In ancient times, astrologers looked at the stars to see whether there were any omens that showed how affairs on earth would be affected, according to the essential principle: as above, so below. The word 'disaster' comes from two Greek words: dvis and astron. Astron has given the word 'astrology' and is of the same origin is our word 'star', and dvis has become 'duo' in Latin and 'two' in English. You will find the prefix 'dis-' in a word as disunity, meaning that from oneness we have become divided. So in essence, disaster means that the stars are in discord. In ancient times, the word 'star' was used for all lights in the heavens, and for the planets, wanderers, called so by the Greeks to discern them from the fixed stars. Those ancient astrologers were looking at the skies and translated in human terms what they saw there. The most visible and dramatic heavenly phenomena were given the most significance. These are the eclipses of the Sun and Moon, which would be seen as omens for the country.
In modern astrology we have horoscopes for countries, and I have seen well-documented articles showing us the relationship between those horoscopes and natural disasters. Another way of looking at natural disasters is to take eclipse horoscopes for a certain location and look which planets are placed on the major axes (AS-DS and MC-IC) according to the system of astro-cartography. It is possible to combine these two approaches, as I shall show in my first example. But before I do that, I shall summarise the conclusions of Derek Appleby and Maurice McCann in their book Eclipses. For them the eclipse chart is valid, and gives indications of forthcoming events and experiences that will befall a nation within the possible range of a year. A solar or lunar eclipse degree remains potent in the cosmos for that period or even longer, depending on its duration. Transits and progressions in a national chart, which configure with potent eclipse degrees, can bring the corresponding influences into experience within a given time.
The Netherlands has a history of large inundations, both from the North Sea and from the rivers that cross its low-lying Delta. While in Roman times a solid coastline of defensive dunes protected the fen-like western and northern parts of the country, since about 500 AD the sea broke in on many places, creating estuaries. From early medieval times a communal effort was made to build dykes to protect the land from the sea, otherwise the sea would have swallowed all these areas. After the Second World War, it was clear that the dykes in the south west of the Netherlands were not strong enough to withstand a hurricane-like storm. However, it was only after the first period of rebuilding the country that a Delta plan was published that aimed at reinforcing old dykes and building new dykes to close off sea-gates.
This preliminary Delta plan was published on the 29th of January 1953. It was the day of a Full Moon eclipse, which had Saturn in Libra, the planet of boundaries and defences, right on the AS for the south-western part of the Netherlands, where the dykes were projected. You will see that on the map. Saturn is conjunct Neptune, the planet of the seas, which is on the AS in the northern part of the North Sea and the southeastern part of England. The eclipsed Moon was very well visible in the skies as it was at the MC, while the Sun was at the IC. The exact Moon-MC line is slightly east of the Netherlands and it crosses the Saturn-AS line in the sea north of Germany and west of Denmark.
On January 29th, a depression formed itself south of Iceland, moved towards Scotland, and became so powerful that the winds there were hurricane-like on the morning of the 31st. The core of the depression moved from Scotland to the southeast, and on February 1st reached the sea west of Denmark, deepening to 960 millibars. Its position was right in the area of the crossing of the Saturn-AS line and the Moon-MC and Sun-IC lines. The result was a very heavy northwestern storm on the North Sea, causing an enormous storm surge in the southern part of it.
In the Netherlands, a warning was given by the Royal Dutch Meteorological Institute that a storm was coming to the country, and because of that the dykes were watched. But nobody had foreseen that the storm surge would be the cause of the worst inundations of modern times. As the storm raged on the North Sea, high-tide sea levels rose in the afternoon of Saturday 31st of January to a record height and did not go down much during low tide. The following night, when it became high tide again, the sea rose to such high levels that it flowed over many dykes, which then collapsed from the inside. The islands in the south west of the Netherlands are level with the sea or under sea level. No wonder that the sea broke in with a devastating power, killing 1835 people and thousands of farm animals. The damage to the houses in the towns and villages was such that 72,500 people had to be evacuated. Some of the islands were inundated almost completely; others had some larger areas that were under water. All this made such an impression on the Dutch public that within three weeks the government installed a new committee to develop another Delta plan to protect the country from a major inundation. Additionally, to repair the dykes and to get the water out of the land, a large-scale operation was organised which took many months to be effected.
