Putting on a Pair of Mesopotamian Sandals

Mesopotamian omen texts are fascinating. But they are also very remote. I think we can say that the modern way of looking at the world is not identical to that of the ancient Mesopotamian, even the elite literate scholar who read, copied or wrote comments on and redacted the omen tablets available to him. And this difference is not merely based on language and cultural difference. It is however possible to re-enact, with the analytical skills that are a common feature of our age, at least one aspect of how an omen tablet came to be formulated. The religious, mythical background is of course extremely important but one that we cannot experience with the same intensity and conviction and so I will leave this to the side.

Do you ever, dear reader, look up at the sky and try to read what the weather might be from the quality of temperature, humidity, cloud density and wind intensity? Sure you have! It is high summer and it is sticky humid. You look to the west and see a dark cloud bank quickly moving in your direction. You know out of experience that a thunder storm is on its way and that there will be a rain torrent accompanied by thunder and lightning. Now put on a pair of Mesopotamian sandals and imagine that the king has given you the duty of recording the weather and giving a prediction of what will happen when certain conditions arise. So you will write something like:

If in summer it is humid and dark clouds move quickly from the west; it will rain in torrents. There will be thunder and lightning.

Maybe you spend your lifetime as a weather scholar/diviner recording the weather and its results. You might modify your first text:

If in summer it is humid and dark clouds move quickly from the west; it will rain in torrents. There will be thunder and lightning and crops will be flattened. There will be hunger.

Perhaps a century later another scholar edits and simplifies your prediction as there are now hundreds that have been gathered and they need to have some sort of order. He might write:

If in summer it is humid and dark clouds move in quickly from the west; there will be hunger.

We actually have weather rhymes that have been handed down since the middle ages. One such is the well known:

Red sky at night; shepherds delight,
Red sky in the morning; shepherds warning

This rhyme has the same structure as an omen text:

Red sky at night – the indication
shepherds delight – the prediction

And what is more this isn’t just a nursery rhyme. It has a factual element. Of course we rely not only on weather rhymes for predicting weather, we also have a whole arsenal of instruments beginning with thermometers and ending with satellites. We have a science, meterology, that tries to understand and describe the whole complexity of weather. And there is a branch of mundane astrology that also tries to predict the weather. Our approach is very much different, but buried deep is a faint echo of a Mesopotamian weather omen…

The 2009 Mars/Saturn Opposition and Koror

We have recently been looking at earthquake charts with respect to the Mars/Saturn conjunction, known traditionally as the Small Conjunction. The Great Conjunction is that between Jupiter and Saturn. I would like to continue the series on predicting critical periods and critical areas. Next year, on the 5th of April 2009, the opposition between Mars and Saturn takes place. This is an important astrological event particularly when we view seismic and meteorological phenomenon.

The question is to find where the foci of this particular configuration are. I will choose one region as there are a concentration of testimonies beginning with the January solar eclipse, continuing with the Aries Ingress of the Sun, the nearest lunation, the New Moon on March 26th, leading finally to the opposition itself on April 5th.

One region that in my estimation has a high probability of being a focus of tremendous natural forces is the island of Koror, east of the Philippines. Koror and the major city of the same name belong to the little heard of and mostly ignored Republic of Palau.

Dear reader, we will be analysing the above charts, with respect to the potential they show. Generally describing a thunderstorm and being in the midst of it are almost incomparable. The charts we look at, and our attempts to understand them can only be dry approximations of upcoming events, and we must always beware of habitually seeing only the worst scenario in them. We are allowed to worry though. And we are allowed to look at what happened and be relieved when the worst did not occur! Unfortunately if we hear anything of such remote regions, it is usually bad news, and without much differentiated description. Ideally someone who lives in this region should observe and record what really happens, to put flesh on the bones of the charts and to also give the right degree of perspective. Now to the charts:

54 GMT

Solar Eclipse, Jan. 26, 2009 Koror, Pacific 134e29 / 7n20, 7:54 GMT

The solar eclipse on January 26th is at 6 Aquarius 29. The IC for Koror during the eclipse is at 20 Libra 24. Mars at 22 Capricorn is close to the Descendant and is in square to the IC. He will form a conjunction with retrograde Mercury a few days later. Saturn forms a separating trine to Mars which ‘gentles’ things a little.

