Explosions, Crashes and Declines of the “29” Kind

by Boots Hart, CAP on June 1, 2010

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Our tale begins on May 6, 2010, a heart-stopping day if you were in any way connected to the NYSE. That afternoon the market dropped 998 points between 1:48 pm (EDT) and 3 pm—a precipitous 9% plunge which besides being startling, distressing, and revealing the absence of safeguards in the trading system, probably also motivated at least a few folks to contemplate investing in defibrillators, human jump-proof glass and a career in cardiology.

The astrological point of view on this event is suggestive, illuminating and continuing evidence of just how critical “critical” zodiac degrees can actually be. But first, the astrological derring do: at 12:44 pm (EDT) the Moon (values, business money) conjuncted Damocles (perceived danger) at the Descendant in Manhattan.

What is the Descendant? Opposite the Ascendant and one end of a chart’s horizontal axis, the Descendant is ordinarily the “thou” part of an “I/thou” equation. More generally however, the horizontal axis as a whole is a “cause/effect” mechanism: the “doing”  (our undertaking to act or refusing to) is the Ascendant, which makes the Descendant the result of what we do/don’t do—the reward or reception for who we are or what we’ve done, and who we attract thereby.

The Ascendant as a “verb” (so to speak!) also describes how we react to advice received from the world in the form of news, advice or prompting. So in this case, whether we would be a broker/analyst or an investor (corporate or individual), we hear the news through symbolism displayed at the Descendant.

NYSE "Flash Crash" chart

Event chart, NYSE "flash crash" of May 2010 (click to enlarge)

According to the Wall Street Journal online (May 6) “starting at around 2pm, the stock market began to plummet.” So the actions which caused that plummet must have started just prior to that time—hence our citing Moon/Damocles at the 21 Aquarius 41 Descendant of a chart pulled for Manhattan at 12:44. After all, it takes a few moments to swallow your cookies after hearing troubling news; few of us move with military alacrity (except those in the military, of course).

As a sign, Aquarius is about income, perception of equitable/acceptable circumstances and “things electronic” (including computers, programming and automated activities). Given that the degree of this  conjunction was 21 Aquarius, we know the issue involved was 3rd decanate (a decan being ten degrees of any sign and the third decan being degrees 20—29). Third decanate issues are always those which happen beyond our control. In business, third decan information is always about the marketplace, or about world/social events which affect the marketplace.

To this we add the lore on 21 Aquarius, which is considered a degree where good will is coupled with/hindered by “an inadequate ability to face difficulties.” Combined with Moon/Damocles and brought to the matter of the stock market (one must always temper degree lore through the nature of the symbol or symbols transiting said degree), this suggests market instability.

How did we get to that? Granting that the Moon is business/money (what we get for our solar/will-driven efforts), the Moon is also a celestial object which reflects the Sun’s light—which is why astrologically, the Moon reflects phases of a project and by placement/association with other celestial objects, the “mood” of the moment. This brings us to Damocles, a symbol all about thinking everything’s the proverbial piece of cake until you get right up to it—at which point something beyond your control causes you to recognize some very real and mortal dangers not yet taken into account.

As ruler of Cancer (one’s family, home and homeland) the Moon also symbolizes national populations. In Aquarius, this would be the income of a people. On May 6, the news was filled with stories about the Greek government (as part of the EU) passing austerity measures in order to avoid insolvency. Is there a connection?

When we pull a chart for the time cited as the beginning of the Wall Street “Flash Crash” (1:48 pm/EDT) the answer is apparently yes: that chart has a Ascendant/Descendant line 1 degree off (and if the time was 1:47 pm and not 1:48 pm, an exact) a match to the June 11, 1974 chart for establishment of the Third Hellenic Republic—the Greece we politically deal with today.

By the time close of business came about in New York, the NYSE’s Midheaven (societal position) read as 16 Gemini—the position of fixed star Rigel, symbol of education, civilization and being “under protection.”

The NYSE has thus learned a lesson, and yet the risks involved with investing are also real—the Exchange will no doubt put more safeguards into the system but people should not treat investing lightly. People love having kids but there is no guarantee that they will turn out to be a blessing to you or society: children can be a heartbreak and an expense beyond calculation, which we bring up here because astrology categorizes investing in the stock market under the same sign/house as that assigned to children, gambling and competitions (Leo and the 5th house).

