Weather or Not

First, as a major story, came the record-breaking heavy snow and cold air outbreak, concentrated on Montana. And simultaneously, the southeastern states of the USA were encountering record breaking heat and severe drought.
Around the same time, the eastern central region of the Atlantic Ocean — over there, off the coast of northwestern Africa — was buffeted by a very rare major hurricane: Those massive storms hardly ever make U-turns, as this one essentially did.
Then the weather news was abuzz with another unusually heavy early blizzard, concentrating this time a bit to the east of the first one: North Dakota. An unusual chill moved largely southward: bundled-up baseball players in St. Louis could be seen. Temperatures in the southeast were restored to more typical conditions.
Would the trend continue through the rest of the fall and winter? Would 2019-20 shape up as a bitter, brutal winter?
Well, the dramatic weather so far, in only three weeks since the equinox (Libra solar ingress), reflects several factors in the astrological chart for the ingress. One is the close T-square (an opposition of two or more bodies, with one or more bodies at right-angle to that axis) consisting of Luna in Cancer opposite Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn, with Mercury and Venus at right-angle from Libra. This is a strong indication of rapidly developing air masses and storm systems with considerable energy intensity.

Secondly, the chart includes a looser T-square including Mars opposite Neptune, with Jupiter square to both. With Mars, the fastest-moving of the three, at a higher degree than both the others, a dissipating set of atmospheric circumstances is indicated: the highly charged conditions, including storm surge, that accompanied Hurricane Dorian, especially.
What’s left? Sol (Sun) and Uranus. The astro-meteorological characteristics of the latter are relevant to North America: The north-south line on Earth of places where Uranus was exactly on the upper meridian (the “noon” position, more or less) passed through Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, and along the Alabama-Georgia border. Generally speaking, it means that a broad band of the central region of the country is particularly subject, this season, to “surprising” weather events, and especially to unusual outbreaks of cold weather. For those places closer to the line, that has not happened yet, but look for that to occur around the time of the next New Moon on 27 October, when Sun and Moon line up closely opposite to Uranus.

The Mercury and Venus lines also run north-south, through the High Plains and the southern Rockies: Unusually high winds (Mercury) and precipitation (Venus) have been reported.
The southern West Coast shows a complex and challenging situation: Moon rising and Saturn setting along the coast, with Sun-on-lower-meridian running north-south. This emphasizes factors of overall changeability and tidal movements (Moon) and cold (Saturn), as well as excess dryness (Sun) enabling another round of wildfires disrupting life for tens of thousands of people. Note that reports of large fires forcing evacuations and accompanied by wide-area power outages began cropping up as Sun crossed the position of Mercury on 8 October. This was just days after Mars crossed the Sun’s position, denoting an acceleration and intensification of dry (not even officially drought) conditions.
The only other lunation (New, First Quarter, Full or Last Quarter Moon) that strongly “lights up” the fall season configuration is the Full Moon on 11 December, when Sun and Moon will oppose one another at twenty degrees of Sagittarius and Gemini, respectively: close to Jupiter at seventeen Sagittarius. That is an indication of especially fine, dry and warm weather: similar to the situation that occurred through western Europe last February. This time, however, the Jupiter line runs through Greenland and eastern Brazil: enjoyable late-spring days for the latter but concerning regarding the already-melting icecap. Jupiter is often associated with something that is too much of a good thing.

And so what about winter? Well, it will be a lot darker and colder than summer, and there will be snow, mostly in northerly places. More seriously: For the East Coast, the overall prospects are for considerable changeability: mutable Sagittarius will be the sign on the lower meridian, the biggest astrological factor. Sagittarius is of the fire element, so overall relative warmth and dryness are indicated. In addition, the longitude of Washington DC will be where Mercury will be on the lower meridian, foretelling exceptional windiness (and in the political sphere, moralizing and pontificating). Foggy conditions are also likely to be more problematic than usual: noting Neptune’s placement close to the western horizon of the chart.

The western half, or a bit more, of the country will have Scorpio on the lower meridian, indicating generally wetter conditions (with considerable variation: pronounced wetness closer to the Pacific coast) and more extreme temperatures than usual. The presence of both Luna and Mars in Scorpio should produce some dramatic contrasts between wet and dry regions.
As with the autumn chart, there is a right-angle between Luna and Venus, Luna again in water (Scorpio) and Venus in air (Aquarius), but this time both are in a T-square configuration with Uranus (the planet that correlates with the unprecedented or highly unusual). Another round of heavy precipitation is expected, where the T-square hooks up with meridian or horizon of the locally-referenced chart. The pronounced wetness, alluded to above, is related to Luna and Uranus being at lower and upper meridian, respectively, through the West Coast states. It will be an off-and-on, abruptly shifting phenomenon, however: the nature of the Uranian factor.

