Event Chart for Notre Dame Fire

April 16, 2019

In the wake of the fire that gutted Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on Monday, there have been many articles and blog posts describing the spectacular blaze as well as the tumultuous history of the 850 year old cathedral. I’m going to interpret some astrological data for the event.

I don’t have a time for the dedication of the building, so I’m going to look at general astrological data as the fire started. According to Paris police, the fire was discovered at 6:50 p.m. local time on April 15. The fire could (and probably did) start earlier than this, but since this is an old wooden building, and therefore a tinder box, it is doubtful that it smoldered for long. Moon sign is probably correct.

Events of far reaching destruction and change are generally driven by outer planets – Pluto, Chiron, Jupiter, and (especially) Uranus. Inner planets Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, and Mars trigger the timing of the event.

Looking at the outer planets, using sign-specific orb of 5 degrees or less, there is a hard aspect (a square) between a Pluto-Saturn conjunction in Capricorn and the Sun in Aries. Saturn is the planet of karma and slow, difficult growth. Pluto is a planet of transformation, rebirth, and inevitable change. This difficult conjunction reflects uncomfortable events happening in the world in general right now. Again, these planets are squaring the Sun. Squares generate energy through resistance, and in this case the square involves a fire sign, Aries.

There is another square involving Jupiter in its home fire sign of Sagittarius and a Mercury-Venus conjunction. Again, this is triggering conflict, resistance, and energy.

While squares generate energy through resistance, there has to be accommodating aspects for that energy to be expressed. In this case the planet most associated with sudden, disruptive change, Uranus, trines the planet closest to the Earth, the Moon. This is the aspect that facilitated the flames. This, and a trine between Jupiter and the Sun, both in their home fire signs.

An accommodation of destructive energy is reflected to a lesser extent in the sextile between Chiron, an asteroid also associated with deep change, and the aggressive planet Mars. The 9th House placement of Mars is significant, since this house is associated with religion and government. Of course the Ascendant is not completely reliable here, since it is impossible to know exactly when the fire started, but even pushing the time back to 5:00 p.m. keeps Mars in the 9th House.

The astrological data in the event chart is potential, not predictive, since it describes influences on the whole earth at the time in question. Looking at planetary transits in the context of a chart specific to the Cathedral could shed additional information.

Crocodile Friends

April 11, 2019

Here is another excerpt from Divining with Animal Guides.


Crocodile amulet with sun disk under snout, inscribed to Amen-Ra. Photo: Walters Art Museum

Crocodiles have a reputation for being smart. A significant facet of their intelligence is their ability to learn through observation. Crocodiles take a keen interest in the habits of wildlife along the river and plan their predation strategy accordingly. They seem to anticipate daily schedules and migration patterns. Sometimes they hunt cooperatively, using combined strength to drown a large animal or pull it apart. They may form two separate groups and herd fish into an ambush. They remain still and hidden for long periods of time, then move with lightning speed when it’s time to strike. They are long-lived animals, which might be another reason crocodile goddess Neith is considered the oldest deity.

Wealthy Egyptians liked to keep crocodiles as pets. A household crocodile was a pampered creature, given a courtyard pond for lounging and freedom to explore the house. Having the croc around brought the family fertility, wealth, protection and general good luck.

The temple crocodile was treated as the living representation of the crocodile god, usually but not always Neith’s son Sobek. As with any deity, the crocodile god lived in lush surroundings, entertained by temple musicians, and wore bracelets and body piercings of the most exquisite workmanship. When a divine crocodile died, he would be mummified like any great leader and given a funeral. Pet crocodiles were also mummified, according to the family’s means. During the last millennium BCE, some temples kept a stock of crocodiles to be sold as sacrifices to Sobek, and these crocodiles were also mummified, occasionally with their babies, although not with the same precision as a divine crocodile or a pet croc. From this temple stock, a new living deity would be chosen and given the same name as the crocodile now making his journey to eternal life.

There are many questions about this process that the Egyptians left unanswered. Questions like, how do you tell the difference between a divine crocodile and an ordinary one? Outside culinary donations, how do you know when a live crocodile approves of your offering, since they appear to have only one facial expression? And, most importantly, who takes a job as a crocodile body piercer?


Crocodile mummies. Photo: Olaf Tausch

The Bird of Shadows

April 4, 2019
owl amulet
Re-creation of an amulet appearing in Frederick Thomas Elworthy’s The Evil Eye.

The following is an excerpt from a chapter in Invoking Animal Magic.

Western traditions regard the owl with ambivalence. She is a repository of wisdom, but a harbinger of death or other unwelcome news. Not only Shakespeare, but Spenser and Chaucer describe the owl as presager of doom, making the verdict of the English literary giants unanimous. Yet the owl only goes visiting if the messages are unclaimed. When the situation becomes dicey enough for her to hunt down the recipient, can she be blamed if the news is dire? 

Distinctive in tone, varied in repertoire, hidden under cover of night, owl talk strikes the listener as steeped in significance. In talking to their own kind, owls can be establishing territory, courting, migrating, defending themselves or calling for mother. But of course we know they are mostly talking to us. Not only do owls carry messages, they carry secrets. Spells from archaic Roman and English sources use the owl to pry secrets from a sleeping victim. The owl is an emblem, by admission or reputation, of various secret societies, including the Masons, the Bohemian Grove and the Illuminati. On the corner of the one dollar bill there is a minute figure that could be an owl, which people who subscribe to conspiracy theories attribute to an occult fraternity among the Founding Fathers. 

The owl’s most conspicuous feature is her large eyes, which give the impression of seeing everything. Most birds, including other birds of prey, obtain a field of vision approaching 360 degrees by having eyes located on either side of the head. The owl’s forward facing eyes give her excellent depth perception— important for seeing in low light—and make her appear more human. Her flexible neck allows her to turn her face to the rear. She needs large eyes and wide head movements because her eyes are fixed and cannot move, hence the staring that unnerves some people. Her immovable eyes seem supremely confident and all-knowing. Since the owl sees so clearly into the night, she is credited with the comprehension of death, evil, uncomfortable truths, disquieting outcomes and everything else we place in the rubric of “shadow.”