Greece, the Third Hellenic Republic natal chart

Greece natal chart (click to enlarge)

As for Greece, the natal Midheaven for the Third Hellenic Republic is 29 Taurus (making its IC 29 Taurus)…which brings us to the importance of any position in any chart which is positioned at 29 degrees of any sign. Whatever that represents in that chart or to that entity or person, it’s a critical issue.

Scorpio, commonly known as a sign of “joint assets,” concerns, among other things, our ability to come together, work together and work towards compromises which can move all sides forward. When Scorpio “goes rogue” (to use current popular parlance), that’s when we get angry tug-of-wars, battles for control and all those arguments about who’s right (often accompanied by threats). In good times, this 29 Scorpio at the bottom of the chart is a Greece founded in an emotional bedrock of tenacious willingness which typifies the democratic ideals Greece originally brought to our world: each person doing their fair share. But when this 29 Scorpio goes awry, it’s a people wanting to have their cake and have it paid for—preferably by someone else—too.

Twenty-nine of any sign being where the sign comes to its inevitable conclusion, the Third Hellenic Republic chart shows us how the system as currently set up in Greece can lead to an emotional critical mass of fiscal facts being resisted by a public frightened of what the truth means. Very Scorpio, that: Scorpio resistance is most often based on fear, whether that’s fear of loss, fear of being made into a beast of burden, fear of having to give up what you treasure or even just what you know—many people are just freaked out at the thought of anything new.

And how has it come to be that way? With twenty-nine degrees of Taurus on the MC, we have a government which plainly wants security and satisfaction—almost at any cost…which is pretty much what it’s come down to. Greek retirement age, pension levels (as percentages of working pay) and even the number of holidays given off as paid for those who do work—all these are far higher than in most other countries. With the nation’s national Sun (will) with Mercury (thought, communication) and Juno (domestic leadership/protection) not merely in Gemini (choice/cohesive planning) but muffled by being intercepted in the 10th house….that’s a recipe for trouble.

The whole suggests a government which will act as though everything’s “just fine” until it’s not fine at all. This is a picture of a government which is devoted to doing the work of the people but which is either unwilling or unable to “speak” out. And when it does—if this government says anything the populace doesn’t like, they meet up with torrential Scorpio resistance. Or worse yet resentment, as has just been displayed with rioting in the streets.

So what’s going to happen to Greece? Since both ends of this MC/IC line ultimately lead to a Leo Venus in the 11th (conjunct the 12th) house, and—speaking strictly financially—what with the 11th being social/income/banking systems and the 12th being all forms of passive income (pensions, annuities, dividends, royalties, etc.), this would seem to be an 11th house issue. Greece’s current chart has a Cancer 11th house and the Cancer Moon ruling that house—along with the not-so-happy Cancer Saturn also in that house. Both are going to be hit by the January 2011 solar eclipse.

So while current austerity measures may help slow the fiscal bleeding, serious revamp is going to be called for and we are likely to see it happen rather soon, beginning with some sort of “breakdown” period in December/January as is typical of eclipses. The “fix” will take a while too—eclipses are a three-year transit.

All this becomes a sobering thought though to a United States currently wrestling with its own need to reconcile its capitalist system with not just the social promises made to the citizenry but the very ethical/moral ideals upon which the United States is founded. Is there any connection between Greece and the US here? A chart erected for close of trading on May 6th shows 18 Virgo rising and 16 Gemini on the Midheaven, which is closer than spittin’ distance to the chart for the signing of the Appomattox peace treaty signing at the end of the Civil War, a US “reunification” chart which shows 18 Virgo rising and 17 Gemini at the Midheaven. Of course the planets are different—even if we use just the “standard” symbols from our local solar system (without asteroids, TNO’s, fixed stars and other galactic phenomena). Even without these, charts only repeat every 25,920 years. But when chart structures are so similar, harmonics of “familiarity” do ring.

