Capability and Courage

Sometimes a little more amounts to a lot more.
A fresh look at the nearly-forgotten intervention into the civil war in Sierra Leone is a reminder that sometimes wonderful developments, or at least an end to horrors, can occur by surprise. It is possible with the application of capability and courage.
A story in the current issue of the New York Review of Books details the essential points about a rare case of successful foreign military intervention. The man who seized the initiative, way back in May 2000, was British Gen. David Richards, veteran of many prior peacekeeping actions in such places as Northern Ireland and East Timor.
At the time, the government of Sierra Leone was beset by the marauding and maiming Revolutionary United Front, and the capital, the misnamed Freetown, was on the verge of being overrun. Panic had set in:

Thousands of people, carrying children and baskets of clothes, tried to flee by road. At the airport, the last flights were fully booked, with desperate parents begging departing passengers with secured seats to take their children to safety.

Additionally, a peacekeeping mission sent by the United Nations was bogged down, demoralized, dozens of its soldiers held hostage.
Britain, the onetime colonial power there, had a vested interest in restoring stability there — particularly in the form of British citizens present and under threat.
It so happened that British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who would subsequently disgrace himself by supporting the Bush / Cheney / Powell regime-change mission to Iraq, was of a mind to promote a quiet resolution. Looking back, Blair considered Sierra Leone one of his proudest moments in office.
It’s true: He done good, though passively. Richards done even better.
What started officially as a reconnaissance mission aimed at evacuating British subjects became, under Richards, a clever campaign with modest resources to end a decade of barbarity, employing child soldiers.

The RUF was abducting children from their villages, getting them high on poyo (homemade palm wine), marijuana and heroin, and training them to kill. I later heard from a Jesuit priest who tried to rehabilitate these child-soldiers that they made excellent killers because, under the age of nine, they had not yet developed a full moral conscience. The warlords exploited their innocence.

The “cheerfully evil” leader of the RUF was in control of the diamond mines. Fifty thousand — fighters and civilians — had been killed, and hundreds of thousands displaced.
Richards’ small force of Royal Marines and paratroopers landed on 6 May, under a crescent moon: an appropriate moment for nurture and support. They began by setting up a base at the airport, then set out to patrol the city, in the process establishing an intelligence network that bore crucial fruit: the capture of the RUF leader.
There was far more in the sky than a crescent moon, as some readers might recall: May 2000 was the month not only of a conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn — signaling a potent political moment — but also a brief and very rare cluster of Mercury, Venus and Mars along with the New Moon (on 4 May) in the stability-loving zoidion of Taurus. All these bodies were arrayed in a right angle to slower-moving Uranus and Neptune in outside-the-box Aquarius.
Significantly, within two days of the New Moon, Mars had separated from the cluster, entering adaptable Gemini. That quality was exactly what was required for a humanitarian outcome: that and a combination of confidence and daring in going beyond the strict definition of the mission. Key to success, however, was Richards’ battlefield diplomacy.
Take note in the chart below how the grand configuration (in the outer ring) linked with Richards’ birth chart (inner ring). (In the absence of a known birth time, the chart has been calculated for the hour of sunrise.) He was truly a man of the moment.

The Taurus cluster — especially Sun (leadership), Jupiter (expansion of scope) and Saturn (restraint, discipline) — filled the empty spot Richards’ natal configuration of Venus – Pluto – Mars: opposite natal Mars (the warrior planet) at home in Scorpio. This represents a rare opportunity to manage a dire situation.

(That’s where it was handy to have a commander born with Luna in Gemini: “jaw and jaw preferable to war and war,” as the saying goes.)

As further evidence, the previous February’s partial solar eclipse fell on Richards’ natal Venus, denoting an opening to promote peace. And, more dramatically, the famous “Grand Cross Solar Eclipse” of August 1999 had emphasized the same degree areas as Richards’ Venus – Pluto – Mars combination. That year, he was commanding a UK contingent seeking to prevent reprisals by Indonesians against citizens in East Timor.
Amazingly, yet appropriately, Gen. Richards was recognized with promotion, ultimately to Chief of Defense Staff, and honored as a Life Peer. Yet his true value was recognized in the streets of Freetown, even during his service there: “Richards for President” posters began appearing, and local women would surround him, holding their babies toward him and weeping with gratitude.

[For some sobering contrast, read “The Generals Won’t Save Us from the Next War.”]

