The Astrology of the Coffin Dance Meme

As the world went through the early stages of the Covid pandemic in March 2020, the Coffin Dance meme went viral. The meme was a combination of two different phenomena: the Dancing Pallbearers of Ghana and the EDM song “Astronomia” by Tony Igy. The meme features Ghanaian men dancing during a funeral ceremony to the catchy tune. The men are celebrating the lives of the dead. The meme centers on death, funerals, and life celebrations. It caught on with the public at an especially poignant time, as many people around the world were just coming to know about Covid-19. At that point, international travel was shut down in many places and governments were just beginning to formulate their differing responses to the new pandemic. Throughout the rest of 2020, the Coffin Dance meme and its EDM tune were hallmarks of pop culture and internet culture. A Business Insider article noted that the meme was not only popular for fans of “epic fails” memes and videos, but also was being used in public service messages to encourage people to stay home during the spread of the coronavirus.1 The meme not only fit the 2020 zeitgeist of a mass pandemic and the government responses to it, but it also highlighted some astrological signatures of the time quite literally. The Coffin Dance meme first appeared on February 25th, 2020. It was about a month after the exact Saturn and Pluto conjunction in Capricorn at 23 degrees on January 12th 2020. During January and February of 2020, most of the traditional planets were in Capricorn. There was a heavy emphasis on the sign Capricorn at this time, as well as a superior conjunction of Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars in the sign. The sign Capricorn has traditional and modern significations, and the planet Saturn has meanings associated with it as well. Both inform the Coffin Dance meme and the greater astrological configurations of early 2020 as well as the rest of the year. I will examine the meme’s history and charts, and provide interpretive views on the phenomenon.

First, some of the significations for Capricorn in astrology textbooks and ancient sources will be examined. Capricorn is the feminine domicile of Saturn. In the astrology textbook On the Heavenly Sphere, the authors write about Capricorn that “Saturn endows it with deliberation and persistence, producing a resistant, rigorous, disciplined, but conservative expression.”2 Also, the sign Capricorn is practical and ambitious. “The behavior is firm and enterprising. This motivation is pragmatic, centered on practical and useful actions which combine objectivity and dynamism. The emotional expression is restrained, vacillating between sobriety and reserve.”3 Valens writes a long list of characteristics in his 3rd century Anthology:

“Capricorn is the house of Saturn, feminine, tropic, earthy, destructive, barren, downward-trending, chilling, mute, servile, the cause of troubles, brutal, lurking, mysterious, two-natured, moist, half–finished <=childless?>, a hunchback, lame, the Descendant of the universe, indicative of misfortune and toil, a sculptor, a farmer. /11P/ Men born under this sign are bad, warped. They pretend goodness and sincerity. They are toilsome, burdened with care, insomniac, fond of jokes, plotters of great deeds, prone to make unfortunate mistakes, fickle, criminal, lying, always criticizing, shameful.” 4

Valens mentions many of the most basic aspects of Capricorn, including feminine, earthy, downward-trending, and two-natured. Modern significations have some parallels. Popular website Cafe Astrology has significations such as tenacious, conservative, resourceful, disciplined, wise, ambitious, prudent, constant.5 Other authors write about Capricorn’s associations and keywords. In The Essential Guide to Practical Astrology, author April Eliott Kent writes that Capricorn is responsible, authoritative, traditional, pragmatic, hardworking, economical, serious, mature, ethical, domineering, stubborn, inhibited, unfeeling, fatalistic, judgmental, and unforgiving.6 These are some of the significations of Capricorn in traditional and modern texts.