One would expect that a major natural disaster like this be shown in the chart of the country. Therefore we shall look at that chart now. This chart for the Kingdom of the Netherlands is based on historical fact1 and the research of Karen Hamaker, a well-known astrologer from Amsterdam. The lunar eclipse of January 29th 1953 had the Moon on 9°48' Leo in opposition to Saturn at 8°51' Aquarius in the chart of the Netherlands. Moreover, the secondary progressed Sun was at 8°06' Leo opposing the radix Saturn and the secondary progressed Saturn, which was at 9°03' Aquarius (retrograde). From this configuration we can see that the radix Saturn, which rules the 8th house of death, is affected by two powerful influences: the lunar eclipse and the progressed Sun and Saturn. As Saturn is also on the AS in the lunar eclipse chart it is a very powerful influence; according to traditional astrologers it is responsible for violent storms at sea. There are two planets that by transit influence both the Dutch national chart and the lunar eclipse chart in that period of the storm and consequent inundations. First, Mercury in the air sign Aquarius, which for the lunar eclipse chart is on the IC for the west coast of the Netherlands. It is said to cause high winds and sudden storms. As a transit, it conjoins the radix Saturn and opposes the eclipsed Moon. Secondly, Mars in the water sign Pisces, in conjunction with the radix Sun, Mercury and Pluto, is semi-square with the radix Saturn and sesquiquadrate with the eclipsed Moon during that period. Mars is said to cause sudden and violent storms at sea. These transits are in real time, perfectly reflecting the events on earth.
Let us look at the Dutch national chart for the themes that are highlighted by these events. The Sun-Mercury-Pluto conjunction in Pisces and the Cancer AS give the chart of the Netherlands a strong emphasis on the water-element. That is very appropriate for a sea-faring country with a capital, Amsterdam that originally was a small fishing harbour. The influence of the Cancer AS is shown in the love of family-life and home that is so characteristic for the Netherlands and so well depicted by its painters. The ruler of the AS and the 2nd house of income, the Moon, is placed in Taurus. It shows that the reclaiming of land from the sea and the lakes, creating large polders for agricultural use is an important feature of the country. It was also an important way for merchants to invest their money.
Saturn in Aquarius is the traditional ruler of the MC, showing that the Dutch at first preferred to become a republic ruled by well-to-do citizens and only in 1815 became a Kingdom ruled by the house of Orange, which before had given them their military leaders. The origins of Dutch democracy are found in the caretaking of the dykes, which was a communal task, overseen by the democratically chosen water boards. Mars, ruler of the 6th house, is in Capricorn on the 8th house cusp, showing that the Dutch have worked hard to make their country a good and safe place to live in, although half of it is at sea level or lower, up to 5 meters and more. However, in exceptional circumstances, as in 1953, there will always be the danger of a major inundation. It is remarkable that the secondary progressed Mars at 19°35' Aries was at that time nearly exactly square its radix position in Capricorn on the 8th house cusp, indicating the people who lost their lives in the catastrophe. It has to be mentioned that parts of East Anglia also suffered from inundation and people drowned there too.
The Sun-Pluto conjunction in Pisces squaring Neptune in Sagittarius is so characteristic of a country that has suffered innumerable inundations, but that always risen again from the sea. In 1953 it was the same. A new Delta plan was proposed to parliament, and after three days of discussion, accepted just before midnight on the 5th of November 1957. In the following years, the major sea-gates were closed off by huge dams linking the western tips of the islands, shortening the lengths of the sea-dykes considerably. The height of those dams is about 12 meters, protecting the country much more effectively than before. The national emblem for the Netherlands is the lion, but the province of Zealand, that was the most touched by the inundations and that has most of the dams, has as its emblem the lion halfway in the sea, saying in Latin luctor at emergo, I fight and I emerge.