Not Anywhere

. . . near where “we” — in anthropocentric parlance — need to be. That is what more and more climate and ecological scientists, and throngs of activists (Student Climate Strike, Extinction Rebellion, Sunrise Movement, etc.) in much of the world, are saying about reducing the level of ongoing destruction of the Earth that supports our lives.

Along the way, the word “ecocide” has been used more and more to describe the unraveling of Earth’s web of life. Yeah, that’s what’s going on, according to the alarm — among the latest — sounded by a United Nations report made public on the sixth of May: one million plant and animal species on the verge of extinction. I think humanity must be one of them.

In a way, it seems crazy, except that one’s gotta what one’s gotta do, according to one’s skills and training. Crazy as in advocating for legal rights for Earth. That’s what Ecuador did, once upon a time, though what one hears from there lately in relation to the oil industry doesn’t sound like the legality has taken root.

These things take time, and indications are that time is short for doing anything on a large enough scale to make a significant difference — if such is even possible — in terms of ecological protection / restoration or climate remediation. Still, it fits with what might be termed the Aquarian Shift — a pronounced and rapid shift of awareness and behavior — represented astrologically by the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn (at one degree of that sign) in December 2020, followed by Pluto entering Aquarius in 2024.

One of those who has advocated most strongly for such legal rights is lawyer Polly Higgins, from the United Kingdom. She sought to expand the legal responsibility for ecological damage and destruction, in a vein similar to the International Criminal Court. In 2009 the effort she led succeeded in persuading the United Nations to draft an Universal Declaration for Planetary Rights. Then, in 2011, a mock Ecocide Act was drafted and tested in the UK Supreme Court. And this led, eventually, to the European Citizens Initiative (ECI) to End Ecocide in Europe launched 22 January 2013. And that was facilitated by a provision of the Treaty of Lisbon, in European Union document, agreed to 01 December 2009.

That’s where the Aquarian Shift comes into this story: December 2009 was the time of a Jupiter – Neptune conjunction in Aquarius. The planetary / sign combination offers the potential for expansive and visionary concepts recognizing a sense of interconnectedness, including in a legal sense.

Jupiter – Neptune has a far different energy tone from, say, Saturn – Pluto, which is prominently in play currently. Jupiter – Neptune is the other major signature for this year, 2019. All the writing astrologers are writing about Saturn – Pluto, though: It’s a big deal, and it has scary overtones about it. As in prospects of extinction. And the need for a group calling itself Extinction Rebellion.

Charles Harvey, writing “Cycles in Practice” within Mundane Astrology (1984), agrees that Jupiter – Neptune “has a strongly idealistic, humanitarian and ideological quality about it.”

And so it was, back in ’09.

The next Jupiter – Neptune conjunction is set to occur in 2022 in Pisces. By referring to the key significances of planets and sign, one may safely anticipate episodes of loss and suffering on a large scale. (The previous one in Pisces was in 1856: Neptune’s cycle is that long, remaining in a given sign for fourteen years, while Jupiter spends one year in each. 1856 was the year of the John Brown-instigated Pottawatomie Massacre in Kansas, a small-scale atrocity that foreshadowed the War Between the States; the initial formation of the Republican Party; and the high-water mark of the Know-Nothing Party: the nomination of former President Millard Fillmore as its candidate for president.)

The word “ecocide” was first recorded at the Congressional Conference on War and National Responsibility in Washington DC on 20-21 February 1970. The extraordinariness of those days were marked energetically by a partial lunar eclipse (visible throughout North America) 2 Virgo at right angle to Neptune at 1 Sagittarius.

On that occasion, American-born plant biologist and bioethicist Arthur Galston — recognizing the vast destruction of Vietnam under chemical assault to defoliate the dense forests and render the Vietnamese “enemy” visible — proposed a new international agreement to ban such practices. (Remember that Vietnam was the venue for testing and deploying a new round of machines and chemical agents on a large scale, and the astrological time frame was the epochal Uranus – Pluto conjunction in the efficiency-oriented Earth sign of Virgo: the first conjunction of those planets since 1851.)

Galston was born 21 April 1920 in New York City — how fitting that his personal “solar power” would come from Earth sign Taurus. He had powerful astrological armament to be an eco-warrior: one capable of acting effectively to defend the boundaries of Earth from invasion and wasting. For one thing, his first-degree Taurus natal Sun was exactly opposite Mars, the planet associated with warriors, in the first degree of Scorpio: Mars’ nocturnal sign (Aries being the diurnal sign), through which the fierce energy could be directed in a more inward and self-mastering manner.

The natal chart is calculated for sunrise.

