wise. Saturn speaks about traditional ways. Saturn refers to those in authority and positions of leadership. Saturn is the responsible adult.

Uranus on the other hand is associated with rebellion and freedom. Uranus likes independence. Uranus is fixated on innovation. Uranus is inventive and is driven to find new ways of operating. Uranus likes risk and chaos. It is inventive after all. Uranus speaks about technological advancement.

As you can see these 2 planets operate very differently. What can we understand about this time? The establishment will be challenged. Just because it was done a certain way for a long time before doesn’t mean it needs to continue along this path. We need to expect social disruptions and change. It is important that we challenge those in authority especially those leaders that are not using their positions of influence and authority appropriately. The real question is this – do you throw the baby out with the bath water and start all over again? There are certainly things from the past that remain relevant and valuable and provide stability and certainty. It is important to keep things stable that are working and work really hard to reinvent where change is appropriate and necessary.

Taking a step back this Saturn Uranus cycle started in 1988.

  • This year will be remembered for the first computer virus – the internet worm. The internet emerged in the 1970’s in the US and this was to revolutionise communication by allowing various computer networks around the world to interconnect. The internet was a little known concept. It was officially launched on 12 March 1989. It was a radical concept at the time. By Jan 1993 there were 50 web servers across the world! The internet only became available to the general public in the 1990’s. It is incredible thinking back to the start of this communication revolution.
  • During this time the Soviet Union changed course and began creating a mixed economy. The Iron Curtain began to disintegrate. Hungary started allowing freer travel to the West. With this massive shift happening in the Soviet Union pressure started building across Eastern Europe and Germany and on 9 Nov 1989 the Berlin Wall fell. This was also significant in our journey as South Africans. The Apartheid government started realising that the world was shifting dramatically and pressure was building on them to unban the ANC. The ANC was banned in 1960 and unbanned on 2 Feb 1990 and political prisoners released. Mandela was released on 11 Feb 1990. Massive social change was taking place globally and in SA.
  • 1988 was also the year that the WHO started its mission to eradicate Polio.
  • The first Aids case was identified in 1983 in SA and the first death in 1985. In 1987 AIDS was included in the official SA list of communicable diseases. In 1988 the Aids Unit and National Advisory Group was established within the department of health to promote AIDS awareness.

In 1999/2000 Saturn and Uranus were 90 degrees apart. This was a stress test once again for society.

  • Everyone was having a meltdown about the computers around the world crashing when the calendar ticked over to year 2000. By the end of 1999 most companies had upgraded software and there were few problems.
  • PayPal was an idea and people were less than impressed.
  • Bill Gates predicted the future with smart phones.
  • Some people were downloading music on Napster without understanding the implications.
  • The DVD player was replacing the VHS players.
  • Books were advertised as going onto computers.
  • Massive Hotmail data breach.
  • Euro was launched.
  • Bill Clinton was facing impeachment.
  • The West became more concerned with terrorist threats and in 2001 on Sep 11 the Twin Towers terrorist attack took place in New York.
  • In 1999 Thabo Mbeki was elected President of SA replacing Mandela with Jacob Zuma as his deputy. Mbeki was an Aids denialist and held the position that HIV did not cause AIDS. In 1998 the Treatment Action Campaign was started. In Jan 2000 the National Aids Council was formed. In April 2001 the government successfully protected a law for the manufacture of cheaper generics. Universal HIV treatment was approved in Aug 2003. By 2005, 5 million SA had HIV making SA the country with the highest rates in the world.

In 2008/2009 Saturn and Uranus were in opposition. Can you notice when change happens? Hard aspects – tension either conjunct 0 degrees, square 90 or opposition 180 degrees apart. This creates circumstances ripe for change.

  • President Mbeki resigned in Sep 2008 and Jacob Zuma became President in April 2009. Dr Aaron Mostoaldi was appointed Health Minister. There was also a commitment to provide all children with HIV treatment.
  • The 2008/2009 Global financial crisis quickly gathered momentum when the subprime housing bubble burst. The crash was the result of a series of events. Once the housing bubble burst, this put pressure on the banks and other financial institutions who were betting on continued house price increases. Many lost jobs, homes, and retirement savings. This was the worst recession since the 1930’s. The Lehman Brothers bankruptcy triggered the Global Recession and the Stock Market crash. This company was started in 1847 and was the 4th largest investment bank before it filed for bankruptcy.
  • President Obama became President of the US in 2008. The first black president of the US.

