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The Great Wave - Part 1

Our Earth's might and power spoke up this week in a way that should give pause to every person on the planet. As little as 40 years ago, Sunday's magnitude 9.0 earthquake in Indonesia would have been an event with a different message -- a somewhat routine development on a planet that does not stop changing, ever.

Planet Earth as we experience it today was shaped by untold millions of events like Sundays, many far greater, though from the perspective of a human lifetime, they happen in slow motion. It's just when we directly experience one moment of the planet's life process that we realize its vast power, relative to ourselves. In the scheme of things, however, the Indonesian quake was the approximate equivalent of our Earth wiggling her toe.

And as a result, existence for hundreds of millions of people has been disrupted to a lesser, greater or absolute degree. Many have lost their lives, loved ones, livelihoods, and suffered grave injuries. Epidemics are basically inevitable, and have already begun. Everyone has been psychologically traumatized, if only by the endless scenes of devastation that promise only to get worse for a while. I've lived through a flood -- a dam burst near where I was living in 1999, during a hurricane -- and the reparation process goes on for a long, long time. Nearly as much damage happened during the cleanup as was created by the flood itself. To this day I am reminded regularly of that event, and it was, in truth, minor.

On the human scale, Sunday's event was anything but minor. Two plates in the Earths crust shifted, tearing the sea floor for 1,000 kilometers north of Indonesia. This created a kind of undersea cliff between 10 and 30 meters high, which happened very rapidly and with the force of many thousands of nuclear bombs. The shockwaves and displacement of water created waves through the ocean into the entire surrounding region. These waves spread out at the speed of jet airliners for thousands of miles, affecting coastlines of some 12 countries or more, flooding islands and wiping away civilization along much of the shore. This came with a mass-exodus of human souls from the world unlike any we have seen in our lifetimes.

Here is an image of what happened that makes it a lot more clear:

And here is a map of all the world's plates. The red lines are the places where plates collide. Scoot the image over to the left and you'll see the Indian plate meet the Australian plate.

Enzo Boschi, the head of Italy's National Geophysics Institute, speaking on SKY TG 24 TV, made some interesting observations. "All the planet is vibrating" from the quake, said Boschi, who added that the event even disturbed the Earth's rotation. In other words, the Earth was knocked measurably out of its orbit.

Now, for context, nothing like this has happened since 1964, when a 9.2 earthquake threw train cars around the landscape of Anchorage, Alaska, ripped a little canyon in the city, and sent tsunamis down the Pacific coast. But that quake occurred in a much less populated area, in a time when the world itself had far fewer people. By contrast to this week, the statistical loss of life was tiny. Sunday's Indonesian quake, occurring in a heavily populated region, was in the top five recorded in the past 100 years and the second most powerful ever recorded in the Northern Hemisphere (exceeded only by the Alaska quake in '64, which happened within month or so of the Beatles arriving in the States and about three months after the Kennedy assassination).

Normally, tsunamis are part of nature, like the wind blowing through a tree. We even have a word for them, and since it's Japanese, we know it's a very old word. Nature is dangerous. No matter how complex civilization may get, we must coexist with nature, which means survive, harness the elements, and defend ourselves against them. The entire process of what we call 'civilization' is about our relationship with nature.

The Earth right now is experiencing many repercussions of environmental devastation from centuries of civilization, but mostly from the 19th and 20th centuries. And lots of this involves oil. In fact, it would be more accurate to say that all of it involves oil. I learned today from a writer named Andrew Limburg that there has been much seismic testing for oil off the coast of Australia. Many whales have been beaching themselves in the past few days around this part of the world; all these whale beachings are the result of industry or the military testing underwater weapons. It has long been understood that a method called sonic air testing and other methods of searching for oil can cause geological activity -- that is, earthquakes.

Drilling can also cause earthquakes. An article in the spring 2000 edition of the journal Oilfield Review, titled "Seismicity in the Oilfield," informs us matter-of-factly, "If the rock mass is already under large tectonic stresses, the energy added by man's endeavors can have a destabilizing influence. Even minor actions can trigger strong seismicity" -- that is, quakes.