A visionary outlet for Galston’s warriorship and leadership is represented in the Jupiter – Neptune conjunction in early Leo: at right angle to the Sun – Mars axis. Translation: Capacity for energized, grounded idealism.

Add to that a close Saturn – Uranus opposition, signaling at some point in his life a crisis regarding whether to go along to get along, or strike out on a more individualistic path. That axis was being strongly triggered by the eclipse in 1970. Note also the political planets Saturn and Jupiter in opposition in the sky and aligning with natal Sun and Mars, respectively. It truly was his moment.

Galston had been there near the beginnings of Agent Orange in the laboratory, in the 1940s. According to Wikipedia, “Galston studied the use of 2,3,5-triiodobenzoic acid (TIBA) to encourage the flowering of soybeans, and noted that high levels had a defoliant effect.” Reports of massive use of the chemical in Vietnam compelled him to speak out against its use as a weapon of war. “He was clear about the devastating impact of their use on the environment, and warned of the likelihood that they were harmful to animals and humans as well as plants. Galston visited Vietnam and China, viewing the environmental damage in Vietnam first-hand.”

Amazingly, in view of recent and current functioning of the U.S. government, Galston’s testimony actually led to then-President Nixon’s decision to ban the use of Agent Orange. These days, he’d more likely be overwhelmed in a Twitterpocalypse.

Now, most of the action in the US of A along this line is occurring on state and local levels, and there really is plenty going on. One recent news item was of a sweeping climate resolution by the New York City Council on 18 April that includes major reductions of building emissions — Trump-associated properties being among the prime offenders. And around that time: the UK and Irish parliaments declared official climate emergencies.

All so, so late in the game. And Nature bats last.

New Year New Life

April — the hottest month — is the time to start over in Myanmar, better known as Burma. Where, you say? It’s stuck in that space between India, the second-most populous country and home of Bollywood, and Thailand, favorite Asian vacation spot. Myanmar is almost as little known as North Korea. (Decades of military rule doesn’t help make a country attractive.)
The weather there come April is usually so hot that folks typically welcome a dousing with water. So folks make a festival of it, and base their year on the lunar cycle.
Apparently this is year 1381 in the Myanmar Calendar — I have no idea why that would be so — which has alternating months of 29 and 30 days. Since six pair only comes to a total of 354 days, and an actual complete revolution by Earth around Sol takes about 365 days, those folks throw in an extra month every three years to make up for the messiness.By April the weather is so dang hot that everyone agrees that throwing a lot of water on each other is pretty much the thing to do. People smile and say thank you and bless you. The people have built up a belief that all the sins they have committed during the past year can be cleansed away with the water that’s thrown on them. All sins and delusions are washed away from body, mind and soul. Instead of resolutions soon forgotten, New Year starts with a purified existence.
The Thingyan festival is held at the Full Moon, and lasts for three or four days, depending on what the astrologers there decree. Apparently it’s much the same across the border in Thailand, where they call it Songkran.
The Myanmar version literally means “moving from one thing into another,” or “changing over.”
It’s long been a customary time for political and legal amnesties, though one has to wonder how long a lot of those freed remain so.
Perhaps 1381 — a numerological “four” year — for some reason is the occasion for an especially large amnesty, since thousands were released on two days in April, another 6250 on 6 May.
What brought a wave of notice around the world was the release on the latter date of two Reuters reporters who had been held in detention for over 500 days. They had been touching on a subject which the military government doesn’t want publicized.
“Before their arrest in December 2017, they had been working on an investigation into the killing of 10 Rohingya Muslim men and boys by security forces and Buddhist civilians in western Myanmar’s Rakhine State during an army crackdown that began in August 2017. The operation sent more than 730,000 Rohingya fleeing to Bangladesh, according to U.N. estimates.”

Hmmm . . . August 2017, what was happening celestially back then? Oh yes, there was a certain solar eclipse, late in the zoidion of Leo, with Mars just then emerging from the solar rays, at twenty-one degrees Leo at that moment. That made a strong connection with the Burmese independence chart of 4 January 1948: independence accepted from Britain five months after the deadly partition of Pakistan from India as those gained independence from the Empire. (According to reports documented in Nicholas Campion’s Book of World Horoscopes, the Burmese moment was elected, i.e. chosen, by selected astrologers.)
Mars at that eclipse moment in 2017 was closely conjunct Saturn in the Burmese national chart, and widely conjunct the Pluto placement in that chart. That spells activation of repressive currents in the collective: currents that involve elements of the population regarded as foreign: in this case, the Rohingya.