This leads us to the current Saturn Uranus square in 2021.

If we just look at the major themes from the start of this cycle and follow the threads there is an important connection with the internet and communication. Lockdown has most certainly pushed humanity to improve and make sure there is greater access to these tools. Lockdown has been wonderful for those with internet who could work from home and their children continue their schooling. But it has been a disaster for those who don’t have access to devices and data at home. This has highlighted the great divide between rich and poor within communities and across the world when one considers countries. But it most certainly provides massive opportunities to broaden access to devices and data and improve education outcomes and provide greater work flexibility.

When one looks at disease issues there were great strides made in the treatment of Aids patients but this did not just happen. It required citizens to actively engage with leadership and to ensure that treatment was provided. This was a struggle but certainly the results very positive. Antiretroviral coverage of people with HIV in SA has increased from 0% in 2000 to 71% in 2019. SA has the largest programme in the world treating more than 5 million people.

This time frame seems important in terms of the leadership of the ANC and SA with key changes happening in 1999 and 2008/2009 and now again as there is a massive internal battle raging within the ANC which is spilling over into the leadership dynamic in SA. Zuma is the common thread in this time frame – Deputy President in 1999, President in 2009 and now having to present himself to the Zondo Commission which he clearly has less interest in doing. One wonders if Zuma has not pushed things too far this time. Time will tell.

It certainly is a very difficult time economically and this provides opportunities to create a more inclusive economy and society.

The cycle concludes in 2032 and will start all over again.

So what is the key take home message. We need to take personal and collective responsibility going forward. It is important that we hold those in leadership positions accountable. We need to put pressure on leaders as ordinary citizens. This is the time for social activist citizens. Find a cause that speaks to you and get involved. Whether it is climate, plastic, litter, education, gender based violence, the elderly, alcohol and or drug addiction, food gardens and or healthy food – anything that resonates with you. You don’t have to join a group but there is no doubt an organised structure is better able to pressurise leadership to change – think TAC. We can’t wait for others to deliver. As you can see from history when the time is right things can change very quickly and this is the message that astrology has for us right now. It is time to radically imagine a new reality for humanity. This is not only happening in SA it is a massive generational shift for all. Only time will tell what transpired over this time.

The last complete cycle started in 1942 (WW2) and ended in 1988. The 1976 period resonates with 2021 and we all know what happened then – Soweto uprising. These were the dying days of apartheid and the youth were imagining a different future for themselves. Yes it was a volatile period but ultimately it was about innovation and charting a new future going forward. In 1976, the fight was against Apartheid. In 2021 the fight is against corruption and State Capture. So my question to you is this. In 1976 the youth were marching for education? What will you be marching for in 2021?

Get involved. Take charge personally and collectively in imagining a better path for all. Be brave and take a risk. This is the time. 

Mercury retrograde cycles in 2021

Mercury retrograde cycles in 2021

• 30 Jan to 21 Feb – Aquarius

• 30 May to 23 June – Gemini

• 27 Sep to 18 Oct – Libra

In 2021 the retrograde cycles all occur in air signs. Mercury is comfortable in these environments as air signs are associated with ideas and concepts. The free flow of ideas is important and in retrograde cycles we are asked to relook and reconsider insights. In Aquarius we need to consider the implications of new ideas across society, in Gemini and Libra the connection between people and ideas is important. Collaboration of ideas seems important going forward.


What is also interesting is that the last Jupiter Saturn conjunction on 21 Dec 2020 took place in Aquarius an air sign. This sets a trend going forward and the next Jupiter Saturn conjunctions all take place in air signs, indicating a time of societal change – innovative ideas and concepts driving these changes.

Jupiter conjunct Saturn – these periods are indications that society needs a big reset and it seems as a collective we need to harness new ideas and insights going forward.

