The Writer’s Astrological Almanac
by Kathy Watts
Here we go into the sunny month of August, most of which has the Sun at home in the sign of Leo the Lion. Shine on! We also start the month with a Full Moon in Aquarius. It’s hard to get bigger and brighter than this! (continue reading…)
A devastating 7.0 earthquake has rocked the city of Port Au Prince. This little island nation seems to be a magnet for disaster. It has not been that long since it suffered the ravages of not one but two hurricanes. The mind boggles to think of the pain and suffering that the people of Haiti endure on a daily basis. And now, this. No building in Port Au Prince has been spared. Experts guess half a million souls have perished.
Sitting in the comfort of my home, it is almost impossible to understand the terror that comes with earthquakes. Looking at the video reminds me of how much I take for granted. I cannot begin to understand the shock and awe that survivors feel.
” I’m going to share my whole experience because I’m hoping it will be therapeutic. In any case I think I’m going to have nightmares for a long time…. When the tremors ceased, a large dust cloud was rising from the building a few doors down. A 3 story school full of teenage girls had collapsed. I stood around looking stupid for longer than I’d like to admit. I looked at the truck from Toyota, tried to call my wife (the service was out) and looked around me at people’s reactions. Virtually everyone reacted in strange ways. Eventually, I went to the school and started working to pull trapped students from the wreckage.” More from Chris Rollings
We like to think the ground beneath our feet is always stable as a rock. In a sense, the great strides we have made in science, have fooled us into thinking that we are in control. And that is just how it is – most of the time. Every so often, our great Mother Earth, reminds she is alive and breathing fire. We are forced to face the facts. We are not in charge here, Mother Nature is.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey the earthquake struck at 4:53pm local time. Looking at the chart below several factors of death and destruction jump out at us.
When reading any kind of chart, wise astrologers always start with the first house. The Ascending degree marks the ‘go’ point in any astrological map. After all, ours is the study of beginnings, and the Ascendant marks the symbolic dawn, the first light of the new day. This is because, in order to properly evaluate any given situation, we are constantly returning to this place. In a sense, it is the alpha and the omega of the charts. This because it represents the one portion of the body we cannot live without, our head.
Just as a person cannot live without a head, so too, a country can hardly be called a country, were it not for the people who live there. Thus, in their wisdom, the ancients designated the first house and all planets within its borders, and the Moon to represent the citizenry. Whenever we evaluate charts, especially charts for sorrowful events like this, we try to gauge at the strength of people represented by first house, its ruler, and celestial markers placed within its borders, and the Moon. We then contrast the strength or weakness of the people of Haiti, with those things that can kill or maim them. These are the rulers, and tenants of the 8th house, and the 4th.
With ultra sensitive Cancer rising on the cusp of this all important house, the planet of mothers, Moon will be doubly emphasized. Like a vampire, the Dragon’s Tail in the first, sucks the verve of the people dry. Placed in Cancer, it brings helplessness to the people of Port Au Prince. Because the Moon rules the Ascendant, it is doubly emphasized. Placed in what the ancients called a cadent house, she has little or no ability to act on her own. If this were not enough, the 6th house is the place of illness and servitude. In addition to this, the Moon has just separated from a square to the planet of shock, Uranus. Even worse, the Moon at 27 Sagittarius, is smack dab on the antiscion of deadly, Pluto at 3 Capricorn. John Frawley says that planets on each others antiscions act as sort of ‘shadow’ conjunctions. It is this combination, that cements the pull of long finger of death, taking the people down into his earthly grave. The Moon does apply to one good planet, Jupiter. However, the application by sextile is weak. In addition, located in the house of death, and without essential strength, and since Jupiter is in Aquarius, a sign ruled by the deadly Saturn, the benefic Jupiter turns malefic, magnifying the horrors.
Looking by contrast at the harbingers of death (rulers of the 4th and the 8th) it becomes very clear that death is much stronger than life. At the time of Haiti’s Earthquake, the deadly 8th cusp had Aquarius on the cusp, as such, Saturn (for better precision, traditionalists stick to traditional rulerships) owns the death charge. In this case, Saturn is in Libra, its sign of exaltation. When we think of strength, most revert to sign of rulership, such as Saturn ruling the signs, Capricorn, and Aquarius. When a planet is in its own sign, we can say it is at home. Its comfortable in its own skin. On the other hand, when a planet is in the sign its exaltation, the function of the planet is charged. Its powers are so exaggerated that they pack a ‘whallop.’ Some ancients like the great, M’ashallah considered exaltations to be stronger than ownership. Whether exaltation signs are stronger than rulership, is debatable. What we do know for certain, is that when the deadly Saturn, is in Libra and ruling the 8th house, he has a much bigger arsenal, and a more deadly aim. Already we are seeing problems. Death is strong, and the people are weak. If this were not enough, Saturn is stationing, and thus moving very slowly. When a planet moves slowly, for better or worse, the more it imprints upon us. In the case of malefics like Saturn, death becomes that much more deadly.