Mercury (planet of journalism) in the eclipse chart is retrograde and closely conjunct the national Mars placement, signaling an uneasy connection between reporters on the one hand, and military and police forces on the other. No wonder there was a high-profile detention.
There are other indications of a testing-time for the country: The eclipse placement of Saturn in the first house (national identity and security) of the independence chart, bringing to the forefront a sense of threat to the collective well-being; and Neptune at the lower meridian, reflecting conditions of dissolution of the established state of affairs.
Within months of the eclipse, Saturn moved from Sagittarius to Capricorn, joining Pluto there and beginning a crucial period reminiscent of 1948, when Saturn and Pluto were also traveling together. Such astrological recurrences coincide with major episodes of dealing with issues of control, repression and restructuring. A time marked by much pain and loss. The expulsion of three-quarters of a million people, and unknown numbers of lives lost, is only the most obvious.
Political entities never welcome the holding of dark deeds to the light of day. Wa Lone, 33, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 29, had to have known of the grave risk they were undertaking. Yet they persisted in maintaining their innocence and dedication to their roles.
The last release date — the day after the New Moon that followed the Thingyan Full Moon — coincided with a Mars-Jupiter opposition, in itself a combination of generally uplifting energies. And Mars-Jupiter connected exactly with Uranus (liberation, reversal) in the national chart. It was an auspicious moment for opening a new chapter, perhaps with greater openness than before.

Big Yellow Taxi

“Don’t it always seem to go / that you don’t know what you got / til it’s gone” — sang Joni Mitchell so many decades ago. The thought, the sentiment, seems to capture the perverse human tendency to require shocking loss to awaken people sufficiently to provoke movement.

Irish journalist Lyra McKee was killed senselessly on 18 April 2019 at about 11:00 p.m. in a riot zone in Derry, Northern Ireland.(1) She was twenty-nine years old, and so at the watershed life stage known as the Saturn return, with Saturn in political Capricorn.(2) Her life story includes hard beginnings and determined application to a purposeful life of reporting the doings of her troubled community.

Her last published story, on 14 April, was an analysis of the increasing rate of youth suicides since the ceasefires and the Good Friday Agreement (signed 10 April 1998). (3)

Tough stuff, reflecting the symbolism of Sun and Mercury in Aries vs. Uranus, Neptune and Saturn in Capricorn in McKee’s birth pattern.

The Uranus-Neptune in Capricorn generation was born into a milieu of epochal political chaos — the transition from the Cold War to the New World Disorder — with the collective task of developing ways of negotiating new patterns of social organization free from the rigid distinctions of the past. So many of them have embraced and cultivated deep connections across former boundaries of race, ethnicity, nationality, culture, norms of sexuality.

McKee had written for many publications, including Buzzfeed, Private Eye, The Atlantic, and others; she had signed a two-book deal, and her book The Lost Boys has been slated for publication in 2020. The timing is in the wake of the much-discussed Saturn-Pluto conjunction, exact in January 2020, but close together and “stationary” against the zodiac in late April 2019. The book, collecting the stories of eight boys who went missing in Belfast amid the political turbulence between 1969 and 1975, is sure to have even greater impact because of her own sacrifice.

On the personal side, McKee’s birth pattern included both Venus and Mars in Aquarius in a right-angle to Pluto in Scorpio. She lived these out in her queer relationships and embrace of high-danger situations.

A born mold-breaker, she nevertheless followed in the footsteps of the late war-zone journalist Marie Colvin, famed in later life for her eye patch covering one of her wounds. Colvin shared the Mars-Pluto combination. (4)

Not much has been widely reported on recent doings in that part of the world since the Troubles that peaked in the late 1970s have quieted — somewhat. The status of that remaining part of the United Kingdom on the island of Eire remains unresolved. Prime evidence of that: Northern Ireland has had no government since January 2017, at which time the enhanced-level-of-breakdown combination of Jupiter – Uranus – Pluto dominated the zodiac.

But the funeral for McKee, attended by top-level politicians from Northern Ireland, the Republic and Westminster, has stimulated a new round of talks on the region’s political future. They are scheduled to begin on 7 May, as Mercury (discussions) closes in on Uranus for the first time since Uranus’ entry into Taurus. This seems an appropriate lineup for an intended breakthrough in the stalemate, though any agreement is likely to be quite slow in coming: Taurus is the zoidion least amenable to change.