• 2040 – Libra – air

• 2060 – Gemini – air

• 2080 – Aquarius – air

• 2100 – Libra – air

This was in contrast with what transpired over the last century. All of these cycles took place in earth signs except the period in 1980 (air). Earth signs are always associated with the accumulation of resources and material possessions.

• 1901 – Capricorn – earth

• 1921 – Virgo – earth

• 1940 – Taurus – earth

• 1961 – Capricorn – earth

• 1980 – Libra – Air

• 2000 – Taurus – Earth


The world needs to embrace new insights going forward.

Dominant planetary cycle 2021 – Saturn square Uranus

This is a very volatile period for stock markets and social movements globally. Uranus in unpredictable. Things are unlikely to progress as one would expect. Changes are likely to be drastic, sudden or unexpected. At its essence this aspect pitches the traditional against those wanting radical change and innovation in society at large.
This period started on 18 March 2020 and concludes 26 July 2022. It is exact on 17 Feb, 15 June and 24 Dec 2021.
This aspect was also active between 23 Dec 1929 and concluded on 1 Dec 1931. It was exact on 23 Feb, 9 April and 12 Dec 1930 and then again on 21 July and 17 Oct 1931.
• These period coincided with the Great Depression post the 25 Oct 1929 stock market crash. Black Friday marked the day after the largest sell-off of shares on the US stock market.
This aspect was also active between 25 July 1975 and 10 June 1977. It was exact 4 Oct and 17 Oct 1975, 2 July 1976 and then again on 24 Feb and 23 April 1977.
• This was a very volatile period in the history of SA. The Soweto Uprising began on 16 June 1976. It is estimated that about 20 000 black school children took to the streets. The protests were in response to the introduction of Afrikaans as the medium of instruction in local schools. These children were met by police brutality and a number were killed in the protests. In democratic SA, it is now celebrated as a public holiday – Youth Day.
• The UK 1976 IMF Crisis unfolded with the Labour Government having to borrow $3.9 billion from the International Monetary Fund to stabilise a balance of payments crisis. Drastic budget cuts were implemented post the crisis and although only half the loan was accessed and then repaid by 4 May 1979, many believe this period paved the way for Margaret Thatcher’s 1979 Conservative victory.

Disease profiles associated with Saturn and Uranus

Saturn represents the skeleton, skin and teeth. It is associated with maturation and aging. Illnesses are chronic. Recuperation is obstructed. Depression is common. Poor blood supply is indicated together with slowed functioning and progressive atrophy of body processes and structures.

Saturn finds itself in Aquarius and this sign is associated with the lower legs especially the calf muscle and ankle. Blood circulation is important, so too the oxygen exchange in the cells. Body pulsations are regulated by the electrical charge in and outside the cells. This depends on the relative proportions of sodium and potassium ions. Potassium should be dominant internally and sodium externally. Sodium should be ionised with positive potentials and potassium negative. To keep cells healthy a mechanism needs to transport potassium into cells and sodium out. In a sick body – cancer – this mechanism is not working effectively. Diseases associated with this sign include circulation problems, cold sweats, spasmodic movements, Asperger’s type syndromes, schizophrenia, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s like conditions.

Uranus represents the co-ordination of bodily activities and the rhythmical pulsating of bodily functions. Everything that is alive pulsates – the heart, breathing and digestion. Spasmodic is the word most associated with Uranus and indicates that these natural rhythms are disrupted. When one part of the system is disrupted the entire system is affected.

Uranus finds itself in Taurus. This sign is associated with the principles of accumulation and the ability to maintain stability and rhythm in the body. Taurus is associated with the neck, throat, thyroid gland, voice, medulla oblongata of the brain and middle ear. The thyroid gland regulates metabolic rate and controls cardiac output and heart rate. At the base of the skull is the portion of the brain stem known as the medulla oblongata. This contains vital reflex centres for heart rate, muscle tone of blood vessels and the respiratory reflex centre for breathing. Injury to this part of the brain is often fatal. This part of the brain is the oldest part and often referred to as the reptilian brain. Its impulses are instinctual and ritualistic. It is concerned with the fundamental need of survival. The emotions of love, hate, fear, lust are all housed here. When we are out of control with anger and rage our reptilian brain has over ridden our rational brain. Diseases associated with Taurus include thyroid problems, heart conditions and cancerous tumours.