Sunday's earthquake came where the Australian tectonic plate and the Indian tectonic plate meet. Two days before the 9.0 earthquake that sent tsunamis through south Asia and eastern Africa, there was an 8.1 quake off the southeastern coast of Tasmania, part of Australia -- 8.1 is extremely powerful, indeed one of the biggest earthquakes in 20 years -- and this was barely reported by the Western media. This was followed by a 6.1 aftershock a little later in the day.

Was the earlier Tasmanian quake set off by the seismic testing and/or oil drilling? Earthquakes can have a 'knock effect', which almost certainly began in Australia and then set off the 9.0 in Indonesia. And what about the second major quake in two days, the one that's getting all the attention? This occurred in an extremely oil rich region of the world, and coincidentally it happened to flatten the homes of a lot of Muslims.

Meanwhile, the South Pole is also going through a lot of changes, as ice melts and the reduced weight on the polar region changes the shape of the planet -- slightly, but potentially enough to loosen up tectonic plates that might have held for a long time had there not been external influences.

So the question that we take to the jury of astrology is more than a philosophical 'what is the meaning of this?' inquiry. We have, in a sense, a criminal investigation on our hands. Were the actions of mankind involved in causing this event?

Let's add another dimension to the question, which I don't plan to get to the bottom of today. Long-time Planet Waves correspondent Lise LePage of Vermont just sent me this:

"On my way out of Baltimore on Tuesday, we listened to a talk radio show on the DC Pacifica affiliate. The subject was Is Nature On A Rampage?, and the callers were deeply concerned that something was wrong with the Earth and that we humans were largely responsible for the damage we have done through our own greed and arrogance. I mention this because I do believe that an awakening on a large scale is needed, and that the natural disasters of the last several years, from forest fires to hurricanes to devastating earthquakes, have been almost calculated in their ferocity to get our attention. Could Mother Nature be on a rampage in an effort to save herself? Could we save ourselves by heeding her call?"

The timing for this question is exceptionally good, because as Jerry Garcia used to say, we've got some things to talk about here beside the rising tide.

Great Wave chart

Click here for minor planet list (ephemeris) for this event, showing Sedna, centaurs, asteroids and more.

Looking at the chart, which is set for the epicenter and for the time listed in the geological report for the event, we see some very obvious things using just the basic planets and points. I suggest that it's good to give the chart the once over in this respect, without looking for meaning. What is the sign rising? Where is the Moon and what is its phase? Where is the Sun, by house and sign? What major aspects are forming? In this first run-through, the idea is not to draw any conclusions; the idea is to observe, with as little clutter as possible, and as few prejudices. The idea is to give 'beginner's mind' a chance to work. It is also very helpful to have grounding. Then the more subtle messages come.

Before I cast the chart, I knew I would be looking at a Full Moon chart of some kind; Sunday was the Full Moon. So, instinctively, the first thing I looked to was the Moon. [With each of these placements, we're going to count the houses and find the aspect or event. You begin counting the houses from the left-hand horizontal line (the ascendant) going counter clockwise.] The Moon appears early in the 6th house, in Gemini. It is in very late Gemini (28 degrees and 11 arc minutes).

It has not yet opposed the Sun; that is, the Full Moon has not formed. That happens about 12 hours after the earthquake. The Sun, for its part, is in the 12th house in Capricorn. The Sun, really, is in its Solstice position; within a week or so on either side of the Solstice, the Sun is not moving along the horizon; we are in the darkest days in the Northern Hemisphere and the lightest days in the Southern Hemisphere. But the Sun at Capricorn Solstice is also physical: the Sun is meeting the southern tropic at an exact 90-degree angle. Symbolically and in reality, the Sun points to the Southern Hemisphere.