As so often, notable shifts in the political landscape are accompanied by a dramatic weather event: Storm Hannah has prompted red-alert warnings for 26-27 April for southwesternmost Ireland, and lesser alerts for the rest of the island and parts of England and Wales. This is the first such alert since October 2017, and is reflected in two recent astrological emphases. The line for Mercury at the upper meridian at the Aries solar ingress on 20 March 2019 fell along the westernmost tip of Ireland — Mercury denoting the wind factor. And in the chart for Mercury’s ingress into Aries (where Mercury passes from 17 April until 6 May) shows Uranus (disruption of the existing pattern) on the ascendant.

Yes, change is coming, and how tragic the cost. Once again.

(1) “The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) said that a gunman fired shots towards police officers in Derry’s Creggan area at about 23:00 BST on Thursday [18 April].” (BBC News)
(2) Birth date: 31 March 1990 in Belfast.
(3) On that date, Sun was joined by Saturn, Mars and Mercury (retrograde) in Aries, with nearly-full Moon in Libra.
(4) Birth date: 12 January 1956 in Oyster Bay, New York, with Mars additionally conjunct Saturn in Scorpio for a large further measure of harshness of experience. McKee had been booked to speak at a screening of the recent film about Colvin’s life and work, titled “A Private War.”

Muddling with Mercury

Mercury in Pisces for nine full weeks: 10 February to 17 April 2019. The astrological community has been replete with discussion of the relative rarity for the swiftest of planets to linger so long in one sign. The period of apparent retrogradation in the middle of that time frame increased the tenancy, and caused the planet to apparently cross the position of Neptune three times: 19 February, 24 March and 2 April.
Many astrological writers and commentators anticipated the likely problematic character of the period, represented by Pisces being opposite one of Mercury’s places of domicile, the sign of Virgo (the other being Gemini). Detriment or exile is the technical term, meaning that its significance is apt to include distinctly harmful and unwelcome effects — when unleashed through inclusion in close configurations with Sol, Luna and other planets, or when changing apparent motion.
The Neptune factor added another layer of complexity, offering options of inspiration, fantasy, confusion and obfuscation.

One particularly horrifying event occurred soon after the start of the retrograde period, on 10 March: the crash, shortly after takeoff, of an Ethiopian Airlines plane, one of a new breed of Boeing airplane, the 737 Max 8. It was the second such plane to go down in recent months, and with over 300 in operation and 5000 ordered, this was big trouble.
Soon thereafter, reports appeared to the effect that the plane had been rushed through the U.S. Federal Aviation Agency approval process, and that there were major problems involving the flight control system. Apparently, the pilots of the Ethiopian plane performed all the procedures recommended by Boeing to save the aircraft, but could not pull it out of a flight-system-induced dive.
Very Mercurial, with a strong dose of Saturn. (Saturn, representing controls and the force of gravity, and powerful from its position in domicile in Capricorn, appeared at the top of the event chart.)

Weather events have been especially severe and unusual through the Mercury-in-Pisces period: notably Cyclone Idai that struck the southern African nation of Mozambique, and the concurrent “bomb cyclone” Ulmer that struck the Central Plains of the United States — both covered here in earlier posts (“Africa’s Katrina” and “Nebraska’s Katrina”).
This week, another bomb cyclone — also described as an “inland winter hurricane” (nearly a month into spring!) — has struck much the same area of the Plains as the one in March. Storm Wesley wound up over Colorado, dropping temperatures impressively, whipping up extreme winds and posing danger from wildfires on its warm and dry side, and from deep drifting snows on the cold and wet side.
Many reports noted that Wesley came through four weeks after Ulmer. Well, it’s no surprise from an astro-meteorological standpoint: The planetary configuration is a near-repetition of the one that accompanied the two storms a month earlier.
For one thing, Mercury has made the last pass in this series through the zodiacal area marked by Mercury in mid-March. In addition, Luna has also returned to the same place as then, forming the same configuration as before, minus Sol.

Even though a fresh season chart forms the basis, the recurrence of the former pattern provides a potent lesson: Understanding and forecasting require detailed examination of the ephemeris. And this calls into question the tempting reliance on computers.

