After several fairly quiet years, the 2017 hurricane season promises to be one of the worst, and most expensive, in history. Literally millions of people have been affected, displaced, injured or killed, and hundreds of billions of dollars in damage created, by three massive storms, some of the largest on record, which have pounded the Caribbean and the southern shores of the US. Astrologers have been fortunate in the names chosen this year: Harvey, Irma and Maria all have matching asteroids, and their celestial perambulations mirror their terrestrial effects.
Hurricane Harvey set the tone in late August with massive flooding in Texas, followed by Irma, ravaging the Caribbean, the Keys and Florida’s west coast in early September. Even as Maria churns and splutters at the equinox, creating havoc in Puerto Rico, more storms are warming up (literally) in the bull pen of the mid-Atlantic, and two months remain to the hurricane season.
What is going on? Why this year, in particular? It’s true that we are reaping the harvest of unchecked climate change; for years scientists have warned of the effects of increasing global temperatures, including larger, more massive, more powerful and deadly tropical storms. It’s too late now to rectify the ignorance and willful neglect of the past; we can, and must, try to moderate the continuing disaster which looms in our future, but nothing can stop the devastation we face now and in the short term.
One of the lead contributing factors astrologically is the current opposition between Uranus, planet of disruption, shocks and turmoil, and a TNO (Trans-Neptunian Object) named Typhon. Typhon, the root of our word “typhoon”, was named for the deadliest creature in Greek myth, a god of storms and hurricanes, causing massive earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and flooding. This combination is a volatile one, bringing together titanic forces with potentially disastrous consequences, in the form of vast, energetic and destructive storms which threaten to create havoc and mayhem.
These two first came into exact opposition in late June 2017, just as the Atlantic hurricane season was getting underway, with Uranus at 27 Aries catching up to a retrograding Typhon at 27 Libra. After Typhon turned direct in early July and Uranus slowed to its retrograde station on August 3rd, the pressure built, until the pair once again opposed each other exactly on August 13th. Less than two weeks later, Hurricane Harvey emerged in the Gulf of Mexico, devastating Texas with record rainfall which flooded thousands of acres. From these degrees, both Uranus and Typhon were conjunct Black Holes, deep space anomalies which promote pervasive change and alteration of the status quo, and are noted for record setting.
And Harvey certainly set records! Harvey’s price tag is an estimated $190 billion, with up to 70% of homeowner losses uninsured. Harvey dumped up to 52” of rain in its meandering path across eastern Texas, focusing primarily on Houston and Harris County, making it the wettest hurricane on record. Harvey also set a record for total rainfall in 24 hours, with 26 inches in Port Arthur, a record not just for Texas, but the entire continental US. In all, an estimated 27 trillion gallons of water fell on Texas and Louisiana during Harvey’s six-day reign, enough to fill the Houston astrodome 85,000 times. Almost half a million people were without power, more than 30,000 displaced, and at least 81 killed. More than 48,000 residences and 700 businesses were damaged, with approximately 100 completely destroyed and another 17,000 sustaining heavy damage.
In my first foray into interpretation of this disaster, I neglected to note Typhon’s influence, as well as a number of smaller minor bodies which resonate to these themes (sorry, but you try to remember all 17,000 asteroid names!). I did note the placement of PNAs pertinent to the story, such as Houston, Harris (the county where Houston is situated) and Texas. But the addition of Typhon and asteroids Storm and Flood lends greater clarity.
A Hurricane Harvey landfall chart shows asteroid Houston at 13 Virgo to be in exact opposition to Neptune, ruling water and the sea generally, and also sextile to TNO Deucalion at 16 Scorpio, named for a Greek mythic character who was the precursor of the Biblical Noah and the Flood story. This puts Houston reliably front and center in any circumstance involving a deluge, or excess of water. However, Houston is also, and perhaps more importantly, in exact semisquare and sesquiquadrate to the Typhon/Uranus opposition at 28 Libra/Aries, placing it firmly in the grasp of this power couple bent on disruption via tempest.
