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Stormwatch 23/02/2017

Posted by zoidion in Climate, History, Long Emergency, Mundane, permaculture, Photography, Uncategorized, Weather.
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Twin Cities ephemera: Somewhat to my surprise, Luna — a waning crescent — was visible through wispy clouds after I verified an empty rain/snow gauge at dawn today: Last night the sky was overcast as I joined some folks near the St. Paul Union Depot — I like to call it SPUD — to check out potential sites for a part of the upcoming Northern Spark festival.

I could feel the change in the weather: the wind out of the north closing out five days of weird warmth. Temperatures had been so much above average that when, a few days ago, seven-tenths of an inch of rain fell, it soaked into the ground: The frost was out of the soil. Such an event is nearly unprecedented around here in February.

On one of the dry days, I felt the irresistible call of the garden: I got my clippers to cut the faded, woody stalks of last season’s kale and broccoli plants. My footing was precarious, as the soil was mucky. The layer of leaves I’d laid down in November improved traction a tad.

On the other, south, side of the walkway, I had another look at last year’s new garden plot, and visualized the rabbit-proof fence that I intend for it. Lettuce, carrots and other compatible veggies should do well there — weather permitting. I’m confident that I’ve done a sufficient job of building the soil.

Fortunately, there’s at least another month of relative leisure before setting to that task. And a “correction” toward colder and snowier weather is due. The techno-weather folks agree.

Another sort of storm — political in nature — is of greater concern, especially as an online article by resource researcher Richard Heinberg brings the current situation into stark focus. He elaborates on his perception that the Trump administration is a “presidency in search of an emergency.”

The article is a grabber right from the title: “Awaiting Our Own Reichstag Fire,” an allusion to the convenient, possibly false-flag, event that enabled the minority Nazi regime to consolidate power less than a month after Adolf Hitler became chancellor of Germany. It happened eighty-four years ago — hmm, that’s exactly one cycle of Uranus — two-and-a-half days after a solar eclipse . . . on 24 February 1933. (That eclipse was not even visible at Berlin, but rather in the southern hemisphere from Chile to Ethiopia.)

Another solar eclipse, again visible only in the southern hemisphere, is days away, on 26 February.

Then, the eclipse was most closely opposite Neptune (symbol of murky conditions, fakery and such), but also Mars and Jupiter — a perfect recipe for a “fog of war.” And Pluto — symbol of the dark forces of the underworld, including the machinations of plutocracy — was rising at Berlin.


Now, the eclipse is conjunct Neptune, with indications of imminent sweeping changes represented by Mars conjunct Uranus in opposition to Jupiter in square (right angle) to Pluto.


The significance of Jupiter, in the zoidion Libra (referring to judicial matters and systems), is emphasized by the timing of a particular presidential message to his followers.


That was the very day of the once-a-year Jupiter retrograde station: when Jupiter, as seen from Earth, stops moving forward and begins a four-month period of apparent backward motion. It is / was a pregnant moment: a moment of impending reversal.

With those other planets in configuration, it is exceedingly momentous.

To emphasize the precarious situation a bit more: The position of Mercury at the time of that message was exactly — to the degree and minute — conjunct the position of Pluto on the day that birthed a certain founding document. There might be some significance there to the conduct of media of information and opinion.

For some — though perhaps not a great many — the current drama merely confirms the perspective elaborated by John Michael Greer:

Among the standard phenomena of decline and fall, in fact, is the shattering of the collective consensus that gives a growing society the capacity to act together to accomplish much of anything at all. The schism between the political class and the rest of the population — you can certainly call these ‘the one percent’ and ‘the ninety-nine percent’ if you wish — is simply the most visible of the fissures that spread through every declining civilization, breaking it into a crazy quilt of dissident fragments pursuing competing ideals and agendas.

(Serving suggestion: Avoid ingesting “Awaiting . . . “ immediately before bedtime.)



James Howard Kunstler, The Long Emergency, 2005

Northern Spark festival

Richard Heinberg, “Awaiting Our Own Reichstag Fire,” Resilience.com

NASA Five Millennium Catalog of Solar Eclipses

Declaration of Independence

John Michael Greer, Dark Age America, 2016


Australian astrologer Ed Tamplin offers a welcome back-to-basics view of the current and astrologically similar occasions, focusing on the Jupiter-Saturn cycle.


The Year Without Summer 29/12/2016

Posted by zoidion in Climate, Event, Hellenistic, History, homesteading, Uncategorized, urban agriculture, Weather.
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New lunar crescent and Venus, January 2014

Twin Cities ephemera: There’s not much to look at out there, what with the yard blanketed by what remains after a foot-and-a-half of snow meets with an inch of rain. The weather was so wild on the twenty-fifth that after “sundown,” a single flash of lightning lit the sky, and thunder seemed to roll across the flats near the Mississippi River and up and over this small ridge and upland.

Oh, there is a bit to note: rabbit trails, for instance, and the evidence of their munching on what was left of broccoli and kale leaves, and the fertilizer the rabbits leave behind. (Their little pellets of poop are strewn all along their trails, leaving me to wonder if they eject them as they run? They certainly don’t stand stock still when I surprise one, as they don’t blend into the landscape now. I think they munch and run, back to wherever they’re safe.)

