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Fatal Housefires Focus on Kids

I chose to profile this story, tragic as it is, because it makes an excellent example of how this process unfolds, both celestially and in my own psyche.  As a former resident of Philadelphia, and still within that media market, I regularly watch the morning news on 6 ABC, predominantly for weather forecasts.  When I heard about a housefire near my old stomping grounds on January 5th which took 12 lives, 8 of them children, I got that familiar tingle at the nape of the neck that tells me to investigate, astrologically.

But I was busy, with deadlines looming and much on my mind, so I ignored it.  Four days later, an apartment building fire in the Bronx killed 17, with 9 child fatalities.  I dropped what I was working on, and dived in.

In situations like this, clearly cosmically related but separated by days, I first take a look at the general influences prevailing, and especially for stations.  Stations are degrees at which bodies appear to come to a halt and change direction (they do nothing of the kind, of course, in reality; it’s a trick of perception from our earthbound perspective).  They permeate the celestial atmosphere with their energies, still points upon which the rest of the cosmos continues to revolve.  So my first question always is:  what’s been happening?  What’s “stuck” up there and trying to get our attention? 

fires philly
This housefire in Philadelphia, PA on January 5th claimed 12 lives, including 8 children; asteroid House combined with Atropos (death) in opposing asteroids Child and Flammeus (flames)

I quickly found three asteroids at station that applied to the situation, during a two-week period focused on the end of December and the beginning of January.  It’s a sign of my nearly two decades’ experience of this material that I didn’t fall off my chair when I saw both Child and Flammeus immobile in the heavens at that time.  Child is self-explanatory in context, and turned direct at 7 Taurus on December 27th, in the company of asteroid Osiris (named for the ancient Egyptian god of the dead) and Uranus (ruling accidents).  Child was still at its station degree when the first fire occurred, in Philadelphia.

Just two days before that incident, Flammeus had turned direct at 12 Taurus, also conjunct Uranus and Child.  Flammeus is closest to “flames”, and has been active in previous stories of fire, such as the one which consumed part of Notre Dame Cathedral in 2019.  Flammeus with Child also suggests the fire’s origin, started by children playing with a lighter near a Christmas tree. 

The third point at station was asteroid Anubis, named for the Egyptian deity ruling funerary rites, lending a gloss of death-related energies to the timeframe.  Anubis won’t turn retrograde at 20 Virgo until January 12th, but was at its station degree throughout, in trine to Flammeus and sesquiquadrate Child.

So there we have three dominant elements in the sky, and in the stories unfolding:  fires via Flammeus; children via Child; and death via Anubis.  The next step is to integrate these energies with what else is going on.

fire philly victims
Some of the victims of the Philly housefire; in addition to the opposition from Atropos, Child was conjoined by death indicator Osiris, trined by Lachesis and Requiem, semisquare Rip, sesquiquadrate Anubis, and squared by Saturn

Here’s where a bit of experience comes in handy.  With 22,000 named minor bodies at this point, it’s a seemingly insurmountable task to identify pertinent players.  But over time, one becomes familiar with likely actors, depending on the situation.  The fatal nature of these incidents meant death indicators had to be included in the mix. 

Working alphabetically, I found asteroid Atropos, named for the Greek Fate who severs the thread of life at death, at 9 Scorpio, opposing Child and Flammeus.  Not surprisingly, asteroid House was there, too, at 7 Scorpio.  Together, they form a formidable illustration of fatalities at home; opposed Flammeus, they virtually spell out “house fire.”  Add Child, and we identify the majority of the victims.

Next was asteroid Lachesis, named for Atropos’ sister, the Fate who determines the span of life and gives Atropos the go-ahead when the time is right.  At 3 Capricorn, Lachesis is trine Child and Flammeus.  We’ve already seen that Osiris is conjoined Child, so moving on to asteroid Requiem, named for the funeral mass for the dead, we find it at 9 Virgo, fresh from its own retrograde station on New Year’s Day.  This is also trine Child and Flammeus, as well as Lachesis, creating a Grand Trine; in fact, a Kite, when the opposition to Atropos/House is included.