The effects of this lunar eclipse were direct and immediate, but as the authors of the book on eclipses mention, the eclipse degree can remain potent in the cosmos for a year or even longer, depending on its duration. They state that the potency of a lunar eclipse degree persists in the cosmos in the same way as a solar eclipse. This is at variance with the astrological tradition, which states that the effects of a lunar eclipse remain for a period of one to three months, depending on its duration. However, I follow the statements in that book on eclipses, as I think that their research can be validated.
On the 1st of November 1755, All Saints Day, there was a tremendous earthquake near Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, which almost completely destroyed the city, which then had 275,000 inhabitants. The earthquake was followed by a huge tsunami, which hit the west European and African coasts. Recently, British scientists found traces of this tsunami on the south coast of Britain, especially in Cornwall. A witness account of the earthquake's devastation of Lisbon, which had three major quakes within ten minutes, describes a real inferno with loud explosions, darkening of the sky because of collapsing buildings, and many hundreds of aftershocks, which lasted for months. The movement of the earth was so violent that even in the Netherlands ships on lakes were tossed about on the waves that it created. The earthquake took place at around 9:30 local time2 and was felt in most of Europe and in the north west of Africa, especially in Morocco, where buildings collapsed and people died. In Lisbon, all-consuming fires broke out and burned for five days, adding to the chaos in between the ruined buildings. Thirty minutes after the first quake, a tsunami 6 meters high hit the city of Lisbon and the Portuguese coast. After Lisbon the Algarve, south of it, was most hit by the earthquake and the tsunami. Many thousands of people perished in this lethal natural disaster, which was one of the worst in recent historical times.
Before we look at the chart of the earthquake itself, I shall give you the chart of the lunar eclipse earlier that year in spring. It has the eclipsed Moon on the MC and the Sun and Mercury on the IC, while Pluto is near the AS. On the astrocartographic map the crossing of the Moon-MC line and the Pluto-AS line is in the Atlantic Ocean near the Portuguese coast. The eclipse degree of the Moon is 7°01' Libra, and is supposed to keep its potency for about a year. Mercury, ruler of the North Node, on its way to an inferior conjunction with the Sun, is opposed to the eclipsed Moon. And Jupiter, the ruler of the South Node and the AS, is opposing Uranus and squaring Pluto. These planets are the most powerfully involved with the key factors of this lunar eclipse chart: the eclipsed Moon and Pluto, as they are placed on the angles of the chart. Note also that Mercury is semisquare Mars.
According to the German astrologer Reinhold Ebertin in his book The Combination of Stellar Influences, in mundane astrology we have to look for the conjunction and major and minor hard aspects, because they tend to activate potential planetary patterns (0°, 45°, 90°, 135° and 180°). I am also using his technique of midpoints. The exact midpoint between two planets is half way between them according to the shorter arc. With this in mind, we take this lunar eclipse chart as our starting point. Our next step it is to look at the following solar and lunar eclipses. The solar eclipse chart of 6 September 1755 had the Sun and Moon at 13°19' Virgo in exact opposition to Uranus at 13°19' Pisces, squaring Pluto at 13°33' Sagittarius, while for Lisbon the AS is at 5°24' Libra, conjunct the previous eclipsed Moon. This chart is full of the sudden, devastating power of an earthquake, but no planet is on one of the angles of it. The eclipsed Sun and the Moon are now involved in a t-square with Uranus and Pluto, taking the place of Jupiter in the former lunar eclipse chart.