Saturn square Uranus – major theme 2021

The dominant cycle in 2020 was the Capricorn stellium involving the conjunction of Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto. This combination of planets spoke about the prospect of war and or financial meltdown – a massive debt crisis. The war as it transpired is a war against a virus – an enemy that travels unseen and doesn’t respect our boundaries and borders. This virus and our response to it has literally stopped the world for much of 2020. Every country across the world has been impacted by the virus and various lockdown scenarios. The economic consequences are devastating as people, businesses, companies and governments struggle to keep afloat. Debt is a major problem in this time. This combination of planets also cautions against extreme use of power and force and the dangers thereof long term. One wonders how those in authority across the world will let go of lockdown as a strategy and a tool of control? These outcomes in the wrong hands can have devastating consequences. We need to be very mindful of the abuse of power during this period.

The world is truly broken. We have run out of excuses and options. Covid-19 has exposed all the structural weaknesses across the world. We now have to fix what is broken. This is the message of 2021.

Saturn square Uranus

This planetary aspect started on 18 March 2020 and concludes on 10 Dec 2022. This is the dominant planetary aspect during 2021. The most powerful dates are when the aspect is exact.

  • 17 Feb, 15 June and 24 Dec 2021

Saturn is associated with the authority and imposes limitations, restrictions and rules. Uranus on other hand wants more freedom and independence. It speaks about a clash of the old versus the new. It refers to the need to innovate and find new ways of operating. We cannot expect to do the same thing and get different results. The systems and structures within society need to be re-invented. We need to find new ways of managing old problems. We will require perseverance and determination as we find new solutions to stubborn problems. This combination produces much conflict as those that like to hold on to traditional ways get forced to consider different solutions and opportunities. This aspect speaks about freedoms being restricted and the conflict this fuels as people fight back against these limitations. It creates much tension and social unrest.

Biologically this aspect is associated with inhibition of rhythm, heart blockages and abnormal breathing patterns. Saturn rules bones and Uranus indicates removal or breakage or amputation.

Uranus is unpredictable in nature and behaves suddenly and unexpectedly. Uranus likes chaos and thrives when there is uncertainty.

This planetary aspect was last active between June 1999 to April 2001. This time was synonymous with the Y2K problem which was essentially a software problem. There was concern that the formatting and storage of calendar data beginning in year 2000 would be a problem. This turned out not to be the case and the transition was relatively seamless. The dot.com bubble was a stock market bubble caused by excessive speculation of Internet-related companies in the late 1990s. It was a period of massive growth in the use and adoption of the internet. Mozambique experienced its worst flooding in 50 years. It was the year the first resident crews entered the International Space Station. The 2000 US election was disputed (Bush vs Gore) and the Supreme Court ruled that the recount in Florida should be halted thus making George Bush President of US. The West was also concerned about the threat of terrorism.

Jupiter square Uranus

In addition Jupiter will square Uranus between 29 Dec 2020 and 8 Feb 2021. This aspect is exact on 18 January 2021. Jupiter magnifies and exaggerates problems. Think stock market concerns and volatility.

This aspect was last active between April to June 2000.

Both Saturn and Jupiter square Uranus between 4 Jan to 8 Feb 2021. This signifies a powerful and volatile period in 2021 as old and new clash and these issues get magnified.

Mars conjunct Uranus

Mars also connects with Uranus from 12 Jan 2021. It is exact on 20 Jan 2021. Mars adds aggression, force and determination. This adds to the volatility we will experience in January and February 2021. Mars is in detriment in Taurus and is likely to behave badly. This really does speak about conflict and revolution.

When we look at all these aspects – Jupiter and Saturn square Uranus and Mars conjunct Uranus, the period 12 to 29 Jan 2021 is highlighted as significant.

We are in for a rough start to 2021. The devastation of 2020 is there for all to see and it is up to all of us to find new ways of operating, finding long term sustainable solutions to our collective problems. Saturn speaks about the land, farming and agriculture, construction and engineering. It speaks about hardship and the need to be prudent. It refers to the need to take responsibility – personally and collectively. The scientific process is governed by Saturn. Saturn is associated with chronic illness.