Nebraska’s Katrina

Three weeks have passed since the inundation of the Central Plains of the United States, and further implications beyond the destruction of physical assets are coming to light.
For instance, spoilage of stores of 2018’s crops. As one report from Reuters says: “The USDA [Department of Agriculture] has no mechanism to compensate farmers for damaged crops in storage, . . . a problem never before seen on this scale. That’s in part because U.S. farmers have never stored so much of their harvests, after years of oversupplied markets, low prices and the latest blow of lost sales from the U.S. trade war with China – previously their biggest buyer of soybean exports.”
This represents much more than potential profits lost: This impacts the world’s industrialized food system. And, echoing ages thought past, exposed piles of moldering grain make for a breeding ground for disease-carrying rats. (See “Biblical Anxieties” on James Howard Kunstler’s blog.)
Meanwhile, politicians and media mouthpieces aplenty blather on in their desperate attempts to bolster business as usual.
Some elements of the astrologically savvy portion of the populace may have noticed the catastrophe that struck a very poor region of southeastern Africa (see earlier post “Africa’s Katrina”), and wondered about the indications for the American flood disaster at the same time.
Well, the same tight configuration — Luna at first-quarter exactly opposite Jupiter, plus Mercury retrograde with Sol at right angle, forming a “T-square” — was triggering the center of the flood region, as represented in the chart of the season. Same as with Idai, Sol and Mercury were upon the season position of Mars: representing the factor of extra heat energy and force of wind and atmospheric masses.
Now look at the winter 2018 season chart located to Omaha, Nebraska.

See that circle with the horizontal line at the left side of the inner chart, next to the symbol for Luna? That’s the degree of the zodiac that was rising at Omaha at the time of the winter solstice (Capricorn ingress). Luna at first-quarter for March 2019 was exactly on that degree, with Luna’s place in the ingress chart just a few degrees away. Luna is a reliable indicator of water, and evidently not limited to when Luna occupies a water sign. That was the indicator that water issues were due to arrive.
Add the Jupiter factor, and the magnitude of events gets bigger, amid conditions that on the surface are more favorable, as in milder temperatures breaking a stretch of severe weather.
Add up all the factors, and the sum is apt to come to a “perfect storm.”
That’s one of the things about astro-meteorology: Whenever there is a tight configuration involving a lunation (Sol and Luna at New, first-quarter, Full or third-quarter phase), zones on Earth where they align with horizon or meridian are zones of likely significant weather impact.
An inevitable question arises: Financial and supply issues aside, can the affected regions dry sufficiently quickly to permit planting? The spring season (Aries solar ingress) chart shows Mars on the upper meridian through eastern Nebraska and the Red River valley, so the answer is that generally dry weather conditions will prevail. From awash to dry, hard and cracked earth: That is the prognosis.
Meanwhile, much further east, New England and the Atlantic provinces of Canada are set to receive the symbolic impact of Mars’ approach to the opposition to Jupiter. Accordingly, dangerously dry conditions and record warmth appear set to take effect there by early May. That region may well undergo trials by fire of the sort that beset Scandinavia in the summer of 2018.

Surviving the Future

“Surviving the Future” is the title of chapter two of Scenes from a Tapestry, and that essay concerns the work and personal astrology of David Fleming, whose books Lean Logic and Surviving the Future were edited by his mentee Shaun Chamberlin and published posthumously.
The adaptation described by David Fleming continues. Here is a short video that, in part, contrasts the currently prevalent industrial food system with highly localized food cultures that have been the norm through nearly the entirety of humanity’s time on Earth.
I found this via a link from Chamberlin’s Dark Optimism site —Chamberlin being the subject of a recent episode of Alex Smith’s Radio Ecoshock.

No foolin’.

Africa’s Katrina

The storm came on a meandering course, seemingly indecisive about whether to remain at sea or visit the continent. It almost seems intentional, the way it came back to the Mozambique Strait — the passage between southern Africa’s eastern coast and the island of Madagascar — to pick up more water before its slow-motion landfall.
Tropical Cyclone Idai was a prodigious rainmaker, dropping amounts in excess of two feet on a region suffering from years of severe drought: a now-common recipe for disaster in this era of climate crisis. Drought hardens the soil and enhances runoff.
An “inland ocean” up to thirty miles wide resulted, forcing thousands of people from their homes. Winds over one hundred miles per hour also delivered much destruction.
In addition to a terrible death toll, initial tallies indicated damage amounting to a large portion of the meager economy of Mozambique, with at least five years necessary for recovery. And as usual, waves of water-borne disease followed.
Astrological indications of potential major events were present, lacking only the triggers of subsequent configurations for manifestation.
The base chart is the Capricorn solar ingress, 22 December 2018, 12:23 a.m. EET, at Beira, Mozambique. The moment marked the start of the summer season for the southern hemisphere location.
Applying principles of Hellenistic astrology: Out-of-sect Saturn in domicile on the lower meridian in the season chart is a convincing indication of the likelihood of major problems, if not major woe, in some regions along that zone of longitude. One saturnine translation is: events and situations of extreme physical and emotional gravity. (That line also passed near Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, scene of the tragic crash of the Ethiopian Airlines plane on 10 March; many of the ill-fated passengers were United Nations personnel involved in projects in eastern Africa.)
Saturn’s movement since the Capricorn ingress to the place of Pluto in the ingress chart confirms the manifestation of large-scale death and destruction: the region utterly and lastingly transformed.