Any investigation into the meanings of the sign Capricorn should include the meanings of the planet Saturn. There are both traditional works that discuss Saturn as well as modern books. Valens writes about Saturn: 

“Saturn makes those born under him petty, /2P/ malignant, care-worn, self-depreciating, solitary, deceitful, secretive in their trickery, strict, downcast, with a hypocritical air, squalid, black-clad, importunate, sad-looking, miserable, with a nautical bent, plying waterside trades. Saturn also causes humblings, sluggishness, unemployment, obstacles in business, interminable lawsuits, subversion of business, secrets, imprisonment, chains, griefs, accusations, tears, bereavement, capture, exposures of children. Saturn makes serfs and farmers because of its rule over the land, and it causes men to be renters of property, tax farmers, and violent in action. It puts into one’s hands great ranks and distinguished positions, supervisions, management of others’ property, and the fathership of others’ children.”7

In traditional texts, Saturn is identified with earth, dirt, stones, and buildings. Saturn’s personal characteristics when related to people are social. Antiquity, old things, and aging are also common associations of Saturn in traditional texts. In The Classical Seven Planets: Source Texts and Meaning by Charlie Obert, Saturn is “very much the planet of entire cycles.”8 He also lists Saturn as being associated with death, time, and the consequences of long periods of time. Modern associations for Saturn are similar. In The Essential Guide to Practical Astrology, Kent writes that Saturn is responsible, disciplined, grounded, thorough, patient, fearful, inhibited, pessimistic, depressed, and controlling.9 Identifying Saturn as structures is quite normal in modern astrology, which is hinted at in the traditional texts. Rob Hand identifies Saturn as how one experiences the universe as they have structured it. The structures of life are often tested by Saturn. Rob Hand writes in Planets in Transit how Saturn transits indicate the parts of life that is being tested and examined. It represents behavior patterns that require analysis and energies in life that are being challenged.10 The same understanding can be applied to the collective or the mundane realm, in addition to select natal charts. Though the methods of mundane astrology follow different considerations and applications, it is possible to apply transits on a mundane level without following the rules exactly. Isabel Hickey writes about Saturn in Astrology: A Cosmic Science. Saturn is time, safety urges, discipline, principle of contraction and crystallization, organization, ambition, limitation and delay, old age, wisdom gained through experience, self-preservation, amongst others.11 The significations of Saturn sound complex, as there are both many keywords as well as applications to a chart or the planet’s general symbolism.

The Capricorn and Saturn associations connected to the Coffin Dance meme are endings, antiquity, death, structures, entire cycles, and challenges to structures. Valens, as noted above, writes that Capricorn is the descendant of the cosmos. If Cancer is the birth of the cosmos and symbolizes the generative principle, Capricorn can be associated with its opposite, the demise, ending, final moments, destruction, and degeneration. The testing and challenging that Hand describes as part of Saturn transits also applies. When Saturn enters Capricorn in particular, there is a reset of themes around structures. The Coffin Dance meme was a celebration of life and death that caught on and became viral during a period of uncertainty at the beginning of a pandemic. It heralded the end of cycles and structures that had existed for a long time, in addition to the parallels around themes of death and age. Capricorn and Saturn significations fit the character of early 2020 and the time following it.


Figure 1. The Coffin Dance meme appears on February 26th, 2020.

The history and astrology of the Coffin Dance meme will be looked at. As stated earlier, the meme comes from two differing elements: the dancing pallbearers of Ghana and the EDM track Astronomia. Both were a part of internet culture before the meme combined them and went viral. The dancing pallbearers are a group of Ghanaians based in the coastal city of Prampram in the Greater Accra region of Ghana. They were founded in 2003 by Benjamin Aidoo. They first became famous in 2017 when they were in a BBC news feature. The other element, the song Astronomia, was created by Russian DJ and producer Tony Igy in 2010. It was a remix of an earlier version of the song. It is a house song and also featured work by Dutch EDM artists Vicetone. It was released on July 9, 2014. For our purposes, the creation of the meme itself is relevant. This happened on February 26th, 2020. To look thoroughly at the meme, an astrologer should have charts for the creation of the Tony Igy song, the original dates that the Ghanaians were shared in the media, and possibly a chart for the beginning of the cultural phenomenon. Though astrologers should look at a number of charts and connect the themes in them when looking at mundane events or other matters, this article isn’t going to go into too much depth on the Coffin Dance meme. The reason is the focus is mostly on the thematic, symbolic nature of the transits of early 2020. Capricorn and Saturn are the main focuses, in the context of greater cyclical events. The symbolism of Capricorn and its relationship with the actual conjunctions in the Saturn ruled signs of Capricorn and Aquarius, including the later Jupiter-Saturn conjunction are instrumental in understanding the symbolic language that the meme participates in. An additional problem is that even if one were to look closely at the Coffin Dance meme, there are unknowns such as the exact time that the meme was created. So, it’s best to stick to the stated purview of this article and focus on the aforementioned elements, starting with the meme’s creation date. 

