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Drought to Deluge to . . . 17/01/2017

Posted by zoidion in agriculture, Climate, Event, forecast, Long Emergency, permaculture, Photography, Weather.
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Twin Cities ephemera: It’s another bump time around here, as the temperature drifts up to the freezing mark and beyond. Through several days the sky was brilliantly clear, with a wonderful planetary show: Venus quite bright and high in the west after sundown, with Mars much fainter and a little further ahead (from Sol). (Venus needs until early October to catch up, after a retrograde dance early March to mid-April.)

Before sunup, Jupiter is at zenith, directly above the bright star Spica, with Saturn low in the east. (I admit I haven’t spotted Saturn yet, more than thirty degrees from Sol.)

That — up! — is where most of the outdoor majesty is to be found just now in these parts. Though there are corridors and spots where real Earth breaks through. 

Reading — very slowly and episodically — Mni Sota Makoce: The Land of the Dakota helps me recall and cultivate a fuller sense of the surrounding territory.

One day I recall from the past year involved a quick trip to Mille Lacs Kathio State Park, close by the lake called Mille Lacs, where the large-scale shallow fishing waters and rich rice marshes along adjacent rivers provided much sustenance. Long-story short, the sense came that this was a place of much activity in a very large and sparsely populated region, which included the (typically) stupidly named Rum (instead of Spirit) River pathway to the Mississippi. A place of importance.

Just being there, I felt . . . something — something about energy flows, at least across the surface of the Earth.

It puts yesterday into perspective: the circuit of a few miles to visit the frozen leviathan known as Mississippi. As the first wispy clouds began to ride out of the south, Luna went about sinking in the west. In Islands of Peace Park, in Fridley, along the route of the onetime Red River oxcart travel — not so very long ago: less than two hundred years — the ragged icy surface of the Great River covered the ceaseless surge from upstream. (I admit I know little of the character of “management” of the River, and how the dams in the realm of ice restrict or enhance the flow.)

In the long-underwear chill, there were also marvels to behold in the snow-covered floodplain: large fungi on dead trees, the texture and color of ice in ponds that melted to slush until the day after Christmas, the large rough tipi.

But few, I suppose, are inclined to linger much: Might as well move on. Which I did, mostly on the smooth ice nearest the shore. I stopped a number of times, but briefly. Enough to press one knee into the snow to get a photograph or three.


Islands of Peace: Well, I’d keep that singular, since one of them is in the middle of the Mississippi and would require a heroic stroke as swimmer or paddler, or admittedly, an outboard motor. In a warmer season.

Definitely peaceful, however — except for the distant downstream roar of traffic on the multi-lane across the flow.

As many climatologists have been pointing out for some time, climate disruption includes such phenomena as rapid shifts between extremes, such as the very recent flip from extreme drought to flooding and sudden massive snowpacks in California and Nevada. This was the obvious big weather-related story of Full Moon week.

A story at Salon.com provided a good short summary.

“Just during the storm that hit Jan. 7 to 10, there were 52 reports of extreme precipitation (meaning more than eight inches of rain in a three-day period), with several measuring twice that. Strawberry Valley, on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevadas, got an amazing 20.51 inches of rain during that storm — more than Los Angeles typically gets in an entire year . . . The percentage of the state that is defined as “drought-free” has almost doubled overnight, from about 18 percent to 34.5 percent, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.”

The season chart for the region, based on the December solstice, indicates overall a few more incidents of rainfall during this normally rainy season there: this thanks to Venus near the lower meridian. Even though Venus was in dry, cold Aquarius.

But the classic indications for a period of over-the-top precipitation show up in the Full Moon calculation (the approximate midpoint for the series of storms in that atmospheric river): Venus and Neptune at the lower meridian. At the same time, Mars (reliably a warming if not also drying influence) had reached one of the midpoints between meridian and horizon — there are four, not shown on the graphic, located at nineteen degrees of Pisces, Gemini, Virgo and Sagittarius. (Warming was a crucial factor in determining the elevations above which precipitation fell and remained as snow.) In addition, Saturn at one of those midpoints in the season chart was forewarning of severe storms to come.


These storms, however, with all their attendant destruction and adaptation problems, bring only partial and temporary relief to the exceptional drought. Planetary indications for spring 2017 are emphatically in the direction of renewed drying: The vernal equinox chart puts Mars exactly on the lower meridian at Fresno in the crucial Central Valley. Indeed, the chart overall is weighted toward the triplicity of Fire, and the significance is obvious.

The past few years have given many foretastes of what is to come in spades (or mine-size haulers) during the heat of the summer and beyond. Be ready for wicked heat and drought, punctuated with wildfires and industrial mismanagement on a scale and with an intensity previously unseen.

Count on it: Summer 2017 centers on the period of Sol and Mars in their very hottest combination (in the zoidion Leo, where Sol is lord), especially in August, building up with great force and drama, and releasing following the solar eclipse on 21 August.

