With many facing serious or even life-threatening illness due to COVID-19, astrologers may wonder about indications of illness in the horoscope. Traditional astrological techniques can forecast risk of serious illness during a specific period. This is valuable for mental preparation and taking appropriate precautions, or, if the prediction is favorable, to avoid undue anxiety. The goal of this article is to demonstrate the methods and key indications of a serious illness in a famous COVID-19 patient’s horoscope, and teach astrologers proven techniques that can be applied to any natal horoscope.

Just before the 2019 U.K. elections widely expected to bring Boris Johnson to power, I examined Johnson’s horoscope for the year following his birthday (June 19). There were some positive features, as we would expect in the chart of someone ascending to the highest office in the land. However, I was very surprised to see the number of negative elements in the coming the year. This article is drawn from the observations I made at the time and filed away. Then, long before COVID-19 was a twinkle in a pangolin’s eye, I had thought Johnson would face a significant but garden-variety illness, such as a cardiac episode or similar. I certainly did not expect him to be the most prominent ICU patient in a worldwide pandemic, fighting for his life in an NHS hospital. Out of respect for Johnson’s privacy, this article will not discuss whether he will live or die. Readers may draw their own conclusions.

Below is Johnson’s natal horoscope:

Boris Johnson, 2 P.M., June 19, 1964, New York, NY

The luminaries, in addition to the Ascendant, are the points of life and vitality, and we expect them to be afflicted as an indication of illness or injury. Of these three points, the Moon is the most troubled in Johnson’s chart; it is in its fall and is angular in the house of body and vitality. Because of its prominent location in the horoscope, the debilitated Moon can do significant harm to the native’s body. The Sun is cadent, and peregrine, but not actively afflicted like the Moon. The Sun’s problem is more that it is unprepared to step in and support the individual when the Moon fails. We will hold this natal assessment of Johnson’s luminaries in the back of our minds as we investigate the prognostications for this year.

The astrological year runs from birthday to birthday, so we are examining the period of June 19, 2019 to June 19, 2020. We first examine the primary directions operating during this period to see the level of support for health and vitality. We will use the technique of key natal points and their bound rulers (known as distributors) that color chapters of life, as well as the distributors’ partners, planets most recently aspected by the directed natal point. Together, these planets give us a sense of the ease or difficulty of the period under scrutiny.

Ascendant: Distributor: Saturn’s bound in Scorpio (2nd house). Partner: opposition to Jupiter (8th house)
The Sun: Distributor: Mercury’s bound in Leo (11th). Partner: sextile to Mercury (9th house)
The Moon: Distributor: Mercury’s bound in Sagittarius (3rd). Partner: square to Saturn (5th)

The Ascendant is significantly afflicted, as it is currently passing through the bounds of Saturn and opposes a planet in the eighth house of death, or at least the danger of death. The Sun and Moon are both in Mercury’s bounds – he is the planet ruling the breath, though he is well dignified in Gemini, which is encouraging. This is one indication that Mercurial body structures or systems, such as the lungs, are vulnerable now. The Moon is also square Saturn, indicating potential problems with Mercurial parts of the body. Though we can become ill at any time, whenever we have the Ascendant, Sun, or the Moon in the bounds or partnering with malefics, the odds increase that the illness will be serious or long-lasting. In Johnson’s case, the emphasis on Saturn is serious, and potentially, the same is true for Mercury, which rules the beneficent ninth house as well as the malefic twelfth house of suffering and isolation.

To zoom in on Johnson’s chart for this year, we turn to annual profections. The profected Ascendant is in Taurus, the natal eighth house of death and fear. Profected Sun is in Capricorn, the natal fourth house, and the Moon comes to Gemini, the natal ninth house. Given the unpleasant primary directions, it is concerning to see an emphasis on the eighth and fourth houses, which are associated with life-threatening events, and even death. In isolation, none of these factors indicates serious illness – after all, our Ascendant profects to the eighth house every twelve years – but taken together, we see a repetition of troubling themes.

In Johnson’s chart, Jupiter is in the eighth house, potentially helping stave off death, at least for a while. However, Jupiter does rule the sixth house of disease, indicating that Johnson could eventually die from a Jupiter-in-Taurus type of illness. Gemini is the natal ninth house and contains Mars (the malefic contrary to sect, which is especially harmful to day natives), Mercury, the Sun, and Venus (the benefic contrary to sect, which may bring temporary or minor blessings). Capricorn contains no natal planets. Overall, the houses emphasized by this year’s profections are challenging, though perhaps mitigated by the presence of the benefic planets, which may keep the native from death’s door, even as Mars does his best to shove Boris through.

Next, we turn to the Solar Return for 2019/2020:

Boris Johnson, Solar Return 2019, set for New York (birthplace)

We will watch for planets transiting Taurus, Capricorn, and Gemini to identify potential sources of difficulty. The Solar Return (SR) for 2019 plainly tells the story. The SR has Capricorn rising, Johnson’s natal fourth house, where his profected Sun is this year. The SR Ascendant contains Saturn and the Moon, a very difficult combination for the health; the Moon and Saturn together are always challenging in a Return chart, but especially when the profected Sun, giver of life, is in Capricorn as well. The Moon is debilitated in Capricorn, conjoining the profected Sun. Saturn and the Moon oppose Mercury and Mars in the SR, further afflicting Capricorn and the Moon.

The SR has a busy sixth house of illness; the Sun is there, as is Venus. Unsurprisingly, an air sign is on the sixth house cusp, indicating airborne diseases and those affecting the airways. The profected Moon is now in Gemini, on the natal/SR Sun. Moon-Sun conjunctions are generally a sign of poor health, as they signify the darkness of the New Moon. The fourth house of the SR is Taurus, which corresponds to the profected Ascendant. These are all problematic signs, indicating the seriousness of Johnson’s illness this year.

Monthly profections can narrow down possible times of ill health and danger. If we profect the houses of the SR, March 19-April 19, when Johnson became ill, corresponds to Libra, whose ruler is Venus in the sixth house of illness, and the sign that is squared simultaneously by Mars and Saturn. Profecting the natal chart by month, March 19-April 19 corresponds to Aquarius, ruled by malefic Saturn and square the natal Moon and Jupiter.

Looking at the March 19-April 19th period in even greater detail, we can review transits. These are equally challenging for Johnson now, picking up the Saturn-Moon themes from the SR and the primary directions. Transiting Mars and Saturn in Aquarius squared his natal Moon March 31st, signaling the turn for the worse. April 22, transiting Mars in Aquarius squares his natal Jupiter in the eighth house, an indication of danger in this context.

Every technique shows the seriousness of Johnson’s illness, with the same planets and houses receiving repeated emphasis. Fortunately, only a few years in one’s life have similar characteristics, and are mercifully rare. Let us hope we see few such years, and may the gods be kind to Boris Johnson.