The following lunar eclipse chart of 20 September 1755 had the eclipsed Moon at 27°05' Pisces and the Sun at 27°05' Virgo conjunct Mercury at 29°24' Virgo and Jupiter at 28°37' Virgo, squaring Mars at 29°39' Gemini. Note that Jupiter has moved from its t-square position with Uranus and Pluto in the former lunar eclipse chart to another t-square with the Sun, Mercury, the eclipsed Moon and Mars. This emphasises the important role Jupiter is playing in these eclipse charts. Again, in this second lunar eclipse chart there are no planets on the angles.
Now it is time to look at the chart of the earthquake itself, which is given here. The chart has about the same angles as the first lunar eclipse chart. The AS is 14°41' Sagittarius, with Pluto exactly rising in it, and the MC is at 3°07' Libra, on the Moon/Jupiter midpoint. Jupiter is at 7°29' Libra, conjunct the eclipsed Moon of that spring. One could argue that the earthquake took place in the week that Jupiter was in the eclipse degree of 7 Libra, on the day the Moon went over it as well, and at the moment that Pluto was rising in the AS. In that latter chart the Neptune/Pluto midpoint is at 12°08' Libra, and the MC of the moment the tsunami hit Lisbon at about 10:00 is at 11°17' Libra, again showing a special correlation. The actual Neptune/Pluto midpoint is at 12°48' Libra, near that tsunami-MC too. Note also that the Moon is placed on the Mars/Pluto midpoint, showing the all-consuming fires that were even more devastating than the earthquake itself.
Astrologers consider Pluto an essential influence in earthquakes, which cause a tremendous upheaval, as in this case. Uranus can be involved, because of its sudden, unexpected and drastic character. When Jupiter is involved, the effects of an earthquake will be of a large, massive nature, as we have seen here. And when Neptune is involved, the oceans can be so moved as to cause tsunamis. The planet Mars also has to be considered, as it causes shocks and breaks things up. It can also cause fires, as was the case in Lisbon.
If any of these planets is angular, right on the AS-DS axis or the MC-IC axis in a solar or lunar eclipse chart, we check whether that planet shows astrological correlations with the events on earth. I am not suggesting that these eclipses or planets cause natural disasters such as earthquakes. I am pointing to the cosmic forces, as represented by the Sun and Moon and the planets, that reflect from above what is happening here below on earth. There will be causal factors too, as the Sun and the Moon and the planets have a physical influence on the earth. One can think about the tides, which are higher with the New and Full Moons. And of the 20% stronger influence of the Moon, when it is at perigee (nearest to earth) instead of at apogee (farthest away from earth). Scientists are looking at those influences to see whether they can predict earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, but that is now beyond the scope of this article.
On 10 April 1815, the day of a New Moon, the most violent volcanic eruption in historic times took place. It is said to have been of the order of the Krakatau and Vesuvius eruptions together (BBC documentary). It happened on the Indonesian island of Sumbawa, east of Java and Bali. After the blast, 12,000 people died, mainly because of the poisonous gases and hot ashes that escaped into the atmosphere. Tambora's aerosol cloud was of such enormous proportions that it lowered temperatures considerably. The next year, 1816, was icy cold during spring and summer, with snowfall in large parts of Europe and North America. People called it the year without summer; crops failed, and an estimated 80,000 people died of starvation. The remaining crater is several miles wide and deep, so that it takes many hours to descend into it.
Looking at the previous solar eclipse chart with Sun and Moon at 19 Capricorn, we see a close square between Pluto at 19 Pisces and Neptune at 18 Sagittarius on the DS and IC of the chart. Pluto obviously relates to volcanic eruptions, and Neptune relates to the poisonous gases that kill people living around volcanoes. On the astro-cartographic map, the Pluto-DS line and the Neptune-IC line cross in the area around the Tambora volcano. There is a close conjunction of Mars and Uranus, 45° to the eclipsed Sun and the Moon, showing the potential of a sudden, unexpected shock. The previous lunar eclipse of 26 December 1814, with the Moon and Sun at 4° Cancer-Capricorn, had an AS of 19° Capricorn for the Tambora region, but no planets on angles.