The creation of the meme occurred on February 26th, 2020. The chart for February 26th, 2020 has an array of configurations. It follows the Saturn-Pluto conjunction of January 2020, the superior conjunction of Feb 2020, and January 2020, the period that most of the traditional planets were in Capricorn. In January, save Mars and Venus, all of the traditional planets were in Capricorn at one point. By February 26th, a few changes had occurred in the transits. Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and the South Node were still in Capricorn, but the Sun and Mercury had already moved on to other signs. Mars had entered Capricorn on February 16th. The February 26th chart can be seen on this page, titled Figure 1. This date is the time that the meme was first uploaded online. One thing to note is that the meme was created right after the conjunction of the superior planets. It was in context of events that were triggered by the January Pluto-Saturn conjunction, which coincided with the Covid pandemic appearing and dominating news cycles. While it fits the general zeitgeist of the times, it might be linked most closely to the grand conjunction. Without more charts and exact times, the planets houses aren’t very helpful in analyzing the creation of the Coffin Dance meme. However, with Venus and the Moon in Aries and Mercury and the Sun in Pisces, the lords of the signs are in Saturn ruled Capricorn. It indicates that most matters at this time were somewhat related or brought back to the events unfolding that were linked to Capricorn and Saturn. The pandemic, an event publicly triggered by the configurations in Capricorn, dominated most aspects of life. Another factor was that Mercury was retrograde at this time. Memes are arguably linked to Mercury, and with Mercury retrograde in Pisces, conjunct by sign with Neptune and the Sun, conditions weren’t great on a collective level for a viral meme. Despite its poor condition, there is one factor that offsets Mercury’s debility. The meme was put online at a time that Mercury was cazimi, at the heart of the Sun. Mercury cazimi is a perfect time for a viral meme to appear, as the planet Mercury has great potential to express significations, such as wit, intellectual skill, communicative ability, and so on. Unless the meme was released late in the evening of February 26th, it is by all means cazimi. So, with just basic information, we’ve come to realize that most planets had dispositors in Capricorn at the time of the meme’s first appearance, that the meme was created and released to the public mostly closely aligned with the superior conjunction of Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn, and that it was created during a Mercury cazimi. Now that we looked at the initial Coffin Dance meme, there are two more charts that will be examined. 


Figure 2. The Coffin Dance meme starts to go viral on March 6th 2020.

Other important dates for the meme are March 6th and March 20th. On these dates, large numbers of people, numbering in the millions, viewed and shared the meme. On March 6th, the meme appeared on Tik Tok and was viewed millions of times. Following that date, the meme was uploaded by other Tik Tok users and got millions of additional views on the platform. On March 20th, the meme was uploaded to Facebook by J e k y and got thousands of shares in a week. March 6th and March 20th are important dates for showing the meme’s major increase in popularity. The chart in Figure 2 has the March 6th date. Figure 3 has the chart for the March 20th events. In the March 6th chart, Mercury is back in Aquarius, just days away from it’s direct station. Venus is now in Taurus and is applying to Uranus. The Sun and Neptune are on the same degree, 18 Pisces. Mars, meanwhile is nearly halfway through Capricorn at 14 degrees Capricorn. The moon is in Virgo, making a trine to Venus. Both the Neptune-Sun and Venus-Uranus conjunctions are of interest and likely helped to buoy the meme to viral status. With the illuminating light of the Sun on the planet of the fantastical and dreamy and Venus melding with the planet of unorthodoxy, bizarre energies abounded at this time. The last chart is for March 20th. This was another day the meme increased it’s prominence and visibility. At this point, Mars was now at 22 degrees Capricorn, conjunct Jupiter. Saturn had moved to 29 degrees Capricorn. The Sun was now in Aries, and Mercury was direct in Pisces. With the planets Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto in Capricorn moving forward since the meme was released in February, the meme had a seemingly similar increase in popularity. A couple of days later, Saturn entered Aquarius. Mars was right behind it, making an ingress to the sign on March 31st. Saturn would return to Capricorn in early July. The potency and popularity of the Coffin Dance meme was greatest in the time that Mars, Saturn, and Jupiter were in Capricorn. The period covered in the three chart examples lasted less than a month, and largely corresponds to the beginning and end of the superior conjunction. From late February to mid-March, the Coffin Dance meme spread far and wide. Although the meme had continued popularity, it was most identified with this period in the early days of Covid-19. That was when most people first saw the meme and it was all over the internet. The Coffin Dance meme appeared in a turbulent year. Events in the public sphere shifted with the BLM protests in the months following while the pandemic story continued to unfold. 