But it gets even worse, because Saturn is situated within the 5 degrees prior to the 4th of the grave. According to Ptolemy, planets so placed are already doing the work of the next house, in this case, the work of the grim reaper. This gives to death what the people do not have, the power to act. The 4th house is the house of the ground beneath our feet. We already mentioned that Saturn owns the 8th house but due to its strength in the sign of Libra, it is also the almuten or the most powerful and dominating influence at the cusp of the ground ruler, the 4th. Add all this together, and you have a formula for disaster of untold proportions.
By contrast, a mere 48 hours and six minutes earlier, another potentially deadly quake of 6.5 on the Richter Scale struck the Northern California cities of Eureka and Ferndale.
6.5 North Coast Earthquake
The San Andreas Fault is just outside my window. As such, even though last Saturday’s 6.5 Ferndale/Eureka Quake was more than 200 miles away, I felt this earthquake, ever so slightly. I was on the phone with my friend, Helen when I felt this tiny little jag and thought, ‘earthquake.’ A few minutes later, my husband Alex came in and asked me if I felt the shock.
Having stuck at the same time of day, only 2 days apart, both earthquake charts, have striking similarities. Both earthquakes struck on days owned by malefic or nasty planets. This is one of the things I was recently reminded by the great astrologer, Linda Reid, day of the week counts. In this case, the 6.5 Ferndale/Eureka took place on Saturday, a day ruled by the slow killer, Saturn, while the 7.0 Port Au Prince quake took place on a Tuesday, a day ruled by violent and cruel, Mars. It is interesting to note that the Great San Francisco Quake also took place on a Tuesday, while Loma Prieta (with fewer deaths) took place on a Friday (a Venus day).
In both instances, the maternal sign, Cancer rises, thus making the Moon, as rep. for the good or ill of the people, doubly important. Given the magnitude of both earthquakes, it should be no surprise that in both charts, the people (the Moon) is weak, while in both charts, death house, is strong and able to act, and act with awe inspiring force.
The Haitian Earthquake peoples positioning gives us graphic evidence of that environment is everything. In this we can liken astrology to real estate, because so much depends upon, ’location, location location.’ Poor placement, known to traditional astrologers as ‘accidental debility’ is the astrological equivalent of growing up in a bad neighborhood. When you grow up in the projects. It is just plain harder for you to make a success in life. The same holds true for planets. When in a rotten house, there is less hope. On the bright side, if a planet or luminary is in a bad house, but associating or in aspect by a good or beneficent planet or luminary there is some hope of ‘pulling oneself up by the bootstrap’ and escaping the celestial ghetto, traditional astrologers call cadency. If on the other hand, the cadent planet or luminary, is hanging out with a bunch of thugs, in the form of malefic planets, as it is in Haiti’s Earthquake., the Moon will be able to produce only ill effects. The ancients called this ’accidental’ placement. There is good placement, which is called ‘accidental dignity’ and there is bad, known as ‘accidental debility.
In addition to placement, what sign a planet or luminary is in, is very important. Notice, the Ferndale/Eureka Quake’s ‘people’ designate, the Moon, there is no problem with location. Notice that the Moon is in the benign and bountiful, house of creativity, the 5th house. Just as there are good and bad places for a planet to hang out, there are also good and bad sign for the planet to be in. Looking at the Eureka/Ferndale Quake, we notice that the people are also weak, but this weakness had nothing to do with placement and everything to do with sign. In a nutshell, certain signs are just plain no good for a planet. The Ferndale Earthquake chart has the Moon in her fall, Scorpio. This is just about the worst place for the Moon to be.
The Moon can be likened to a celestial mother, who gives everything, including life to her children. When in the sign, Scorpio, the Moon becomes imprinted by the dark side of Mars, becomes like a vampire, sucking the very lifeblood ut of the host. When the Moon is here, she becomes the epitome of ’essential debility. Thus, on Saturday, the people were weakened by the cruelty of Mars’ deadly force. However, remember, the people are not in the cadent ghetto, but not just a good neighborhood, but a great one, the trinal and joyous 5th house. Not only that, this Moon has friends to help her out of her rotten sign, in the form of a beautiful grand trine to Uranus, the planet of all things modern, and the South Node. We also notice that the people’s designate is still under the influence of the light and giver of life, the Sun, and Venus, in the 7th of laws. The Moon all by herself in the happy 5th, seems to indicate that laws in the form of strict building codes, coupled with the sparse population, probably saved the people from what could have been a much greater disaster. In addition, nothing pulls the Moon towards death. In other words, the 6.5 Northern California quake chart has nothing tying the people to death like the antiscion between the Moon and Pluto in the Haitian Earthquake. As such, despite the violence of the quake, the residents of western Humbolt County, California only suffered minor damage in the way of broken glass, but there was no loss of life.