Asteroid Harris at 8 Aquarius broadly opposes asteroid Harvey at 1 Leo, but is also conjunct asteroid Storm at 12 Aquarius. At one point it was estimated that 30% of Harris County was underwater, and the storm spent more time in that region than anywhere else, circling back on itself for days.
Asteroid Texas at 26 Leo, already noted as in square to asteroid Ophelia at 28 Scorpio (named for the “Hamlet” character who drowns herself), is also exactly squared to asteroid Flood at 26 Scorpio. The transit pairing of Flood and Ophelia emerges as a central theme of this period, adding its own brand of watery disaster to the proceedings, especially when strongly aspected to PNAs representing the affected areas. Here it grants water’s hegemony over the state of Texas in general.
If water was the primary problem with Harvey, it was wind that made Irma so devastating. Forming off the coast of Africa on August 30th, Irma quickly grew to a Category 2 hurricane, then to a Category 3 within hours, eventually becoming a Category 5 by September 5th, with sustained winds upwards of 185 mph. Irma caused catastrophic damage to a string of island nations in the Caribbean, with Barbuda arguably the worst. 95% of the structures were severely damaged or destroyed, leaving the island essentially uninhabitable. Irma wreaked similar havoc on Saint Barthelemy, Saint Martin, Anguilla and the Virgin Islands before turning its sights on Cuba, the Florida Keys and the US mainland. By the time it made landfall in Marco Island, Florida, on September 10, Irma was losing strength fast, but still cut a swath of damage and destruction straight up the spine of Florida, with massive power outages (some 2.6 million people affected) and much structural injury, and killing at least 50 persons. Sending a seven foot storm surge into Naples, Irma proceeded to drench communities from there to Georgia, then passed up the eastern seaboard of the US, not fully dissipating until it reached New England.
A chart set for Irma’s 3:35 PM EDT landfall in Marco Island, Florida shows a 9 Capricorn Ascendant, with asteroid Marcus conjoined from 8 Capricorn, placing the community firmly in the path of the hurricane. Alternate PNAs for Marco include Marc, which at 29 Libra is an exact match for Typhon, still opposing Uranus, and conjoined the 23 Libra Midheaven, doubling down on the angular importance of this community to the moment. Asteroid Irma itself is in a powerful position; at 21 Virgo it conjoins the 18 Virgo Sun, placing it in high focus for the period, and also conjunct asteroid Boreas, named for the ancient Greek personification of the north wind, at 20 Virgo. Irma also squares Saturn at 21 Sagittarius exactly, indicating the vast structural damage it evoked, and is exactly semisquare asteroid Napolitania at 6 Scorpio, on the Irma/Saturn midpoint, representing Naples, Florida and its storm surge, with asteroid Storm at 9 Aquarius in square to Napolitania (thus placing Irma in sesquiquadrate to Storm).
Mercury, often noted in weather events, is an exact match for asteroid Zephyr at 0 Virgo, named for the ancient Greek personification of the west wind, and squares asteroid Barthelemy at 5 Sagittarius, resonant with the Caribbean island of that name devastated by Irma a few days earlier. Cuba was also raked by high winds, and at 3 Cancer asteroid Cuba conjoins asteroid Aeolia at 11 Cancer, named for the island home of the mythic Greek master of the winds, Aeolus. Asteroid Martina, for Saint Martin island, similarly devastated, appears at 17 Leo, squared by asteroid Njord at 22 Taurus, named for the Norse god of winds.
Between them, hurricanes Harvey and Irma are estimated to have destroyed up to a million automobiles, and Irma’s $300 billion price tag added to Harvey’s $190 billion shows a total cost approaching a half trillion dollars for these two storms alone. But the worst was yet to come.