The band of severe cold, as indicated by Saturn on the lower meridian, sets up over Greenland (not shown): good for the crucial icecap. Thus, a not particularly severe winter for all but eastern North America should gladden millions of hearts.
As for the timing of significant events, lunations are the primary factor: whether or not any of them link to the pattern for the season in a given region. The closest connection is the New Moon on 24 January 2020 at five degrees of Aquarius, conjunct Venus’ position in the season chart. Venus, however, is not prominently placed near either axis of the chart for locations in the USA, therefore the expected freezing rain conditions should be relatively minor. (The Venus-on-lower-meridian sets up through the North Atlantic Ocean, passing between Iceland and Greenland.)
Full Moons, when they fall across either axis, can manifest in the winter as impressive snowstorms. Such is the case for the one on 9 February at twenty degrees of Leo, which exactly strikes the season chart for Boise, Idaho. The interior mountain regions in general would do well to be on the alert.
As winter shifts toward spring, the Full Moon on 9 March is closely aligned with Neptune, warning of unusually heavy precipitation and likely newsworthy flooding along the East Coast, particularly the Northeast. Noting that this is the early part of the “Capricorn Crunch” — Mars joining Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto in that sign from mid-February to the end of March — one can readily anticipate considerable re-organization of day-to-day functioning — even widespread austerity conditions — accompanying watershed political events.
Climate chaos comes home on a decisively serious new level.

See also the monthly personal forecast co-written with Aeolea Wendy Burwell.

Picture of Dorian Great

Comparisons aplenty are being bandied about just now, concerning the confounding Hurricane Dorian and the Great Labor Day Storm of 1935.

The ferocity of the storms is comparable: Dorian flinging sustained winds of 180 miles per hour — just try to imagine literally weathering such a blow — with gusts over 220, when it made landfall the first of three times at Elbow Cay of the Abaco Islands in the Bahamas group. That occurred at 12:40 p.m. on 1 September.

Reports barely convey the experience: Homes — perhaps thirteen thousand — and businesses completely destroyed in the northern Bahama Islands and inundated with an extraordinary amount of flooding. Residents described “buzz-saw-like winds that splintered homes, flooded streets and left them terrified for their lives.” The storm surge has been reported as reaching twenty-three feet above normal sea level, the storm itself called “the strongest Atlantic hurricane landfall on record,” according to ABC News.

Perhaps the words of the Prime Minister somewhat better conjures the feeling: the destruction “unprecedented and extensive,” battering a nation of small islands that has had to deal frequently with severe tropical storms: Floyd in 1999, Wilma in 2005, Matthew in 2016, Irma in 2017.

Where will it go next? Millions of people are wondering and worrying, their lives and livelihoods on hold. Officially, the word has been that “it’s going to be extremely close” at to whether Dorian would clobber Florida’s eastern coast, where more than a little interest has concerned the fate of the Trumpster’s Mar-a-Lago resort, where El Presidente expects to host and profit from 2020’s G-7 meeting of heads of state.

But at this writing (2-3 September), the storm has stalled, its hurricane-force winds barely reaching said coast.

Understanding the event from an astro-meteorological point of view must include the season chart and the configuration for the event itself (see chart below). A prominent feature is the tight Sun-Mars conjunction along with Mercury and Venus in mercurial Virgo in the landfall pattern upon the ascendant of the season chart. The message: a very forceful event with much wind and moisture hereabouts and now. The bodies in Virgo were at their highest elevation for the day at the time of landfall as they were blowing down the door to the end-of-summer season at the tropical vacation spot — where most of the local population struggles to survive.

The preceding New Moon on 30 August (a super-moon: at lunar perigee, resulting in greater-than-usual tides) with Mercury, Venus and Mars all in Virgo, close to the ascendant of the season chart, was the primary warning of a major weather event. A closer look shows Mercury in a most powerful position: exactly on the ascendant (i.e., eastern horizon). In mythic terms, Hermes was stepping onto the scene to usher the Bahamas — politically, economically and ecologically — into another phase of its existence, along with some individuals into the next world.