43 GMT

Aries Ingress, March 20, 2009 Koror, Pacific 134e29 / 7n20, 11:43 GMT

The IC at 6 Aquarius 01 of the Aries Ingress chart for Koror, picks up the solar eclipse position of Sun and Moon (also 6 Aquarius). The North Node is tucked inside the IC cusp (8 Aquarius), by April 5th, it will have moved to 6 Aquarius, in a sense reactivating the potential of the eclipse.

05 GMT

New Moon, March 26, 2009 Koror, Pacific 134e29 / 7n20, 16:05 GMT

The New Moon of March 26th seems to contain no threat. In fact the New Moon is in exact sextile to the solar eclipse position. No ‘heavy’ aspects seem to oppress the IC.


Let us go on to the Mars/Saturn opposition chart. Here the potentials of the last three charts seem to gather. First the chart itself. The IC is at 9 Virgo 22, with Saturn in the 4th house about 7 degrees away. The antiscion of Mercury exactly conjuncts the IC. Mercury itself is at 20 Aries 37, the domicile of Mars and is also parallel to both Saturn and Venus. The Mars/Saturn opposition, along with the Mercury antiscion conjunction on the IC, is enough to show turbulent weather with strong and destructive winds. The earth/water combination of the opposition could also increase the possibility of earthquake/tsunami activity. Now what really worries me are how the chart picks up on the previous New Moon, with the New Moon Mars conjunct the MC at 9 Pisces, in opposition to the Mercury antiscion on the IC. The New Moon IC conjuncts Mercury of the Opposition chart (20 Aries) as does the antiscion of New Moon Mars. And not only that. The MC of the solar eclipse is also here. And there is the IC (Aries Ingress) – Sun/Moon (solar eclipse) conjunction to the North Node. There is a lot of activity between Mercury, Mars, Saturn along with several IC interactions of eclipse, ingress and lunation. This means that we must keep an eye out for Koror and hope that some of the positive testimonies mentioned above will help to keep the elements more temperate.

Mercury on the Threshold: What Happened

It is time, now that the Moon has reached third-quarter, to review the Manila charts and what happened in the period between the 12th-19th of December. Here is the Full Moon chart we looked at:

36pm GMT
Full Moon: Manila, 12 Dec. 2009, 4:36pm GMT

We originally looked for earthquake activity and then later included the development of typhoon activity. It would be too early to judge whether the list of questions used as orientation for prediction is valid. One set of charts is not enough, and then historical events need to be looked at more intensively. But we can make a few general observations of developments during this period. During this period most earthquake activity in the region was about 10 degrees latititude to the south and generally between 125-130 degrees longitude. At least three earthquakes of magnitude 4.6, 5.0 and 5.3 occured in the Moluccan Sea near the island of Sulawesi, Indonesia. Interesting also, is the path that Typhoon Ulysses took. It seemed , if you look at the track of the typhoon, as if the 130th meridian formed a barrier which prevented landfall. This will have to be explored more intensely, but it seems to me that a 1 degree conjunction, and that outside of the 4th house, is not enough to bring focal activity. Both Mercury (and Pluto, if you will) are 1 degree outside of the 4th house and to the east. Had they been tucked just within the 4th house then Manila might have been a focus. Ulysses was a violent storm, if you read the BBC weather report from the 15th of December, the correspondant says:

Earlier this morning the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGSA) issued a typhoon warning for shipping in the area. The storm is already being laid partly to blame for the capsizing of a passenger ferry, which encountered heavy seas off the northern Philippines at the weekend

I set a chart for the full Moon of Ternate, Sulawesi, Indonesia, which is the closest town to the earthquake epicentres mentioned above. This is not conclusive but the antiscia of the T-Square between Saturn, Sun and Moon fall on the angles. The antiscia of the Sun and Moon are tucked just inside the 4th/10th house axis. The 5.3 magnitude earthquake on the 18th of December also has the antiscion of the Sun tucked just within the 4th house. When looking at the charts I asked myself what role Mars might have had and asked myself on which meridian the antiscion of Mars would have been if it were placed directly on the IC. Interestingly enough an IC at 10 Capricorn 52 (the antiscion of Mars) would have 130e03 as the meridian. This is more or less the meridian position that Ulysses had when it was upgraded from a tropical storm to a Typhoon on December 15. I will be paying more attention to antiscia in my further research into this theme. So another question has to be added to the list:

“What effect, if any, do the antisica have in weather and earthquake charts?”