This is starting to get spooky, right?  That makes five of six asteroid death indicators directly bound up with Child and Flammeus, for a period which saw two deadly fires with a high body count of children.

fire bronx
This 19-floor apartment building caught fire on January 9th in the Bronx, NY, killing 17, including nine children; victims were found on every floor

What about the sixth, asteroid Rip, which functions as a death indicator in the form of the acronym “RIP” (“Rest In Peace”), a common tombstone inscription?  That’s at 24 Gemini, semisquare Child.  Which leaves just planetary energies relating to death to be accounted for (as opposed to our so-called “minor bodies”).  Saturn, ancient lord of death, appears at 12 Aquarius, squared Child/Flammeus.  Pluto, modern lord of death, at 26 Capricorn, was just out of orb of square.  I guess there has to be one odd man out.

What we’ve talked about so far are slower-moving points, in relatively stable configuration with each other, for days or weeks at a time.  What about a trigger, something faster-moving, which might also describe the circumstances?

How about the Sun?  This brings focus to what it touches, for good or ill.  Between January 5 and 9, the Sun from 15 to 19 Capricorn was moving into a square with asteroid Fireman, at 20 and 21 Libra, and moving past its trines to Child and Flammeus.  In a nod to the Christmas tree origins of the first fire, the Sun is also conjunct asteroid Noel, at 17 Capricorn for that tragedy.  (Doubling down, the universe also provides asteroid Yule, conjoined Damocles, the doom hanging unseen overhead, at 22 and 25 Aquarius.)

How about Mercury, planetary ruler of children?  That moved from 4 to 8 Aquarius during the period in question, coming to conjoin Saturn and squared Child/Flammeus, exactly squared Child for the Bronx fire.

fire firemen
The fatal Bronx fire was five-alarm, with dozens of firemen reporting to the scene; asteroid Fireman squared the Sun and Pluto, for a focus on death by fire

There’s one more point I look to when fire is in the headline:  asteroid Burney (for obvious reasons).  This falls at 1 Leo, tightly squared Osiris and Child, establishing the means of death and the preponderance of the victims.  And it’s also opposed Pluto – there’s that “death by fire” connection to the last planetary mortality indicator!  Knew it had to be somewhere.

At that point, it just becomes a matter of setting it all down in the record, translating raw data into sentences and paragraphs, performing my primary function of “astro-stenographer.”  I don’t write the celestial script – I just take dictation from the shorthand.

And that’s how it works.

One final note:  the Sun/Fireman square is still perfecting, and the other points remain in orb; let’s hope there isn’t more of the same in store…

Alex Miller is a professional writer and astrologer, author of The Black Hole Book, detailing deep space points in astrological interpretation, and the forthcoming Heaven on Earth, a comprehensive study of asteroids, both mythic and personal. Alex is a frequent contributor to “The Mountain Astrologer”, “Daykeeper Journal”, and NCGR’s Journals and “Enews Commentary”; his work has also appeared in “Aspects” magazine, “Dell Horoscope”, “Planetwaves”, “Neptune Café” and “Sasstrology.” He is a past president of Philadelphia Astrological Society, and a former board member for the Philadelphia Chapter of NCGR.

5 comments, add yours.


Hi Alex,
I had a look at the Bronx fire, Prometheus was the only fire related asteroid I knew of and he was 1Cancer19 in wide square to the Asc, close trine to the Part of Death and Disaster and close quindecile to the Mars/Saturn mid-point, another strong indicator of death.
Great work to combine the two events as you have done.


Unreal, Alex. Despite not having your years of experience with asteroids I managed to not fall off my chair. But I was amazed–and deeply saddened by this tragic loss.


Hi Alex, here are some more “fire” asteroids for your data bank:
transneptunian ZEUS.

Esperanza Acosta

Gracias por la enseñanza sobre los asteroides del fuego y los demás asociados a la muerte


This is horrible. It’s as if the universe set up this gate of opportunity for children to enter if they “wanted” to, and some of them took it, though most likely not consciously.
Thank you Alex, for your usual penetrating interpretation of the prevailing signs and omens in our sky. Yours is not a “fun” job, is it. More like a compulsion? Well done once again.

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