An old friend of mine, Peter Doughty, has just launched a blog, astroplethorama.wordpress.com, that promises to finally showcase what this exceptional astrologer is capable of. Such good news!
I first met Peter back in 1985, when he and I both wrote for the fledgling newsletter, Welcome to Planet Earth, a wonderful little publication that focused on the astrology of world events. From the beginning, I felt drawn to the expansive, multidimensional way Peter thinks, as well as his means of expression. That I should find another astrologer whom I respected so much meant a great deal to me at the time, since I felt like I was flying blind in the wilds of Wyoming.
A couple of years later, Peter and I ran across each other at an astrology conference in California, and it was wonderful to spend time in real conversation with the actual person whose mind felt so synchronous with my own.
I didn’t see him again until two years ago, when he and his wife visited, from Minnesota. I urged him then, as I recall, to begin to write again, and when, two days ago, he sent me this “Derecho” piece, I urged him to start a blog and I would repost it. So he did. And here goes! It’s about time Peter shared his unique highly articulate, and often startling point of view with the world at large.
Astrologers especially, will enjoy this post. But anyone can read it, and to do so, will help bring you into the world-view of this ancient, ever-regenerating symbolic language.
July 5, 2012
by Peter Doughty
It seemed to come quite suddenly, this great wall of high wind and rain, at least to those on the ground. It roared halfway across the North American continent, from where it was first noted in the vicinity of Davenport, Iowa, to the Atlantic coast. The largest metropolitan area affected was Washington, DC/Baltimore, MD/Richmond/VA. At least 22 people died as a direct result of the storm, and several million people lost electric power.
Here’s the big meteorological picture:
“In Mexico, there’s a very tight circulating high that has been sitting there for about a week and will be sitting there another week easily. To the north of that there’s another high circulating in the opposite direction feeding the hot dry air of Mexico into a loop centered over Colorado, which at this point is an open, fiery oven. Above this is the jet stream, which is pushing this oven in the other direction like a circular gear on alternatively moving gear trains. The Jet Stream picks up that heat and lets it build up just west of Chicago, with the cold wet atmosphere of Lake Michigan acting like a giant wall.
“Last Friday [June 29, 2012], the dome of hot dry air eventually breached this wall, and came rushing down a pressurized trough towards Washington DC at more than 80 miles an hour. The resulting Derecho, or Land Hurricane, created a swath of devastation across much of Maryland and DC, felling trees, dropping power lines, and frying transformers already straining against the 100F+ degree heat.” – Kurt Cagle, commenting on John Michael Greer’sArchdruid Report blog
What is a derecho? The word is Spanish for “straight” (direct). The definition on Wikipedia is: “A widespread and long-lived straight-line windstorm that is associated with a fast-moving band of severe thunderstorms.”
And what are the astrological indications of such a rare, massive and intense phenomenon?
The chart for when the storm was “born” at 9:03 a.m. CDT shows, as such charts often do, the Moon exactly at the lower heaven, in this case in the intense and destructive sign of Scorpio, the Moon’s sign of fall. This alone signifies that Earth at that place and time was in the process of discharging built-up energy. (The storm arrived at Washington at 9:48 p.m. EDT—just as Moon was passing the upper meridian.)
Chart for “birth” of derecho storm in vicinity of Davenport, Iowa
The night before, Moon had made astrological connections to Neptune, then Mercury, the latter of which had risen over the Iowa horizon an hour and a quarter before the storm began erupting. Neptune is concerned meteorologically with great waves (such as the pressurized trough), Mercury with wind pressure and direction. These connections merely time the start of a shift in the prevailing conditions.
But other factors show what a supercharged context was present. The first of seven Uranus-Pluto squares had occurred five days earlier, and that configuration merely awaited other bodies to line up as triggers for the promised disruptive acts. On the day in question, June 29, the Sun—the body that provides the atmospheric heat to drive the process—arrived at the ninth degree of Cancer, thus lining up exactly with Uranus and Pluto. In addition, the Sun was now at the midpoint of the Sun and Moon in one of the key background charts: the summer solstice, six days before. Plus, both Venus and Saturn were stationary turning direct in the week between the solstice and the derecho, adding general potency factors of heat and sultriness (Venus) and overcast conditions (Saturn)
At the time of the solstice at Davenport, the Ascendant was in the last degree of Scorpio—a critical degree portending likely destruction being unleashed during the summer season. Scorpio’s ruler, Mars, was high in the sky, close to the upper meridian: an indication of a hot season and “breakage.” (In fact, the solstice moment had Mars elevated throughout the eastern half of North America.) Not much, however, appears to have been broken around Davenport lately: perhaps that will come later.
So why DC? Well, obviously, it has been the locus of great political dysfunction for some years, so it is fitting if one subscribes to the notion that physical events are apt to take place in areas where there is much unresolved social tension. That a storm was about to break was also indicated the very day before by the Supreme Court ruling in favor of the profoundly controversial “Obamacare” health care reform law.
But why astrologically? The solstice chart offers some clues. For one, the degree of the lunar eclipse two weeks previous fell right on the Ascendant, and that Ascendant, Sagittarius, is ruled by Jupiter, recently arrived in its exile in Gemini. Not an easy time for that region, especially with Jupiter in a tight square with Neptune, associated with “sea change” developments.
Biwheel chart for summer solstice 2012 at Washington, DC, / arrival of derecho storm at Washington
For another, the meridian is late in the last degree of Virgo (upper) / Pisces (lower)—this is the lightning rod axis of the chart, through which energies are grounded. Last degree, critical degree—critical events. Mars as the most elevated planet, only six degrees from the meridian, denotes a severing effect at work: a before-and-after divide. (When the derecho arrived at Washington, Mars was “a degree and change” from the solstice meridian: time for breakage.)
The chart for the first quarter moon on June 26 at Washington is also rather dramatic: the critical last degree of Aquarius rises, with wave-change Neptune only three degrees away. The lunar eclipse degree, on the Ascendant for the solstice, has moved to the upper meridian, signaling that the time is close at hand for whatever major event is brewing. And the Sun and Pluto, and Moon and Uranus, form two axes at right angles: X marks the spot.
That the storm reveals the unfolding of a new era is evident in some of the reported economic effects: “Most of the supermarkets in the area were throwing out all of their perishables – likely several billion dollars in food that depend upon the miracle of freezers. Gas stations started running out of gasoline as everyone stocked up for generators or to insure that they had gas to get away if necessary, and batteries and water became scarce.” (Cagle) And numerous reports mentioned that electrical and cell phone disruptions were related to permanent failure of much sophisticated and expensive equipment that would need to be replaced (if possible).
Thus this storm is another wakeup—as was the rare earthquake, not quite a year ago, that shook the same area, causing a major crack in the iconic Washington Monument. The long descent from peak oil, peak technology, peak everything is underway. Many depended-upon luxuries and privileges are in the process of disappearing from daily life.
Best be ready to make big changes in living arrangements, whether (or weather) proactively or reactively.