It will be yet another time for a mass shedding of denial: a veritable incineration of resistance to recognition of human-forced warming. It will be quite revelatory to witness  who’s willing to discard the blinders, and who’s not.

Besides fires and the misadventures of products of industry, massive crop losses appear very likely. This eclipse path will cut across the U.S. agri-biz “breadbasket” — It won’t be pretty. In part, it will be demonstrative of the degree to which some agriculturists have been moving away from industrial ag orthodoxy. There are many thoughtful and observant experiments afoot in the realm combining permaculture principles and agroforestry, as well as plain old intelligent conservation measures. How they come through the Fires of August will likely be most instructive.

But there’s no getting around it: A massive crisis essentially across the path of the eclipse must be expected, from Oregon to South Carolina.

Truly responding to it will test and redefine the interests of the Trumpencers especially: the ones who are rising up against the same old same old.

Can Trump actually at his ripe immature age grow? All year he’s being pressured by circumstances to develop some gravitas: Do it or die. The one who’s approached the presidency as a lark, another apparent stage for ego-based displays and appeals to the “lesser angels,” is in the process of being constrained: Saturn’s lengthy visitation. Is the Donald willing to act as more than a defiant, tantrum-prone clown figure, to reach the realization that greatness is as greatness does?

No doubt it will be quite a show. But hey, America loves emotional dramas, right?


Once again I must emphasize: Every region needs researchers / observers well versed in astro-weather techniques, working to identify, well in advance, periods of heat and drought, storm and inundation — and informing those willing to listen, and heed. The task doesn’t require computers, satellites and the Internet. It can — and eventually will — be done with ephemerides, tables of diurnal planetary motion, and tables of houses.
Just as in olden times.
It will even be fun. And it will be a service toward the survival and renewal of our respective communities.

Kaleidoscopic Journey 03/11/2016

Posted by zoidion in Climate, History, Long Emergency, Photography.
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Twin Cities ephemera: Appropriately, to emphasis the contrasts, a rainstorm welcomed us back from our two weeks as far away as Santa Fe. And to emphasize the continuing weather weirding, our home garden showed the zucchini still alive, leaves touched by frost, the broccoli offering a great bounty, plenty of sorrel, even a few last raspberries. Green leaves on the potato plants. Even spiderwort, moonflowers and thyme still blooming — into November.


But the journey itself had brought day after day after day of sun and uncommon warmth, with but one brief interruption. There was a sky-viewing bonus to all the clear weather: It was now possible to see Jupiter in the east before dawn: Jupiter’s “heliacal rising” as the Sun increased the distance since their conjunction on 26 September.

There was some chosen strangeness: Harold Warp’s (his real name) Pioneer Village in Minden, Nebraska, for example. It is touted as “only ‘museum of progress’ in the U.S.A.,” now functioning (at least in the off-season) by the hands of retired volunteers, and clearly saw its heyday several decades ago.

At our farthest-away destination, Truchas, New Mexico, I found more strangeness, or rather the evidence of economic collapse. (Admittedly, there’s plenty of that throughout the hinterlands, as well as the Rust Belt.) Truchas, on the old high road between Santa Fe and Taos, is an eighteenth-century village of mostly adobe construction, lately favored by artists moving in from elsewhere. More lately, though, since the global economic crisis of 2008-09, much less money has been spent on art; many artists have closed up shop and left, others scraping by on Social Security and occasional odd jobs, some native artisans continuing their beautiful work. The B&B looked closed. An art cafe — High Peaks Deep Roots — was emptied out. The saddest sights of all were the defunct businesses on the old, winding main street, which climbs gradually toward the foot of the steep slopes of Truchas Peaks. The grocery, eatery and gas station had, I heard, been passed on from father to son, but son was no businessman. Now everyone must drive or hitchhike ten miles or more to obtain the basics.

It seemed there was a Dollar General store in view every time I turned my head — except in Truchas.

The weather made for very pleasant traveling, camping and visiting, though I heard rumbles of worry — muttering about the strange cool August with snow on New Mexico’s high peaks, Colorado’s longtime plaintive longing for Lake Superior’s water. (I pointed out the absurdity of spotting the Green Valley Lawn Company: “You people need to learn to live within your means.” Or leave, or die, I thought.)

Easy to think or say, I admit, coming from an area that is on track to set an all-time annual precipitation record. Yet this headwaters region also is prone to frequent drought, just less severe than other regions. The situation could change fairly rapidly.

For now, though, the problem areas are to the south and west. The Drought Monitor looks bad  — a third of the US population now living in places experiencing some degree of drought. And the prospects are ominous.

A changing climate means less rain and lower water supplies in regions where many people live and much of the planet’s food is produced: the mid-latitudes of the Northern and Southern hemispheres, including the U.S. Southwest, southern Europe and parts of the Middle East, southern Africa, Australia and Chile. – World Resources Institute

In one pattern, clouds and rain are retreating toward the poles. Nearly all the arable land and urban areas in North America, under this scenario for example, is likely to experience decreasing water supplies.

