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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.


Rain Bombs Away 04/08/2016

Posted by zoidion in Climate, Event, herbalism, homesteading, Long Emergency, Photography.
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Twin City ephemera: The first rumbles of distant thunder, as darkness yielded to gray, stirred me from an uneasy muggy night.

Another day — actually, another hour or so — another two inches plus of rain. Frankly, I was amazed — it didn’t seem to be coming down quite that hard and fast. And I didn’t notice any ponding along the border between lawn-land next door and garden-land over here, as I did during and after the bigger 5 July storm.

But more and more often, rainfalls — at least in this part of the world, and even more in this country’s northeast quadrant — happen as deluges.

Anyway, relief is already in the air: relief from tropical-style dew points.

Yesterday, first thing, I was smart enough to get going on this year’s batch of immunity-boosting tonic. It’s elderberry season just now, and the first related project was drying a quart of berries in the dehydrator, for tea through the rest of the year. (I’m still using last year’s.) 

Making the tonic is a bit more involving: shopping for the other ingredients at an herb shop, simmering everything for an hour-and-a-half (what I recall from the workshop I went to), letting it sit for a while through an extended chat with my astro-buddy, straining out the liquid and decanting into several quart-size jars, adding just a bit of honey.

The ingredients: twelve cups water, three cups elderberries, one cup astragalus, one-quarter cup ginger, one cup echinacea, one cup lycii (goji) berries. (This time, I omitted the half-cup of burdock root.)

I would have preferred to do that cooking outside, on the rocket stove, but I couldn’t get it going. No doubt it didn’t help that there was a little pile of wet ashes in the firing chamber, left over from last time I used it. Guess I better find a way to keep it better covered.

Through much of the process of picking the elderberries, a medium-sized gray bird — species unknown — served as overseer. It would perch on one of the inner branches, keeping quite still as I clipped the sagging, deep-purple clusters of berries. Often it would repeatedly open and close its beak, making a slight exhalation sound. Sometimes it would be on the ground, hopping along, endangered by the cat that occasionally prowls here.

Was it sick? During one of those very muggy days, I found it in the half-full water can, seemingly fully bathed but unable to get out. A bit later and it would have been exhausted and drowned. I poured the bird out onto the ground.

One more backyard drama — less entertaining, no doubt, than the sight and sound of me discovering, squeezing and pounding the Japanese beetles. They seem to find the leaves of the raspberry and fireweed plants, and one of the hazelnut bushes, especially tasty and nutritious.

When I checked the transits — the positions of Sun, Moon and planets — for the time (just about seven a.m.) that this latest downpour arrived, in relation to the chart for the season, well, it’s a classic.  It doesn’t always happen quite so neatly, but it does illustrate a basic rule of astrometeorology: When the Moon crosses the horizon or meridian of the season chart, a significant change in the weather is indicated.

In this case, the Moon at that moment was exactly crossing the upper meridian, moving through the zodiac in counter-clockwise direction.


See the crescent-Moon symbol in the outer ring: the transit ring? It’s in exactly the same degree as the circle-with-the-vertical-line symbol, indicating the upper meridian, in the inner ring: the season chart.


The Moon’s having passed Venus in the previous hours showed plenty of moisture available as the frontal boundary of a different air mass passed this way.

The lower meridian of the season chart is the prime indicator for relative moisture: With the zoidion Pisces and planet Neptune there, an overall wet summer marked by likely deluges was the expectation.

The season chart for Ellicott City, Maryland — sixteen degrees of longitude to the east — also shows Pisces and Neptune at the lower meridian, but with Saturn (indicating greater storminess) close to the Ascendant.


There, less than a week ago, a small, historic valley town was devastated by a “rain bomb” storm: a “thousand-year” flood for the second time in this decade.

Meteorologists these days refer to “training”: intense rain-producing storms that form one after another and move, analogous to a series of railroad cars, across the same small area, in a timeframe of several or more hours. They produce impressive rainfall totals and often catastrophic flash floods.

Here’s one scene of the aftermath in Ellicott City.


(Photo from Washington Post.)

Robert Scribbler has one story. And the Baltimore Sun has another.

One distinction to make re: astrometeorology: At the time of the storm, the Moon was not crossing horizon or meridian in Ellicott City’s season chart, reflecting the fact that the meteorological situation was not that of a front separating air masses passing through.

It was an atmospheric situation fed by summer heat and vast amounts of moisture coming off super-heated offshore waters.

Still, there was a combination of clear warning signs for that region in the lunation chart cast for the fourth-quarter Moon: the Moon (a tide of atmospheric moisture) one degree from the lower meridian, and Pluto (catastrophic destruction) on the horizon.


Ellicott City, pretty and historic as it is, is in a vulnerable location, in an era when rain bombs are becoming more frequent. There is discussion about making valley buildings more flood-resilient, some of them with basements retrofitted to allow flood waters to flow through them rather than accumulate. Another idea: parking-ramp-size tanks to capture flood waters for gradual release later.

It will be interesting and revealing to follow the course of Ellicott City’s adaptation in the years to come. How much can be preserved? How much must be abandoned?


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