Now, a Full Moon in an earthquake chart is interesting, and as it turns out, I'm told that the 'big ones' happen near the Full or New Moon for simple reasons of gravitational stress. If you look at the placement of the Sun and Moon, you will see that the Sun has just risen and the Moon has just set. In this respect the astrological chart is a literal presentation; think of it as a cross section of space, with the visible sky above the horizon.

Capricorn is rising. There is a planet in the ascendant, which is Chiron, located close to the eastern horizon (left-hand vertical line, in the 1st house). I am aware that this expression 'in the ascendant' is confusing to some people. It means 'close to the ascendant', or 'occupying the degree of the ascendant'. Chiron is less than three degrees away from the exact eastern horizon, about to rise. It is in the ascendant, glaring out.

Looking at the ascendant or 1st house, the next natural thing is to look across the wheel at the descendent or 7th house. And there, we find the ruler of Capricorn, Saturn, in the sign Cancer. Saturn is retrograde.

There are many, many messages and images in this chart, but I feel that the most telling ones come back to what I've just mentioned.

Let's look at one last thing, which I am sure everyone who sees this chart will be looking at: that row of planets up in the 11th house, in Sagittarius. This grouping, properly called a stellium, includes the following: Mars, newly in Sagittarius, plus Venus, Mercury, and Pluto. Sagittarius is the sign that says 'international' and the 11th is the house that says 'many people' or 'all of us here'. Those of you who've been reading this page lately are aware that there is a lot of large stuff in Sagittarius, such as the Great Attractor at 14 degrees and the Galactic Core at 27 degrees. Mercury has also been retrograde in that sign, and is still coming out of its shadow phase. So we have an enormous concentration of energy and activity in Sagittarius.

Sagittarius says 'international' and 11th says "community" and we have the image of a large international community gathered in this chart.

Included in that concentration of energy, we have Mars, newly arrived in Sagittarius, about to make a square or intense, dynamic, 90-degree angle to Uranus in Pisces. Uranus in Pisces is a good image for a lot of power under the sea. Mars in Sagittarius is a good image of something putting pressure on that energy, or acting as a trigger. That result can be an earthquake, as well as awareness, the power of invention, and the sudden awakening of 11th-house-style group consciousness for which Uranus is so famous as well.

Now that we've seen the basic elements of the chart, let's consider our questions: are the fingerprints of industry and government on this chart; and is Mother Nature making a call for us to heed? Let's see if we can find evidence one way or the other.

The Event Horizon
Looking at the horizon -- that is, the horizontal line across the chart -- one cannot ignore the fact that Chiron is rising, and that Saturn is setting. I consider the horizontal axis to be the 'event horizon', what is most obviously and immediately developing. The sign rising is Capricorn, and the most prominent major planet is its ruler, Saturn, staring us in the face in the 7th house.

Look closely at their numbers. They are in an extremely close opposition. Of the major planets and points, this is the closest opposition, conjunction or square, and it is very close to the horizon, that is, the chart's two most sensitive angles: the ascendant and the descendant. The ascendant represents that which is 'arising in consciousness'.

The 1st house and its contents represent the event. And we have Chiron rising. The most basic keywords I can come up with for Chiron are 'raising awareness'. Chiron represents changes, but those changes are often designed, or have the effect of, raising awareness. Chiron can be the injury that makes us take care; it can be the wound that leads us to recognize our strength, and gather our power; it can be a debility that leads us to focus our energy and intention, and grow in consciousness and ability.

Chiron in Capricorn, which began in late 2001 shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks, has been a long, long story of raising our awareness about industry and government and their effects on the planet, on society and on our individual lives. Capricorn is the sign of the halls of power; of the people who run the world, including industry, government and authority of any kind. We have seen scandal after scandal involving those whose responsibility is to care for the planet and its people. Chiron has served as a kind of provocateur. It has shined a light into the confidential or concealed places of the government, of the church, and of the accounting departments of massive corporations that are represented by Capricorn, in the collective sense (not usually the individual birth chart). We have seen much about the conduct of the military through the prisoner abuse crisis in Iraq and Guantanamo and learned of cover-ups of the Sept. 11 attacks. Following the newspapers during Chiron in Capricorn has seemed like one long scandal.