At the time, around midnight, fourteen degrees Libra was on the ascendant, with Libra’s ruler (or “lady) in the same degree but of the next zoidion, Scorpio: Venus’ zoidion of detriment: another indication of likely problematic developments. The power of Venus, being one of the symbols for moisture (along with Luna and Neptune), is amplified for ill effects in the watery zoidion of Scorpio; one of the triggers is evident in Venus’ arrival at fifteen degrees of Aquarius — “in square” to Venus’ base place — by the date of the first lunar quarter on 14 March 2019.
Idai came ashore on that date, and as often happens with major storms, this one did so at high tide. This can be seen from the symbols near the top of the chart’s outer ring: Luna at first-quarter phase rising on the eastern horizon AND in alignment with Luna in the season chart.
This is merely one part of a tight configuration: Luna opposite Jupiter, that axis right-angled by Sol and Mercury (retrograde) less than a day away from conjunction. All these transiting bodies were connecting to Mars (twenty-three degrees Pisces) in the season chart — representing an event tapping into an ocean (Pisces) of warm (Mars) water.
(See “Mercury’s Shadow” for another story linked to the symbolism of Mars in this season chart.)
If anyone were looking for signature events associated with the entry of Uranus into Taurus, this would be one.

Peter Doughty
-<zoidion>-

Sources:
“Africa’s Hurricane Katrina: tropical Cyclone Idai Causes an Extreme Catastrophe,” 20 March 2019

“Cyclone Idai Lays Bare the Fundamental Injustice of Climate Change,” 20 March 2019

“Cyclone Idai: ‘Massive disaster’ in Mozambique and Zimbabwe,” 20 March 2019

P.S. Elisabeth Grace touches on the Cyclone Idai story and many others in the latest installment of her regular “Astrology for News Junkies” feature. Highly recommended.

The Kids Are Alright

“Some people can let things go. I can’t.” That was Greta Thunberg’s explanation of her basic character.

I do and I don’t want to know her birth data. I feel protective toward this kid, a painfully shy one pushed out into the hubbub of the climate crisis by her own undeniable anxiety about whether she and her peers have a future. Besides, the movement she sparked is not about her.

She was fifteen years old last summer when she decided to hand-paint a sign — skolstrejk för klimatet (student strike for climate action) — and go sit on the pavement in front of the Swedish parliament building. Her parents had tried to dissuade her, none of her classmates would join her — at first.

So she went alone on day one: 20 August 2018. This Friday, the Ides of March, she will be far from alone: What she started has become one of the largest environmental protests in world history.

She had been a silent one at the back of the classroom, with little outside social life. Her obsessive thoughts were company enough, as her high-status parents, opera singer and actor / author, worried and wondered how to help.

(One might surmise a strong astrological emphasis in her birthchart on the zoidion (sign) Gemini, typically characterized by a mercurial range of interests, but more problematically expressed in obsessive preoccupation. This is just one of the twelve disorders sketched out by astrologer Glenn Perry in his “Psychopathology and Healing” presentation.)

For Greta Thunberg, the weather last summer in Sweden proved too much. A record heat wave provided the conditions for forest fires that burned through swathes of Swedish land as far north as the Arctic Circle. Fire in the Arctic — before this climate crisis, whodathunkit?

At age fifteen, a main astrological factor would be the “Saturn opposition” — Saturn opposing the place where Saturn had been in her birth year, 2003. It’s a period often marked by melancholy—a saturnine mood—due to the clash between the youth’s rapid physical / mental growth and the strictures of the surrounding society. Now, there is additionally grief bordering on despair, brought on by the recognition of what elder generations have wrought.

Another factor specific to her generation is the outer-planet combination of Neptune in Aquarius / Pluto in Sagittarius. This calls her age cohort to large-scale group endeavors that submerge individuals in causes that are planetary in scope and vision. (This is in marked contrast to the baby-boomer generation born with those same planets in a similar air sign / fire sign combination: Neptune in Libra / Pluto in Leo. Their collective task was a quest for interpersonal equity within a context of heroic struggles for personal autonomy.)