Uranus requires that we find new solutions to long term problems. Innovation and disruption are important themes. Uprisings are indicated. Sudden and unexpected natural disasters and accidents are appropriate. Electricity and technology are highlighted. Our reliance on coal and petroleum needs to fundamentally change. This is an exciting time to look forward to big leaps in the advancement of society in general. With good intentions this period can go a long way to making the world a better place.  

The world population in year 2000 was 6 billion. It currently stands at 7.8 billion in year 2020. We certainly need to fundamentally change our ways to secure our future of this planet.

Solar Total Eclipse (NM) 14 Dec 2020

Sun conjunct Moon 23 Sagittarius in place of partnerships – personal and or business.

Partnerships are an important focus in this chart and there is tension. The parties are not content and seem to have different ideas about the direction that should be taken in the partnership/business. Financial matters could be adding an enormous burden to the partnership. These need to be dealt with decisively. Issues relating to debt and taxation must get resolved. You may very well need some legal advice to sort out these matters. It seems like there is little room to manoeuvre – the business/partnership is not in a good place and it is important to get things back on track and re-imagine your future direction if you believe the business/partnership can be salvaged. Focus on the financial well-being of the business. This requires energy, effort and determination. It will not necessarily be easy but could be very good in the long run.

The dynamics at home and with the children are also challenging. It seems like your focus must be to get the business financially functional again. That must be your focus and priority.

Friendships – personal or business can go a long way to providing support at this time.

https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/globe/2020-december-14

Covid-19 and its impact globally and here is SA

Jupiter conjunct Pluto – this conjunction started on 29 Feb 2020 and ends on 12 Nov 2020. It is exact on 5 April, 30 June and 12 Nov 2020. These dates may become important in this pandemic and with regards the lockdowns.


These planets were last conjunct between 16 Nov 2007 and 5 Jan 2008. The global financial crisis of Dec 2007 to June 2009 which started with the subprime mortgage crisis. It was followed by a period of extended recession – Great Recession between 2012 and 2015.


As I have mentioned before Pluto is associated with the following – atomic bombs, assassinations, bacteria, betrayal, catastrophes, cemeteries, coffins, convicts, crematories, crime, death, decay, decomposition, defiance, demolition, destitution, devastation, dictators, disasters, epidemics, evacuation, executions, extremism, filth, gangsters, garbage, mortality, murder, obituaries, plagues, plutonium, poison, pornography, procreation, prostitution, purging, rape, rodents, rotting, rubbish, sewage, suicides, swamps and bogs, taxation, tyrants, victims, viruses, volcanoes and wars.


Jupiter will magnify these problems. Jupiter is fallen in Capricorn – this creates further problems. Jupiter is not comfortable in this sign. With respect to the Covid-19 virus we must expect the death toll to rise and the cases to increase. Debt problems will escalate post the shut-down here in SA and globally. Those with debt problems prior to this crisis will find themselves in very difficult circumstances. The ripple effect across the economy will multiply exponentially – just like the Covid-19 cases. That is why it is so important for us to flatten the curve so that the health professionals can cope and not become overwhelmed. But there are consequences to extended lockdowns and those are economic. Businesses will find themselves drowning in debt – no income and certain unavoidable expenses. They may very well be forced to close which will increase the number of individuals who find themselves without employment. The impact of lockdown is likely to be extremely severe. This process only completes towards mid to end November.


Government will realise it has a massive fiscal deficit. With businesses not able to trade and generate income, the government will feel the effects of less tax revenue. The government will need to provide financial support for all entities and individuals post shut-down. It is going to be a massive undertaking for everyone.


We can’t take our eye off the ball currently – these are unprecedented times. We need to find sustainable solutions collectively.

What to do when Mercury is retrograde?

October 14 to November 3WHAT TO DO WHEN MERCURY IS RETROGRADE?

The planet Mercury rules communication, travel, contracts and motor cars/modes of transport. So, when Mercury is retrograde, remain flexible, allow extra time for travel, and avoid signing contracts. Double check your email responses, check in with reservations before you take that trip. Review projects and plans at these times, perhaps wait until Mercury is direct again to make any final decisions. You can’t stop your life, but plan ahead, have back-up plans, and be prepared for angrier people and misunderstandings.