The black currant bushes under one of the pear trees serve to remind me to take some cuttings come February. I cleared out some of the black raspberries out front: space to install some more currants, once they’ve had a couple of months to start roots indoors.

A big tree rat (aka “squirrel”) nest came splattering down on the ground, under the river birch, in the course of that big storm. A few small birch branches too.

But we were lucky: Very little rain froze on the branches, and after the rain, a howling wind dried the pavements before the temperature dropped below freezing.

In the morning, Luna in waning crescent phase winked several times through holes in the clouds, before dancing lines of snow flurries began snaking down the streets.

Thank the gods of earth and storms that there was no repeat of the terrible winter of 1996, when a January thaw brought at least as much rain that was followed by a temperature plunge to minus-thirty. (“Up north”: as low as minus-sixty.) Everything was ice-coated until March. I remember sitting in my former house — the one with the big old asbestos-wrapped octopus furnace — that night as the temperature dropped, hearing the wood in the studs pop-pop-popping. A chilling sound.

2016 ought not pass away without reference to what occurred two hundred years ago: “the year without summer” in Europe and northeastern North America.

In the latter, the mild winter of 1815-16 fueled renewed debate over whether there was a trend in that direction: The “Dalton Minimum” era of low sunspot activity, which began in 1790, was the subject of  much discussion in scientific circles.

But few scientists knew about a great volcanic eruption in the East Indies, and fewer realized what an effect it would evidently have the following year on the far side of the globe. The ever-astute Benjamin Franklin, however, was among those who had noted the coincidence of the eruption of Laki (Iceland) in 1783 and the strange, dangerous weather that followed.

Excessive rainfall, frost, even snow through what should have been summer 1816 plagued the regions mentioned, and produced food shortages and riots, famine, religious revivals, epidemics and migrations: Many New Englanders gave up on their rocky farms and set out for the Midwest. (That is why there is a band of territory from New England to Minnesota that falls within Colin Woodard’s identified cultural region of Yankeedom. See his book American Nations.)

As detailed in William K. Klingaman and Nicholas P. Klingaman in The Year Without Summer, chaos and calamity followed the eruption at Tambora in what is now Indonesia in April 1815. Some examples:

On Monday July 8, frost struck crops from Maine to Virginia . . . The morning of July 9 brought even colder temperatures and hard frosts . . . From Sweden to northern Italy, and Switzerland to Spain, great rain-bearing clouds seemed to darken the skies every day . . . As reports of the damage to grain and vineyards poured into Paris—where the Seine rose eight feet over several days—priests directed their flocks to pray for an end to the deluge.

Some blamed the recent resurgence in sunspots. In Italy, where the winter had been very severe (including historically unprecedented snowfalls), the situation was so dire that an astronomer in Bologna predicted that life on Earth would come to an end on 18 July—until government officials had him put in jail. (Perhaps that particular date was identified because of the prior conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn—the primary reference point for economic and political matters—on 18 July 1802.)

But recent compilations of anecdotal and scientific evidence, the Klingamans’ among them, point toward Tambora as the major factor.

The astrological evidence is also instructive, using the Aries solar ingress for 1815 as a base map. Again, as with astro-weather maps, the lower meridian and the bottom of the chart (representing what is on or under the Earth) contains appropriate symbols for a potential upheaval. It is Mars, planetary lord of Aries, “exalted” (maximally strengthened and effective) in Capricorn close to the point of the prior solar eclipse (at nineteen degrees Capricorn, not shown in the chart below, the inner ring showing the Aries ingress configuration). Adding to Mars’ potency was its closeness in declination—angular distance from the ecliptic—to Uranus and Neptune, those two large planets a few years away from conjunction.


Another placement of note is Venus setting on the western horizon while placed in Aries, opposite its/her domicile in the ascendant, Libra. That, together with the square angle to Mars, is a strong indication of trouble. (Astrologers using the Hellenistic system of delineation would likely emphasize Mars—the “malefic,” the troublemaker, the cutter—as the force “overcoming” the more peaceable Venus because of Mars’ placement “before” Venus.)

Trouble came quickly, with a major eruption on 5 April and an even greater one on 10 April, the one referenced here. It occurred close to local sundown, on the day of a New Moon in close alignment with that prior Venus position. Bear in mind that at New Moon, Luna is between Earth and Sol: a time of high gravitational force upon Earth.

And interestingly, Mercury (the messenger)—in apparent retrograde motion at the time of the Aries ingress—had caught up with Pluto (the god of the underworld) at the time of the catastrophic second eruption of Tambora.

By the time of the Aries ingress of 1816, there was another dire portent, unseen and unremarked: an exact square (ninety-degree angle) between the yet-to-be-discovered bodies, Neptune and Pluto.

That year came the deluge of destruction.

Alas, Gaia is no more pacific now . . . not when provoked.


[ See also earlier post, “Planets and Civilizations.”]

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