So back to the Flash Crash and the Dow. Regardless of what investigations turn up about human mechanics involved in the sudden 9% plummet of May 6, it would seem that the flow of news about Greece and European Union as Moon/Damocles hit the Descendant point at 1:48 pm (EDT) unified a transatlantic field of instability, setting much else into motion.

And yet, there has to be more. The Moon orbits through its cycle every 29 days and the chart wheel moves through the whole of the zodiac every single day (reflecting Earth turning on its axis). So once a month the Moon is conjunct Damocles. And on that “monthly day,” that conjunction hits chart angles. So what set this moment off?

There are many ways to look at this, but when we look at the history of the Dow and a wide variety of tumultuous incidents recent and historical, critical degrees absolutely stand out. So let’s start with the  critical axis under current activation, 29 Virgo/Pisces.

Depending on your location, Saturn (symbol of stability, structure, regulation) moved into 29 Virgo on October 23/24, 2009. On that date, a 7.0 earthquake shook Indonesia (killing 57) and a fire broke out at the Cataño oil refinery in Puerto Rico.

Twenty-nine degrees of any sign is considered “critical” as a standard in astrology: the far more devastating Sumatra-Andaman 9.1-9.3 magnitude earthquake of December 26, 2004 occurred with the lunar North Node at 29 Aries. This is not a matter taken lightly by those who study such things; that  Jupiter will reach 29 Aries in late May/early June of 2011 and Uranus will traverse it in 2018 seems well worth remembering.

In the case of 29 Virgo/Pisces, we have a different description: fixed star Scheat being resident at 29 Pisces colors both ends of this axial polarity. Famous as a highly challenging zodiac point/position, Scheat empowers breaking with the “old way” and thinking outside the box—yet while such ideas, observations or concepts may be entirely right, they’re also (generally) incredibly unpopular. A good and easy-to-grasp example regarding Scheat is how it played out in the chart of Galileo. Galileo was right when he said that the Sun, not Earth, was the center of our solar system. But in his day? Back then that was such an unpopular idea Galileo ended up under house arrest just daring to have and voice such a thought.

Another astrological premise to understand is how the passages of symbols over degrees actually functions. When a symbol moves over a point once, it produces an event. When a symbol moves back and forth over a point due to patterns of retrogradation, the energetics of the wavelengths transmitted to Earth wax and wane over a period of time, describing a gradual change or a process.

The north lunar node passing through 29 Aries 57 in 2004 happened once and will not happen for another 18-plus years (the lunar nodes having an orbital period of 18.6 years). Saturn moving from Virgo into Libra however, began in late 2009 and will finish in 2010: it’s a process. It thus seems logical that the earthquake of late 2009 was not as large as the one of 2004.

It is also interesting to note that the earthquake series which began in January of 2010 occurred as two things happened: Saturn took its direct/retrograde station and headed back towards 29 Virgo as Uranus (in Pisces) moved into the standard 5-degree orb of fixed star/critically placed Scheat.

Pisces being about how we feel about the emotional risks we take against Virgo’s more concrete concerns with actual functionality, we would expect different effects from planets moving through either end of this axis. But with Saturn at one end and Uranus (breakthroughs versus breakage, innovation versus anarchy, freedom versus chaos) at the other?

Deepwater Horizon explosion, April 2010

Event chart, Deepwater Horizon explosion, April 2010 (click to enlarge)

Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano erupted during April 2010 as Saturn reached 29 Virgo in retrograde motion. The volcano’s effect was to disrupt the functional process of air travel through threat to the function of the aircraft itself. The April 20 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico has Saturn similarly placed with the Sun having just passed over 29 Aries a day prior. Granting that it will take some time to know, astrologically it would seem likely that whatever happened to the Deepwater rig actually began going wrong late on April 18 or during the first part of April 19th while the Sun was traversing 29 Aries.

Going back to Pisces, with Pisces being the “great abyss” water sign, it would have a more literal connection to water than say, 29 Aries—the tsunami of 2004 took a huge number of lives and billions of dollars of physical property upon which livelihoods depended. Aries is a the sign of existing, of survival, of life itself. The societal nodes passing through 29 Aries tie very much into the damage the Indian Ocean tsunami wrought.