The people of Haiti need your support and prayers. Please donate to generously to Doctors without Borders http://www.msf.org
Is there such a thing as coincidence? For as I try to make sense of, Algol, the always impeccable Thomas Decker has already done a magnificent job of the emotions simmering under the cool reserve our binary eclipsing, Algol:
“Algol is described by Ptolemy as having the nature of Saturn and Jupiter.
It is associated with uncontrolled emotion and violence through which the
native literally or figuratively loses his head. At first it seems curious that it
should be of the nature of Jupiter and Saturn. But if you meld the warmth
and expansiveness of Jupiter with the coldness and brittleness of Saturn you
have a noxious combination. You can imagine it this way:
” Suppose someone falls deeply in love, their heart expands and enfolds the
beloved with warmth and joy. But what happens if this love isn’t returned in
the way expected, or worse, appears to have been given to another? Then all
the joy and generosity bestowed upon the beloved becomes poisoned. The
bitter cold and above all jealous voice of Saturn turns the beloved into a
calculating and heartless creature full of deceit. Love becomes hatred and
fury and vindictiveness are now directed towards the ‘beloved directed
towards the ‘beloved’. All rational thought is put aside, one loses one’s head
with an emotional surge that strives to damage and hurt, cost what it will.
This is the stuff of tragedy and Shakespeare’s “Othello” comes to mind.”
I only wish that some day, I may learn to write with half the verve and just plain raw talent that Thomas Decker can summon. Thanks to his astute observations, we are reminded that Algol is not just a bloody killer, but also expansive and forgiving, ruled as she is by the magnanimous, Jupiter. It is this all inclusive, nature of Algol, before being ‘jilted’ that Thomas so exquisitely describes in his recent piece, that made me sit up and take notice. Here we see that our binary eclipsing star, is not just a shrew, out to kill, but also has an intriguing and magnetic side, a welcome side, that until Thomas’s apt description, I have never seen discussed, but in all the Algol personalities, I have had the good fortune to meet, I have seen this, what can I call it, but a gentleness, that is always magnetic, and sometimes, even charismatic.
It was Thomas’ recent piece on Algol that reminded me how differently the very same constellational degree of Taurus is treated in western tradition, as opposed to eastern. In the west, we tend to focus rather heavily upon the bloody severed head, in Perseus’ hand – in other words, here in our western paternalistic society, we only concentrate on Medussa’s negative qualities. Yet, had we grown up in the astrological tradition of the east, Jyotisa, if we saw this very same exact same place in for the Moon, we would rejoice! Indeed, where we in the west place a severed head, is the very same spot that the Indian Seers placed the most revered degree for the Moon, that of her exaltation. Since traditional Jyotisa is star based, Algol stays on this very spot through time.
Now how can this be? How can the two systems be so alike, yet so different when it comes to this spot in the zodiac? I can only offer my humble explanation.
Consider for a moment, just how mesmerizing beauty really is.
For example, when we see a beautiful woman go by, so often, a portion of our rational brain is stopped dead in its tracks as we stretch our necks to take in the sight. Maybe, before being cast into the heavens, Medusa was not ugly, but instead, was perhaps, extremely beautiful and alluring. Never forget, it was not the intelligence that launched 1000 ships. It was Helen’s beauty. What we might be forgetting in the west, what our paternalistic forefathers were intimidated by was this very powerful female magnetism that is so imbued in this portion of Taurus, that makes us lose our heads when those possessing this fixed star strongly in their chart cross our path.
Next, let’s ponder how rumors grow, over time, until eventually they give way to myth.
First there is the truth, that is, what ‘really happened. Then as time goes by, rumors foment, and truth becomes muddled in the pain and torment of rejection that Thomas Decker so aptly describes. Each time the story is told, it is dramatized, perhaps to engage the listener or to win a supporter, perhaps just to tell a good yarn. Eventually, instead of hearing what ‘really happened, as time goes on, reality becomes twisted and magnified into something hardly even resembling the actual course of events. What I am trying to say is a millennia or two is a very long time.
Maybe, just maybe, when our Algol myth was first born, instead being the ugliest of three horrid sisters, perhaps Medusa was, the both the most beautiful and the brightest woman of the realm. Perhaps it was this heady combination that intimidated the egocentric Perseus or perhaps she spurned his advances, and so he offered Medusa’s skull to his king as a wedding present? We shall never know, but one thing we do know is how drastically a story can veer from the truth in but a few short months. We can only imagine how much a story can change over the course of several thousand years.
With this in mind, I thought it would be interesting to present some charts of some Algol folks, we all know and love……
Our first example of the Medusa/Lunar Exaltation Degree in action (MLED), is in the chart of a woman who was not only known for both her beauty and brains, but one who was also a legend in her own time…..but alas, you will have to wait until morning, for Morpheus is calling me……