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The Lighthouse 11/08/2018

Posted by zoidion in Event, Weather.
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One might say this tale fails to fit with the themes of this enterprise, yet it might be said to be a harbinger of 2017’s Maria. In another sense, a cautionary tale about blithe reliance on modern technology in the face of vast natural forces.

Despite the fact that the lives of thirty-three human beings were lost at sea, the astrological side of the event is darn fascinating, and perhaps instructive.

The event in question: the loss of “El Faro” (Spanish for lighthouse) on 1 October 2015, sometime after dawn, somewhere in the general vicinity of Crooked Island in the Bahamas chain, en route from Jacksonville, Florida, to San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Many questions surrounded the tragedy: “In an age when any teenager can load his cell phone with a weather-radar app, why would a veteran captain steer his ship directly into the teeth of a hurricane? Why didn’t it take evasive measures? What could have happened to the El Faro so suddenly that the crew had no time to send distress signals or, apparently, try to abandon ship?” (1)

The ship embodied the latest designs and equipment for its time: It was launched 1 November 1974 at Chester, Pennsylvania. But — doing the math — that was forty years before. (As the Miami Herald asked in a subhead: “Old Ships Never Die. But Should They?”)

Such big ships do not go down often: The previous big American cargo ship disaster was in 1983.

The launch chart — even without a time — seems to indicate longevity, while the planetary configurations for sailing on 29 September 2015, in relation to the launch chart, strongly indicate time and luck running out.


There is a powerful emphasis on celestial bodies in water zoidia: Sun, Venus and Mars in Scorpio; Jupiter in Pisces, Saturn in Cancer — ample evidence of long seaworthiness. This somewhat loose water grand trine shows two “ways out”: a close square from Jupiter to Neptune, and a square from Saturn to Mercury (retrograde).Those ways out, in the fulness of time, would show El Faro the way down.

The ship sailed on the evening tide—Luna just below the eastern horizon, rising soon afterward—as Mercury (retrograde) was crossing the place of Pluto (lord of the underworld) in the launch chart, and as Mercury came between Sol and Earth. This latter relationship occurs three times per year, and is known technically as “inferior conjunction.” It is a most potent occasion in relation to all significances of Mercury / Hermes. Combined with the meanings of Pluto / Hades, it signifies the opening of a direct connection with the realm of the dead.


The total lunar eclipse two days before sailing was at a point in opposition to Pluto in the launch chart: symbolizing the siren call of death.

The second major indication of the timing was Neptune’s arrival at the place of Jupiter in the launch chart. It was exact to the degree and represented the submergence of the ship’s run of good fortune on the world’s sea lanes.

The sailing itself occurred at an unfortunate moment, with a very late degree of Aries rising, with Aries’ lord, Mars, in the sixth place with Jupiter. This latter is a strong indication of major mechanical problems cropping up in the course of the voyage, as well as the likelihood of excessive risk-taking. The prior solar eclipse also fell within the sixth place: not good.

At the time of El Faro’s last received communication — 1 October 2015, 7:20 a.m. EST — the ship’s condition was dire. “Winds of more than 130 miles per hour and waves of up to 30 feet had battered the ship, which had taken on water, had lost power, and was listing 15 degrees.” (2)


That too was a potent astrological moment, signaling completion: the ascending degree was exactly opposite the ascendant for sailing, and now in conjunction with Uranus (reversal of fortune, circumstances unprepared for) in the launch chart. Sol was only minutes of arc past Pluto’s place in the launch chart. Luna was late in Taurus, zoidion of exaltation — “void of course”: nothing more to be done, nothing effectual, after angular contact with generally-beneficent Venus. Plus, Luna was in the eighth place of death.

Luna’s zodiacal place at the end echoed her place at the beginning: within a few days following fullness.

Which calls the question: Knowing the configuration of the launch chart, would a shipping company’s staff astrologer have strongly cautioned against sailing when El Faro did? Most likely.

Oh yes.

What do you think?


1. “The last voyage of El Faro,” Miami Herald, 10 October 2015
2. “El Faro: What happened to missing container ship?” Christian Science Monitor, 5 October 2015

Note: Times of sailing and last communication are from news reports.


Ellicott City Revisited 04/06/2018

Posted by zoidion in Event, forecast, Long Emergency, urban agriculture, Weather.
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Twin Cities ephemera: The first real heat arrived earlier than expected, and I was glad to miss it: I was attending UAC (and hawking my book) in Chicago from the twenty-third to thirtieth of May. I heard about it, though, along with another weather story for the record books—and a whole lot of hurt on the ground.

A report by the State of Minnesota Department of Natural Resources provides a useful perspective on the local event, and a reminder about one aspect of the new norm under the regime of climate chaos:  increasingly bizarre temperature shifts, especially in the central region of the continent.

On May 28, 2018 the mercury reached 100 degrees at the Twin Cities International Airport. This is the earliest reading of 100 degrees at the official Twin Cities reporting site since 1871. . . . From May 24-29, 2018 the mercury climbed at or above 90 degrees for six days in a row, the second most number of 90 degree maximum temperatures or higher in May for the Twin Cities, with only 1934 having more 90 degree days with eight. . . .
The morning minimum temperature on May 28 was 77 degrees with the heat index reaching 101 in the mid-afternoon at the Twin Cities International Airport. Lakes that had ice cover at the start of the month were now sleuthed out by swimmers looking for an early dip at their favorite beach.