The chart for Ms. Thunberg’s chosen entry into a wider world of personal integration and purpose is deserving of consideration, along with her likely thoughts and feelings. The time is based on her statement: “The first day, I sat alone from about 8.30am to 3pm – the regular schoolday. And then on the second day, people started joining me. After that, there were people there all the time.”

A dignified Sol in Leo represents the initial solo presence in a lonely place — the twelfth place (house) of the chart — to convey a message (Mercury, lord of the Virgo ascendant). There are other planetary dignities — Venus, Mars and Saturn — likewise indicating a high level of potential effectiveness through social connectivity (Venus), drive (Mars) and organization (Saturn).

Two exact configurations represent special potency in the moment: Jupiter – Neptune and Saturn – Uranus. The first indicates an invitation to embrace the broadest possible consciousness and refined spiritual sensibility — a spirit of unity and forgiveness: all, not just humanity, inhabit the sphere of life on Earth — the second an option to recognize paths affording some stability within a context of unavoidable disruption: the end of the world as we know it.

No wonder young Greta Thunberg’s quiet presence that morning has shaken the world.

Peter Doughty
-<zoidion>-

Special: The Time Is Now

6 March 2019

How rare and precious this moment.

Light is noticeably increasing. The days are growing longer, more often sunny. Our hopes of warmer weather can sometimes be tinged by fears of summer’s heat.

By way of introduction, we are two astrologers and concerned global citizens, aware of multiple crises in play on a planetary level. We understand these through the lens of planetary cycles.

For example, the exact moment of the New Moon on March 6, 2019, coincides with several other unique configurations. Sun and Moon will be exactly in alignment with Neptune, ripe with a range of possibilities from delusional to visionary. Imagination is the common element.

Simultaneously, slow-moving Uranus shifts into the Earth sign Taurus, initiating a period of great Earth, economic and financial changes; sudden and shocking events may set the stage for long-term shifts on a very real level. Many of us remember when Uranus entered the previous sign, Aries, which manifested in a tremendous earthquake and tsunami that wrecked the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan and irrevocably polluted our oceans.

Do you remember? Or have you, like most people, had your attention swallowed by the diversion of tweets? Our world is constantly pelting us with high levels of dysfunction from the political and natural realms, encouraging the need for escape. A miniature screen in every other hand as we drift through the daze of our days. The philosopher Soren Kierkegaard recognized in the mid-1800s this now-typical state of mind with his phrase: “Tranquilized by the trivial.”

We have at our immediate disposal a wide range of technological escapes and may be choosing to drink or drug or binge watch or enter virtual reality to avoid the unpleasantries and uncertainties.

Neptune’s fog has never been thicker, yet never — at least in our lifetimes — has the need for clarity been greater. As with Dorothy and her companions so urgently seeking Oz, we find ourselves irresistibly succumbing to the slumber of our own poppy fields.

We humans are both blessed and cursed with shortsightedness: blessed because otherwise we would be overwhelmed by the enormity of threats to our survival — be they economic or ecological. Cursed because we have forgotten how we got here.

As Catherine Ingram has written, “I offer no hope or solutions for our continuation, only companionship and empathy to you, the reader, who either knows or suspects that there is no hope or solutions to be found. What we now need to find is courage.” (Her article, “Facing Extinction,” is on her website: http://www.catherineingram.com/facingextinction/ )

Everyone can do something that is within their means. Courage can take the form of simple commitments that are possible on an individual basis — for example, reducing packaging, reducing waste, reducing car dependency. Since we owe our existence and the continuation of civilization to six inches of soil, everyone can contribute to soil building through such efforts as backyard composting, vermiculture, community gardening, and supporting native habitat restoration. Contributions can be social, as in feeding the homeless, or supporting organizations that serve individuals and families in need.

An often overlooked, yet vital, aspect of self-care is the cultivation of compassion, along with the capacity to grieve and to laugh at our human follies. The reality is that we have all participated in the creation of our collective situation.

This New Moon with Neptune represents a beginning with the option of vision. Uranus’ shift of sign for the next seven years offers opportunity for innovation in the realms of finance and food production. The energies are quickening, the choices are ours.

Intentional action is healthier than the diversions so readily available in our culture. The question remains: What do each of us now decide to do?


Peter Doughty has nearly forty years experience studying and writing about mundane astrology, including his blog over the past seven years and recent book entitled Scenes from a Tapestry.
Aeolea Wendy Burwell has also been a student of the celestial arts for over forty years, and is currently teaching astrology in her living room or wherever possible. (aeolea@juno.com)

(See also Paul Kingsnorth’s article “Life versus the Machine” on the Orion Magazine website.)