The eruption took place on the day of a New Moon at 19°01' Aries squaring the eclipsed Sun in the solar eclipse chart of 10 January 1815. The chart is set for the time given by the BBC3. Pluto and Neptune are still in square to each other, while their midpoint is at 5°57' Aquarius conjunct Mars. Mars is conjunct Saturn and in very close square to the Scorpio AS. The Neptune/Pluto midpoint is squaring this AS as well. Moreover, Mars is in close 45° to Pluto, which itself is in close 135° to the Scorpio AS. In this chart Uranus is 135° to the Sun, while in the solar eclipse chart it was 45° to the eclipsed Sun. Again we see a whole set of astrological correlations that reflect the exact moment of the completely unexpected eruption of the Tambora volcano.
We shall first look at the preceding lunar eclipse of that spring, with the eclipsed Moon at 14° Scorpio and the Sun at 14° Taurus. The planet Mars is right at the IC at 28° Gemini. It is aspected with 135° to the eclipsed Moon in Scorpio and with 135° to Neptune in Aquarius, and is in opposition to Pluto in Sagittarius. A very important point here is that the Mars/Pluto midpoint is at 25° Virgo, opposing the AS at 26° Pisces. Mars is involved in several hard aspects, while the MC-Mars line runs along the west coast of Sumatra through the epicentre of the earthquake of 26 December 2004. The MC-Pluto line runs half way across the Indian Ocean between Sumatra and India. Neptune at 15° Aquarius is in close square to the eclipsed Moon and the Sun. So, in this eclipse chart the most influential and most stressfully placed planets are Mars and Neptune.
It is interesting to look at the midpoint of Mars and Neptune, which is conjunct Mercury at 21°53' Aries. Mercury is 135° to Jupiter in Virgo and 45° to Uranus in Pisces. Jupiter and Uranus are in close opposition. On the astro-cartographic map for this lunar eclipse, the Jupiter-DS and Uranus-AS lines run along the east coast of India and Sri Lanka, which apart from Sumatra were the most severely hit by the tsunami.
The next solar eclipse, on 14 October 2004, falls at 21°06' Libra, opposing that Mars/Neptune midpoint. And the next lunar eclipse, on 28 October 2004, with the Moon at 5° Taurus and the Sun at 5° Scorpio, has Mars at 20°41' Libra conjunct that solar eclipse. The AS of this second lunar eclipse is the same as the MC of the first lunar eclipse chart at 27° Sagittarius, which had Mars at 28° Gemini at the IC. Therefore these two lunar eclipse charts are interrelated through Mars.
In this combination of eclipse influences, we see two focal points or lines. First of all, the MC-IC line with Mars at 28° Gemini and the Mars/Neptune midpoint line of 21° Aries-Libra. The Boxing Day earthquake was strong, but it did not cause tremendous upheaval, so it was more of the nature of Mars than of Pluto. And it was followed by a devastating tsunami, which was of the nature of Neptune. All that is very well demonstrated in this first lunar eclipse chart, as Neptune squares the eclipsed Moon and Sun and is sesquiquadrate Mars.
In the actual chart4 for the Boxing Day earthquake, we see that the Moon at 28° Gemini is conjunct Mars of that first lunar eclipse chart. In the other examples, we have seen the crucial importance of a Light or a planet on the MC-IC or AS-DS axis of an eclipse chart. This is no exception, as it is the lunar eclipse Mars that is activated by the transiting Moon. The Moon is in opposition to Pluto and 135° to Neptune. This shows the violent force of the tsunami that hit the coasts of the Indian Ocean.