I would add that when the last (three-day) snowstorm ended on the fifteenth of April, the snow in my yard was knee-deep. 

When I headed for the train to Chi-town—embarking at good ol’ SPUD (St. Paul Union Depot)—I was concerned about the prospects for my garden. The dry spell since mid-April seemed well entrenched. Barely enough rain had fallen on and drained off three sides of my garage to fill two rain barrels, and I used it sparingly: spot-watering the veggie transplants and giving some to the three fruit trees.

As the weather played out, everything survived just fine, bearing out my perception that my soil-building efforts over the past six years have markedly improved the soil’s capacity for moisture retention. When I returned at midnight beginning the thirty-first—with Luna and Jupiter low in the southeastern sky—I could tell that the yard had become a veritable jungle. Most of the growth, I suspect, had occurred since the twenty-ninth, when slightly more than two inches of rain fell: another remarkable turnaround.

In the midst of all that, the situation was deja vu all over again in the town that should not be: Ellicott City, Maryland. That’s harsh, one might say.

Well, when folks site a town and build it up with a whole lot of the typical impervious surfaces attendant upon industrial civilization, along a stream surrounded by steep hills  (a “topographical funnel”) — crap happens. Again and again: fifteen times since 1768. Wow: Humans en masse really are slow to get any given message.

I covered the story of the 30 July 2016 storm and flood on this blog and in my book, Scenes from a Tapestry. There’s little point in regurgitating the astrological particulars of that event. (See the story by the Capital Weather Gang on the latest assault here.)

Let’s have a look at the indicators for this spring: Well, lookee there: inundation-symbol Neptune in water-zoidion Pisces exactly on the upper meridian (the inner wheel below).


(True, according to the standard rule of astro-meteorological interpretation, it’s the lower meridian that is the most important factor. But one must consider the evidence of actual events.)

Bear in mind that, similar to a map of some portion of Earth’s surface, the meridian has to do with longitude, the horizon line (ascendant-descendant) with latitude.

In this case, water-zoidion Cancer is on the ascendant. With this meridian / ascendant combination, the area is in the cross-hairs of a likely rain event of unusual magnitude and significance.

One might also note the harsh-reality-check combination of Mars and Saturn in Capricorn at the descendant.

Then add the first-quarter lunation chart around the season chart: Venus in the lunation has reached the ascendant of the season chart, indicating the wettest week of the season. Then notice Jupiter (in water-zoidion Scorpio) at the upper meridian and Pluto at the ascendant of the lunation chart. Translation: major devastation possible.

Especially in combination with geography: “A surge of cool North Atlantic air moving southward into the Mid-Atlantic can push a cold front into our region — curiously — from the north, during late spring and early summer. It’s a quirk of our region’s geography.”

By the day of the deluge, Venus had moved four degrees past the ascendant in the season chart, as Luna in Scorpio crossed the upper meridian of the lunation chart.

There you have it.

For an ongoing astro-meteorological or overall resilience-preparedness project, one would do well to reference the foundation chart (if available) for the locality. In this case, it’s a bit sketchy without access to local records.

According to Wikipedia, it appears that the most relevant political unit relating to Ellicott City was likely incorporated on 25 March 1867, in the aftermath of the Civil War. (Wiki references the 26 March 1867 issue of the Baltimore Sun newspaper.)

The indications of that day’s sky are not good: Mercury retrograde two degrees away from Sol, with Neptune five degrees away from Mercury. That alone signals the likelihood of delusional thinking and hasty decision-making in the works. It’s not that Mercury retrograde is “bad,” but that it would be better to hold off and reconsider any major decision or agreement until said Mercury has reached or passed inferior conjunction with Sol: the beginning of the thrice-yearly Sol-Mercury cycle. Apparently, Ellicott City was a premature birth.

Plus Sol and Uranus are exactly square: chaos, disruption of efforts. Plus Mars in Cancer (its sign of “fall”) thrown into the mix: Shall we call it a continual battle for survival?

There’s even more: Venus and Jupiter together in square to Saturn, symbolizing a squandering of resources. (The “opening” Jupiter-Saturn square reflects the economic expansion occasioned, in part, by the war effort.)

C’mon, folks. In a time of economic expansion, even in the wake of so devastating a war as the one between the States, it may have seemed that economic losses such as those already experienced could be sustained indefinitely.

Sustainability means that at some point what is unsustainable can no longer be sustained.

Evidently, for Ellicott City, Maryland, that time has arrived.


P.S.  For those wondering about the prospects for the hurricane season, I anticipate one markedly less windy than 2017’s: The ferocity of last year’s storms was related, astrologically, to the rare opposition of Jupiter and Uranus in equinoctial (equatorial) zoidia — Libra and Aries, respectively. Those two planets may have moved on to a different pair of opposing zoidia (Scorpio and Taurus), but one (Jupiter) is now in the south by declination, the other north. It’s “interesting” to note the frequency of Jupiter in Libra (increased air/wind) in the charts of major hurricanes: Katrina one Jupiter cycle earlier, for example.

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