Figure 3. Big events as the Coffin Dance meme continues to increase in popularity on March 20th, 2020.

The astrology of early 2020 signified the end of some planetary cycles in both the transits of the time and later in the year. A few phenomena were going on in the sky in January, February, and March of 2020: Pluto and Saturn conjunct, Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars conjunct. At the end of 2020 the first of a number of true conjunctions of Jupiter and Saturn in air signs for the next 220 years began.The Pluto-Saturn cycle is 31 to 37 years long, superior conjunctions occur about every 20 years, and Saturn and Jupiter conjunctions also occur every twenty years. The major pileup in Capricorn, featured a few aspects that were quite important from a mundane and planetary cycle perspective. The conjunctions and hard aspects of Saturn and Pluto are identified as cycles of crisis and contraction.12 Tarnas links them to “international crisis and conflict, empowerment of reactionary forces and totalitarian impulses, organized violence and oppression.”13 He includes amongst other characteristics the “irrevocable termination of an established order of existence.”14 The conjunctions often bring the final demise of certain structures and the creation of new orders. Previous conjunctions occurred in October 1982 to July 1983, July and August 1947, and October 1914 to May 1915. Next, the superior conjunctions should be examined. Superior conjunctions, or the conjunctions of the three outer traditional planets Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn, were used by some of the traditional Arab astrologers to look at mundane events. The superior conjunction in Capricorn is interesting because the last time one occurred was at the beginning of the 20th century, on November 24th, 1901. In Capricorn, Jupiter is in fall, and Saturn and Mars have strong essential dignity in their respective domicile and exaltation. On the face of it, the superior conjunction in Capricorn and the period connected with it is more likely to be defined by hardship, loss, and challenges. Traditional Arab astrologers would connect the conjunction to the ingresses and other charts to fully understand the activation and nature of periods, but still on a certain level, the superior conjunction that occurred in 2020 points to a difficult twenty year period that people haven’t seen for a long time. Last, the twenty year period Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions marked a shift from earth signs to air signs at the end of 2020. Jupiter and Saturn conjunctions were used extensively by Arab astrologers, though they mostly used mean conjunctions and connected their observations with ingresses and other elements of mundane astrology. In 1980, a conjunction in the air sign Libra occurred, before the final 20 year earth sign period happened in the year 2000’s conjunction in Taurus. On December 21, 2020, a Jupiter-Saturn conjunction occurred in the air sign Aquarius. This heralded the beginning of a new 220 year period of Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions in air signs. Though the effects and changes occurring in connection with this mundane astrological signature moving to a new elemental triplicity will take years to fully materialize and become apparent, there are precedents from earlier historical periods. Previous periods of air sign conjunctions were 332-571 CE and 1228-1425 CE.15 The Jupiter-Saturn cycles go from fire to earth to air to water, starting with fire again. Though Arabic mundane astrology was very complex, Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions were a main branch of historical astrology, a term used by Ben Dykes to identify astrology that dealt with longer historical periods. Historical astrology used political-focused ingresses, conjunctional theory, and time-lord systems like mundane firdaria.16 The year 2020 had a few major cycles that were entering new phases, including the Pluto-Saturn conjunctions, the grand conjunctions, and the Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions.