And now, in the chart for the worst natural disaster so far in our lifetimes, we are greeted by Chiron in Capricorn rising. It is like we have the whole era we've been living through since the Sept. 11 attacks summed up in one astrological placement; in a simple phrase that tells a story of infinite complexity. One last note on Chiron. Barbara Hand Clow and others have suggested that this planet is the guiding star of the environmental movement, and the planet that can feel the pain of the Earth the most poignantly. So with this planet rising, we have an idea about just what that rising consciousness might point to.

Next case. The ruler of Capricorn is Saturn. Saturn we find equally prominent, on an angle -- in the 7th house of the chart. If you imagine yourself standing on the ascendant looking out at the 7th house (toward the west), that's basically the way the chart describes our relationship to the world. The 7th house is what we experience outside ourselves, directly opposite ourselves, either as a projection or as a counterpart; it is the house of relationships. And what we are in relationship to in this chart is Saturn in Cancer.

Saturn represents structure; Cancer is a water sign. To me, this is the image of a 'wall of water' -- the image of a tsunami. But what is also coming at us is the universal representative of industry and government.

These two planets form the closest aspect in the chart, speaking in terms of the major planets and points that are depicted in this chart. This aspect is the trigger. Chiron and Saturn are also angular, which makes them the loudest, clearest, most prominent planets. It is as if Chiron -- which is making a total of about five oppositions to Saturn in 2004 and 2005, a rare sequence which is obviously having an era-defining quality -- is piercing the solid structure of Saturn with its consciousness. In Cancer, that structure is emotional armor. That is Chiron's role, psychologically and astronomically; it crosses the orbit of Saturn and 'goes inside' that area; then it comes out (where it is now) and functions as an outer planet, that is, a planet that is slower, more penetrating and ultimately more powerful than Saturn.

The power of this event is specifically its consciousness raising ability; that is, its ability to wake us up and pierce what lawyers call the corporate veil, and the stubborn, stuck emotions of Saturn retrograde in Cancer. We need to do this if we want to survive.

Strange Connections
Since this is effectively a death chart, we need to look at the ruler of the 8th house, which talks about the 'nature and cause of death'. Leo is on the cusp. There are no traditional planets located in the house -- but there is a very interesting conjunction between an asteroid and a newly-discovered object: between Orcus, a newly discovered planet (found in 2004, and named earlier this year) out near Pluto whose name means death, and has associations to the oceans through the orcas or killer whales; and an asteroid called Ophelia, who drowned. We have a rather glaring image of death by water, involving an important outer planet that will by its outer-planet nature affect millions of people. There are also a lot of problems with whales these days; they are not happy.

Because Leo is on the cusp, the ruler of this house is the Sun. And the Sun we find in the house of 'secret enemies', the 12th house, in the sign Capricorn. This 'secret enemies' bit is purely traditional; the 12th is simply the house we look to for that theme, per the ancient texts and a lot of experience. Because of the prominent involvement of Capricorn, with Chiron there in the ascendant raising awareness, and Saturn facing us, we are looking right at the 'masters of the world' as a potential hidden and obvious culprit. And in a sense, they represent our shadow psychological material, as well as our enemy, as well as our partner; we have all these relationships to government and industry in our daily lives. Traditionally, the 7th house is the house of 'open enemies' as well as all these things; if we look further, maybe we can find out something about who that 'open enemy' is, if such exists.

Let's go from Saturn in Cancer to an examination of Cancer's ruler, the Moon, which we find in the very late degrees of Gemini. The Moon is a very curious part of this chart. For one thing, it is void-of-course, which means it's not making any more aspects to another major planet prior to changing signs. The last aspect was an opposition to Pluto, which is dark and eerie and recalls the feeling of the Saturn-Pluto opposition that occurred in 2001 and 2002. Saturn and the Moon feel similar and can stand in for one another; in both charts, one of these two points was in an opposition to Pluto. The void Moon placement suggests that the event we're studying is something of a wildcard or loose cannon. The Moon has even slipped past the Galactic Core, but is very much looking right at the core, since the two points are opposite one another.

