At first glance, this may seem a catchall title, but as always, there is method in my madness. Friday, August 25, 2017 is the linkage between Hurricane Harvey, which made landfall that night, and Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who received his presidential pardon within minutes of that event, and what binds them is Donald Trump, now facing the first national disaster not of his own making.
As I write, Harvey is still a presence in the American South, ravaging coasts and communities from south Texas to Louisiana. Although Harvey made landfall as a category 4 hurricane, it was not his winds that caused the most devastation. An incredible amount of rainfall accompanied Harvey, with some areas in Texas reportedly receiving more than 4 feet of rain in a matter of days, with more still to follow, a deluge of Biblical proportions, what some are calling a once-in-500-year flood. Houston, fourth largest city in the nation, came directly under the gun of Harvey’s torrents, and will take years to recover.
A few days before landfall, as Harvey picked up steam and momentum, and huge amounts of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico, I took a look at PNAs (Personal-Named Asteroids) that might have bearing on what was to come. I knew I’d find an asteroid Harvey, Texas and Houston. At the time, Harvey’s path was unclear, threatening to come ashore anywhere between Corpus Christi and Galveston, and the spaghetti plots of its further course were even less certain, placing it literally all over the map. Looking for PNAs representing additional communities at risk, since Houston seemed too far inland to be impacted directly, I found asteroid Arthur (for Port Arthur), Christy (for Corpus Christi) and Victoria, for Victoria, Texas, midway between them.
First step was to locate Harvey. Landfall was expected sometime Friday, so that was the date I checked, and found Harvey at 1 Leo, within the event horizon, or orb of influence, of the Black Hole at 3 Leo. This by itself showed promise of a devastating event, as Black Holes function in part as reality-warpers, spurs to dramatic transformation and upheaval, where the world changes in the twinkling of an eye, and current conditions are overthrown, never to be regained. They also often promote the setting of records, and the types of records set by hurricanes are not the types you want to see. With Harvey heading into the singularity, or center, of the Black Hole, and not easing back out the other side, conditions were likely to deteriorate rapidly.
Next step: what is Harvey doing, relative to the heavens? It’s still squared to Uranus at 28 Aries, though separating. That spells major disruption. It’s sesquiquadrate Neptune at 13 Pisces, often associated with flooding, and also exactly trine to TNO Salacia at 1 Aries, named or Neptune’s goddess wife. Both these sea deities in contact to Harvey seemed to suggest, with the assistance of the Black Hole, a temporary inversion of the normal distinction between sea bottom and dry land – again, a flood.
It seemed obvious that water was the issue, as opposed to wind destruction. But where would the blow fall? Which communities, astrologically speaking, were most at risk?
Asteroids Christy at 4 Cancer and Arthur at 15 Taurus were inactive with Harvey, suggesting that Corpus Christi and Port Arthur were not in the direct line of fire. Asteroid Victoria at 13 Scorpio wasn’t connected to Harvey, either, but it does trine Neptune exactly, and is also conjoined TNO Deucalion at 16 Scorpio, while Arthur opposed this point. Deucalion is named for a character in Greek myth whose story was a forerunner of the Noah and the flood story from the Bible.
This made both Victoria and Port Arthur likely candidates for at least a part of Harvey’s ire, if secondarily. Asteroid Texas at 26 Leo had no direct connection to Harvey either, but it was squared asteroid Ophelia at 24 Scorpio; named for a character from Hamlet who drowns, Ophelia is often associated with floods, putting large portions of the Lone Star State at risk for flooding generally. Earlier in the week, asteroid Texas at 24 Leo had been conjunct the “American Eclipse”, so the time was ripe for a major event there.
But it was Houston that would bear the brunt of Harvey’s effects, and this was prefigured by its celestial namesake. At 13 Virgo, asteroid Houston is semisquare Harvey, making it the one city with a direct connection to the hurricane. Moreover, Houston was also opposing Neptune exactly, and in sextile to Deucalion, upping the ante and making devastating flooding there extremely likely. Unfortunately, that prediction was all too accurate.
At almost fifty miles inland, Houston was spared the worst wind damage from Harvey, which blew itself out fairly quickly after landfall. But the storm stalled, and circled, and stalled again, dumping tons of rainwater on the beleaguered city. As with Katrina and New Orleans, local measures to prevent flooding proved hopelessly inadequate to the task, and many sections of Houston now stand under multiple feet of water, in some cases, reaching to the second floor of buildings. Houston is situated in Harris County, Texas, and this pace name also played a role in the devastation. With 30% of the county now flooded, asteroid Harris at 8 Aquarius opposed Harvey, which had reached the singularity of the Black Hole at 3 Leo by mid-week following landfall, while still dumping more rain. All told, more than a trillion gallons of rain are estimated to have fallen in Harris County, enough to fill the old Houston Astrodome to the brim, 3200 times! Now that’s a Black Hole record!
Port Arthur’s turn came as Harvey made its second landfall on Tuesday the 29th, with asteroid Arthur now advanced to 16 Taurus, exactly opposed Deucalion. Port Arthur received more than 26 inches of precipitation in less than 24 hours, a rainfall record not just for the city, or state, but the entire country. Evacuees who had fled to the Civic Center for refuge were appalled to find that the flood waters followed them there, rising to more than a foot inside the shelter within hours. In all, more than 17.000 Texans are gathered in shelters as far afield as Dallas.
