Hawaii 911

Hilo, Hawaii – February 2016 – photo by Peter Doughty

The confluence of phenomena was merely a brief blip on the radar of weather-related news — except, I suspect, in Hawaii. Last week, tropical storm Barbara suddenly intensified simultaneously with — and directly north of — the total solar eclipse on 2 July. A satellite caught the two events on camera. (Hawaii News Now posted the story.) And although the storm subsequently weakened well before nearing the islands, peak winds reached 155 miles per hour.
It was a close call.
That island chain was the recipient of a rare tropical cyclone (named Lane) just last year: late August to be more exact.
That storm did some significant damage, mostly from torrential rains: Rainfall totals ranked among the heaviest ever recorded within a territory of the USA. And that surely taxed the local resources. (Bear in mind that that remote island chain is utterly dependent for its collective lifestyle on products and fuel from afar.)
The storm and the volcanic eruption on the Big Island (which started in May 2018), which wiped out stretches of roads and many homes, have been a severe one-two punch — though little or nothing reflecting that is apt to make the news. Maybe a bit sneaks between the lines of the local news, when the subject is the public works budget or tourism (the economic mainstay).

Weird meteorology keeps happening, however. Just a couple of days before the eclipse, on 30 June, Honolulu recorded over four inches of rain: the most on any day outside the usual October-to-April wet season. Could it be related somehow to the array of perturbations associated with an impending solar eclipse? Any experienced or aspiring astro-meteorologist would do well to add this to the ol’ notebook.
After all, it’s been not quite two years since Hurricane Harvey suddenly intensified and hammered on Houston. And that was associated with the Great American Eclipse that crossed the country from coast to coast.
Let’s have a look at the astrological factors.
Calculating the chart for the solar eclipse on 2 July 2019, 9:16:20 a.m. AHST, at Honolulu — where the eclipse was actually not visible — shows the ascendant (the eastern end of the horizon) at 24 degrees of the sign Leo, and the midheaven (upper end of the meridian) at 24 degrees of Taurus. Find the midpoint of those two at nine degrees of Cancer: bingo: two degrees from the zodiacal location of the eclipse. (No planets are particularly close to ascendant, descendant, midheaven or lower meridian.) Thus, the longitude of Honolulu is marked for probably more than one out-of-the-ordinary event. Keep that in mind over the months to come.
The Cancer solar ingress (Northern Hemisphere summer solstice) chart at Honolulu (below) has a couple of potent features: Sun exactly on the ascendant, and Neptune less than one degree from the midheaven. Sun is primarily, of course, an indicator of dry and hot conditions. Not quite so much, though, at the gate of the watery sign Cancer. Neptune, however, is a reliable indicator of any of several wet phenomena: from torrents of rain with resultant flooding to fog. (Neptune / Poseidon is god of the oceans.)

Luna on 30 June crossing the place of Venus in the ingress chart does indicate release of moisture, although by itself it would not signify such a notable event.

As for horrendous Harvey, well, he hit Houston four days after the eclipse, which was at its maximum as Sun and Moon were crossing the midheaven at Houston. (The path of totality passed several hundred miles to the north.) Harvey gathered strength from the very warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, while Luna (representing tides of air and water) approached and crossed the place of Jupiter (think “bigger” and “more”: always) as both were in opposition phase with Uranus (think “disruption” and “unprecedented”). In fact, all three were aligned with the horizon at the time of Harvey’s landfall: picture these forces sweeping unhindered across the surface of Earth and ocean.

In addition, Pluto (representing devastation and the process of beginning rebuilding on a new base) was close to the midheaven of the landfall chart.
Less than a month later, Hurricane Maria leveled Puerto Rico, killing (one way or another) at least a thousand people and sending thousands more to the mainland. That landfall moment, at sunrise (20 September 2017, 6:15 a.m. AST, Yabucoa, PR) was marked astrologically by Sun, Mercury, Venus and Mars in the sign of Virgo, just hours after a new moon in Virgo.
A very similar cluster of planets in Virgo recurs in late August and early September 2019, and it includes the new moon in Virgo on 30 August: the peak of the hurricane season.
It’s time once again for people in historic storm zones to get better prepared — even consider (again) whether to pack up and move. At some point, the option of recovery and rebuilding runs out. It’s part of the cyclical process known as catabolic collapse.*

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.”]