Krakatoa 1883: A World Event Examined (1)

While the greater part of the astrological community is in eager expectation of havoc in the communication and transport sectors 🙂 we will apply ourselves to looking back into the past. Appropriate for Mercury Rx, don’t you think? Th.

The instruments we use to define critical periods by mundane astrology can be refined by looking at past events. We can expect that an event of such major import as the volcanic explosion of Krakatoa in 1883 to be reflected in the charts. I am a bit wary of speaking of Signatures, as these can easily be misinterpreted as a fixed set of very particular configurations. The temptation is to make lists of aspects and then compile them, looking for the most common denominator. This however ignores the individual quality of the event, which is probably more important. There are of course general rules that must be followed, but these only provide the framework on which to build a judgement. But first let us look at the event before we describe the framework we will use to examine it.

The eruption of the Krakatoa volcano on the 26th and 27th of August 1883 is among the most catastrophic eruptions in history. It’s detonation was one of the loudest sounds in recorded history, heard thousands of kilometres away. The explosion itself was equivalent to 200 megatons of TNT, almost 13000 times stronger than the atomic bomb that devastated Hiroshima. The volcanic eruption was of course accompanied by earthquake and tsunami of immense proportion. Edvard Munch’s painting “The Scream” was inspired by this event. He says:

…suddenly the sky turned blood red … I stood there shaking with fear and felt an endless scream passing through nature. (see this Wikipedia article for more details)

If you have any familiarity with mundane astrology you will know that the story of the event (or in this case, series of events leading up to a dramatic climax) is not confined to the event chart(s) alone. In fact it is easier to understand the event when you look at the cascade of a whole series of charts that lead up to the event, and trace the chain of testimonies from one chart to the next. Mundane astrology is a very time consuming affair as there are so very many charts (we will be looking at the Grand Conjunction, Small Conjunction, pre-event lunar and solar eclipses, Aries and Cancer Ingress, previous lunation and the major event chart) and so very many factors that have to be considered. Where does one start? This is the IC. In this series of articles I will be focussing exclusively on the IC. You will see that it is enough to begin with. I encourage you, dear reader, to print out the charts and examine them yourself. You are very welcome to share any insights as a comment to this series of articles. You can find all the charts I used here in the Charts section of Altair Astrology for later easy reference.

59 pm GMT 105e25, 6s06

Grand Conjunction, 18 Apr. 1881 1:35:59 pm GMT 105e25, 6s06

This is our beginning chart. What we can note is that Mars is within 7 degrees of the IC and he is in opposition to Uranus. As the opposition was world-wide, the important thing is the presence of Mars in the 4th house. The opposition is strengthened further by both planets also being contra-parallel to one another (Mars 8s27, Uranus 8n34).

00 LMT 105e25, 6s06

Small Conjunction, 20 July, 1883 9:56:00 LMT 105e25, 6s06

Here the first thing we need to search for is the tie-in with the Grand Conjunction. It isn’t surprising that the Small Conjunction (Mars/Saturn) is in square to the IC of the Grand Conjunction chart. We also have Grand Conjunction Mercury conjunct the Ascendant. What I would also like to point your attention to is that the MC/IC axis is more or less exactly the midpoint between the Mars/Saturn conjunction on one side and the Mercury/Jupiter conjunction on the other side. We have the explosive violence of Mars/Saturn combined with the megadecibel [big (Jupiter) bang (Mercury)] noise and the enormous debris carried swiftly in the atmosphere around the earth (Mercury/Jupiter) focused on this axis. The stage is set.


7 thoughts on “Krakatoa 1883: A World Event Examined (1)

  1. Dear Thomas

    I took a peek at your Great Conjunction chart, and noticing the stellium in Taurus promptly reached for my copy of George McCormack’s chapter on Earthquakes and Volcanic Eruptions. (‘Long Range Weather Forecasting’: Sacred Science Institute.)

    Here he says that: “ Earthquakes generally follow eclipses of the Sun. They sometimes happen after eclipses of the Moon in the fixed, foundation signs Taurus, Scorpio or Aquarius” and so out of curiosity I ran the eclipse charts! And guess what? (I think I am jumping the gun here, because this is obviously why you chose this particular chart LOL) but the eruption of the Krakatoa volcano on 26th & 27th of August 1883 came directly after the Lunar Eclipse of 22nd April 1883 at 1* 58 degrees of Taurus/Scorpio!

    1* 35’ Taurus is the degree of the Grand Conjunction in 1881; and therefore the Eclipse on this degree was always going to manifest in a major way; but where? On the event chart of the eruption itself Mars is sextile both the Grand Conjunction and Eclipse degree from 1* 24 Cancer.

    One wonders exactly what time the first eruption occurred? And just what degree was on the I.C. at Krakatoa at that time?


  2. Hello Caroline,

    The eruption had many stages, it didn’t occur all at once. The time I chose for the event chart was the most dramatic phase. This demonstrates that an event chart alone is not enough to understand the eruption, the other charts leading up to it are significant.

    Thank you for pointing out the Lunar eclipse chart. It adds to the whole chain of testimonies leading up to the event.


  3. Hi Thomas,

    Interesting that the Nodal Axis lies across the Ascendant/Descendant axis of the Eclipse chart in Krakatoa isn’t it?

    Dare we rope in Saturn (ruler of Krakatoa’s 4th cusp in the Eclipse chart ) on Algol as well? Or is that over-egging the pudding somewhat?


  4. Hello Caroline,

    To keep things short I am keeping to the IC testimonies so that the articles don’t get too long. But other testimonies are most welcome!


  5. Well, Ptolemy writes “The strongest and principal cause of all these (general) events exists in the ecliptical conjunctions of the Sun and Moon, and in the several transits made by the planets during those conjunctions.”

    And the same many astrologers said about GC. Even a follower of Ptolemy as Cardano could not discard them.

    But I would not dismiss event charts, in fact they are the transits to general charts, aren’t they?
    But I think we are in agreement.


  6. Anyway, I gave a look to the chart for the eclipse preceding the event. The last visible solar eclipse was on 10th nov 1882, mid eclipse 21:32 UT.

    So the eclipse is exactly at the Ascendant, at 17 Scorpio. Mars rules the syzygy by domicile and by aspect (it is with the eclipse at 26 Scorpio.)

    The other malefic, Saturn is in opposition in Taurus, in its terms but retrograde.

    The eclipse lasted 2 hours so effects of the eclipse are for 2 years, but being the synod of the Lights on the Ascendant effects will be immediate.

    And here Caroline enters : surely Lunar eclipse she mentioned activated the Solar one, because again this eclipse is on the axis Taurus/Scorpio.

    Easy 🙂


  7. Hello Margherita!

    Yes we are in agreement. The point I am trying to make is that the event chart(s) won’t tell you the whole story. The other charts and their chain of testimony fill in plenty of the detail, as you have shown in examining the eclipse of Nov. 10th, 1882.

    Thank you for expanding a bit more on the eclipse.


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