But 29 Pisces is about water in the literal sense (floods), the emotional sense (regrets, tears), and the monetary sense—remember, Pisces is in part concerned with pensions, dividends, royalties and all forms of money which is “unearned” in the sense that it isn’t tied to an hourly wage of some such.

Uranus reached 29 Pisces on May 1, 2010. And what happened then? In Tennessee, the Cumberland River overflowed its banks, flooding Nashville. In Massachusetts, a giant water main broke, creating a flood and big problems with drinking water. New York City experienced another would-be bomber—bombs being very much in keeping with the well-documented “explosive” quality of the Uranus wavelength. That Uranus was actually in Pisces and not Aries at the time—to the analytical astrologer that suggests a “dampening” of the bomb plot; we will likely as yet hear of the many regrets the perpetrator (Faisal Shahzad) has about this moment and indeed, his entire life.

All this brings us back to the stock market plummet. Why? Because this decline seems to follows some historical astrological patterns. On the relatively minor side of major “historical” points we have Jupiter moving over 21 Aquarius (the presumed trigger moment for people moving towards the actions which cause the flash-crash) on April 15, 2009—Tax Day for millions of Americans, in an America staggered by the biggest financial decline/recession since the Great Depression of 1929-34.

The US government had just committed to stimulus spending, which in theory is correct: economies build through spending and increased activity…and are undermined/decline when economic activity stalls, when money pools/is retained in a limited circuit, or when debt exceeds the ability of economic activity to service that debt without curtailing further growth. But to do this in a moment when the actual tax/revenue stream is declining? That’s economic tough love of the very hardest kind all around and very much an echo of what’s going on in Greece, though in US terms.

Attack on Fort Sumter, April 1861

Attack on Fort Sumter, April 1861 (click to enlarge)

The United States has never really solved one of the major economic/legal questions which precipitated the Civil War—namely that of state versus federal rights. It’s also worth noting that the firing on Fort Sumter which officially started the “war” part of the Civil War occurred with Sedna (the need to individuate) conjunct Neptune (ideals versus illusions/disillusionment) with both at 29 Pisces.

So it’s not surprising to see this question arising yet again as Uranus rolls over 29 Pisces—a feat which (given retrograde cycles) Uranus will do again come February/March of 2011. Between now and then we get to deal with what has arisen now—not just in the physical sense, but in the metaphorical sense…as in what do we need to change so this doesn’t happen? To resist change is an egotistical claim of supremacy—a foolish move, considering the size of the planet and the inexorable march of time and existence.

But getting back to the point, to see so many old political and economic questions arising now as Neptune prepares to move into 29 Aquarius come 2011 (dissolving the current setup for critical “degree potentials” concerning 29 Aquarius/Leo) is also a personal-versus-systemic inquiry into questions about the capitalistic system—the issue of corporate might versus individual need, for instance. While plainly those at the top of the capitalist food chain have proven themselves good at what they do, does their ability to be in charge of the money stream, and thus divert it to their own enrichment, mean they should? Where does capitalistic function end and monetary tyranny begin?

The recent world recession posed this question in a form we should pay attention to. And it takes many forms, granted. But just to look at one thing (among many), while there’s a good argument to be made for the very derivatives which toppled the world economy (the “sharing of risk” we understand in many forms), when those who create/manage those pools (be they in the financial sector, insurance sector or anywhere else) begin running that risk pool for personal financial benefit, temptation so often becomes greed. It’s an all too human problem and unfortunately human nature is what it is. It’s an expression of arrogance and entitlement—which would seem to be one of the themes of 29 Aquarius/Leo in all its many universal/individual forms.

As for that Jupiter moving through 21 Aquarius, it happened as Venus (then in retrograde) was moving into a station to go direct. Venus had gone into the shadow of its retrograde almost immediately after President Obama’s inauguration, exactly when the celebrating ended and the “what’s he done for us lately?” began. And that’s very Venus shadow/retrograde: nobody feels loved (or particularly loving) when Venus is doing its shadow or retrograde thing. With Venus symbolizes our ability to concrete things and this shadow/retrograde having been in the “I Am” sign of Aries, there was a lot of “survival security” and “can I get through this?” angst going around.