So it’s perhaps better to regard the current plenitude of moisture–with its attendant problems and risks (four, count ’em four, flood events in Minnesota in 2016) –as temporary, and plan and act accordingly. Keep the downspouts clear, water barrels ready . . .  for when spring rolls around again.

The process of crossing through several climate and landform zones, as well as state lines, in the absence of “news” input, stimulated the pondering of prospects for the US federal arrangement. One senses that the issue has to be at least in the back of the collective mind of the country as the climax of the electoral train wreck approaches, for the ruinous policies of both major political parties has never been more obvious.

As John Michael Greer has put it:

Very few people out here think of the federal government as anything more than a vast mechanism operated by rich crooks for their own benefit, at the expense of everyone else. What’s more, the same cynical attitude is spreading to embrace the other institutions of American society, and—lethally—the ideals from which those institutions get whatever legitimacy they still hold in the eyes of the people.

Whoa, that goes rather deeply, and sharply, doesn’t it? But that’s the essence of this solar Scorpio month.

That perception is an apt verbalization of the planetary transit currently most potent with reference to the chart of the US federal government: Neptune moving into conjunction with the places of Sun and Saturn at the time of the government’s inception at midnight on 4 March 1789, in Philadelphia. (It is a chart too seldom referenced in astrological analysis and discussions.) In brief, that Sun-Saturn in Pisces combination is a perfect symbolization of a federal arrangement, one subject to stretching or even unraveling during “interesting times”: e pluribus unum. Until no unum.

It definitely happened the first time, in the mid-1850s: the runup to the War Between the States: niceties such as the Fugitive Slave Laws (though first enacted in 1793) leading to episodes such as  Bleeding Kansas, where pro- and anti-slavery factions raided each other, elected rival governors and legislatures, and plotted laying siege to one another’s towns. Gulp, oh yeah . . .

The presidential inauguration in 1853 — that of Franklin Pierce — featured, astrologically, the addition of Mercury and Mars: tokens of the increased level of argument and militancy in the period. Who, you think? Essentially forgotten today, Pierce’s administration continued and expanded the expansionist fervor in absurd ways — his vice-president taking the oath of office in Havana, as in Cuba, then dying within the month, leaving Pierce without a backup for the rest of his term; bullying Japan to open its ports to American shipping. It was America running off the rails.


At least we managed to get rid of chattel slavery (overcoming it with wage slavery) in the aftermath.

A similar interesting time came along in the 1930s, when Neptune in Virgo opposed that Sun-Saturn combination.

That time, when Franklin (hmmm, another Franklin) Roosevelt came in in 1933, the country had already endured three long years of ever-deepening economic crisis, with citizens of different political persuasions battling each other and police in the streets. (One of the flashpoints was right here in Minneapolis: the Teamsters strike.)

The government survived the turmoil — Stalin and Mussolini were already well-entrenched, and Adolf Hitler became chancellor of Germany only a month before Roosevelt’s inauguration — by becoming much bigger. It’s quite dramatically symbolized in the federal government’s Jupiter position in Cancer (same zoidion as when independence was declared in 1776): a combination marking an openness to extravagant largesse. Toward the common people, if it’s being smart.


In the 1933 chart, Pluto (the plutocracy, what would become the Deep State) was hovering around that Jupiter position: In essence, the invisible realm of the captains of politics saw fit to open the taps to distribute the wealth that lay underneath the temporary economic wreckage, the latter triggered by excessive speculation and lack of regulation. (Hmm, sounds familiar.)

At the same moment, Moon and Jupiter were exactly conjunct and in turn exactly conjunct the position of Neptune in the federal chart. Mercury and Mars were again in the mix. These are the astrological ingredients of a welfare / warfare state unfolding.

The pressure had been building for some time to overhaul the system. Roosevelt’s One Hundred Days at the start of his presidency, and the twelve years that followed (the same span as Hitler’s Reich), profoundly changed the government and the nation.

But now that arrangement, the agreement between the people and the government, is unraveling before our amazed eyes . . . the antics of one frequently deranged major party candidate who managed to stumble upon some issues that resonated, the deepening revelations (Is anyone surprised?) of the corruption and incompetence of the other major candidate.

Is Neptune in the mix?

Is it ever. With supporting players.

Jupiter will be in the exact same degree on inauguration day 20 January 2017.

And Uranus, the disruptor, is right back where he was in 1933.

And Pluto has moved half (approximately) of his cycle since then.


No wonder the doo-doo is hitting the wind generator and leaving such interesting Rorschach blots.

Will any Rock be left Standing?


Currently listening to:
Lucinda Williams, “The Ghosts of Highway 20”
The Pines, “Above the Prairie” (especially ‘Time Dreams,’ featuring John Trudell and Quiltman)
Jethro Tull, “Benefit.”

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