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When Hell Froze Over: The I-95 Backup

Imagine it:  more than 24 hours cooped up inside a cramped metal box, with subfreezing temperatures just a thin glass wall away.  No food, water, medicine or bathroom.  Power, heat and connectivity only as long as the fuel and cellphone power hold out.  Children, pets, seniors, special needs individuals – no one is spared. That was the situation confronting hundreds of motorists caught in a massive traffic snarl on Interstate 95, the primary north/south artery up the East Coast, on Monday, January 3rd

The problem started that afternoon when a pair of tractor trailers jackknifed in wintry conditions in Stafford County, Virginia, blocking the highway as a havoc of secondary accidents unfolded quickly behind them.  This led to a 50-mile backup that wasn’t fully cleared for over 24 hours, with little to no assistance rendered to trapped drivers.  Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) was one of those caught up in the fiasco, spending 27 hours on the road traveling back to DC from Richmond, normally a trip of two hours.

The stage was set by a Sun/Nemesis conjunction at 13 and 18 Capricorn, at the fulcrum of a T-Square with asteroids Snowdonia at 15 Libra and Storm at 19 Aries.  Nemesis is noted for throwing up blocks to progress (one of its keywords is “roadblocks”; in this case, quite literal!), while Snowdonia and Storm together portrayed the type of weather event involved. 

Just to each side of this pattern, additional points fleshed out the story.  An opposition from asteroid Sturm at 1 Capricorn (German for “storm”) to asteroid Schneeweiss (German for “white snow”) at 8 Cancer reiterates the underlying cause.

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Winter weather was the culprit in the I-95 debacle, with asteroids Snowdonia, Storm, Sturm (German for “storm”), Schneeweiss (German for “white snow”) and Winters all prominent on the day, interacting with asteroids Carr, Virginia and Stafford

Just past the Sun, Pluto at 26 Capricorn conjoins Mercury with asteroid NOT, at 1 and 2 Aquarius respectively.  Pluto tends toward devastating outcomes, Mercury rules cars and traffic and has affinities with weather as well, and NOT is a general disqualifier, a symbol of being unable to proceed.  This stellium anchors a Grand Cross composed of an opposition to asteroid Stafford at 29 Cancer with asteroid Still at 5 Aquarius, squaring asteroid Virginia at 27 Aries exactly opposed asteroid Winters at 27 Libra.  Remarkably, this identifies both the state (Virginia) and specific county (Stafford) where the backup occurred, while Still’s inclusion in the pattern denotes the stoppage, and Winters represents the season.

Two other points relate intimately to the Grand Cross, with asteroid d’Arrest at 27 Virgo, noted for cessation and restriction, exactly semisextile and inconjunct the Virginia/Winters axis, while asteroid Carr (phonetic match for “car”) at 12 Virgo is exactly semisquare and sesquiquadrate this same polarity. 

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Nightfall brought no reprieve for the trapped motorists; indicators of a traffic stoppage in Stafford County included asteroids Stafford and Still conjunct, opposed Mercury with asteroid NOT – that’s star-speak for “nobody goin’ nowhere!”

Asteroid Still carves out an additional T-Square, including the opposition to Mercury/NOT, by a square to a pairing of asteroid Automedon with Uranus at 6 and 10 Taurus respectively.  Automedon is closest to “automobile”, and its stationary status, turning direct that very day, suggests it’s a valid celestial stand-in for vehicles, at least in this instance.   Automedon’s stationary status alone would suggest being immobile, even without Still lending support for that circumstance, while Uranus’ presence harkens back to the accident that started the disaster.   Saturn is also in the mix; at 12 Aquarius, it joins the Fixed T-Square with Mercury and NOT, representing the privation and hardship experienced by the trapped motorists.

d’Arrest at 27 Virgo also does double duty here, caught up in another T-Square with Neptune at 20 Pisces and asteroid Stucky at 20 Sagittarius.  “Stuck”y speaks for itself, while Neptune represents those victims in need of rescue, as well as the apparent confusion, delay and ineffectiveness of the response.

Yes, folks – Hell has officially frozen over.  So what’s next?

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.

3 comments, add yours.

robert Martin denk

I love that, Alex. Next, you are going to start forecasting the weather!

Emma Esperanza Acosta Vásquez

Gracias por las explicaciones a este hecho.


I know this was no laughing matter for the people who were stranded but I did chuckle when I read in your teaser to subscribers that asteroid ‘Carr’ was square ‘Stucky’! The Universe has a sense of humour. I also learned a new asteroid today, Automedon. Thanks, Alex!

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