The Astrology of the New Zealand Earthquake, February 22, 2011

Another natural disaster, not so far from home. Christchurch, second largest city in New Zealand, was hit by a deadly earthquake on Tuesday, February 22, 12.51 pm (local New Zealand’s Summer time, 13 hours East of Greenwich).

Christchurch’s region lays on the so called Pacific Ring of Fire, stretching from the South Pacific through Papua New Guinea, South-East Asia, all the way to the North and South-West coast of the American continent.

Along the 40.000 km rim are found 453 active volcanoes. Tectonic plates collide on a regular basis along this rim.

New Zealand is hit by earth tremors whenever the adjoining Pacific and Australian plates collide, which happens often, not always with such devastating results (pictures compliment of and

This quake wasn’t as powerful (6.3 magnitude) as  the one that occurred in the same place, on September 4, 2010 (7.1 magnitude), but it was shallow, 5 km deep, and the epicenter only 10 km south of the town.

Seventy five bodies have been recovered so far, but many more people are still listed as missing, so the death toll is likely to rise.

Even Christchurch 19th century cathedral, together with many modern buildings, now lay in ruins.

Here is the Chart of the moment the deadly 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck.

We are looking here at the earthquake as a moment in time. This Chart has been cast with the coordinates of Lyttelton, the quake’s epicenter.

Christchurch/Lyttelton’s Earthquake, February 22, 2011, 12, 51 pm

Click to enlarge

I immediately recognized similarities between this Horoscope and that of Yasi, the category 5 cyclone that hit North Queensland on February 3 2011. Here is my Cyclone Yasi post, if interested.

In both instances the Fixed Signs were on the Four Angles when disaster struck (Ascendant, Descendant, Mid-Heaven and Lower Heaven); with the so called Violent Signs of Taurus and Scorpio on the Horizon: Taurus on the Ascendant in Christchurch, and Scorpio, its complementary opposite Sign, on the Ascendant in Tully. Taurus was on the Ascendant in Tully too, by the way, at the time of the Aquarius New Moon, at midday on the same day as the cyclone.

As I stated on the post on Yasi, Taurus and Scorpio, and the Fixed Signs in general, are traditionally linked to violent events, such as quakes, volcanic eruptions, extreme weather, accidents and conflicts. These Signs in fact offer more resistance to change than other Signs, therefore the impact of whatever happens becomes more obvious when they are involved in any configuration.

Another similarity is the prominent position of the largest Asteroid Ceres, conjunct the Sun and Moon at the time of the cyclone, and most elevated of all celestial bodies at the time of the NZ earthquake.

Ceres was known to the Greeks as Demeter, ancient Goddess of Fertility, one of Goddesses representative of Mother Earth. She was venerated as the Goddess of the Harvest and also of Mourning, because of her connection with the Persephone myth. Persephone, once known simply as Kore, the Maiden, was in fact Demeter’s daughter, the same who was kidnapped by Hades (the Roman Pluto), God of the underworld; the same for whom the mother mourned during the barren winter months, until she was returned to her in the spring time. Ceres’ prominent position in this particular Horoscope doesn’t seem a positive sign as far as the quake’s final death toll is concerned.

In the earthquake Chart what really sticks out is the cluster of celestial bodies between the end of Aquarius and the beginning of Pisces, all in the prominent Tenth House or very close to it: Mars and Neptune are conjunct on the 28th and 29th degrees of Aquarius, while Mercury, Chiron and the Sun are conjunct on the first degrees of Pisces.

The conjunction of the Sun and Mercury to Chiron and the approaching one of Mars to Chiron are strengthening the notion that Chiron relates to collective suffering and the need to accept unavoidable pains in this far from perfect world.

The conjunction Mars-Neptune is the most interesting aspect, being very close to the Mid-Heaven at the time, with Ceres most elevated of all planets, and also because they are connected by aspect to Uranus, on the 29th degree of Pisces, and the Lunar Nodes on the 29th degree of Sagittarius and Gemini. This means, of course, that Uranus is in perfect 90 degrees angle (square) to the Nodes, just as he prepares to enter Aries for good (March 12).

