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Hot Time 28/03/2013

Posted by zoidion in History, Weather.

Twin Cities ephemera: It’s another brilliantly sunny and rapidly-warming day, after a twenty-two degree dawn with a gorgeous setting full moon. The temperature broke the forty-degree mark yesterday, the third consecutive day with a high above freezing, with each night below freezing.

One might think this slow snowmelt is a good thing, and it would be if the ground hadn’t been so dry last fall before the freeze; but this moisture can’t soak into the “concrete frost.” Much of the Red River valley is preparing for flooding, especially if heavy rains come (which I don’t expect).

Unlike last year’s record warmth, this March has seen a good pattern for maple sap gathering. Someone I know in the local food foraging scene had collected thirteen gallons of sap as of two days ago.

There’s still about six inches of snow in my yard, and the melt from the garage roof has filled my two rain barrels. One of them is actually mostly an ice barrel, and the other—covered until a few weeks ago—has a floating layer of ice; I noticed that yesterday, and got out there with a ratchet wrench to remove the low-hanging downspout before the ice rose enough to put a kink in it.

As for my raised garden beds, I’m taking a variety of approaches to preparing them for the growing season. With one, I’ve just left the snow in place. With one, I laid down a blue tarp to help the snow melt faster. And with the third, I shoveled off the snow and laid down black plastic bags—I think that one will be the kale bed, but when will I dare install them? Today’s the day to set the kale seedlings outside on the deck to begin the “hardening off” process—I’ll bring them back inside for the night.


From the beginning of my study of astronomical correlations with weather patterns, I’ve wrestled with the question of how much significance should be accorded to sign lords (i.e., “ruling planets”) for the specific place indicator and Sun and Moon signs. By “place indicator,” I mean the lower meridian, the vertical line at the bottom of the chart: the spot that shows “here.” Sign lords of the Sun and Moon signs enter the picture according to whether the chart represents the season—in which case the solar ingress into Aries, Cancer, Libra or Capricorn is the representative moment—or the week—when the phase of the Moon is the key moment.

A good example of this is the summer solstice—Cancer ingress—chart set for New York City in 1896. That summer included a nine-day heat wave that contributed to hundreds of deaths there among tenement- and apartment-dwellers: an event chronicled by Edward P. Kohn in Hot Time in the Old Town: The Great Heat Wave of 1896 and the Making of Theodore Roosevelt. Above 90-degree (F) days and nighttime lows of 75 or higher in that burgeoning urban heat island began on 5 August.

The core factor for that particular season is the sign of Pisces—an overall cool and damp indicator—on the place indicator. Was that summer mostly cool and damp? Having not read the book (so far I’ve only seen the blurb in the Daedalus Books catalog), I don’t know. But I suspect it was.

But the sign lord of Pisces is Jupiter in the hot fire sign of Leo in the eighth house of crisis and death. And the sign lord of Cancer is the Moon in the sign of Scorpio, promising extremes, and the sign lord of Scorpio is rising-temperature-indicator Mars in the hot fire sign of Aries.

These points are the season’s potential and promise.


As for timing, two lunations signify activation. The last-quarter Moon at the start of August showed both Sun and Moon connecting with Jupiter in the solar ingress chart—the Sun, obvious indicator of heat, directly aligning with Jupiter, the premier fair-weather symbol, in Leo where the Sun is sign lord. In the New Moon chart for 9 August, the Sun (and Moon) has all but caught up with Jupiter—an annual occurrence. The heat wave began as the Moon crossed into the sign of Cancer and the Sun’s place in the season chart. On the last day of the heat wave, the Sun was one degree past Jupiter.

The rising-temperature factor of Mars in the season chart came into play during the last-quarter phase, as Mars, now in Taurus, attained a sixty-degree angle to the season place indicator in the twenty-third degree of Pisces. Simultaneously, the potential for rare, even  unprecedented, conditions was represented in the last-quarter chart: the Mars-Uranus axis aligning with the local horizon (symbolized by the horizontally-bisected circle). And indications for excessive fair weather were aptly represented at the next lunation by the  new moon (with Jupiter) at midnight chart (symbolized by the vertically-bisected circle exactly opposite the Sun and Moon).

The personal star of Theodore Roosevelt continued its rise through this crisis as the thirty-seven-year-old police commissioner led efforts to get ice to overcrowded and unventilated tenements and use the plenteous water supply to cool the baking pavement. This face-to-face experience with the living conditions of the working poor helped Roosevelt win the governorship of New York two years later, and the vice presidency under William McKinley in 1900. When McKinley was assassinated in September 1901, the Republican Party old guard’s “damned cowboy” was suddenly president. The rest is history.



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