The Coffin Dance meme fit the popular sentiment of 2020. At a superficial level, the Coffin Dance meme celebrates the passing of people. From an astrological point of view, it recognizes and celebrates the passing of an order. Every time Saturn enters Capricorn, there is a type of reset of existing structures, as Saturn enters its domicile. Saturn’s traits of entire cycles, structures, and death or endings are connected to Capricorn. The meme didn’t match all of the contemporary issues of 2020. It was about dancing, coffins, Ghanian culture, and EDM. At the time, the Covid-19 pandemic and the response to it dominated headlines and daily life. The meme linked issues of mortality, death, passing, celebration, and remembrance to a contemporary issue, a pandemic, that also featured similar issues of disease, illness, mortality, death, remembrance, and celebration of life. Symbolically, the meme hinted at further issues, one could argue. The issue of death could be seen on many levels: social, cultural, political, and generational. It could be seen to also hint at changes to the current world, including its political, social, and cultural environments. The meme is emblematic of the transits of the time and the changes of the 2020s. It captured the spirit of the age, illustrated by its viral popularity as well as the fact it was unmistakably ubiquitous in 2020.



1.The World Staff, “Ghana’s dancing pallbearers are being used to send a message around the world: Stay home or dance with us” (The World, PRX, GBH, April 30, 2020) <>

2. Helena Avelar and Luis Ribeiro, On the Heavenly Sphere: A Treatise on Traditional Astrology, (American Federation of Astrologers, November 19, 2010) 49.

3. Avelar and RIbeiro, On the Heavenly Sphere, 53.

4. Vettius Valens, Anthology, Trans. Mark Riley,  December 15, 2010. <> <> Book 1, 11P.

5. Cafe Astrology, “Capricorn,” <>

6. April Eliott Kent, The Essential Guide to Practical Astrology, (Two Moons Publishing April 1, 2016), Chapter 5.

7. Valens, Anthology, Book 1, 2P.

8. Charlie Obert, The Classical Seven Planets: Source Texts and Meaning, (Almuten Press, June 22, 2020) 169. 

9. Kent, The Essential Guide to Practical Astrology, Chapter 13.

10. Robert Hand, Planets in Transit,  (Para Research, 1976) 317.

11. Isabel Hickey, Astrology: A Cosmic Science, (CRCS Publications, September 11, 2013) 41.

12. Richard Tarnas, Cosmos and Psyche: Intimations of a New World View, (Plume, April 24, 2007) 581.

13. Tarnas, Cosmos and Psyche, 583.

14. Tarnas, Cosmos and Psyche, 585.

15.  Richard Nolle, “The Jupiter Saturn Conjunction,” (1998-1999) <>

16. Ben Dykes, “Understanding the Mean Conjunctions of Jupiter and Saturn,” (Skyscript, May 2015). <>



1.The World Staff, “Ghana’s dancing pallbearers are being used to send a message around the world: Stay home or dance with us,” The World, PRX, GBH, April 30, 2020. <>

2. Avelar, Helena and Ribeiro, Luis, On the Heavenly Sphere: A Treatise on Traditional Astrology, American Federation of Astrologers, November 19, 2010.

4. Vettius Valens, Anthology, Trans. Riley, Mark, December 15, 2010. <> <>

5. Cafe Astrology, “Capricorn,” <>

6. Kent, April Eliott, The Essential Guide to Practical Astrology, Two Moons Publishing April 1, 2016.

8. Obert, Charlie, The Classical Seven Planets: Source Texts and Meaning, Almuten Press, June 22, 2020

10. Hand, Robert, Planets in Transit, Para Research, 1976.

11. Hickey, Isabel, Astrology: A Cosmic Science, CRCS Publications, September 11, 2013.

12. Tarnas, Richard, Cosmos and Psyche: Intimations of a New World View, Plume, April 24, 2007. 

15.  Nolle, Richard, “The Jupiter Saturn Conjunction,” 1998-1999. <>

16. Dykes, Ben, “Understanding the Mean Conjunctions of Jupiter and Saturn,”  Skyscript, May 2015. <>


Photo Credits

  1. A snowy peak to the east of Kalam, Swat Valley. Photo by Akbar Ali Asif.
  2. A goat in an abandoned old city. Photo by Midjourney. Prompt: a goat in an old abandoned city, old buildings. @david.k9
  3. Traditional astrology charts for three dates, for Figure 1, Figure 2, and Figure 3. Charts made on