Uranus is the King of the Unexpected and the Sudden, those events, in life and within our human psyche, which seem to happen without a warning, out of the blue, with often destructive results, forcing, as it were, major adjustments, through shocks and abrupt u-turns that can leave us shaken and changed in profound ways.The fact that Uranus is now on the cusp of the most active and impulsive Sign of the Zodiac is not help, but rather enhance the violent character of some of the events connected with it.More of this type of events can be expected during Uranus’ 7 years transit through Aries, in particular perhaps from June 2011 when Jupiter will enter the earthquake Sign of Taurus.

We shouldn’t forget also that, while Mars, Neptune and Ceres are on the Mid-Heaven, Uranus actually rules, together with Saturn, the Sign of Aquarius on the cusp of the Mid-heaven, symbolically deciding the nature of the outcome or the outward manifestation of that particular moment.

Not only Uranus is here at right angle to the Nodes, symbolizing the collective destiny of the time, but the Nodes happen to be in the VIII House of Death and Loss, together with Pluto, God of the underworld. To add to this, Mars, a well known catalyst, whose role is often to precipitate events, is connected to the same Uranus (semi-sextile) and Lunar Nodes (sextile and trine), but also to Pluto, via a minor aspect known as a Septile (51.4 degrees distance, based on the division of the circle by 7), an aspect indicative of transcendental influences at work.

I would like to explore a little the importance of the Nodes in this Chart. As you know the Lunar Nodes are connected to Eclipses, their positions showing where Eclipses occur at any given times. The fact that Uranus and Mars are here linked by aspect to the Nodes means then that there is a relation between the earthquake and recent Eclipses too, in particular the Total Lunar Eclipse that occurred on December 21, 2010, the day of the Capricorn Solstice (important date often used to forecast events in the year ahead). That Eclipse happened on the 29th degree of the Signs Gemini (Moon) and Sagittarius (Sun).

Obviously both Mars and Uranus are very much linked with this all important Eclipse event, because same degrees along the zodiacal wheel are always connected by aspect and meaning. In this case Uranus is linked to the Lunar Eclipse by square and Mars by trine and sextile. We can say then that, at the moment of the quake, the time was ripe for what had been already promised by the Eclipse.

The correlation between Uranus (sudden -destructive events), the Lunar Nodes (collective destiny), and Mars (cosmic catalyst) appears even more significant when we look at the December Eclipse Chart relocated to Christchurch. Here is this amazing Chart.

Total Lunar Eclipse of December 21, 2010, in Christchurch, New Zealand

Click to enlarge

The Lunar Eclipse was right on the horizon of Christchurch, with the Full Moon rising on the East, just as the Eclipse began, while the Sun was setting in the West! Both Sun and Moon were, at the time, at right angle (squares) to the conjunction Jupiter Uranus on the Mid-Heaven, while Mars was then separating from a conjunction to Pluto in Capricorn!

Another aspect of this configuration, which I feel is important, is the nature of the degrees we are considering, being the last degrees of  some of the Signs involved, cusps between Signs, degrees of change and transformation. These Cusp degrees are sometimes called Critical Degrees, indicating moment of crisis and change for the function of the planet/s placed there. We have seen many of these last or Cusp Degrees activated recently, with all the Full Moons, since September 2010, happening on a Cusp between Signs, the last, few days before the earthquake, on February 18, with the Moon on the 29th degree of Leo, Cusp Virgo, and the Sun on the 29th degree of Aquarius, Cusp Pisces. This last Full Moon was also closely involved with Mars and Neptune, as they were both conjunct the Sun.

These considerations seem to indicate that the conjunction Mars-Neptune was very significant for this event (as well as the recent conjunction of Sun and Mercury also to Neptune, and their passage into the Water Sign of Pisces). A literal reading of such a conjunction could be ‘accidents at sea’. Now Lyttelton, the quake’s epicenter, is a coastal village, and New Zealand is made up of two major islands, a place surrounded by sea.