This Mercury retrograde happens in Scorpio/Libra. At the start Mercury is opposed Uranus – we must expect some volatile interactions. Be prepared for the unexpected. Towards the end of October, Mercury squares Jupiter and Saturn. This implies there will be consequences for decisions taken. It will be interesting to watch the various business rescue scenarios during this period. Outcomes that stick may be tricky.

Grief

All of us are grieving. Some have lost loved ones to Covid-19. Others have lost loved ones to other illnesses and they may very well have been sick for a very long time. It must have been devastating not being able to be with these family members or friends in their time of need. Many people have lost incomes, jobs, businesses or livelihoods. Financial stress is very concerning and drowning in debt is incredibly stressful. Being unable to feed ones family and not having money to pay rent or your bond is a desperate situation. For others the loss relates to postponed weddings or family holidays.

We have all lost everyday routine – going to work and connecting with people in the office; missing the school routine of learning, friendship and sport; parents missing the social connections in the school environment whether it is watching sport, music concerts or plays. What about the Grade 12 class of 2020? They missed pretty much missed most of the academic year but also all the milestones – matric dance, sporting contests, charity work, plays and concerts. What about 1st year university students? Or final year students? Most had 6 weeks of university life. 2020 has been salvaged with online classes but there is no community experience of student life, sports and clubs. Mums with new born babies have lost the connection with other mothers in play groups or stimulation groups. The list is endless. We have all lost something in 2020 and we need to acknowledge this loss and process our grief.

I am reminded of the 5 stages of grief – Elisabeth Kübler-Ross. This work related to loss from terminal illness. But it is now accepted that these stages of grief can be applied to anyone experiencing loss/grief whether through illness or loss of income or business etc.

I know this process well. I too was once consumed by grief post the termination of a Down’s pregnancy during an IVF journey. It was a very difficult period in my life but a time that was also incredibly powerful and transformative. I would encourage anyone to truly process one’s grief fully. It is not easy nor pretty. But at some stage the grief will need to be processed. When we push our feelings aside and try to control or deny our feelings they will find a way to emerge – perhaps many years later. It will be that much harder to process the grief that was so well hidden and buried. Grief is a completely natural process. We need to give people space to grieve knowing we cannot fix it for them. It is important to just be there and hold the space for them to grieve. This is also not easy.

The Five Stages of Grief Are…

  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression
  • Acceptance

Denial – this is the first stage – not being able to fully grasp the situation – can’t believe this has happened. We enter this stage so that the loss doesn’t come crashing down on us.

Anger – we direct our anger outside of self – at the world, an institution, the health system. Anger allows us to work through some emotions without feeling vulnerable. Once the anger is exhausted the person has an opportunity to face the loss.

Bargaining – like denial and anger this stage allows us to avoid being vulnerable and asking for help. In this stage we bargain – if only…. It is only natural to try and make sense of the loss. But sadly there are some losses that cannot be explained.

Depression – this stage is the most recognisable stage of grief. We see others face their loss and become overwhelmed with sadness. Those grieving will tend to isolate themselves. It will be difficult to socialise, get out of bed and face the day. It just feels overwhelmingly difficult. You may very well feel like giving up and curling up in a ball and hoping to disappear. Life seems pointless. This is a natural process but can become very destructive if the person grieving doesn’t ask for help. Suicide is a real danger during this period.

Acceptance – this is the final stage, when the person grieving can see some light at the end of the tunnel. They are able to accept their situation and move forward. The healing process can begin and the person can integrate the loss into their life experience.

This process takes time. The grieving process cannot be rushed. The person may not move through all stages in sequence. It is often said that it takes 3 years to process a loss. The first year you are just going through the motions, the second year you are working through all the anniversaries related to the loss and it is only in the third year that you are able to move forward into the light.

We all need to recognise that this is a very difficult time globally. Grief is all around us. But is it also a time of profound change. Once we process the loss and move forward we will have stepped forward into a new reality – into the light.