So where does Donald Trump fit into all this? Well, celestially, he’s right in the thick of it. Trump’s personal celestial referent, asteroid Troemper, falls at 2 Leo, right next to Harvey. How his administration handles the response to the disaster may prove a turning point – if he does well, some of the pressure he’s been feeling from all sides may ease. But if he doesn’t? Remember how the federal government’s inadequate response to Katrina spelled the end of the Bush administration’s effectiveness and credibility, although he still had three years to run on his second term? Trump is already neck-deep in a morass of his own creation; if he fails with this, too, he’s likely to sink under the waves, never to be seen again.
But in the meantime, we can note that Trump has already aligned consciously himself with Harvey. Barely three hours before its landfall, Trump took the opportunity to Tweet the pardon of Maricopa County, Arizona’s ex-Sheriff, Joe Arpaio. Accused of using the hurricane as cover for what would prove to be a highly volatile and controversial decision, Trump doubled down and alleged that yes, he had chosen the timing on purpose – but to call attention to the matter, not to distract from it. Trump’s reasoning? That heightened interest in cable news, hurricane-driven, would broadcast his pardon to greater numbers of the American people.
Whichever the reason, Trump has clearly established a link between himself and Harvey, as illustrated by the pairing of their celestial markers. When he appeared at Corpus Christi and Austin on Tuesday the 29th, the president’s remarks did not include a statement of empathy for those who were suffering, only vague assurances that Texas can handle the crisis and all will be well. He did not mention the nine people known to have died by that time, nor the first responders, many of them ordinary citizens in private shallow-draft boats, who had endured hardship and deprivation to rescue those trapped by the rising waters, nor the thousands displaced.
He did, however, take the time for some product placement, modeling the new, official presidential “USA” ball cap, with the number “45” on the side, which is available for only $40 at Trump’s website. [Incidentally, for those so inclined, you can get the exact same hat at Walmart for just $9.99, shipping included.]
Which brings us to Joe Arpaio. The former Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff, Arpaio’s racial profiling and strong arm techniques in harassing persons he deemed to be likely illegal immigrants have made him a hero among the far right nationally, but his tactics have been less popular closer to home. First elected to office in 1993, the self-styled “America’s Toughest Sheriff” took a harsh stand on illegal immigration, and came to national attention in 2010 for his support of Arizona’s controversial SB1070 anti-immigration law, later struck down by the US Supreme Court. He first allied with Trump over the birther movement, of which he was a vocal proponent, which claimed that Barack Obama was not born in the US, and was therefore ineligible for the presidency.
Arpaio and his office were accused of multiple crimes, including abuse of power and misuse of funds, improper enforcement of immigration laws and election laws violations, for which his office paid out over $146 million in fees, settlements and court awards. His violations of the public trust eventually caught up with him, and he was convicted of criminal contempt of court in July 2017 for continuing to arrest and detain persons he suspected of being illegal immigrants, after court orders requiring him to stop this practice. By then, voters had already roundly rejected him, and Arpaio lost his reelection bid in November 2016, just as his future savior gained the presidency.
When Donald Trump tweeted his pardon of Arpaio bare minutes after Harvey’s landfall, at 10 PM EDT in the presidential retreat at Camp David, Maryland, asteroids Josefa and Josephina (for Joseph “Joe” Arpaio) were both in aspect to Troemper and Harvey. Josefa at 29 Aries was in square, while Josephina at 9 Leo broadly conjoined the pair, at 1 and 2 Leo. The Moon at 24 Libra was conjunct both Jupiter at 20 Libra and asteroid Sharaf at 18 Libra, signaling that the pardon was essentially an emotionally-based (Moon) political act (Jupiter) born of Sheriff Joe’s (Sharaf) early support for Donald Trump’s candidacy. Both asteroid Arizona at 14 Cancer, the state in which Arpaio served, and asteroid Phoinix at 5 Capricorn (for Phoenix, the largest city in Arpaio’s Maricopa County jurisdiction) impacted Trump’s natal Mercury at 8 Cancer, perhaps prompting the timing of the decision (Mercury).
Born 14 June 1932, Arpaio shares a birthday with Donald Trump, and his chart reads like an astrological textbook case of the effect of asteroids in the biography. Asteroid Josephina at 25 Aquarius is closely trined the 23 Gemini Sun, a common contact for one’s own celestial referent; it is also stationary, about to turn retrograde a week later. This indicates a “dug-in” mentality for Arpaio, whose alternate PNA, asteroid Josefa at 28 Taurus, closely conjoins natal Mars at 24 Taurus, granting him that “tough guy” persona. The other stationary points are asteroid Troemper itself, which at 4 Aquarius exactly conjoins natal Saturn, showing support for the “law and order” candidacy of Donald Trump; and asteroid Phoinix at 18 Libra, the exact degree of transit asteroid Sharaf for his pardon! These show Trump and Phoenix to be important factors in Arpaio’s biography.
Also of note is asteroid Arizona exactly conjunct natal Uranus at 22 Aries, indicating Arpaio’s obsession with aliens and immigration (both Uranus-ruled) in his home state (Arizona). Significantly, these were opposed by the transit Moon/Jupiter/Sharaf cluster at his pardon. Natally, asteroid Sharaf at 18 Leo is an exact match for Jupiter, suggesting prominence or renown through that job title.