The Moon is in a noteworthy position, at 28 degrees of Gemini and 11 minutes -- which frightened me a little at first. It is in the position that it was in the Sept. 11, 2001 chart, to the degree, and within eight minutes of arc -- less than one sixth of a degree. This is not just bizarre; it is ominous. In the two most severe, sudden events of recent years, consecutively, the Moon has been at 28 degrees and a few arc minutes of Gemini. The Moon occupies any one degree of the zodiac for about two hours per month. If you divide that degree by six, the Moon, which moves quickly, occupies that portion of the zodiac for 20 clock minutes per month. And it was in that exact spot at the exact moment of these two consecutive devastating and world-changing events; these two 'before and after' moments where one world became another; where we went from one chapter of life to another.

In the Sept. 11 chart, the Moon represented the 'official government', which was asleep at the wheel. It also represented the, 'whoops, now anything goes' function of Sept. 11. And that same Moon now makes this stunning appearance in Sunday's chart of a 'natural' disaster. But the contrast is instructive: we go from the pinnacle of Western economic power and materialistic extravagance to the depths of Eastern socioeconomic poverty and stunning natural beauty.

What are we to make of this fact of the Moon's matching alignment between the two charts? Is it a coincidence? Yes -- and astrology is made of coincidences and symbols. In fact it's made of little else. At the very least, we are sent straight back to Sept. 11 and everything it represents -- the anger; the loss; the deception; wars that followed; the struggle for oil. I think that we can say that, at least, we have the fingerprints of the oil industry on this chart, and its many colleagues in the public sector.

Some Minor Planets
Let's take a look at an important new planet, called Sedna. Sedna was discovered in 2003 and named in early 2004 after the Inuit goddess of the sea. This is at once the furthest, slowest and coldest planet known to science, and was a major discovery. Sedna takes about 12,000 years to go around the Sun. In his thought of the day on Wednesday, Maestro wrote:

"The ancients believed that when this goddess was hurt or upset, the waves would rise up to create terrible storms. If you cast a chart for December 26, when the dreadful earthquake took place, you'll find Sedna 'live' and 'hot' in the planetary picture."

As fascinated as I am by minor planets, I had not noticed this until clicking on today, and I was not aware of the mythology. The things you learn on the Internet. I immediately took a look at the chart (into which, conveniently, Sedna was already drawn) and noticed the following.

Sedna (please see chart below) is at 18+ degrees of Taurus, square Neptune -- the Roman god of the sea -- at 13+ degrees of Aquarius. This is a sure sign of conflict. Sedna is also making a quincunx to Jupiter, another planet with an oceanic theme, as it's associated with Pisces. And Sedna is quincunx Pluto, the planetary lord of death and transformation. In other words, Sedna is at the point of a 'yod' pattern involving Jupiter and Pluto. I would call that live and hot.

Sedna is also making an opposition to two additional planets, not shown. These are in mid-Scorpio. They are asteroids, which we use to add theme, specificity and color to the chart. The asteroids she is opposing are Hybris and Atlantis. Hybris is about 'hubris' -- the tragic flaw; pride; the issue we cannot see. Martha Lang Wescott adds the themes 'fate', and 'exceeding/bound by limitations'.

Atlantis is about technology. This myth, which takes several different forms, is the story of whatever got us last time around, which is widely presumed to have been some kind of runaway scientific feat or the abuse of technology. I must paraphrase, but the book "Conversations With God" puts it more or less like this. When humanity ceases to be creating its technology but rather becomes the product of its technology, that's when things have gone too far. And CWG says that we are now on the verge of that happening for the second time in world history -- an obvious reference to the Atlantean group of myths. [In a related story, an explorer named Robert Sarmast has recently made news with his revelations that Cyprus and its surrounding seas contain relics of what he believes is Atlantis.]