Jupiter had moved from an opposition to Uranus to 135°, while the actual Mars had just entered Sagittarius and was square to Uranus in Pisces and 45° to Jupiter in Libra. This showed how unexpected this earthquake was, causing the first tsunami in that ocean in 200 years, taking people completely by surprise. It is also interesting to note that the AS at 21° Capricorn squares the Mars/Neptune midpoint of that first lunar eclipse chart and the Moon/Neptune midpoint of this earthquake chart.
We also have to remind ourselves that a guerrilla war was going on Sumatra, with rebels fighting the central Indonesian government in search of autonomy. After the devastating tsunami, the rebels and the government negotiated a solution to their conflict, which resulted in a (till now) lasting peace. This is another astrological correlation with Mars, which is related to war.
Looking at solar and lunar eclipse charts and planets at angles in these charts gives us a good astrological starting point for finding areas on earth in which natural disasters might occur. However, I do not think that we can predict such specific natural disasters by means of astrological investigations alone. For obvious reasons, scientists are looking into the physical causes of natural disasters and have made predictions accordingly. But these predictions are not flawless, although some scientists, using the New and Full Moons in their computations, claim a higher success rate. In the future it might be possible to combine scientific knowledge with astrological technique to get even better forecasts, which could save the lives of many people. I hope this might be a contribution to that purpose.
1 After the French occupation the son of the last Dutch stadtholder landed at a beach near The Hague on Nov 30th 1813. Two days later he was installed as the new sovereign in the capital of Amsterdam with the mandate to make a new constitution. Then the allied countries decided that the medieval Netherlands should be reunited to form a powerful state as a buffer against France. This kingdom would include Holland, Belgium and Luxemburg. All this was in a process of constitutional consultation, when Napoleon escaped from Elba and landed on March 1st 1815 with a small force in the south of France and went in triumph to Paris. It is then that king William I proclaimed the Kingdom of the Netherlands on the 15th of March 1815 at The Hague, which has always been the seat of the Dutch government. The time of 9.30 LMT is based on the research of Karen Hamaker-Zondag and given in her astrological magazine Symbolon.
2 Information from different sources, including the website of the KNMI, Royal Dutch Meteorological Institute.
3 A very informative documentary of the BBC about the impact this eruption had on the world.
4 Information from different sources, including the website of the KNMI, Royal Dutch Meteorological Institute.
All charts Placidus houses.
Derek Appleby and Maurice Mc. Cann, Eclipses: the power points of astrology.
Aquarian Press 1989.
Reinhold Ebertin, The Combination of Stellar Influences. Dutch edition, Amsterdam 1983.
Jim Lewis, The Psychology of ASTRO-CARTO-GRAPHY. Arkana 1997.
Michael Harding and Charles Harvey, Working with Astrology. Arkana 1990.
Solar eclicpse: Public Domain CC0, by Charissa via pixabay.com
Netherland's flooding:By Agency for International Development [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Lisbon earthquake: By Jurema Oliveira (arquivos de Arte e História, Berlin) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Tsunami: By David Rydevik (email: email@example.com), Stockholm, Sweden. (Originally at Bild:Davidsvågfoto.JPG.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Lunar eclicpse: Public Domain CC0, by Unsplash via pixabay.com
First published in: The Astrological Journal, Jul/Aug 2009
Wim Weehuizen was born on 19 August 1945 and lives in Amsterdam. He has studied astrology with the White Eagle School of Astrology and gained his Diploma in 1989. He is also involved in their spiritual and healing work. Besides his regular work in the health services, he has an astrological practice, and has contributed articles to several astrological magazines. In his life and consultations he is interested in the way outer astrological factors can help a person experience a change of inner consciousness. Those deep insights come to his knowledge in unpredictable ways, as a mystery that is revealed from within and understood through the sacred art of astrology.
© Wim Weehuizen - first published by The Astrological Association of Great Britain 2009
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The first book available in English by the great French master astrologer Andre Barbault. The Value of Astrology offers incisive, captivating insights into the origins, classical tradition and modern uses of astrology.
28-May-2018, 03:40 UT/GMT
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