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.)

Balmy and Barmy

26 February 2019

Have you heard the news from across The Pond?

Lovers could be seen lolling on the green grass, near expanses of flowers, in London’s St. James’s Park. Young men were spotted strolling shirtless along paths where they would not be touched by the long shadows of the season. Skies were strangely cloudless. New records were set for the warmest temperature in February or any winter month. Even in Scotland a weather station reported sixty-five degrees, with slightly lower marks attained in Denmark and Sweden.

The warmest days were 25 and, especially, 26 February 2019. See a story at the Washington Post.

Yet from an astro-meteorological perspective, it’s to be expected: The chart for the winter season, cast for the Capricorn solar ingress on 21 December 2018 at 10:23 p.m. GMT, featured both Jupiter and Mercury right on the lower meridian. That’s the most significant spot in a weather chart.

Jupiter correlates with high air pressure, fair skies and mild weather — when in a fire zoidion such as Sagittarius, which is the case for nearly all of 2019. Fittingly for the biggest planet, it amplifies and expands the character of the zoidion it occupies. Add Mercury, and moderate breezes are typical.
Note this: On 26 February, Luna crossed the zodiacal places occupied by the lower meridian, Jupiter and Mercury at the time of the Capricorn ingress (winter solstice). The last quarter moon on the same date — seen by Sol and Luna at the same degree, three signs apart — accentuated the fine-weather effect.
What a difference a year — and a whole different astrological pattern — makes. In the winter of 2018 the UK and much of Europe were beset by chronic cold blasts out of Siberia: “the beast from the east.”

Peter Doughty
-<zoidion>-