So what is Sedna, the angry goddess of the sea, looking directly at? She's looking at the hubris of science and technology. And these two elements, Atlantis and Hybris, are themselves caught in the deceptive web of that Neptune square; and people are very stoned on their technological wave (Neptune in Aquarius) as the accumulated mountain of dead cell phones reaches the height of Everest.

I think that the chart answers the first part of the question: Were the actions of mankind involved in causing this event?

The second part I will take up next week: Could Mother Nature be on a rampage in an effort to save herself? Could we save ourselves by heeding her call? There are many positive messages in this chart, of protection, shared effort and growth, and the need to focus on spirit rather than on religion. We'll take a tour of these soon.

Great Wave chart

Brief Explanation of Chart, above
The chart above is the same 'base chart' as presented earlier in this article, but I've added a few of the minor planets.

Notice (in the computer-drawn part of the chart) that Chiron and Saturn are close to the horizontal line and are the most prominent planets in the chart as a result. Chiron (on the left side, just below the horizontal line) is actually in a conjunction, with another planet in its class, called Nessus, which I've drawn in right below Chirion, in blue ink. These two planets have been close together for months, and make their first exact conjunction in many decades in the early Spring of 2005, and this will be memorable, to say the least. To me, this represents the awakening of the people to what is happening.

Next, please take a look at Sedna, which Jonathan mentioned in his Thought of the Day on Wednesday (quoted above). Sedna, which has an orbit around the Sun of more than 12,650 years and was just discovered last year, appears in the lower right of the chart, in Taurus, close to the 5th house cusp. It is heavily aspected; the triangle I've drawn connects it with Jupiter and Pluto in what is called a Yod pattern. The arrow is symbolic; it is the metaphor for God's finger pointing to Sedna, an undersea goddess who, when angry, is believed by the ancients to have created tsunamis. (Sedna is covered in detail in the Dec. 11 edition of this column; please see archive). The Yod or 'finger of god' says 'pay attention to this'.

Notice also that Sedna is opposed by two asteroids, Atlantis (technology, and the abuse of technology and knowledge) and Hybris (Greek root of hubris, or toxic, self-defeating pride). These are on the top, toward the left. The message: a warning about our overuse and abuse of technology -- particularly by our leaders and corporations, and subsequently by consumers.

Sedna also makes a square aspect to Neptune (shown as a trident) in Aquarius, recalling many themes of 'technology as a drug' which is a critical theme of Neptune in Aquarius.

Last, though it's a bit blurry, I've pointed out the conjunction of Orcus and Ophelia in Leo in the 8th house; it's toward the upper right of the wheel. Orcus is a planet similar in orbital period, location and size as Pluto, and like Pluto was named for an underworld god parallel to the Greek deity Hades (think orca or killer whale, or orcs, those critters made in hell from Lord of the Rings); and Ophelia was a tragic figure who drowned. This conjunction is in the 8th house, the 'nature and cause of death'. In this way, we get to test out the themes and meanings of newly discovered planets, and through reading many charts of collective events, and private horoscopes of individuals, we can begin to get a picture of how a newly discovered planet works.

This is a truly significant chart for our understanding of Sedna, Orcus, Chiron and Atlantis, which in my thinking carry much of the message of this extraordinary horoscope.

-- Additional research in today's column provided by Tracy Delaney, Pam Purdy, Stephanie Gailing and Michelle Perino, and thanks to Lynn Bell for lots of help sorting the chart out this week and for pointing out a lot of cool stuff I hope to get in next week.

Note to readers: In order to focus on this chart and keep my workload manageable during the supposed 'annual horoscope' home stretch, I will resume the normal Question & Answer format with the Jan. 14 edition. I just took a guess and figured everyone was wondering about the Great Wave chart.

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