Less than a week after Irma’s Florida landfall, on September 16th, Hurricane Maria developed in the mid-Atlantic. In just two days it had strengthened to a Category 5 storm, and careened along Irma’s path, threatening many of the same islands already battered by her rough wooing. A Category 4 when it made landfall in Puerto Rico on September 20th, Maria proceeded to completely disrupt the island, which is now totally without power, and may be in that condition for up to six months. The existing power grid was already in poor shape and inadequate to its task, but has now been virtually obliterated, with some 3.5 million people in the San Juan vicinity alone facing deprivation and disaster as the months stretch by with no relief in sight. 95% of cell phone towers were damaged, leaving Puerto Ricans essentially cut off, not only from the outside world, but from each other. Rising streams, rivers and lakes have overflowed their banks, as well as coastal flooding, inundating vast stretches of land. More than thirty inches of rain have fallen, and the entire island is under flash flood watches and warnings, as Puerto Ricans begin to emerge from shelters and ruined homes to assess the damage.
The island of Dominica had already received Maria’s wrath on September 18th, with its capital city of Roseau described as a scene of “total devastation”, with half the city flooded, cars submerged, and large stretches of residential neighborhoods “flattened.” An estimated 90% of structures in the island nation have sustained damage, with much of them uninhabitable.
As with Irma, Maria’s celestial namesake shows connections with the Sun, establishing the hurricane as a focus of the time. Asteroid Maria at 27 Sagittarius for the September 20th Puerto Rico landfall is exactly squared the Sun at 27 Virgo, while also conjunct Saturn (structural damage) at 21 Sagittarius and in a T-Square with asteroid San Juan, named for Puerto Rico’s capital, at 29 Gemini, itself conjunct TNO Chaos at 23 Gemini. Chaos is certainly what has ensued in the US territory, which has already been declared a federal disaster zone. Asteroid San Juan factors into the ongoing Typhon/Uranus polarity by trine and sextile, and to complete the picture, is also aspected to TNO Deucalion at 16 Scorpio by sesquiquadrate, and to asteroids Flood at 28 Scorpio and Ophelia at 1 Sagittarius, by inconjunct, emphasizing the watery, “drowned” nature of the crisis.
Asteroids Dominique and Rousseau, for Dominica and its capital, Roseau, fall at 9 Virgo and 9 Libra, respectively. Both are exactly aspected to asteroid Storm, which came to its direct station at 9 Aquarius, inconjunct Dominque and trine Rousseau, on September 19th, the day after Maria’s Dominica landfall, and a day before Puerto Rico’s. Storm’s powerful stationary status undoubtedly factored into the ferocity of Maria’s winds, as well as its lasting impact, with years of rebuilding ahead for both islands. Dominique is also exactly conjunct Mars, indicating the violence of the storm at this time, and within orb of asteroid Zephyr, the west wind, at 3 Virgo, with Boreas, the north wind, still conjunct the Sun and squared Maria from 23 Virgo. Asteroid Aeolia, resonant with the mythic Greek master of winds, squares Roseau from 13 Cancer.
Additionally, Jupiter has been encroaching on Typhon, enhancing and increasing its power and ability to spawn massive storms, allied to Uranian-based disruption. Jupiter at 25 Libra is now just five degrees from Typhon, which ingressed into Scorpio on the day of Maria’s Puerto Rico landfall, marking a significant change of celestial address for the TNO. Jupiter/Typhon also forms a loose Grand Trine with asteroids Nemesis at 22 Capricorn, named for the goddess of divine retribution, and Njord at 23 Taurus, named for the Norse gods of winds. This becomes a Kite Pattern with the opposition from Jupiter/Typhon to Uranus at 27 Aries.
Such climate-driven disasters are likely to become more frequent as the century ages, and there is an unfortunate celestial pairing forming over the next decade which will enhance this trend, beyond what we have seen so far. For Typhon and Deucalion, those TNOs representing storm and flood, are moving into conjunction. Beginning in 2022, the two will be conjoined within five degrees, for a full nine years, until 2031, with the peak of the conjunction involving several exact meetings in 2025. By then, we may be looking back on this period as one of relative calm and tranquility, as man’s eternal ignorance and self-centeredness in abetting global climate change yields its bitter harvest.