Also worthy of study is the Mercury-into-Leo ingress chart (relevant to Dorian’s emergence), Mercury being the wind factor. Notably, Mercury passed over the zero degrees Leo point three times between late June and early August, due to Mercury’s retrograde phase; the chart here is for the final passage. (This point is within three degrees of Mercury’s place in the Bahamas independence chart (not shown) on 10 July 1973 — a retrograde Mercury at that.) This ingress chart shows Jupiter close to the ascendant, strongly suggesting an event of great magnitude, and Jupiter’s square to Neptune near the lower meridian: a strong indication of flooding as the primary and pervasive problem. The same date also saw the conjunction of Venus (at the midpoint of the “underworld” phase of her cycle) with Sol: describing the combination of heat and moisture that fed the monster storm.

The chart for Mercury’s ingress into Virgo (not shown), cast for the same location in the Bahamas (close to the landfall place), offers less conclusive indications: Pluto near the western horizon, and the lunar nodal axis at right angle to the meridian. The meaning of the nodes, which mark the solar and lunar eclipse zones, is basically concerned with events that might have a significant impact on the continuity of the affected ecology, culture and infrastructure. However, linkage with the nodes does not carry through the other relevant charts.

All in all, this hurricane at this location was foreseeable far in advance: a great potential benefit of astro-meteorology. There must be at least a few astrologers in Florida and/or the Caribbean region who are anticipating such storms, and taking appropriate action.

(To emphasize that such a statement is far more than mere analysis after the fact, my partner and I published a statement — submitted for publication on 28 August and published 1 September — comparing the 2019 Virgo New Moon configuration to a very similar pattern that coincided with catastrophic Hurricane Maria, which struck Puerto Rico in 2017. I posited the likelihood of a significant hurricane around the date of the New Moon on 30 August.)

What comparisons might there be with the big blow of 1935, the storm that inspired the Bogey-and-Bacall movie “Key Largo”? That one, decades before hurricanes were assigned names, made landfall at Islamorada, Florida, on 2 September at 10:00 p.m. EST — four days after a New Moon in Virgo with Mercury, Venus and Neptune also in that sign. Aside from the factors already mentioned, Dorian has tied or exceeded Labor Day 1935 in a rare planetary coincidence: Uranus’ return, after eighty-four years, to the same zodiacal place within one degree. Uranus the exceptional, the record-breaker.

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.

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>-

Mercury’s Shadow

The night before, the electronic signs began flashing the warnings to semi drivers along the 490 loop: No empty trailers would be allowed on that stretch of highway on Sunday the twenty-fourth, to pose the hazard of overturning in the expected high winds and blocking up the flow of traffic.
And by two in the afternoon on Sunday, the wind in the trees were keeping up a continual roaring sound. Nearly sixty-mile-per-hour winds were anticipated. Fortunately, the trees were bare. Even so, some damage to trees and structures was inevitable.
Why is this happening? There is a strong storm (“Quiana”) with its center east of the Great Lakes this afternoon, bringing blizzard conditions to the upper Mississippi valley, with a steep air pressure gradient propelling winds ahead of it.
It was all right on cosmic time: Mercury had already crossed the upper meridian of the season chart, in fact was exactly conjunct that axis at the time of the Full Moon on the nineteenth. It so happened that Mercury at that moment was passing the zodiacal spot where Mercury would “station direct” on 28 March — after the retrograde period beginning on 5 March, when Mercury would “station retrograde.”
There’s more: At the moment of the windstorm’s arrival, Mercury was exactly conjunct the place of Mars (signifying increased energy and destructive force) in the season chart.
All this greatly emphasizes the Mercury factor, which in astro-meteorology correlates with wind.

Take a look at the chart graphic: the season chart on the inner wheel, the “event” chart around the outside.

You probably recognize the Mars (male) symbol high in the inner ring. It’s near the symbol for the upper meridian: the circle with the vertical line, which represents the zone of longitude where energetic events are most likely to transpire. Mercury in the outer ring is just above it.

Can another significant wind event be expected within this broad longitudinal region in the near future? It’s likely, especially around the fifteenth of March, when Mercury (in apparent retrograde motion) crosses the place of Mars in the season chart.
As of the Full Moon moment, Mercury has entered its “shadow”: the zone of retrogradation, the zodiacal “territory” it passes over three times within a short period: before, during, and after retrogradation.
There’s a lot of reworking of infrastructure to do, as well as of information, comprehension and communication.


Peter Doughty
-<zoidion>-