With all this said, guess where Venus was when it moved into its station, drilling the lesson home as Jupiter played the fife and drum in the background? That’s right—29 Pisces, making this another bad day gone all to Scheat.

Regarding Uranus in particular, its being at 29 Pisces as a signal of problems is no new thing, either. The last time Uranus came to this degree was in 1927, a period when much heated speculation in the area of financial instruments was being (mis)handled by an as-yet unregulated stock market, leading to the 1929 stock market crash. Interesting to note here is that in that moment Pluto was in Cancer; the speculation of the 1920’s was in business instruments, business being represented by the opposition sign to Cancer—namely, Capricorn. The recent recession, taking place as Pluto committed to its transit of Capricorn was set up by speculative finances/financial instruments in the real estate arena. Real estate is astrologically attributed to Cancer.

This combination of Uranus/Pluto (transpersonal) factors appears to say a lot. Given that Capricorn is not merely the sign of business structure and regulation, but also the governments which run such, it’s worth noting that as Uranus got to 29 Pisces again in November of 1927 and went direct at 29 Pisces in December 1927, staying there until it committed to transiting Aries in January of 1928….this is when Trotsky left Russia, leaving Russia in the hands of Joseph Stalin. And we all know what came of that, right?

On the plus side, this 1920s version of Uranus at 29 Pisces had Ford unveiling the Model T of fame and assembly line fortune. This example—merely one of many—shows us that 29 Pisces/Virgo can have a very positive effect, too. The assembly line and the Model T as a “mass market” vehicle were in their time very innovative—very Uranian, very “so everyone can have an easier time” positive Pisces.

But that this remains a vital axis well worth attention? Coinciding with the solar eclipse of 1987 at 29 Virgo, the broadcasting “Fairness Doctrine” which required that controversial issues be presented based solely on facts was struck down on the basis that it violated free speech, leading to today’s ton of statements in every walk of life (from media to politics to marketing and beyond) which in claiming to be merely an “expressing of opinion” need not have any basis in fact. Or even any consistency with what the person, company or government (whomever) said yesterday. Virgo being a sign all about responsibility, the typical solar eclipse “breakdown” effect has come back to us now with politicians, companies, clergy and people at large blowing things out of proportion, hiding facts—all of which behavior is protected when put into the public discourse because there is no longer any (Virgo) responsibility or requirement to know before one speaks.

This lends yet another thing to consider with regards to all the issues raised by Uranus passing over 29 Pisces. Coinciding with the disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the bizarre slew of claims, disclaimers, misrepresentations (etc.) flowing from it would seem to speak to the need to “innovate” out and away from the general dependence on oil.

Natal chart, U.S. Minerals Management Service

Natal chart, U.S. Minerals Management Service (click to enlarge)

And just as a note here: should we be surprised to know that the governmental department in charge of US oil leases (the Minerals Management Agency) has a Sun at 29 Capricorn in perfected sextile to a Moon at 29 Scorpio? This would be the agency which has had employees not just financially or influentially but literally in bed with the industry they have been hired and legally entrusted with the job of overseeing.

As the old song says, something’s got to give. Planetary cycles are markers on the clock of history and evolution. The question is: will we cooperate, or will we insist on the ego-driven conviction that we want what benefits us as individuals in the short run to the exclusion of a future beneficial to our children, our children’s children—even the planet and its myriad other denizens? Humankind seems to think we own this world when in truth, the planet owns us.

There’s a lot of astrological research to show that 29 degrees of any sign can be very good and very positive, from social/societal innovations to breakthroughs in the areas of belief, medicine and art (the movie industry appears to be particularly responsive to critical degrees). The real question is always whether we are willing to give up what we feel comfortable with in favor of learning more and better—about ourselves, about our world and about what the word “possibilities” really means.

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Olga Moreno June 10, 2010 at 4:58 pm

Thanx Boots.

I take pause as I finished reading your interpretation of the planets and their play in the theater of our lives.
I can’t help but realize that “this world” that we all have participated in creating is dissolving, and this in and of it self is cause for celebration, I for one am doing exactly that, the archetype of the Alchemist is being midwife into existence, is what is taking place in the collective, in order for a culture to thrive it needs a new Myth and the Alchemist IS the New MYTH.

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