Another observation that also seem to put the Critical or Cusp Degrees to the fore of this event is the fact that in the Birth Chart of New Zealand (January 17, 1853, midnight, Wellington) Pluto was on the 29th degree of Aries, and Mars on the 28th degree of Capricorn (conjunct the Sun), respectively in semi-sextile and sextile with transiting Uranus, and, of course, also connected with the recent Lunar Eclipse.

Below it is a two-wheels Chart, with New Zealand Constitution Chart in the inner wheel and the earthquake’s Chart in the outer wheel.

Christchurch/Lyttelton’s Earthquake and the Birth Chart of New Zealand

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Many more observations can be made about this event from an astrological viewpoint: what about the fact that the Moon and Saturn were in the VI House of Work and Daily Routine. at the time of the quake? Compare this position with the Moon and Sun position in the Yasi event, in the IV House of Home. Most people (represented by the Moon in a Mundane Chart like this one) were busy at work or study the moment the quake hit, the building taking the more direct hit being office buildings, where rescue personnel are now looking for survivors.

Saturn was heavily aspected on the day too, 135 degrees (sesqui-square) to Chiron, the Sun and Mercury, in trine to the Mid-Heaven (and ruling it, with Uranus), still in square and Mutual reception to Venus in Capricorn, apart, of course, from his all important conjunction to the Moon.

The transiting Moon was also just separating from a conjunction to Saturn, Lord of karma, and from a 90 degrees angle to Venus in Capricorn (the latter still in orb of square to Saturn), all aspects that can manifest in sadness, pessimism and emotional hurt, especially as they activate the XII House in the New Zealand’s Birth Chart, a place where things need to be accepted because they cannot be changed, being beyond anyone’s control. Both the Moon and Saturn were transiting the so called Via Combusta (literally the burning path or road), the zodiacal area spanning from the middle of Libra to the middle of Scorpio. This area was considered unfortunate, having an effect similar to the negative effects of some Eclipses. This notion was probably derived from the presence of difficult Fixed Stars in this area of the Sidereal Zodiac (the Zodiac of the Constellations).

Out of pure Mercury in Gemini’s curiosity I looked up also the Birth Chart of the Anglican 19th century cathedral that was nearly completely destroyed by the quake.

I chose as the birth time the day the cathedral was consecrated, on November 1, 1881. Because I don’t know the time of the official event I have cast a Chart for sunrise on that day.

Here it is.

Christchurch Cathedral Consecration date, November 1, 1881, sunrise

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This Chart is also very interesting, in the light of the recent events. The Sun was in Scorpio that day and in opposition to Saturn in Taurus (a difficult aspect for a building, Saturn signifying the structure of the same and its durability). We can observe even here the influence of the Fixed, Earthquake Signs of Scorpio and Taurus. The cathedral was damaged by an earthquake only one month after the consecration ceremony and, more severely, on occasion of the September 1, 1888 earthquake, and other earth tremors following.

Please note the position of the Moon, on the 28th degree of Aquarius, conjunct the transiting Neptune, Mars and Mid-Heaven of the recent quake’s Chart. That’s something!

I’m sure this chart could reveal more about the fate of this building, but I’m running out of time, and i can’t go there now.

One last important transit that I want to include in this reading is the powerful Jupiter square Pluto, that will be exact on Saturday, February 26, but has been close for days. This aspect definitely spells earthquake, as well as war and mayhem, all events that resonate well with this fateful week. Jupiter, as we know, tends to magnify the effects of all planets he comes in contact with, in this case Pluto, the symbolic ruler of the underworld, presiding over experiences of death, loss and transformation.

A positive outcome of this transit would be a strong stimulus toward radical reforms, including the toppling of people who abuse their power, or even organized crimes leaders, as it is has happened in Egypt, and now in Libya and many other countries in the Middle East. This transit also shows the possibility of a strong resistance from these same individual and the possibility of war and bloodshed.

But that’s another story, hopefully my next post.